How to Draw Kanji

how to draw kanji

by Gabriel from Koipun Why learn to draw Kanji? In the era smartphones and computers, is it still worth it to learn how to draw kanji i.e. Japanese handwriting? Nowadays even native Japanese speakers are having a hard time maintaining their handwriting skills. Why should a Japanese learner bother with handwriting? There are actually several great reasons why you should learn Japanese handwriting in this day and age. It is magic. Being able to write kanji by hand from memory feels like being able to cast magic spells, and it is! Being able to write out so many different characters by … Read More…

The Benefits of Studying in Japan

A lot of people who learn Japanese do it in their home country. Which is great, but they often never consider actually studying it in Japan. Visiting Japan, sure, but never to go for a long period to study it. But there are so many benefits from studying in Japan! It was my friend who suggested we studied in Japan and I’ve studied there two times since then! I loved it so much, it’s well worth going if you’re serious about Japanese. The Benefits of Studying in Japan   Learn Japanese Faster Let’s say (hypothetically) that you’re studying at home with … Read More…

Interview With Koipun

I had a fantastic interview with Gabriel at Koipun all about my experience studying Japanese. Mostly covering all the things I failed at but learnt from when studying Japanese! And how I’ve used these experiences to write articles for Japanese Talk Online to help others not make the same mistakes. Japanese study methods based on incredible experiences Jennifer shares how she continuously experiments with her learning methods and the story behind the learning insights she has striven for.

5 Japanese Light Novels (in Japanese) for Beginners

Japanese light novels are a fantastic way to practice your Japanese! Light novels (or 小説) are, as the name suggests, smaller, easy to get through stories. Japanese light novels often have long on-going series with 6-20+ books! So if you don’t like the first book you can easily drop it, but if you love it you can hooked for long on-going stories which improves your kanji/vocabulary/grammar even more!! The title for this says “5 Japanese Light Novels for Beginners” but by “beginners” I mean people who have never read a Japanese light novel before. I strongly suggest you have at least … Read More…

Using Anime in Japanese Studies

How would you react if I told you that anime could be a great tool for studying Japanese? “Anime Is Not Good For Japanese” Maybe some of you view the idea of studying Japanese through anime with skepticism. Throughout the Internet, there are a lot of arguments against utilizing anime – and I for one, actually agree. Here are some of the reasons why anime is not a good resource: 1. The Voice Acting Voice acting is a respected form of performance in Japan. In fact, Japanese fans sometimes choose to watch an anime just based on the appearance of … Read More…

Advanced Japanese Reading Practice 6

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: ソニーがVRゲーム機器を世界同時発売 羽生結弦に「究極」を超える進化はあるのか Tip 1: When studying the vocabulary read it out-loud – Even if you’re just moving your lips (because you’re in public, for example) reading the vocabulary and what it means out-loud will help cement the readings and meaning in your memory. Tip 2: When reading the articles read out-loud – Your brain will have to work harder to sound out every word. This is important because when you read in your head you’re more likely to skip over words and readings, which won’t help your comprehension. Tip 3: Time yourself when you read an article – Make a … Read More…

Advanced Japanese Reading Practice 5

Japanese Reading

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: 大手企業でのキャリアと英語力を活かしSEO対策を提供 お祝いしたいけれど・・・ 悩ましい「敬老の日」事情 Tip 1: When studying the vocabulary read it out-loud – Even if you’re just moving your lips (because you’re in public, for example) reading the vocabulary and what it means out-loud will help cement the readings and meaning in your memory. Tip 2: When reading the articles read out-loud – Your brain will have to work harder to sound out every word. This is important because when you read in your head you’re more likely to skip over words and readings, which won’t help your comprehension. Tip 3: Time yourself when you read an article – Make … Read More…

Advanced Japanese Reading Practice 4

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: Pokemon Go の勢いがすごい、公開数日で米国の約750万人がダウンロード 営業マンの印象の良いビジネスメールの特徴 Tip 1: When studying the vocabulary read it out-loud – Even if you’re just moving your lips (because you’re in public, for example) reading the vocabulary and what it means out-loud will help cement the readings and meaning in your memory. Tip 2: When reading the articles read out-loud – Your brain will have to work harder to sound out every word. This is important because when you read in your head you’re more likely to skip over words and readings, which won’t help your comprehension. Tip 3: Time yourself when you read an article – … Read More…

10 Ways to Study Japanese After You’ve Stopped

Study Japanese After You've Stopped

Sometimes when you’ve been studying Japanese for a while you just stop. Often for seemingly no reason. A day goes by, then a week, then a month, then 6 months without learning anything. Even I’ve been guilty of this! It can be really difficult to pick up learning a language after you’ve stopped studying for a while. Often this is because it starts to feel like a chore… but you know you need to keep studying… but studying is boring… So what’s the best way to study Japanese after you’ve stopped?   Here are 10 ways to study Japanese after you’ve … Read More…

Chronic Illness and Disability on the JET Program

Chronic Illness and Disability on the JET Program

I interviewed a friend of mine who is working as an ALT (assistant language teacher) on the JET Program (Japan Exchange and Teaching). She wanted to tell her story about her experience working in Japan with chronic illness and hoped it would be helpful to others worried about their own disabilities.   Who are you? I’m a third year JET ALT who teaches junior high and elementary English in Eastern Japan. In my third year, I became a member of a prefectural JET committee which creates prefecture-wide conferences and seminars for all JETs. I am also an ALT leader at … Read More…

How to Talk About Hobbies in Japanese

Talking about hobbies is a great way to get to know someone when you first meet them! It’s also a good way to use and learn a lot of new verbs and interests in Japanese. Talking about Hobbies in Japanese   “What’s your hobby?” / “What are your hobbies?” 趣味(しゅみ)は何(なに)?                 [Casual] 趣味(しゅみ)は何(なん)ですか?     [Polite] (しゅみは) [noun] だ。              [Casual] (しゅみは) [noun] です。          [Polite] Note: You see lots of articles online saying 「わたしのしゅみは___です」, but this is a very “textbook” answer and sounds very wooden … Read More…

Anibros Podcast Anime Japanese

A few weeks ago I recorded a podcast with the Anibros, two podcasters who talk about anime. So what else was I going to talk about on a show like that but studying anime Japanese? Although it quickly delved into some really bad advice for studying Japanese…… You can listen to the podcast here “Episode 112 – Banned for Life” The Anibros are Laven and Jack. They’re really nice guys who watch a lot of anime and make entertaining podcasts about shows they’re watching. They also go to a lot of conventions in the Pacific North West where they run Anime … Read More…

Learn Kansai-ben With Cats ①

Ever wanted to learn more about the infamous Kansai dialect of Japan? From a Japanese person? Through the medium of cats? Well now you can learn Kansai-ben with cats!!! 関西弁にゃんこ (Kansai-ben Nyanko) is a fantastic book by Maki, a Japanese illustrator and writer from Kyoto. 絵がすごくかわいいですよ!!! Her art is so cute!!! And following her on twitter is great Japanese practice! If you have LINE you can buy her Kansai-ben Kitten stickers here! This book is currently unavailable in English but I got special permission to translate parts of it for Japanese Talk Online readers! This isn’t a very long book … Read More…

Study Japanese When You’re Busy

study japanese when you're busy

Studying another language can be a challenge, especially when you’re busy. Even just sitting down for even 20 minutes a day can be hard! But it’s really not impossible. Here are some tricks to help study Japanese when you’re busy.   1. Label Everything This is a great trick when you’re starting out. Label all the objects in your house/office in Japanese. Don’t write the English, just the Japanese. That way you can read the Japanese for those objects every day. It doesn’t take long to label things and it’s great practice. You can even cover the labels with another … Read More…

How to Become a Japanese Translator

“I want to use my Japanese with work and become a translator!” I’ve written a number of articles in the past about how to translate for beginners and getting translation experience. It’s been a while since I wrote those and my attitudes towards translation have changed. This post is for people who have the Japanese skills and are now looking at becoming a translator.  If you are an intermediate/advanced Japanese skilled person and want to become a translator in the future, the following articles should help you. Useful Articles: Getting Translation Experience I – How to bulk up your Japanese skills … Read More…

Speak Japanese as a Beginner

“I want to be able to speak Japanese but I’ve never done it before and don’t know how.” I remember when I started learning Japanese I did not speak that much. I actually barely spoke Japanese for the first 2 years of my study! This was a HUGE mistake! I didn’t start actually picking up the Japanese fast until I was in Japan and forced into situations where I HAD to speak. So how do you force yourself to speak as a beginner?   Speaking Japanese is Key to Becoming Fluent In Videos About Learning Languages every single person giving … Read More…

How to Make Simple Japanese Sentences

Japanese grammar is actually surprisingly easy once you get it. Basic grammar is at least. It’s like a maths problem; + x – etc., all have their own uses and places, it’s the numbers around them that change the meaning of the formula. In Japanese these are called “particles”. They are set sounds that have set uses. Once you know the basic ones it’s very easy to create a wide variety of sentences by changing the words. Here’s a guide to creating simple sentences using particles. – How To Practice Making Sentences I wanted to write this first because I feel … Read More…

I Don’t Have Time to Study Japanese

“I want to learn Japanese, but don’t have the time to study.” Have you ever said this to yourself? Have you thought about studying Japanese but then it’s suddenly 10pm and you did nothing? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s hard to put aside the time to study. Especially everyday! You have real life stuff getting in the way like that one TV show, or school, or work. At least… that’s what you tell yourself. If you really, really, really want to learn Japanese then here are some suggestions for fitting it into your busy life. – Find Little … Read More…

Studying Anime Japanese – Intermediate Techniques

A while ago I wrote some basic techniques for studying Japanese anime. This was followed by a number of articles focusing on common basic vocabulary and grammar found in anime, manga and games. This is a look at studying anime Japanese – intermediate techniques. Popular media can be a great tool for learning and practicing Japanese! Studying Anime Japanese – Basic Techniques A quick summary of this article: Watch lots of anime. Listen to the anime – turn off subtitles. Make notes of vocabulary and phrases. Study basic vocabulary on the side. Study intermediate grammar.   Studying Anime Japanese – … Read More…

Achieving Japanese Goals

Happy New Year!!! With the new year we all set ourselves goals. I want to learn Japanese, to pass the JLPT, to be able to read a manga. I’ve had similar goals in the past, but actually achieving Japanese goals has never gone quite as planned. There can be a number of reasons for this. The following is suggestions for achieving Japanese goals in 2017! Break Down Your Goals Saying “I want to teach myself Japanese” is a great goal! Buuut it’s not easy to achieve because it is so big. Even saying something like “I want to read manga” can … Read More…

On Christmas Break!

Hey guy! Just letting you know Japanese Talk Online is on break for Christmas and New Year. It’s a busy time and people aren’t learning that much Japanese right now anyway. If you are, then good for you! ^-^ Feel free to message me on the Japanese Talk Online Facebook page, I’ll be checking it frequently! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! メリークリスマス そして あけましておめでとうございます!  

Passing JLPT N5-N4 Listening

Passing JLPT N5 N4 Listening

This years round of Japanese Language Proficiency Tests are over! Yaaaay! Well done to everyone who took them! I hadn’t realized that taking the JLPT twice a year (in June AND December) was only done in a few countries. The US, I was saddened to find out, only holds the exam in December. Which at least means any US readers have a year to practice! Out of all the resources I offer on here for beginner learners I found out that I’ve been lacking advice for passing the listening section of the exam. For many of the people taking the … Read More…

The Best Way to Study Grammar for the JLPT

I have this bad habit of avoiding grammar every time I study for the JLPT. I’ll either avoid it altogether or leave it until the last minute. But now I’ve found a great way to study grammar for the exam! It takes a lot of work but is really effective. This is, I think, the best way to study grammar for the JLPT. 1. Buy Yourself a JLPT Grammar Drill Book Even if you don’t like spending money it’s well worth buying yourself a grammar drill book. Do this asap! I suggest starting this at least a month before the exam … Read More…

Beginners Japanese Reading

It’s often hard for beginners to find suitable materials for practicing Japanese reading. It’s tricky to find something suitable for you because every person is different. What you learn as a beginner, what you enjoy, what works best for you, etc., will be different from someone else. Below are some suggestions (including pros and cons) for beginners Japanese reading and listening including text books and materials made for young Japanese natives. Beginner’s Japanese Reading Books Textbooks If you’re in a class and working through a textbook there will often be reading sections. These are great because they will cover grammar, … Read More…

Studying Japanese Grammar When You Hate Grammar

I hate studying Japanese grammar. I always have. I hate just how vague it can be, and all the rules that go with it. I’m happy when I know a grammar without needing to think about it because I don’t need to remember those rules, I just know it. (Everyone will get to that point) But because I’ve never liked grammar I’ve avoided it. And because I’ve avoided it there have been times when my Japanese suffered. It’s difficult to study grammar when you don’t like it, but here are some suggestions to make it more bearable. Studying Beginners Grammar … Read More…

How Not to Use Memrise

Memrise is one of my favorite tools for studying Japanese. That’s well known to people who have read previous Japanese Talk articles. I’ve created many courses for others through JTalkOnline as well as lists for my own study. What is Memrise? For those that don’t know, Memrise is a free online community created flashcard program with spaced repetition software. You are rewarded for studying by gaining points, and can compare your points to others. Because the courses are created by the community there are a HUGE number of courses for Japanese (and other languages). Some are made by people like myself … Read More…

Top 10 Japanese Talk Online Articles

Japanese Talk Online is 3 today!!! 誕生日おめでとう!!! Japanese Talk has actually been a thing for longer than 3 years, but it became Japanese Talk Online 3 years ago today. I never imagined I would keep it up. That I would have so much to write about studying Japanese. Or that I would have helped so many people learn and improve and have fun with Japanese! It’s just crazy! I have written a lot of articles over the last 3 years, and had a number of guest posts too! So many of them are easily missed unless you’re bored enough to … Read More…

More Tips for Studying for the JLPT N1

Over a year ago I wrote Tips for Studying for the JLPT N1 and Tips for When you Take the JLPT N1. The I gave general studying advice as well as what to look out for and tips for taking the exam. This post is all about some useful resources for studying for the JLPT N1. As I said before, I’ve noticed that some people find the N1 very easy and others find it a real challenge. Everyone learns differently and work differently, so some of what I’m suggesting will work for you, some might not. — How to Get Your Bases Covered+ … Read More…

Review of Japanese Kanji Study Android App

  Japanese Kanji Study is probably the best app I’ve ever used for studying kanji. I’ve studied kanji in many different ways over the years. Books, classes, apps, drilled kanji, read kanji, my own flashcards, etc. But nothings worked in quite the same way as Kanji Study has. Here’s why…   Japanese Kanji Study Android App Features This app has a LOT going on. I love how much it has. The creator, Chase, worked incredible hard to create an app that would suit how he wanted to learn. He was using the White Rabbit kanji flashcards but found they weren’t practical … Read More…

Review of Nihongo Tango Speed Master

日本語単語スピードマスター (Nihongo Tango Speed Master) is a relatively unknown series of books which focus just on Japanese vocabulary. And I’m surprised it’s unknown because all the books contain a lot of vocabulary, and lots of vocabulary that doesn’t appear in other books! There are 4 日本語単語スピードマスター books: Basic, Standard, Intermediate and Advanced. These books are based vocabulary that appears in the new JPLT. Basic = N5-N4 Standard = N3 Intermediate = N2 Advanced = N1  I like this series because they are simple. Each chapter is separated by topic (i.e time, family, people, body, travel etc.). Each chapter then has a short … Read More…

Going to Japan for the First Time Tips & Tricks

You’re going to Japan for the first time ever! Yay! おめでとう! Congratulations! You’re probably excited and nervous. You’ve got where you’re going, your flights and accommodation sorted, but you’re a little unsure of transport and what to do about food. If that’s you then here are some tips and tricks when going to Japan for the first time. (If you don’t know the Japanese alphabets hiragana and katakana I suggest starting here) Restaurants and Food Trains Buses Restaurants and Food I’ve written a lot about different kinds of restaurants, food and useful Japanese to know (see the links below). And … Read More…

Japanese Talk Online Patreon

Japanese Talk Online Patreon

Japanese Talk Online has Patreon! I have been studying Japanese for over 10 years and began Japanese Talk in 2009 as Japanese lessons for the anime society at my university. Japanese Talk turned into Japanese Talk Online on Facebook after I graduated in 2011 and wanted to keep sharing Japanese resources and advice to society members. It then turned into Jtalkonline.com in 2013 work as a freelance Japanese to English translator. I then began the JTalkOnline Memrise course. I started with hiragana and katakana because I felt there was no adequate course online which helped people learn the alphabets through … Read More…

Top 10 Resources for Advanced Japanese

When you reach a certain level of Japanese it becomes more difficult to learn new things from textbooks. Many people read novels and newspapers but sometimes it’s not that easy to get hold of these items off-line unless you buy imports or go to Japan. Here are my top 10 resources for advanced Japanese that anyone can access online. These are all Japanese resources written by Japanese people for Japanese people. Reading these types of materials are beneficial because: You’re exposed to natural sentence patterns. Read more complex and specialized subjects. Can help with business Japanese. — News I’ve talked … Read More…

Best Japanese YouTube Channels

I am one of those people who would rather watch YouTube than TV. The amazing thing about YouTube is the ability for people from all around the world to create content. Yet due to YouTube’s advertising algorithms you probably never see content from other countries. Even if you watch lots of videos about Japan it’s rare that a Japanese YouTube channel will appear unless you search for it. So here’s my list of some of the best Japanese YouTube Channels. Do you have any of your own or other suggestions? Let everyone know on the JTalkOnline Facebook Page! A quick note: … Read More…

Nyaa and Other Japanese Animal Sounds

Bellow are Japanese animal and all the awesome sounds they make in Japanese! The animals in Japanese are written in romaji and kanji. Although kanji so exist, most of the time you’ll see animals written in hiragana or katakana. Sound effects are always written in kana. 楽しんでね!   Animals in English Animals in Japanese Animal Sound (romaji) Animal Sound (kana) cat neko 猫 nyā, nyān ニャー, ニャーン pigs buta 豚 bū bū ブーブー dog inu 犬 wan wan ワン ワン fox kitsune 狐 kon コン cicada semi 蝉 miin miin ミーン ミーン frog kaeru 蛙 gero gero, geko geko ゲロ ゲロ, ゲコ ゲコ duck ahiru 家鴨 gā gā … Read More…

Advanced Japanese Reading Practice 3

Advanced Japanese Reading Practice 3

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: 「オゾン層に回復の兆し」 米研究グループ ネット動画で広がる被災地応援 Tip 1: When studying the vocabulary read it out-loud – Even if you’re just moving your lips (because you’re in public, for example) reading the vocabulary and what it means out-loud will help cement the readings and meaning in your memory. Tip 2: When reading the articles read out-loud – Your brain will have to work harder to sound out every word. This is important because when you read in your head you’re more likely to skip over words and readings, which won’t help your comprehension. Tip 3: Time yourself when you read an article – Make … Read More…

How to Prepare for the JLPT

How to Prepare for the JLPT

Another session of JLPTs are over in some countries which means the next ones are only 6 months away in December! Whether you’ve just taken an exam or are taking one for the first time it’s good to start preparing for the next batch of tests now. What you study specifically for each exam will be different, but here are some tips for preparing for the JLPT. How to Prepare for the JLPT Have The Basics Covered It’s time to go back over the basics. It doesn’t matter what level you’re studying going over the basics can always give you … Read More…

Top 10 Japanese Language Android Apps

Top 10 Japanese Language Apps

I’ve talked about some great apps for learning Japanese but that was years ago and technology has changed! I’ve been playing with a lot of apps recently and come across some goodies as well as re-discovered some classics. The following list isn’t in any particular order, but each of them is very different from one another. When I’ve found similar apps I’ve selected the best one out of them (i.e the best dictionary app). I’ve tried all of these apps myself and tried to give a fair pros and cons list. The following top 10 Japanese language android apps are … Read More…

Advice on Short-term Study Abroad in Japan

  This is a guest post written by Jennifer from Japan Therapy. I’ve had guest posts before but this is my first collaboration! I wrote an article for her site on Visiting Japan on a Budget while Becoming Fluent in Japanese. Her site and facebook details are below so definitely check her stuff out! — Studying abroad in Japan is a great way to get introduced to the country. Living in another country for a while can be difficult at times, especially if it’s your first time out your home country. A short-term study abroad program is a perfect way … Read More…

Context is Everything in Japanese

Context is Everything in Japanese

“The Japanese are Masters of Context” When you start studying Japanese you will probably read about the sentence pattern 「___ wa ___ desu」 . You’ll probably then go on to learn about verbs and how they fit into sentences 「___ wa ___ wo ___ verb」. You’ll use these to make simple sentences such as 「わたしはりんごをてべます」 (watashi wa ringo wo tabemasu) = “I eat an apple”. Then you might learn about tenses so you can say “I ate an apple” or “I am eating an apple”*. Simple right? (*If you need a recap on these see The Basics of Grammar) Yet … Read More…