146 - Facebook Friends

If you have been on the internet for tips to study Japanese, you are sure to have run into this one:

“Change the language on your computer, cell phone, or iOS to Japanese for full immersion!”

While I like the concept of this message of trying to push more Japanese into your environment, I don’t recommend this.

Imagine getting error messages, virus warnings, or even the dreaded blue screen of death in Japanese; which looks like this by the way:

In the panic of wondering what is wrong with your most prized possession, you have to bust out your dictionary and look up words you have never run into before. Like I said--not ideal.

However, changing the language on certain websites to Japanese is much less heart-stopping. For example: Facebook.

Facebook is likely something you use almost every day, and having it in Japanese will help you learn a few helpful words and phrases and keep you thinking in Japanese even if you are only scrolling through your teenage cousin’s 12th selfie of the day.

So let’s go through the basics.

First of all, when you turn the language to Japanese on Facebook, there are 2 options 日本語 (にほんご)and 日本語関西(にほんごかんさい).
Choose the first one. The second one is Japanese in the Kansai dialect, which is really cool, but it might mess you up a bit because it's not standard Japanese. Maybe one of these days I will teach you guys some sweet Kansai-ben.

OK, let’s look at your ホーム or Home. This is what it will look like if you want to post something:

The first thing you will see next to your name is:

いま なに してる?
What are you doing now?
Literally: "now + what + doing"

Note: This is a super casual style of writing, so they omit the い in している, which is very common in informal situations.

The three buttons on the top are as follows:

きんきょう を あっぷでーと
Update current status
Literally: "current status + を + update"

しゃしん・どうが を ついか
Add photos/video
Literally: "photo/video + を + add"

しゃしん あるばむ を さくせい
Create a photo album
Literally: "photo + album + を + create"

And when you are done writing you can hit the button that says 投稿する(とうこうする) or "submit."

If you click someone's profile, it will look like this:

The 5 buttons across starting from the left are:


きほん でーた
Basic Data (Information)




On the left side you can see the word 自己紹介(じこしょうかい) which means "self introduction."
Of course, I am sure you are already familiar with the layout of Facebook, so you know that under that is more information, like a person's job, school, hometown, etc.

Next, let's look at what someone's post on your newsfeed will look like:

Yup, my friend totally saw the sweet-ass Deadpool statue in Tokyo. I have pretty cool friends.

So the first thing you might notice is that people's names end in さん which you might be familiar with as the most general honorific to express respect. Everyone on Facebook becomes "nameさん" when you turn it into Japanese.

Under the picture there are four actions you can take:

いいね!Which means "Like." It literally translates to "Good!"




Under that it shows that 2 people liked the status and then 他6人(ほかろくにん)6 others also liked it.

Someone commented on the status and under their comment you can see いいね!again and 返事 (へんじ) which means "reply."

I am sure this is all pretty familiar to you, but remember these words in Japanese, as you will be seeing them a lot if you change your Facebook's language.

The last and probably most important thing we will go over is your notifications. Here are some of mine:

Notifications are called お知らせ(おしらせ) in Japanese.

Here are the translations of these common notifications:

Namesさん が あなた の しゃしん に こめんと しました。
Name commented on your photo.
Literally: "name + が + you + の + photo + に + commented"

Fun fact: This is actually my Great Aunt Mabel who comments on every one of my photos to tell me how pretty I am. Thanks Aunt Mabel, but do you have to comment on every picture? She is such a nice lady.

Nameさん、Nameさん、ほか よんじゅうよにん が あなた の しゃしん について 「いいね!」 と いっています
Name, Name, and 44 others "like" your photo
Literally:"Name + Name + 44 others + が + you + の + photo + about + "like" + saying"

きょうは Name さん の たんじょうび です! たんじょうび の めっせーじ を そうしん しよう!
Today is Name's birthday! Lets send a birthday message!
Literally: "today + は + Name + の + birthday + です + birthday + の + message + を + send + しよう"

Nameさん が あなた の とうこう を しぇあ しました。
Name shared your submission.
Literally: "Name + が + you + の + submission + を + share + しました"

There are tons more words and phrases you will run into if you turn your Facebook into Japanese, but I hope this was a good start for you if you are thinking about doing it. If you have a little patience and good dictionary, even Facebook can be a place where you can practice your Japanese skills!

I guess I used my own account as an example (which was probably a stupid idea), so I guess if you want to be my friend, I might not ignore you. No promises, though. I don’t know you people.

This lesson was written by Cassy L., a guest contributor: