Got questions about Japan, Korea, Buddhism or anything related? I cant always guarantee the answer you are looking for, but I do my best to respond within 48 hours.

Feel free to leave a comment or question here. Your question just might be the next blog post subject! :-)

31 Responses to Questions?

  1. Caleb says:

    Hello, I have a question regarding N2. I understand that N2 is 105 minutes and consists of Language Knowledge and Reading Comprehension. How would you suggest I divide my time between the two. I just took the Kanzen Master Reading Comprehension mock exam and got 19/21 but I spent 75 minutes, leaving me 30 minutes to do the Language Knowledge questions. You reckon that is enough?


  2. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi Caleb and welcome to the JLR. I can’t say for sure whether that is enough time or not. I wasn’t paying attention too well to time and I barely had time for the last two articles.

    The reading section was definitely longer than expected so I’d say really invest the time to read fast and get the gist of it on the first/second pass.

    Hope that helps!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Hi, not a question but a comment. I just returned from Tokyo with my 19 year old daughter (we live in Australia) the other day; I try to go every year as I’m studying the language for my degree and have fallen in love with Japan. We love going to Shibuya; we go to Book-Off and there’s a katsu place we like there (and we avoid 109 like the plague!) but I would have loved knowing about the NHK studio with the huge Domo thingy! You go all over the place which is fantastic, which is why I love reading gaijin in Japan blogs, there’s always something interesting to visit other than the norm.
    Anyway, I’m rambling but your blog is great and very interesting reading. btw, I had Korea Town bookmarked and now I’m sorry I didn’t go! My daughter would have loved the K-Pop Hall of Fame! :) and I would have loved the Korean food.

    Sydney, Australia

  4. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi Jennifer and welcome! Glad you found it useful, both NHK and Shin Okubo. I really enjoy putting up things online that may be useful later to someone. Never know who might need it. :-)

    All the best,

  5. Hi Doug,

    Fantastic blog, as always! I had a couple of quick questions if you don’t mind?

    1. On a post you mentioned taking the five precepts for the Buddha’s birthday, I note that Buddhist Monkks are not supposed to eat after lunchtime (although may have a weak broth) – could you elaborate on this please/

    2. I had asked you once before about language learning – I am trying to learn Arabic and have been looking to sign up for Arabicpod101 and just wondered if you found the Japanese one of value?


    3. In the initial stages of learning Japanese, how long did you spend on it each day? Did you even study it each day?

    Many thanks,


    Ps apologies if you’ve answered these questions elsewhere

  6. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi Hussein and welcome!

    1) This site does a good job of explaining it I think:

    2) Hm, never tried Arabicpod101, but I like both JapanesePod101 and KoreanPod101 and yes they were quite helpful up to a point. Once you get into more advanced stuff, you may find less material, but by that point, you should be starting with native material anyway.

    3) Hm, I maybe spent enough time to listen to one or two JPod101 lessons on my iPod (10-15 minutes each), so maybe 30 minutes a day. What matters is long-term application rather than how much you accomplish in a day.

    Best of luck!

  7. Dave says:

    Thanks for your blog. I’ve learned a lot.
    Do you happen to know if there are any Zen schools or groups here in Okinawa?
    So far, the only ones Ive found are in the mainland.
    By the way, Ive also tangled with the JLPT. I took it once and didnt pass. But I’ll be ready next December.

  8. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi Dave and welcome to the JLR!

    I spent some time poking around this weekend and found that there are indeed Zen temples in Okinawa, both Soto (曹洞宗) and Rinzai (臨済宗), though options for foreigners appear to be somewhat limited. For example, for Rinzai Zen there is this temple near Shuri Castle as well as this place in Naha, but I there doesn’t appear to be a website, so it may be very local. For Soto Zen, I couldn’t really find anything. I guess for historical reasons, it never really had much of a presence there. Not sure.

    I hope this helps. If you know a little Japanese, look up either sect above (Japanese don’t usually call it “zen”, they call it by the particular sect), plus 沖縄. You might be able to find an address close to where you are.

    Good luck!

  9. JH says:

    Just out of curiousity. How come you have no interest in China? How come your a Japanophie/Koreaphile but not a Sinophile? Hahaha. I mean most of Korea and Japan has been greatly influenced by China for most of their history don’t you think? I’m just curious. Do you have anything against the Chinese? :S

  10. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hello JH and welcome to the JKLLR. It’s an interesting question. If you look around you’ll see that I have posted on Chinese related topics over the past three years and even dedicated the Buddhists’ Field Manual to a certain Taiwanese monk whom I greatly admire. I also studied Mandarin in high school and my best friend growing up was Chinese-American. So no, no grudges I hope. :-)

    But with that said, it’s true that China is not a focus of the blog. Sometimes I have wondered about it myself. Thinking back on the evolution of this blog and its previous versions I guess it’s kind of a long story. The short answer is that the original blog started on a much smaller, narrower topic and gradually expanded to include subjects immediately related to it. Hence its present form.

    But also, I think I am fascinated with how China’s neighbors absorbed Chinese culture but also giving it each their own unique spin. Hence my interest in Japan, Korea and to a lesser degree Okinawa/Ryukyu culture.

    Hope that helps.

  11. cyleodonnell says:

    I have a piece of fabric that I collected when I was in Korea that has a poem on it. It’s from the Hangul and it would be really great to know what it says. It was given to me by a monk outside the Seoraksan Temple and I haven’t been able to get it translated. Would that be something you could do for me? If so, I will send you the photos. Or, if you’re not comfortable with that, I could post them on my blog, give you the address, and you could just feel free to comment there. Thanks a lot.

  12. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi cyleodonnel and welcome. Please bear in mind that I have just started learning Korean so I may not be the best source. However you might ask the folks at about it. They are native speakers and highly accessible.

    Good luck and sorry I can’t be of more help.

  13. cyleodonnell says:

    Great advice. Thanks a lot. I left them a message already. The photos, if you’re interested, can be found here:

  14. J. Wesley says:

    I’m currently learning Korean. I stumbled upon your site, and eventually ended up at the AJATT website. I read about MCD, and it looked interesting, but at the same time complex. Do you have and advice on the MCD technique. I’m wanting to start memorizing sentences, perhaps even the 10K goal, but the MCD sounds intriguing. Yet, I’m not really sure how to use it with Korean. Please share your thoughts.



  15. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi cyleodonnell,

    I did take a look and yeah it was way out of my league. ;-)

  16. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi J. Wesley and welcome,

    To be honest I don’t know much about MCD’s but having taken a look I personally will just stay with sentence-based flashcards. It’s a tried and true method and feels less contrived and something I can apply at any level.

    Plus after only doing sentences for a couple of months I can already see improvement in myself. Not enough to really reach a tipping point but enough to validate the technique.

    If you haven’t already done so, I’d recommend for other Korean language resources.

    Best of luck!

  17. Vivian says:

    Is 人生は続く mean life goes on?

  18. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi Vivian and welcome. To be honest, I don’t know that one. I understand what means literally:

    人生 = a person’s life
    続く = to continue

    But I don’t know if that would be used in the same way that “life goes on” does.

    If you’re looking for something to mean “life goes on”, you’re probably better off investigating “yojijukugo”, which are 4-character phrases popular in Japanese and Chinese culture. There’s a yojijukugo for just about every situation you can imagine. Good luck.

  19. Silvia says:

    I have a question about keigo. Suppose I’m talking to someone and I ask if he has ever been to a certain theme park. For this I would use sonkeigo.
    But if I want to explain to him what kind of theme park it is, would I have to use just desu? “[...] paaku desu”.

  20. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi Silvia and welcome. As far as I understand it, keigo is like a fine spice: don’t use it too much when cooking.

    So in most cases, using ‘desu’ is more than enough.

    When talking to your boss or your friends parents that you’ve just met, a little keigo is fine though, but don’t overdo it.

    Good luck!

  21. Hi Doug,

    Really enjoying the blog as always, and the turn it seems to have taken. Great work.

    Just a couple of questions, if you have time:

    You are now learning Latin as an aside to help your daughter, do you ever find learning more than one language is quite confusing, or do you think that by learning a few they compliment each other?

    Also, do you think it’s easier to learn more than one that are the same or similar, or should they be wholly different eg Japanese and Latin.

    Finally, could or should someone learn two languages, in your opinion, from the outset, or should they be grounded in one before moving to the other, especially if they are similar, Italian and Romanian for example? A lot of people say get grounded in one before moving on, but when I think back to high school, in first year, many were thrown in to learning French and a n other at the same time. So I’m a bit confused on the issue!

    All help gratefully appreciated =)


  22. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi AlScotlandi,

    Good to hear from you. I’ve been thinking about your questions and to be honest I tend to struggle with them too.

    So far I haven’t found studying multiple languages confusing (thanks to timeboxing and compartmentalizing my time) so much as draining. Learning a language is a long-term investment so if you study two or three, you can only invest so much time in each. It’s a little frustrating and I often thjnk i might quit one or the other.

    On the other hand I keep doing it because I feel like if I don’t, I’ll kick myself later. I saw some Mark Twain quote recently how if you try now, you’ll regret it 20 years later.

    In any case, because I studied Japanese years before I started Korean, they don’t overlap much, which is good. I don’t have to constantly learn grammar for Japsnese so I can focus on Korean grammar for example. That they are similar helps too.

    Latin is still something I only make a little progress here and there. There’s just only so much time in the day. ;-)

    The fact that it’s different than Japanese and Korean doesn’t help, but it is similar to English and has no conversation demands does help though. :-)

    Not thr best answer but hope it helps.

  23. Hey Doug,

    I hope you’re doing really well.

    I’m starting up a language blog of my own in regards to learning Japanese and English and I want to have one day of the week dedicated to interviews with owners of language blogs. Considering you were one of my first, it would be a real honour for me to interview you. I’d ask you some general questions about your language learning history, Japanese, Buddhism and the like. Maybe 15-20 all up.

    I look forward to hearing back from you when you have the time.


  24. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi Jordan I followed up by email earlier today.

    I also do weddings and bar mitzvahs too. Just kidding. ;-p

  25. Hey Doug,
    Didn’t seem to get an e-mail, sorry. Did I enter the right e-mail into the contact form?

  26. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hello, looks like you had put in a different email instead (ends in “studio”), so I resent my email to the right address. Thanks!

  27. Hi Doug! Hopefully, you had wonderful weekend! Enjoying your posts! My question: Would you accept my invitation to Community Blog Day on July 21st! Please check out the my link below and share with your dear Readers and fellow Bloggers!

    Have a great week!

  28. エヴェリン says:

    Soon I will be staying in 東京, Bunkyo ku precisely. There are still many things that I don’t know, like about the place, and on the railway system in Japan, for it’s very different from my country インドネシア. I’m sure you understand it. This month I was already gone to 日本 for a vacation for a week, but I knew that was not enough, because while on vacation, mostly just to the playground, like Disney Sea, Disney Land and Universal Studios in 大阪. Actually I don’t like the tour schedule like that, it seems I was wrong to choose a schedule.:( I prefer to museums and historic places. So basically I’m still worried and confused, what about later when I lived there to learn 日本語. I hope you can explain a little bit at least to me. And, if I may know, are you a 日本人? Anyway, ご協力いただきありがとうございます。

  29. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hi エヴェリン and welcome. I am not Japanese, I am American.

    I would like to help, but do you have a specific question you want to ask? I am not sure what help you need.


  30. エヴェリン says:

    Thanks you’ve been trying to answer. I mean, how the city of Tokyo and everything in it, something like that. Once again, thank you.

  31. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Ha ha ha, sorry misread your last comment. Glad I can help. Take it easy. :)

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