About Yookoso!

Are you studying Japanese, thinking of visiting Japan, interested in Japanese culture, people, products, etc.? If so, this site is for you.

History of this Site

My name is Jeff Blum and I have been attempting to learn Japanese, off and on, for many years (though my level is still pretty low and I am currently learning Thai).

One of the first textbooks I used was Yookoso! (© 1993 Yasu-Hiko Tohsaku) and I shamelessly used that name for this site since the goal was simply to provide summarized notes for that textbook.

Over time, I added notes from other sources and classes summarizing key grammar constructs, word usage nuance, aspects of the language that regularly trip me up, etc.

As a natural progression, I went in search of useful online learning resources to help my own studies and decided to make the site a bit of a hand-curated directory or these resources. Keep in mind, this was before Google even existed.

Another interesting thing happened that has been the primary reason for this site’s modest (very modest) popularity. There was a student at the University of Texas (again we are talking many years ago) that maintained a daily kanji email list. I have since forgotten his name, but this was the only one of its kind at the time and the emails were all text. Still, I relied on that list for my daily study habit. Then, one day the emails stopped coming. I reached out to him to see what happened and he told me his server crashed and he lost everything and had not made any backup. He told me he didn’t want to bother re-creating everything. Since I do basic web development as a hobby, I decided to try and create mailing lists for this site.

After a lot of effort, I was able to find the data and technology I needed to create multiple mailing lists (including converting EDICT and KANJIDIC to MySQL). Today, thousands of you receive one or more of these emails every day.

Latest Site Update and Email List Changes

For many years, I have done almost nothing to this site besides basic maintenance and very occasionally adding useful resources. Recently, I decided to convert my various websites to WordPress. As part of that process, I have decided to make some changes to the mailing lists. One reason is that the mailing list software (phpList) I was using isn’t well integrated with WordPress. Another reason is that the popularity of the mailing lists has recently been causing some pretty severe strain on my modest VPS host server.

So, the first main change is that I have eliminated some of the lists, specifically those for the grade levels. I simply had too many lists and these were the least popular, which is logical since most students focus on the JLPT levels instead. The other major change was switching to new newsletter mailing software. Time will tell if this will help or hurt so more changes may or may not be forthcoming.