Should I Read for Fun or Read for Study?

Should I Read for Fun or Read for Study?

Read for fun or read for study? AKA extensive or intensive reading? I’m specifically referring to reading books in Japanese, but this can be applied to any subject or language you want to learn.   Extensive reading is a fancy way of saying reading for fun. The “extensive” implying that you want to read as much and as wide ranging as possible in the language you’re studying. Honestly I think you should just read whatever you want to read. Forcing yourself to read subjects you find boring because you think you should read them can be counter productive. The point is… Read More…

0 Shares

5 Japanese Light Novels for JLPT N3 Level Learners

What makes a Japanese light novels a “light” novel? I honestly don’t know. I used to think it was because they were written with easier to understand Japanese for younger readers, but that’s really not the case! (You have light novels like Overlord or Tanya which have very difficult Japanese.) Which was why finding five Japanese light novels for JLPT N3 level learners was a challenge! I purposefully picked five light novels that also have anime. Why? Because you’ll probably already be familiar with the story if you’ve watched the anime. Watching anime and reading light novels from the same… Read More…

0 Shares

Studying Japanese Through Translation

There are a plethora of English translations of Japanese novels and out there. But is reading translations a good way to study Japanese? Can you learn Japanese effectively through translation? This article looks at some methods for studying Japanese through translation, and discusses if it’s an effective way to learn Japanese. This will only focus on studying Japanese language and NOT on studying Japanese translation. If you’re interested in studying Japanese translation I recommend checking out the J-En Translations blog.   Techniques for Studying Japanese Through Translation For this I tested these techniques on two books, If Cats Disappeared From the World and… Read More…

0 Shares

How to Get from Intermediate to Advanced Japanese

Many language learners hit this point around intermediate level where they feel like they’ve plateaued. It’s the same for Japanese learners, coming in at around JLPT N3 to N2 level. This point, where you feel yourself stagnating, is the time to change up your approach to studying Japanese! Here is how you get from intermediate to advanced levels with your Japanese learning.   70% Consume, 30% Study Up until the plateau, most of Japanese learners’ time is taken up by studying. Especially if they attend Japanese classes. This means focusing on a textbook, studying for tests, doing homework; all important… Read More…

18 Shares

Hacks for Reading Japanese Novels

Hacks for Reading Japanese Novels

  I recently shared on Twitter how I had just finished reading a novel and felt inspired to write something useful about it. The following are a few hacks I’ve developed/picked up while reading Japanese novels. Hope you find them useful for your own reading! Bookmark Names and Terms Not that you should highlight every name or term, but instead write frequently used universe terms and names onto a piece of paper used as a bookmark. These are great because you can quickly reference terms as you come across them without having to flick back to a previous page where… Read More…

3 Shares

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…

36 Shares

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…

119 Shares

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…

37 Shares

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…

6 Shares

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…

1 Shares

Beginners Japanese Reading

It’s often hard for beginners to find suitable materials for practicing Japanese reading. It’s tricky to find something suitable for you because every person is different. What you learn as a beginner, what you enjoy, what works best for you, etc., will be different from someone else. Below are some suggestions (including pros and cons) for beginners Japanese reading and listening including text books and materials made for young Japanese natives.   Beginner’s Japanese Reading Books Textbooks If you’re in a class and working through a textbook there will often be reading sections. These are great because they will cover… Read More…

42 Shares

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 (1800 vocabulary for N5 and N4) Standard (2400 vocabulary for N3) Intermediate (2500 vocabulary for N2) Advanced (2800 vocabulary for N1) (Each range between $27-$31)   I like this series because they are simple. Each chapter is… Read More…

4 Shares

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…

21 Shares

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… Read More…

3 Shares

Top 10 Japanese Language Android Apps

Top 10 Japanese Language Android Apps memrise

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…

11 Shares

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…

12 Shares

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…

1 Shares

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…

25 Shares

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…

5 Shares

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…

10 Shares

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…

4 Shares

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…

35 Shares

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,… Read More…

4 Shares

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…

6 Shares

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…

104 Shares

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…

21 Shares

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…

2 Shares

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.   For example – 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 a different starting… Read More…

12 Shares

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…

45 Shares

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…

19 Shares