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Explore Japan with JapanesePod101

I knew essentially nothing about Japan when I made the decision to study in Tokyo for my Fall semester. Fortunately, in the 2 months I’ve been here, my lack of preparation hasn’t stopped me from enjoying all that Japan has to offer.


Of course, Tokyo is a good place to be for the ill-prepared, English speaking 外人. I’ve been getting around fairly well, but lately I’ve felt that maybe I would get more out of my experience if I knew at least basic Japanese.

Plus, I have to leave Tokyo every once in awhile, or else I’d miss out on things like this:

Sengawa Shrine

My biggest problem with learning Japanese was always my perceived lack of progress. It just never felt like I was learning anything applicable to everyday life, and even when I did, other sites would get bogged down in the technical aspects of language such as grammar.

Fortunately, turned out to be exactly what I needed. Every part of the site is made to make learning Japanese simpler, and more fun!

How, you say? Well…

  1. Start Talking Immediately
  2. So, right away I liked that the site was clearly separated by skill level from Absolute Beginner all the way to Advanced. So, being the Absolute Beginner I am, I chose accordingly.

    You have the choice of both Audio and Video Lessons, along with a PDF of notes for each lesson. I chose the audio lessons first because I found that that works best for me. The first lesson is about “indispensable words”. Already, you can see that the goal is to get you speaking as quickly as possible.

    The words and phrases I learned here are some of the most useful I know thus far. It’s very basic, but I can order food in a restaurant, say thank you, and apologize for bumping into people on the subway. I get through many conversations using just these phrases, and I learned them in less than a day!

  3. Review
  4. Even after you are done a lesson, you will need to review so that the information sticks in your head. Luckily, has a Word Bank and Flashcard features to help review vocabulary and grammar points.

    At the end of each lesson, there are flashcards to test your Kanji reading and pronunciation, and quizzes that do the same. They are specific to each lesson, so it’s easy to learn incrementally before you test yourself on 100 kanji at once.

    There is even the option to make your own decks. This was great for me because I could focus on specific words that gave me trouble until I was confident I had them memorized.

  5. Keep Going!
  6. Every lesson has a progress bar to show how much you have learned, and to show you how close to completion you are. This pretty much took care of my motivation problem completely. I can physically see the progress I’m making, in addition to all the new vocabulary and concepts I am able to incorporate into my life everyday.

    I also signed up for the Word of the Day just in case I didn’t have time to study as intensely as I’d like. And since I also downloaded their app, I never have to worry that I’m not exposing myself to Japanese at least once everyday.

So, will work for you?

I say yes!

Even if you think you don’t have the time or energy, even if you’ve tried to learn before and it just didn’t stick…

Sign up!

I’ve surprised even myself that I have managed to stick with any kind of self teaching tool this long, but makes it easy and fun to just keep learning!

The simple joy of being able to order food in Japanese, and to be understood by a native speaker, is something I’ve never experienced, and I am grateful that I can now say I have.

So check it out, and travel Japan confident that you can get around with your Japanese!