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What is JLPT?

What is JLPT?

If you have been studying Japanese for any length of time, you might have heard of the JLPT or Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Organized by Japan Educational Exchanges and Services (JEES), a semi-governmental organization, it has kind of become the standard way of measuring one’s Japanese level, at least in terms of their passive language skills (listening and reading).

Japanese learners sometimes use it to find weak points when studying Japanese. And the higher levels of the test can be used to qualify you for jobs and can even earn you points toward a special permanent residency. Even if you currently don’t have plans to work in Japan, knowing about the different levels of the test can help you organize your studies and choose books and resources that match your level.

Since the test was revised in 2010, there have been 5 levels to the JLPT – N5, N4, N3, N2 and N1 with N5 being the easiest. The test leans more heavily toward grammar than vocabulary, so you’ll learn most of the grammar you use on a daily basis with the first two tests, but most of the vocabulary you need to use the language by the N2 level.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. Let’s go over each level one by one.

Test

JLPT N5

The N5 gives you a good start to the language. It covers around 600 words, 100 kanji and around 100 grammar points. At this level, you will learn mostly about the building blocks of Japanese grammar – particles. Particles mark all the different parts of the sentence that you are familiar with (the object, the location of something, etc…) as well as some that you are not familiar with like the topic and the subject, which are two important concepts that you will need to understand to use Japanese well.

What it can be used for

The N5 is a good show of achievement and interest in the language. It is worth putting on a resume, but it probably won’t qualify you for a job. Many people study and prepare for this test, but don’t actually take it, instead choosing to take a few practice tests to check their level. If you are looking to save some money and time, it might be worth skipping this one on your way to N4 or a higher level.

Conversation

JLPT N4

The N4 covers most of the grammar that you need to survive in a Japanese conversation. Truthfully, if you never learned another grammar point after this level, you could probably get around just fine in Japan and understand the grammar used in most conversations. The amount of vocabulary, around 2000 words, falls short of what you will need to be truly fluent though.

You will also need to know around 300 kanji, which is still not enough to help you read a newspaper, but might be enough for you to understand the main idea of a few blog articles.

What it can be used for

The N4 could help you with a job outside of Japan that doesn’t require Japanese but would be helpful if you had some background. If you are not interested in working and living in Japan, this is where a lot of people stop because you have enough comprehension skills and grammar to survive in most conversations. You will still need to learn more vocabulary and kanji, but you are at a pretty comfortable level with the language.

Reading

JLPT N3

At the N3, you’ll be forced to start increasing your reading speed and comprehension. A lot of the grammar points introduced at this level are more advanced phrases and expressions as well as things used mostly in reading or prepared speaking. It covers around 5000 words and 600 kanji.

The main purpose of this test is to bridge the gap between N4, which covers a lot of common use grammar and N2 which starts to cover lesser used grammar. Also, it will help you gauge how much you know and understand the vocabulary and kanji you need for N2.

What it can be used for

It can be used outside of Japan in a job that requires some basic use of Japanese that doesn’t exactly require real-time comprehension, like email communications. A lot of companies in Southeast Asia or India that work with Japanese companies might only need a N3 if you can back it up with good conversation skills.

Reading

JLPT N2

The N2 gives you most of the grammar you will need to use and understand written and spoken Japanese – around 10,000 words, and 1000 of the most used kanji. Once you’ve passed N2, you should be able to read most native materials with varying degrees of comprehension. You still might only be able to understand the main idea of a newspaper article. But most of the details of young adult novels, advertisements, common notices, and the like should be easy to understand.

In truth, passing the N2 will give you all of the skills you need to eventually deal with most situations in Japan. You will still need a few months to adjust to anything new before working smoothly, but most people will be able to survive.

What it can be used for

The N2 can get a good number of jobs in Japan. If you have good conversation skills, this is realistically all you need to work in Japan. Most companies outside of Japan will accept this as well. Nothing beats N1 of course, but the N2 will do in most situations. You still might not qualify for some highly competitive ‘listed’ jobs, but if you network and meet people, there are plenty of opportunities to be had.

JLPT N1

The king of them all. Although there are grammar points covered at this level, half of the grammar questions are more focused on nuances that are difficult if not impossible to specifically study for. A lot of the study guides and books for this level will give you a decent idea of what this test is like, but you will need regular exposure to native-level material in order to pass.

After passing this test, you will have very strong reading and listening skills. The test forces you to learn good, fast note-taking skills for listening and good skimming and scanning reading skills, which will come in handy at a job that requires a good amount of reading and listening.

What it can be used for

The N1 qualifies you for pretty much any job in Japan. It can also be used to qualify for a special visa that has more perks than a simple permanent residency. It will open a lot of doors for you.

Keep in mind that the time it takes to go from zero Japanese to N2 is about the same amount of time it takes to go from N2 to N1 depending on your background. With that big of an investment in time, it might be worth it to get any job that uses Japanese and learn on the job and spend your study time on another skill or even another language.

Overall

The JLPT is a great way to measure your level as you study Japanese. Even if you don’t sit the test, taking the practice tests and preparing for it will greatly improve your reading and listening skills. Personally, I was never a very good note-taker, even in English. But, studying and preparing for the N2 and N1 really helped improve those skills for me.

If you are getting ready to take the N5, be sure to pick up my JLPT Study Guide for that level. It covers all the grammar, reading, and listening practice you’ll need. And when you are finished you can test your level with the 3 included practice tests.

JapanesePod101 has a lot of great Japanese courses that focus on some of the harder things to listen for on the JLPT that helped prepare me for N3.

For information about the JLPT, stop by JLPTBootCamp.

10 Famous Japanese Movie Quotes

Watching Japanese movies with English subtitles can be one of the best ways to improve and keep your Japanese listening and speaking skills tip-top.

Here are some of the best Japanese movies and TV series, dating from mostly the previous century, to keep you on the edge of your seat. We also give you some of their quotes to memorize, if you choose. If you can’t catch it yourself, why not ask your JapanesePod101 facilitator to translate the quote for you in Japanese! Imagine how impressed your friends will be when you speak like a Japanese native…!

Battle Royale

1. Battle Royale

  • Japanese Title: バトル・ロワイアル
  • Romanization: Batoru rowaiaru
  • English Title: Battle Royale

This futuristic, dystopian Japanese movie was shot in 2000 and was based on an adaptation of a novel with the same name. The book was written by Koushun Takami. The movie’s dense plot revolves around a group of ninth-grade Japanese students who are forced, by government legislation, to kill one another on a deserted island in what is referred to as the ‘Battle Royale’. They are to fight to death, leaving only one victor, or commit suicide. The drama and themes such as betrayal, lost love and friendship keep the movie relatable, but it was still released with a rarely-used R-15 rating in Japan. The teenagers’ gruelling battle is launched with the class teacher’s chilling words: “So, I would like everyone to kill each other today.”

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

2. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence

Released in 1983, this famous human drama, directed by Nagisa Ôshima, is set in a Japanese prison camp during World War II. It centers on the battle of wills between the Japanese camp commander, and the captured British soldiers. One of the captives, John Lawrence, acts as interpreter and attempts to mend the cultural divide between the British and the Japanese. The movie is based on a book by Laurence van der Post, called The Seed and the Sower.Its title is also its most famous quote, uttered in the bittersweet end by Japanese prisoner Gengo Hara, played by Kitano Takeshi.

Sailor Suit and Machin Gun

3. Sailor Suit and Machine Gun

Called one of the defining satirical or comedy-action films of Japanese cinema in the early 80s, the Sailor Suit and Machine Gun tells the story of an average school girl who gets charged to take over her uncle’s yakuza clan. The yakuza are the Japanese equivalent of the mafia. The script was based on a novel by Jiro Akagawa, called Sêrâ-fuku to kikanjû, which was also the film’s original title.The character is a strong girl called Izumi Hoshi, and she was played by Japanese idol Hiroko Yakushimaru. It is a satirical take on the usually testosterone-fuelled yakuza movies, and its femme fatale wears the traditional Japanese sailor-style school uniform. One of the film’s famous, rather bleak quotes was uttered by Izumi as she shoots her machine gun in front of a crowd: “Feels so good.

Otoko wa Tsurai yo aka

4. Otoko wa Tsurai yo aka Am I Trying aka It’s Tough Being a Man

The first of a series, Otoko wa Tsurai yo centres around the antics of the relatable, endearingly-imperfect main character Tora-san, masterfully depicted by actor Kiyoshi Atsumi. It was released in 1969, and directed by Yoji Yamada. The film’s plot is simple enough - Tora-san is a traveling salesman estranged from his family. He returns to the lives of his aunt, uncle and sister after 20 years, and effortlessly wreaks havoc for them. The movie was so popular that a 48-episode TV series was conceived with the same characters.Some critics say that this film and the subsequent series will inform any viewer of the unique underpinnings of Japanese culture better than any sociology class could. It’s most famous quote is peppered throughout the series, and roughly translates as: “You shouldn’t say that!” The phrase means, in essence, that ‘if you say that, it’s the end of everything!’ Pure over-the-top comedy.

Lupin the Third

5. Lupin the Third, The Mystery of Mamo

Lupin the Third was a manga series that became popular in the late ‘60s, written and illustrated by Monkey Punch. The series relates the adventures of an agile thief, Arséne Lupin, who is the grandson of the well-known French gentleman thief with the same name, from the popular Maurice Leblanc novels. Lupin III comics appeared first in the Weekly Manga Action magazine, and The Mystery of Mamo is the first film in a series of Japanese anime, science fiction, adventure-comedies based on the Lupin III franchise. It remains one of the most popular Japanese anime series worldwide.The Mystery of Mamo follows the young thief’s antics as he tries to foil Mamo, who is a powerful, rich hermit seeking eternal life. Of course, Lupin also tries throughout the movie to win the heart of his rival and objet d’amour, Fujiko Mine. A quaint quote comes from Inspector Zenigata addressing a thwarted-in-love princess: “That guy stole an irreplaceable thing. Your heart.” He refers to the irresistible Lupin III, naturally.

Trick

6. Trick

Trick started as a single TV-series in 2000, the brainchild of director Yukihiko Tsutsumi, and later segued into two more seasons on TV, four movies and three feature-length specials. The plotlines centres on the main character of Naoko Yamada, a young woman who got fired from one job after the other. In her own mind, she’s a talented magician though, so eventually she lands with Professor Ueda, and together the two debunk tales of supernatural phenomena, expose fake spiritualists, and solve mysterious murders and other crimes.The quote most used in the series and the movies is: “I know what you’ve done!” This is uttered by the triumphant protagonists upon solving a mystery.

Violent Cop

7. Violent Cop

A 1989 film, Violent Cop follows the blood-spattered story of detective Azuma, a Japanese police officer who follows his own head and rules to get results. This loose cannon gets entangled in a drama involving gang-violence, drugs, his close friend and police partner, Iwaki, and his feeble-minded sister, who gets kidnapped. The film was originally written to be a comedy, but no trace of funny is left in the final product of this very dark, nihilistic crime thriller. One cryptic quote from drug-dealing character, Shinkai about sums up the feeling: “Everybody is crazy”.

Onimasa

8. Onimasa

Another brutal movie, Onimasa, is an epic gangster family melodrama released in 1982, and is sometimes referred to as Onimasa: A Japanese Godfather. The story deals with the life and drama of a crime syndicate boss and his family on Shikoku Island - patriarch Masagaro (aka Onimasa), his wife and their two daughters; one is adopted and called Matsue, and the other daughter is blood related. The film was directed by Hideo Gosha, and won a number of awards, but critics slated it for drawing heavily on the mega-successful The Godfather.The quote is from Matsue, who exclaims: “Don’t make a fool of me!” She is a striking female lead in the film, whose headstrong, unconventional character somewhat redeems this lengthy movie with its overladen plot. Portrayed as strong-willed and liberal, Matsue stands out in a chauvinistic, male-dominated society.

Porco Rosso

9. Porco Rosso

The title, Porco Rosso, literally means “crimson pig”, and this is another hugely popular Japanese animated comedy-adventure film, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was released in 1992, and relates the tale of a World War II ex-Ace pilot who gets cursed and turned into an anthropomorphic pig. He rescues distressed damsels and other victims of kidnapping pirates. The movie was based on Miyazaki’s Hikōtei Jidai or The Age of the Flying Boat. Porco Rosso stoically and famously says: “A pig who doesn’t fly is just an ordinary pig.”

Ringu

10. Ringu (aka The Ring)

In 1998, a horror movie was quietly released in Japan, and forever changed the face of this genre. Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata, was soon remade for the English-speaking market as The Ring, and scared the wits out of movie viewers across the globe with its masterful depiction of menacing death approaching slowly. The film follows a female reporter, Reiko Asakawa, and her ex-husband as they chase a story about a killer video - everyone who watches it dies within a week.“This kind of thing… it doesn’t start by one person telling a story. It’s more like everyone’s fear just takes on a life of its own,” is how one of the characters explains the video’s horrific effect to Reiko. Don’t watch it alone.

Watching TV

How Can Watching Japanese Movies and TV Help you Improve your Japanese?

As mentioned in the beginning, watching movies can increase your exposure to native Japanese, and train your ear to the language’s finer nuances. You will be surprised just how much you will learn by watching movies!To practice your speaking, why not memorize the quotes from these famous Japanese films and TV series. Remember - the more you practice, the closer you’ll come to perfect! At JapanesePod101, we help you reach this goal in fun, effective and easy ways. Practice core vocabulary with learn-on-the-go apps and tools; download thousands of detailed PDF lesson notes, and engage in a lively community of other Japanese language learners and knowledgeable and energetic hosts. Get access to a nearly inexhaustible Lesson Library that allows you to learn the language at the pace that suits you best. Soon you’ll be ready to make your own famous Japanese movie!

How to Celebrate April Fools’ Day in Japanese

How to Celebrate April Fools' Day in Japanese!

Most everyone is familiar with this day, as it is celebrated nearly everywhere the world. Yet, when exactly is April Fools’ Day? And where did April Fools come from? April Fools’ Day is observed on April 1st every year. This day of jokes and pranks is believed to have stemmed from the 16th-century calendar change in France, when New Year’s Day was moved from April 1 to January 1. This action was taken due to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar.

However, a few people were resistant to the calendar change, so they continued to observe New Year’s Day on April 1st, rather than the new date. They were referred to as the “April Fools”, and others started playing mocking tricks on them. This custom endured, and is practiced to this day around the world!

Table of Contents

  1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day
  2. Japanese Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day
  3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody
  4. How Can JapanesePod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?
  5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Japanese - Testing New Technology

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1. Top One Million Words You Need to Know for April Fools’ Day

Do you want to know how to say April Fools’ Day in Japanese? Well, there are millions of ways and words, but here are the top one million Japanese words you really need to know! Simply click this link. Here are some of them you will find useful:

  1. joke - 冗談を言う - jōdan o iu
  2. funny - 面白い - omoshiroi
  3. sneaky - こそこそ - kosokoso
  4. humor - ユーモア - yūmoa
  5. fool - ばか - baka
  6. surprise - 驚かす - odorokasu
  7. prankster - いたずら者 - itazuramono
  8. prank - いたずら - itazura
  9. play a joke - からかう - karakau
  10. lie - うそをつく - uso o tsuku
  11. deceptive - だます - damasu
  12. April 1st - 4月1日 - shi-gatsu tsuitachi

2. Japanese Phrases You Can Use on April Fools’ Day

Japanese Phrases for April Fools' Day

Don’t limit yourself to practical jokes - use these April Fools’ phrases in Japanese to prank your favorite Japanese friend or colleague!

  1. I learned Japanese in 1 month.
    • 1ヶ月で、日本語を習得しました。
    • I-kkagetu de, Nihongo o shūtoku shimashita.
  2. All classes for today got canceled.
    • 今日のクラスはすべてキャンセルになりました。
    • Kyō no kurasu wa subete kyanseru ni narimashita.
  3. I’m sorry, but I’ve just broken your favorite pair of glasses.
    • 申し訳ありません。あなたのお気に入りのメガネを壊してしまいました。
    • Mōshiwake arimasen. Anata no o-ki ni iri no megane o kowashite shimaimashita.
  4. Someone has just hit your car.
    • 今さっき、あなたの車にぶつかっていった人がいました。
    • Ima sakki, anata no kuruma ni butsukatte itta hito ga imashita.
  5. I’m getting married.
    • 結婚します。
    • Kekkon shimasu.
  6. You won a free ticket.
    • 無料チケットが当たりましたよ。
    • Muryō chiketto ga atarimashita yo.
  7. I saw your car being towed.
    • あなたの車がレッカーで移動されていくのを見ました。
    • Anata no kuruma ga rekkā de idō sarete iku no o mimashita.
  8. They’re giving away free gift cards in front of the building.
    • 建物の前で無料のギフトカードを配っています。
    • Tatemono no mae de muryō no gifuto kādo o kubatte imasu.
  9. A handsome guy is waiting for you outside.
    • かっこいい男性が外であなたを待っています。
    • Kakkoī dansei ga soto de anata o matte imasu.
  10. A beautiful lady asked me to give this phone number to you.
    • きれいな女性にこの電話番号を渡してほしいって言われました。
    • Kirei na josei ni kono denwa bangō o watashite hoshī tte iwaremashita.
  11. Can you come downstairs? I have something special for you.
    • ちょっと下の階に来てくれますか。渡したい物があるんです。
    • Chotto shita no kai ni kite kuremasu ka. Watashitai mono ga arundesu.
  12. Thank you for your love letter this morning. I never could have guessed your feelings.
    • 今朝のラブレター、ありがとう。私のことを想ってくれていたなんて思いもしませんでした。
    • Kesa no rabu retā, arigatō. Watashi no koto o omotte kurete ita nante omoi mo shimasen deshita.

Choose your victims carefully, though; the idea is to get them to laugh with you, not to hurt their feelings or humiliate them in front of others. Be extra careful if you choose to play a prank on your boss - you don’t want to antagonize them with an inappropriate joke.

3. Some of the Coolest April Fools’ Pranks To Play on Anybody

Choose Bad or Good

Right, now that you know the top million April Fools’ words in Japanese, let’s look at some super pranks and tricks to play on friends, colleagues and family. Some April Fools ideas never grow old, while new ones are born every year.

Never joke in such a way that it hurts anyone, or humiliates them badly in front of others - the idea is for everybody to laugh and enjoy the fun! Respect is still key, no matter what day of the year it is.

Cockroach prank

1- Infestation

This trick is so simple, yet so creepy, it’s almost unbelievable. Take black paper, cut out the silhouette of a giant cockroach, a spider or another insect, and stick it inside the lampshade of a table lamp. When the lamp is switched on, it will look like a monstrous insect is sitting inside the lampshade. Or, get a whole lot of realistic-looking plastic insects, and spread them over a colleague’s desk and chair, or, at home, over the kids’ beds etc. Creep-factor: stellar.

2- Which One Doesn’t Fit?

Put the photo of a celebrity or a notorious politician in a frame, and take it to work on April Fools’ Day. Hang the photo on the staff picture wall, and wait. You’ll be surprised how long it can take for people to notice that one picture doesn’t fit.

3- Something Weird in the Restroom

At work, replace the air freshener in the restroom with something noxious like insect killer, oven cleaner or your own odious mixture in a spray bottle. Be sure to cover the bottle’s body so no one suspects a swap.

Or paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, and leave it at the hand wash basin. It will not lather.

Or, if your workplace’s restroom has partitioned toilets with short doors, arrange jeans or trousers and shoes on all but one of the toilet covers, so it looks like every stall is occupied. Now wait for complaints, and see how long it takes for someone to figure out the April Fools’ Day prank. You’ll probably wish you had a camera inside the restroom. But, unless you don’t mind getting fired, don’t put your own recording device in there!

Funny Face

4- Call Me Funny

Prepare and print out a few posters with the following instructions: Lion Roar Challenge! Call this number - 123-456-7890 - and leave your best lion’s roar as voicemail! Best roarer will be announced April 10 in the cafeteria. Prize: $100. (Lion’s roar is just an example; you can use any animal call, or even a movie character’s unique sound, such as Chewbacca from Star Wars. The weirder, the funnier. Obviously!) Put the posters up in the office where most of the staff is likely to see them. Now wait for the owner of the number to visit you with murderous intent. Have a conciliatory gift ready that’s not a prank.

5- Minty Cookies

This is another simple but hugely effective prank - simply separate iced cookies, scrape off the icing, and replace it with toothpaste. Serve during lunch or tea break at work, or put in your family’s lunch boxes. Be sure to take photos of your victim’s faces when they first bite into your April Fools’ cookies.

6- Wild Shopping

At your local grocer, place a realistic-looking plastic snake or spider among the fresh vegetables. Now wait around the corner for the first yell.

7- The Oldest Trick in the Book

Don’t forget probably the oldest, yet very effective April Fools’ joke in the book - smearing hand cream or Vaseline on a door handle that most staff, family or friends are likely to use. Yuck to the max!

8- Sneeze On Me

Another golden oldie is also gross, yet harmless and utterly satisfying as a prank. Fill a small spray bottle that you can easily conceal with water. Walk past a friend, colleague or one of your kids, and fake a sneeze while simultaneously spraying them with a bit of water. Expect to be called a totally disgusting person. Add a drop of lovely smelling essential oil to the water for extra confusion.

9- Word Play Repairs

Put a fresh leek in the hand wash basin at home or work, and then tell your housemates or colleagues this: “There’s a huge leak in the restroom/bathroom basin, it’s really serious. Please can someone go have a look?!” Expect exasperation and smiles all around. Note that this prank is only likely to work where people understand English well.

10- Scary Face

Print out a very scary face on an A4 sheet of paper, and place it in a colleague’s, or one of your kid’s drawers, so it’s the first thing they see when they open the drawer. You may not be very popular for a while.

11- Wake Up To Madness

Put foamy shaving cream, or real whipped cream on your hand, and wake your kid up by tickling their nose with it. As long as they get the joke, this could be a wonderful and fun way to start April Fools’ Day.

Computer Prank

12- Computer Prank

This one’s fabulous, if you have a bit of time to fiddle with a colleague, friend or your kid’s computer. It is most effective on a computer where most of the icons they use are on the desktop background itself (as opposed to on the bottom task bar).

Take and save a screenshot of their desktop with the icons. Set this screenshot as their background image. Now delete all the working icons. When they return to their computer, wait for the curses when no amount of clicking on the icons works.

13- Monster Under the Cup

This one will also work well anywhere people meet. Take a paper cup, and write the following on it in black pen: “Danger! Don’t lift, big spider underneath.” Place it upside-down on prominent flat surface, such as a kitchen counter, a colleague’s desk or a restaurant table. Expect some truly interesting responses.

Door Prank

14- Prank Door

Write in large letters on a large and noticeable piece of paper: PUSH. Tape this notice on a door that should be pulled to open, and watch the hilarious struggle of those clever souls who actually read signs.

4. How Can JapanesePod101 Make Your April Fools’ Day Special?

If you happen to visit Japan, or if you work for any Japanese company, knowing the above Japanese prankster phrases can really lighten up your day. Showing you have a sense of humor can go a long way to cement good relationships in any situation. These phrases are at your disposal for free, as well as are these 100 core Japanese words, which you will learn how to pronounce perfectly.

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Also, don’t stop at learning April Fools’ phrases in Japanese - bone up your Japanese language skills with these FREE key phrases. Yes, JapanesePod101 doesn’t joke when it comes to effective, fun and easy learning.

Now, as a bonus, test our super-learning technology, and learn the Top 1000 most useful phrases in Japanese below! But that’s not all. Read on to learn how you can be eligible for large enrollment discounts at JapanesePod101.

5. Top 1000 Most Useful Phrases in Japanese - testing new technology

Help us by being a language guinea pig! Listen to this video above with embedded cutting-edge, frequency-based learning technology that enables you to learn large amounts of data in record time.

  • Note: This technology is in beta-phase of development, and we invite your input for fine-tuning.
  • To participate: Watch the video for instructions, and leave a comment to rate it. Your comment will make you eligible for large enrollment-fee discounts. To watch the video, please click the play button.

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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.

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.

Afraid of Japanese Grammar

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.

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.

Kanji

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.

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.

Listening

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.

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.

Vocabulary

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.

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.

Listening

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.

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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.

Fall In Love With Learning

enjoy learning the language you wantLet’s face it. Learning Japanese seems like a daunting task. You’ve got your hands full with new alphabet systems, grammar structures, formality levels and expressions…not knowing where to start, tackling this language and its nuances may be overwhelming. Luckily, the team at JapanesePod101 is dedicated to ensuring your linguistic success.

As a foreign language enthusiast, I’ve flirted with a fair share of online learning sites (especially for Japanese), but none of them were ever the one my heart was looking for. I had almost completely given up my pursuit of Japanese, until JapanesePod101 made me fall in love with learning.

Why JapanesePod101 Works:

  • Fun AND Free! How often do you see this combo?! Really though, JapanesePod101 takes away the stress and monotony that most online language sites induce. No more clicking through boring flashcards! Instead, indulge your senses in an audio-visual treat with native speaking hosts, to learn everything from famous Japanese quotes, to essential vocab for Star Wars Day.
  • Where to Start:From Absolute Beginner to Advanced fluency flexer, JapanesePod101 has got you covered. As soon as you log in, your dashboard guides you on a learning path to help you master Japan and its language. You can choose to start from the beginning or jump to a learning path that suits you best.
  • Customize to Optimize: JapanesePod101 grants you creative liberty to tailor-make your own lessons. They’ll help you navigate your way through hiragana, katakana, kanji, and even the streets of Tokyo if you so choose. You learn what you want, when you want.
  • Convenience at the Core: With an accompanying mobile application, you can master Japanese while riding the subway to work, waiting in line for lunch, or sitting on the couch when your computer is just out of arm’s reach. You can view and finish lessons as slow or fast as you want, working best for your schedule.
  • Retain and Remember: After finishing a lesson, there are accompanying assessments to help ensure that you’ve actually learned what you intended to. You can take the assessments as many times as you want, so if you’re ever feeling rusty, these mini-tests are a great refresher.
  • bonus points if you can read any of these lanterns
    A JapanesePod101 account is a Free Lifetime Account, which means exactly as it sounds. You can use JapanesePod101’s resources forever, and for free. So what are you waiting for? That kanji isn’t going to memorize itself!

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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.

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!

Chatting

1. Surround yourself with Japanese

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.

Learn Through Observation

2. 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.

Speak Out Loud

3. Speak out loud 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.

Practice

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!

Conquering the Unknown with JapanesePod101

Check it out!

When I decided that I was going to spend the summer before my final year of college abroad in Japan, I knew that I had to prepare for a trip unlike anything else that I had ever experienced in my lifetime. I knew absolutely nothing about the culture or the language and I was going with two of my buddies from school (both of whom spoke Japanese) so I needed to get ahead before we arrived. JapanesePod101 helped me do just that.

JapanesePod101 made it easy to review and learn from experiences that I had on my daily travels. By allowing me to learn from repetition, giving me the choice between verbal, written and visual lessons and giving me situational vocabulary, it definitely made it easier to pick up an unknown language.

I'm in the middle

However fun it may be to throw yourself into the unknown, it is always nice (and sometimes necessary) to have a little guidance. So here are my tips for optimizing the learning experience on a trip like this:

Go with or meet someone that knows the language

This person will be like your adviser. It is also very helpful to travel around with a person who knows the language because you can ask them questions about words and phrases that you hear during daily life and jot them down to study later. Which brings me to my next tip…

Carry a notepad

This is essential for learning a language because of all the things you will hear from just walking around and talking to people. The notepad will help you by giving you a point of reference to go back to and study, or look up with JapanesePod101, when you learn something new on your daily adventures. Which brings me to my final and most important tip…

Use JapanesePod101!

I am a huge believer in learning from repetition which is why I love JapanesePod101. Whether you sign up for a free lifetime account or upgrade to premium, you have unlimited access to the content that is included in either package. Which means, if you are like me, you can go over it again and again as much as you want until it sticks. Whether you prefer to learn from verbal, written or visual instruction, JapanesePod101 has you covered. I love the videos with Alisha and Risa!

Why Learn Japanese?

You can also learn about phrases for certain situations and events with the key phrases and vocabulary lists. Both included in the free lifetime account, the key phrases list covers all the basic phrases you will need to know as a beginner and the vocabulary list has all sorts of different phrases grouped together for different events and occasions. Including my favorite:


Top 10 Must-Know Survival Words & Phrases For Your Next Trip To Japan

If you are planning a trip to Japan and need help learning the language, I would 100% recommend that you use JapanesePod101. It has tools for all different levels of learning Japanese, so no matter where you are in the learning process, you can use it to help further your knowledge.

But don’t just take my word for it. Sign up and see what I am talking about, you won’t regret it.

JapanesePod101

Your unknown is waiting…

How I chose to continue my Japanese education

Get great resources from JapanesePod101!

One of my main goals has always been to become fluent in Japanese, but despite all the Japanese courses I’ve taken in college, I still seem to be stuck at the intermediate level. Now I am nearly graduated from college and have finished taking all my Japanese courses. Seeing how expensive it is to go to a language school, I decided I needed a cheaper alternative to continuing my Japanese education. Luckily for me, I recently discovered JapanesePod101.

When I discovered JapanesePod101, I KNEW that I had found what I needed. After browsing through it’s website and signing up for a membership, I noticed that there are some perks compared to taking lessons in a classroom setting.

Here are some of the main perks:

The ability to start a level of your choosing
When registering for classes, whether it be in university or in language schools, typically you’re required to take a placement test, which may misplace you to be in the wrong class. When first taking a placement test for my college, I got held back to a lower class level because I didn’t remember enough kanji, despite being proficient at the grammar and vocabulary. With JapanesePod101 however, the great thing is that you can choose at which level to start, ranging from absolute beginner to advanced. Also, if you feel that your kanji is not good enough at the level you chose to start at, you can always look at the kanji study resources offered on their site, which is what I am doing.

Work at your own pace
Because you’re required to work at the pace your class may set for you and expected to meet deadlines, you may not always be able to retain the information that you’ve learned. JapanesePod101 allows me set my own goals and deadlines and take the time I need to go over the lessons. Whenever I’m too busy to really immerse myself in the lessons, I try to at least have a look at the word of the day feature or at any of the short vocabulary lists they offer. I also take a look at their facebook page where they post fun and interesting content.

Cost effective
You can sign up for the free lifetime account and have a taste of what they have to offer, but by paying to upgrade to the premium account, you can access so much more of their resources. Compared to the hundreds or thousands of dollars one may spend taking Japanese courses, JapanesePod101 is definitely an absolute bargain.

Native instructors
When taking classes outside of Japan, you may not always get to have a native instructor, however with JapanesePod101, I have access to learning from one. To make this even better, one of the features of this site is the option to work one-on-one with an instructor, who can provide feedback. By doing so, I believe it helps with learning to speak Japanese more naturally, rather than using outdated words and phrases that may be used in college textbooks.

Learn Japanese slang words at JapanesePod101

There are other features I found that I also thought were worth noting such as…

Lessons catered towards studying for the JLPT
Passing the exam for at least the JLPT N2 is what I strive for. If you’re hoping to someday be able to work in Japan like me, then you’ll most likely have to pass the JLPT first. JapanesePod101 offers lessons that will help you do just that. There are various audio lessons which include lesson notes for grammar, vocabulary, and kanji. This resource is definitely something I find helpful when I’m studying for the JLPT. For those studying for the N4 or N5, JapanesePod101 also offers practice tests which are free. :)

Kanji flashcards
Kanji has always been my greatest weakness at Japanese. However with JapanesePod101’s kanji flashcards, the number of kanji I know is steadily increasing! By continuing to study these flash cards, I know that I will kill that kanji section of the JLPT. ;)

Video Lessons
Not only are there audio lessons but video lessons as well. Personally, I think it’s more fun by watching the video lessons and also, these videos include subtitles in both Japanese and English to help follow along. The video hosts are very entertaining, making my learning process much more enjoyable.

Improve your kanji skill with JapanesePod101

So if you ever want to try your hand at learning another language cheap, then JapanesePod101 is definitely the way to go. Ganbatte and don’t give up on your Japanese! After seeing everything that they have to offer, I know that I will continue using their services to help improve my Japanese skills.