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Have you only recently learned hiragana but need practice? Or perhaps, your hiragana is no problem, but you want to build your reading comprehension?

The only requirement is that you can read hiragana. Vocabulary and grammar will be defined and explained. If you are practicing kanji, however, you can view the “Kana and Kanji” tab for a slightly harder reader.

And now…

The following is a true story. Clay had just arrived in Japan (way back in 1998) and, while exploring the area, he got lost…

Slow Audio

Normal Audio

Cultural Note

Most people in Japan love to meet foreigners and practice English, but as you can tell from this story, some people are more reticent. As you may also get from the story, non-English speaking foreigners are often frustrated by the common Japanese belief that all foreigners speak English. Should you ever find yourself in a similar predicament as Clay, try asking younger people. They tend to speak more English and enjoy speaking to foreigners more.

Vocabulary

ある日 aru hi—one day

本屋 hon ya—bookstore

探す sagasu—to search for

こと koto—thing [makes preceding verb into a noun phrase]

にしました ni shimashita—decided upon [from にする ni suru (to decide upon)]

アパート apa-to—apartment

自転車 jitensha—bicycle

出かけました dekakemashita—left [from 出かける dekakeru (to leave)]

一時間後 ichijikan go—one hour later

帰るとき kaeru toki—time to return (home)

迷子 maigo—lost

駅のそば eki no soba—next to the station

聞きました kikimashita—asked

英語 eigo—English language

そう言って sou itte—saying that…

さっさと sassato—quickly

ぼく boku—I; me (male language)

日本語 nihongo—Japanese language

Kanji

On reading: pronunciation of the kanji taken or inspired by the original Chinese pronunciation

Kun reading: pronunciation based on the native Japanese sound of a word with the kanji’s core meaning

ニチ・ジツ・ひ・~び・~か

day; sun; Japan; counter for days

ホン・もと

book; origin

オク・や

roof; house

タン・さぐる・さがす

grope; search; look for

シャ・くるま

car

イチ・イツ・ひと~・ひとつ

one

ジ・とき

time; hour

カン・ケン・あいだ・ま・あい

interval; space

ケン・みる・みえる・みせる

see; idea; opinion

キ・かえる・かえす・おくる・とつぐ

homecoming; arrive at

エキ

station

エイ・はなぶさ

England; English; hero

ゴ・かたる・かたらう

word; speech; language

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