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Learning Hiragana and Katakana

Background - an ancient volumetric Japanese re...

The second Japanese class on Edufire ended today and Eri had a lot of fun teaching it. Thank all of those who attended. I hope you enjoyed the classes and learned some new Japanese.

Eri has posted a couple new classes as well. One for those wanting to learn to read and write Japanese (hiragana and katakana) and another class for practicing conversational speaking (this class is limited in size so if you are interested I recommend you sign up soon). You can find the classes here:

Japanese classes

For those serious about learning Japanese, learning hiragana and katakana as fast as possible is very important to not only reading Japanese, but for pronouncing it correctly as well. The sooner you get away from the English alphabet the better.

In the class, Eri will be showing you the correct way to pronounce the characters and how to write them. The class will be recorded, so those attending can watch it over and over again for review.

If you already know how to write and read the characters, then you are ready to sign up for the conversational class and start speaking Japanese.

Japanese classes

Free Japanese Classes With a Native Japanese Speaker

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In my last post about choosing Japanese classes I talked about the importance of speaking and listening to native Japanese speakers. It is something I believe is very important for those wanting to speak Japanese. I also mentioned that those interested in the chance to learn and speak with a native Japanese speaker should stay tuned. Well I have some good news.

I have received a number of comments and mails from people wondering how to go about finding a Japanese speaking partner or teacher. After a bit of convincing, I was able to get my wife (a Japanese native from Tokyo) to start teaching classes on Edufire. Eri is from Tokyo, but graduated from college in the US, so she knows what it takes to learn a foreign language.

Her main focus will be teaching conversational Japanese and greetings. To start out with, she is offering two free classes that will take place in the next few days. She is also planning to run smaller more private classes in the future and students who attend these classes will have first shot at them. You can find more information on the classes here: Free Japanese Classes.

The classes will basically cover the same material (I believe), but I recommend you to sign up for both to get extra practice.

Free Japanese Class

Japanese Classes and Choosing a Japanese Teacher

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Since I started Japanese Words I have tried to give a lot of tips and information about how to learn Japanese. I have given tips on choosing books, study tools, study methods, studying the right words (including common words lists) and a few tips on grammar. The one thing I haven’t done is create videos teaching you how to speak Japanese. There is a good reason for this. I lack one very important credential: I am not a native Japanese speaker.

Yes, I studied abroad as a university student and now currently live and work in Japan. I speak Japanese everyday and conduct my daily activities in Japanese. But my spoken Japanese is not perfect, and almost no non-native Japanese speaker is. Even if they use all the right grammar and all the right words, they will almost always have an accent. And since you are trying to learn perfect Japanese, you need to hear perfect Japanese. This is something a non native Japanese speaker can’t provide.

I would even go one step further and say that you should learn from a native speaker who speaks the “standard” dialect. In Japan’s case this is the dialect spoken in the Kanto area (Tokyo and the surrounding areas).

Grammar can easily be learned from books, but how to actually speak and which expressions to use in the right situations and how to pronounce them correctly requires  practice with a native speaker.

For those who are wanting to find a native Japanese speaker to learn and practice Japanese, stay tuned….I will posting about this soon!