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…

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…

10 Ways to 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

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…

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…

Video Game Japanese

When I was 11 my sister got our very first video game, Final Fantasy IX. Little did I know it would greatly shape me to be who I am today. I’m sure many people who fall in love with video games have found the same thing, but for those who fall in love with Japanese video games, it can be so much more. For many it’s not anime or manga which is their gateway drug to studying Japanese language and culture, but video games. And for many of these people, being able to understand games in Japanese is the sole… 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…

Resources for Translating Manga for Beginners

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 in Word Files Manga Helpers Community This is a great website for people interested in manga, anime, light novels, and visual novels. But more importantly, people… Read More…

Japanese Weather Reports

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…

JLPT N3 – Study Methods and Resources

A long time ago I talked 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. As a result I wrote this post on taking the JLPT N5 and another for JLPT N4 with what the exam is, resources and study methods (which is why the  posts are very similar, and by very similar I mean practically identical but with the links updated and text changed slightly). This guide is exactly… 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…

Learning Japanese Radicals

Radicals (or in Japanese, ぶしゅ 部首) are the roots which kanji are made up of. Every single kanji in the Japanese language has at least one radical. Now you can get by without learning these radicals, but when you begin learning similar kanji it begins to get difficult to distinguish the differences between them, and you will wish you had at least a basic understanding of radicals. So, let’s take for example, the following 3 kanji (all N4 level): The following kanji all have the radical for 寺 in them (on the right), which means “temple”. But each one has… 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…

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…

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

“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 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…