Daniel Morales

For Daniel Morales's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

| Aug 18, 2014

Complicated characters: Let us now praise difficult kanji

For beginner and intermediate students of Japanese, encountering a kanji such as 鬱 (utsu, depression) in the wild can be a somewhat traumatic event that, appropriately, induces a deep, introspective depression regarding their language ability. Let’s pull out our electron microscopes and examine that ...

Haruki Murakami's new book peels back the layers of friendship

Aug 9, 2014

Haruki Murakami's new book peels back the layers of friendship

Haruki Murakami has made his name in the West with the translations of his tome-like novels, but it was 1987′s relatively slim Norwegian Wood that made him famous in Japan. And his latest big hit here is similarly slender. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His ...

Jun 29, 2014

Particles create the chemistry of adjectives and adverbs

I first started studying Japanese the summer after my first year of college. I was still promising my parents that I would take the med school prerequisites and eventually become a doctor, but I knew going in to college that all I really wanted ...

| Mar 23, 2014

Being laughed at can help your Japanese evolve

Students of Japanese are often Japanese-as-a-second-language (JSL) cavemen. JSL cavemen live a mostly pleasant existence of blissful ignorance, using a devolved form of the language as best they can. However, JSL cavemen are not total ignoramuses — their thick hide can be penetrated by ...

Keep calm before carrying on when speaking Japanese

| Feb 23, 2014

Keep calm before carrying on when speaking Japanese

In Haruki Murakami’s 1985 novel “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World,” one of the two protagonists is a coolheaded data agent working for the monolithic “System” that protects the world from “Semiotec” data thieves. He takes on a job that’s a little ...

In 'Tsukuru Tazaki,' Murakami once again shifts his point of view

Apr 21, 2013

In 'Tsukuru Tazaki,' Murakami once again shifts his point of view

Two thousand and nine was a good year to be a Haruki Murakami fan. Seven years after writing his last epic novel, “Kafka on the Shore,” with only the bite-sized 2004 “afterdark” to tide over his readership, the author published the massive two-volume “1Q84.” ...

Aug 29, 2011

Japanese humor: more universally funny than you think

Japanese comedy gets a bad rap. Foreigners either knock it for being too silly and too focused on slapstick or too pun-based and difficult to understand. The Japanese sense of humor is most definitely different from its Anglophone counterparts. Some things, however, are so ...

| May 30, 2011

Procedural phrasing: often a pain, but always polite

Japanese is chock full of procedural phrases that sound incredibly awkward when translated too literally into English. While many of these may seem unnecessary, they are critical to speaking more natural, fluent Japanese. Even the most basic phrases in Japanese are sometimes far more ...