Why You MUST Read in Japanese

When I started learning Japanese I drilled vocabulary, grammar and kanji. In my young mind language = words. For many years that was all I focused on, figuring that listening and reading was only achievable from learning this core information. Yes, vocabulary, grammar and kanji are incredibly important. But they mean nothing if you don’t read. You don’t magically learn how to read just from learning this information. You learn to read by reading. Reading then supplements and adds to your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and kanji. But reading does SO much more than that.   First Attempts to Read… Read More…

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Reading Japanese Intensified – Review of Tango Risto

If you’re anything like me and you struggle to improve your reading then you want to get Tango Risto. I have always struggled with reading comprehension. It is the hardest part of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and a must need for any level of Japanese. I try to read novels to improve this but that means I lack a core amount of Japanese vocabulary and grammar. Namely, the news. In the past I tried my own 2 Week Japanese Reading Challenge but going out of your way to find a good article for your level can be hard. Tango… Read More…

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Lose Yourself in Japanese: “Let Me Eat Your Pancreas” 「君の膵臓を食べたい」

Last year I picked up a book from Kinokuniya called 「君の膵臓を食べたい」(Kimi no Suizou wo Tabetai). I didn’t realize at the time was a great book it was. To the point where I would become so enthralled that I forgot I was practicing my Japanese. This is the kind of story that you want to find when you’re learning Japanese. One that you lose yourself in to the point where you’re not studying, you’re using Japanese.   “Let Me Eat Your Pancreas” 「君の膵臓を食べたい」Novel Japanese Level Other Media Live Action Movie Manga Anime Movie (coming 2018) Genre Drama Short Description A young boy… Read More…

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Improve Japanese Reading [2 Week Challenge]

Improve Japanese Reading Challenge

Learning vocabulary, kanji and (to a point) grammar, can be easy to do by yourself. But reading, speaking, listening and writing can be more of a challenge. I recently asked Patreon supporters what kind of challenges they would like to try to improve these Japanese skills. The most voted on was Japanese reading. The following is a 2 week challenge of my own design which I am testing out myself. I’m going to record my daily progress on the Japanese Talk Online Twitter and then discuss the results at the end. I encourage people try this along with me and tweet… Read More…

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Reading Japanese Texts in an Innovative Way

One of the most difficult aspects of learning Japanese for any level of ability, is reading Japanese texts. In particular Japanese that’s written for native Japanese people. It doesn’t matter what level you’re at vocabulary, kanji, and grammar that you haven’t studied will appear. This often means that reading is slow and difficult as you spend a lot of time looking up words and kanji. Then you have to take your notes and vocabulary and learn them! Putting the time and effort into doing this is a HUGE benefit to your Japanese abilities, but it’s also a chore, and even… Read More…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Reading Novels – Breaking into Japanese Literature Review

“I want to be able to read Japanese novels”  (If you’re not yet convinced that being able to read Japanese novels is worth it check out this article). When I picked up my first Japanese novel I think I managed to get about 3 pages in before giving up. It was Kino no Tabi and I must have read the first page a billion times trying to get through my first novel. So I thought maybe I should try an easier novel. I got 7 pages into that one, and then 13 pages into my third attempt! But each time… Read More…

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Using Japanese Popular Media in Self Study

“Studying Japanese can be so boring sometimes and I just don’t have the time for it”   Japanese can be fun, you make time for it if it’s fun. Many people who want to study Japanese, or are studying Japanese, are doing so because they have come in contact with some form of Japanese popular media and it inspires them to learn Japanese. This is not a bad thing and I think it’s really unfair when people of high Japanese level (often professionals) criticise young people for being interested in Japan and Japanese because they “only like manga and anime”.… Read More…

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