Is あなた Polite or Rude?

My Sensei Said I Should Never Use あなた, So Why Did I Learn It in the First Place?

What Should I Call “You”?

How To Address and Refer to “Others” in Japanese

How Romaji Can Ruin Your Day

When you first start learning Japanese, you most likely start out with romaji. Romaji is using an alphabet you already know to write and read Japanese.

And when you get started out, romaji is great! “Pff, I don’t need to learn kanji,” you might think, “This romaji stuff is easy!”

Slow down there, sparky! Romaji might be easy for a while, but it’s just a matter of … [ Read more ]

How to Learn Japanese from Songs

You can’t learn a language just by studying vocabulary and grammar. There has to be something you give a damn about understanding in the long run. The sooner you grapple with the stuff you love in the original language, the better. Sure, it may feel like beating your head against a wall sometimes but here are some tricks to help, and also some warnings about … [ Read more ]

How to Live (And Sometimes Work) in Japan on Working Holiday: The Ultimate Guide

If you’re an independent soul and would like your time in Japan to be flexible and adventurous, a working holiday could be your best option. What follows is the full guide—from applying for your visa, to work and housing options, and even how to convert to a standard working visa if you want to stay in Japan—all from someone who has done it. I’m British, … [ Read more ]

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 ]