Kana samples

Anime posters

Many animes are named with only kanas, which offers a good practice opportunity; also, their posters have interesting fonts so reading them is a challenge. Sometimes, the English name of the anime is very different from the Japanese one, though. Give a try to the following ones:




ナナマルサンバツ
nana maru san batsu
Fastest Finger First




バブルガムクライシス
baburugamu kuraishisu
Bubblegum Crisis




バジリスク
bajirisuku
Basilisk






アオハライド
ao ha raido
Blue Spring Ride




となりのトトロ
tonari no totoro
My Neighbor Totoro




ハチミツとクローバー
hachimitsu to kuroobaa
Honey and Clover





ソードアート・オンライン
soodo aato onrain
Sword Art Online




ゴルゴ13
gorugo 13
Golgo 13




ナルト
naruto
Naruto





ココロコネコト
kokoro konekoto
Kokoro Connect




ラストエグザイル
rasuto eguzairu
Last Exile




ゴールダンタイム
gooruden taimu
Golden Time





アキラ
akira
Akira




サマーウォーズ
samaa woozu
Summer Wars




デスノート
desu nooto
Death Note





スペースアドベンチャーコブラ
supeesu adobenchaa kobura
Space Adventure Cobra




ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン
vaioretto evaagaaden
Violet Evergarden



Onomatopoeias

Japanese has hundreds of onomatopoeias, and people use them all the time! They come in three flavors. Like English, we have descriptions for sounds of living beings, like dogs and cats, or people snoring; and for sounds of nature, like wind, or thunder. Unlike English, there is a third class that describes feelings and emotions, like ‘blushing’ or ‘sparkling’ [nihongomaster.com, Japanese101, samuraimeetups].

Onomatopoeias are always written in kanas, sometimes in hiragana, sometimes in katakana. Some of the most common ones are:

sounds from animals and people

In English, dogs and cats go ‘woof’ and ‘meow’, while in Japanese they go ‘wan’ and ‘nyaa’. These are so common that kids call dogs ‘wan-chan’, and cats ‘nyan-ko’.


English
dog barking
cat meowing


romaji
wan-wan
nyaa-nyaa


hiragana
わんわん
にゃあにゃあ


katakana
ワンワン
ニャーニャー




haa! nyan-ko da!
haa! It’s a kitty cat!


sounds from nature

The most popular sound effect of all romantic mangas has to be ‘doki-doki’, the sound of a heart pounding; it shows up in romantic encounters, and during suspense scenes. ‘pon’ is like the English sound effect ‘tap’: a small drum goes ‘pon-pon’, tapping someone on the shoulder is ‘pon’, and so on.


English
heart beating
tap-tap


romaji
doki-doki
pon-pon


hiragana
どきどき
ぽんぽん


katakana
ドキドキ
ポンポン


Feelings

‘kira-kira’ is ‘to twinkle’, so ‘twinkle-twinkle little star’ in Japanese is ‘kira-kira boshi’.
We might be familiar with ‘pika-pika’, which means ‘to shine’, because it is the sound that Pikachu makes in the Pokemon series.


English
to twinkle
to shine


romaji
kira-kira
pika-pika


hiragana
きらきら
ぴかぴか


katakana
キラキラ
ピカピカ