Travelling to Japan — my Dream Trip

Well, I need to remind myself why I am studying Japanese, so let’s go through my dream vacation: Tokyo. 2-3 days. Enough time to see some of the sites, and then say after that I have seen Tokyo. It looks like a very busy city, but I also want to visit some quieter places. Kyoto. 5-7 days. I would love to see some kabuki  歌舞伎 and noh 能 theatre while I am here, as well as some temples. Also, to be able to visit 天橋立。 I would also like to meet people I’ve gotten to know online through HelloTalk.

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Google Translate and You

Google Translate. The lazy person’s way to language. Full of errors, especially with non-Western languages. A waste of time for the serious student. Well, anyway, that’s what I used to believe. Now, I don’t believe it so strongly. (All the following is based on what I do in Android. I’m sure something similar can be done in iOS.) Here’s what I currently do when I get a sentence from a Japanese person on HelloTalk that I can’t figure out. First of all, I copy and paste it into Jota+, because sometimes a really tiny Kanji that gets a bit bigger in my text editor suddenly becomes comprehensible. If that didn’t… Read More

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Why doesn’t Maggie Sensei get more Love?

I just realized today that every time I’ve done a search for a piece of Japanese grammar, and Maggie Sensei’s site comes up, I always get super useful content from her everytime. She explains everything clearly, gives lots of examples, and has bonus dog pictures! Today I looked up the grammatical meaning of との, and there it was, a complete list of all the particles that could be used with の , lots of clear examples, and a dog picture. Also today, I finally noticed she has a Patreon, and I subscribed immediately. I don’t have any affiliation with her, other than being a satisfied Internet user of her services.… Read More

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Maintaining

Wow, been making a lot of basic grammar errors on HelloTalk. You’d think these are things I would have learned by now, but no. Either I’m regressing, or this is normal in language learning, or I’m just too darn tired from things outside of studying Japanese. Still. They say if you don’t make mistakes, you’re not learning anything.

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vs Japan

I’ve already mentioned Matt vs Japan, but now he has a video up where he is interviewing a guy with the YouTube handle BritVsJapan. I wasn’t aware language studying meant you had to face off against the country of that language. EdVsChina. KateVsThailand. Sounds kind of silly, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s an AJATT clan title. Even if you think it means Matt/Brit vs the Japanese language, that’s still a weird way to approach learning a language. “I hate this language, but after I punch and kick it enough, it will surrender and I will be triumphant! TRI-UM-PHANT!” Or maybe it’s just awkward marketing. Me, I’m studying Japanese because I like… Read More

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This Word is Rare

So I’ve already written about how I’m using the Android app Aedict as my main Japanese dictionary. It’s really handy, acts as a simple translator, but, it has one feature I can’t understand. It (like every Japanese-English dictionary I’ve seen) uses Jim Breen’s dictionary data as the source of all the words. And, it gives a “rarity” for each word I have looked up on it. I questioned some of the rarities before, but today I really had to check what was going on. I was typing out a reply on HelloTalk to someone, and I wanted to check that I was spelling こちらこそ correctly (no doubled vowel sounds anywhere),… Read More

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Sweet YouTube Japanese Drama

No, not a professional production. It’s Japanese From Zero versus a fan of All Japanese All The Time (AJATT). I like Japanese From Zero. I haven’t really looked at the printed materials that George Trombley puts out, but his videos are always informative. His explanations are clear, and he definitely knows his spoken Japanese very well. Then there is a guy called Matt, who runs the YouTube channel Matt VS Japan, and is a fervent disciple of the AJATT method. I don’t know a lot about AJATT, beyond the fact that its website reads like it was written by a dude bro who is trying to sell me insurance. As… Read More

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Speaking Japanese outside Japan

Naturally, if you want to learn how to speak a language, you need to speak it with a native speaker of the language. Someone who isn’t afraid to correct your mistakes. But outside of Japan, how do you meet with native speakers of the language? School This is certainly one option. But the only native speakers in the room are going to be the 先生 and any アシスタント. And they’re too busy running classes to have much time to chat with you after class. Some schools offer an immersion experience. If you’re independently wealthy, you can apply to do a full immersion at a school in Japan, which solves all… Read More

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Ganbatte Shadowing App

I was introduced to this app on HelloTalk. I haven’t had much of a chance to try it out yet, but it does have impressive credentials, developed by the International University of Japan, both for their registered students and for non-students. It has a nice reference page describing the different methods of language shadowing, and then you go to download lessons at your current level of Japanese fluency. You can have the script used open, or you can hide it and just focus on shadowing the speech you hear. It records your voice so you can compare your speech patterns to the patterns of the native speakers. This might be… Read More

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