Fun Learn Japanese by playing a game!


Okinawa.Org Staff
Japanese words can be difficult for some to memorize. While the sentence structure is necessary to know, basic vocabulary is just as important in order to minimally understand the gist of a conversation.

In Japan, there is a popular game that school-aged kids like to play—Shiritori.

The rules are straight-forward.

One player starts the game off by saying a Japanese word that doesn't end in the -n syllable. Example: gohan (food).

Though, you don't need two or more players. You can always practice this by yourself going back and forth!

The next word must begin with the final kana, or syllable, of the previous word.

For instance, if the word is hana (flower) the next word must follow with the na syllable such as nashi (pear) and so on, without repeating a word, and only using nouns.

When you play, the player that ends a word with the -n sound loses. Example: mikan (an orange).

There are also optional and advanced rules that can be used in shiritori as well. But for the purpose of expanding your vocabulary, sticking to the basics explained here is recommended.
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Okinawa.Org Staff
This is one of my favorite games in car rides for my daughter as it really keeps her distracted from the long wait to get places in this insane Okinawa traffic.

If you're not a multilingual family, you can also switch to "English" rules too. But, as you said, this is also a good way of learning Japanese all together!

Merely begin the next word with the last letter in the previous word so that your kids can learn to spell as well (orange → elephant → train → neighbor).

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