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
It can be difficult for Japanese language learners to find interesting short contemporary Japanese stories to read with English translations online. A novel can be daunting in length and complexity, while children's stories might not be interesting or relatable.
Enter the literary news site tree, from Kodansha publishers, and their web series, Day to Day. Tree, created with the goal of introducing readers to new Japanese … [ Read more ]
Subjects: Language Study, Reading Material
How To Address and Refer to "Others" in Japanese
Author: Kanae Nakamine | Source: Tofugu | Subjects: General, Language Study, Vocabulary / Phrases
A new collection introduces English-speaking audiences to an overlooked Japanese cartoonist who smashed both gender and genre norms during her short life.
Author: Gabrielle Bellot | Source: The Atlantic Monthly | Subjects: Anime / Manga, Arts & Entertainment, Japan
This is a cool diagram I found recently that compares the grammatical structure of a fairly complex sentence written in Japanese and English.
Subjects: Grammar, Language Study, Miscellaneous
Making Sense of な-Adjectives and の-Adjectives
Do な-adjectives "always" take な? The answer is の (Pun Intended).
Authors: Cameron Lombardo, Moeko Norota | Source: Tofugu | Subjects: Grammar, Language Study
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 ]