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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お久しぶりですね?

It’s been a long time since my last blog entry. So what have I been doing with my Japanese studies? HelloTalk I’ve been using this app quite a bit to get answers on Japanese grammar, give answers to English grammar, and practice speaking some Japanese. Meetups I’ve been going to a lot of Japanese-English meetings via Meetup.com. I don’t know how these are going to be affected, given that they were recently bought by WeWork, but I guess I’ll find out. WaniKani Getting back into kanji studying. I’ve given myself a year to finish up using this online resource. That’s it. I don’t want this to become a dead blog,… Read More

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Fear of Mistakes

So I go to a Meetup group almost every week, with the express purpose of practicing my spoken Japanese, and almost every week, I don’t speak it. I could make up a lot of BS reasons for why not, but the main one is fear of looking stupid, of being so bad at speaking that I embarrass myself irreparably for all eternity. Pretty stupid, right? I mean, what am I, some kind of child? In this case, sure. I am being a child. So, my challenge going forward is to speak at least one sentence in Japanese next week. Then…one more each week. Then I’ll at least know how much… Read More

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Pitch Accent? Huh?

Recently, I learned about Dogen on Patreon via Tofugu. No, not this 道元. This one. (Although, I just now made this connection. Could it be…?) Anyways, I sort of knew Japanese had a pitch accent, but Dogen’s Patreon page makes it painfully clear that it is not a simple thing, to be ignored. Well, I guess you can ignore it, since context will provide information to the Japanese listener trying to understand my feeble attempts to speak. But wouldn’t it be cool to use はし in conversation, and have the listener know immediately what you meant? I have to confess, though, this is a BIG demotivator. It just adds another… Read More

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How To Language Shadow?

Language shadowing is apparently best done by walking around while you’re doing it. All the videos I’ve seen of people doing language shadowing show them walking around a park, by themselves, with ear buds in, and walking around and talking. I admire parks where there is no one to look at the weirdo walking around talking to themselves in a foreign language. I imagine calls to the police are greatly reduced in that scenario. Anyway, I’ve been using Erin’s Challenge! to try and do some language shadowing while bouncing up and down in my chair. Bouncing is movement, right? Also, one of my cats always decides it would be great… Read More

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Conversing in Japanese: Homonyms and Pitch

One of my favourite blogs about Japan on the net is Japanese Rule of 7. And one of my favourite posts on this blog is where Seeroiさん discusses the difficulties of all languages, but Japanese in particular. Kanji terrify people. I discussed them first on this blog because I both love and fear them, but also because I wanted to get them out of the way. They are a lot of work to master, but they are comparatively easy compared to listening to other humans speaking Japanese, and you responding to them in a grammatical fashion. (Or at least 45% grammatical, which is my goal these days.) No, as is… Read More

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Speaking Japanese

Your typical Japanese class is about 80% listening, and 20% building dialogues off the lesson of the day. At least, in the classes I’ve attended, which have been classes where English was the language used by the teacher. There is one immersion school in Toronto, but I’m not convinced the only difference in the structure is that everyone has to use Japanese. (Of course, this means you speak more Japanese from day 1, which might be a better approach.) Photo via Good Free Photos But there’s a problem, because next week, you start in on a brand new lesson, and some brand new dialogues. Maybe grammar from some of the… Read More

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