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The 5 Aspects of a Great Japanese Course

I started searching for a Japanese course a little over 6 months ago, when I really started to get interested in language learning. I quickly discovered that there weren’t a lot of options out there for students of the language. The lion’s share of materials were aimed at people learning languages like Spanish or French.

The 5 Aspects of a Great Japanese Course

A few of the most notable courses left me disappointed. They simply didn’t do a good job of teaching the Japanese language. Some of the most popular options didn’t really have that much to offer. In this article we’ll look at 5 aspects of a good Japanese course. We’ll also look at how JapanesePod101, is a rare exception among most courses, as it thoroughly fulfills all 5 aspects.

1) It isn’t afraid of Japanese grammar

In the language learning world Japanese grammar is a beast all its own. With attributes such as honorific language, a flexible word order, particles, and clause-modifiers of nouns all work together to make the Japanese grammar system incredibly fascinating, but undeniably difficult for native English speakers. A quick search on Reddit or Quora will reveal a host of puzzled Japanese learners who are doing their best trying to grapple with the language. Linguistically speaking, you can’t get much further from English than Japanese. It’s consistently ranked as one of the hardest languages for native English speakers to learn.

The 5 Aspects of a Great Japanese Course

More often than not a language learning company will slap a Japanese sticker on what’s essentially a Spanish or French course. They make little to no accommodation for the mechanics of the Japanese language. Some language courses even ignore the grammatical difference entirely!

The way you learn a romance language like Spanish will not be the same way you should approach an asian language like Japanese. One thing I love about JapanesePod101 is that it dives straight into Japanese grammar from the get go. Every lesson highlights a very specific aspect of grammar as it’s used in the audio portion of the podcast, and you are given a list of explanations and example sentences to go along with it.

It’s essentially as if JapanesePod101 took the best parts of a Japanese language class and put it right at your fingertips.

2) It doesn’t ignore Kanji or Hiragana

Just as Japanese grammar is notoriously unique, so is its writing system. In fact it’s writing system is cited as one of the most difficult in the world. This is mainly because it combines 3 different writing systems into one. Hiragana and katakana aren’t usually too hard for native English speakers to pick up, but it’s the logographic Kanji that pose the real challenge.

The 5 Aspects of a Great Japanese Course

9 times out of 10 a Japanese course only includes romaji (Japanese written in latin script) in their learning materials. Users aren’t exposed much, if at all, to the writing system actually used in Japan. Romaji isn’t always bad, and it certainly has its uses, but it’s definitely not a substitute for actual Japanese writing.

JapanesePod101’s lesson transcripts (available in English, romaji, kanji, and hiragana) are just about the perfect tools for familiarizing yourself with the Japanese writing system while learning grammar and vocabulary. The site’s built in spaced repetition flashcard system is also ideal for committing kanji to memory.

3) Helps you listen in Japanese

Listening comprehension is an often overlooked skill when learning any foreign language, not just Japanese. It’s one thing to know words when you see them in a textbook or when you speak them. But it’s a whole different ballgame when you try to understand native speakers talking at normal speed. Syllables and sounds gets reduced or dropped and whole phrases are spoken in rapid succession. If you haven’t practiced listening to native speakers then your first Japanese conversation could be a rude awakening.

The 5 Aspects of a Great Japanese Course

This is why good audio courses can be so powerful. If they’re worth their salt they acclimate your ear to the language gradually over time. At first the speakers talk slow and space out their words, but as the course progresses the dialogue becomes more difficult. JapanesePod101 has a great slow playback feature that allows you to listen to individual words at a regular or reduced speed. This is a superb option for easing yourself into the Japanese sound system.

4) Gives you practical vocabulary

There are a lot of language courses out there that simply fail to provide you with relevant vocabulary that you can actually use in a conversation. This is one of my biggest pet peeves in the language learning world, and I’ve written extensively about language learning programs that do this. You don’t want to spend valuable time and energy learning vocabulary that you’re not likely to use, especially if you’re a beginner.

Sentences like “the cat drinks milk”, or “the man runs”, just aren’t all that useful in the real world. While there is an aspect of vocabulary that is inevitably personal (your job, personal interests, etc), there are still words, phrases, and grammatical constructions that carry over to a variety of uses. Part of the genius of JapanesePod101 is that each lesson is built around a dialogue between native speakers.

The 5 Aspects of a Great Japanese Course

This is great because you see grammar and vocabulary in action. It’s a lot easier to remember how to make a certain sentence construction when you first heard it in a conversation. The contexts of the podcast are also highly practical. You’re talking to someone on the street, to friends in a restaurant, or maybe speaking with a loved one over the phone. Throughout the podcast series there’s a real push to learn grammar and vocabulary in a practical setting. This is a feature sorely lacking from far too many Japanese courses.

5) It should be interesting, even fun!

A dull language course is the worst. Language learning isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. At its heart the language learning process is one of continual discovery, and a good Japanese course should reflect that. Thus I appreciate the hosts in JapanesePod101, because they do a good job of engaging the listener. Even though you are learning a great deal of grammar, vocabulary, and cultural insights; their playful tone and banter help keep things lively and interesting. It’s a far cry from some older more traditional audio courses.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, 5 things to look for in a good Japanese course. Remember when learning a foreign language, using a good course or method is important; but even the best course isn’t a substitute for hard work and consistent practice. If you stay focused and put in the effort you will see your language skills improve!

How to Say Happy New Year in Japanese & New Year Wishes

Learn all the Japanese New Year wishes online, in your own time, on any device! Join JapanesePod101 for a special Japanese New Year celebration!

How to Say Happy New Year in Japanese

Can you relate to the year passing something like this: “January, February, March - December!”? Many people do! Quantum physics teaches us that time is relative, and few experiences illustrate this principle as perfectly as when we reach the end of a year. To most of us, it feels like the old one has passed in the blink of an eye, while the new year lies ahead like a very long journey! However, New Year is also a time to celebrate beginnings, and to say goodbye to what has passed. This is true in every culture, no matter when New Year is celebrated.

So, how do you say Happy New Year in Japanese? Let a native teach you! At JapanesePod101, you will learn how to correctly greet your friends over New Year, and wish them well with these Japanese New Year wishes!

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Table of Contents

  1. How to Celebrate New Year in Japan
  2. Must-Know Japanese Words & Phrases for the New Year!
  3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions in Japanese
  4. Inspirational New Year Quotes
  5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes
  6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages
  7. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn Japanese

But let’s start with some vocabulary for Japanese New Year celebrations, very handy for conversations.

1. How to Celebrate New Year in Japan

On New Year’s Day, the whole world celebrates the start of the year. While the calendar marks only January 1st as a holiday, in Japan we celebrate the period from the 1st to the 3rd, known as 三が日 (Sanganichi). Some companies and stores close during this time, and a number of unique events and customs take place. When you meet someone for the first time in the new year, be sure to greet them with, “明けましておめでとうございます。(Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu!)” That’s Japanese for “Happy New Year!”

You’ll also hear 良いお年を。(Yoi o-toshi o.) at the end of the year and it’s often translated into “Happy New Year!” in English. The difference between 明けましておめでとうございます。 and 良いお年を。is, 良いお年を。is only used before the New Year and 明けましておめでとうございます。 is used in the New Year. 謹賀新年 (きんがしんねん; kingashinnen) means ‘Happy New Year’ too but it’s a written form so you’ll only see it on your 年賀状 (ねんがじょう; nengajou), which is a Japanese New Year’s card.

Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question: what do you call the morning of New Year’s Day?

If you don’t already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.

New Year’s Day celebrations generally begin with the first sunrise of the year, with people worshiping at homes, the beach, and mountains. 雑煮(zōni) - “rice cakes boiled with vegetables” - and おせち(osechi) dishes - “festive New Year’s food” — are eaten on New Year’s Day. 雑煮 (zōni) is a soup containing rice cakes, the seasoning of which depends on the family and region. There’s a saying that goes, “Just like a rice cake stretches, so shall one’s lifespan.” So, this soup is eaten with the hope for longevity. おせち(osechi) dishes are also eaten with the wish of having a happy and safe year. In order to seek blessings for the year, families and friends wear their finest clothes and visit a shrine.

In Japan, it’s customary to send New Year’s cards to friends or acquaintances who have helped you in the previous year. In the cards, we write greetings and hopes for the year, as well as information on how the person or family is getting along. A picture of an animal representing the zodiac sign for the new year is also included. In the past, people would either visit the homes of their acquaintances, or receive acquaintances as guests in their homes with the New Year’s custom called お年始 (o-nenshi). This custom has been simplified gradually to the point where only greeting cards are exchanged.

Children receive お年玉 (o-toshidama), meaning “New Year’s gifts” from their parents, grandparents, relatives, and parents’ friends. The traditional gift is money. Since this only happens at New Year, children get very excited about it. お年玉 (o-toshidama) are placed into a paper envelope called an お年玉袋 (o-toshidama bukuro). The average amount given to an elementary school-aged child is around 3,000 to 5,000 yen. As they grow older, middle school-aged children receive around 5,000 yen, and those in high school receive around 10,000 yen.

Here’s our fun fact for the day! Did you know that while people go to a shrine to pray during New Year’s Day, some visit the shrine at midnight as time passes from the previous year to the New Year? This practice of making a midnight visit is called 二年参り(ninen-mairi).

Now it’s time to answer our quiz question: what do you call the morning of New Year’s Day?

The correct answer is 元旦 (gantan). Two characters form this word. The second character, 旦 (tan), is made up of the character for “sun,” with a single horizontal line drawn under it. With these pictographs combined, the character represents the sun rising over the horizon. And taken together, the two characters 元旦 (gantan) represent the morning of January 1st.

Happy New Year!
明けましておめでとうございます。
Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu!

2. Must-Know Japanese Words & Phrases for the New Year!

Japanese Words & Phrases for the New Year

1- Year


toshi

This is pretty self-explanatory. Most countries follow a Gregorian calendar, which has approximately 365 days in a year, while in some cultures, other year designations are also honored. Therefore, New Year’s day in Japan could fall on a different day than in your country. When do you celebrate New Year?

2- Midnight

真夜中
mayonaka

The point in time when a day ends and a new one starts. Many New Year celebrants prefer to stay awake till midnight, and greet the new annum as it breaks with fanfare and fireworks!

3- New Year’s Day

元日
Ganjitsu

In most countries, the new year is celebrated for one whole day. On the Gregorian calendar, this falls on January 1st. On this day, different cultures engage in festive activities, like parties, parades, big meals with families and many more.

4- Party

パーティ
pāti

A party is most people’s favorite way to end the old year, and charge festively into the new one! We celebrate all we accomplished in the old year, and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.

5- Dancing

踊り
odori

Usually, when the clock strikes midnight and the New Year officially begins, people break out in dance! It is a jolly way to express a celebratory mood with good expectations for the year ahead. Also, perhaps, that the old year with its problems has finally passed! Dance parties are also a popular way to spend New Year’s Eve in many places.

6- Champagne

シャンパン
shanpan

Originating in France, champagne is a bubbly, alcoholic drink that is often used to toast something or someone during celebrations.

7- Fireworks

花火
hanabi

These are explosives that cause spectacular effects when ignited. They are popular for announcing the start of the new year with loud noises and colorful displays! In some countries, fireworks are set off to scare away evil spirits. In others, the use of fireworks is forbidden in urban areas due to their harmful effect on pets. Most animals’ hearing is much more sensitive than humans’, so this noisy display can be very frightful and traumatising to them.

8- Countdown

カウントダウン
kaunto daun

This countdown refers to New Year celebrants counting the seconds, usually backward, till midnight, when New Year starts - a great group activity that doesn’t scare animals, and involves a lot of joyful shouting when the clock strikes midnight!

9- New Year’s Holiday

正月
shōgatsu

In many countries, New Year’s Day is a public holiday - to recuperate from the party the previous night, perhaps! Families also like to meet on this day to enjoy a meal and spend time together.

10- Confetti

紙吹雪
kamifubuki

In most Western countries, confetti is traditionally associated with weddings, but often it is used as a party decoration. Some prefer to throw it in the air at the strike of midnight on New Year’s Eve.

11- New Year’s Eve

大晦日
ōmisoka

This is the evening before New Year breaks at midnight! Often, friends and family meet for a party or meal the evening before, sometimes engaging in year-end rituals. How are you planning to give your New Year greetings in 2018?

12- Toast

乾杯
kanpai

A toast is a type of group-salutation that involves raising your glass to drink with others in honor of something or someone. A toast to the new year is definitely in order!

13- Resolution

決意
ketsui

Those goals or intentions you hope to, but seldom keep in the new year! Many people consider the start of a new year to be the opportune time for making changes or plans. Resolutions are those intentions to change, or the plans. It’s best to keep your resolutions realistic so as not to disappoint yourself!

14- Parade

パレード
parēdo

New Year celebrations are a huge deal in some countries! Parades are held in the streets, often to celebratory music, with colorful costumes and lots of dancing. Parades are like marches, only less formal and way more fun. At JapanesePod101, you can engage in forums with natives who can tell you what Japanese New Year celebrations are like!

3. Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

So, you learned the Japanese word for ‘resolution’. Fabulous! Resolutions are those goals and intentions that we hope to manifest in the year that lies ahead. The beginning of a new year serves as a good marker in time to formalise these. Some like to do it in writing, others only hold these resolutions in their hearts. Here are our Top 10 New Year’s resolutions at JapanesePod101 - what are yours?

Learn these phrases and impress your Japanese friends with your vocabulary.

New Year's Resolutions

1- Read more

本をたくさん読む。
Hon o takusan yomu.

Reading is a fantastic skill that everyone can benefit from. You’re a business person? Apparently, successful business men and women read up to 60 books a year. This probably excludes fiction, so better scan your library or Amazon for the top business reads if you plan to follow in the footsteps of the successful! Otherwise, why not make it your resolution to read more Japanese in the new year? You will be surprised by how much this will improve your Japanese language skills!

2- Spend more time with family

家族と多くの時間を過ごす。
Kazoku to ōku no jikan o sugosu.

Former US President George Bush’s wife, Barbara Bush, was quoted as having said this: “At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, a parent.” This is very true! Relationships are often what gives life meaning, so this is a worthy resolution for any year.

3- Lose weight

やせる。
Yaseru.

Hands up, how many of you made this new year’s resolution last year too…?! This is a notoriously difficult goal to keep, as it takes a lot of self discipline not to eat unhealthily. Good luck with this one, and avoid unhealthy fad diets!

4- Save money

お金を貯める。
O-kane o tameru.

Another common and difficult resolution! However, no one has ever been sorry when they saved towards reaching a goal. Make it your resolution to save money to upgrade your subscription to JapanesePod101’s Premium PLUS option in the new year - it will be money well spent!

5- Quit smoking

禁煙する。
Kin’ensuru.

This is a resolution that you should definitely keep, or your body could punish you severely later! Smoking is a harmful habit with many hazardous effects on your health. Do everything in your power to make this resolution come true in the new year, as your health is your most precious asset.

6- Learn something new

習い事を始める。
Naraigoto o hajimeru.

Science has proven that learning new skills can help keep brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay! It can even slow down the progression of the disease. So, keep your brain healthy by learning to speak a new language, studying towards a qualification, learning how to sew, or how to play chess - no matter how old you are, the possibilities are infinite!

7- Drink less

お酒の量を減らす。
O-sake no ryō o herasu.

This is another health resolution that is good to heed any time of the year. Excessive drinking is associated with many diseases, and its effect can be very detrimental to good relationships too. Alcohol is a poison and harmful for the body in large quantities!

8- Exercise regularly

運動の習慣を身につける。
Undō no shūkan o minitsukeru.

This resolution goes hand-in-hand with ‘Lose weight’! An inactive body is an unhealthy and often overweight one, so give this resolution priority in the new year.

9- Eat healthy

健康的な食生活を心がける。
Kenkō-teki na shokuseikatsu o kokorogakeru.

If you stick with this resolution, you will lose weight and feel better in general. It is a very worthy goal to have!

10- Study Japanese with JapanesePod101

JapanesePod101.comで日本語を勉強するつもりです。
Japanīzu poddo ichi maru ichi dotto komu de Nihongo o benkyō suru tsumori desu.

Of course! You can only benefit from learning Japanese, especially with us! Learning how to speak Japanese can keep your brain healthy, it can widen your circle of friends, and improve your chances to land a dream job anywhere in the world. JapanesePod101 makes it easy and enjoyable for you to stick to this resolution.

4. Inspirational New Year Quotes

Inspirational Quotes

Everyone knows that it is sometimes very hard to stick to resolutions, and not only over New Year. The reasons for this vary from person to person, but all of us need inspiration every now and then! A good way to remain motivated is to keep inspirational quotes near as reminders that it’s up to us to reach our goals.

Click here for quotes that will also work well in a card for a special Japanese new year greeting!

Make decorative notes of these in Japanese, and keep them close! Perhaps you could stick them above your bathroom mirror, or on your study’s wall. This way you not only get to read Japanese incidentally, but also remain inspired to reach your goals! Imagine feeling like giving up on a goal, but reading this quote when you go to the bathroom: “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” What a positive affirmation!

5. Inspirational Language Learning Quotes

Language Learning Quotes

Still undecided whether you should enroll with JapanesePod101 to learn a new language? There’s no time like the present to decide! Let the following Language Learning Quotes inspire you with their wisdom.

Click here to read the most inspirational Language Learning Quotes!

As legendary President Nelson Mandela once said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” So, learning how to say Happy New Year in Japanese could well be a way into someone special’s heart for you! Let this year be the one where you to learn how to say Happy New Year, and much more, in Japanese - it could open many and unexpected doors for you.

6. How To Say Happy New Year in 31 Languages

Here’s a lovely bonus for you! Why stop with Japanese - learn how to say Happy New Year in 31 other languages too! Watch this video and learn how to pronounce these New Year’s wishes like a native in under two minutes.

7. Why Enrolling with JapanesePod101 Would Be the Perfect New Year’s Gift to Yourself!

If you are unsure how to celebrate the New Year, why not give yourself a huge gift, and enroll to learn Japanese! With more than 12 years of experience behind us, we know that JapanesePod101 would be the perfect fit for you. There are so many reasons for this!

Learning Paths

  • Custom-tailored Learning Paths: Start learning Japanese at the level that you are. We have numerous Learning Pathways, and we tailor them just for you based on your goals and interests! What a boon!
  • Marked Progress and Fresh Learning Material Every Week: We make new lessons available every week, with an option to track your progress. Topics are culturally appropriate and useful, such as “Learning how to deliver negative answers politely to a business partner.” Our aim is to equip you with Japanese that makes sense!
  • Multiple Learning Tools: Learn in fun, easy ways with resources such 1,000+ video and audio lessons, flashcards, detailed PDF downloads, and mobile apps suitable for multiple devices!
  • Fast Track Learning Option: If you’re serious about fast-tracking your learning, Premium Plus would be the perfect way to go! Enjoy perks such as personalised lessons with ongoing guidance from your own, native-speaking teacher, and one-on-one learning on your mobile app! You will not be alone in your learning. Weekly assignments with non-stop feedback, answers and corrections will ensure speedy progress.
  • Fun and Easy: Keeping the lessons fun and easy-to-learn is our aim, so you will stay motivated by your progress!

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There’s no reason not to go big in 2018 by learning Japanese with JapanesePod101. Just imagine how the world can open up for you!

How To Say ‘Thank you’ in Japanese

How to Say Thank You in Japanese

In most cultures, it is custom to express gratitude in some way or another. The dictionary defines gratitude as follows: it is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. Giving a sincere, thankful response to someone’s actions or words is often the ‘glue’ that keeps relationships together. This is true in most societies! Doing so in a foreign country also shows your respect and appreciation for the culture. Words have great power - use these ones sincerely and often!

Table of Contents

  1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Japanese
  2. Video Lesson: ARIGATŌ GOZAIMASU or ARIGATŌ GOZAIMASHITA?
  3. Video Lesson: ARIGATŌ or DŌMO?
  4. Infographic & Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You
  5. Video Lesson: ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages
  6. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You

So, how do you say ‘Thank you’ in Japanese? You can learn easily! Below, JapanesePod101 brings you perfect translations and pronunciation as you learn the most common ways Japanese speakers say ‘Thanks’ in various situations.

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1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in Japanese

1- Thank you.

ありがとう。
Arigatō.

The magical words that can bring a smile to any face. For one day, truly mean it whenever you say these words, and see how this lifts your spirit too!

2- That’s very kind of you.

ご親切にどうも。
Go-shinsetsu ni dōmo.

This phrase is appropriate when someone clearly goes out of their way to give good service, or to offer you a kindness.

3- Thanks for your kind words!

あなたの親切な言葉に感謝します。
Anata no shinsetsuna kotoba ni kansha shimasu.

Someone paid you a compliment and made you feel good? That is kind of him/her, so express your gratitude!

4- Thank you for coming today.

今日は来てくれてありがとう。
kyō wa kite kurete arigatō.

This welcoming phrase should be part of your arsenal if you’re conducting more formal meetings with Japanese speakers. If you’re hosting a party, this is also a good phrase when you greet your Japanese guests!

5- Thank you for your consideration.

ご配慮に感謝します。
gohairyo ni kansha shimasu.

This is a more formal, almost solemn way to thank someone for their thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards you. It is also suitable to use when a native speaker has to consider something you submit, like a job application, a project or a proposal. You are thanking them, in essence, for time and effort they are about to, or have spent on your submission.

6- Thanks a lot!

どうもありがとう!
dōmo arigatō!

This means the same as ‘Thank you’, but with energy and enthusiasm added! It means almost the same as ‘thank you so much’ in Japanese. Use this in an informal setting with your Japanese friends or teachers.

7- Teachers like you are not easy to find.

あなたのような教師を見つけるのは、簡単ではありません。
anata no yōna kyōshi o mitsukeru no wa kantan dewa arimasen.

Some phrases are compliments, which express gratitude by inference. This is one of them. If you’re particularly impressed with your JapanesePod101 teacher, this is an excellent phrase to memorize!

8- Thank you for spending time with us.

私たちと一緒に時間を過ごしてくださり、ありがとうございます。
watashitachi to issho ni jikan o sugoshite kudasari, arigatō gozaimasu.

Any host at a gathering with Japanese speakers, such as a meeting or a party, should have this under his/her belt! Use it when you’re saying goodbye or busy closing a meeting. It could also be another lovely way to thank your Japanese language teacher for her time.

9- Thank you for being patient and helping me improve.

私が上達するよう、忍耐強く助けてくださって、ありがとうございます。 私が上達するよう、忍耐強く助けてくださって、ありがとうございます。
watashi ga jōtatsusuru yōni, nintaizuyoku tasukete kudasari, arigatō gozaimasu.

This phrase is another sure way to melt any formal or informal Japanese teacher’s heart! Teaching is not easy, and often a lot of patience is required from the teacher. Thank him/her for it! It’s also a good phrase to use if you work in Japan, and want to thank your trainer or employer. You will go a long way towards making yourself a popular employee - gratitude is the most attractive trait in any person!

10- You’re the best teacher ever!

あなたは最高の先生です!
anata wa saikō no sensei desu!

This is also an enthusiastic way to thank your teacher by means of a compliment. It could just make their day!

11- Thank you for the gift.

プレゼントをありがとう。
purezento o arigatō.

This is a good phrase to remember when you’re the lucky recipient of a gift. Show your respect and gratitude with these words.

12- I have learned so much thanks to you.

あなたのおかげで、たくさんのことを学びました。
anata no okage de takusan no koto o manabimashita.

What a wonderful compliment to give a good teacher! It means they have succeeded in their goal, and you’re thankful for it.

2. Video Lesson: ARIGATŌ GOZAIMASU or ARIGATŌ GOZAIMASHITA?

You can say ありがとうございます (Arigatō gozaimasu) when you appreciate someone’s action and want to show her/him your respect. You can use ありがとうございました
(Arigatō gozaimashita) when the action you appreciate is completely finished. Find more details in this Japanese lesson!

For example:
When you host a party and say “Thanks for coming.” to your guests, as in:
- When guests arrive at your place and you say thanks to them: 
Arigato gozaimasu.
- When the party/event is over and the guests are leaving the place: 
Arigato gozaimashita.

2. Video Lesson: ARIGATŌ or DŌMO?

どうも (Domō) is a very casual, broken way to say thanks and sometimes can be a little rude. ありがとう (Arigatō) is also a casual way to say thank you that is often used between friends. But arigato has higher politeness level than domo, so I’d say using arigato is safer when you meet Japanese friends! Find more details in this Japanese lesson!

4. Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You

5 Ways to Say Thank You in Japanese

Perhaps you think it’s unimportant that you don’t know what ‘Thank you’ is in Japanese, or that it’s too difficult a language to learn. Yet, as a traveler or visitor, you will be surprised at how far you can go using a little bit of Japanese in Japan!

Click Here to Listen to the Free Audio Lesson!

At JapanesePod101, we offer you a few ways of saying ‘Thank you’ in Japanese that you have no excuse not knowing, as they’re so simple and easy to learn. The lesson is geared to aid your ‘survival’ in formal and informal situations in Japan, so don’t wait! You will never have to google ‘How do you say thanks in Japanese’ again…!

5. ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages

For the global traveler in a hurry, here are 31 ways to say ‘Thank you’! These are the first words you need to learn in any foreign language - it is sure to smooth your way with native speakers by showing your gratitude for services rendered, and your respect for their culture! Learn and know how to correctly say ‘Thank you’ in 31 different languages in this short video.

6. Why would JapanesePod101 be the perfect choice to learn Japanese?

However, you need not stop at ‘Thank you’ in Japanese - why not learn to speak the language?! You have absolutely nothing to lose. Research has shown that learning a new language increases intelligence and combats brain-aging. Also, the ability to communicate with native speakers in their own language is an instant way to make friends and win respect! Or imagine you know how to write ‘Thank you’ to that special Japanese friend after a date…he/she will be so impressed!

Thank You

JapanesePod101 Has Special Lessons, Tools and Resources to Teach You How to Say Thank You and Other Key Phrases

With more than a decade of experience behind us, we have taught thousands of satisfied users to speak foreign languages. How do we do this? First, we take the pain out of learning! At JapanesePod101, students are assisted as they master vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation through state-of-the-art and fun online learning methods. A library replete with learning resources allows for you to learn at your own pace and in your own space! Resources include thousands of video and audio recordings, downloadable PDF lessons and plenty of learning apps for your mobile devices. Each month, we add benefits with FREE bonuses and gifts to improve your experience.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to Improve Your Language Skills!

We accommodate all levels and types of learners, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and JapanesePod101 is free for anyone to sign up. However, you can choose to fast track your fluency with lesson customization and increased interactive learning and practicing. Upgrade to Premium, or Premium PLUS to enhance your experience and greatly expedite your learning. With this type of assistance, and pleasurable effort on your part, you will speak Japanese in a very short period of time!

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Best of all is that you’re never alone! We believe that practice is the holy grail of learning any new language, and we gear our courses to ensure lots of it. Enroll with us, and you gain immediate access to our lively forum where we meet and greet, and discuss your burning questions. Our certified teachers are friendly and helpful, and you are very likely to practice your first ‘Thanks!’ in Japanese on him/her, AND mean it! Hurry up, and sign up now - you will thank us for it.

How to Start Thinking in Japanese

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in Japanese

Going through Japanese lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of Japanese, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in Japanese. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between Japanese and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the Japanese vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in Japanese

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through JapanesePod101.com.

Create Your Free Lifetime Account and Start Learning the whole Japanese Language from the Beginning!

1. Surround yourself with Japanese

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with Japanese constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a Japanese radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of JapanesePod101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then Japanese words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in Japanese.

JapanesePod101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. For example, in on JapanesePod101.com we have a video about how to ride the bus we tell you to say “Dozo” when offering your seat instead of just saying that it means go ahead. This holds true for many of our videos and how our videos and how we teach Japanese.

screen shot dozo

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in Japanese not only gets you in the mindset of Japanese, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With JapanesePod101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native Japanese speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but JapanesePod101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with JapanesePod101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you to stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that JapanesePod101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

Learn Japanese With JapanesePod101 Today!

How to Learn Japanese Through Fairy Tale Stories

Top 6 Japanese Fairy Tale Stories and Characters

Hi Listeners,

Do you know what the top 6 Japanese fairy tales are?

Reading short stories in Japanese is a fun way to learn the Japanese language and culture. Check out the 6 Japanese fairy tale stories below and learn must-know folk story words and phrases in Japanese!

1. Top 6 Japanese Fairy Tales

Top 6 Japanese Fairy Tales

1. Momotarō, the Peach Boy

The Japanese title is 桃太郎 (ももたろう; Momotarō). Born from a peach and raised by an old couple, Momotaro grows into a strong boy and starts fighting evil creatures. He is a symbol of bravery and humility.

2. The Crane of Gratitude

The Japanese title is 鶴の恩返し (つるのおんがえし; Tsuru no on-gaeshi). An old man frees a crane and later takes in a young woman. Behind closed doors, she turns into a crane and makes beautiful cloth out of her feathers.

3. The Rollong Rice-balls

The Japanese title is おむすびころりん (Omusubi kororin). A kind man drops his rice-ball and follows it down a hole into the mouse world. He’s rewarded, but when a mean-spirited man tries the same, he is punished.

4. The Inch-High Samurai

The Japanese title is 一寸法師 (いっすんぼうし; Issun bōshi). A boy who is only an inch tall protects a noblewoman from a demon. He’s swallowed by the demon and fights his way out from the inside.

5. The Story of Urashimatarō

The Japanese title is 浦島太郎 (うらしまたろう; Urashimatarō). A fisherman is taken to the Dragon Palace under the sea. He stays for 3 days, but when he returns to the surface, 300 years have passed.

6. Bamboo Hat for the Jizō Statuettes

The Japanese title is かさじぞう (Kasa jizō). A man goes to market to get mochi to celebrate New Year’s but gives his hats to the jizou. Later they reward his kindness.

2. Fairy Tale Characters and Words in Japanese

Here are some common fairy tale characters and words in Japanese you may come across while reading Japanese folktale stories.

Japanese Romaji Meaning
妖精 yōsei fairy
ユニコーン yunikōn unicorn
shiro castle
マジック majikku magic
魔女 majo witch
スペル superu spell
ドラゴン doragon dragon
オーガ Ōga Ogre
王様 ō-sama king
王子 ōji prince
王女 ōjo princess
昔々 mukashi mukashi once upon a time
魔法使い mahō tsukai wizard
人魚 ningyo mermaid
巨人 kyojin giant
こびと kobito dwarf
ままはは mamahaha stepmother

Check out even more fairy tale words in the video below!

Conclusion

You might not understand every single word in Japanese stories at first but try to guess what they mean in context. Illustrations will also help you understand the story. After reading it, make sure to look up the words in the dictionary and read the story a few more times. If you do that, you’ll surely get better at reading Japanese.

So what Japanese tale would you like to read first? Do you know any other fairy tale stories in Japan? Did we miss any Japanese fairy tale words? Let us know in the comments!

How will learning Japanese make you rich?

The chance to speak with other people in their native tongue and the love for a culture can be all the motivation you need to learn a new language. The money on top is an added bonus, but we will tell you how this hobby can turn into a source of revenue!

how does learning japanese make you rich learn language

For Japanese beginners: Click here to learn the most common phrases!

1) If you have language skills beyond your colleagues who just speak English, and if your company needs those skills to open new markets or reach new customers, you are much more valuable than other employees. A lot of people are getting big raises for this reason.

2) You can make some extra money with your language skills as a teacher. You can work for yourself, give private lessons at night after school, or work on weekends. Language companies are often looking for freelancers to help with clients who are relocating. You will make more money than being a waiter/waitress or doing some baby-sitting. Alternatively, you can enjoy the comfort of teaching languages from home via Skype, even if the rates are a bit lower.

3) Take advantage of your language skills by translating documents or websites for companies or people. Interpreters and translators are among the top five fastest growing occupations!

https://media.giphy.com/media/nvHU9Q9NiMx7a/giphy.gif

FREE Japanese lesson for you: 25 Phrases you Must Know!

4) “Time is money.” If you’ve been learning the Japanese language, when traveling to Japan you will be able to optimize your stay. Having the ability to communicate will open cost effective doors: you’ll quickly find what you seek, travel faster, find the best prices…

Low costs, High return on Investment
Learning a language is not expensive, you can borrow books from the library or you can learn online for free with JapanesePod101.com. You can access from your computer or your mobile device more than 2000 lessons, features like flashcards and more. All it will cost you is 2 min to create your free account.

In 2014, The Economist showed that for somebody making $30,000 annually, learning a language would increase their income by about $600 per year. Once you factor in compounding, it could mean nearly an extra $70,000 in the bank by retirement.

Click here to become both rich and fluent in Japanese!

Welcome to Innovative Language Headquarters! Listener Visit #4

Today, we bring you another blog post from Motoko, JapanesePod101.com lesson creator, host and Office Party Planner! Motoko will be sharing more bilingual posts on our blog, so check back often and leave a comment!

Hi everyone, Motoko here!

Today I’d like to tell you about another listener visit we had recently. We had a JapanesePod101.com listener come to visit us in the office. This was the fourth visit for me, but I still felt nervous!

This is Matt. He was visiting from California.

I had heard that he came to Japan for a holiday. But it seems that it was more of a special trip for him, because guess what? He came here to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time. :o His girlfriend is Japanese, and he wanted to meet her parents. It sounded like a big event to me! But Matt kept smiling the whole time and said he was alright. I thought he was brave. :o

I guess that Peter probably felt more nervous, because he knows that it’s one of the big events for men in Japan to meet their girlfriends’ parents!

I was very happy to receive the souvenir he brought. It was popular Girl Scout cookies from the United States. One packet was chocolate mint flavor, and the other was peanut butter. I liked the peanut butter ones more than the choco mint. ;) Thanks, Matt! We all enjoyed them.

Matt, did you have a lovely time with your girlfriend and her parents? I hope so. :)

(May 2013)

イノベーティブは応援しています! オフ会4

みなさん、こんにちは。もとこです。

今回はオフ会その4についての報告です。先日、JapanesePod101.comのリスナーさんがオフィスに来ました。今回で4回目。まだまだ私は緊張していました。(笑)

こちらがマットさん。アメリカのカリフォルニアから来ました。旅行に来ると聞いていました。でも、ちょっと特別な旅行だそうです。なんと、彼女さんのご両親とはじめて会うそうです。日本人の彼女さんと一緒にいたいから、ご両親に挨拶をします。とても大変そうですよね。でもマットさんはずっとにこにこ笑って、大丈夫ですと言っていました。すごい! たぶんピーターさんのほうがどきどきしていました。
 
今回私がうれしかったのはおみやげ。マットさんはアメリカで人気があるチョコビスケットをくれました。チョコミント味とピーナッツバター味です。ちなみにピーナッツバター味のほうがミント味より好きです。マットさん、ありがとうございました。

Japanesepod101.com Tokyo Office Visit Part 2

Today, we bring you another blog post from Motoko, JapanesePod101.com lesson creator, host and Office Party Planner! Motoko will be sharing more bilingual posts on our blog, so check back often and leave a comment!

Hi everyone, Motoko here!

Today I’d like to tell you about another listener meetup we had.

The other day, we had two JapanesePod101.com listeners come to visit us. One was from Canada, and the other was from France. It was the second meetup for me, but I still felt nervous beforehand!

Andre from Canada, and Becher from France paid us a visit.

They met each other through their Japanese studies, and this was their first trip together – they were staying in Japan for two weeks. They told us that right before they came to the office, they had been shopping around in Akihabara, and also mentioned that they had visited Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka, and had even climbed Mt. Fuji! I’ve never climbed Mt. Fuji, by the way. I was surprised to learn that they had gotten around to it before me!

They were both very friendly, and seemed excited about coming to Japan as well as visiting the Innovative Language office. Our office is not that big, and we have a small recording booth in the corner of the room. They seemed surprised at how compact it all was.

They also mentioned how hot Japan still was even though it was September. September is the first month of fall, but it’s still quite hot in Tokyo. There were even some days where the temperature reached 30 degrees – it might be an effect of global warming.

Andre said that he would make sure that his next trip was in winter. Not a bad idea!

The Innovative Language staff will be waiting for you the next time you come to Japan!(Sep, 2012)

-

JapanesePod101.com オフ会 その2

みなさん、こんにちは。もとこです。

今回はオフ会その2についての報告です。先日、カナダとフランスからJapanesePod101.comのリスナーさんがオフィスに来てくれました。今回が2回目。それでも私はまだドキドキしていました。

こちらがカナダから来たアンドリューさんとフランスから来たベシェル さん。お二人は日本語の勉強を通じて、知り合ったそうです。今回が初めての二人旅。日本には2週間滞在したそうです。オフィスに来る前に秋葉原で買い物をしたと話していました。その前は神戸、京都、大阪などを観光して、そして富士山にも登ったそうです。ちなみに、私はまだ富士山に登ったことがありません。「先を越された!」とショックを受けました。

お二人とも気さくな方で、日本に来たのとイノベーティブのオフィスに来たのとで、とても興奮していた様子でした。イノベーティブのオフィスはあまり大きくありません。そのオフィスに小さなレコーディングスタジオもあります。そのコンパクトなオフィスに驚いていました。
そういえば、「9月なのに、まだ日本はとても暑い」とも言っていました。9月は秋の初めの月(つき)です。でも、最近は、東京の9月はまだまだ暑いんですよね。今年は30度の日もありました。温暖化の影響かもしれませんね。

アンドリューさんは「次に来るときは冬にします」と言っていました。いい考えですね。また日本に旅行に来るときにも、イノベーティブスタッフみんなで待っていますよ!
(2012年9月)

Interview in Japanese with baseball superstar Hideki Matsui (with English translation)

Baseball fans in Japan and abroad are celebrating the win of the Yankees in the World Series, and the performance of one player in particular - Japanese baseball player Hideki Matsui, who helped lead the Yankees to victory and was named MVP. Matsui, who has been playing with the Yankees for seven years, is the first Japanese player ever to receieve the honor of MVP.

Despite having been with the Yankees for seven years, Matsui still does his interviews all in Japanese. Here is one of his interviews conducted right after the Yankees amazing win with the original Japanese and an English translation.

 Hideki Matsui interview

今の気持ちは?
松井秀喜外野手「最高ですね。この日のために1年間頑張ってきたわけですから。何年もここ(ヤンキース)にいましたけど、初めてここ(WS優勝)までこれて最高です」

  Well, how do you feel now?
Matsui: It’s an awesome feeling – I worked so hard over the course of a year for this day. I’ve been here with the Yankees for several years, but this is the first time we were able to win the World Series Championship. It’s amazing.

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