How to TikTok in Japanese

I’m catching up with my Japan Times articles. I had an article about Japanese TikTok accounts at the end of May: “Immerse yourself in the creativity and language of Japanese TikTok accounts.”

Here’s my TikTok translation of the article:


My review of some of the best Japanese TikTok creators ##japanesestudy ##日本語勉強 ##japanese ##日本語

♬ Spongebob – Dante9k

There are so many other great TikTok accounts that I couldn’t fit in the article. I’m enjoying the platform way more than I should. Here are a bunch of Japanese creators that I’m watching regularly, some better for Japanese study than others:

@omuraisupuro has me convinced that I will someday make a respectable omuraisu:


@kyabetu1212 への返信 火力は、関係あるのか検証します🥚 small #omelet #さん太のオムライス教室 #eggchallenge

♬ Athletic tune “heaven and hell” – Shinonome

@tokuiyoshimi seems to be rehabilitating his image on TikTok after admitting to inappropriate tax sheltering. He mostly cooks, has cute cats, and eats out at fancy restaurants.



♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 徳井義実

@syakanani.riisan are a set of twins (?) who are active on YouTube. They’re pretty funny trolls and do skits/trending videos.


@YOLO HOUSE さんの動画を#リミックス #HAHAHA

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 社会人ですけど何か?

@dpgolf is a virtual golf bar in Hiroshima. The staff make funny videos, some of which are good Japanese study.


#dpgolf #言う事一緒やる事逆#言う事一緒#ゴルフ好きと繋がりたい #オススメに乗りたい #運営さん大好き #広島 #営業後のお遊び

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – FREVIA

@taketv1000 is a guy who drives electric vehicles in Japan. Pretty interesting look at how different electric vehicles are in Japan!


#Honda #電気自動車 #ev #車好き #Honda eーーー

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – TakeTV100

@sumibi_club is a viral charcoal griller who chows down on delicious looking food.


Japanese beef 黒毛和牛 #bbq #wagyu

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 炭火倶楽部/Sumibi_Club

@shingunkun is a voice actor who made a super viral take on the “Nyan Ichi Ni San” dance.


たまにはこういうのもアリかなって。細マッチョになりたいね。 #細マッチョ #nya #めっちゃライトの調節しまくった #汗だく

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – しんぐん

@aaa_tsushi_ is a Fukuoka-based video artist who shows some of his tricks on TikTok.


舞いに舞う桜吹雪🌸#CapCutに春が来た #tiktokに春が来た #桜 #TikTok教室 #ためになるtiktok

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – あああつし

@gomihiroisamurai are a duo who go around picking up trash in Tokyo. In this video they’re using the viral song なにをやってもあかんわ. They generally have a pretty good selection of Japanese songs as well.


ホントに予想外でした😅 #ゴミ拾い侍 #ゴミ拾い #日常をtikる #pickuptrash

♬ なにをやってもあかんわ (WM night out mix) – 岡崎体育

@chikushowtime are a group of guys who, in their own description, 地元でバスケっぽいことしてます (we play something basketball-ish in the countryside)


答えなさい #好きにしてください #各々で考えて欲しい #狂気の沙汰 #多分理解できない #したいとも思わない #忙しい #悔しい #もうなんでもあり #モハメド有無 #情報量のスクランブル交差点 #生命保険 #世界平和 #国際連合 #バスケ #ストリートバスケ #バスケあるある #畜生タイム

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 畜生タイム【公式】

@hirokisan79 duets animals and other random sounds. Very entertaining.


@holaasoylilo さんと一緒に #デュエット 元動画は音源ボタンから #おうちで過ごし隊 #Dog #song #犬 #歌うま なんて美声な👏

♬ sonido original – Lilo 🐶

@deliva.offigaycial is a gay comedian. I’m not sure if I get his schtick, but he’s often collaborating with other TikTok stars.


キムタ……ホリちゃんのイケボが素敵過ぎなの♪❤️てかケイリーちゃんはゲイリーちゃんなんじゃなくて!?🔥 #ゲイジャナイ #ホリバズTV #生脚 #おバズりなさい

♬ Gayjanai – DELIVA

@otacraft is an Okinawa-based TikToker who features his grandma.


明日使える!沖縄方言講座⑤ #tiktok教室 #tiktok文化教室 #沖縄

♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 🌺南の島のおばーと孫🏝

@gyamashita_tatsuro is a cover musician who sings some Japanese classics. Check out this cover of Uchiyamada Hiroshi and the Cool Five.



♬ オリジナル楽曲 – 偽ゃま下達郎 by こーすけ

@yoshi30244781481 is a comedian who’s gone viral for his comparisons of Japanese and Korean.



♬ SugarCrash! – ElyOtto

And I’d say there is one viral song worth knowing.

真夜中のドア by Miki Matsubara went viral last December when Gen Zers started filming their Boomer parents recognizing the song.


she didn’t have to go that hard 😭🤣 ##japanese ##japan ##fyp ##asian ##おすすめ

♬ 真夜中のドア/Stay With Me – Miki Matsubara

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E07 – Jason Coskrey – Immersion, Sports Writing in Japan

Jason Coskrey is a sports writer for The Japan Times. He previously worked at the Birmingham Post Herald and the Marietta Daily Journal before moving to Japan in 2007. We spoke about learning Japanese (and how to do sports writing) through immersion.

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E06 – Performative Adjectives and 系

Adjectives in Japanese are not always what they appear to be! I think part of this is because they function as what I call “performative adjectives.” One of my sixth-grade students helped me finally understand what かわいそう meant. And in Japanese I discuss 系 and how it helped me explain myself.

At the top of the pod I took a minute to thank a few folks for helping me with background for my article for The Japan Times about Jim Breen’s JMDict. That article is here.

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E05 – Paul Snowden – Higher Education Jobs in Japan, The Green Goddess

Paul Snowden worked for over 40 years in universities in Japan. He taught at Tsukuba University, took a tenure faculty position at Waseda University, later served as the Dean of the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda, and most recently was Vice-President of Kyorin University. He is also one of the three editors-in-chief of the Fifth Edition of Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary, affectionately known as the Green Goddess.

  • Studying Japanese
    • Experience studying other languages
    • Immersion and translation at Tsukuba
    • Using new idioms
  • Arriving in Japan by train via Russia
  • When the language started to click
  • Higher Education in Japan
    • Access to tenure for foreigners in Japan
    • Being determined to communicate in Japanese with colleagues
  •  Waseda School of International Liberal Studies
    • Teaching in a multilingual classroom
    • Reading strategies for foreign languages
  •  The Green Goddess – Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary
    • Dictionary of English Collocations (英和活用大辞典)
    • Fourth Edition
    • Roman alphabet order vs kana order 
    • Revision process
    • “Reverse authenticity”
    • Online version and electronic dictionaries
    • Adding new entries and updating existing entries
    • COVID-19 and Language
    • New paper edition?
  • Karaoke Songs

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E04 – Tourist Mindset and ノーダメージ

You don’t have to go very far to be a tourist, and looking at the world with that mindset can also be helpful for language study. In this week’s episode, I reminisce about when my parents visited Tokyo and talk about ノーダメージクリア (nōdamēji kuria, completing games without taking any damage).

The book I mention in the episode is Sumiko Enbutsu’s “A Flower Lover’s Guide to Tokyo: 40 Walks for All Seasons.”

Seeing the Future in Japanese

I was in The Japan Times with one of my favorite Bilingual page articles I’ve ever written: “Focus on sentence endings to ‘see the future’ in Japanese.”

This is another product of my now daily NHK habit. I’ve been thinking a lot about listening, which is one of the most tenuous of all language skills. Sometimes the words just slip right through my ears like sand through fingers, and other times I’m able to clearly understand every sentence. It takes a certain level of attention—you can’t zone out—but try too hard and you’ll get caught up on each individual word and start to miss the overall sense of things.

I started to notice that I could anticipate sentence endings and that if I could kind of channel my attention to the content in the core of the sentence, it was easier for me to understand what was being said.

There are a couple of types of sentences that I wasn’t able to cover in the article. The first is the Xです (X desu) sentences, where X is a noun that helps convey expectations or beliefs. The two that are coming to mind now are 見通し (mitooshi, forecast/outlook) and 考え (kangae, belief).

Here’s an example that I have noted:

政府は、 感染を抑え込みたい考えです (Seifu wa kansen o osaekomitai kangae desu, The government would like to suppress the spread [of COVID-19]).

I have to believe that the core part of this sentence (感染を抑え込みたい) was longer in the actual example and that I simplified it as I prepared to write about it. You could use this construction to do a lot of additional work, specifically by noting how the government plans to prevent the spread. It would be easy enough to do this by adding a clause to the front of this “X.” It could get as long and detailed as you need it to be.

The other expression that I wasn’t able to mention was what I’ve previously called “appear-ative.” (Please forgive me for calling it a “tense” in the past; I will always carry this shame, lol.)

You can take these phrases I mentioned:

Xが焦点となります (shōten to narimasu, will be a focus)
Xが課題となります (kadai to narimasu, will be a topic)

And easily create a slightly different impression by turning them into this:

Xが焦点となりそうです (shōten to narisō desu, appears likely to be a focus)
Xが課題となりそうです (kadai to narisō desu, appears likely to be a topic)

Once you start listening for some of these frequently encountered sentence-ending phrases, you’ll find them everywhere. They can be as simple as a single noun and as complex as longer phrases like these:

影響を与える (eikyō o ataeru, will influence/effect)
影響を与えそうです (eikyō o ataesō desu, appears likely to influence/effect)

Have you noticed any others?

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E03 – Jenn O’Donnell – Mindful Study, Translating/Localizing, Job Hunting in Japan

Jenn O’Donnell is a Japanese to English translator and project manager based in Osaka. By day she works as a Localization Director for a video game company and by night she blogs about translation on J-ENTranslations and studying Japanese on Japanese Talk Online. She also hosts the podcast Recommendations from My Otaku Spouse.

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E01 – Mel Ok – JET Program, Translation, Japanese Whisky

Mel Ok is a translator and project manager based in Tottori Prefecture. We talked about Japanese study, the JET Program, translation, and Japanese whisky:

How to Japanese Podcast – S02E00 – Season 2 Trailer

お待たせしました! It took me longer than I hoped, but the How to Japanese Podcast is back. I’m interviewing another 10 people who have studied Japanese and done work in Japan. The interviews have run long, so I’ll be separating the interviews from my content and posting 20 episodes over the next few months. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

And if you haven’t listened to Season 1, go ahead and give those episodes a listen.