Learn Japanese

Hiragana

Hiragana is the first of the three Japanese alphabets to learn. Hiragana is a phonetic alphabet, where each character represents a syllable. Hiragana is generally the first of the alphabets used, and is used for many purposes. Until one broadens their knowledge of kanji, they can use hiragana in place of the kanji they don’t know. Additionally, hiragana is used as particles, and is also used as accompanying characters to verbs, called okurigana. There are also some words that do not have kanji and are thus written in hiragana alone.

‘n’ ‘w-’ ‘r-’ ‘y-‘ ‘m-‘ ‘h-‘ ‘n-‘ ‘t-‘ ‘s-‘ ‘k-‘

‘n’

‘wa’

‘ra’

‘ya’

‘ma’

‘ha’

‘na’

‘ta’

‘sa’

‘ka’

‘a’
‘a’

‘ri’

‘mi’

‘hi’

‘ni’

‘chi’

‘shi’

‘ki’

‘i’
‘i’

‘ru’

‘yu’

‘mu’

‘fu’

‘nu’

‘tsu’

‘su’

‘ku’

‘u’
‘u’

‘re’

‘me’

‘he’

‘ne’

‘te’

‘se’

‘ke’

‘e’
‘e’

‘wo’

‘ro’

‘yo’

‘mo’

‘ho’

‘no’

‘to’

‘so’

‘ko’

‘o’
‘o’
Extended Consonant Syllables
‘p-‘ ‘b-‘ ‘d-‘ ‘z-‘ ‘g-‘

‘pa’

‘ba’

‘da’

‘za’

‘ga’
‘-a’

‘pi’

‘bi’

‘ji’

‘ji’

‘gi’
‘-i’

‘pu’

‘bu’

‘dzu’

‘zu’

‘gu’
‘-u’

‘pe’

‘be’

‘de’

‘ze’

‘ge’
‘-e’

‘po’

‘bo’

‘do’

‘zo’

‘go’
‘-o’
Modified Syllables: Consonant combined with ‘ya,’ ‘yu,’ or ‘yo’
‘p-‘ ‘b-‘ ‘j-’ ‘g-‘ ‘r-‘ ‘m-‘ ‘h-‘ ‘n-‘ ‘ch-‘ ‘sh-‘ ‘k-‘
ぴゃ
‘pya’
びゃ
‘bya’
じゃ
‘jya’
ぎゃ
‘gya’
りゃ
‘rya’
みゃ
‘mya’
ひゃ
‘hya’
にゃ
‘nya’
ちゃ
‘cha’
しゃ
‘sha’
きゃ
‘kya’
‘-ya’
ぴゅ
‘pyu’
びゅ
‘byu’
じゅ
‘jyu’
ぎゅ
‘gyu’
りゅ
‘ryu’
みゅ
‘myu’
ひゅ
‘hyu’
にゅ
‘nyu’
ちゅ
‘chu’
しゅ
‘shu’
きゅ
‘kyu’
‘-yu’
ぴょ
‘pyo’
びょ
‘byo’
じょ
‘jyo’
ぎょ
‘gyo’
りょ
‘ryo’
みょ
‘myo’
ひょ
‘hyo’
にょ
‘nyo’
ちょ
‘cho’
しょ
‘sho’
きょ
‘kyo’
‘-yo’
Long Vowels
oo ee uu ii aa
おお ええ うう いい ああ

Double Consonants: kk, pp, tt, etc. are expressed in hiragana as a small “tsu” (っ) before the kana. For example, chotto meaning “a little” is written as ちょっと.

Katakana

Katakana is the second phonetic Japanese alphabet. Katakana, unlike hiragana is written with straight lines. Generally, katakana is used for writing words of foreign origin.

‘n’ ‘w-’ ‘r-’ ‘y-‘ ‘m-‘ ‘h-‘ ‘n-‘ ‘t-‘ ‘s-‘ ‘k-‘

‘n’

‘wa’

‘ra’

‘ya’

‘ma’

‘ha’

‘na’

‘ta’

‘sa’

‘ka’

‘a’
‘a’

‘ri’

‘mi’

‘hi’

‘ni’

‘chi’

‘shi’

‘ki’

‘i’
‘i’

‘ru’

‘yu’

‘mu’l

‘fu’

‘nu’

‘tsu’

‘su’

‘ku’

‘u’
‘u’

‘re’

‘me’

‘he’

‘ne’

‘te’

‘se’

‘ke’

‘e’
‘e’

‘wo’

‘ro’

‘yo’

‘mo’

‘ho’

‘no’

‘to’

‘so’

‘ko’

‘o’
‘o’
Extended Consonant Syllables
‘p-‘ ‘b-‘ ‘d-‘ ‘z-‘ ‘g-‘

‘pa’

‘ba’

‘da’

‘za’

‘ga’
‘-a’

‘pi’

‘bi’

‘ji’

‘ji’

‘gi’
‘-i’

‘pu’

‘bu’

‘dzu’

‘zu’

‘gu’
‘-u’

‘pe’

‘be’

‘de’

‘ze’

‘ge’
‘-e’

‘po’

‘bo’

‘do’

‘zo’

‘go’
‘-o’
Modified Syllables: Consonant combined with ‘ya,’ ‘yu,’ or ‘yo’
‘p-‘ ‘b-‘ ‘j-’ ‘g-‘ ‘r-‘ ‘m-‘ ‘h-‘ ‘n-‘ ‘ch-‘ ‘sh-‘ ‘k-‘
ピャ
‘pya’
ビャ
‘bya’
ジャ
‘jya’
ギャ
‘gya’
リャ
‘rya’
ミャ
‘mya’
ヒャ
‘hya’
ニャ
‘nya’
チャ
‘cha’
シャ
‘sha’
キャ
‘kya’
‘-ya’
ピュ
‘pyu’
ビュ
‘byu’
ジュ
‘jyu’
ギュ
‘gyu’
リュ
‘ryu’
ミュ
‘myu’
ヒュ
‘hyu’
ニュ
‘nyu’
チュ
‘chu’
シュ
‘shu’
キュ
‘kyu’
‘-yu’
ピョ
‘pyo’
ビョ
‘byo’
ジョ
‘jyo’
ギョ
‘gyo’
リョ
‘ryo’
ミョ
‘myo’
ヒョ
‘hyo’
ニョ
‘nyo’
チョ
‘cho’
ショ
‘sho’
キョ
‘kyo’
‘-yo’
Long Vowels
A long vowel that follows a consonant can be represented with a dash symbol after the kana. For example koohii, which is “coffee” in Japanese, would be written as コーヒー
oo ee uu ii aa
オー エー ウー イー アー

Double Consonants: kk, pp, tt, etc. are expressed in katakana as a small “tsu” (ッ) before the kana For example, shotto, meaning “shot” is written as ショット.

 There are small versions of “ア,” “イ,” “ウ,” “エ,” and “オ” that are “ァ,” “ィ,” “ゥ,” “ェ,” and “ォ.” These are used in conjunction with some other characters to create characters for sounds that were not originally covered by the original set of hiragana/katakana.

  • “ti” and “tu” sounds now commonly written as “ティ,” and “トゥ.”
  • “di” and “du” sounds, are now commonly written as “ディ,” and “ドゥ.”
  • Combining the small “ァ,” “ィ,” “ゥ,” “ェ,” and “ォ” with “フ,” gives character combinations “ファ,” “フィ,” “フェ,” and “フォ” for “fa,” “fi,” “fe,” and “fo” respectively.
  • “wi,” “we,” and “wo” are written as “ウィ,” “ウェ,” and “ウォ.”
  • As the “v-“sound did not originally exist, the “ヴ” character was created to provide that sound. Now, “va,” “vi,” “vu,” “ve,” and “vo” can be written as “ヴァ,” “ヴィ,” “ヴ,” “ヴェ,” and “ヴォ” respectively.
  • For “je,” “she,” and “che,” “ジェ,” “シェ,” and “チェ”are used for them respectively.

Other Alphabets

Kanji: Kanji are the characters that were imported from China. Each kanji character generally has two readings – an onnyomi or音読み (おんよみ), which is the original Chinese reading of the character, and the kunnyomi or 訓読み (くんよみ), which is the Japanese adaptation of the character. Something to note is that characters can have more than one 音読み or 訓読み or both.

Romaji: Romaji is the writing of Japanese phonetic characters as Roman letters. Sometimes it helps with pronunciation of words when learning Japanese.

Punctuation
The symbols for punctuation look slightly different in Japanese compared to English
English . ,
Japanese

Source: Japaneseonline

A taste of Calabria by Rosella Degori

When Rosella told us she was preparing a guide to Calabria I have to say we were a bit intrigued. This is what I love about Pathport: discovering the stories of our pathfinders through their travels and learn about places that otherwise would have never crossed my mind. We asked Rosella to tell us a bit more about her relationship with Italy’s most unknown region.

 

Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Calabria? 

I was born and raised in Oppido Mamertina, a little village on Calabria’s Southern tip, set between the Aspromonte National Park and the Tyrrhenian sea (you can basically go sunbathe at the beach and hike in the mountains on the same day). Although quite unknown, it has an important archaeological site, Oppido Vecchia, which, in the past, attracted a lot of archaeologists from all over the world. I would say my ties with Calabria are quite strong – I go and visit quite frequently, not only because my family lives there, but because I still consider this place my actual home. It’s where I recharge my batteries and enjoy life at a slow pace, I binge on genuine food and, most importantly, I get to see blue sky (the most powerful remedy to stress, in my opinion).

Rosella

How would you explain that this part of Italy hasn’t been overrun by tourists yet?

It’s quite simple: unlike any other regions (take Puglia, Sicily, Campania, just to name a few in Southern Italy) Calabria doesn’t have a good marketing strategy: its natural treasures and tourist attractions aren’t valued enough and local admins have quite a sluggish attitude when it comes to providing an adequate experience to travellers and tourists.

If you had to point out one or 2 characteristics of this region, what would those be? What is different here?

Calabria can be rough and wild, sometimes – a place of primordial beauty and deep contradictions. Life here is still very slow, especially in the little decadent villages that still retain a kind of charm and authenticity that no longer exist elsewhere. All in all I would say, beautiful and contradictory.

Rosella’s dad 
Rosella’s mom

What would a perfect day here look like for you, from morning til night?

It’d begin with my favourite ritual: breakfast with cappuccino and croissant at one of the quaint bars scattered throughout my little town, Oppido, or the surrounding area. Then, off to the mountain for a refreshing walk in nature before enjoying a traditional lunch involving pasta and green beans (a typical dish we call ‘fagiolini’) deep-fried courgette flowers, fresh bread with nduja and a taste of deliesi – a super delicious dessert with vanilla sponge and cream. After this super ‘light’ meal, it’s time for another stroll – at the beach, perhaps. Where to? Tropea? Scilla? Chianalea? Bagnara? Ah, decisions decisions! At night, dinner alfresco by the sea (rigorously fish) and then a catch-up with friends over a good gelato. It’s basically just about enjoying those simple things you’ll never find in a place like London.

And let’s not forget food! The is Italy after all. Any regional specialities people should try when going there?

Where to begin? Calabria is such a huge region and each province has its own specialties. The common thing, however, is that Calabrian dishes are quite simple and ‘poor’, as they all come from a peasant cookery tradition. Anyway, I would recommend: nduja, a very spicy spread you can enjoy with bread, pasta, pizza, eggs, almost anything basically (well, not desserts, for example); pasta and green beans (fagiolini), a very poor yet extremely tasty dish; pitta, a two layered pizza filled with tomato, mozzarella, red pepper, anchovy, endive and black olives; tartufo di pizzo, a chocolate and hazelnut-flavoured gelato filled with melted chocolate, deliesi, a dessert made of two layers of vanilla sponge filled with white custard cream; and then, pignolata, torrone, soppressata, caciocavallo, dried cod, figs, licorice, olive oil and red wine galore (Cirò rosso, for example).

Rosella’s guide to Calabria

Source: http://www.pathport.store/

How a Wildlife Photographer Captured a Healthy Ecosystem

Paul Nicklen discusses the importance of living “here and now” to protect the planet

The islands were once densely populated with endemic flora and fauna, but colonization over the years wiped out indigenous land mammals and most species original to the islands. European settlers introduced Cheviot sheep to the islands in the mid-1800s, and hunted the wolf-like warrahinto extinction.

Today, while harboring nearly 3,000 people, the islands are still extremely biodiverse. For every permanent resident, there are 167 sheep. But about 65 species of birds—including albatrosses, caracaras, and penguins—can also be found on the islands, along with dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, and elephant seals in the surrounding ecosystem. The Falklands are often held up as a lesson in conservation, and how society and nature can peacefully coexist.

For the February 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine, wildlife photographer Paul Nicklen traveled to the Falkland Islands to document this diverse ecosystem. National Geographic caught up with Nicklen, whose video of a starving polar bear wrenched thousands of hearts in December, to talk about his experiences in this remote habitat.

How did you get the idea for this assignment?

I’m always going to Antarctica, and [the Falklands] seems to be one of the major stopping grounds on the way. It always kind of frustrated me that we were just bypassing this place. We would get a glimpse of huge albatross colonies and an underwater world that was rich and diverse.

 There seems to be this balance of people, sheep, agriculture, fishing, and really abundant wildlife and nature. I really wanted to do a cross-section of this ecosystem that seemed so rich.

Can you describe your experience at Steeple Jason?

It’s a beautiful island. It’s long and narrow, four miles by one mile. Basically, you have two main peaks and a causeway in the middle, where all the penguins go and where the sea lions intercept them. It’s where the dolphins come in to play. On the long, tussock grass slopes are nesting some 200,000 [pairs of] black-browed albatross and tens of thousands of Gentoo penguins and rockhopper penguins.

The more remote and untouched by man the island, the richer they were.

AFTER YEARS OF WAR, NATURE IS FLOURISHING ON THESE TINY ISLANDS In the Falkland Islands, the resiliency of nature is everywhere.

Do you have a favorite photo from this assignment?

I think the lead image. I was sitting there in awe, photographing, with beautiful light, storms in the distance, looking at tens of thousands of perfectly spaced black-browed albatrosses on their home-made nests and their partners were soaring through the air. And this bird with a seven, eight-foot wingspan comes in, floating behind me on the wind and taps me on the back of the head as it soars over me. And that’s the one that you see, the lead image of the wings framing the colony.

I felt that image summarizes a place that wouldn’t be protected [without the action of a few conservationists]. Animals there are not used to human disturbance and seemed very relaxed around me. They let me into their world. I got to witness this abundance and this symphony of life scratching out a living. Realizing that it’s not just doing well but it’s thriving, because of protection.

It was like being in the middle of a really intense scientific experiment. On islands that had thousands of sheep I would find almost no nesting habitats, birds, or native animals. At another place, where one person invested in wild habitats, protected it, and got rid of all the sheep and [invasive] rats, we watched [the wildlife] explode. I realized how resilient nature is, how badly it wants to come back.

Four billion years of evolutionary process created these masterpieces in nature. It’s just amazing.

Are you optimistic for the future of the Falkland Islands?

You can protect a place like Steeple Jason and have the wildlife thrive and if there’s no fishing around it, then the marine ecosystem thrives, but you think of one massive oil spill and you realize that that stuff can be destroyed. We have tens of thousands of birds flying offshore feeding, and ultimately, when you think about the plastics coming down on the ocean currents you realize no place is ultimately safe. You realize how perfect and beautiful it is but also, still, how vulnerable it is with other forces outside of the islands themselves.

It felt like I was going back to my childhood of being immersed in wild habitat, just to be alone on this island with nature like that.

I’ve always believed that Heaven is here and now. We’re so busy in our lives with our phones and computers and we’re dreaming of an afterlife of where we’re going to go next, but we are living in Heaven. It doesn’t get any better than that—this is it for me. And we’re killing it.

But being [in the Falklands] really lifted my spirits. It gave me hope that places will recover if we can just get out of the way.

This interview was edited for length and clarity. It has been updated with a few small changes to better clarify the location of predators and number of birds on the islands.

 

Source: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/