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Archive for the 'Working in Japan' Category

Fall In Love With Learning

enjoy learning the language you wantLet’s face it. Learning Japanese seems like a daunting task. You’ve got your hands full with new alphabet systems, grammar structures, formality levels and expressions…not knowing where to start, tackling this language and its nuances may be overwhelming. Luckily, the team at JapanesePod101 is dedicated to ensuring your linguistic success.

As a foreign language enthusiast, I’ve flirted with a fair share of online learning sites (especially for Japanese), but none of them were ever the one my heart was looking for. I had almost completely given up my pursuit of Japanese, until JapanesePod101 made me fall in love with learning.

Why JapanesePod101 Works:

  • Fun AND Free! How often do you see this combo?! Really though, JapanesePod101 takes away the stress and monotony that most online language sites induce. No more clicking through boring flashcards! Instead, indulge your senses in an audio-visual treat with native speaking hosts, to learn everything from famous Japanese quotes, to essential vocab for Star Wars Day.
  • Where to Start:From Absolute Beginner to Advanced fluency flexer, JapanesePod101 has got you covered. As soon as you log in, your dashboard guides you on a learning path to help you master Japan and its language. You can choose to start from the beginning or jump to a learning path that suits you best.
  • Customize to Optimize: JapanesePod101 grants you creative liberty to tailor-make your own lessons. They’ll help you navigate your way through hiragana, katakana, kanji, and even the streets of Tokyo if you so choose. You learn what you want, when you want.
  • Convenience at the Core: With an accompanying mobile application, you can master Japanese while riding the subway to work, waiting in line for lunch, or sitting on the couch when your computer is just out of arm’s reach. You can view and finish lessons as slow or fast as you want, working best for your schedule.
  • Retain and Remember: After finishing a lesson, there are accompanying assessments to help ensure that you’ve actually learned what you intended to. You can take the assessments as many times as you want, so if you’re ever feeling rusty, these mini-tests are a great refresher.
  • bonus points if you can read any of these lanterns
    A JapanesePod101 account is a Free Lifetime Account, which means exactly as it sounds. You can use JapanesePod101’s resources forever, and for free. So what are you waiting for? That kanji isn’t going to memorize itself!

Conquering the Unknown with JapanesePod101

Check it out!

When I decided that I was going to spend the summer before my final year of college abroad in Japan, I knew that I had to prepare for a trip unlike anything else that I had ever experienced in my lifetime. I knew absolutely nothing about the culture or the language and I was going with two of my buddies from school (both of whom spoke Japanese) so I needed to get ahead before we arrived. JapanesePod101 helped me do just that.

JapanesePod101 made it easy to review and learn from experiences that I had on my daily travels. By allowing me to learn from repetition, giving me the choice between verbal, written and visual lessons and giving me situational vocabulary, it definitely made it easier to pick up an unknown language.

I'm in the middle

However fun it may be to throw yourself into the unknown, it is always nice (and sometimes necessary) to have a little guidance. So here are my tips for optimizing the learning experience on a trip like this:

Go with or meet someone that knows the language

This person will be like your adviser. It is also very helpful to travel around with a person who knows the language because you can ask them questions about words and phrases that you hear during daily life and jot them down to study later. Which brings me to my next tip…

Carry a notepad

This is essential for learning a language because of all the things you will hear from just walking around and talking to people. The notepad will help you by giving you a point of reference to go back to and study, or look up with JapanesePod101, when you learn something new on your daily adventures. Which brings me to my final and most important tip…

Use JapanesePod101!

I am a huge believer in learning from repetition which is why I love JapanesePod101. Whether you sign up for a free lifetime account or upgrade to premium, you have unlimited access to the content that is included in either package. Which means, if you are like me, you can go over it again and again as much as you want until it sticks. Whether you prefer to learn from verbal, written or visual instruction, JapanesePod101 has you covered. I love the videos with Alisha and Risa!

Why Learn Japanese?

You can also learn about phrases for certain situations and events with the key phrases and vocabulary lists. Both included in the free lifetime account, the key phrases list covers all the basic phrases you will need to know as a beginner and the vocabulary list has all sorts of different phrases grouped together for different events and occasions. Including my favorite:


Top 10 Must-Know Survival Words & Phrases For Your Next Trip To Japan

If you are planning a trip to Japan and need help learning the language, I would 100% recommend that you use JapanesePod101. It has tools for all different levels of learning Japanese, so no matter where you are in the learning process, you can use it to help further your knowledge.

But don’t just take my word for it. Sign up and see what I am talking about, you won’t regret it.

JapanesePod101

Your unknown is waiting…

How I chose to continue my Japanese education

Get great resources from JapanesePod101!

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.

Good Resource to Learn Japanese, Check it Out!

I have visited Japan for three times, and each time this country always surprise me with its culture, scenery and people. As a dancer, I have attended many workshop and classes in Tokyo, and met many inspirational people.
Check it out!

However, the biggest problem that came up to me is the language barrier. I have had problem to communicate with people about my ideas, stories. As we all known, communication is the most important thing for a friendship. So I started to look for online lessons, since taking actual classes is not possible for me, and I would rather save the money by finding some low budget online tutorial.

That’s when JapanesePod101 popped up to me. I have used it for a year, and I can’t deny that JapanesePod101 has provided me enormous help with my Japanese learning.

Here are the reason why I chose JapanesePod101, and also why you should too!

Easy Access

In this fast paced society, efficiency is the core to survive. JapanesePod101 gives you the efficiency with high quality content to boost up your language learning process. Language learning becomes much more easier from one click through the website or through your smart phone. With this prestige, you can learn Japanese on the bus, go to school, in the bathroom… WHENEVER and WHEREVER you want. ( Well, but please be safe, don’t want you bump into a car while you learning)


6 FREE features at JapanesePod101

Down to Earth

One problem about language learning is that those materials you got are so out of date, and you start to sound like an ancient person coming out of the cave. Language changes through time, people creates new slangs, dialect, or even words. So if you want to talk with your Japanese friends and also keep up your coolness, you must try JapanesePod101. They have native instructors to help you sounds like a local. The material is always keep up with current events and society, which offers many down-to-earth information. Want to make your Japanese speaking on fleek? Try JapanesePod101.


Talk like a LOCAL

Systematic Learning

It is hard to start learning a new language. Many people gets really confused when they first start, since they don’t have a guide path to follow. Sometimes you want to learn slangs, the other time you just want to remember kanjis. It’s never going to work without a good guide. Thus language learning needs to be systematic to set up a good path for language learners. That’s why JapanesePod101 provides to its users with lessons focused on different levels, and a community to share your progress. It helps you start from the scratch, and boost you to higher level. You can also find other people’s experience, and make study buddies by simply join the community provided by JapanesePod101.


Start as a beginner

CHEAP!!

One last thing, it’s cheap! You can learn Japanese by just saving money for one meal or one shot from the bar. Everyone loves cheap and good stuff, and you get your value back by rocking on fluent Japanese.


Learn Japanese Free!

Improve Your Language Skills with JapanesePod101

Tokyo_street_view.jpg

Recently, I moved to Japan for a few months to experience an internship abroad and improve my Japanese skills. In the US, I had taken four semesters of Japanese and felt the need to improve before entering my third year. I thought the easiest solution would be moving to Japan for the summer and forcing myself into total immersion. When I arrived I was surprised by how much I could get around with english and how timid I was about using the Japanese I had learned for the past two years. I realized that I was never going to progress with my skills unless I actively studied and forced myself to use what I had learned. This is where JapanesePod101 came in.

I’ve been following the lesson plan that they gave me and it’s been really helpful, the lessons are interesting and valuable. The majority of the material that I’ve been through thus far has been video content that explore helpful phrases, sentence structures, and cultural knowledge. Other really helpful aspects of the site are key parts to learning Japanese like: repeating new words after a native speaker to get your pronunciation correct. They also have fun little treats like word of the day, that you can sign up for. The best part about the site is that they offer free PDF’s with all of their lessons.

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I know that many people, like me, are eager to learn kanji because without these characters it’s hard to understand the written language. JapanesePod101 offers ways to study kanji like flashcards that are spread throughout the lessons with a larger lesson at the end testing you on all of the kanji you’ve learned. Furthermore, the company is constantly putting out new information on bases like the JapanesePod101 facebook page. Here lighter content is posted like kanji videos or “20 words You’ll Need to Know for the Beach.”

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4 Major Cities in Japan

Hello Listener,

You’re definitely learning new Japanese words and phrases with these lists, the Word of the Day and weekly JapanesePod101 Audio and Video lessons.

But here’s a geography question for you:
Do you know the Major Japanese Cities?

And do you know how to properly pronounce them in Japanese? You’re about to learn it all with this post.

1. Tokyo

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the largest city in the country. Tokyo is also one of Japan’s forty-seven prefectures, but it is referred to as a to (”a metropolis̶ ;) instead of a ken (”a prefecture”).

2. Kyoto

Kyoto

Kyoto, one of the oldest cities in Japan, was formerly the capital of Japan until 1868, when
Tokyo became the capital. Now it is a major city in the Kansai area, known for its traditional
atmosphere with its numerous temples and shrines.

3. Osaka

Osaka

Osaka is a large city that is located in the Kansai area close to Kyoto. It is the capital of Osaka prefecture as well as the economic and cultural center of the Kansai region. Many famous Japanese comedians hail from Osaka. Osaka is also known for its regional specialty dishes now popular throughout all of Japan such as, Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki.

4. Nagoya

Nagoya

Nagoya is the third-largest city in Japan coming in after Tokyo in 1st - and also one of the biggest in the world - and Osaka in 2nd. Nagoya is located in Aichi prefecture and is also a major port city like Tokyo and Osaka. When in Nagoya, the places you simply must see while in Nagoya are Atsuta Shrine and Nagoya Castle. Other things of note are the Tokugawa Art Museum and Nagoya’s famous foods: misokatsu (a fried pork cutlet drizzled with miso sauce), tebasaki (uniquely sweet-flavored chicken wings with sesame seeds) and kishimen (a broad, flat style of udon noodle).

Want to know more Japanese cities?
Click here to check out this free Japanese City list!

Why Sapporo is my favorite city in Japan

Why Sapporo is my favorite city in Japan

わや*!That was a hard decision to make Kyushu? Okinawa? South Korea? Taiwan? No… I made it to Hokkaido and have to start this article by talking about Salmon Ikura Don (raw salmon with salmon fish eggs on rice that I ate in Sapporo), in honor of the best dish I’ve ever eaten.

First, If you want to travel in Japan and don’t know where to start, I suggest you to take a look at this list: here

So…why Sapporo?
Well, my two closest Japanese friends are living there… What better reason to fly north?

First of all, I love big cities. Tokyo is massive and I enjoy it. However, I’m still a Swiss girl from the Alps… So I was actually really excited about this trip. The image I had of Sapporo is pretty similar to the one foreigners can have of Switzerland, I guess.

There are a few things you should know about Sapporo. It’s not only a beer brand, this is also the fifth largest city in Japan, and almost 2 million people live there! The 1972 Winter Olympic Games were hosted there and it’s famous for its yearly Snow Festival as well.

Now let me tell you why the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture has became my favorite city in Japan, and how I managed to escape from the real world for 4 whole days (I didn’t even realize that Google had a new logo!)

  • Incredible Atmosphere
  • I’ve lived in Canada, England, and Switzerland and have been able to travel around, including to Japan. But Sapporo has something that other cities clearly don’t have! There is still that urban vibe with areas such as Susukino, as well as a Western touch with the Former Hokkaido Government office and the area around that building.

    The enormous park around the Hokkaido University reminded me of those I could relax in when in was in Toronto. The Maryuyama Park area has many bakeries, small cafės, and restaurants. I would describe this spot as fancy but cosy at the same time.

  • Beautiful Natural Surroundings
  • It is part of the atmosphere, but it needs its own paragraph. My friend took me to Mount Moiwa and the night view was breathtaking… Sapporo is a large city, so seeing all those lights sparkling from the mountain was magical, and I will simply never forget it.
    It might seem insignificant, but the city is full of flowers and greenery, and this is what is missing in Tokyo. Almost every sidewalk has colorful flowers, and you can also find them in parks and even outside people’s front doors. It’s a small detail but it makes a big difference.
    My other friend took me to Otaru, which is by the seaside north of Sapporo. It’s a small and picturesque city intersected by a river and many small boutiques.

    Finally, wherever you are in Sapporo, if the weather isn’t foggy, you can see mountains! It really reminds me of where I am from. Now I can’t wait to go back to Hokkaido during the winter time and enjoy the snow up there!

    Mount Moiwa

  • Kind People
  • The hospitality in Japan is no secret. But in Hokkaido, I was touched by the people’s kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm. I guess life is more peaceful there, so everyone takes the time to do whatever they have to. I felt relaxed from the beginning to the end. And of course, I am so thankful to my friends who were my reason for spending my precious time there.

  • Delicious Food
  • I started with food and I am ending with food. If you do love Japanese cuisine, this is a no-brainer – you just have to go to Sapporo. Curry soup is famous there. I also had the chance to eat えび味噌ラーメン (ebi miso ramen)、うに (uni), and 鮭 いくら 丼 (salmon ikura don), which as you know tasted like heaven.
    If you like cheese and milk, you won’t be disappointed in Hokkaido – just trust the girl from Switzerland, AKA ‘cheese land.’
    Food quality isn’t a problem in Sapporo, and the prices are affordable too.

    Salmon Ikura Don

    If you want to know more about Japanese food, check out this audio lesson: The 5 most popular foods in Japan

    Before visiting this northern part of Japan, I’d heard many times that Sapporo was a great city to live in. Now I totally understand why and if you are planning to go to Japan, drop by Hokkaido, because you can find pretty good deals online to get there ;)

    * わや waya is popular slang meaning ヤバイ (yabai) in Hokkaido-ben.

    Don’t forget to discover more about Japanese culture and language on http://japanesepod101.com

    Welcome to Innovative Language Headquarters! Listener Visit #4

    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!

    Hi everyone, Motoko here!

    Today I’d like to tell you about another listener visit we had recently. We had a JapanesePod101.com listener come to visit us in the office. This was the fourth visit for me, but I still felt nervous!

    This is Matt. He was visiting from California.

    I had heard that he came to Japan for a holiday. But it seems that it was more of a special trip for him, because guess what? He came here to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. :o His girlfriend is Japanese, and he wanted to meet her parents. It sounded like a big event to me! But Matt kept smiling the whole time and said he was alright. I thought he was brave. :o

    I guess that Peter probably felt more nervous, because he knows that it’s one of the big events for men in Japan to meet their girlfriends’ parents!

    I was very happy to receive the souvenir he brought. It was popular Girl Scout cookies from the United States. One packet was chocolate mint flavor, and the other was peanut butter. I liked the peanut butter ones more than the choco mint. ;) Thanks, Matt! We all enjoyed them.

    Matt, did you have a lovely time with your girlfriend and her parents? I hope so. :)

    (May 2013)

    イノベーティブは応援しています! オフ会4

    みなさん、こんにちは。もとこです。

    今回はオフ会その4についての報告です。先日、JapanesePod101.comのリスナーさんがオフィスに来ました。今回で4回目。まだまだ私は緊張していました。(笑)

    こちらがマットさん。アメリカのカリフォルニアから来ました。旅行に来ると聞いていました。でも、ちょっと特別な旅行だそうです。なんと、彼女さんのご両親とはじめて会うそうです。日本人の彼女さんと一緒にいたいから、ご両親に挨拶をします。とても大変そうですよね。でもマットさんはずっとにこにこ笑って、大丈夫ですと言っていました。すごい! たぶんピーターさんのほうがどきどきしていました。
     
    今回私がうれしかったのはおみやげ。マットさんはアメリカで人気があるチョコビスケットをくれました。チョコミント味とピーナッツバター味です。ちなみにピーナッツバター味のほうがミント味より好きです。マットさん、ありがとうございました。

    Fond Farewells at Innovative Language

    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!

    Hello everyone! Motoko here.

    Did you know that March is one of the most important months in Japan? That’s because it’s farewell season.

    Schools and companies start new academic and financial years in April. This means their years end in March, and that’s when graduation ceremonies are held in schools. Here, we have interns who are college students, and some of them leave us in March. This March, we said goodbye to two student interns and one full-time staff member.

    But we will see them again someday; we didn’t actually say “good bye”, but “see you again” then saw them off.

    We hope that all three enjoy their new adventures!

    (March, 2013)

    イノベーティブでまた会おうね

    こんにちは。もとこです。日本では3月がたいせつなきせつです。みなさん、知っていましたか。そう、おわかれのきせつ。

    日本の会社や学校は4月にはじまります。だから、3月におわります。3月に学校で卒業式があります。イノベーティブには学生のスタッフもいますから、3月にイノベーティブを退社(たいしゃ)する人もいます。今年は2人のインターンシップスタッフと1人のフルタイムスタップが退社しました。

    でも、また会うことはできますから、「さようなら」じゃないですね。「また会おうね」と言って、送(おく)ります。 3人が新しい場所でがんばれますように。

    (2013年3月)

    Giving Thanks and Sweets at Innovative

    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!

    Hi all! Motoko here.

    It’s been a while since my last post! But today, I’d like to talk about one of the most popular events in Japan. It’s the day that we say “I love you” and “thanks” to the people we spend the most time with.

    This day is Valentine’s Day, on February 14th. It originally came from European culture, didn’t it? And people usually give presents or flowers to the one they love on that day. I’m guessing that in your country, it’s the men who give presents to their partners. But in Japan, ladies give chocolate to men! It’s the only chance each year when ladies can declare their love to the men they love. They usually make or buy chocolates and give them to the men.

    Recently, however, most people have been giving chocolates to their colleagues and friends. On Valentine’s Day at Innovative Language, the ladies brought sweets they had made or bought to the office. Also, Peter gave boxes of chocolate to each of our team members. The men and ladies in the office all enjoyed these sweets together. Though no one declared their love, it was a day for us to say “thanks for everything!” to each other.

    So if Valentine’s Day is for men, did the men of Innovative Language do anything in return? Well, in Japan, this happens on White Day, which falls on March 14th. This is an event that is well known in Japan and also in South Korea. The men who received presents on Valentine’s Day return the favor to the lady they got the chocolate from. Some return the declaration of love to the lady too! And some give sweets and snacks to their friends in return. At the Innovative office, most of the men brought boxes of sweets for the ladies. The boxes said “Happy White Day! Only for Girls!!” (Unlike on Valentine’s Day!) The guys looked sad about this because they love chocolate!

    What happens in your country on Valentine’s Day and White Day?

    (Feb - Mar, 2013)

    Innovativeでの日ごろのありがとうのやりとり

    こんにちは。もとこです。新しいブログをかいていませんでした。今日は日本で人気のある行事を紹介します。「大好き」や「ありがとう」を言う日です。

    一つは2月14日のバレンタインデー。もともとヨーロッパのイベントですよね。好きな人にプレゼントや花をあげる日です。みなさんの国では男の人がプレゼントを用意すると思います。でも、日本では女の人がチョコレートを用意します。一年に一度だけ、バレンタインデーに女の人が好きな男の人に愛の告白をします。たいてい、手作りのチョコレートをわたします。

    でも、最近では同僚や友達にもわたします。イノベーティブでは、女性社員が手作りのお菓子やお店のお菓子をオフィスにもってきます。ピーターさんがみんなへのチョコレートを買います。そしてみんなで食べます。愛の告白はありませんが、「いつもありがとう」「これからもいっしょに仕事をしましょう!」という気持ちをつたえる日です。

    一方、男性社員はどうするでしょう。3月14日はホワイトデー。日本と韓国にもある行事です。男の人が女の人にバレンタインデーのおかえしをする日です。愛の告白の返事をする人もいます。「いつもありがとう」といってお菓子を友達にあげる人もいます。イノベーティブでは男性社員がお菓子を用意します。”Happy White day! Only for girls!!”とメッセージを書きます。(男性社員は食べることができないので、悲しそうでした。)

    みなさんの国ではバレンタインデーやホワイトデーに何をしますか。

    (2013年2,3月)