With this new series, you will discover the Radical Approach to Mastering Kanji. It’s perfect for Japanese Beginners! You’ll learn how to read, write and understand Kanji through an easy, step-by-step method – radicals – the building blocks of Kanji.
And here is the first Kanji achievement you can successfully unlock: one of the most useful characters, the radical for “person,” 亻.
Here’s how you speak and understand more Japanese in 2016…
With new JapanesePod101 audio and video lessons by real teachers.
And this is important – you get new lessons for FREE, every week.
How? You simply start a lesson, hear native Japanese conversation and have our teachers explain it all to you. Every word. Every grammar point. Every cultural insight. Sit back and learn – we’ll do the work. Learn directly on our site or on the go on your mobile device.
So, you’ll speak and understand more Japanese with new, free lessons every week!
Here’s what you need to know. We’re starting a brand new season of lessons for the second half of 2016. So, starting July 4th, 2016, we’ll be releasing new seasons of audio and video lessons to get you mastering Japanese the fast, fun and easy way! Here’s what you can expect.
JapanesePod101’s Lesson Schedule:
Monday: Absolute Beginner - Must-Know Japanese Sentence Structures
Tuesday: Video Series - Listening Comprehension, Video Series - Japanese Words of the Week
Thursday: Throwback Thursday Lessons (Get a free random lesson from the past sent directly to your email inbox.)
Friday: Video Series - Innovative Japanese, Video Series - Japanese Questions Answered by Hiroko
Remember, you get new free Japanese audio and video lessons EVERY Week! All JapanesePod101’s newest lessons are free for the first three weeks! So, you have three weeks’ worth of lessons at any given time. Oh, and the first three lessons of every series are free too! This is one of the major advantages of being a Free Lifetime Account member at JapanesePod101.
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In this lesson you will learn what adjective describes your personality best. In this video, Risa a native Japanese speaker, will explain the simple adjectives you need. They’re written in both Japanese characters and the alphabet, giving all the tools you need to get started in your Japanese study. Here is our list!
Cat cafe, an original concept
You might be surprised to hear that this concept is not originally from Japan but from Taiwan, where the world’s first cat cafe opened in 1998. After seeing that it attracted many tourists from Japan, a Japanese person decided to bring the concept, which mixes the relaxing and cozy atmosphere of a coffee shop with adorable cats, back to his country. The popularity of cat cafes boomed all over Japan, with more than a hundred shops opening, half being concentrated in Tokyo. Visiting a cat cafe should definitely be on your Top 10 Spots You Must See in Japan list.
A solution to busy Japanese urban life
Because of the size of its population, high density, and the price of housing in Tokyo, many Japanese people live in small apartments, which are not convenient for having a pet, or that just don’t allow them. A lot of people would love to have a pet, but they are too busy and would not have time to take care of it. It’s common to see lots of Japanese salarymen relaxing in these cafés. Visiting a neko cafe will allow you to enjoy your guilty pleasure while avoiding any trouble with your rental agreement!
Cats, a cup of tea and a lot of love
In most cat cafes, for approximately 1000 yen per hour, you have access to unlimited drinks, and after replacing your shoes with slippers, you will have the opportunity to play with various kinds of cats: fat cats, black cats, clothed cats… There are cats to suit all tastes. If you try to communicate with them, just forget about “meow,” it’s all about “nyan”! Sounds that animals make in Japanese are very different from what you know. Have a look at the animals onomatopoeia list, and discover what the fox says!
The rise of pet cafes all around the world
The concept of the cat cafe has spread all over the world: New York City, London, Paris, Toronto, Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Bangkok… The world can’t resist petting kittens while enjoying a cup of tea!
In Tokyo, the concept has been applied to other animals so you can now choose whether you’d like to visit a dog cafe, rabbit cafe, owl cafe, snake cafe, hedgehog cafe…or even a goat cafe!
This crazy experience is worth trying for all cat lovers or just those who are wanting to take a break in an original place. Are you excited about visiting one of these kitty corners? Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and learn enough Japanese to enjoy your trip to a cat cafe!
Ever since we published our last post about slang adjectives, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for more lessons and videos about Japanese slang vocabulary. As we mentioned, taking the time to understand slang and informal speech will boost your communication and language skills, and save a whole lot of confusion. Slang will allow you to use language in a current, useful way. No amount of time in class can prepare you for the contemporary nuances you’ll be faced with when you put your language knowledge to practical use out in the real world.
We always see this kind of advice on the Internet: “You should watch Japanese drama, it helped me to quickly progress” or “There is nothing better than anime without subtitles for learning Japanese”.
Can you really learn a language without much effort by watching anime?
Following this advice can bring many advantages:
Attuning your ears to Japanese by listening to native speakers
Boosting your vocabulary
Boosting your dialogue-related listening comprehension
Letting you hear a language used in context
Learning passively while having fun
At the end of the day, it seems like a great idea, but in reality it’s not totally true… Actually, it varies! We definitely recommend that you expose yourself to a lot of resources in their original language such as movies, drama, anime, music…for the reasons above. But you will never learn Japanese like that.
Anime as a complement to your learning tools
It’s best to see these videos as a Japanese learning complement. You need to acquire a certain amount of vocabulary and grammar in order to better comprehend a Japanese video or conversation.
This is our approach: JapanesePod101.com brings you tons of audio and video lessons, from songs to dialogues and cultural insights, and each of these lessons has a grammar focus, a vocabulary list, a lesson transcript and notes so that you don’t miss any points. We give you the foundation you need to be able to understand anime and benefit from watching it.
The “watch anime and learn Japanese” concept is just a myth. A lot of high school students improve their English level by reading books and comics, or watching dramas and movies in English with subtitles in their own language. You, meanwhile, might watch all 700 episodes of One Piece or Dragon Ball in Japanese but still not make any progress!
The difference? Those foreign students are not starting from scratch when they use this method to learn Japanese. Even though they might still be at a low level, they were working on some solid foundations.
Basically, what you will hear after 6 months of watching anime in Japanese, while hiding the subtitles, would probably be something like:
bla bla bla bla bla Hello bla bla bla bla Thank you for this meal bla bla bla bla die A**hole bla bla bla Kawaiiii bla bla bla bla bla It hurts! bla bla bla bla I love you bla bla bla bla bla bla really!?
The key is the amount of passive vocabulary you already have. It’s all the vocabulary you understand when listening to or reading Japanese, without having the need to search in the dictionary. Our brain has limited capacity and if it doesn’t recognize 70-80% of the words in a sentence, it will be incapable of filling in the blanks to give a sense to the unknown words based on the context.
Let’s look at these two cases:
1. You are at a beginner level of Japanese
2. You are at an intermediate level of Japanese
In both cases, you must expose yourself to a lot of Japanese media: podcasts, videos and so on…
In the first case, your brain won’t be able to analyze what you hear when you’re watching anime because you miss too many words. Of course we don’t forbid you from watching anime, but be aware that you are only training your ears to become accustomed to the sounds of Japanese. This is a good start, though. But you will also need to start learning grammar basics and vocabulary. Our Japanese for Absolute Beginners series will offer you the resources you need to quickly understand the foundations of the Japanese language, through entertaining topics.
If you are at an intermediate level, you will need to acquire a lot of vocabulary covering a large range of topics. Challenge yourself with our Listening Comprehension series on YouTube, listen to our podcasts and verify through the lesson notes and transcripts that you understood everything, from the grammar point to the explanation of the kanji used in the lesson.
Anime can be a great learning tool because it’s fun and there is a lot of it around. Just make sure to do a little extra work to optimize its use! Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account to access all our resources and be able to watch anime without subtitles!
Stuck in traffic? Losing time in your car? Have you ever felt that in all this wasted time, you could have watched the 750 episodes of One Piece, finished the last Super Mario ten times, or even better…you could have learned Japanese? Between family, friends and work, in addition to this time-consuming commute, it can become difficult to find time to properly learn Japanese.
Fortunately, every problem has a solution, and what could be a better solution than turning that commute time into learning time? Stop passing the time mindlessly listening to the radio and try some of our best tips for mastering Japanese in your car!
You can learn Japanese in your car, hands free
While driving, it’s important that you keep your focus on the road, so this is why our top tips won’t require you to use your hands!
Listening to Japanese audio content in the car is a good way to learn
This is because it is a fun and efficient way to learn. With JapanesePod101.com podcasts, you will be able to discover Japanese culture through topics about everyday life. Instead of the radio, listen to a Japanese podcast adapted to your level, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and you will make progress sooner that you would expect!
You can listen to Japanese music in the car
Did you know that you can learn Japanese by singing while driving? Listen to songs from anime or Japanese idols and try to identify some words you learned.
You can also go to our YouTube Channel and play our Kids’ Songs playlist! Challenge yourself! Use the Japanese you’ve studied up to this point and see how much you understand! Making the jump to real-life Japanese is a scary one, but friendly children’s songs are a great place to start!
You can learn alone in your car
When you’re driving alone, you can be as loud as you want – there is nothing better for remembering your Japanese lessons than repeating loudly, again and again. Next time you see a driver who seems to be talking alone, you will know he or she is just learning Japanese!
You can learn through repetition with your passengers
If there are passengers in the car, it can be more stimulating to learn together. You can set a role play with Japanese dialogues. With JapanesePod101.com, you can download all the lessons transcript including the dialogues, as a PDF. Print it out and have some fun speaking in Japanese!
One of the passengers can answer the quiz available on each of our lessons, while another can correct that person. Listening to someone at a more advanced level of Japanese or a better accent is positive and helps you improve.
You can learn Japanese offline
Do you have a poor connection or are unable to use the Internet? It’s not a problem for learning Japanese! Before you start your commute, use our App to download the lessons you want to study and the podcast you want to listen to in your car, and you will be able to enjoy your lessons offline. Entering a tunnel won’t be a problem anymore. What a pleasure to listen to audio content without having the host freezing every 5 seconds!
You can learn every day at your own pace
One of the best approaches for learning a language is little by little and often. It’s not efficient to take in a huge amount of information at one time. What you need is to study on a regular basis – a little bit of Japanese every day. You commute several days a week, and that is all time you can take advantage of!
You have the freedom to choose the lessons and podcasts you want to focus on, at your own rhythm. You may want to do a little revision or discover how to talk about a new topic. And if you’re wondering what to learn next, you can use the new Learning Paths, which is our customized pathway feature that gives you a step-by-step way to learn Japanese without getting lost!
If you don’t have a car and commute by another method, these tips are still valid! Learning Japanese is no longer limited to the classroom or your house; there are so many benefits to learning in your car or elsewhere. Reaching a conversational level will take you less time than you could ever have imagined! Don’t forget to sign up for your Free Lifetime Account and enjoy our content!
Slang is an aspect of language that isn’t usually taught in the classroom but is an important part of becoming proficient in any language. A person learning Japanese might attend daily classes. They might study the grammar and the formalities and might even produce complex and coherent sentences. But, take this student out of the classroom and away from the textbooks, and they will encounter a world of language that breaks the rules they learned. Although studying proper Japanese rules is important, slang is unavoidable, no matter what language you’re speaking. In movies and music, conversations and advertising, language becomes less formal and goes less and less “by the rules”. Real-life Japanese is so different from the textbooks.
Taking the time to understand slang and informal speech will boost your communication and language skills, and save a whole lot of confusion. Slang will allow you to use language in a current, useful way. No amount of time in class can prepare you for the contemporary nuances you’ll be faced with when you put your language knowledge to practical use out in the real world.
In this post, we’ll cover common slang adjectives that are used every day in Japan!
1. グロい (guroi) - gross
グロい映画を見ると、気持ち悪くなる。 Guroi eiga o miruto, kimochiwaruku naru.
It makes me feel sick when I watch a grotesque movie.
2. ちょいむず (choimuzu) - a little difficult
ちょいむずで文作るのちょいむず。 Choimuzu de bun tsukuru no choimuzu.
It’s a little difficult to make a sentence using “choimuzu”.
3. まじうざ (majiuza) - quite annoying
授業中に注意ばかりしてくる先生、まじうざ。 Jugyō chū ni chūi bakari shitekuru sensei, majiuza.
Teachers who try to warn students all the time in class are quite annoying.
4. イケてない (ikete nai) - not cool
その組み合わせはイケてないよ。 Sono kumiawase wa ikete nai yo.
That cordination is not cool.
5. はずい (hazui) - quite embarrasing
静かな教室でお腹が鳴って、超はずい。 Shizuka na kyōshitsu de onaka ga natte, chō hazui.
I heard my stomach growling in the quiet classroom, and it was quite embarrasing.
Start learning Japanese from the beginning with our Introduction to Japanese series! With this vibrant five-lesson series, we’ll introduce you to Japanese, from why you should learn this great language, to pronunciation, grammar, writing, and more. In the first lesson, we’ll start from the beginning and give you 5 reasons why you should learn Japanese today! Visit us at JapanesePod101.com for more great lessons and learning resources.
In Japan many things are considered to bring good or bad luck. Superstitions are strongly entrenched in Japanese society, and some of them are meant to teach lessons or serve as practical advice. Here is a list of the top 10 superstitions in Japan you must know!
1) Numbers 4 and 9 are considered to be unlucky numbers because 4 in Japanese is sometimes pronounced し which means “death,” while 9 is also sometimes pronounced く and means “suffering.” In the US, some old buildings don’t have a 13th floor, while in Japan hospitals and some hotels don’t have a 4th floor. Often the room number 4 and rooms 40 through 49 are not there. When you give a gift of a set of plates or cups to somebody, it is usually 3 or 5 rather than 4. So if you are giving presents in Japan, be careful not to give 4.
2) Hearses are probably one of the most important bad luck symbols in Japan. If you see a funeral car passing, you should hide your thumb, making a fist with the thumb inside. The reason is that the thumb is like a parent finger, so by doing this you are protecting them from the spirit of the deceased that lingers around the car. Some people even hide their thumbs when passing a graveyard or a funeral.
3) When you attend a funeral and come back before you enter your house, you have to throw salt on yourself. Salt kind of cleanses things. When a friend is with you, you throw salt on each other, or on yourself if you are alone.
4) Another one that is related to night, is that you shouldn’t cut your nails at night. Because if you do that, you won’t be able to be with your parents when they die. One of the main reasons would be that cutting your nails at night may result in your death, so you won’t be able to see your parents die. In the past, they had to use knives or other sharp cutting tools to cut their nails. Which can be quite dangerous at night…
5) Speaking of night, another superstition that’s related to night is whistling in the night. If you whistle at night, a snake could come out. There are some poisonous snakes in Japan, so you really don’t want them to come out. Whistling is also known to have been used as a sign by burglars and criminals to communicate to each other. It’s better to avoid them too.
6) There are other animal-related superstitions as well. A black cat is considered to be bad luck nowadays, but this superstition has been imported from the west. So if people see a black cat, they will stop and wait to see which way it goes so they don’t cross its path. Having a spider inside your house at night is bad luck, but if you see it in the morning, it’s good luck.
7) Japanese people don’t sleep facing north. Someone sleeping face north might receive bad luck, or it could be even worse, as death is known to welcome whoever sleeps facing north.
8 ) Don’t write a person’s name in red ink, because it is considered as inauspicious. This is due to names on grave markers being red.
9) There is a lucky cat symbol called maneki neko. It’s a cat with one paw held up. They often have these in shops or places where business is done because it’s supposed to bring good fortune.
10) There is one more lucky thing that Japanese people might carry called omamori, in their bag or purse. It is a kind of amulet that protects. They have different types of omamori – some are for success in business or study, some are for curing illness, preventing traffic accidents and so on. You can buy them at shrines.
On the subject of shrines, did you know that in Japan if you are making a big wish, you might consider doing it at a shrine? Traditionally when people need a prayer to be answered, they would just visit a shrine and give money in return.