The Minimum Japanese You Need to Know

How much Japanese do you need to know? What Japanese do I need to know? These are tricky questions but ones that beginners really want to know. The following tries to answer these by clearly laying out the minimum Japanese you need to know.   The 80-20 Rule Ever heard of the Pareto Principle? Or maybe the 80-20 rule? To boil it down the idea is that 20% of the efforts bring in 80% of the results. In the context of Japanese you only need to know about 20% of the language to be able to get by 80% of the… 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…

Going to Japan for the First Time Tips & Tricks

You’re going to Japan for the first time ever! Yay! おめでとう! Congratulations! You’re probably excited and nervous. You’ve got where you’re going, your flights and accommodation sorted, but you’re a little unsure of transport and what to do about food. If that’s you then here are some tips and tricks when going to Japan for the first time. (If you don’t know the Japanese alphabets hiragana and katakana I suggest starting here) Restaurants and Food Trains Buses Restaurants and Food I’ve written a lot about different kinds of restaurants, food and useful Japanese to know (see the links below). And… Read More…

The Importance of Using Japanese

Do you find that no matter how much you study, no matter how many days in a row, how many hours you spend a day or points you rack up with apps like Memrise, that you don’t feel like you’re progressing? Maybe it’s because you’re studying Japanese but not using it? This blog covers the importance of using Japanese, now just studying it. In a previous post called Why Repetition is Important I talked about the importance of studying little and often, which focused on the practice of studying Japanese. In fact, most of J-Talk focuses on studying Japanese whether… Read More…

A Simple Way to Start Speaking Japanese

It’s a bit overwhelming to know where to start when learning Japanese. I already posted Japanese – Where to Start which has advice on learning hiragana and katakana, and Japanese – Where to Start II which covers what to do next. So once you know the alphabet and some vocabulary, how do you start speaking Japanese?  Practice the following 3 steps regularly (even at advanced levels) and you will find yourself getting better and better in no time!     1. Speak Japanese This one might seem a bit obvious, but when you’re reading Japanese, any Japanese, read it out loud. This can… 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…

Japan Hacks – Asking For Directions in Japanese

Asking For Directions in Japanese

You might get lost in Japan (actually you probably will get lost) and not all Japanese people know English (in fact hardly any do), so it’s always helpful to be able to ask for and understand directions. Who should I ask? If you try to ask just anyone on the street they will probably not understand you or brush you off and run away. Some of the best people to ask for directions are people in convenience stores, post office staff, policemen, and train station staff.  These people are unlikely to be able to speak English though, so you might… Read More…

Telephone Calls in Japanese

I find that in the day and age where we use email and texting all the time, using the phone can be a daunting experience. Even worse if it’s in another language! The first time I talked on the phone was to a possible WWOOF (volunteering on farms in exchange for food and lodging) host family. I had the possible phrases I would need written in front of me with my Japanese teacher on stand-by. I was so nervous I probably sounded awful and rude! But I’m sure they understood my Japanese wasn’t that great as a foreigner. Even so,… Read More…

Being Sick in Japan

There was no post this week on Wednesday because I was ill. Which although meant I spent the week getting over some kind of cold bug, it also reminded me of the importance of being able to talk to people in Japan about when you’re sick, and what Japan expects from sick people. So this post is about the culture of being sick in Japan and some useful phrases to use if you find yourself sick in Japan. The Differences Between Being Sick in Japan and the West Believe it or not Japanese people expect sick people to act in… Read More…

Practising Japanese with Natives

“It’s so hard to learn Japanese without practising it with someone who knows Japanese”   Believe it or not there are many ways you can meet native Japanese speakers and practice with them! Some are free and others can get pretty pricey, but all are worth it if you put the time and effort into it, and you might even make some good friends out of it! italki.com italki is a fantastic website for meeting Japanese people! You can pay for teachers or find language partners for free! Skype is necessary so you can chat to people. Full review of italki.com here!… Read More…