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Lesson Transcript

皆さん、ようこそ。(Mina-san, yōkoso.)
Hi everybody, my name is Chihiro and welcome to japanesepod101.com’s Kantan kana series, the fastest, easiest and most fun way to learn the two basic Japanese alphabets Hiragana and Katana. Over the next 25 lessons, you will go from zero to complete mastery. Are you ready? Okay let’s begin.
In the first half of this series, you will learn Hiragana. Every Hiragana character represents a certain sound but doesn’t have meaning by itself. Using these Hiragana characters, you can write almost any Japanese word. There are 46 Hiragana characters and they are commonly arranged like this. Look complicated? Don’t worry, we will do one rule at a time and before you know it, you will master them all. Okay let’s start writing.
The first character you will learn is あ(a) to write it correctly, pay attention to the stroke order. 1, 2, 3, when you are starting out, try to make your characters look as close to mine as possible. Keep your line slightly curved like this. Good, let’s move on.
The second character is い(i). い(i) is more simple than あ(a) but there are two things to keep in mind. First watch me try it once. 1, 2, when you drop い(i), imagine there is an vowel that you are chasing around like this. This will help you write the lines correctly. Also don’t forget about this part. This is called はね(hane). this is left from when characters written with the Russian ink. Try to make this はね(hane) with your pen. Believe it or not, now you know how to write a word in Japanese. This is 愛(ai) or love. Let’s learn another character so we can write more words.
Here is う(u). Make the top stroke angled like this, not flat. This is いう(iu) which means to speak and here is あう(au) which means to meet. Two more characters for this lesson. 頑張ってください!(Ganbatte kudasai!) え(e) is next. The first stroke of え(e) is the same as う(u) and the rest is all in one stroke. Don’t lift up that pen.
This is いえ(ie) which means “house”. And this is うえ(ue) which means “up”. Our last character today is お(o). This first stroke is like あ(a) but this stroke swings around like this and makes a loop. Then make one final stroke here. This is おい(oi), “nephew”, and this is あお(ao), “blue”.
Now let’s have a short quiz. I will show you the Hiragana and you read it out loud. Bonus points if you remember what it means.
あい(ai), Love
いう(iu), to speak
あお(ao), blue
Now it’s time for Chihiro’s tip. Have you been writing as you watch? I hope so because there is no better way to master the kana quickly and to write them for yourself.
Do you know how to write かこ(kako), ”past”. You will learn that and much more in the next lesson. See you then.

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JapanesePod101.com
Friday at 6:30 pm
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みなさん、こんにちは!

If you can’t read (or can only partially read) the text above, then this brand new video series is for you!😁 Learn how to read and write Japanese from scratch with our Kantan Kana video series featuring Chihiro-sensei. It is also great for those who have learned hiragana and katakana but would like a review - or for those who want to perfect the art of writing them.

Please let us know what you think!! :hachimaki:

January 8th, 2018 at 7:14 pm
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Hi John Kevin,
Thank you for your comment!

That’s a good question.
“ao” is a noun and “aoi” is an adjective. For example;
Sora ga aoi. =The sky is blue.
Ao ga suki desu.= I like blue.

Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com
Cheers,
Miki(美希)
Team JapanesePod101.com

January 3rd, 2018 at 4:30 pm
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Hi Brian,
Thank you for your comment!

Japanese is written either from top to bottom or from left to right. You can choose whichever you like. Traditionally it was written from top to bottom, but we often write from left to right these days. Most of magazines, news papers, and books are still written from top to bottom.

As for BGM, sorry for the inconvenience. We don’t have the one without the music for now.

“Kana” includes hiragana and katakana. And “kantan” means “easy”. So “Kantan Kana” means “Easy Hiragana/Katakana”.

Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com
Cheers,
Miki(美希)
Team JapanesePod101.com

December 29th, 2017 at 5:03 pm
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Hi Konstantin,
Thank you for your comment!

I think Chihiro-sensei writes う in a normal way. As for angles, each one has individuality when it comes to hand writing.

Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com
Cheers,
Miki(美希)
Team JapanesePod101.com

John Kevin
December 28th, 2017 at 9:22 am
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Hi JP101
i am just wondering about this difference, in the lesson above. The word Ao means blue, however, in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p9Il_j0zjc&t=489s it says that blue in hiragana is Aoi. is it fine to use either of the two?? can both of them be used?? hoping for an answer thank youuuu

Brian
December 26th, 2017 at 9:03 am
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1) The presenter of this video wrote some words from top to bottom (for example, the very first word she wrote was Aaii - Love). Is Hiragana written from top to bottom or left to right? If it’s written left to right, may I know why she is writing all the words from top to bottom? As a newbie, it’s very confusing to me.
2) The background music is very loud and distracting. Do you have the same videos WITHOUT the annoying background music?
3) What is Kantan Kana? This is my very first Japanese lesson so i have no idea what you mean by Kantan Kana. Is it a short form for something? Is Kana short for Katakana? What is the short form of Hiragana? The presenter has not explained the meaning of Kantan Kana in her video. Can you please explain?

Konstantin
December 19th, 2017 at 2:42 am
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Hello, I just started learning japanese and I am enjoying every video.
I have a question regarding the vowel “u”: in other resources I noticed this vowel is written like this う, but in the video Chihiro is writing it in a different angle.
Thank you in advance!

August 9th, 2017 at 3:17 pm
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Hi Ben,
Thank you for your new comment!

I’m sorry if there is any misunderstanding, but did you record a word “packet” and compare it to the native speaker’s “packet”?

When we pronounce loan words coming from other languages, we apply them to Japanese pronunciation.
“packet”, for example, would be “パケット(paketto)”. (You might find we tend to add extra vowels to loan words.)

So taking a word apart might help you say it.
“パケット” = “パ”(pa)+”ケッ”(ket)+”ト”(to)

Hope this helps you👍
Please let us know if you have further questions.

Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com
Cheers,
Miki(美希)
Team JapanesePod101.com

Ben Collins
August 6th, 2017 at 5:19 am
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Hi Miki,

Thanks for the prompt response. In response to your question, my voice lacks the “fullness” of the native speaker, as shown by comparing the recorded “packets”. In addition, I seem to slur the start of a word. Since I have only limited experience with the “Voice Recorder”, I am unsure what is being recorded: volume, frequency or a combination. In most cases, I have better consistency and luck in trying to match the native speaker’s “packet” if I speak in an exaggerated, high tone of voice. I also having difficulty matching the start of the “packet”. In many cases the “packet” starts very abruptly and I have to force the first character out of my throat to come close to the initial shape of the native speaker’s “packet”.

I welcome any ideas and suggestions.

Regards,

Ben

August 4th, 2017 at 2:08 pm
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Hi Ben,
Thank you for your comment!

There might be some differences between female speech and male one on suffixes, word choice, and so on, but I believe pronunciation for a specific word should be the same.
Could you tell me how do you feel your pronunciation is different from a native one?

Keep studying with JapanesePod101.com
Cheers,
Miki(美希)
Team JapanesePod101.com

Ben
August 1st, 2017 at 6:49 am
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Hi JP101,
I have been working with the “Voice Recorder” to try match my pronunciation with that of the “Native Speaker”. Since I am a male, I am curious as to how different my “recording” will always be relative to your female “Native Speaker” And, if so, should I try to modify my pronunciation? Thanks.