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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

  • Hiragana Only
  • Kana and Kanji
  • Japanese and english

あるひ、くれいさん は ほんや を さがす こと に しました。

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あぱーと から じてんしゃ で でかけました。いちじかんご、ほんや を みつけました が、かえる とき に まいご に なりました。あぱーと は、えき の そば です。

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「すみません、えき は、どこ です か?」くれいさん は、ある 
おばあさん に ききました。

「ごめんなさい!えいご は わかりません。」

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おばあさん は、そういって さっさと いってしまいました。

「でも、ぼく、にほんご で ききました・・・。」

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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.


  • 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


    day; sun; Japan; counter for days


    book; origin


    roof; house


    grope; search; look for






    time; hour


    interval; space


    see; idea; opinion


    homecoming; arrive at




    England; English; hero


    word; speech; language

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