Assistant Professor of linguistics, Doshisha University

About me

My name

My first name is quite simple: "Yu". In English, you can pronounce it just like the second person pronoun "you" [ˈju] or [ˈjʉ] (but it shouldn't be reduced as in [jə]). --- So you don't really have to remember my name. You could just say "Hey, Yu/you!"

In Japanese, it is pronounced [jɯ̂ː], or more accurately something like [jíɯ̀] (pitch accent on the first mora, making it sound like HL). The Japanese "high back vowel" is usually realized as something like [ɯ], the close back unrounded vowel in IPA terms. (But it's quite centralized and produced with compressed lip rounding. So it actually sounds somewhat different from the canonical IPA [ɯ]). It becomes fronted when it is adjacent to a coronal or palatal sound. So the quality of the first half of the vowel in my name is usually close to [i].

My last name, Tanaka, is one of the most common Japanese surnames, which is pronounced something like [t̪àn̪ák̠á] in Japanese. (The two coronals are usually dental and the /k/ can be pretty back, sometimes even sounding like uvular [q], at least in my personal dialect. The word is unaccented, making the tonal pattern LHH, although H isn't that high.) It would be something like [tʰəˈnɑkə] in North American English.

To sum,

  • In Japanese: [t̪àn̪ák̠á jíɯ̀], [t̪àn̪ák̠á jɯ̂ː], etc.
  • In English: [ˈju tʰəˈnɑkə], [ˈjʉ tʰəˈnɑkə], etc.

and I am happy with any one of them.

Language and educational background

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Nagoya, Japan. I also lived in Tokyo for about eight years. I speak Nagoya Japanese (native) and Tokyo Japanese (native or near-native). --- Now, I'm learning Kansai Japanese as I live in Kyoto!

Besides Japanese, I speak English (fluent), French (fluent or near-fluent), Mandarin Chinese (upper intermediate), Spanish (intermediate), Italian (low intermediate), and Indonesian (pre-intermediate?). --- Now, I'm interested in learning Korean!


I love traveling overseas ("overseas" from the Japanese point of view, i.e. any foreign countries/regions/cities).

So far, I've been to Cambodia (mainly Phnom Penh and Siem Reap/Angkor Wat), Canada (Toronto, the Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, etc.), China (Beijing, Changchun, Dalian, Harbin, Shanghai, Shenyang, Xi'an, etc.), France (Paris, Versailles, Dieppe, Tours, Le Mont-Saint-Michel, Lyon, Annecy, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Cannes, Nice, Arles, Avignon, Nimes, Montpellier, Carcassonne, Toulouse, Albi, Bordeaux, Bayonne, Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, etc. -- Oui, un peu partout!), Hong Kong, Indonesia (Jakarta and Bogor), Italy (Amalfi, Catania, Florence, Milan, Naples, Padua, Palermo, Pisa, Pompeii, Rome, Sorrento, Taormina, Turin, Venice, etc.), Malaysia (Goerge Town/Penang and Kuala Lumpur), Monaco, Morocco (Tangier, Rabat, Cassablanca, Essaouira, Marrakesh, Ouarzazate, the Sahara Desert, Fes/Fez, etc.), Norway (Oslo and Tromsø), Portugal (Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra), Singapore, South Korea (Seoul and Busan), Spain (Barcelona, Tarragona, Pamplona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Madrid, Burgos, Leon, A Coruna/Corunna, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, Cordova, Granada, Malaga, etc.), Switzerland (Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Zurich, Berne, etc.), Taiwan (Taipei and Jiufen), Thailand (mainly Bangkok and Ayutthaya), the UK (London and Gibraltar), the U.S. (Ann Arbor, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Grand Canyon, Hawai'i, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco, etc.), Vatican City State, and Viet-Nam (Ha Noi, Ha Long Bay and Ho Chi Minh City) (countries listed in alphabetical order).

I'd always like to go to new places and I'd always like to go back to any of the places I've been to. What's my next travel destination? ... I don't know yet! Possibly Laos or Peru? Would you like to see more pictures? Refresh the page! :)