Thanks for visiting!  I’m Koyami.

A duel waits for no one, especially a person with a camera.

About me

I was born in Brooklyn. I was raised in Brooklyn, Concord, Oberlin, and Kyoto. Now I’m back in Brooklyn.

I grew up wanting to become Wonder Woman’s sidekick, a scientist, a web developer, a cameraman, a musician, an engineer, a classical scholar, a Latin-English Translator, a software programmer, and a Japanese-English translator. In that order.

Now I am a freelance Japanese-English translator. I also have experience in transcription, subtitling, and audio/video editing. At the end of the day, translation is the perfect job for me. It allows me to do a lot of things I like (reading Japanese, writing English, learning new things, helping people) at the same time.

My hobbies include reading, juggling, playing piano, volunteering, and card games. I especially like the Italian game Scopa and the Japanese card game Koi Koi.

About the site

I’ll start off by saying every opinion expressed on this blog is my own.

This blog is about translation and the Japanese language, but I might write about my other interests from time to time.

This site is not:

  • a how-to guide for learning languages.
  • a guide to “mastery” of anything.
  • a know-it-all “guru” blog.

This site is:

  •  a journal of mistakes I have made and how I learn from them.
  • a collection of tips/resources that have worked for me that I think are worth sharing.
  • filled with opinions about translation and language, specifically Japanese.
  • a record of significant turning points and realizations, both good and bad, in my journey to become a better person.
  • a place where I practice translation and writing in both English and Japanese.

I often switch between languages in my posts, since words come out of my head in whatever language they feel like. Those of you just starting (or not interested in learning) Japanese can simply mouse over the Japanese to see an English translation. Example: 日本語

How can I help you out?

Thanks for asking.  Just read a post or two.  If there’s something you like, feel free to leave a comment.  I really appreciate each one. And of course, you can always hire me.

If you’re looking for other ways to help out, take a look this page: Support The Site


  • sound

    Was there much else you were doing in the beginning? Or is passive listening and genki/srs pretty much all the immersion a beginner can do?

    • The long answer:
      In the beginning of my study, my immediate goal was to place into the Intermediate level class at my school. This was before I knew about SRS and AJATT. In the very beginning, I was just burning through Genki and doing flashcards at smart.fm, back when it was free. I was also watching shows with English subs, but that was something I was doing before I had any interest in studying Japanese.

      It wasn’t until a few months later that I started doing RTK. That’s when I started to incorporate reading native materials into my study. If you start with kana and kanji, it’ll be a lot easier to enjoy native stuff sooner, even if you can’t understand the grammar. That will come later. Almost automatically.

      The short answer:
      You can do whatever you want as long as it keeps you motivated. Consistency is the most important thing, especially in the beginning of your studies.

      Passive listening, Genki, and SRSing doesn’t sound like a lot, and that’s because it isn’t. That’s why it’s that much more important to do what you want to do instead of what you “have” to do. I’d actually recommend Tae Kim’s guide to Japanese Grammar over Genki. There is also a pre-made deck for that guide on Anki.

    • If you have further questions, or my reply is too much of a rambling mess, feel free to contact me for clarification.

      • sound

        Yeah, after getting kana down it’s been a lot more fun. Just being able to pronounce some of the sounds makes me pretty happen, even not understanding it. I started doing some stuff on lingq because it seemed fun. I think as I slowly add more things to my list of stuff “i can do” ill enjoy it more and more, being picky on what I feel like doing and don’t.

        Thanks for the response. I appreciate it

        • No problem. Glad I could help. Thanks for the comment!

  • Stu

    Hey Koyami,

    Nice blog, I came across your blog as you were following a Twitter account I run called ‘Lingua Dojo’. Thought I’d drop you a line as I write about language learning on my blog too. Also lived in Japan and I’m still learning Japanese and other languages, would be great to trade tips and tricks and so on! Great to Connect!


    • Hi Stu,

      Thanks for the comment!

      I’ve checked out your blog and added it to my blogroll. It’s always nice to meet a fellow language learner. I agree, it would be great to trade ideas. Im currently thinking of ideas for my next few posts, so hopefully there will be something of use.
      Nice to meet you!


  • Stu

    Thanks! Yeah likewise, the more of us out there the better to trade learning tips etc and get other people interested.

    What I’m looking at mostly at the moment is a way to create an immersive reading/learning experience for Japanese. Like for example, I read e-books in Spanish and you can get text-to-speech apps, so you can read and listen along with the text but was hoping to do the same for Japanese. I know amazon have the new ‘Immersion reading’ thing on Whispersync-for-voice but it’s only for english at the moment, it would be incredibly quick to get a language down if they had it for Japanese and the likes! In time I guess! :-/

    Anyway good to connect, will add you to my blogroll too 😉


  • Very interesting Your site is really cool. You chose quite difficult languages to learn. They are a little similar, aren’t they? I’ll be checking your blog for sure. Cheers from Poland 🙂

    • There is a bit of overlap between Korean and Japanese in terms of grammar and vocabulary, so I would say that they are a little similar. I’m focusing on Japanese at the moment, but I’ll continue the other languages once I graduate. Thanks for the comment, Mariola!

      • Ok 🙂 so wish you good luck with your language plans:-))

  • Congratulations on your 100th post! Just stumbled onto your blog and subscribed.

  • Dirk

    Hi Koyami,

    I can’t seem to find your email anywhere in this site. Anyways, quick resource suggestion for your Chinese Learning resource list: chinese.remembr.it/lessons. Free Mandarin Chinese Course. Thanks!

    • It’s great to see the FSI modules being updated like this. I’ll add this right away. Thanks for the comment!

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