Japanese (App)

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

[ Read more ]

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 ]

“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 ]

The Different Ways To Learn Kanji, As I See It

The kanji methods war is broken up into several camps, which I will be naming the following:
– Repetition
– Vocabulary & Context
– Reading Reading Reading
– Heisig’s
– Mnemonics With Readings

As I go through each “Way Of The Kanji,” I’d like to look at the positives, negatives, and history of each (if possible).

How To Identify A Kanji That You Don’t Know

Koichi at Tofugu offers up an excellent primer on identifying unknown kanji characters and lists some useful resources. Even more useful resources are mentioned in the comments, so check them out as well.

Amazon’s Kindle USA Now Offering Japanese eBooks; Here’s How To Study With Them

Looks like a non-Japanese (aka USA, for now) Amazon Kindle store now stocks books in the Japanese language. This opens up some huge opportunities for study, though it does currently have its share of problems. Koichi spent the weekend reading terrible books and trying things out, though, so he’d be able to share them with you.

Japanese Reading Practice For Beginners

Since it’s normally pretty hard for beginners to find reading resources, Tofugu put together a list of resources for beginners to study with, listing them with a little bit about each including some suggestions on how to study with them.

25 Ways to Save Money While Traveling in Japan

Is Japan really as expensive as people say it is? Ashley Thompson has discovered many ways to save money, both as a resident and as a traveler. Some are fairly standard, but others were learned through trial and error.

How Japanese Went From Illegible To Legible In 100 Years

At the core of Japanese there’s hiragana, the basic Japanese alphabet (or syllabary, if you want to be pedantic about it). But it wasn’t until pretty recently that hiragana was standardized. Until the 20th century, people could basically write hiragana however they wanted to. Those different ways of writing hiragana were called hentaigana (変体仮名).

Yamato Kotoba: The REAL Japanese Language

A lot of people don’t know this, but the Japanese language is actually a big mishmash of several not-Japanese languages put together. At one time though, a long long time ago, the Japanese language was a slightly less mishmashy combination of several languages. This is what’s known as “Yamato Kotoba” ー the real Japanese language from a time when there wasn’t so much outside language … [ Read more ]

Awesome Japanese YouTubers

The Japanese YouTube scene is more sparsely populated than its American counterpart. However, there is definitely a rising J-vlogging scene. But as with all things up and coming, sometimes it’s hard to tell where to start and find out what’s worth your time. Fortunately, I’ve found several awesome Japanese YouTubers for you.

Japanese Etiquette: How to Save Yourself from Embarrassment in Japan

If you’ve ever considered a trip to the land of the rising sun you’ve probably done some research on proper Japanese etiquette. Many daily customs are significantly different from those of the western world. Hopefully this compiled list of proper manners will be all you’ll ever need to survive your stay in Japan. Check out these etiquette resources and never again bring shame and dishonor … [ Read more ]

Studying With Japanese Drama: The Step-By-Step Guide

Japanese drama is a pretty excellent way to study Japanese. Watching it is one thing… but actually actively studying it is another. I will tell you exactly how to do that and get a ton of benefit compared to the time spent.

Editor’s Note: some good links and suggestions in the comments section as well.

The 100 Most Important Japanese Words You Should Know

These 100 words will get you through an untold number of situations, problems, and feelings, just by knowing these all-important words. I’m not saying that there aren’t any other important words out there (and I hope you add to the list by commenting below), but I do think this list of 100 words will get you really, really far if you are, for some reason, … [ Read more ]

How To Type (Hidden) Special Characters In Japanese

I’m guessing a lot of you know how to type in Japanese (hint: you don’t need a Japanese keyboard), but did you know about all the “hidden” special characters you can type out while you’re in Japanese input mode? You aren’t only limited to hiragana, katakana, romaji, and kanji. There are a score of other weird characters you can use to make your text a … [ Read more ]

Tofugu’s 100 Best Resources For Learning Japanese

This list has been broken up by category, that way you can find the things you’re most interested in quickly and easily (without having to scroll through the entire list). Within each category, I’ve listed resources starting with my favorites and working my way down. Those marked with a tofugu logo () are “Tofugu approved,” which mostly just means they’ll give you a warm and … [ Read more ]

The 5 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Learning Kanji

The Japanese learning industry has, for all intents and purposes, failed you. It’s not your fault that learning kanji is like hitting your face on a curb, it’s the industry as a whole. Sure, there are pockets here and there that are pretty smart about it, but they tend to be small and nobody really knows about them. Most likely, you know what your teachers … [ Read more ]