Less time is now spent on lengthy introductions with little value. That is good.
Now Miki's blog (that was very nice) is gone, I again suggest that the staff focus on:
1. Including easier to understand and helpful translations. Sometimes the translations are cute and young sounding, but could be more clear.
2. Making sure all parts of the lessons are included in Kanji, kana, romaji, and English sections. There is rarely a lesson that is error free and does not contain lines of omissions. Often the errors create confusion, at least for me.
Even the yojijukugo lessons, although interesting, have less value to me than the regular lessons. It is a matter of priorities. My humble suggestion is to not replace Miki's blog with something else, take a slower pace to equalize the quality in the pdfs with the obvious quality in the verbal lessons.
I have to say, all of the branch lessons that japanesepod101 does are extremely enjoyable for me, and seeing more new stuff, or even having the culture classes come back would be great. I would hate to see the projects get cut back.
I really hope that Miki's Blog will be replaced with some other advanced stuff, as I find invaluable the about-7-minutes discussion which surrounded each blog topic.
Indeed I believe that many early listners of JapanesePod101 need advanced materal now!
I indeed agree that the more advanced Miki's blog discussion was very valuable. The question is one for Jpod management to answer, are we pushing our employees so hard to get quantity of lessons out that the pdf quality then suffers? It appears that more proofreading of all sections and ensuring that the definitions listed match the usage in the lesson and are understandable.
For example, in the most recent advanced lesson, teiki is defined as a "commutation pass". No one I know ever uses the word "commutation". "Commuting pass", makes more sense. In the dialog teiki is translated as "train pass". This is in conflict with the definition listed "commutation pass". Then there is "eidan chikatetsu" which is written as "eidan chikstetu" and translated as "Teito Rapid Transit System". But how can eidan mean Teito? There is no explanation. Can you see my concern for an improvement in pdf quality?
I realize there are human resource limitations. As an instructor with 30 years experience, my impression is that too many lessons are being pushed out at the cost of pdf quality. I certainly would be willing to help somehow in pdf review.
I'm primarily concerned about the current pattern of alternating Lower Intermediate and Upper Intermediate lessons from week to week. For me, these are the most interesting, most valuable lessons available. They're also about the only thing that helps me keep my sanity while driving the long road to and from the office every day.
Although I enjoy the video lessons that seem to have created this alternating lesson pattern, they're not something that's useful to me on a daily basis. Further, while the pdfs are always very useful, I almost never have time to read them. As a premium member, I must apologetically admit to feeling as though I'm getting less for my money this year.
How does one discontinue his premium subscription?
I thought the kanji videos were pretty cool, but I hope they don't go on for too long. Firstly, I don't think it's the best way to seriously learn kanji to proficiency (it'd take a 40 years at the current rate just to introduce them), and secondly, they've pushed the intermediate material even further down the ladder. I don't think they should have both a lesson that introduces one character and one that introduces two words at the expense of one that actually contains some Japanese. Plus, there's very little difference between the so-called Newbie and beginner levels.
I didn't mind the blogs with the commentaries, but there are plenty of banter podcasts on iTunes, so I much prefer the lesson format, which is unique to JPod, but now only put out once a fortnight. It's basically impossible to get value for a subscription, and I only have one now because it was done automatically, since the auto-renew gets turned on every time you subscribe (I must have turned it off about 20 times in the past).
By the way, people looking to fill the banter void might be interested in the podcasts named 今日のきょう, a 10 minute look at what's happened on this date in the past, plus a bit more, and ムービーパラダイス, where a man and a woman discuss recent releases. There's also Books A to Z, where a woman talks about a book and reads some short stories, and a video one called ココが知りたい!, which has some introductions to some interesting cultural stuff.