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.
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.
- Yookoso! textbook summary notes (book 1 | book 2)
- Nichibei Kaiwa Gakuin course notes (advanced beginner or lower intermediate level)
- An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese textbook summary notes (Chapters 1-8 | Chapters 9-15)
- ビジネスのための日本語: Getting Down to Business &ndash Japanese for Business People textbook notes
- Summary notes about the Causative, Passive, Passive-Causative and Natural Potential Verb Forms
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:
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.
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:
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 StudyMusic 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.
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:
- Business Japanese Class Vocabulary
- Limited Vocabulary from An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
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)
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
Manga Sensei offers multiple free options for learning Japanese, including a daily grammar podcast, a daily Kanji video on YouTube, a 30 day basic grammar challenge, and an original manga strip that teaches different grammar and cultural lessons. The latter follows the Yamaguchi Family as they travel Japan and meet interesting characters and grow up. Each weekly theme is written by Japanese natives for all … [ Read more ]
Subjects: General, Grammar, Kanji, Language Study
Manga Club is a site that posts officially licensed manga free with ads. But we're not telling you about it because free manga is great; they recently added the ability to easily switch between Japanese and English with the press of a button! Now you can read free manga without needing to choose whether to buy Japanese, English, or both, if you want to use them … [ Read more ]
Subject: Reading Material
The Ultimate Guide To: は vs が (The ONLY lesson you need!)
This forty minute video by YouTuber Misa from Japanese Ammo might be one of the only resources titled "ultimate" and "the only lesson you need" that I actually believe. Misa breaks down the particles は and が and explains the differences in depth with multiple examples and on-screen text and translations. は and が can be a major struggle for English … [ Read more ]
Sources: Japanese Ammo, YouTube | Subjects: Grammar, Video / Audio
Tofugu Review: There are tons of Japanese reference and learning apps out there, so if this one looks familiar to you, don't worry. That's because it isn't new at all. It's been around on iOS since 2008. But Japanese has undergone some major changes recently and is now the shiny, new version 4! This app has a ton of new content:
- Built-in Japanese-English dictionary with
Sources: Renzo Inc., Tofugu | Subjects: Apps, Language Study, Miscellaneous | Other, Translate
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:
- NHK News Easy
- Top NHK News
Author: Javier Artiles | Source: Tofugu | Subjects: Apps, Language Study, Reading Material, Vocabulary / Phrases
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 ]
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.
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 ]
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 ]