This past year saw an end to the Well Said column, which ran weekly in the JT since 1995. Akemi Tanahashi began it with co-writer Yayoi Oshima, who eventually left and was replaced with Hitomi Tashiro.

The column featured a diverse cast of characters whose antics were used to teach grammar points to Japan Times readers and, since those lessons are evergreen, you can still access them via The Japan Times’ website.

Haruka Murayama met the columnists to say a final otsukaresama (good job) and arigatō gozaimashita (thank you very much) for their many years of great lessons, and asked them for their tips for Japanese-language learners, among other things.

Otsukaresama: Akemi Tanahashi (left) and Hitomi Tashiro | HARUKA MURAYAMA
Otsukaresama: Akemi Tanahashi (left) and Hitomi Tashiro | HARUKA MURAYAMA

If you’re not happy about the end of Well Said and, say, wanted to make a complaint about it — in Japanese, for extra impact — how might you go about it? Eric Margolis has put together a guide to griping in Nihongo, ranging from the issue-skirtingly roundabout to the downright direct.

And if you’d rather move on and concentrate on honing your ability to speak about the latest flurry of news on coronavirus strains or the riot in the U.S. Capitol, there’s an article for that too, courtesy of Tadasu Takahashi.

Finally, if you fancy a bit of fun and have the kanji chops for it, why not try inventing your own characters to capture the zeitgeist? As Daniel Morales writes, it’s an engaging way to learn and understand the characters, and you could even enter it in this year’s competition for made-up kanji.