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10 Ways to study Japanese for FREE

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Top 10 Anime to Help You Learn Japanese

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

Japanese anime is very popular around the world. So popular that many people decide to learn Japanese because of their love for their favorite anime shows.

Top 10 Anime to Help You Learn Japanese

But one problem with learning Japanese through anime is the kind of Japanese you’ll absorb this way. The characters in anime live in their own universe, where everyone tends to use slang, casual language, informal pronouns and even made-up words. It’s very easy to spot people who learned Japanese exclusively through anime – you’ll see 20-year-old boys talking like 10-year-old kawaii girls, or 20-year-old girls talking like yakuza, for example! Needless to say, native Japanese speakers may not take them seriously!

Despite this, it can actually be useful to incorporate anime into your language learning routine.

Anime has a lot to offer to Japanese students on every level:

1. It helps you practice your listening skills. Listening skill are of course closely related to pronunciation.

2. It gives you more than just a glimpse into Japanese culture and modern day pop-culture.
Cultural references are absolutely vital to learning any new language, and anime is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. People will throw anime references into their casual, polite and even business conversations.

3. Just as importantly, catching up on your favorite shows is a great and fun way to take a break from your ordinary language learning routine.

Anime is a great learning tool because it’s fun and there is a lot of it. In fact, there’s anime for everyone: romance, action, adventure, horror, comedy, sports, historical – basically in any genre you can think of.

As long as you don’t lose sight of your ultimate Japanese language goal – to speak fluently and properly in any situation – anime definitely has a place in your language learning routine.

We’ve listed some fun anime series you can get into and improve your Japanese. We tried to pick easy to understand shows that use everyday language. Hopefully these will give you some good jumping off points. But remember: this is just a partial list, and there really is an anime for everyone. If you don’t like the series we listed below, you can easily find a different one!

New! Windows 8 Users: Boost Your Japanese Vocab with the WordPower Japanese Windows 8 App

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Hello Listeners,

Any Windows 8 users among our Japanese learners?

If so, good news! So far our highest rated Japanese vocab-building app, WordPower Japanese, has been available for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Mac. The feedback was great, too!

Boost Your Japanese Vocab with the WordPower Japanese!

But there haven’t been Apps for PC or Windows users…‘til now.

Boost Your Japanese Vocab with the WordPower Japanese Windows 8 App

WordPower Japanese is now available on the Windows store for $9.99 and includes a FREE Trial. You master the top 4,000 Japanese words necessary for daily life and real conversations on your PC, Tablet or Windows Phone. How’s it done? Click on the link below to get a FREE Trial or keep reading for the full run-down of this App!

Get a Free Trial & Download WordPower from the Windows Store!

Language experts say you need about 1,500 words for conversational fluency.

You get over 4,000 words in WordPower Japanese for Windows.

Here’s how you master them with 2 easy study modes.
WordPower breaks these words down into easy categories and courses. Business, Health, Food, School, Work, you name it! Choose one to start with and level up! You get the meaning, the native pronunciation and sample sentences, and even get to record yourself to compare. As you learn new words, WordPower tracks your progress.

And if you’re interested in the details, here’s exactly what this Japanese learning app comes with.

WordPower Learn Japanese Vocabulary FEATURES:

  • 4,000+ Must-Know Japanese Word List: The most essential Japanese vocabulary with spelling, translation, pronunciation, image, class, kanji and romanization.
  • Top 100 Japanese Culture List: A special list of words specific to daily life in Japan.
  • Thousands of Sample Sentences: Get sample sentences with every word entry.
  • 2 Study Modes: Course Mode or Category Mode: Choose a course or category and work your way up as your progress is tracked.
  • Easy to Use Design: Intuitive Windows 8 swipe navigation allows visual learners to browse vocabulary images quickly.
  • Control your study sessions: Mix up question types (recognition, production, audio and visual) for a full understanding of each word.
  • Listening Practice: Hear each word’s proper pronunciation by a native speaker.
  • Perfect your Pronunciation: Compare your pronunciation to the native speaker’s with the Voice Recorder, easily accessible throughout the app.
  • Personalized Word Bank: Save difficult or useful words to review at any time.
  • Advanced Search Function: Search entire database in English or Japanese.
  • Progress Bar: Keep track of how many words you have really mastered.
  • Word View Options: Romanization and Kana Transliteration can be turned on and off.
  • Free Japanese Lessons: Access the newest JapanesePod101 lessons for FREE!
  • Basic Resources: Want to explore the Japanese language even more? Learn everything you need to know with this comprehensive source of Japanese learning tips, information and material.

If you’re a Windows 8 user, make sure to try WordPower Japanese for FREE! A free trial is available when you get the App from the Windows Store. Or, get it for $9.99 and master the top 4,000 Japanese words. Remember: know more words, speak more Japanese.

Click here to download WordPower Japanese from the Windows Store.

To your fluency!

Team JapanesePod101 at Innovative Language

P.S. WordPower Japanese is available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android and Windows, and FREE versions are available too!

Click here to see the WordPower Japanese Apps and learn more!

Get Your Kids Speaking Japanese with NEW Talking World iBook for the iPad

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Hello Listener,

Can kids learn Japanese? Of course! They’re the fastest learners around!

But do they? Not unless there’s a native Japanese speaker in the family. Language experts say children learning a second language enjoy cognitive advantages over those that do not.

So, if you need a way to learn Japanese with your child start with the kid friendly e-book that’ll get them mastering words in minutes! With the brand new Talking World iBook for the iPad, your little one will learn all the common Japanese vocab they know in English!

New iBook for the iPad: Learn Japanese for Kids - Talking World
It’s jam packed with 16 colorful chapters and 274+ common Japanese words for any child to learn. Explore all sorts of vibrant scenarios per chapter like rooms around the house, parks, and much more while picking up easy vocabulary.

Learn Japanese for Kids: Talking World is now available on iTunes for $4.99.
Click here to get Learn Japanese for Kids: Talking World on iTunes

New iBook! Learn Japanese for Kids: Talking World for the iPad

All they have to do is tap on objects in each area to learn their Japanese words while hearing native Japanese pronunciation. Then, there’s an easy review section and a quiz mode to test how much your child has learned.

This Audiobook is perfect for children aged 18 months to 6 years+ (not to mention adults too!)

New iBook! Learn Japanese for Kids: Talking World for the iPad New iBook! Learn Japanese for Kids: Talking World for the iPad New iBook! Learn Japanese for Kids: Talking World for the iPad

Here’s what’s inside the Talking World iBook:

  • 16 Chapters filled with 274 words covering common objects found in any kid’s world
  • Easy tap and play interactive layout for fingers big and small
  • Colorful, kid-friendly drawings to help illustrate each vocabulary word
  • Native Japanese and English translation audio pronunciation
  • Easy to read kana and romaji spelling

You can even sample this iBook for FREE before purchasing. Simply click on any link, open the iBook in iTunes and click on “Get Sample.”

Click here to preview the iBook on iTunes!

To your kid’s fluency!

Team Innovative Language

P.S. Get your children speaking Japanese! Download Talking Word for your iPad for 4.99 on iTunes.

Click here to get Learn Japanese for Kids: Talking World on iTunes for $4.99!

New! Go from your 1st Japanese phrase to knowing 700 with the Japanese PhrasePower iBook

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

Hello Listener,

Remember your first Japanese phrase?

Was it “Hello, how are you,” “My name is….” or maybe “I have no idea what I’m saying?”

Every Japanese learner starts out with simple phrases and questions. That’s because learning phrases is easy. They’re exactly what get you speaking, understanding, and improving your Japanese in the first place. Not just random, unusable words.

So as a Japanese Beginner, having a powerful Japanese phrasebook is the easiest way to speak more Japanese. And with our brand new iBook, you master over 700 phrases.

Master 700+ essential Japanese phrases with the NEW Learn Japanese: PhrasePower iBook for the iPad. This is the perfect first step for Beginners and Travelers that want to learn and speak a boatload of Japanese quickly without focusing on grammar.

Click here to preview Learn Japanese: PhrasePower on iTunes.

Need to introduce yourself? Make some small talk in Japanese? Or just ask someone to take your photo? This $9.99 iBook is absolutely JAM PACKED with all the phrases you’ll need for social situations, basic conversations, getting around Japan, shopping, and much more.

Load up this iBook on your iPad and swipe through 4-Beginner Level Chapters. Not only you learn the essential phrases, words, and questions, you learn how to use them in conversation too. Japanese phrases come with audio samples, matching illustrations, and easy to follow sentence patterns.

Here’s What’s Inside Learn Japanese PhrasePower iBook:
- 4 Beginner Level Chapters (Essentials, Asking Questions, First Encounters, Social Situations)
- Extra Bonus Chapter with In Depth Vocabulary Reference Section
- 700+ essential Japanese words and phrases
- Native audio samples for all words and phrases
- Easy to follow conversation layout
- Clear English, Romaji, and Kanji Transcription

Here are some screenshots! (click here to see more on iTunes)

Learn Japanese PhrasePower!

Learn Japanese PhrasePower!

Learn Japanese PhrasePower!

Learn Japanese PhrasePower!

So, whether you’re a Japanese beginner or a traveler and need to learn Japanese quickly, without the headaches of grammar, you get the essential phrases with PhrasePower. Master 700+ essential Japanese phrases with the NEW Learn Japanese: PhrasePower iBook.

iBooks Hint: Be sure to sample this iBook for free on iTunes by clicking “Get Sample.”

Click here to get Learn Japanese: PhrasePower for your iPad!

To your Japanese fluency,

Team Innovative Language

Welcome to Innovative Language Headquarters! Listener Visit #3

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

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

Hi everyone, Motoko here!

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

The other day, we had a JapanesePod101.com listener come to visit us from Mitaka, Tokyo. (Yes. From TOKYO!)

Audrius studies at a private university in Tokyo and lives in the dormitories there. He is from Lithuania, in Northern Europe. He is the first Lithuanian I’ve ever met! I was pleasantly surprised by his level of Japanese fluency.

Welcome to Innovative Language Headquarters! Listener Visit #3

Let me talk a little about his Japanese learning journey: he started learning Japanese with JapanesePod101 in Lithuania, before he came to Japan. Then he continued to study it at the university. His energy and efforts towards learning Japanese are awesome, aren’t they?

We welcome anyone traveling to Japan or studying here to visit us! Drop by our office and say Kon’nichiwa!
(Apr, 2013)

Giving Thanks and Sweets at Innovative

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

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

Hi all! Motoko here. It’s been a while since my last post!

But today, I’d like to talk about one of the most popular events in Japan. It’s the day that we say “I love you” and “thanks” to the people we spend the most time with.

This day is Valentine’s Day, on February 14th. It originally came from European culture, didn’t it? And people usually give presents or flowers to the one they love on that day. I’m guessing that in your country, it’s the men who give presents to their partners. But in Japan, ladies give chocolate to men!

It’s the only chance each year when ladies can declare their love to the men they love. They usually make or buy chocolates and give them to the men.

Recently, however, most people have been giving chocolates to their colleagues and friends. On Valentine’s Day at Innovative Language, the ladies brought sweets they had made or bought to the office. Also, Peter gave boxes of chocolate to each of our team members. The men and ladies in the office all enjoyed these sweets together. Though no one declared their love, it was a day for us to say “thanks for everything!” to each other.

So if Valentine’s Day is for men, did the men of Innovative Language do anything in return? Well, in Japan, this happens on White Day, which falls on March 14th. This is an event that is well known in Japan and also in South Korea. The men who received presents on Valentine’s Day return the favor to the lady they got the chocolate from. Some return the declaration of love to the lady too! And some give sweets and snacks to their friends in return. At the Innovative office, most of the men brought boxes of sweets for the ladies. The boxes said “Happy White Day! Only for Girls!!” (Unlike on Valentine’s Day!) The guys looked sad about this because they love chocolate!      

What happens in your country on Valentine’s Day and White Day?

(Feb - Mar, 2013)

Getting Sporty at Innovative Language

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

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

Hi listeners! Motoko here. In this blog, I would like to talk about our trip to Round1. This was the second event we held while Eran was here (actually, we went there in November! :p). Round1 is one of the Japanese amusement complexes that have a variety of athletic fields for sport and other indoor activities. It is also famous for “Spo-cha,” (short for “sports challenge”) which is the name of the kind of service Round1 offers.

You just pay the fee for 1 or 3 hours and then enjoy as many sports and arcade games as you like. We call it ‘1-jikan asobi hōdai’ or ‘3-jikan asobi hōdai’ (1時間遊び放題 or 3時間遊び放題).

I tried rollerblading for the first time in my life and it was REALLY difficult even just moving forward. (So one of my co-workers rescued me. It was a very good experience though!)

Even if you are not good at sport, you can still find something to enjoy. There are arcade games (for free!), darts, a rodeo bull machine, and karaoke!

When you’re hanging out with a group of friends in Japan, Round1 is a great place to go!

(Dec 2012)

Year-end Cleaning at Innovative Language Tokyo Office!

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

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

Hey everyone. Motoko here! I’d like to talk about our year-end cleaning event, called Ō-sōji(大掃除) in Japanese. Most of our staff had questions about why people in offices did cleaning themselves instead of hiring cleaning staff. But this process is very significant for the year end in Japan.

As you see from its kanji, this is the biggest cleaning season and takes place at the end of the year. It has its origin in a Shinto event called Susuharai (煤払い), in which monks and people cleaned their houses to purify them and welcome the god/kami called Toshi-gami (歳神様 or 年神様) on new year’s day. In other words, Ō-sōji was originally a ritual event. The god, Toshi-gami, is believed to bring people and also their houses happiness and luck each new year. People traditionally clean their houses together and prepare for new year’s day. They believe that if the house is dusty and dirty, the god won’t come. (Japanese gods tend to like nice and clean places!)

In order to invite happiness and luck to the office, some of us formed a group: Team Ō-sōji. We had a one-hour cleaning session in the office. To be more eco-friendly, we chose to use dusters, zōkin (雑巾), to wipe everything off. You can use one of these almost forever just by washing and squeezing it.

[photo1: Our powerful weapon: マイペット]
マイペット

[photo2: Clean dusters after the cleaning ]
Clean dusters after the cleaning

After the cleaning, we of course went to a meal to reward everyone for their hard work.

[photo3: Salt can be one of the good sauces. Simple is best! ]
Salt can be one of the good sauces. Simple is best!

(Nov. 2012)

Making Soba and Picking Peaches

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

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

Hi everyone, Motoko here!

In the beginning of summer this year, the Innovative Language staff went on a day trip. Today I’d like to talk about that. We chose peach-picking for fun, and soba-making so that everyone could try a traditional Japanese food! We made soba in a wonderful nihon-kaoku, a traditional type of Japanese house.

Do you know what soba is? Soba is a famous type of noodle in Japan that is a greyish-brown color. It gets this color from a special type of flour called sobako that is used to make it. You dip the boiled soba into a dip called tsuyu made from fish broth, and eat it. Adding onions and wasabi to the tsuyu give it a more grown-up flavor. Soba comes in two types: cold zarusoba, and warm kakesoba, but this time we had zarusoba.

Soba is made from sobako and flour. First, you mix the two types of flour into a large bowl called a hachi. You can use chopsticks, but it seems like it’s more common to use your hands. Next, you add water. Then comes the hard part – you have to then knead the soba dough a lot. The teacher made it look easy, but it requires a lot of strength since the dough is not that soft. Apparently, the action of kneading the dough is an important step to making delicious soba. Once you’re done kneading, you flatten the dough with a rolling pin. Then, you place the soba on a wooden board called a komaita, and cut it with a special knife called a bocho. If you cut it thinly, you get great soba. If you cut it thickly, you get soba that looks like udon. (Which still tastes good…it just might be a little hard.)

Everyone worked hard at making soba, getting themselves covered with flour in the process. After making it, we boiled it and ate it ourselves. Because the noodles are raw, they take only a minute and a half to cook. Soon after boiling them, you do what’s called shimeru in Japanese. Shimeru refers to rinsing the noodles with cold water so that they don’t get too soft. When you do this, it gives the noodles a nice chewy texture. This isn’t done with Italian pasta!

Then we got on the bus to go peach-picking. Is it common to go fruit-picking in your country? In Japan, there are a lot of opportunities for fruit-picking that change with the seasons. Cherry-picking, peach-picking, grape-picking, and pear-picking are some of the well-known ones. You go to the field to pick and eat a lot – depending on the place, there may be a limit to how much you can eat. The place we went had an all-you-can-eat deal that lasted for 40 minutes. For 40 minutes, you can pick and eat as much as you want. Apparently, the good peaches are at the ends of the branches, so everyone tried hard to get the highest ones.

The person who ate the most was a family member of one our Innovative Language staff. They ate seven peaches in 40 minutes! As for me, I ate three. The peaches I chose were big, so even after just three, I was really full!

Readers, you should definitely try your hand at making Japanese food – not just eating it. I had never made soba before, and I’m Japanese! It’s sure to be a memorable experience.