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 1warini(wa)
JLPT 2simultaneous-actions-group
JLPT 3tame
JLPT 4Respectful Verbs I

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. Nあ~ Casual Nihongo

    Looking for listening materials for Kansai-ben (i.e. dialect)? Check out Nあ~ Casual Nihongo, a great podcast channel for those who are eager to learn Kansai-ben!

    In each episode, the Kansai-ben speaking host, Dai, plays audio of a short conversation in Kansai-ben, and provides commentary on it. These conversations are real, natural conversation, which almost makes you feel like you're a fly on the wall in an … [ Read more ]

  2. YouGlish

    The YouTube word search tool, YouGlish, is now available in Japanese. If you want to listen to a way a word is pronounced in real life — or at least in a YouTube video — you can search a word and pull up hundreds of videos with that term. The videos are cued up to start a few seconds before the word is spoken and … [ Read more ]

  3. にほんごボックス

    The YouTube channel にほんごボックス launched around a year ago and has been publishing content regularly ever since, meaning they already have over a hundred videos to choose from. The intention behind the channel is to help non-native speakers of Japanese become familiar with natural, everyday language. That is, not the kind of Japanese used in textbooks to illustrate grammar points, but the kind you're most … [ Read more ]

  4. Let’s Learn Japanese From Small Talk

    If you're looking for a podcast that offers authentic, everyday Japanese, we recommend you check out Let's Learn Japanese From Small Talk! The podcast is hosted by two native speakers of Japanese, and they cover a wide range of interesting topics about modern life in Japan.

    One of my favorite things about the podcast is how well the hosts provide vocabulary support for listeners. Instead … [ Read more ]

  5. Learn Japanese with Noriko

    Can't get enough Japanese listening materials? Noriko-Sensei's got your back — she updates her podcast channel, Learn Japanese with Noriko, almost everyday!

    What's special about this podcast channel is how Noriko-Sensei speaks clearly and uses simple words and expressions. She maintains this clarity even while speaking at a natural speed. She doesn't intentionally slow her speech down like you find in other beginner materials — but … [ 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 ]