28 July 2017 @ 03:32 pm
I'm going to gather up "easy reading" here and translate it so you know what's going on. Here's the first one, which I found on Twitter (without a source):

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22 September 2017 @ 03:07 pm
I'm collecting example sentences for JLPT grammar points. Continuously updated. They're in no particular order aside from general JLPT level. If you need more examples of higher-level grammar, try an Aozora Bunko search like this.

[JP] = Japanese explanation (when I can think of one).

{word} = Where I've seen it used. Only for hard-to-find grammar points that you might not find practice material for easily.

Last updated: 2017.09.29

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03 July 2017 @ 11:45 am
yesterday i took the JLPT (N2 level). my advice / experience:

• study so that you could clearly pass N1 if you're taking N2. in particular, make sure you can understand formal nonfiction (newspaper articles, modern-history texts, business-anything) in both spoken and written form EASILY. you want to be at the point where you can VERY EASILY read all kinds of NONFICTION, adult books in japanese. you should use an app like "mazii dict" (dictionary where you can easily read news blurbs inside it) or "mondo" (purely intended for reading news) to read some news articles every day.

• instead of (panicking and) re-reading the long reading pieces, read and answer each question SLOWLY. once slowly saves time and comprehension, versus thrice fast.

• work on memorization techniques for when listening to conversations. just youtube "memory champion" etc and you'll see what i mean. you can reread text, you can't replay audio.

• if watching anime to learn, i'd say watch it once with japanese subs (looking everything up) and then once without subs. i didn't realize how much i was still relying on subs for comprehension of high-level stuff until the long listening came. (vlogs, "let's learn japanese grammar!" and other everyday stuff i'm understanding just fine without subs).

• it's very important to remember, on the JLPT there's basically NO CONTEXT for anything. obviously this makes things a lot harder than normal reading/listening.
——— my study / experience under the cut! )
22 June 2017 @ 11:32 pm
Since I read a few threads discussing it when I was looking for stuff, I might as well write a rant about it here too. Manga or anime (with Japanese subtitles; not with sound-only, because you won't catch everything) is AMAZING for learning/practicing even N1 grammar. People (English-speakers) online say differently, however.

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27 August 2017 @ 08:13 pm
i'm ranking TV series according to JLPT level. at animelon.com you can watch anime with japanese subs connected to a pop-up dictionary. viki is an asian drama (= live-action) site with the same for chinese/korean, and i assume it'll eventually have japanese. pick the level you're studying to pass right now (ex. if you want to beat JLPT N2, watch from level 3 then move on to 4+). ♫ means there tends to be background noise or music that makes it hard to hear. after 60-80 episodes with no outside study you should be able to move on to the next level.

last updated: 2017.09.23

1. (N4-N3 level): Black★Rock Shooter, Chobits, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren, Flying Witch, Kobato, Shingetsutan Tsukihime, Ping Pong the Animation
2. Angel Beats, Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Furusato Saisei, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Nyan Koi!, ReLife, Slam Dunk, ♫Tokyo Ghoul
3. (N3-N2): Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, Kuroko no Basuke, Parasyte, Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai, Shiki
4. Baccano, Hunter x Hunter, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S
5. (N1): Death Note, Fate Zero, Psycho Pass, ♫Attack on Titans
6. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Shinsekai Yori

Anime not on animelon:
1. (N4-N3) Devilman (TV), Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Pokemon (Season 1)
2. In Another World With My Smartphone, Jyuu Oh Sei

J-Dramas on Viki:
(N3) 僕のいた時間

Special Notes:
Flying Witch: really useful for "everyday Japanese" in case you're going to actually live in Japan. "Pass me the frying pan" "Take the trash out" "Mind the gap between the train and the platform" etc.
Psycho Pass: almost every sentence uses N1-N2 grammar points with VERY clear context, so if you're studying grammar try this series.
17 June 2017 @ 11:13 am
hey guys! here's my progress after 1 1/2 years of learning japanese. i'm just barely at N2 level. i highlighted next to the kanji meanings i don't know (not the words i don't know, ONLY the kanji). i wrote the wrong year so ignore that, they're all from 2017.

i think this thing is pretty fun to do, you can really check back and see a huge jump in progress in the future. wanna try it?! highlight whatever you want, grammar, vocabulary, kanji, katakana letters... i just took photos then added highlights using an app.
15 June 2017 @ 10:42 am
Greetings members! I'm a bad mod, but I'm surprised and happy to see that there's a few people on our member list now.

Since I'm a very slow and inactive user, we now have a second mod of the community, [personal profile] lusentoj. We're best friends and roommates IRL and have both been learning Japanese on and off for some time. He's very interested in alternative study methods and memorisation techniques, as well as etymology and decoding grammar, so I'm sure he'll be happy to talk with those of you struggling with remembering kanji, or kunyomi/onyomi readings, etc. (I'm more of a "intake media in the target language and naturally learn all the common stuff" and "I already gave up on kanji 10 years ago" type of person.)

Feel free to contact him as well as me if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the community. PMs are fine, comments are fine. Since I work long days and barely have time to go online right now, please don't think you're being ignored if it takes some time to get an answer.

We're planning on changing the community layout soon, to make it more accessible for users like lusentoj (who is visually impaired). If you have any suggestions or requests about anything to do with the comm, leave a comment.

15 June 2017 @ 09:50 am
I'm getting a 3-year degree (Bachelor's degree) in Japanese here in Sweden (the school's name is Högskolan Dalarna), and since I couldn't really find any info on what a university degree in Japanese is like I wrote this up for anyone else who might be interested. I also took 2 courses of Japanese in the USA almost 10 years ago so I'll write about that experience too. If you've taken courses yourself, please comment with in what country you live in and how they were!

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...I figure that someone somewhere wants samples of some of the homework I was given each semester / of my final essays, so I'll go see what I have left and ZIP them up and put them here eventually.
My general advice for all classes:
1. If you own a physical book, write in the pronunciations/meanings of words you forget in the margins of the text using an erasable pen. So say you don't know 犬, once you look it up write "dog イヌ" or something. It's not cheating, it's smart studying and saves a ton of time in the end.

2. Always translate the reading exercises/dialogues (and in the case of short story class, the stories) before they're brought up in class as best you can. This way you remember their contents way better. You'll likely translate stuff wrong but a half-wrong translation is still super helpful.

3. If you're reading a manga, watch the anime and/or read the scanlations beforehand, and listen to the drama CD. If it's a short story, hunt around for someone else's translation.

4. For memorizing individual kanji meanings, replace words in sentences, stories and paragraphs with them. Ex. "I like eating dogs" becomes "私 好 食ing 犬s". I've done this with fanfics for example. For handwriting kanji, convert everything to a handwriting font and write down the kanji once each time it comes up in reading.
14 June 2017 @ 01:52 pm
If I could learn Japanese all over again I'd do it with these materials from the beginning:

1. Readthekanji. (For access to JLPT levels N3 and higher) you pay $5 a month, and you see words INSIDE sentences. You get an English translation of the sentence (which you can hide if you want) and write the Japanese pronunciation. After years of learning languages I know that seeing words inside sentences makes you able to recognize them much more easily in real life than when learning single isolated words a la flashcard software.

2. Animelon. You watch anime and pause the screen and click/hover the Japanese subtitles, and a translation will pop up for the word you chose. They ran the subs through an automatic spacing software and never double-checked them so when the spacing's wrong the dictionary can't find the right word. You can also have English subs, katakana-only subs, etc.

3. OCR software (I'm using a certain phone app that works super well). You can take or load a photo of Japanese, say a manga panel or book page, and it'll convert it to text. You can then copy the words and look them up in the dictionary that way.

4. A Dictionary of Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Japanese. Pick the one according to your level and figure out the meaning of the grammar via their translated example sentences (their definitions aren't always correct/good so it's best to ignore them and learn it solely based on their example sentences).

5. Manga with furigana (so you can look up unknown words easily + do pronunciation practice by reading aloud). You can download a ton of apps to read manga for free on; you can read it for free on the 3DS; you can visit various websites like these:

6. A Japanese 3DS and a flashcart with a bunch of Japanese games loaded. Specifically, I've found that Ni No Kuni and some of the Pokemon games are great even if you're at N5. You can also play whatever other games you want of course, I think the original .hack// games are good if you're at N3 and above, SIMS is good if you're at N2.

7. Vlogs. Yes that's right. Simply type in a food name in Japanese into YouTube and watch bloggers go to restaurants and repeat "It's tasty! It's expensive! Do it this way!" a billion times.

8. Word-replacement software to learn kanji meanings. Ex. "I like eating dogs" becomes "私 好 食ing 犬s". This doesn't actually exist in the way I want it, I just made a half-working one using someone's greasemonkey script and have to pay someone to make a real one once I have money.

9. Learning another easy language first that teaches you about grammar. Yes, that's right — I've been learning Japanese literally 3x faster than my classmates (people who know English, Swedish, German, Serbian etc) just because I knew Esperanto beforehand. I've even been learning faster than some of my classmates who've already been living in Japan for over a year (just about the only people I HAVEN'T been learning faster than so far, have been Koreans). I'd recommend learning Esperanto and some kind of pidgin like Chinook Jargon before or alongside learning Japanese. No, it won't slow down your Japanese, it will literally speed up your Japanese learning even if you're learning all three at the same time. There's tons of research on this topic if you don't believe me, but I can also explain exactly why I have this thinking in another post if someone wants.
14 June 2017 @ 12:45 pm
You never find any real clear info online about which JLPT level corresponds to what so I'll write it here:

N4-N5: You only know modern, standard, semi-polite Japanese and possibly basic casual Japanese — without any contractions or slang or anything. The grammar covers the very basics of the most common grammatical words (と、は、が、を etc). The vocabulary's almost completely useless. After this level you can't understand any "real" Japanese and you certainly can't read the average manga or really make yourself understood in any way. I'd guess that you can understand 10-20% of the words from an average text.

• Textbooks: Genki 1 & 2 together; presumably any "beginner's" textbook.
• University: Years 1-2 in the USA, France, Germany; Year 1 in Sweden.
• In English terms: "I have an old dog. I am a boy. I was sad."
You can easily understand: http://botsan.com/botsan.htm

Practice for this level
— http://www.gonihongo.com/jsl_reading.html
— Ni no Kuni (二ノ国) for the NDS (not PlayStation); has furigana & is about 1/3rd voice-acted.
— Animal Crossing New Leaf for the 3DS; has furigana.
— Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal (GBC), Sun/Moon (3DS). The other games are more difficult.
— (Anime) Pokemon (1st season), Kobayashi's Dragon Maid
You start learning synonyms for stuff you already know how to say (ex. multiple ways to say "but, however"), more usages of the same grammatical words, and more polite and impolite forms. So now for example you might have a chance at understanding the shopkeeper's very polite speech. I'd guess that you can understand around 30-50% of the words from the average text.

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13 June 2017 @ 10:09 am
Hi, everyone. I'm trying to find a way to motivate myself to keep going. I have a ton of materials, and there's stuff I want to do, but I find it hard to keep going when I'm by myself. I'm hoping that joining a community will help.

Anyway, my name is Pocky, and I'm probably what you'd consider an "advanced beginner". Nice to meet everyone.
25 March 2017 @ 03:40 am
Hey guys, this is my intro post I guess. I'm going on exchange to Sendai (Miyagi University of Education, 宮城教育大学) for a year, starting autumn 2017. By that time I'll have finished 3 semesters of Japanese in University. Here's a run-down of what I've done and am doing:

— 1st semester in Uni: Genki 1
— 2nd: Genki 2, Tobira (I "learned" all of Tobira in December and January, but that's just memorizing vocab, it's not like I can use all the grammar perfectly)
— 3rd: Tobira review; Remembering the Kanji; manga/stories we read in class
— Summertime (prep for the exchange): Dictionary of Intermediate/Advanced Japanese Grammar; studying to get to N2 and N1 on the JLPT.

During the exchange I'm just going to "live life", "talk to the natives" etc as much as possible and do everything I can to NOT study.

After finishing Tobira and having learnt about 1,000 more words on top of that is when I really started being able to "understand stuff". Right now I'd say my understanding is 70-90% for the average text or manga aside from political/legal stuff, 30-50% for most spoken (interviews, adult anime, songs etc) things. That includes doujinshi without furigana, novels and so on. Ever since I finished Tobira I've been seeing clear improvements from week to week in how much I understand.

If you want to take advice from me, manga is CLEARLY the best reading practice / exercise tool AND has the most useful words out of anything you could possibly use to learn from. Time and time again I'm shown that a grammar point my classmates can't understand, or a word they don't know, shows up a billion times in manga with clear examples. Manga also more closely matches the spoken language compared to basically all other types of writing, so if you're weak in slang and spoken stuff like me it's a big help.
08 March 2017 @ 03:56 pm
I started using Twitter to practise my Japanese reading and writing recently. I think it's useful to see these short messages that don't feel overwhelming to work through and translate (using online tools like Rikaichan and dictionaries). Of course, there are tons of different Japanese-language Twitter accounts you could follow, so I think there's something for everyone.

Does anyone else use Twitter to practise?

You can find mine here: https://twitter.com/jox_renshuu
08 March 2017 @ 03:47 pm
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