How to Draw Kanji

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

Japanese Reading

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

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

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

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

Top 10 Japanese Language 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

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…

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…

My Japanese Study Routine

As I mentioned in the last post on Finding Your Daily Study Routine everyone works differently using different resources and methods to learn Japanese. The following is my own routine, what works for me, what doesn’t and how this has changed over time and why. Hopefully this will help give people a better idea of how to study Japanese in your spare time.   Goals First of all, I don’t set a fixed number of hours aside a day to study. I’ve tried it in the past and it’s always been detrimental for me because I feel like I HAVE to … Read More…

Finding Your Daily Japanese Study Routine

Every person’s study routine is different. Not only does it change from person to person but can vary over time. This post talks about different study routines you can do, why it’s important to keep it varied, and how to find one that works best for you. For someone who is just starting out it’s hard to get into the swing of a daily routine, but persistence brings out the best results. How your study routine plays out depends very much on the type of resources you use and how you learn best, which is why the following has a … Read More…

Using NHK to Practice Japanese – Beginners to Advance

For those that don’t know NHK is the Japanese Broadcasting Network. A bit similar to the UK’s BBC, it runs regular new reports and articles on local and international affairs. They actually have websites in many different languages (including English) if you want to read about current affairs in Japan without needing to read the Japanese. Besides learning about Japanese affairs as they happen, NHK can be a great resource for studying the language for all levels. Beginners NHK Online Lessons: NHK offers free online lessons for beginners learning Japanese using MP3 and pdf worksheets. They release 10 minute radio … Read More…

Studying Japanese Grammar

“I find it hard to learn Japanese Grammar” In the past I’ve tried to explain basic Japanese sentence structure and introduced “masu” form, but I’ve not gone into much detail on how to learn these. That’s difficult thing about Japanese grammar, you can’t just read about it and expect to know it. There are hundreds of websites that explain grammar to you and tell you what you need to know for the various JLPT levels, but not much on how you learn that. I guess to sum it up you just have to keep using it in different situations. But what’s the … Read More…

Japanese Textbooks for Teaching Yourself Japanese

“What text books should I use for teaching myself Japanese?”   Using text books to learn Japanese can be tricky business because they are often made for class studying rather than self study, but it doesn’t mean they’re not useful if you can’t afford the time or money for classes. First of all when studying Japanese it’s good to know the answers to these questions: Why are you studying Japanese? What’s your goal? It could be to read manga, watch anime without subtitles, to be able to read/speak it while on holiday or for a possible career. Your answer will … Read More…

An Introduction to Japanese Verbs – “masu” Form

A lot of Japanese grammar is based in it’s verbs which when conjugated (changed into a different form) can give a very different meaning to the sentence.   The Basics of Japanese Verbs – “masu”* Form *Pronounced “mass” rather than “ma-su”, but in Japanese characters is spelt ま”ma” す “su” A few examples: かきます – “kakimasu” = to write いきます – “ikimasu” = to go たべます – “tabemasu” = to eat ねます – “nemasu” = to sleep します – “shimasu” = to do きます – “kimasu” = to come Most people when they begin to learn Japanese learn the “masu” … Read More…