18 - How to Google in Japanese

There are 3 steps to Googling in Japanese:

1) Stop crying. (ToT)

2) Install tools like Rikaisama (for Firefox), Rikaichan (for Firefox), Rikaikun (for Chrome), KanjiTomo (for... uh, Windows?), etc. These tools make it easy to look up Japanese words just by scrolling over them (KanjiTomo even works for images). If you need one for Safari, just ask on the community page (signup link), because everyone on there is way better at that stuff than me.

3) Understand how Japanese people type things in Google.

Let's say, for example, I came across these two disgustingly similar words in Japanese: 考える (kangaeru) and 思う (omou).

First, I do the Gaijin thing, and look them up on Jisho.org:

Looking at these two words, it seems like both pretty much just mean "to think."

So now I'm screwed. Might as well quit this whole "learning a language" madness.

Or, I could go Japanese on Google's A and write:

思う 考える 違い
omou kangaeru chigai
think think difference

Doing so, I get all these posts explaining the difference:

I know what you're thinking, Reading Japanese webpages? Ain't nobody got time for that!

Fasho. That's why you should just use one of those tools mentioned earlier to scroll over these pages like a boss.

For example, we could go to this mad-scary page:

Then we just scroll down to where it says 回答 (kaitou), "answer:"

(Specifically, we want this one, because it says ベストアンサー (besuto ansaa), "best answer.")

Maybe you don't understand any of that answer, but scrolling over it is worth a shot.

Take a deep breath. We're diving in...

We can see that this person lists two sentences:

watashi wa atsui to omotta.
I thought it was hot.
(Literally: "I + は + hot + と + thought")

watashi wa atsui to kangaeta.
I thought it was hot.
(Literally: "I + は + hot + と + thought")
(Note: No audio for this one, because you shouldn't memorize it.)

And now we're like, WTF, the same sentence?!

But, alas, we are fools:


futatsu narabete miru to,
kousha ga yaya hen na kanji ga suru koto
ga wakaru to omoimasu

If you look at these sentences side-by-side,
I think you'll agree that the latter sounds a little strange.

Depending on your language hacking skills, you might be able to understand that just from using the tools mentioned above:

並べる (naraberu) is "line up."
後者 (kousha) is "latter."
変な (hen na) is "strange."
感じ (kanji) is "feeling."

"2... line up... latter... strange... feeling."

If you line up these 2, the latter feels strange!

Or if you can't get through that, just tap out. Bookmark the page and ask a friend, teacher, or language exchange partner something.

Or ask the homies on the community page.

If you do get past this this first fight, though, we can move onto the boss fight...


kore wa,
"omou" ga dochira ka to ieba judouteki,
"kangaeru" ga noudouteki na nyuansu ga aru tame ni,
"atsui" to iu judouteki / kankakuteki na shinri naiyou to issho ni suru to,
iwakan wo kitasu kara da to omoimasu.

This is because kangaeru, as opposed to the more passive omou, has an active nuance, and it feels strange to use an active verb with a passive sense like "feeling heat."

(No audio for this beast... as I didn't think it was worth including in flashcards and all that stuff.)

That explanation is a little philosophical for me, but it does kind of make sense.

Then I look back at those Jisho.org examples and, Oh snap, 考える (kangaeru) says "think about," which is more "active" than just "think," in many cases.

There is, after all, a huge difference in these two sentences:

I thought it was hot.

I thought about how it was hot.

*******Time Out*******

Wow, this lesson just got out of hand. Is this way too difficult?

The points I wanted to make were simply as follows:

J-Google Hack #1 - When you Google stuff in Japanese, don't use complete sentences.

Here are some useful formulas:

A B 違い
A B chigai
= What's the difference between A and B?
(Note: This is also really good for the differences in meaning based on kanji. For example, both of these are atsui, and they both mean "hot:" 暑い / 熱い, but the former is used for "hot weather" and the second one is used for "hot things," like food.)

A 英語
A eigo
= What is A in English.
(Note: A can be a full sentence or common phrase here, too.)

A 読み方
A yomikata
= What is the reading for A?
(Note: This is really helpful for looking up Japanese words that have multiple readings. For example, you see a word like 故郷, "hometown," and Jisho.org will tell you that it's both furusato and kokyou. Searching for the reading in Japanese will reveal that it's usually read and pronounced kokyou [if you can manage to get through the all-Japanese expressions].)

A 意味
A imi
= What is the meaning for A?

J-Google Hack #2 - Don't get frustrated when you don't understand the all-Japanese pages.

At least you tried.

And if you try again, you'll be a little better than last time. If you keep at it, you'll be able to read those pages eventually.

I guess it all just comes down to faith and patience. Faith that you'll get there someday. Patience in understanding that that day might not be today. If you can master those two things, you can do anything. And people will like you more.

Have you ever heard someone say, "I love that guy. He's so impatient," or, "I love spending time with her. She doesn't believe in herself"...?

Doubtful, yo.

Sorry for the long, heavy lesson. I kind of get carried away when I'm talking about Japanese.

Bonus Phrases:

なに かんがえてる の?
What are you thinking?
Literally: what + are thinking + no?

ちがう と おもう。
I think you're wrong. // I think it's different.
Literally: is different + to + think

ちがい が ぜんぜん わかんない。
I don't understand the difference at all.
Literally: difference + ga + not at all + don't understand

かいとう を みて みよう。
Let's look at the answer.
Literally: answer + wo + look + let's look

ベストアンサー は だれ かな。
Who has the best answer? // I wonder who has the best answer.
Literally: best answer + wa + who + ka na

ほっかいどう は わたし の こきょう です。
I'm from Hokkaido. // I was born in Hokkaido.