Japanese: A Few Great (&/or Fun) Online Learning Sites
I’m conversant in Japanese. I read and write it o.k., but must keep up my studies lest I fall too far behind to recover. I have a few great grammar books that I turn to and some other texts. Of course there’s online learning, too. These are a few excellent ones, all having their strengths. So, and especially if you’re a beginner, here are some recommendations:
+ MAGGIE SENSEI is my newest find. Very fun and easy to navigate. So many categories: for Beginners, Slang, Formal/Honorific Speech (敬語), Useful Phrases, Reading & Writing, etc., etc.
+ CHOKOCHOKO (チョコチョコ) modestly refers to itself as “the hottest Japanese learning e-zine on the planet.” But it doesn’t say which planet. A great little, and ambitious, language blog.
+ ZONJINEKO: self-describes as “a little (Australian-based) Japanese blog teaching…well….Japanese (but still plenty to learn myself) and also featuring photos from my trips to Japan.”
+ NIHON SHOCK: a Topic-Based learning and vocabulary site. From crime, to age-related words, to “inside info” on polite phrases. And a great little treatise on the maddening difference between “wa” and “ga.”
+ V10 JAPAN: MOTIVATION FOR LEARNING not only provides lessons but lots of tips to help with learning Japanese. Some practical advice from a blogger who’s also a student of Japanese.
There are certainly more formal and formalized online learning avenues out there, out here, such as some great university-based programs, but that’s for another day. Of course there’s no substitute for living in Japan and I highly recommend taking classes, too. Online learning is good, for beginners it’s best used as a supplement, not as a substitute for classroom or real-life learning. But tickets to Japan aren’t cheap, so I understand those who don’t want to wait to major in Japanese (or whose college days are over) or until that trip to Japan comes along before diving into Japanese.
And for you new learners, don’t get discouraged: here’s a very short, yet very true, story about how even the most semi-fluent Western speakers of Japanese can get it wrong. While you’re at it, feel free to read and enjoy the other stories, too.
Please feel free to let me know about any such sites or blogs you like or would recommend.
P.S. – Yes, I can read that menu, most of it. Great stuff.