USJETAA Japanese Reading Group

    USJETAA Japanese Reading Group is a virtual book club hosted by the U.S. Japan Exchange & Teaching Programme Alumni Association and Daniel Morales, translator and Japan Times contributor from the How To Japanese blog.

    It's a free monthly Zoom event that doesn't require you to buy books or keep up with a rigorous reading schedules. Each month, they choose a short piece from Aozora Bunko, the free public-domain literature site. During the 90-minute Zoom call, the members take turns reading each Japanese sentence aloud and then explain the sentence in English, to the best of their ability.

    Although the reading group is organized by USJETAA, being an alumnus of the JET Program is not required. In fact, participants range from Japanese learners from the U.S. to people from Japan looking to improve their English. You can join the USJETAA Japanese Reading Group Facebook Group to get the invite and Zoom link for next month's event.

    If you are interested, check out the group's past readings and current selection to gauge whether the texts are accessible for your level. Even if the text is harder than you're used to, participating in the group would certainly give you practice reading aloud and hearing how others' interpret the sentences in English. Reading Japanese literature can be difficult — not just because of the kanji, but also because there's so much wrapped up in context — and this reading group can help you, one sentence at a time.