14 Weeks: 1500 Japanese Words, 280 Kanji, 100 Grammar

This is a great tool to help you teach yourself Japanese for free! I made this half for the Speak Japanese Fluently in Just 1 Year Challenge! (Part 1) and half for someone else. It lays out 14 weeks (3.5 months) of studying the beginner JTalkOnline courses on Memrise. Instead of just studying 1, then moving onto the next, this guide combines vocabulary, kanji and grammar study all at the same time.   What is Memrise? For those that don’t know, Memrise is a website and app (for iOS and Android) which provides you with the software to make and… Read More…

The Best Way to Learn Japanese Particles

Learning Japanese particles as a beginner is a MASSIVE pain in the butt! There are LOTS of guides online for how to use them, but they’re not very useful all the time. Sometimes the explanations are too complicated as they try to explain EVERY possible usage. But it’s mostly difficult because these sites offer no way to practice them. And often the best way to remember how they’re used is to use them yourself. But how do you use Japanese particles? Making up sentences is tricky as a beginner because you’re often tempted to directly translate from English… then things… 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…

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…

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…

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…

I’m Afraid of Kanji

I’ve noticed that lots of people want to start learning Japanese but the prospect of kanji is intimidating. A lot of people tell me they’re afraid of kanji, and don’t want to learn it! It’s not like hiragana and katakana which seems simple and phonetic. There are lots of lines and shapes, and the idea of having to memorize over 2000 is even more frightening. But you don’t have to be afraid of kanji, and once you start studying you might even find it fun!   Take Baby Steps No one’s saying to need to learn all 2000 in one… Read More…

JLPT – Hitting the Wall

With only two and a half weeks before the JLPT for July 2015 some of you may be feeling a number of things. Stress, anxiety, boredom. Keeping yourself motivated is something I’ve written about in the past but I feel like at this point it would help to go over some points, and bring forth some new ones specifically for the JLPT.   First of all DON’T PANIC You’re probably behind schedule and have found another 100 things or more that you need to study, but first thing is not to panic. Panicking causes stress and anxiety which begins to interfere… Read More…

Japanese – Where to Start II

Japanese - Where to Start

“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…

Reading Practice for Beginners

When you start learning Japanese you learn the hiragana and katakana along with vocabulary and grammar, but if you’re teaching yourself you won’t often get much reading practice to combine all those skills together in a useful way. So how do you practice? It’s good to start reading soon! It not only allows you to practice your vocabulary and grammar but also your understanding of Japanese sentences. This is particularly important at the higher levels where 80% of what you’re exposed to will depend on your comprehension of the language. The following are suggestions for beginner JLPT N5/N4 level learners.… Read More…

NEW ~ JLPT N5 Memrise Course

J-Talk Online Memrise JLPT N5 It’s done! I am thrilled to announce the J-Talk Online JLPT N5 course for beginners is finished! (I spent the last 2 days putting together so very happy I have it in working order.) In the last few weeks I made some posts about JLPT N5 I mentioned how memrise has courses for JLPT N5 and N4, but the courses has a lot of advanced kanji and were pretty random. Which is GREAT if you’re a higher level wanting to take JLPT N3 or if you want to over learn not necessarily for the exams),… Read More…

JLPT N5 – Study Methods and Resources

I’ve talked previously about taking the JLPT but I felt like I was a bit vague when it came to beginners as there aren’t actually that many specific text books for the lower levels because there are plenty of others that cover the basics of Japanese. So this guide is made using those and other online advice for complete beginners wanting to take the JLPT exams whether it be for masochistic fun, to push your language ability, or for school.   What do I need to know to pass JLPT N5? First of all it’s good to know what exactly… Read More…