Daniel Morales

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

| Mar 30, 2015

Submitting yourself to the 50 shades of arigatō gozaimasu

Do you remember the first day of Japanese class or the first day you resolved to finally learn the language on your own? What about the very first Japanese words you ever learned? There’s a good chance arigatō gozaimasu (ありがとうございます) were those first words ...

| Mar 9, 2015

Avoiding the subject isn't such a bad idea in Japanese

Japanese is so efficient as a language that it can sometimes leave new students feeling as though they are floating in space. Without the familiar gravity of shugo (主語, subjects), students are sometimes at a loss to create sentences that involve multiple actors and ...

'Ka' can help you sound less like Mr. Roboto

| Feb 2, 2015

'Ka' can help you sound less like Mr. Roboto

Knowing how you sound in Japanese is very difficult. For the first few months of study, perhaps even the first few years, the best you can hope for is to imitate sensei (先生, teachers) and tomodachi (友達, friends), geinōjin (芸能人, celebrities) and kishō yohōshi ...

The myths and misery of translating Japanese video games

| Jan 5, 2015

The myths and misery of translating Japanese video games

Given ever-expanding access to the culture of Japan, people worldwide have many different reasons for studying the Japanese language these days. But I don’t know if job opportunities for non-Japanese have expanded as rapidly. Many folks probably fall back on the same set of ...

| Dec 22, 2014

The annual pain and pleasure of punished comedians

Japan is a country of traditions. You take off your shoes when you go indoors. You rinse your body before entering the bath. And you sit around the house with family on Ōmisoka (大晦日, New Year’s Eve) and do nothing but watch television and ...

| Dec 8, 2014

Going backward to get ahead with studying Japanese

In his book “Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbooks Don’t Tell You,” translator and Japanese literature scholar Jay Rubin notes that the Japanese language “works backward.” When he writes this, Rubin is not referring to tategaki (縦書き, writing vertical lines of text from ...

| 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 ...