Counting in Japanese can be complicated. It is confusing to know when four is supposed to be よん or し and when seven is supposed to be しち or なな. When counting from 1-10, it seems that it doesn’t matter which one you use (strange). People usually avoid saying “shi” for 4, because it sounds like the word “death.” Superstitions in Japan is a whole ‘nother topic…
ANYWAY. I’m going to keep things simple for my kids for now and teach them how to count to ten in this manner:
In the meanwhile, I’m going to study up on larger numbers by studying this great chart from The Japan Foundation and this chart on how to count various objects/かぞえかた (also from same site) and try to use them correctly whenever I can so my kids can start hearing what correct counting sounds like. I guess it’s similar to how we have different counters like “a head of lettuce” and “a pair of pants” in English. But it seems the Japanese have a whole lot more. I think I read somewhere that there are over 600 different ways to count things!
I really like this video:
Here are more websites about counting in Japanese:
1) 数の数え方 from TAKAO-SP
2) 数え方 from Asako lida’s HomePage
3) An article on counting from ja.wikipedia.org (lots of kanji)