What is this?
Over the last N years I’ve been on and off studying Japanese and not getting very far with that kind of half arsed approach towards the end of 2017 i got a bit serious about learning Japanese and have been putting in the effort and I’m loving it more than ever i made a video about this on YouTube which you can see here but that’s beside the point. This blog post is a dump of my “Japanese bookmarks folder” that has been slowly growing in my browser for 8 years now it contains a curated list of language resources, tools, guides, tips, tricks, hacks from the deepest corners of the internet.
Japanese Learning Guides
This is one of my favourite resources its organised, its categorised and its short and sweet, probably not for the absolute beginner but if you’re looking for some reaffirmation of a grammar point you learned about recently or just want to quickly recap without pulling out the 2 inch thick grammar dictionary this is a great site with examples for everything in that as promised short and sweet way.
I have a feeling that this originated from 4chan back in the day its a good guide about how to learn japanese, what tools they used where they got them from etc and it has links to some of the best pre-made ANKI Decks you can find.
Way back in the 1990’s there was this physically produced publication of a series called “Mangajin” its no longer available, but thankfully someone has digitised and archived the entire thing online its a full guide to Japanese for the manga reader.
I don’t know if this is affiliated with the books or just a coincidental name conflict but “The Architect” (such a wonderful name) has created a whole stack of videos explaining Japanese grammar and language.
This is a HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE free book of Japanese it starts off at the beginning and takes you all the way through to some crazy hardcore native level lessons.
I’m reluctant to add this to my list, everything they do seems to be focused about selling wanikani and textfugu which albeit are fantastic tools, that in my opinion are priced way way way too high for what they are (yes, even on sale たかいです！), if you can filter out the marketing this guide is a wonderful resource
Japanese General Blog / Video Posts
I have a feeling that this originated from 4chan back in the day its a good guide about how to learn Japanese, what tools they used where they got them from etc and it has links to some of the best pre made ANKI Decks you can find.
This is a blog where all the posts are made in both Japanese and English its great reading practice and even has Furigana options!
Although this site is in french (and I dont speak french lol) they have a tonne of game guides, you can google translate this page to perform a translationception like move and learn about JRPG game specific vocabulary from series’s like Phantasy Star Nova, Star Ocean, Valkyrie Profile, Tokyo Mirage Sessions etc.
Surprisingly FluentU i don’t use their products and probably never will but they have a really great blog about Japanese and this is an article that stood out for me about using a Japanese 3DS to bolster your vocabulary, and find ways to practice language that are suitable for children i guess this applies to DS, PSP and any other system that was available in japan with cheap games on eBay.
This is a step by step guide about how to learn Japanese, granted its his opinion but he speaks and we don’t, so its worth listening too
If you grew up in an English speaking country chances are you’ve read these as a child… well now you can read them again as an adult and in Japanese where they make even less sense than they did when you were a child. I kid i kid, these are just great practice.
Title says it all, i love this book its one of my personal favourite series’s its super easy to read, no magic, no dragons, no fantasy words its just about the crazy stuff this kid gets up to on the day to day and believe me some of it is hilarious.
Brought to you by that awkward Irish dude who spoke in that ted talk about becoming a polyglot Benny Lewis, a great article that explains why Japanese is not so hard, i find reading these kinds of things motivating, clearly that didn’t work for the first 8 years of my study but i’ll put that down to me being me because its working now.
I used this website as a guide for my eBay manga purchasing rampage and every book i has been hilarious, fun and easy to read (with a dictionary of course)
This is a good blog lots of resources and links to places where you can watch or find games in Japanese and some information about how to go about playing yourself for learning purposes.
Tools and Resources
The king of spaced repetition software, its free, its easy to use it has a metric pound of community support, the bread and butter of learning anything even beyond Japanese you can use this for school, work, birthdays, names of people etc. They have a free android app but the ios version costs that’s how they keep the lights on in the office and the staff fed so forgive them for that its well worth it though.
Watch you’re favourite anime with contextual subtitles, you can pause read hover your mouse over for translations etc a great website for fun study time.
I’ve used these guys to buy Japanese iTunes cards in the past, up front they do need to verify your ID before you can purchase so it can take a few hours before you get your card but every transaction after that is quick and fast, great if you want to use Apple Music Japan where you can find a literal tonne of music to listen to straight from japan.
No link for this one, do some google-fu and find out how to do it there are tonnes of guides online i will say that as of January 2018 it is still possible to setup a Japanese iTunes account and stream music outside of japan. I’m not going to tell you how to do it but i will say don’t give up it took me about 5 guides before i found one that worked for me.
Unfortunately his site seems to have died down towards the end of 2016, they have some really great manga scans in both raw and translated that swap out when you hover your mouse over them!! A really great place to practice reading beginners manga like Yotsuba.
Frequently updated this is the source of so many raw manga for you to practice with.
If you get into jpop, anime, jrock etc this website has a bunch of free stations you can listen too while you do you daily thing whatever that may be. As a side note this is where I first discovered wagakki band a few years back my literal favourite band of all time now.
This is a great tool, the N5 Level is completely free and all other levels are included in a $5/month price, i dont think many people know about this one but it puts kanji in context and shows you sentences in basic Japanese so you can grasp the meaning of the kanji, the readings and how its used rather than just drilling vocabulary in isolation.
This is like a self manga test, you’re partaking in a survey to see what you understand, all the text is quoted from manga and your score is benchmarked against the community.
I cant ignore it, I know its expensive, even when its on sale. Though it is a great tool for learning the 2000 base kanji they say it will take a year but seriously you’ll be doing like an hour of reviews a day at their rate, spend your time reading books instead and learn in context its faster.
Brought to you by the crazy golden crabs who made WaniKani comes a text book just like every other text book that you have to pay a monthly subscription to access and this odd ’email us’ after you’ve paid $120usd to convert to a lifetime membership campaign is just dodgy, that said the textbook… its good… but again not worth it buy yourself genki, minna no nihongo, Japanese from zero etc. I’m just putting these here for the people who will email me and say “you forgot wanikani and textfugu”
This is a short story written in both English and Japanese for convenient study, there’s a couple of other stories on this website too just scroll down to the japanese section to read more. This website focuses on translating the same few short stories into as many languages possible so if you find that you can understand this story better in say Hebrew… you can read it in Hebrew and Japanese at the same time.
This is a blog, and they have some really great book reviews for all kinds of study books, resources, manga lists etc.
Another blog, tonnes of great content here, book reviews, study sessions, guides, tutorials etc. she used to be available for hire as a tutor but I’m not sure if she still does that.
Another blog, same deal as the others, tutorials, guides, book reviews, lots of content here too.
As long as you’re not expecting to get harry potter or any other A-List book this is a great resource!! you can find little red riding hood, puss in boots, Cinderella etc all narrated in high quality Japanese with text transcripts for comprehension study and reading practice.
Blog, again lots of content to read in the vein of the other blogs (tutorials, guides, books, etc)
Tutors and Conversation Exchange
Online Japanese tutor website.
Its just a list of the best maho shoujo series’s and why you should watch them!