Quality Japanese Self Study Techniques

The majority of Japanese Talk articles focus on “Tips & Tricks” to study Japanese. These focus on study methods for improving speaking or reading, or studying in general if you’re busy, etc. Memrise is normally my go-to learning app for studying Japanese. (Lord knows there are a lot of Jtalkonline.com courses on Memrise.) But I’ve been using a new method recently that’s been a lot more effective.   The Drill Method (aka Quantity) Here’s a quick story. In 2015 I took the JLPT N1 for the first time. I used the Nihongo Soumatome books and studied their kanji and vocabulary using… Read More…

NEW! Manga Japanese for Patrons!

Did you know Japanese Talk Online has a Patreon? Patreon supporters get early access to articles, vote on and request future topics and have access to the Discord where I provide one-to-one help. I’m now creating Patreon exclusive content! Random short articles about Japanese found in manga. These articles are for $2+ Patrons. Starting with Wotakoi – Japanese Otaku Vocab (and more) These articles will include cultural references, specific terminology for things like games, and common onomatopoeia. Patrons are an amazing support! I cannot do Japanese Talk Online with out. The more support I get the more time I can spend… Read More…

Why You MUST Read in Japanese

When I started learning Japanese I drilled vocabulary, grammar and kanji. In my young mind language = words. For many years that was all I focused on, figuring that listening and reading was only achievable from learning this core information. Yes, vocabulary, grammar and kanji are incredibly important. But they mean nothing if you don’t read. You don’t magically learn how to read just from learning this information. You learn to read by reading. Reading then supplements and adds to your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and kanji. But reading does SO much more than that.   First Attempts to Read… Read More…

Reading Japanese Intensified – Review of Tango Risto

If you’re anything like me and you struggle to improve your reading then you want to get Tango Risto. I have always struggled with reading comprehension. It is the hardest part of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and a must need for any level of Japanese. I try to read novels to improve this but that means I lack a core amount of Japanese vocabulary and grammar. Namely, the news. In the past I tried my own 2 Week Japanese Reading Challenge but going out of your way to find a good article for your level can be hard. Tango… Read More…

How to Use Manga to Study Japanese

A lot of us study Japanese because we want to be able to understand anime without subtitles or read manga in Japanese. Being able to do either of these is incredibly rewarding, but many beginners think you need to be ‘fluent’ or that you need to live in Japan for a certain number of years before you reach this level. They convince themselves that being able to read manga is beyond their abilities, so why even try?! Well, what if I told you it is possible to be able to understand manga a lot sooner than you thought?   Why… Read More…

Japanese Talk Online Hiatus [Until April 9th]

You may not know this but Japanese Talk Online is a website I run in my spare time. It was always a hobby to share my knowledge and experience of learning Japanese. This was doable when I was in University but not so much anymore. I am now a freelance Japanese – English translator and am trying to continue my own Japanese studies. I tried to take a step back before but found that I still spent a lot of time on Japanese Talk. I recently started tracking how much time I spend on Japanese Talk stuff and it’s about 10… Read More…

Cheap Japanese – You Don’t Need to Break the Bank to Learn Japanese

I was at a convention the other day talking about how beginners can learn Japanese for anime and manga. At the end one person asked me. “I was thinking of starting Japanese with Rosetta Stone, but is it worth the price tag?” I’d never used Rosetta Stone but after asking others everyone said: nope. Which got me thinking, do you need to break the bank to learn Japanese? Here are some cheap Japanese language options for beginners and intermediate.   There are plenty of free resources online (such as flashcard programs Anki and Memrise) that are easy to find. But… Read More…

Presentation and Resources – Japanese With Anime and Manga ECCC 2018

Japanese With Anime and Manga ECCC

This last weekend I gave a presentation at Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC); “How to Learn Japanese Using Anime and Manga”. The idea behind the presentation was tips, tricks and resources that anyone can use to learn Japanese with anime and manga. This is a presentation I have done in the past in terms of anime only, but this time I added manga. Patreon supporters can watch all full past presentations here: Japanese With Anime and Manga ECCC 2018 [TO BE EDITED & UPLOADED] Using Anime to Study Japanese [Presentation] – KumoriCon 2018   Learn Japanese Using Anime & Manga… Read More…

Lose Yourself in Japanese: “Let Me Eat Your Pancreas” 「君の膵臓を食べたい」

Last year I picked up a book from Kinokuniya called 「君の膵臓を食べたい」(Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai). I didn’t realize at the time was a great book it was. To the point where I would become so enthralled that I forgot I was practicing my Japanese. This is the kind of story that you want to find when you’re learning Japanese. One that you lose yourself in to the point where you’re not studying, you’re using Japanese.   “Let Me Eat Your Pancreas” 「君の膵臓を食べたい」Novel Japanese Level Other Media Live Action Movie Manga Anime Movie (coming 2018) Genre Drama Short Description A young boy… Read More…

How to Be Productive When Studying Japanese

It’s incredibly easy to constantly think “I’ll do this later” and then not. Then the day ends and you haven’t studied. Then the week, then, if you’re not careful, the month! It’s incredibly easy to do. Sometimes you don’t even realize you’ve not studied in over a week until it’s too late. Even I struggle to be more productive with Japanese, but you’ve got to find a system that works for you. This could just be a single app and/or a combination of productivity techniques. Here are a few suggestions that you can implement to become more productive when studying… Read More…

Learning Japanese Through Audio Dramas and Games – Kylie’s Story

Could you tell us a little about yourself and what got you into studying Japanese? What are your goals? My name is Kylie. I’m half-Japanese but I grew up solely speaking English. I wanted to learn Japanese so I could communicate with my family in Japan. Most of my Japanese family can’t speak English well. My goal is to be able to competently communicate with my family through speaking, reading, and writing.   Your mom is Japanese and your dad is American, how has that impacted how or what you learn? English has always been spoken in my household. This… Read More…

Japanese Language Articles [Link Roundup Jan 2018]

Studying Japanese Language 8 Proven Methods to Amplify Your Japanese Speaking Skills – “There are far too many people who have passed the JLPT N1 and yet can’t carry on a simple conversation with a native Japanese speaker. This is pathetic. Don’t be this person! Use the resources found on this page to amplify your Japanese speaking skills.” Reading Resources for Japanese Beginners: Part 1 – Three suggestions for beginners Japanese learners for JLPT N5 and N4. A New Year’s Celebration in Your Pocket – New Year cultural references and terms in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.   General Language Study Advice… Read More…

Getting the Most out of Personal Japanese Lessons

From February 1st italki will be holding a New Year Language Challenge. This is simply just a matter of getting badges for completing a certain number of hours of lessons in the month. It’s a great way to motivate yourself to study more with a teacher if you struggle with motivation. You don’t have to take the ‘challenge’ but it had me thinking about Japanese teachers. I’ve had a few Japanese teachers through italki over the years and had mixed experiences. Never anything bad but there have been times when I’ve not gotten what I wanted and left lessons frustrating.… Read More…

Improve Japanese Reading [2 Week Challenge]

Improve Japanese Reading Challenge

Learning vocabulary, kanji and (to a point) grammar, can be easy to do by yourself. But reading, speaking, listening and writing can be more of a challenge. I recently asked Patreon supporters what kind of challenges they would like to try to improve these Japanese skills. The most voted on was Japanese reading. The following is a 2 week challenge of my own design which I am testing out myself. I’m going to record my daily progress on the Japanese Talk Online Twitter and then discuss the results at the end. I encourage people try this along with me and tweet… Read More…

[JTalk Podcast] Do You Need to Know Japanese to Visit Japan?

My partner and I recently went to Japan for a short trip. We decided to start off the Japanese Talk Online Podcast talking about the Japanese you need to know in Japan. The English you find in Japan is very different from when we first visited Japan 8-10 years ago! Japanese Talk Online Podcast   What’s In This Podcast? 00:26 – We went to Japan! (Introductions) 1:15 – Do you need to know Japanese to visit Japan? 6:30 – Going to Japan to practice your Japanese and deciphering Japanese from context. 16:00 – Going out of your comfort zone & forcing… Read More…

Winter 2018 Anime – Good Anime for Studying Japanese

The new is upon us and with the new year comes a new season of anime! Winter 2018 to be exact. I’ve watched a lot of the first episodes for the new seasons to find some shows that are good for practicing Japanese. I was surprised by some anime I thought would be easy were actually quite tricky and vice versa. Gakuen Babysitters in particular is a great manga but the anime may prove tricky for some. I’ve ordered the anime from easy to difficult. Try and challenge yourself and I hope you have fun with the new season!  … Read More…

Speak Japanese Fluently in 1 Year Challenge (Part 2)

Speak Japanese Fluently in 1 Year Challenge (Part 2)

This is a step-by-step guide from complete beginners who want to challenge themselves to speaking fluently within 1 year. This is aimed at beginners but these techniques can be picked up by anyone who wants to speak Japanese fluently. These tips and tricks focus on speaking only although knowing how to at least read hiragana and katakana is necessary.   NOTE: This guide is broken down into 4 parts for every 3 months of studying! Speak Japanese Fluently in 1 Year Challenge (Part 1)   Here’s the challenge: to be able to speak Japanese fluently in 1 year! Ok… but… Read More…

How to Acquire Japanese Naturally

Acquire Japanese Naturally

I have always been a firm believer of the importance of combining study and using Japanese. Actually, that’s a lie. I used to be very lazy when it came to using Japanese but enjoyed studying immensely. It’s only in recent the last 5 years that I’ve been using Japanese more and more. Acquiring it through natural means while also studying. Using Japanese when you’re not used to it can be surprisingly difficult. However, using Japanese can be a far more effective way to remember Japanese long-term.   It was a few months ago that someone directed me to the work of… Read More…

The JLPT is Over, What Now?

JLPT's Over, What Now?

The JLPT is finally over! You’ve slogged for months and months (or at least weeks and weeks?) studying vocabulary, kanji, grammar. You challenged yourself and whether you pass or failed you did it! Now it’s the winter holidays, your life is getting busy and your brain wants to rest. It’s so tempting to just stop studying for a few weeks! And you should! But also shouldn’t! Here’s why and what you can do to stop your Japanese getting dull.   Stop Studying (But Only for a Bit!) If you’re suffering from burn out it’s sometimes healthier for your brain to… Read More…

[NEWS] Japanese Talk Online 2018

Japanese Talk Online 2018

It’s been an interesting year! We’ve have so many more people use Japanese Talk Online articles and Memrise. I also started the Patreon and it’s been going great (so glad I didn’t have to resort to ads)! The best part’s been the fantastic people I’ve been helping through Facebook! The ones that come back again and again who are thirsty for Japanese knowledge. Seeing their growth over the year has really meant a lot to me! So thank you all those who have found Japanese Talk Online helpful in improving your Japanese! ありがとうございます!本当に感謝しております!   Now I’ve been wondering for a… Read More…

Techniques to Improve Japanese Pronunciation

Pronouncing is a huge part of speaking Japanese. You can speak Japanese but if you can’t say it with a clear accent then native people are going to have trouble understanding you. They can still understand you most of the time but sometimes they might mis-understand what you’re trying to say. Even if you think you have a good Japanese accent there are still times when it’s not quite right and you sound foreign. Here are some techniques you can do to improve Japanese pronunciation. You can take these are far as you want. You can just train yourself to… Read More…

JLPT Practice Questions with JPDrills

JLPT Practice Questions JPDrills

With less than a month before the December JLPT it’s time to start doing some JLPT practice questions! Many people will go to the JLPT website and try their tiny quantity of sample questions. But these are often easier than what you’ll actually be given on the day. Then there are JLPT practice questions from textbooks you can use. Although these are useful they also cost a fair amount because they’re imported from Japan. Another solution is to use online quiz programs that test you with practice questions. Although there are a few out there I’d have to say JPDrills… Read More…

Using Twitter for Japanese

Social media can be a great tool for learning and practicing Japanese. Not just the language, but the culture and current affairs too. Actually it has so many benefits for learning and practicing Japanese that I don’t know why people don’t do it more often. This post will be focusing on Twitter, although can mostly apply to other social media like Facebook, YouTube, LINE, etc. Benefits of Twitter for Japanese Learn vocabulary and grammar specific to your own interests. See native interactions & natural language usage. Find out about current affairs. Make friends. Able to practice writing and reading.  … Read More…

Learning About Japanese Values

Growing up in America, I always felt like I was missing something. I would never know how to describe myself. I would have adults describe my character but I would always question why they thought of me in that way. What made me a nice person? What made me smart? It just felt like they were describing someone I didn’t know because I didn’t know myself or who I wanted to be. When I finally learned about Japan and researched about the country, its people and its culture, I finally knew who I wanted to be. I respect so many… Read More…

Techniques to Improve Speaking Fluently [For ALL Levels]

Improve Speaking Fluently シャドーイングとは?

Speaking Japanese can be particularly frustrating for all levels if you don’t practice it. But it often feels like a catch 22. You don’t feel good enough to speak it, so you never practice, which means you don’t feel good enough to speak it! So how do you improve speaking fluently? These are tips and tricks that you can do without a speaking partner to help you get more confident with speaking Japanese fluently.   Say Everything You Read Outloud I’ve touched on this in more detail in A Simple Way to Start Speaking Japanese but you should read everything… Read More…

Get The Most Out of Language Exchange

A while ago I set the first 3 month challenge for Speaking Japanese in 1 Year. A lot of it involves booking a speaking partner or teacher at least once a week (ideally twice) and practicing Japanese with them. Even as a brand new beginner this is doable. However many beginners might not know where to start or what to do, and put it off. This article was requested by a Patron on Patreon (ありがとう!) and covers how to get the most out of a language exchange. Whether you’re beginner, intermediate or advanced, these tips should help! Finding Language Partners First… Read More…

Japanese Flashcards: Dealing With Backlogs

As many readers of Japanese Talk Online know, I LOVE using Memrise. I use it practically every day for Japanese flashcards when I’m studying for a test. But there are often times when I won’t use it for a week, a month, or several months. This creates a lot of backlog of items to review, and seeing that long list of 2000+ words I need to review can be really daunting. This post will look at how to deal with huge review backlogs you often get with flashcard programs like Memrise and Anki.   How Spaced Repetition Flashcard Programs Work SRS,… Read More…

How to Avoid Study Burnout

It can be really exciting when you get started on a study binge. You’re feeling motivated. You have the time to study for a few hours a day. You’re storming through level after level on your flashcard program. Then you get burned out. Burnout can happen after studying for several hours or several days in a row. Your brain is a muscle and it’s not good to overworked it for long periods of time. When you over work it you can get headaches, feel tired and irritable. And in worse cases get migraines! This post will look at how to… Read More…

Reading Japanese Texts in an Innovative Way

One of the most difficult aspects of learning Japanese for any level of ability, is reading Japanese texts. In particular Japanese that’s written for native Japanese people. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at vocabulary, kanji, and grammar that you haven’t studied will appear. This often means that reading is slow and difficult as you spend a lot of time looking up words and kanji. Then you have to take your notes and vocabulary and learn them! Putting the time and effort into doing this is a HUGE benefit to your Japanese abilities, but it’s also a chore, and even… Read More…

Understanding Formalities in Complex Japanese Sentences

This article was requested by a Patron on Patreon! ありがとうございます! One tricky part of Japanese is the different formalities. Then how and when those formalities are used with different people, or even the same people! This article goes over the different formalities in Japanese, who they’re used with and when. As well as how to break down long, complicated sentences.   Japanese Formalities There are various different levels of formality depending on the situation. These situations vary depending on your relationship to the person you’re talking to. But first here is an example of the different formalities in Japanese from… Read More…