How To Make a Memrise Course

  [I have two translation exams coming up in the next few days so I had to put my originally planned post on hold while I whipped this up super quick. Sorry about this, but hope people find it useful anyway!] It’s amazing how well a lot of the J-Talk Online Memrise courses are doing. I’m thrilled to see so many people using it to learn Japanese. Since I started creating courses in March 2014 (over a year ago!) I’ve made 20 courses with the most popular courses being the Anime Japanese for Beginners, Beginners Japanese Grammar 1, Japanese Counters… Read More…

JapanesePod101 Review

Don’t waste your money on JapanesePod101   This is an honest JapanesePod101 review and has my own opinions. I’m sure each person using the program will think of it differently, so it’s worth checking out for yourself if this is something for you. JapanesePod101 is a website which provides Japanese lessons from beginner to advance, using audio lessons, so if you are an auditory learner this might be a good one for you. This post looks at the resources JapanesePod101 provides and it’s pros and cons. You cannot explore the website without signing up. The front page opens with a brief… Read More…

Review of italki.com

italki.com is a website I decided to check out after watching this video by Rachel and Jun reviewing the site. Turns out I’d already signed up for the website at the beginning of this year, I’d just completely forgotten about it until recently! This website allows people to connect with people who speak the language their learning, it’s not just Japanese, but all kinds of languages! You can practice Japanese in a number of ways: Hire teachers who will give you lessons! Find language partners to type messages to talk to them via skype! Post notes and ask questions and… Read More…

Studying Japanese with Dyslexia

I am 25 years old (I’ll be 26 in May). I have gone through standard education and further education with a degree in Social Anthropology and am doing an MA in Japanese Translation. I just found out that I am dyslexic. I have gone through the entirety of my education without anyone picking up on it until my University lecturer did earlier this year. I had always had suspicions but when I had approached an adult in the past they just brushed it off. Now that I have the knowledge that I am dyslexic it puts the last 9 years… Read More…

Japanese Jokes for English Speakers

I wanted to write something light hearted to apologise for the last few months of slow updates. So here are some really bad/wonderful jokes for English speakers who know Japanese, and some you should try on some Japanese friends. Did you know “Dad Jokes” are called “Old-man Gags” in Japan? – おやじギャグ When a bad pun or joke is told you should say さむい “that’s cold” Japanese Jokes (Mostly Puns) ① 海のパイレーツは「海賊」と空のパイレーツは「空賊 」なら家庭のパイレーツはなんでしょうか? – umi no pairetsu wa “kaizoku” to sora no pairetsu wa “kuuzoku” nara, katei no pairetsu ha nan deshouka? If sea pirates are “kaizoku” and skypirates are “kuuzoku”,… Read More…

Update

Apologies for the radio silence. Moving house, essays and translation projects have taken priority over the blog. I’m also trying to update the JLPT N1 Kanji list for memrise as that’s late too. Normal blog posts will resume at some point soon I hope! UPDATE: Posts will resume Sunday 26th April Read More…

Let’s go! Ikimashou! – Guest Post

行きましょう! (Let’s go! Ikimashou!)             So imagine… you’re teaching English in Japan and winter vacation rolls around. Oh, what will you do? Well, ☆THIS GUY☆ decided to hit up Tokyo, because… why not?! 行きましょう to Akihabara(秋葉原), the Electric Town of Tokyo! Akihabara is also known as the geek (オタク otaku)mecca of Japan. If you are a geek who loves video games (テレビゲーム terebi gemu) and comics (まんが manga) you need to come here someday. I always come here to check out video games. And, my favorite ramen(らめん) shop, Kyushu Jangara Ramen, just so happens to be in Akihabara too.   … Read More…

Anime Japanese – Good Anime to Watch

If you are trying to use anime to practice your Japanese then this post is for you. I will talk briefly about the types of shows that are good to use, which ones are bad, and why. As well as a recommendation list. If you have any of your own that you’d like to suggest please feel free to leave a comment. Servant x Service (Good show about government office workers) So anime is a great way to practice your everyday, casual Japanese and grammar. As always I suggest studying on the side and using anime to practice, but what… Read More…

Why Repetition is Important

Acquire Japanese Naturally

“Practising for 15 minutes a day is better than 1 hour every 3 days” This is what a good friend said to me the other day, and it’s been stuck in my head all week. The thing is, is he wasn’t even talking about Japanese, but practising the guitar. It also reminds me of a guest lecture at the beginning of this year. The lecture was about the original Street Fighter and the level to which gamers would get to from practising so much that their moves came naturally. They fought without thinking. This is what I try to achieve with… Read More…

Anime & Manga Japanese Greetings

“Tadaima~ I’m Home~” You may have noticed how certain phrases crop up a lot in anime, but do you know what they’re saying and do you know exactly what they mean? This post looks at these common phrases used in anime and explains their etymology, hopefully shedding some light on where they came from and their cultural relevance. These are some some the core phrases used in everyday Japanese language and therefore in anime. Understanding the meaning of the words being used can help you remember the words and spread light on aspects of Japanese culture that you might not… Read More…

“I heard” “It seems” – The different uses of sou そう

This is a grammar point that had me in a lot of confusion recently. I’d created some lessons to help people on the Memrise group learn these but due to conflicting information on the internet the course got very jumbled and had to be corrected a number of times. I’ve finally pinned down these grammar points after checking with native Japanese people. Apologies to those who have been using Memrise and gotten confused on these points. I hope the following helps. The following are all the uses for sou そう for “It seems” and “I heard”. If you have any… Read More…

Apologies, Updates, Changes and Plans!

Hello! Apologies for the last few weeks of radio silence everyone! Life, as always, gets in the way and as this blog and Memrise is something I do out of my own time it sometimes gets pushed down the priority list. The last few weeks which were missed (the 10th and 17th), as well as the Advanced Reading Practice I promised, will be updated this week along with this week’s post. Update days are being changed to Thursday! This is because Wednesdays are packed all day with commuting, classes and Uni work, but my Thursdays are free so I should… Read More…

My Japanese Study Routine

As I mentioned in the last post on Finding Your Daily Study Routine everyone works differently using different resources and methods to learn Japanese. The following is my own routine, what works for me, what doesn’t and how this has changed over time and why. Hopefully this will help give people a better idea of how to study Japanese in your spare time.   Goals First of all, I don’t set a fixed number of hours aside a day to study. I’ve tried it in the past and it’s always been detrimental for me because I feel like I HAVE to… Read More…

Finding Your Daily Japanese Study Routine

Every person’s study routine is different. Not only does it change from person to person but can vary over time. This post talks about different study routines you can do, why it’s important to keep it varied, and how to find one that works best for you. For someone who is just starting out it’s hard to get into the swing of a daily routine, but persistence brings out the best results. How your study routine plays out depends very much on the type of resources you use and how you learn best, which is why the following has a… Read More…

Advanced Reading Japanese Practice 2

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: 村上ファン集うカフェで発表待つイベント フェリー3隻 大型船でミャンマーへ 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 1

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: 「イスラム国」がシーア派600人を殺害か カナダ 日本人女性不明で捜索 「決闘」容疑で少年グループ書類送検 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…

Introducing Advanced Japanese Reading Practice

“I find it hard to sit down and practice reading when I don’t know half the words…” To help improve people’s vocabulary, kanji recognition and general reading comprehension J-Talk Online is releasing new posts that help you practice advanced Japanese readings, whether this if for JLPT N2, N1 or just for fun. Every couple of weeks 1-3 articles will be released on the blog (weekly on memrise) with vocabulary lists. These articles will vary in length and will be accompanied by a vocabulary list. People are free to use them as they are on the blog, for their own flashcard programs,… Read More…

A Foreigner Sumo Wrestling in Japan – Guest Post

I was a Shindeshi:A Foreigner’s Chance at a Japanese Sport     Sumo (相撲: sumou), I have been familiar with the sport for a while now, because of my interest in Japanese culture, but I never really imagained that I would throw on a mawashi (廻し: a thick waisted loin cloth), be thrown into the dohyou (土俵: the ring made from clay and sand for sumo bouts), and do well!   Firstly, I am currently an ALT with the JET Program working for the Board of Education in Katagami City, Akita Prefecture, Japan. I am really greatful to be working… Read More…

New Memrise Course – Anime Grammar for Beginners!

To go along with the Anime Japanese posts I’ve been doing recently I made a memrise course for people to learn informal grammar used in anime and manga. It accompanies the Beginners Anime Japanese course which focuses on basic vocabulary. Because this is a beginners course it only tests on hiragana, but has the romaji and kanji for reference. A lot of the grammar overlaps with Beginners Grammar 1&2, but mostly has new verbs for each of the grammar points if you’ve done these courses already. Anime Grammar for Beginners Read More…

Anime Japanese – Verbs

Besides adjectives verbs (and grammar) are probably the most common words used in anime A previous post covered adjectives in anime. This one will go over verbs, the types that are used, how it’s different to what you learn in a classroom, and the best way to study them along with grammar.   Japanese Verbs Used in Anime All Japanese verbs are used in anime. But unlike the Japanese you might learn in class these are normally in informal, or quite often said with a certain dialect. The best way to learn these is to learn the basic or dictionary… Read More…

Using NHK to Practice Japanese – Beginners to Advance

For those that don’t know NHK is the Japanese Broadcasting Network. A bit similar to the UK’s BBC, it runs regular new reports and articles on local and international affairs. They actually have websites in many different languages (including English) if you want to read about current affairs in Japan without needing to read the Japanese. Besides learning about Japanese affairs as they happen, NHK can be a great resource for studying the language for all levels.   Beginners NHK Online Lessons: NHK offers free online lessons for beginners learning Japanese using MP3 and pdf worksheets. They release 10 minute… Read More…

Translating from Japanese to English for Beginners

“I want to be able to translate…” This post is for people interested in Japanese translating but don’t know how to because they haven’t had any formal training. I am assuming that the people interested in translating are at a skill level of between N3-N1 Japanese. Understanding Japanese, and understanding Japanese to then turn it into English are two different skill sets. This is because you not only need to understand the languages you’re translating from, but you need to know the appropriate language to use in the language you’re translating to (which I’m assuming is English). For example, although… Read More…

Anime Japanese – Adjectives Are Everywhere

You can understand a lot from a situation in anime simply from learning adjectives. Adjectives are used all the time in anime. Their use ranges from a single statement describing the obvious (i.e “it’s hot”), to describing a person or situation in a complex sentence, but even then it’s incredibly useful to have a grasp of adjectives when you watch anime.   Two types of adjectives   It’s important to understand the two types of adjectives in Japanese. On their own there’s not much difference, but when changing the tense, or combining them with other words (i.e using grammar with… Read More…

Accidental Hiatus

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone! Also apologies to everyone. As I finished my first term of University I had a number of essays to write which took priority of my time and as soon as those finished I was hit with the full force of Christmas and it’s been non-stop causing an accidental hiatus in both the blog and correcting mistakes on the Memrise courses. Apologise for the radio silence up until now. I promise the New Year will come with a lot more regular posting. Corrections to Memrise and blog posts will resume from the 7th… Read More…

Learning Japanese BECAUSE IT’S FUN!

Before you do anything else, please watch this video: I made a previous post about finding ways to motivate yourself. Since then I’ve come across a lot of useful videos and blogs on learning new skills, but this one blew my mind. I know the statements he makes in the video are pretty simple. And are probably obvious statements to many of you. But I have a confession to make… even after 8 years of learning Japanese I’ve fallen into some of the pitfalls that have stifled my Japanese… With the new year approaching fast I want to first tell you… Read More…

Japanese – Where to Start II

“What do I do once I’ve learnt hiragana and katakana?” In a post last year I advised that the first thing a person starting to learn Japanese should do is learn hiragana and katakana. This post listed various resources you can use to study hiragana and katakana as each person is different in their study approach. It’s important to learn hiragana and katakana as it opens up so many more opportunities for learning the language and helps with pronunciation and reading ability. Since then I’ve seen a lot of people asking “what next?” It’s difficult to pick a direction when… Read More…

Anime Japanese – I & You

Different characters speak differently in anime, and the most recognisable ones are the differences between men and women. We will discuss the full extent men and women are characterised to speak differently in Japanese in a later lesson, but one of the most noticeable differences in anime is the way people refer to themselves and others. Below is a chart of how some of these words are divided up. It’s important to remember though, that although some are more feminine/masculine than others, personal pronouns used in anime are interchangeable depending on the character type (i.e a masculine girl or feminine… Read More…

Anime Japanese – This, There, Where?

There are a lot of Japanese words that pop up regularly in anime and we are going to practice some of these using anime themselves starting with “this/there/where”. In Japanese how you say “this” or “that” depends on where you are in relation to the listener. KO- KO- is used to indicate that you are talking about something close to the speaker. The following 3 are very common uses of this found in anime and everyday life. KORE – means “this” when you are not mentioning the subject. Such as in the picture on the right indicated to the bag, but… Read More…

Studying Anime Japanese – Basic Techniques

I mentioned last week that I was doing an Anime Japanese workshop at the University of Kent, UK. It turned out well! I’ll be following this up with a number of posts on the materials I covered in the workshop and more! Basic techniques you can use when studying anime Japanese Watch lots of anime! This is a bit of a no-brainer. Watching lots of anime will expose you more and more to hearing the language used naturally. As well as to Japanese culture and customs. My listening has always been my strongest part of Japanese simply because I watch so… Read More…