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Archive for the 'Everyday Kanji' Category

How I chose to continue my Japanese education

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One of my main goals has always been to become fluent in Japanese, but despite all the Japanese courses I’ve taken in college, I still seem to be stuck at the intermediate level. Now I am nearly graduated from college and have finished taking all my Japanese courses. Seeing how expensive it is to go to a language school, I decided I needed a cheaper alternative to continuing my Japanese education. Luckily for me, I recently discovered JapanesePod101.

When I discovered JapanesePod101, I KNEW that I had found what I needed. After browsing through it’s website and signing up for a membership, I noticed that there are some perks compared to taking lessons in a classroom setting.

Here are some of the main perks:

The ability to start a level of your choosing
When registering for classes, whether it be in university or in language schools, typically you’re required to take a placement test, which may misplace you to be in the wrong class. When first taking a placement test for my college, I got held back to a lower class level because I didn’t remember enough kanji, despite being proficient at the grammar and vocabulary. With JapanesePod101 however, the great thing is that you can choose at which level to start, ranging from absolute beginner to advanced. Also, if you feel that your kanji is not good enough at the level you chose to start at, you can always look at the kanji study resources offered on their site, which is what I am doing.

Work at your own pace
Because you’re required to work at the pace your class may set for you and expected to meet deadlines, you may not always be able to retain the information that you’ve learned. JapanesePod101 allows me set my own goals and deadlines and take the time I need to go over the lessons. Whenever I’m too busy to really immerse myself in the lessons, I try to at least have a look at the word of the day feature or at any of the short vocabulary lists they offer. I also take a look at their facebook page where they post fun and interesting content.

Cost effective
You can sign up for the free lifetime account and have a taste of what they have to offer, but by paying to upgrade to the premium account, you can access so much more of their resources. Compared to the hundreds or thousands of dollars one may spend taking Japanese courses, JapanesePod101 is definitely an absolute bargain.

Native instructors
When taking classes outside of Japan, you may not always get to have a native instructor, however with JapanesePod101, I have access to learning from one. To make this even better, one of the features of this site is the option to work one-on-one with an instructor, who can provide feedback. By doing so, I believe it helps with learning to speak Japanese more naturally, rather than using outdated words and phrases that may be used in college textbooks.

Learn Japanese slang words at JapanesePod101

There are other features I found that I also thought were worth noting such as…

Lessons catered towards studying for the JLPT
Passing the exam for at least the JLPT N2 is what I strive for. If you’re hoping to someday be able to work in Japan like me, then you’ll most likely have to pass the JLPT first. JapanesePod101 offers lessons that will help you do just that. There are various audio lessons which include lesson notes for grammar, vocabulary, and kanji. This resource is definitely something I find helpful when I’m studying for the JLPT. For those studying for the N4 or N5, JapanesePod101 also offers practice tests which are free. :)

Kanji flashcards
Kanji has always been my greatest weakness at Japanese. However with JapanesePod101’s kanji flashcards, the number of kanji I know is steadily increasing! By continuing to study these flash cards, I know that I will kill that kanji section of the JLPT. ;)

Video Lessons
Not only are there audio lessons but video lessons as well. Personally, I think it’s more fun by watching the video lessons and also, these videos include subtitles in both Japanese and English to help follow along. The video hosts are very entertaining, making my learning process much more enjoyable.

Improve your kanji skill with JapanesePod101

So if you ever want to try your hand at learning another language cheap, then JapanesePod101 is definitely the way to go. Ganbatte and don’t give up on your Japanese! After seeing everything that they have to offer, I know that I will continue using their services to help improve my Japanese skills.

Year-end Cleaning at Innovative Language Tokyo Office!

Today, we bring you another blog post from Motoko, JapanesePod101.com lesson creator, host and Office Party Planner! Motoko will be sharing more bilingual posts on our blog, so check back often and leave a comment!

Hey everyone. Motoko here! I’d like to talk about our year-end cleaning event, called Ō-sōji(大掃除) in Japanese. Most of our staff had questions about why people in offices did cleaning themselves instead of hiring cleaning staff. But this process is very significant for the year end in Japan.

As you see from its kanji, this is the biggest cleaning season and takes place at the end of the year. It has its origin in a Shinto event called Susuharai (煤払い), in which monks and people cleaned their houses to purify them and welcome the god/kami called Toshi-gami (歳神様 or 年神様) on new year’s day. In other words, Ō-sōji was originally a ritual event. The god, Toshi-gami, is believed to bring people and also their houses happiness and luck each new year. People traditionally clean their houses together and prepare for new year’s day. They believe that if the house is dusty and dirty, the god won’t come. (Japanese gods tend to like nice and clean places!)

In order to invite happiness and luck to the office, some of us formed a group: Team Ō-sōji. We had a one-hour cleaning session in the office. To be more eco-friendly, we chose to use dusters, zōkin (雑巾), to wipe everything off. You can use one of these almost forever just by washing and squeezing it.

[photo1: Our powerful weapon: マイペット]
マイペット

[photo2: Clean dusters after the cleaning ]
Clean dusters after the cleaning

After the cleaning, we of course went to a meal to reward everyone for their hard work.

[photo3: Salt can be one of the good sauces. Simple is best! ]
Salt can be one of the good sauces. Simple is best!

(Nov. 2012)

   Innovative Languageのオフィスを大掃除

 みなさん、こんにちは。もとこです。今回は年の終わりに行った「大掃除(おおそうじ)」を紹介します。イノベーティブの多くのスタッフがどうして自分たちでオフィスを掃除するのか。どうして清掃員をやとわないのか、不思議に思っていました。でも、大掃除には大切な意味があるんです。
 「大掃除」の漢字を見ると、「大きい」「そうじ」だということがわかりますね。年末に盛大にそうじすることなんです。大掃除は「煤払い(すすはらい)」という神道の行事がはじまりだといわれています。「煤払い」では人々がお寺や神社、自分の家を掃除して、清めます。お正月に歳神様(としがみさま)をお迎えするためです。つまり、大掃除はもともと儀式的な行事だったのです。歳神様は神道の神様の一柱(はしら, counter for gods)で、新年とその年の幸をもたらす(持ってくる)と信じられています。日本人はみんなで掃除をして、新年を迎える準備をするのです。もし家が汚かったら、歳神様は来てくれません。(日本の神様はきれいなところが好きな神様が多いです。)
 オフィスに幸運を招きいれるべく、イノベーティブのボランティアでチームを作りました。一夜限りのチームの名前はチーム大掃除です。 一時間位オフィスを掃除しました。環境のことを考えて、道具は雑巾(ぞうきん)を使いました。洗ってしぼればいつまででも使うことができますからね。
 もちろん、大掃除の後は「労をねぎらう」ためにご飯を食べに行きました。

(2012年11月)

Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji (Japanese Vending Machines)

Hi everyone!
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!

The theme for this week is kanji found on vending machines. Let’s take a look!


Everyday Kanji week 22 - Vending Machine ①
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Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji (Filling Out Forms at the Bank)

Hi everyone!
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!

The theme for this week is kanji found on forms at the bank. Let’s take a look!


Everyday Kanji week 21 - Filling Out Forms at the Bank ①

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Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji (Special Occassion Money Envelopes)

Hi everyone!
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!

The theme for this week is kanji found on envelopes used to put money into for special occassions. Let’s take a look!


Everyday Kanji 20 - Special Occassion Money Enevelopes ①

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Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji (Gas Station)

 Hi everyone!
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!

The theme for this week is kanji found at a gas station. Let’s take a look!


Everyday Kanji 19 - Gas Station ①

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Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji (Operating System)

 Hi everyone!
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!

The theme for this week is kanji found in a Japanese-language operating system of a computer. Let’s take a look!


Everyday Kanji week 18 - Operating System ①

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Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji (Electric Water Heater)

Hi everyone!
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!

The theme for this week is kanji seen on an electric water heater pot. Let’s take a look!


Everyday Kanji week 17 - Hot water pot ①

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Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji (Inside the train station)

 Hi everyone!
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!

The theme for this week is kanji found on signs inside the train station. Let’s take a look!


Everyday Kanji week 16 - Inside the train station ①

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Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji (Food Packaging)

Hi everyone! ^^/
Welcome to Everyday Kanji! In this series, we’re going to present pictures of kanji seen in various places in Japan taken by the team members at JapanesePod101.com. That’s right - kanji seen and used everyday!

The theme for this week is kanji found on food packaging. Let’s take a look!


Everyday Kanji - Food Packaging ①

毎日果実 (mainichi kajitsu) = literally, Everyday Fruit

毎日果実 is the name of a snack product, which is 2 crackers with raisins and other fruit sandwiched in the middle. The information beneath the product name lets you know that this snack contains 5 kinds of vitamins, calcium, iron, and fiber! What a healthy snack!

毎日 (mainichi) = everyday
● 毎 (mai) = every
● 日 (hi) = day

果実 (kajitsu) = fruit
● 果 (ka) = fruit
● 実 (jitsu) = nut

Sample Sentence:
毎日、果実を食べるのは、健康に良い。
Mainichi, kajitsu o taberu no wa kenkō ni yoi.
Eating fruit everyday is good for your health.


Everyday Kanji - Food Packaging ②

牛乳 (gyūnyū) is the word for milk. The characters for 牛乳 are the words “cow” and “milk”. You can also see the second character in the word 豆乳 (tōnyū), meaning “soy milk”.

牛乳 (gyūnyū) = milk
● 牛 (gyū) = cow
● 乳 (nyū) = milk

Sample Sentence:
牛乳を買いに行ってくれる?
Gyūnyū o kai ni itte kureru?


Everyday Kanji - Food Packaging ③

中華そば (chūka soba) = Chinese noodles

When it comes to instant noodles, 中華そば, Chinese noodles, and ramen are sometimes thought of as one and the same, but technically 中華そば is a little different because the noodles are not fried in oil before they are packaged and are lower in fat.

中華 (chūka) = Chinese
● 中 (chū) = middle
● 華 (ka) = splendor

Extra:
しお味 (shio aji) = salt flavor
● 味 (aji) = flavor

Sample Sentence:
中華料理を食べに行きましょう!
Chūka ryōri o tabe ni ikimashō!
Let’s go out for Chinese food!


Everyday Kanji - Food Packaging ④

国産大豆のみそ (kokusan daizu no miso) = domestically produced miso (bean paste)

Miso, which is fermented bean paste, is a huge part of Japanese cuisine. Miso soup and fish prepared with miso are just a couple of ways miso is used.

Many consumers prefer products that are 国産, or from Japan, and recently there have even been some scandals involving food that was intentionally mislabled as 国産 (because they will fetch a higher price).

国産 (kokusan) = domestic product
● 国 (koku) = country
● 産 (san) = product

大豆 (daizu) = soy bean
● 大 (dai) = large
● 豆 (zu) = bean

Sample Sentence:
大豆は健康的で美味しい。
Daizu wa kenkōteki de oishii.
Soy beans are healthy and taste great.


Everyday Kanji - Food Packaging ⑤

おいしい納豆 (oishii nattō) = delicious natto

Delicious natto… is there such a thing?? Just kidding =P Poor natto has such a bad reputation but once you get used to it, it’s actually quite good!

納豆 (nattō) = fermented soy beans
● 納 (na) = supply
● 豆 (tō) = bean

Extra:
極小粒 (gokushō tsubu) = extra small size
● 極 (goku) = extreme
● 小 (shō) = small
● 粒 (tsubu) = grain, bead

Sample Sentence:
私は毎朝納豆を食べます。
Watashi wa maiasa nattō o tabemasu.
I eat natto every morning.

★ If you think you can remember them all, try testing yourself with this video on Youtube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-8ayXYVdfI
★ Follow us on Twitter for future Everyday Kanji series!