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North, East, South & West in Japanese

There's an English version of this game for "Left & Right" on the Genki English CD Vol. 1. If you found it easy to learn Japanese this way, your kids will love the CD version!

North, East, South & West

The points of the compass can be OK to learn in most languages, but they are really useful when learning Japanese as they are used in lots and lots of place names. Almost every train station it seems ( well, quite a lot of them!), has some point of the compass in its name and you'll hear them everywhere.

When you read the Japanese symbol for North, , on its own, it's read as "Ki ta". When you combine it with other characters to make place names it sometimes changes and becomes "Ho" or sometimes "Ho ku". You might have heard of the Northern Japanese island of , Hokkaido, or "North sea road". But don't worry about the changes too much, in the game above we'll introduce both ways and you can figure out which one to use by listening to how it's used in conversations.

The symbol for East is , which is read "Hi ga shi" or "Tou". You've probably heard of "tou kyou" ( Tokyo! ) which is "Eastern Capital".

is South and is read "Minami" or "Nan" ( you may have heard of "Nankin" in Chinese, it's the same "nan").

And finally is "Nishi" or "Sai" which means West. You might fly into "Kan sai" airport in Western Japan near Osaka.

Anyway the best way to learn is by having fun, so switch on your speakers have a try at the game above. If you can get to 12 you are doing very well!

Read the hints & tips I used to get fluent in Japanese.

Email me if you have any questions or comments,

Mata ne!
Be genki,


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