Using Twitter for Japanese

Social media can be a great tool for learning and practicing Japanese. Not just the language, but the culture and current affairs too. Actually it has so many benefits for learning and practicing Japanese that I don’t know why people don’t do it more often. This post will be focusing on Twitter, although can mostly apply to other social media like Facebook, YouTube, LINE, etc. Benefits of Twitter for Japanese Learn vocabulary and grammar specific to your own interests. See native interactions & natural language usage. Find out about current affairs. Make friends. Able to practice writing and reading.  … Read More…

Techniques to Improve Speaking Fluently [For ALL Levels]

Speaking Japanese can be particularly frustrating for all levels if you don’t practice it. But it often feels like a catch 22. You don’t feel good enough to speak it, so you never practice, which means you don’t feel good enough to speak it! So how do you improve speaking fluently? These are tips and tricks that you can do without a speaking partner to help you get more confident with speaking Japanese fluently.   Say Everything You Read Outloud I’ve touched on this in more detail in A Simple Way to Start Speaking Japanese but you should read everything… Read More…

14 Weeks: 1500 Japanese Words, 280 Kanji, 100 Grammar

This is a great tool to help you teach yourself Japanese for free! I made this half for the Speak Japanese Fluently in Just 1 Year Challenge! (Part 1) and half for someone else. It lays out 14 weeks (3.5 months) of studying the beginner JTalkOnline courses on Memrise. Instead of just studying 1, then moving onto the next, this guide combines vocabulary, kanji and grammar study all at the same time.   What is Memrise? For those that don’t know, Memrise is a website and app (for iOS and Android) which provides you with the software to make and… Read More…

The Best Way to Learn Japanese Particles

Learning Japanese particles as a beginner is a MASSIVE pain in the butt! There are LOTS of guides online for how to use them, but they’re not very useful all the time. Sometimes the explanations are too complicated as they try to explain EVERY possible usage. But it’s mostly difficult because these sites offer no way to practice them. And often the best way to remember how they’re used is to use them yourself. But how do you use Japanese particles? Making up sentences is tricky as a beginner because you’re often tempted to directly translate from English… then things… Read More…

Keeping a Diary in Japanese

You may or may not have ever considered keeping a diary in Japanese. This is actually a really, really, great way to practice Japanese and learn new things! It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started or at an advanced level, keeping a diary is great for learning Japanese!   Why Should I Keep a Japanese Diary?   Improves writing. Improves memory. Introduces you to new words. You use more words relevant to you. Practice words you’ve learned.   What Kind of Diary Should I Use?   To be honest, anything that you know you will use on a regular basis.… Read More…

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…

Why You Shouldn’t Study 1 Hour A Week

I have been studying Japanese for so long that I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t need to study too much (unless I have an exam coming up). So I haven’t felt what it’s like to be a beginner in a long time. Then I started learning Korean and my early days of Japanese came flooding back. When I started learning Japanese it was before the era of smart phones and easy-to-make websites. Which surprisingly enough wasn’t that long ago! I would spend 1 hour a week with a teacher and then would sometimes study on my own and… Read More…

How to Draw Kanji

by Gabriel from Koipun Why learn to draw Kanji? In the era smartphones and computers, is it still worth it to learn how to draw kanji i.e. Japanese handwriting? Nowadays even native Japanese speakers are having a hard time maintaining their handwriting skills. Why should a Japanese learner bother with handwriting? There are actually several great reasons why you should learn Japanese handwriting in this day and age. It is magic. Being able to write kanji by hand from memory feels like being able to cast magic spells, and it is! Being able to write out so many different characters by… Read More…

Advanced Japanese Reading Practice 6

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: ソニーがVRゲーム機器を世界同時発売 羽生結弦に「究極」を超える進化はあるのか 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 a… Read More…

Advanced Japanese Reading Practice 5

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: 大手企業でのキャリアと英語力を活かしSEO対策を提供 お祝いしたいけれど・・・ 悩ましい「敬老の日」事情 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 4

Advanced Reading Practice on Memrise Articles: Pokemon Go の勢いがすごい、公開数日で米国の約750万人がダウンロード 営業マンの印象の良いビジネスメールの特徴 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…

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…

How to Talk About Hobbies in Japanese

Talking about hobbies is a great way to get to know someone when you first meet them! It’s also a good way to use and learn a lot of new verbs and interests in Japanese. Talking about Hobbies in Japanese   “What’s your hobby?” / “What are your hobbies?” 趣味(しゅみ)は何(なに)?                 [Casual] 趣味(しゅみ)は何(なん)ですか?     [Polite] (しゅみは) [noun] だ。              [Casual] (しゅみは) [noun] です。          [Polite] Note: You see lots of articles online saying 「わたしのしゅみは___です」, but this is a very “textbook” answer and sounds very wooden… Read More…

Study Japanese When You’re Busy

Studying another language can be a challenge, especially when you’re busy. Even just sitting down for even 20 minutes a day can be hard! But it’s really not impossible. Here are some tricks to help study Japanese when you’re busy.   1. Label Everything This is a great trick when you’re starting out. Label all the objects in your house/office in Japanese. Don’t write the English, just the Japanese. That way you can read the Japanese for those objects every day. It doesn’t take long to label things and it’s great practice. You can even cover the labels with another… Read More…

I Don’t Have Time to Study Japanese

“I want to learn Japanese, but don’t have the time to study.” Have you ever said this to yourself? Have you thought about studying Japanese but then it’s suddenly 10pm and you did nothing? Yeah, we’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s hard to put aside the time to study. Especially everyday! You have real life stuff getting in the way like that one TV show, or school, or work. At least… that’s what you tell yourself. If you really, really, really want to learn Japanese then here are some suggestions for fitting it into your busy life. – Find Little… 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…

Achieving Japanese Goals

Happy New Year!!! With the new year we all set ourselves goals. I want to learn Japanese, to pass the JLPT, to be able to read a manga. I’ve had similar goals in the past, but actually achieving Japanese goals has never gone quite as planned. There can be a number of reasons for this. The following is suggestions for achieving Japanese goals in 2017! Break Down Your Goals Saying “I want to teach myself Japanese” is a great goal! Buuut it’s not easy to achieve because it is so big. Even saying something like “I want to read manga” can… Read More…

How Not to Use Memrise

Memrise is one of my favorite tools for studying Japanese. That’s well known to people who have read previous Japanese Talk articles. I’ve created many courses for others through JTalkOnline as well as lists for my own study. What is Memrise? For those that don’t know, Memrise is a free online community created flashcard program with spaced repetition software. You are rewarded for studying by gaining points, and can compare your points to others. Because the courses are created by the community there are a HUGE number of courses for Japanese (and other languages). Some are made by people like myself… Read More…

Top 10 Japanese Talk Online Articles

Japanese Talk Online is 3 today!!! 誕生日おめでとう!!! Japanese Talk has actually been a thing for longer than 3 years, but it became Japanese Talk Online 3 years ago today. I never imagined I would keep it up. That I would have so much to write about studying Japanese. Or that I would have helped so many people learn and improve and have fun with Japanese! It’s just crazy! I have written a lot of articles over the last 3 years, and had a number of guest posts too! So many of them are easily missed unless you’re bored enough to… Read More…

Review of Japanese Kanji Study Android App

  Japanese Kanji Study is probably the best app I’ve ever used for studying kanji. I’ve studied kanji in many different ways over the years. Books, classes, apps, drilled kanji, read kanji, my own flashcards, etc. But nothings worked in quite the same way as Kanji Study has. Here’s why…   Japanese Kanji Study Android App Features This app has a LOT going on. I love how much it has. The creator, Chase, worked incredible hard to create an app that would suit how he wanted to learn. He was using the White Rabbit kanji flashcards but found they weren’t practical… 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…

Videos About Learning Languages

Often in the process of studying Japanese I’ll hit a point where I need inspiration and advice to get me motivated again. The best thing for that are videos about learning languages. This post looks at some of the best inspirational and useful videos for learning languages and a breakdown of their core lessons (an idea I got after Japan Therapy posted one on her facebook page). These videos mostly talk about learning a language through speaking it to the point where you can have conversations in a foreign language. I’ve written down their core tips but do watch every… 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…

Learning Business Japanese as a Beginner I

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…

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…

JET Teaching in Japan

Many people interested in Japan are interested in moving there. Quite often that means an interest in teaching English in Japan either through JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) or another program. If you want to get a foot in the door to work in Japan, or to get better at Japanese I strongly suggest applying to JET or another teaching program in Japan. You don’t need any Japanese language experience or qualification either. I’ve asked a few current teachers for advice on their teaching programs, working in Japan, and advice for people interested in teaching in Japan. 1) Why did… 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…

How To Make a Memrise Course

  [I have two translation exams coming up in the next few days so I had to put my originally planned post on hold while I whipped this up super quick. Sorry about this, but hope people find it useful anyway!] It’s amazing how well a lot of the J-Talk Online Memrise courses are doing. I’m thrilled to see so many people using it to learn Japanese. Since I started creating courses in March 2014 (over a year ago!) I’ve made 20 courses with the most popular courses being the Anime Japanese for Beginners, Beginners Japanese Grammar 1, Japanese Counters… Read More…