Study Japanese language, Kanji; learn about Japanese travel, culture, life, music (JPOP) and more

NOTICE: Grammar Email Service Status (April 2021)

DC, the guy behind jgram, accidentally let the domain name expire. Someone else rescued it and I think he is planning to revive it himself but the details are still unclear at the moment. I have the most recent copy of the database and will be using it for my daily emails but some of the links will not work. When everything gets settled I will try to edit the email template to use current/active links.

Welcome

Yookoso! is a portal for those who study the Japanese language (Nihongo) and writing (Kanji) and those who want to travel to Japan or learn more about Japanese culture, life, music (JPOP) and more. On the site you will find unique content (see below) as well as a hand-selected directory of useful online resources.

If you are interested, read more about the history of this site.

Original Content (You'll Find Only on this Site)

This site started off as a way for me to share notes from a few of my Japanese courses. Over time it has become a directory of useful resources but below are the things you won't find elsewhere on the Web.

Course Notes

I have digitized notes summarizing different courses and textbooks. Most of these are quite old now, but since language doesn't change that frequently, they should still be useful.

Daily Kanji Email Service

Get a nicely formatted email every day with a new Kanji to study. Each email includes the readings, the meaning, a stroke order illustration, the Henshall mnemonic, and a list of common words that use the specific character. There is also a link to download a PDF version of the email.

Below are the latest Kanji:

LevelKanji
N1
N2
N3
N4
N5

Daily Kanji RSS Feeds

If you are a fan of RSS (if you aren't, you should be), you can access the daily Kanji levels that way instead of via email.

JLPT1 RSS   JLPT2 RSS   JLPT3 RSS   JLPT4 RSS   JLPT5 RSS

Daily Grammar Email Service

Similar to the Kanji email service, get a daily dose of Japanese grammar, courtesy of the jGram.org database.

Below are the latest grammar entries:

LevelGrammar
JLPT 1bakarini
JLPT 2seinisuru
JLPT 3youniiu
JLPT 4ha

Kanji Study Tool

I created a Kanji study tool in conjuncion with the email lists but you can use it to randomly test and expand your Kanji knowledge. Choose by JLPT or school grade level or just any random Jōyō Kanji. The format is the same as for the emails. There is also a link to download a nicely formatted PDF version of the information for each character.

Japanese Popular Music to Study

Music is an excellent way to study and improve your language skills. In Japan, of course, karaoke is hugely popular so it will also be helpful if you know at least a few widely popular songs that you can sing to impress your local friends. I have collected 14 songs of varying styles that you can listen to and read the lyrics in original Japanese, romaji and English translation. Note: most of these songs are slow enough and clear enough that you can actually understand the words being sung.

Vocabulary Study

In addition to the course notes, I have created a basic study tool to review the vocabulary for some of the textbooks I have used, specifically:

I have more vocabulary in a spreadsheet somewhere that hopefully I will get around to adding in the future.

Anki study decks

Anki is a popular free (except iOS) flashcard system that uses spaced repetition for more effective learning. Recently, it occurred to me that the kanji information sheets I use for my daily email service would make for a great Anki flashcard deck so I have done just that. In putting together my deck, I tried to take advantage of some of the program's useful features. In particular, I realized that many, including myself, will want to be able to study by JLPT or grade level, or possibly even by radical (bushu). In creating my deck, I included those as fields, but to study a subset of a deck you need to filter based on tags, so I also tagged each entry accordingly. Since there are more than the 1945 (old) standard Joyo, I have also tagged Joyo as well. The nice thing is that you only have to download one complete deck and then just use the "Custom Study" button. Once you click that, you can choose the "Limit to particular tags" option and then choose accordingly. You can also do more complicated filtered study with the search routine. Check out the user manual for more specifics.

Download Anki (.apkg) File (39MB)

I also offer the grammar content for Anki here in partnership with jGram.org

Download Anki (.apkg) File (NO Audio) (1MB)

Download Anki (.apkg) File (Male Voice Audio) (8.6MB)

Download Anki (.apkg) File (Femal Voice Audio) (8.7MB)

Pera Pera

This is NOT original content but tracking down the original files is a bit tricky, so I have made 99 of the 100 (cannot track down one of them) available to download directly from my server.

Recently Added Resources

  1. The Real Japanese Podcast

    Introducing "The Real Japanese Podcast: 日本語で話すだけのラジオです!" Episodes average at about 15 minutes long, making them short enough to be digestible, but long enough to be interesting and immersive. The host, Haruka, is a native speaker of Japanese who has a pretty active online presence accross many platforms as a Japanese teacher.

    My favorite thing about this podcast is that Haruka releases a script of every … [ Read more ]

  2. Konnichi What’s Up

    This YouTube channel has been around for a few months now, and new videos are added twice a week, meaning there's already quite a variety to choose from. Made by students in global communications at Doshisha University in Kyoto, the channel covers a range of topics that are interesting for Japanese learners. These include explanations of how to use words in context, especially common slang, … [ Read more ]

  3. Japan Reader

    Let's face it — reading Japanese is hard. Perhaps the most common complaint we hear from intermediate Japanese learners is that they can decode a text, but they can't really just sit down and read it. To build up reading fluency, it's important to avoid stopping to look up unknown words as you go, because you need to develop reading skills like guessing words from … [ Read more ]

  4. Fuji Family / バイリンガルファミリー

    Fuji Family/バイリンガルファミリー (bilingual family) is a YouTube channel which features a family of three traveling around different parts of Japan.

    In this family, the mother is from Ireland and the father is Japanese. Both parents know Japanese and English and talk to their bilingual son, Sean, in both languages during the segments.

    The videos have a very natural and comforting element to them. The camera, held … [ Read more ]

  5. Japanese with Teppei and Noriko

    You may already be familiar with Teppei and Noriko, the hosts of this new podcast. Teppei and Noriko are both experienced Japanese teachers who each have their own podcast. They've teamed up recently to help Japanese learners increase their listening skills by providing short, natural conversations in Japanese.

    There is no English in the podcast but the two speak very clearly in simple, but natural sentence … [ Read more ]

Most Popular

  1. Kanji Study

  2. A Japanese guide to Japanese grammar
    Most textbooks try to teach you Japanese with English. That want to teach you on the first page how to say, "Hi, my name is Smith," but they don't tell you about all the arbitrary decisions that were made behind your back. They probably decided to use the polite form even though learning the polite form before the dictionary form makes no sense. They also … [ Read more ]

  3. Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbooks Don't Tell You
    This book was formerly available under the more intriguing title Gone Fishin': New Angles on Perenial Problems. I highly recommend this book for all intermediate- or higher students of Japanese. It has been one of the most helpful books I have ever read since it deals with perennial problems that Japanese students deal with.

  4. Mailing Lists

  5. Japanese Ads - Learning Japanese Through Print Ads
    Harvey Beasley has produced a new blog based on the idea of learning Japanese through print ads and posters. Japanese Ads features one ad per post and Harvey's dissection of the meaning and cultural nuance therein. It is, like all great ideas, simple in its elegance and a great way to learn Japanese in the context of real word usage. Harvey does a great … [ Read more ]