Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

Remembering the Kanji Update

Last month I created a post about my goal to learn all 2042 kanji in the book Remembering the Kanji. I set a goal of December 31 as my finish date. With only two months to finish, I had to learn about 35-40 Kanji a day in order to make the deadline. With only 12 days to go will I finish in time?

The simple answer is no. I currently sit at about 1300 kanji and will have learned about 1500-1600 by the end of December. Unfortunately, there were days I wasn’t able to study and that put me behind schedule. Am I disappointed? Definitely not. In fact, I think this is a great example of why setting big goals and falling short can be a lot better than setting small goals and achieving them.

Learning 35-40 Kanji a day is a huge task. Instead, let’s say that I had been more reasonable and tried to learn 5 or 10 kanji a day. Still a formidable project. Even if I had succeeded I would only have learned 300-600 kanji. Not to mention that 10 kanji a day would take 200 days, and 5 a day would take over a year. I would be much more likely to give up.

Being at 1300 kanji, and knowing that I am over halfway there is a great feeling. It gives me the motivation I need to keep going. I’m nearly 70% there. Had I done 10 a day I would only be about 25% of the way.

Set goals that you have to strive for and try your best to accomplish them. In the end, even if you don’t achieve them you will be much further along than if you had chosen a much easier goal.

Here are some things for you to try. Just fill in the blank with a number that seems too much and try to accomplish it.

Study ________ new Japanese words a day.

Watch _______ hours of Japanese TV/Movies a day.

Speak to a native Japanese speaker _________ hour every day.

Learn _________ new Japanese phrases every day for 10 days.

Read More

Japanese Words for School

Study in Japan

Since I have started this website, I have gotten a lot of e-mails asking me about studying in Japan. For those of you who don’t know, I used to work as an admissions counselor to help bring students here to Japan. Something I will be doing again soon. For those of you who want to really learn Japanese, and especially for those who want to work in Japan, I would highly recommend studying in here.

There are possibilities to work in Japan for people who can’t speak Japanese fluently, or at least at a business level, but they are few. The primary two being recruiting and English teaching. If you really want to open up your options, then you need to learn Japanese fluently. One great way to do that is to study in Japan. Studying in Japan will help you both learn the culture and learn the Japanese language. Two things you will need to know to find a good job in Japan.

So, here is a list of Japanese words for those interested in studying in Japan. These words should help you ask questions about how your credits transfer, graduating, clubs, scholarships, student life, etc. Please feel free to add on more words in the comments.

  1. High school- 高校、こうこう
  2. Community College- 短大、たんだい
  3. College/University- 大学、だいがく
  4. Transcripts-  成績証明書、せいせきしょうめいしょ
  5. Credits- 単位、たんい
  6. Essay- エッセイ、
  7. Entrence essay-入学論文
  8. Entrance exam- 入学試験、にゅうがくしけん
  9. Scholarship- 奨学金、しょうがくきん
  10. transfer- 編入、へんにゅう
  11. Graduate- 卒業する、そつぎょうする
  12. Diploma- 卒業証明書
  13. Club-サークル
  14. Major, field- 専門、せんもん

This is a pretty short list that you can put into Anki and should be able to mostly remember in about a day. For those of you who aren’t using Anki, be sure to check it out. It’s a great tool and will help you learn faster. Also, as I mentioned earlier, be sure to add any additional words in the comments section.

Read More

Remembering the Kanji in 58 Days (Day 25)

It has been a few days since my last update, but I wanted to let everyone know that I am still studying kanji everyday. There are a few days that I wasn’t able to study (attending a friend’s wedding, busy work days), but for the most part I have stayed on track.

As of yesterday I was up to 835 Kanji and will finish today at about 870. That puts me very close to my target of completing the entire Remembering the Kanji book in 58 days.

I also have a few tips for using this book to study Japanese.

  • The stories are important. So when you get to the part where you have to make up your own, make sure you create a very visual story and don’t just skip though the meanings.
  • Focus when you are learning the stories. If your attention is divided you most likely won’t remember the kanji later.
  • Pay attention to the kanji when you are learning Japanese words for your normal study. The more reinforcement you have of seeing the kanji the better.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed. If you feel like you are going too fast and it’s too much, slow down.
  • Use the Glossary in the back or a kanji poster to mark off and see your progress. It will also give you one more chance at recognition.
  • Lastly, set your goal. It may seem like you will never finish, but if you have a goal, it is much easier to move forward.

頑張りましょう!

If you are following along and study the kanji as well, please post a comment talking about your experience.

Read More

Common Japanese Words: You Need to Know

You have been studying Japanese and learning lots of Japanese words. But what if you are heading to Japan and don’t have time to study or remember a lot of Japanese words? Well, I would say that there is always time if done efficiently, but just in case, here is a list of words that you must know.

I wanted to keep the list small and have decided to limit it to just 10 words. A Japanese words survival list if you will. If you can remember these words, then you should at be able to take care of your basic needs. They might not get you much further, but at least you will be able to get to the bathroom.

I should note that the grammar below is not complete. It is written for someone who only knows these ten words to get by.

1. Doko (どこ)-where

Knowing how to say where is really important. Especially if this is your first time to Japan. Just add the place name in front of this: Restaurant doko?

2. Ikitai (いきたい) -I want to go to

Similar to doko, but this allows you to tell someone where you want to go: Station ikitai.

3. Sumimasen (すみません)-Sorry, excuse me。

This word can be extremely useful because of all of the ways it can be used. Mainly, you can use it to say “sorry” or “excuse me”.

4. Ikura (いくら)-How much

You will most likely be buying things. This allows you to ask how much.

5. Otearai (おてあらい)-Bathroom

You will definitely want to remember this one. You can combine it with number one for: otearai doko?

6. Arigatou (ありがとう)-Thank you

This is the short form of thank you (thanks), but it is easy to say and easier to remember than the more polite arigatou gozaimasu.

7.  Byouin (びょういん)-Hospital

This one is a bit of a no brainer. You can combine it with ikitai or doko to help you actually get there?

8. Tabetai (たべたい)-Want to eat

Not quite hungry, but about as close as you can get with one word. Also allows you to say what you want to eat: sushi tabetai!

9. Nomitai (のみたい)-Want to drink

Same as above, but for drinking. Omizu (water) nomitai.

10. Eigo (えいご)-English?

Said with a rising voice this will mean “can you speak English?” More and more people can these days, so it might be helpful if you need some help.

*Bonus 1. Speak English slowly- A lot of Japanese words now days are English words. speak slowly and enunciate clearly and they will likely understand.

**Bonus 2. Write it down-Japanese are required to study English from middle school (now elementary school) and actually have a pretty good understanding of grammer.  Write it down and they will likely understand.

As I mentioned before, this definitely isn’t a complete list, and it is more for someone who has no experience with Japan. These words should help you get the basics, but not much more. On the plus side, anyone should be able to remember 10 words on the flight over. You could also print them out and stick it in your pocket.

Now’s your chance to tell me: what words would you put in your top 10 words you have to know.

For a much longer list of words see here: common Japanese words

You can also find a downloadable list here: 1000 Japanese words

 

Read More

Remembering the Kanji in 58 days:Day 5

20121108-214307.jpg

Highlighted have been learned

 

I finished my 5th day today and am currently at 299 kanji. I had about 50 reviews plus the new cards I studied today. All together it still took me about an hour. Finding and marking the kanji off the kanji poster took far more time. However, I have to say that the kanji poster has been very helpful. It has forced me to recognize the kanji to make sure I know meaning.

Now that the kanji are starting to pile up a little, it is more important than ever to focus on the stories and really imagine them. I studied in the car today while waiting for my wife in the store. It was easy to get distracted and I realized later that I didn’t remember those kanji as well. Make sure you seclude yourself and really focus. Don’t try to go too fast.

In case you missed the start of this program you can read about how to do it yourself here: Learning 2042 Kanji in just 58 Days

Read More

Using Imiwa’s Export Function to Get More Japanese Words

I have been using Imiwa as my primary Japanese dictionary for some time now. However, it wasn’t until just recently that I started taking care of a very useful feature to make learning Japanese words that much easier: Export list (E-mail CSV).

Here’s the way it works:

Each time you look up a word there is a little star that you can click on to add it to your favorites. I do this with any word I look up and think is common enough that I will use it. If you click on lists, there is an option to e-mail csv. This list can then be directly loaded into Anki. This will save you a lot of time putting the Japanese words into Anki so you can spend more time actually studying them.

I recommend that you then delete the list so you don’t end up with any duplicates. Anki is supposed to check for duplicates, but I like to keep things simple. Not to mention that when the list gets too big, it is mostly unusable anyways. Too many words without a search function.

Not using Anki? You can get it here: Anki

You can find Imiwa here: Imiwa

 

Read More