Learning Simple Math in Japanese

Posted on 22. Oct, 2014 by in Grammar

Hi there. I thought I would talk about a bit unusual topic this time. Learning Math in Japanese. When expressing mathematics in Japanese, here are the things you would notice. To make things easier, I have used only Hiragana’s below rather than using Kanji’s.


Picture from tkamenick on flickr.com

I will start with the simple ones below, but first let’s review the numbers 1 through 10 in Japanese.

1 – ichi (いち)

2 – ni (に)

3 – san (さん)

4 – yon or shi (よん、し)

5 – go (ご)

6 – roku (ろく)

7 – nana or shichi (なな、しち)

8 – hachi (はち)

9 – kyu (きゅう)

10- jyu (じゅう)


Plus ==> +   tasu (たす)

Minus==> –  hiku (ひく)

Multiply ==> x kakeru (かける)

Divide ==> / waru (わる)

Equal ==> = wa (は* please note this letter is pronounced as “wa”)

With this said, how would you read the following in Japanese?


1+ 2 = 3

It is:

ichi tasu ni wa san  (いち たす に は さん)

How about this one?

2 * 3 = 6

It is:

ni kakeru san wa roku (に かける さん は ろく)


will be

jyu hiku ni wa hachi. (じゅう ひく に は はち)

10 / 5 = 2

will be

jyu waru go wa ni (じゅう わる ご は に)


While we are at the number topic, let’s review some of the higher numbers as well:

20 – ni jyu (にじゅう)

30 – san jyu  (さんじゅう)

40 – yon jyu or shi ju (よんじゅう、しじゅう)

50- go jyu (ごじゅう)

60 – roku jyu (ろくじゅう)

70 – nana jyu (ななじゅう)

80 – hachi jyu (はちじゅう)

90 – kyu jyu (きゅうじゅう)

100 – hyaku (ひゃく)

1000 – sen (せん)

10,000 – ichi man (いちまん)

100,000 – jyu man (じゅうまん)

1,000,000 – hyaku man (ひゃくまん)

10,000,000 – sen man (せんまん)

100,000,000 – ichi oku  (いちおく)


Let’s try reading the following equations in Japanese:

26 / 2 = 13

58 – 28 = 30

20 * 30 = 600

45 + 55 = 100

Were you able to read them?

Here are the answers:

26 / 2 = 13

nijyu roku waru ni wa jyu san (にじゅうろく わる に は じゅうさん)

58 – 28 = 30

gojyu hachi hiku nijyu hachi wa sanjyu (ごじゅうはち ひく にじゅうはち は さんじゅう)

20 * 30 = 600

nijyu kakeru sanjyu wa rohhyaku (にじゅう かける さんじゅう は ろっひゃく)

45 + 55 = 100

yonjyu go tasu gojyu go wa hyaku (よんじゅうご たす ごじゅうご は ひゃく)


This was a simple math in Japanese, but if you have any other related topic that you would like to know, just let me know!

All about Japanese Katakana

Posted on 17. Oct, 2014 by in Grammar


photo from tiseb from flickr.com


So, you might already know that there are three styles of writing in Japanese. Basic writing is done using what we call, Hiragana (平仮名、ひらがな). We have two other forms of writing called, Katakana (カタカナ、かたかな) & Kanji (漢字、かんじ).

In today’s article, I would like to give you an overview of what is Japanese Katakana is all about. Read on!

Japanese Katakana:

Each syllable in the Japanese language is represented by one character, or kana, in each system.

The following Katakana’s are the ones you need to know.

Source: Wikipedia


Gojūon – Katakana characters with nucleus
a i u e o

There are 4 main rules about using Katakana in Japanese.

1) Sound of Animals:

When expressing sounds of animals, we use Katakana to express it.

For example:

A dog is barking Wan-Wan.

Wan- Wan is a sound expression in Japanese. (In English, for example,  “woof,  woof” is common to use.)

To write this in Japanese,

Inu ga wan wan hoeteimasu. -犬がワンワン吠えています。(いぬが ワンワン ほえています。)

Notice that barking sound “wan wan” is expressed as “ワンワン” in Katakana.

Besides the sound of dog bark, we also use:

Chun Chun (チュンチュン) for bird sound

Nya Nya (ニャー ニャー) for cats

Bu- Bu- (ブー ブー) for pigs

Mo- (モー) for cows

This is an interesting video showing you how we express animal sounds in Japanese.

YouTube Preview Image


2) Any Type of Sounds

The sound of rain drop, bells, and trains, they are all expressed in Katakana in Japanese.

For example:

Gata goto (ガタゴト) – sound of train running

bochan (ボチャン) – sound of drops, when you drop something into a water

bari-n (バリーン) – sound of breaking, when you break a glasses or mirror

gahan (ガチャン) – sound of closing doors


3) Foreign words

When we use the words that are foreign origin, we use Katakana rather than Hiragana.

for example:

Mafura- (マフラー) – scarf

Pan (パン) – bread

pasocon (パソコン) – Personal computer

sofa-(ソファ) – sofa

orugan (オルガン) – organ

piano (ピアノ) – piano


4) Name of foreign country, landmarks. Names of foreign people

Name of countries and names of foreigners are all expressed using Katakana.

for example:

Mikeru Jackson (マイケル ジャクソン) – Michael Jackson

Indo (インド) – India

piramiddo (ピラミッド)- Pyramid

grand canion (グランド キャニオン) – Grand Canyon

rasubegasu (ラスベガス) – Las Vegas


So there are the major rules you need to know when using Katakana’s. Hope you got to learn more about Katakana today.


How are you? In Japanese

Posted on 13. Oct, 2014 by in Culture, Grammar

In English, we often ask our friends, “How are you?”. Response might be, “I am doing well, thanks.” or “Well, I am not doing so well today..”  If we were to apply this for conversation in Japanese, what will be the most appropriate way of asking, “how are you?”?


photo from borkazoid on flickr.com

My best advice to you is, if it’s your close friend, you simply ask

Genki? (元気?げんき?)

Believe it or not, in Japanese, we don’t say this every single time. We would greet each other by saying, good morning (おはようございます。or おはよう。) or hello(こんにちは), and go right into a conversation.

Asking Genki indicates that you might have not seen your friend recently. For example, if you just saw her yesterday, we don’t normally ask, “Genki?” since you know that you just met her yesterday.

However, depending on the closeness or situation, here are some common ways of asking how your friend is doing besides, Genki?


Choushi do? (調子どう?ちょうしどう)

Choushi wa do? (調子はどう?ちょうしはどう?)

This is a very casual way of asking how he/she is doing. You would not use this expression to someone older than you or someone you don’t know too well.


If the person is older or someone you don’t know too well, then, you can say:

Choushi wa do desuka? (調子はどうですか?ちょうしはどうですか?)

By adding “desuka”,  it will sound much more polite.


You could also ask by saying:

Gokigen ikaga? (ご機嫌いがが?ごきげんいかが?) or Gokigen ikagadesuka? (ご機嫌いかがですか?ごきげんいかがですか?)


This is probably the literal translation of “How are you?” in Japanese. However , it is not common to use this expression among close friends. It is more appropriate to use this expression with someone who is older or someone who might be in higher social status than you are. This expression has politeness built in for sure.


You could also use the expression:

Ogenki desuka? (お元気ですか?おげんきですか?)

This could be another literal translation into Japanese. This expression is mostly used in writing. For example, when you are writing a letter or an email to someone who might be living far away from you, this will be the expression to use. Again, you would not typically use this expression with someone whom you see often on a regular basis.


Hope you got an idea on how to use “how are you?” expression in Japanese language!