If you’re super cool and observant, you may have noticed that the menu bar at the top of the site has changed. That’s because we’ve cleaned up the site a bit, updated the ancient About page, cut down on categories for articles and most importantly, added a new page to the site – Japanese Resources! [Read more…]
Passing the JLPT at any level requires being able to read some Japanese and of course the best way to learn to read is well….reading stuff. The problem with reading is that it’s really hard. For most of us below the JLPT Level 1, pulling out a newspaper, book, or magazine in Japanese and just reading and understanding it is next to impossible to do in a reasonable amount of time. To be fair, those newspapers, books, and magazines are written for adults and the JLPT only tests up to a middle school level of language comprehension. If our Japanese reading level is the same as kids, why not read like one? Most people solve this problem using manga, but the JLPT makes you to read paragraphs not text bubbles with pictures. Thanks to my JLPT prep class teacher, I found a great way to study for the JLPT: Japanese Newspapers for Kids! [Read more…]
I get all kinds of weird questions in my e-mail inbox. Sometimes they’re creepy, sometimes they’re hilarious, sometimes they’re interesting, and sometimes they’re a part of a pattern. This is one of those patterns. A few times a month I’ll get the following question:
What is the best Japanese Language electronic dictionary?
Once I get the same question too many times, there’s a good likelihood that I’ll just write the answer via a post here, which is exactly what’ I’m doing. So, what is the best Japanese Language electronic dictionary out there? Let’s find out. [Read more…]
With the advent of computers, e-mail, and all those other fancy things that causes our handwriting to be terrible and makes us dependent on spell check, getting opportunities to actually write kanji with our hands is becoming rarer and rarer. I know my hands hurt several seconds into writing something. I have weak hands that a grandma would scoff at (though they’re very beautiful, I’m pretty sure I could go into hand modeling if this whole blogging thing doesn’t work out).
The other day I got an e-mail from Skritter. They’re a pretty rag-tag bunch, but I like that. Skritter lets you practice writing kanji using various flash card sets (either Skritter made, community made, or you-made). Sure, you could do all this with your hands, but here’s what makes Skritter interesting. [Read more…]
(Be sure to stick around to the end, where you can win some goodies from FlutterScape) In the past, I’ve written about a few ways you can buy things from Japan. Most of them have been so-so at best. Finally (seriously, it’s about time), someone’s come up with something that works pretty darn well (I’ll tell you about my experience in a bit), and that something is FlutterScape.
FlutterScape seems a little complicated at first, but really it’s quite simple. There are people in Japan going around to various stores taking pictures of things they want to sell. They don’t buy these things from the store until you buy them. Once you buy the item, they go to the store, get the item, and send it to FluttersScape HQ in Japan. Once FlutterScape gets it they forward the money along (or will send it back to you if the person never gets the item for you) and will send the item to you. Seems complicated, but all you really need to know is that you can safely buy something without much worry about getting screwed over very very easily. [Read more…]
Not content to blindy folllow popular methods of language study a Jedi Knight searches the near and far galaxies for hitherto unknown tools and techniques with which to master Japanese. Hidden beneath the long sleeves of a hooded cloak is a tool for deciphering even the densest of Japanese literature, the Kanji Sono Mama Rakubiki Jiten on Nintendo DS. [Read more…]
[box type=”tick”]Check out Tofugu’s new Japanese Resources Guide! It has the best Japanese resources and reviews for each! It’s also more updated (though has fewer resources) than this article.[/box]
Way back in the day, I published a list of my 10 favorite (free) Japanese learning resources, which is great, but not as great as 100 Japanese learning resources. With a list this big, you’ll be able to procrastinate to your heart’s content, which is probably why you’re reading this blog and not learning Japanese instead.
This list has been broken up by category, that way you can find the things you’re most interested in quickly and easily (without having to scroll through the entire list). Within each category, I’ve listed resources starting with my favorites and working my way down. Those marked with a tofugu logo () are “Tofugu approved,” which mostly just means they’ll give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when using them (oh, and I would use the resource myself). Things that I just kinda-sorta like don’t get a sexy fish next to their names. But hey, we have a lot to go through, so let’s get to it. [Read more…]
One of the most common e-mail questions I get is “Should I buy Rosetta Stone Japanese?” It’s time to put an end to this e-mail silliness. From now on, I get to link to this post and video. Hopefully you, whoever “you” are (tell me in the comments), can get something out of this post as well. [Read more…]
The moment Lang-8 created the option to upgrade to a Premium Account I did it. At first, it was because I wanted to support Lang-8 (hey, they’re cool Froods!) and make sure their servers kept on running. But, the more I looked at the features the more I realized that there’s a lot of awesome potential here, especially when it comes to power users of the site (and if you’re not one, you should become one). Definitely a few new features that could really accelerate your Japanese studies, which makes it worth a deeper look. [Read more…]
Philip Seyfi sent me an e-mail asking me to check out his Adobe Air application Nihongoup (for a long time I thought its name was some sort of weird misspelling, or a fish reference, which of course we approve of Ha! Logo is now NihongoUp! Don’t say we never did anything for you). He hooked me up with a free copy (it’s normally $4.99) as well as five more to give away to all of you. You’ll have to keep reading to figure out how you can win. [Read more…]
What Tenso is doing is one of those ideas where you think “dang, I shoulda thought of that.” It’s simple, it’s helpful, and provides a really good service. I tried it out recently, and they let me pick out a Japanese t-shirt and ship it via their service, so that I can give it away to one of you. More information on that at the end of the post.
So here’s the rundown on Tenso: 1) You go to a Japanese website that sells something. 2) You order the item, and have it shipped to your tenso.com address (the address is free). The package is then sent to them, located in Tokyo. 3) They get the package, and then send it to you at a discounted rate. [Read more…]
Believe it or not, I did go see this movie on its opening night. I had to do it. Not because I wanted to. No, because I care. I care about each and every one of you, and I don’t want you to suffer the same eighty-four minutes I had to suffer (though the previews were quite enjoyable, actually). I had to prove to the “cautiously optimistic” folks who thought this movie was going to be the bee’s knees that this movie was indeed terrible. No more excuses from them now. No more telling me I’m jumping the gun. Keep going for the full video review. [Read more…]