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Popular Japanese Articles from our Blog
How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese: Timeline for Beginners
There is one common question nearly all beginners have when they become interested in learning the Japanese language. “How long will it take me to learn Japanese?” is typically top of mind if you have a trip to Tokyo coming up, or if you’ve always wanted to watch your favorite Japanese movie with the subtitles off. Learning any new language is a journey. When it comes to learning Japanese, you’ll need patience, persistence, and a good work ethic. If you put in the time and effort, yo
5 Simple Rules For Japanese Pronunciation
Japanese pronunciation can be difficult for beginners, but these tips from Ann Arbor, MI teacher Elaina R. can help you understand some of the basic rules. My mother is Japanese, my father is American, and both of them are bilingual. As such, I grew up bilingual and became aware of accents at an early age. I could hear who had trouble with what, and as I started studying languages and diction, I began to understand why. Whether or not you speak Japanese, there are some quick adjustment
Language Lessons vs. Self Study: Can You Teach Yourself Japanese?
Is it possible to teach yourself Japanese? While the best way to learn a language is always a private teacher or tutor, there are some things you can do at home to learn the basics. Here, language teacher Carol Beth L. weighs the pros and cons of Japanese lessons vs. teaching yourself. Can you teach yourself Japanese? The simple answer is, yes. Like many new skills, given the right tools, some people can teach themselves. I have known people who have taught themselves Japanese—or anoth
Learn Japanese Through Music: 7 Fun Songs to Sing at Karaoke
Karaoke is a fun activity in any language, but believe it or not, singing karaoke is also a great way to improve your Japanese-language skills. Karaoke, as we know it, actually started in Kobe City, Japan. The word 'karaoke' is a combination of the words kara (from karappo, which means 'empty') and oke (from okesutura, which means 'orchestra'). You may not have realized that you can learn Japanese through music, but karaoke is one of the best ways to practice vocabulary and
Japanese Writing Systems for Beginners: Learn Hiragana
With three different writing systems, learning Japanese can be confusing for beginners. It's much easier to break the systems down, and focus on one at a time. Here, Japanese teacher Kaoru N. shares his tips to help you learn hiragana... There are three types of letters in the Japanese language: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Hiragana and katakana are based on sounds and pronunciation. In kanji, each character has its own meaning. Hiragana characters are the most fundamental and basi
5 Common Japanese Phrases You Should Know
Japanese people are full of life in their expression and communication, which makes the language very fun and interesting to learn. The language has become globally accepted, so whether you're planning a trip to Japan or just looking to broaden your horizons, you can definitely benefit from learning basic Japanese vocabulary. Here are some common Japanese phrases to get you started. 1. Shitsurei shimasu Shitsurei shimasu means “excuse me, please.” The literal translation
5+ Ways Learning Japanese Can Boost Your Career
Whether you're taking Japanese lessons for fun or for academic reasons, there are a number of benefits to learning Japanese. Here, Washington, D.C. Japanese teacher Taro T. explains how learning Japanese can boost your professional career... When you first start learning Japanese, you may be unaware of all of the benefits that can result from your new language skills. Once you’ve achieved a certain level of proficiency, you can put your Japanese skills to practical use, especially i
Japanese Alphabet: Learn Kana Letters & Pronunciation (with English Translation)
Want to know the best way to learn the Japanese alphabet? You've come to the right place! Here, you'll find some of the most effective tips and tricks to help you master the fundamentals of the Japanese letters. In the United States, we learn our "ABCs." But in Japan, children learn their あいうえおs. Even though letters in Japanese can seem difficult to read and write, learning the basic Japanese alphabet isn't as hard as you think! What is the Easiest Japanese Alphabet to Learn?
5 Famous Japanese Songs and What They Really Mean | TakeLessons
The Japanese music culture is rich with beautiful melodies and lyrics. Elements such as nature and nostalgia are often explored with traditional Japanese music (known as hōgaku), and Japan’s artists have brought this refined musical aesthetic to virtually every other genre. Soothing Japanese songs have become a favorite for listeners around the globe, and those looking to learn the language can use these tunes to pick up vocabulary and expressive phrases. In doing so, you’ll also come t
The Japanese Writing Systems for Beginners: Learn Kanji
When you're studying Japanese, you will learn new vocabulary, grammar, and writing systems. Now that you've been introduced to hiragana , it's time to talk about kanji. Here, Brighton, MA Japanese teacher Karou N. shares some effective study tips to help you learn kanji... If you’re interested in studying Japanese, and you've made up your mind to learn the language, there’s no way to avoid kanji. Understanding kanji, and being able to read and write the letters correctly, is importa
5 Must-Read Japanese Manga Books
When you're learning Japanese, reading Japanese manga comics may help you build your vocabulary and comprehension skills. Aside from that, though, you should read Japanese manga comics because they're fun and entertaining! Modern Japanese manga originated in Japan in the mid 1900s. The word manga literally refers to comics and cartoons. You can find manga in many genres like romance, sports, comedy, and science fiction. Manga can be sequential with many volumes in a series, or it
5 Reasons You Should Learn Japanese
Japanese may not be the first topic that comes to mind when you think of studying a foreign language, but there are many great reasons to learn Japanese. Whether you're considering language lessons for yourself or your son or daughter, here are five ways you can benefit from learning Japanese. 1) Travel Learning Japanese language basics is essential for anyone interested in traveling to Japan. While you don't need to be fluent, you'll have a much easier time making your way around if you
Japanese Expressions: 10 Famous Idioms & Quotes (English meanings)
Famous Japanese quotes, sayings, and idioms are fun for beginners to learn and practice. You're probably already familiar with the many idioms in English, such as "Don't count your chickens before they hatch" and "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Using such phrases in everyday conversation will help you sound like a native Japanese speaker, but you have to be sure you're using them in the right context and setting. Here, we'll share 10 famous Japanese quotes and the meanings behind
Must Know Japanese Phrases for Different Situations | TakeLessons Blog
If you are a beginner, one of the most important and easiest ways to get familiar with the Japanese language is to learn and practice the most frequently used phrases. In this article, we will learn the most useful phrases that will get you through different situations. As a reminder, there are three different kinds of speech in Japanese. There is the informal, polite, and formal. In this blog, we will be introducing you to phrases in polite form so you can talk to everyone immediately.�
The 7 Best Japanese Videos for Language Students
Japanese videos are fantastic to help you practice the skills you're learning in your Japanese lessons. Whether you're a beginner or an intermediate student, it's easy to find a video series that suits your needs. Here are our recommendations for the best videos to help you learn Japanese. 1. JapanesePod101 Set in a classroom, complete with a white board and pointer, this video demonstrates how to introduce yourself in Japanese. The instructor explains the phrases and pronu
3 Simple, Tried-and-True Secrets to Help You Learn Japanese
While there a number of great reasons to learn Japanese, studying a foreign language is a challenging endeavor. One-on-one lessons with a language tutor is the best way to learn Japanese. Luckily there are also a number of fantastic resources, study tools, and learning hacks to supplement your Japanese lessons. Olly Richards speaks eight different languages, and is the founder of the I will Teach You a Language website. Through his website, Richards helps students of all ages learn to spe
Japanese Sake: Your Complete Guide
Want to learn more about Japanese culture as you take Japanese lessons? Then you should explore different types of Japanese cuisine and Japanese beverages (if you are of age). Sake is a popular Japanese beverage, and luckily, if you're unable to travel to Japan, you can enjoy certain types of sake in the United States... So next time you head out to eat sushi, you'll be able to order and enjoy sake like a pro. Here's everything you need to know about Japanese sake. What is Sake? Altho
Learn Japanese: 5 Expert Study Tips From Bobby Judo
Need some inspiration to help you learn Japanese? How about some advice from an expert? Bobby Judo is a TV and radio host in Japan. Although he was born in America, Bobby speaks fluent Japanese and hosts a popular YouTube series to help students learn Japanese. Here, Bobby talks about his own journey with Japanese and shares his expert advice for Japanese-language students... I had a passing interest in Zen Buddhism when I was in high school, and a very, very strong sense of wanderlust
Japanese Vocabulary: More Than 100 Ways to Express Yourself!
It's important to be able to express yourself in any language, and learning to express yourself in Japanese can help you communicate more effectively with native Japanese speakers. Here, Washington, DC language teacher Taro T. teaches you some words, phrases, and Japanese vocabulary to express your emotions... Japanese culture is what anthropologist Edward T. Hall might call a high-context culture. In a high-context culture, you don't have to say much in order to be understood. When som
Jet Set to Japan: The Top 10 Japan Travel Blogs
If you're studying Japanese, you may be preparing for an upcoming trip to Japan. Traveling to Japan is an unforgettable experience, but if you want to make the most of your trip, you have to prepare in advance. Here are 10 Japan travel blogs to help you plan ahead for your upcoming trip. 1. Only in Japan Only in Japan covers nearly every popular and traditional aspect of the country and culture. From manga to beaches to backpacking, you will be well prepared for your trip if you read t
7 Best Japanese Learning Games Online
If you’re looking to learn Japanese, you must commit to putting in plenty of time and practice. After all, many students wonder how long it will take to master the language, and it really comes down to how much effort you are willing to invest. The good news is that there are tons of resources you can take advantage of to help boost your understanding of the language, such as interactive Japanese learning games. These fun Japanese learning games provide you with the tools you need to
A Beginner's Guide to Japanese Stroke Order
Having trouble figuring out the stroke order for Japanese characters? Whether you're using hiragana, katakana, or kanji, these tips from Japanese teacher Karou N. will help you learn the correct stroke order for Japanese characters... There are three types of characters in the Japanese language: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Hiragana is used for basic writing. Katakana looks similar to hiragana, but is slightly different in function. Kanji was originally invented in ancient China from
Japanese Grammar Rules: How to Conjugate Verbs in the Present Tense
When you're learning Japanese, it's important to understand how to conjugate verbs. Here are some great tips from Ann Arbor, MI teacher Elaina R. to help you understand Japanese verb conjugation.... Now that you're familiar with Japanese kana (if you're not, check out this article) and a few essential phrases, you're ready to learn about Japanese verb conjugation. In this article we will cover the basics—just the infinitive and present (formal and informal) forms. These concepts may s
15 Japanese Vocabulary Words for Travelers
You don’t have to master the entire Japanese language to be able to communicate on a basic level with native Japanese speakers. When it comes to basic communication, a few essential words and phrases can help you get by on your trip to Japan. Whether you're taking Japanese lessons or planning a trip to Japan, here are the Japanese vocabulary words you should know. Traveling to Japan Whenever you travel to a new country, you need your passport. The Japanese word for passport is pasupot
29 Survival Tips for Studying in Japan
Whether you're traveling to Japan for fun or to study the language, it's important to prepare for your time away from home. It's natural to experience some culture shock any time you travel to a new place, but proper preparation can make the difference between an uncomfortable trip and a life-changing experience. So whether you're traveling with a language or exchange program, with a small group, or flying solo, here are 29 tips from language and travel experts to help you have an unfor
13 Must-Know Japanese Expressions for Travelers
Whether you're studying the language or planning a trip to Japan, it's important to know some basic Japanese phrases. Learn these useful Japanese expressions with language teacher Andrew P... So, you're planning a trip to Japan, or Nihon as the locals say. Hopefully you'll be traveling with someone who is fairly fluent in Japanese (Nihongo) because most Japanese people (Nihonjin) speak very little English. If you're traveling alone, however, there's no need to worry. Here are 13 bas
Japanese Mythology: 5 Legends and Ancient Myths and Legends
Do you have a fascination with old Japanese myths and legends? Japanese mythology is full of epic tales of adventure along with deep reflections on life. Learning about Japanese history and culture is also a great idea for those studying the language. A little bit of background before we dive into the myths: Japanese mythology consists of stories derived from old folk beliefs and incorporates elements of Shinto mythology as well as Buddhism. Passed down from generations through both spoken w
Is My Child Ready to Learn Japanese? A Guide for Parents
Want your son or daughter to learn Japanese, but not sure if he or she is ready? Here, Montgomery, TX language teacher Emily G. explains how you can determine if your child is ready to begin Japanese lessons... Are you considering teaching your child Japanese? You might be wondering if your child is ready for the challenge and can learn Japanese successfully. There are a few things to consider when making that decision. In this post, we'll take a look at some of the factors that go
Learn Japanese the Easy Way: 3 Study Tips for Beginners
While learning Japanese requires time and patience, you can boost your learning with these tips from teacher Willy M... I hate to break it to you, although it's not impossible to learn Japanese, it's also not necessarily easy. Japanese is a complicated language on many levels. First you need to learn how to converse, then you need to learn the specialized words. If you want to read in Japanese, then you need to learn Hiragana for indigenous words, Katakana for non-indigenous words, and
How to Say Let's Eat Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner in Japanese [Infographic]
Food is an essential part of life and a central part of any culture. Japan is well known for its sushi, curries, soups, noodles, and more. Japan's penchant for courtesy and respect also plays a part in the country's mealtime expressions. Here are some Japanese vocabulary terms you can use during meal times. 1) Gohan (meal) hiragana: ごはん kanji: 御飯 This term literally refers to the white rice that plays a big role in most meals. Over the years, it has become understood in
Japanese Honorifics: Formal & Informal Name Suffixes | TakeLessons
When learning to speak Japanese, you’ll come across suffixes used to address people called “honorifics.” Japanese honorifics are an important way to convey respect, formality, and friendship to those you interact with. Both formal and informal honorifics are common in Japanese, which is why every speaker needs to get the basic suffixes down. To an English speaker, the concept of honorifics may seem new, but the fact is, we already use terms, such as Miss, Mr., and Dr. as prefixes. But
Learn Japanese Grammar: How to Use Japanese Adjectives
Verbs and nouns are vital to form a sentence, but if you want to add some color, you also need adjectives. Here, Ann Arbor, MI teacher Elaina R. shows you how to use Japanese adjectives... Adjectives are descriptive words. The stove is hot. The blue sky turned black. I am confused. We use tons of adjectives in our everyday speech. If you're learning Japanese, learning to use adjectives is a must. Luckily, using adjectives in Japanese is pretty darn easy. There are only tw
Family Members in Japanese: How to Say Mother, Sister, Aunt & More!
Learning how to describe your family in Japanese is an essential part of expanding your vocabulary and improving your conversational skills. When it comes to family, the Japanese language is more precise than English because it accounts for relative age. There are also alternate terms to address a member of another person's family, versus your own. Are you ready to continue learning how to speak Japanese with these necessary vocabulary words for family? If so, you've come to the right p
12 Japanese Holidays and Celebrations
From January through December, there are many Japanese holidays and special occasions you can participate in. If you're taking Japanese lessons, make sure you get in on the fun! This is a great way to practice your skills in an authentic, cultural setting. Get ready to mark your calendar! Here are 12 Japanese celebrations you should remember.12 Japanese Holidays & Celebrations What Are Major Holidays and Celebrations in Japan? The major holidays and celebrations in Japan include Ganjitsu,
How Much Are Japanese Lessons: Investing in Your Education
There are many benefits to learning a new language, but learning any new skill comes with a cost. People often ask "how much do Japanese lessons cost?" Here is a monetary breakdown from language tutor Carol Beth L... Learning a new language – or any new skill – can be expensive. Expenses will vary, however, from language to language and area to area. Japanese is reputed to be one of the most expensive and time-consuming languages to learn, since it's so different from most other language
Japanese Etiquette: The Dos and Don'ts of Mealtime
There are a few important things you should know when you sit down to a Japanese meal. So whether you're visiting Japan or joining some Japanese friends for dinner, learn some basic Japanese etiquette with language tutor Emily G... Japan’s culture is very different from American culture, but perhaps the biggest surprise is how the differences touch even the most mundane parts of our daily lives. Meals in Japan, for example, can be very different from the typical American eating experien
21 Awesome Japanese Learning Apps You Should Download Now
Do you want to learn Japanese but don't know where to start? There are many different ways to learn the language, and it can be tough to know which option is best for you. One of the best ways to learn is with an app. There are many different apps available, so how do you know which one of the many Japanese learning apps is right for you? The best Japanese learning apps are fun, easy to use, and help you practice what you're learning in your Japanese lessons. Whether you're looking to impr
Back-to-School Vocabulary: 10 School Supplies in Japanese
Ready to go back to school? As you and your family prepare for the upcoming school year, continue your Japanese lessons and learn back-to-school vocabulary with language teacher Carol Beth L... As the school year starts, it's time brush up on your vocabulary to talk about school supplies! Here are some Japanese vocabulary words that may prove useful as you head back to class. 1) Empitsu - Pencil Hiragana: えんぴつ Kanji: 鉛筆 Because you'll definitely need a pencil when yo
The 8 Most Common Filler Words in Japanese | TakeLessons Blog
Alexander Spatari/Moment/Getty Images No matter what language we speak, we all have filler words that we use. We hear a lot of filler words being used in conversations or in movies. These kinds of words might not seem useful, but they actually have a lot of benefits and are a pretty important part in a lot of languages. So let’s go ahead and learn how to use them correctly to improve your Japanese. Let’s go! 1. What are filler words? Japanese filler words are small words o
The Basics of Japanese Sentence Structures | TakeLessons Blog
Marco Bottigelli/Moment/Getty Images The Japanese language sentence structure is a little different than English. It is an SOV language, which means that the basic word order in a sentence is S (subject) – O (object) – V (verb). English, on the other hand, is an SVO language with the order of S (subject) – V (verb) – O (object) Watashi (Subject) Ramen (Object) Eat(Verb) Japanese: 私はラメんを食べます。Watashi wa ramen o tabemasu. I
Japanese History: 13 Festivals, Celebrations, and Traditions
You can enrich your Japanese-learning experience by also learning about Japanese history and culture. Japan is a country that's rich in history and traditions. It was first established as a united state around 300 AD, although people had resided on the cluster of islands since 10,000 BC. Over time, Japan has adopted numerous holidays and festivals. Some of these traditions were borrowed from other cultures, but Japanese people made these holidays distinctly Japanese. Here are a few of
5 Japanese Wedding Traditions: Weddings Around the World
Giving gifts and honoring parents aren't just Korean wedding traditions - they're also important components of Japanese weddings. In this article, you'll learn about the unique traditions and rituals associated with Japanese weddings... Shintô is an ancient Japanese religion that continues to dominate the country's culture, especially its ceremonial traditions. Up to 79 percent of Japanese people still belong to Shintô temples, but the vast majority don't identify with its ac
Japanese Grammar for Beginners: Learn to Conjugate Japanese Verbs
If you're learning Japanese, here's some good news: Conjugating Japanese verbs is much easier than you think! Here, Ann Arbor, MI teacher Elaina R. shares some simple tips to help you conjugate Japanese verbs... I love conjugating Japanese verbs. Why? In most romance languages, conjugations are based on tons of factors, including subject, number, and even gender. For example, in Italian, "I am tired" is Io sono stanca; but if you are male, it's Io sono stanco. If there are sever
Japanese Numbers: How to Count 1-10 in Kanji & Hiragana [Infographic]
Wondering how to read, write, and say Japanese numbers? When taking Japanese lessons, it's important to learn this basic Japanese vocabulary. Learning how to count from 1-10 in Japanese is vital. How much does something cost? What time is it? How many apples do you want from the supermarket? All of these situations require numbers. The way you pronounce numbers in Japanese can vary depending on the situation, but the guidelines below will help you learn the basics. All About Japanese Num
16 Bizarre Japanese Superstions
Every culture has its own set of legends, myths, and superstitions. And Japan is no exception! Japanese culture dates all the way back to 35,000 BC., and so do some bizarre but really interesting Japanese superstitions. In the US, a rabbit’s foot brings good luck. But, who came up with this? We don’t know, but it is an interesting superstition! So, what are some superstitious beliefs in Japan? Let’s check them out! What Are Some Interesting Japanese Superstitions? Just like most cu
How to Learn Japanese: 5 Terrific Websites to Help You
Learning a new language can be fun and rewarding! But, it can also be challenging. Are you ready to learn Japanese like a pro? When you're learning any new language, it’s so helpful to have a few reliable resources to turn to. Today, we’re going to take a look at 5 great websites that will show you how to learn Japanese and help you practice. We’ll share a helpful video, too! Is Japanese Hard to Learn? Japanese is known as one of the most complicated languages to learn. Many peopl
Japanese Greetings | Formal Japanese Greetings | TakeLessons Blog
You may wonder how to say “Hello” in Japanese? Greetings are an important part of any language because they allow you to connect and communicate with others, even as a beginner. If you’re planning a trip to Japan soon or are trying to learn how to speak Japanese, keep reading to find out some of the most common Japanese greetings. Wondering How to Greet Someone in Japanese? You can use any number of these popular Japanese greetings to successfully learn how to greet someone in Japa
Blast From the Past: 10 Japanese Toys From Your Childhood
When you're taking Japanese lessons, it's fun to learn about certain aspects of Japanese culture. Japanese pop culture has made a significant impact in the United States and worldwide. From electronic game consoles to action figures, Japan has had a long-standing influence on the worldwide toy market. You probably remember a lot of the items on this list, but never really knew their true origin. Go ahead and embrace your inner child, it's time to get nostalgic. Do you remember your
15 Fun-to-Say Japanese Onomatopoeias (With Audio)
What Are Japanese Onomatopoeias? An onomatopoeia is a word where meaning is derived from a sound, or when a word sounds like how it looks. In English, we have onomatopoeias like "cock-a-doodle-doo" for the sound a rooster makes, or "crunch" for the act of crushing things. Onomatopoeias are quite common in many, if not all languages. We tend to notice them most in comics as sound effects: zippers "zip" and light switches "click." They're fun to say and they certainly aren't hard to learn.
The 9 Most Popular Kanji Tattoos
When you're taking Japanese lessons, you will be introduced to the three different writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Although kanji is generally considered the most difficult to learn, because of the symbols, it's the most popular writing system among non-Japanese speakers. Kanji consists of thousands of characters which were derived from the Chinese writing system. Because of the way they look, and the fact that they can convey a meaningful message in a limited amount of ch