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…

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 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…

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…

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…

Japanese Asadora Bite Size Drama

Drama are great ways to practice Japanese. They are made by Japanese people for Japanese people telling Japanese stories. Often it’s hard to pick a good drama to watch if you don’t know drama very well. Which is why I think asadora are some of the best dramas for practising Japanese. Japanese asadora bite size drama, they’re only 15 minute long episodes, are easy and simple to watch, and are great for advanced and intermediate practice. These are not for beginners. Because of the conversational Japanese, thick accents and often historic phrases used, Japanese asadora are normally best for intermediate and … Read More…

Best Japanese Study Resources

There are a lot of lists like this on the internet yet quite often I find they only list the most popular resources, not the best Japanese study resources. The following list are some of the best Japanese study resources that I have personally used in the last 10 years of studying Japanese that I highly recommend to anyone (not including dictionaries). I find that as you study what resources you find useful will constantly change, so it’s always good to research what will suit you best for that time. If you have any suggestions feel free to post them … Read More…

Study Kanji Kentei, Learn Kanji, Profit

Use the Kanji Kentei to improve your Japanese What is the Kanji Kentei? The full name of the Kanji Kentei is actually the 日本漢字能力検定 (Nihon Kanji Nōryoku Kentei, shortened to Kankei by Japanese people) or the Japanese Kanji Aptitude Test, and is an exam that tests your kanji ability. The thing about this exam is that it’s designed for Japanese people by Japanese people and so is can be very hard, even for Japanese people, but can be passed, even by foreigners. There are 12 levels of the exam each testing you on kanji’s reading, writing, on’yomi, kun’yomi, stroke order, the ability … Read More…

Learning Business Japanese as a Beginner II

More foreigners are doing business with Japan than ever before. Whether this is interaction with Japanese clients, working directly for a Japanese company, or working as an assistant language teacher in Japan, more and more people are getting involved with Japan. So language is becoming more and more important. You might not need to learn Japanese for work, but if you’re interacting with Japanese people it’s a good opportunity to learn if you want to. I think wanting to makes a huge impact to studying because it can be something enjoyable, a hobby if you will, rather than a chore. Many resources … Read More…

What Makes a Good Manga Translation?

You might think translating manga is just turning Japanese into English, but that’s not the case. A good manga translation is a lot more than that. Many people want to translate manga but there is not much information on how to start translating manga. This series looks at different aspects of translating manga for beginners, with the aim of helping you be a great manga translation and improve the overall quality of manga translation online. Translating Manga for Beginners Part 1: Resources Part 2: Translating SFX (Sound Effects) Part 3: Good Manga Translation Part 4: Translating Accents Part 5: Formatting Translations … Read More…

Lessons Learnt as a Beginner Translator

Japanese manga translation cho no michiyuki

Happy International Translation Day! Yes, September 30th is International Translation Day, a day when people all over the world celebrate translation in all its glory. A quick look on Wikipedia reveals that this has been going on since 1953 and always falls on the 30th September the day of the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators. As I am only new to industry I felt like sharing my lessons learnt as a beginner translator. These are mostly from mistakes I’ve made over the last year rather than from my MA in Translation, … Read More…

Japanese Weather Reports

Japanese Weather

This post covers Japanese weather reports, providing you with a vocabulary list of weather and verbs to practice. If you watch the news in Japan then the weather report will be shown, and although you can guess what’s being said based on what’s being shown it helps a lot to understand it. This post does cover very basic weather vocabulary which might be had with average Japanese people, but it focuses more on intermediate and advanced vocabulary and sentences used in Japanese weather reports. In How to Read Japanese Newspapers we covered what to expect from newspaper articles but also useful tools like Rikai-chan … Read More…

Japanese Idioms & Proverbs

A Japanese friend visited me a few weeks ago and I as showed her around London the topic of idioms came up. I was helping her with her English and I mentioned “the grass is always greener on the other side” which does have an equivalent phrase in Japanese. So I’d like to discuss some of the m ore useful phrases you might want to use when meeting Japanese people or when travelling in Japan. I know there are a few other sites that talk about these (I’ll link them at the bottom), but I asked a friend for ones that … Read More…

Translation for Beginners – Japanese Translation Agencies

I previously mentioned my studies as an MA student doing translation at SOAS in London. The biggest disappointment has been the lack of vocational information, in other words, useful information for working in the real world, such as with Japanese translation agencies (or agencies in general). There is a large focus on the academic side when 95% of the students are unlikely to become academics. I attended a free Q&A recently with a translation agency in London (who dealt with a variety of languages) who are finding it hard to get good translators. Their Q&A sessions was a way to … Read More…

Tips for When You Take the JLPT N1

The JLPT N1 is said to be an incredibly difficult exam even with years of studying under your belt, and a lot of it has to do with how good you are at exams rather than Japanese. I wrote previously about studying for the JLPT N1 and I even mentioned some other blogs which provide their own advice for studying for the exam. I’ve looked online but there are not many tips for taking the exam itself. So although many of you are probably masters of the exam by this point, here are some tips and tricks you can use when … Read More…

Tips for Studying for the JLPT N1

For those that probably aren’t aware, I took the JLPT N1 exam a few weeks ago (July 2015). This was the first time I’ve taken the exam. I took the N2 in July 2013 in Japan and managed to scrape by it. I felt like I was significantly better prepared for this exam compared to the N2 and yet felt like the N1 had decided to clean house and use my face as the mob. It was painful. Whether I failed or managed to skim a pass I won’t know until September. But either way I plan on re-taking the … Read More…

A Review of MA in Thoery and Practice of Translation, SOAS

  For the past year, from September 2014 until September 2015, I have been doing an MA in the Theory and Practice of Translation (Japanese) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. (Updated 2016) My decision to do this had always been a Plan B as SOAS is seen to be a very prestigious school and there are not many Japanese translation courses in the UK. And due to reasons, my decision and application to the school was a bit of a rush job (done in just 3 days). I had looked at the program in … Read More…

Try! JLPT Grammar Book

The 「Try! 日本語能力試験   文法から伸ばす日本語」or “Try! JLPT – Studying Japanese from Grammar” is the best Japanese grammar book I have ever used for learning JLPT grammar. I mentioned before that grammar is my weakness. I am so bad at grammar, partially because I don’t know English grammar (terms, I know how to use it naturally), and partially because I find it difficult and boring to practice. HOWEVER, this is the first time I’ve actually understood Japanese grammar and enjoyed learning them! Try! is a fairly new series of grammar books published in 2014, so unlike Nihongo Somatome and Shin Kanzen … Read More…

How to Read Japanese Newspapers

Being able to read Japanese newspapers is considered to be one goal for becoming “fluent” in Japanese. For some it might be a sign of fluency, for others a challenge, and perhaps a few just enjoy reading the news and keeping up-to-date with what’s going on in Japan. This post looks at the difficulties of reading Japanese Newspapers and highlights things to keep an eye out for. As well as suggestions for further readings and other resources to help you become a Japanese newspaper master. Rikkai-kun doing its stuff One magical tool which will be useful for reading the following … Read More…

Being “Fluent” In Japanese

“What does it mean to be fluent in Japanese?”   When I tell people I speak Japanese they often ask “are you fluent?” to which I often reply “no, not yet”. Yet I’ve been thinking more about this question, and realised that what you define as “fluent” can vary from person to person.  According to Google the definition for “fluent” is: 1. able to express oneself easily and articulately. 2. smoothly graceful and effortless. I mentioned before on the Why Repetition is Important post, that to me getting to the point where you can do something without even thinking about it, is fluent. … 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…

Why Repetition is Important

“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…

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…

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 radio … 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…