The Benefits of Studying in Japan

A lot of people who learn Japanese do it in their home country. Which is great, but they often never consider actually studying it in Japan. Visiting Japan, sure, but never to go for a long period to study it. But there are so many benefits from studying in Japan! It was my friend who suggested we studied in Japan and I’ve studied there two more times since then! I loved it so much, it’s well worth going if you’re serious about Japanese. NOTE: It seems like many people think I’m talking about studying at University in Japan. But no! There… 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…

Advice on Short-term Study Abroad in Japan

  This is a guest post written by Jennifer from Japan Therapy. I’ve had guest posts before but this is my first collaboration! I wrote an article for her site on Visiting Japan on a Budget while Becoming Fluent in Japanese. Her site and facebook details are below so definitely check her stuff out! — Studying abroad in Japan is a great way to get introduced to the country. Living in another country for a while can be difficult at times, especially if it’s your first time out your home country. A short-term study abroad program is a perfect way… Read More…

Review of NILS Language School Fukuoka

In 2013 I spent 6 months in Fukuoka studying at a private school called NILS. They provide lessons from 1 month to 2 years for a variety of levels at reasonable prices (compared to many language schools). I’ve had a few people ask me about them and they want me to write a recommendation for their site so I figured why not kill two birds with one stone? NILS Japanese Language School – Website   Overview of the school NILS is based in Fukuoka. It has 2 campuses, one outside of Fukuoka (but not far away) for long term students who… 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…

Studying Japanese In Japan

One of the best experiences anyone can do is studying Japanese in Japan. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a week or two, a month, a year, or more. If you’re interested in learning Japanese and Japan then going to the country is the best way to do it. The following are tips and some suggestions for going to Japan for different periods of time. These are for all ages, whether you’re in your teens in school or in your 40s and working, it’s never too late to go out to Japan for any length of time. How to Choose… Read More…

Let’s go! Ikimashou! – Guest Post

行きましょう! (Let’s go! Ikimashou!)             So imagine… you’re teaching English in Japan and winter vacation rolls around. Oh, what will you do? Well, ☆THIS GUY☆ decided to hit up Tokyo, because… why not?! 行きましょう to Akihabara(秋葉原), the Electric Town of Tokyo! Akihabara is also known as the geek (オタク otaku)mecca of Japan. If you are a geek who loves video games (テレビゲーム terebi gemu) and comics (まんが manga) you need to come here someday. I always come here to check out video games. And, my favorite ramen(らめん) shop, Kyushu Jangara Ramen, just so happens to be in Akihabara too.   … Read More…

Japan Hacks – History Nerds in Japan

If you are a bit of a Japanese history fan there are a LOT of places in Japan you should go visit. Some of these might be obvious ones, and others probably not so much. The following list is based on the most popular tourist destinations: Tokyo and Kyoto. I wish I could list all the amazing places in Japan based on historic events and people but I don’t know them all. These are just the locations myself and friends visited on our last trip. If you know of any others please leave a comment so that other people might… Read More…

Japan Hacks – What to do if you’re sick in Japan

sick in Japan

I previously did a post on being sick in Japan but that covered the differences between being sick in the West vs Japan, and phrases to use to get help if you know Japanese. This post is about when you’re in Japan on HOLIDAY and you get sick, you don’t know the language or what to do! This happened to me on my most recent trip. A combination of jet-lag, only a few hours sleep in 48hours and unhealthy food almost took me out with a cold. Luckily I was able to get amazing Japanese cold medicine and it fixed it… Read More…

Japan Hacks – Snacking in Japan

When sight-seeing in Japan you might find yourself walking A LOT and so it’s very important to keep yourself hydrated and sufficiently fuelled for the day. You might think that you can just go to any restaurant or shop when you’re hungry but what I found was that often there aren’t always resturants or cafes where you’re going, and if the place you’re going to is particularly touristy you might not be able to get a seat right away (especially if you’re with lots of people). This post is about rationing food and the best things to eat from convenience stores when out… 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…

Japan Hacks – Dealing with Long Flights and Jet-lag

If you are flying to Japan from Europe or the Americas you’re going to have to travel a long way. We’ve managed to position ourselves so that Europe, North America and Japan are almost 1/3 of the world away from each other (depending of where you are in North America because that is a fat continent). What is Jet-lag? For those that don’t know jet-lag occurs when you travel through over 2 or more time-zones and throws your natural body-clock out of whack. You feel tired and hungry at weird times of the day, and it can really impact your… Read More…

Japan Hacks – Preparing For Japan

This is the first instalment of specials called “Japan Hacks” which is about how to prepare and visit Japan if you are a first timer only going for a few weeks. These will be posted as I’m in Japan on my own short holiday and experiencing it as a tourist. Because of this they will be short and to the point. Plan Your Trip First you need to ask yourself some pretty important questions: Why do you want to go to Japan? What do you most want to see? Is it Japan’s history, or art, or popular culture that you… Read More…

A Cheap Way to Visit Japan – WWOOF

“I have no money, but I really want to go to Japan!” – The first time I ever visited Japan was in 2008 when I was on my gap year. I had worked at a shop for several months beforehand to save up enough money for the flights and a few weeks in a school, but I wanted to spend longer in Japan and WWOOF was the perfect option. WWOOF stands for “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms” and is basically what it says on the tin. It’s an organisation present in about 99 countries where organic farms can sign… Read More…

Understanding ばいと敬語 Shop Japanese

Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan – A guide to understanding shop Japanese バイトけいご When you go to a shop or restaurant in Japan, even if you’ve learnt you basics of Japanese, it can be hard to understand what the shop assistance are saying. Not only are they saying sentences they’ve been saying all day everyday which makes them more like automated lines, but they also use a mutated form of Japanese they you would not have learnt in lessons. Even if you’re learning up to JLPT N1 level “shop speak” isn’t a topic that’s normally covered in conventional lessons. This… Read More…

Restaurant Japanese – Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan

When you go visit Japan you are most likely to eat out in a restaurant at least once at some point during your visit. So here are some tips on ordering, understanding the server and some general restaurant vocabulary that you might find useful. All the vocabulary and phrases are being added to a new Memrise course on the JTalkOnline Memrise page! There’s also a general course that has the basics on restaurants along with a variety of other topics: Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan Last week’s post: Different types of Japanese restaurants and what to expect  — Getting a Table The… Read More…

Restaurants in Japan

Apologise for the late post but I’m in Tokyo on a business trip and it’s been non-stop for almost a week. Being out here though, is reminding me of some useful Japanese, especially restaurants in Japan. So this week is about food in Japan when you go to visit and useful vocabulary and phrases to use when going to a restaurant (which will all be on Memrise as well). Although I realised that this was quite a large topic, so it will be split into 2 posts with this one about restaurants and the next about useful Japanese phrases which… 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…

Japanese Signs – Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan

In a previous post Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan I explained about phrases that would be essential for visiting Japan. Especially if you were staying with a Japanese family. So this post is about signs you’ll see around Japan, especially the common ones that are important to know. To make it easier to learn them I have images that show examples of the signs you’ll see in Japan along with explanations for the kanji. The kanji explanations show where the words come from and how they’re read on their own in comparison to a kanji compound (when 2 or more… Read More…

Essential Japanese for Visiting Japan

“I’m going to Japan but I don’t know much Japanese”   This is great Japanese for if you’re studying in Japan and/or doing homestay. Well first thing’s first, try and learn the hiragana and katakana. I try to have all my posts in hiragana and katakana (not kanji for beginners posts) so that you can practice reading it. There are so many sites that just use romaji (western characters) and it hurts my head. Learning the alphabets are useful if you’re going to visit anyway (for things like menus and to help with pronunciation of words so people can understand… Read More…