My favorite Resources for Learning Japanese

For every Japan enthusiast blogger, there comes a time when one must write up an entry about learning Japanese. Well I have written one already but I don't think I had one totally devoted to resources I use when studying. For awhile I've had friends e-mail, facebook me about what I use to study and what would be good for starting out. I thought about it and I actually have quite a collection of resources! Some I've found on my own, and others I've found through my fellow Japanese students on Twitter and even some through the Japan blogging community. Here I will attempt to categorize them and list some of the sources I use from time to time. I hope these help some of you out there wishing to take the first steps into Japanese, and for those of you that are already learning, I hope these links come in handy for you as well!

Let me start by saying that I started studying Japanese by watching Dramas and Anime. It was a great first step as it got my ears acquainted to the sound of the language. I then got to college and formally took classes for two years. After, I took a summer and went to Japan to study in Nagoya. (I have to say going to the country and being forced to speak in Japanese really helped me learn new words and understandings for the language.) I then came back and took one more year of Japanese in college before giving it up to graduate and start working. I am on on a self-study Journey as I have forgotten a lot of what I learned in the past.


If you seriously want to being your own Self-Study journey into Japanese, I would suggest going to the All JAPANESE ALL THE TIME website. It's a good starting point with an outline of study and various tools and tips.

For beginners starting out, I highly suggest going to:
(This site is what I use now for vocab and kanji.. I think though it's better for vocab, and even gives you sentences)

I would also suggest getting yourself an SRS (“spaced repetition system”)in order to learn (or at least help you learn) kanji.

My favorite is ANKIIt's like virtual flashcards and really does help with retaining the Kanji. Use this in conjunction with the Remember the Kanji method and site.

Learn Useful Japanese on your iPhone / iTouch

One podcast that I found to be very useful for beginners is HUMAN JAPANESEIt gives you a nice background into the language, then starts off with easy lessons with quizes at the end of each. This app reads like an ordinary text, but I found it enjoyable and helpful when reviewing.

Here are pictures from another good Iphone Itouch app.

I use this all the time when I need to look up a phrase real quick, but I guess one could use this for sentences to put in anki(although maybe not since translation is already there) in any case, I like using this app and
You can get it at this page

If you like other apps such as these My friend over at JapanNewbie has a page dedicated to some pretty useful Japanese centered apps. Please visit here:


I'm a HUGE fan of learning through listening, and GOD BLESS THE IPOD.. and the various podcasts that exist. I have searched and found SO MANY different ones centered on teaching Japanese. Here are some of the ones I use.

(You will have to go to the app store and place the names in the search )

- Most people should know this famous podcast! It's not only a pdcast though but also a great site full of transcripts from every podcast as well as tools to help you understand and remember what you are learning. (there is a fee to become a full member, BUT the podcasts are free to download!)

(JAPANCAST.NET)Japanese with Paul and Hitomi Griswold-I found this through itunes, but they also have a webpage that works alongside their podcasts. This married couple teaches you Japanese with the use of anime and movies. I think this is another good podcast for beginners, but if you are not into the otaku thing and anime feel of learning then Japanesepod101 might be for you instead.

Learn Japanese with Beb and Alex- This one is in english mostly ( bleh) and is your typicle japanese podcast where they teach you the words and then go through them in Japanese with english explination. Give it a try.

naruhodojapan-The woman who does this podcast is def. reading from something but it's not a bad podcast. She does go into commentary that explains each word along with giving the cultural aspect of the words (when to use such n such and all that jazz) It's something to give a listen.

jedutainment- This is a very unique way to gain new vocab and listen to music at the same time. It can also make drilling vocab enjoyable. The speaker goes at a slow but steady pace that works well with the beats.

For those that are more advanced or for those that like a different approach to learning here are some podcasts for you. Im also a fan of learning Japanese IN JAPANESE. As you would have it, there are quite a few podcasts out there that are completely in Japanese FOR those that want to learn Japanese. Yes this is the same as Japanesepod101, but for those wanting to learn English. I'm not so fond of this one but I do listen to this from time to time, picking through the podcasts I like. Yes they do speak English but for the most part the chatter and lessons are in Japanese.

S-J-P Study Japanese Podcast- This is more of a conversation type learning. I like listening to this although for a girl I need to be mindful of the speech because it is conducted by two guys, Andy & Mars. They cover various topics starting with a self introduction. As I mentioned before EVERY podcast is in Japanese which is great for letting your mind pick up the intonations and setting to understand what they are talking about.

japaneselingq -Another one I like listening to every now and then. This podcast is in Japanese (except the intro) and is mostly in the form of real conversations or staged situations. ALL JAPANESE podcast for this studying Japanese.Sharpen those listening skills and see if you can understand everything he is talking about (I think you should though.. he doesn't talk real fast which I like haha) Not much to say here since there aren't many podcasts so far, but give it a look see ;-)

Japanese Listening (Advanced)-Listen to real Japanese conversation at regular speed and see what you can pick up. You can also go to the website and read the translations!

NIHONGO-JUKU A resource for students of Japanese-This is audio for intermediate and advanced students of Japanese all in Japanese. Even better is their website which provides reading material and list of new vocab. I find this VERY USEFUL for reading and retaining what I'm hearing in the podcast. If you want to beef up your listening and reading, use this site. They also have a sister site/podcast dealing with kanji which can be found HERE (next one)
This is dedicated to The Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)!!! (^_^) It's another flashcard system that covers each of the 4 tests! I'm sure this should help those aiming to pass these in the future!

Noshuku Kangen Japanese-The guy here also does his lessons in Japanese but I don't find this as extensive as others. Each lesson focuses on a certain word and he tried to go into what it means and how to use it in real situations. It's basic but good for listening none the less.


You can study all you want but truth is, if you don't apply what you are learning, you will have a hard time communicating to other when you go to japan or have to speak it to someone. You MUST MUST MUST get a feel for the words by actually saying them yourself.

If you live in Japan then you should have NO PROBLEM WITH THIS!
You could be like me and have friends in the states from Japan to talk to.
I ade sure to know all the Japanese exchange students when I was in college.

If you don't have anyone Japanese close by though I can see how difficult communicating could be, but you know there is ALWAYS a way.

Great for calling to Japan to talk to friends (and you don't have to pay a dime) is a webcam site where you can host your own chat and communicate with a number of different people at the same time. I use this site ALOT and have met many Japanese friends as well as other students trying to learn Japanese. you can make your own chat or join in anthers chat, both typing and voice! The American version of stickam is crap so I highly suggest signing up and start talking to some Japanese people :-p

You can also make use of Twitter as well as MIXI for making new Japanese friends!

If You are into Grammar

Really, the best place for grammar studies would be,
TAE KIM's Japanese guide to Japanese grammar
Also try,
Dirty Guide to Japanese


If you want to go through traditional Japanese books then visit this site, You can find many Japanese study books there for free,

some of the titles I've found there are:
Japanese in Mangaland
Pimsleur Japanese
Japanese for Busy People


I'll have to make a new post for the audio books as that could take me awhile to list.
I hope this helps some of those starting out. This is by no means a complete list of resources, as there are many other resources and ways to study out there. These are just some of the ones I've come across and use! Also I've made other posts with other tools to use in your studies. Please see my learning Japanese section on my main page ^_^


Tibul said...

Thanks for this, going to give some of them a try when I get home from work. Especially cant wait to get my iphone for some of those apps should help a load.

bryantt said...

If you're using Skype, you might want to check out the Mixxer as well ( They have a very active Japanese/English community of language learners.

TGO720 said...

OMGH This Rocks!! im Adding the Feed to the OU Navi! This is HOT!!!

Jamaipanese said...

great resource list. I know about a lot of these, but stickam is new to me and awesome!

SerenityLife said...

So many wonderful sources. Thank you. I'm thinking of taking a course in Japanese but since you provided so much helpful information I may just self study until I go to Japan! I appreciate you sharing!

Kat Chow In NYC said...

Thanks for the info! I'm studying for the JLPT and this is going to be so helpful :)

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