Yookoso!

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

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 1tekartoiumono
JLPT 2yomoya
JLPT 3tara
JLPT 4adv_volitional

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. TangoRisto
    Tofugu Review:Pulling material from both NHK News and Hukumusume, TangoRisto allows users to make the most of their reading experience with unique features, customizable vocabulary lists, and easy Japanese dictionary lookup.When you open the app, you're given a few options to choose from:

    1. NHK News Easy
    2. Top NHK News
    3. Hukumusume.
    NHK News Easy is Japanese news written for kids – think … [ Read more ]

  2. Kanshudo
    Kanshudo is the fastest and most enjoyable way to learn and remember the Japanese kanji and written Japanese generally. Whatever your current level of Japanese ability, Kanshudo will help you improve, with assessment tools such as our unique visualization of your kanji ability, the Kanji Wheel, games such as Kanji Match and Word Match, the Kanji Quiz, fun and engaging Beginner lessons and Intermediate lessons, … [ Read more ]

  3. “What I Use To Study Japanese” – Jonathan Kirk from Kanshudo
    In this series, Tofugu asks learners what Japanese learning resources and methods they use to study and why. Today, we talk to Jonathan Kirk, the guy who made the popular kanji learning app, *Kanshudo*. Jonathan focused on building up his reading skill first (which led him to create his kanji learning system). So if you want to boost your Japanese reading ability, pay attention.Editor's Note: … [ Read more ]

  4. Japanese Language School Database
    Ross at Japanistry has created a Japanese language school database that contains the latest school information and lets you search by a range of criteria (location, course type, accommodation criteria) so that you can find the best school quickly and easily. According to Ross, there are a few other databases out there at the moment but they unfortunately contain dated information or are not easily … [ Read more ]

  5. Site Redesign
    I first launched this site in late 2002. I did all the programming myself and, while over the years I have made a few tweaks here and there, mostly I haven't done much in terms of keeping up with the times. The site wasn't mobile ready or responsive and the design was pretty sad. Well, maybe the design is still a bit sad, but at … [ 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. 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 ]

  5. Japan Information Network
    A thorough set of links on all aspects of Japan. Featured resources include: - NIPPONIA, a quarterly magazine introducing contemporary Japanese culture and society to people all over the world - Trends in Japan, short, engaging dispatches on the latest trends in Japanese business and economy; science and education; society; sports; and fashion, arts, and entertainment. - Japan Access, concise introductions of … [ Read more ]