First of all thank you for everyone who has subscribed to us. We started our channel
a few months ago and we have 800 subscribers, which is amazing!
Thank you so much.
Unfortunately my wife is back in America for her job right now but we’ll try to make more
So I got many comments asking me to give some advice on learning Japanese.
I’m not a professional, qualified Japanese or anything like that, but I think I can tell you
how my friends from abroad who are in Japan learn Japanese.
I’m a university student and I have lot of exchange students on campus, so I asked
them about the best way to learn Japanese.
All students I asked can speak Japanese well and their Japanese level is pretty high.
So, the best way to learn Japanese:
as you would know what they said first was
‘Do your best to learn Japanese from Japanese people.’
Obviously that’s why they’re studying at my university. I know it’s not easy to do.
It depends on where you live, but it’s usually hard to find a Japanese Japanese teacher.
But if you’re interested in homestaying or studying abroad in Japan, you should!
You can definitely learn lots of things.
Personally, I’ve never studied abroad but I’ve seen many exchange students
enjoy learning Japanese with Japanese teachers and students.
I think you’ll find it worth it.
But for those of you who are kind of unable to find Japanese people, I recommend a website
called Lang-8. Many of you have probably heard of it.
As far as I know it’s one of the best websites for Japanese learners.
You should definitely use this website to supplement your Japanese.
First you write journal entries in the language that you’re learning,
and other users who are native speakers of the language that you’re learning help you by
correcting your entries.
And of course you can help out people who are learning your mother tongue as well.
The good thing for those who are learning Japanese is that there are many Japanese users
on this website and you can easily get to know them and you can make friends.
And some are willing to talk to you on Skype so you can help each other with pronunciation
For me the most difficult part of studying is how to motivate myself to study and stick to it.
And Lang-8 can be a great tool to motivate you. There are many other good websites out there so
if you want to know about it more I put the link in my description.
I’ve been using lang-8 for a little while and I’ve learned a lot from it.
I can tell my writing has gotten better.
And about speaking, if you want to be able to speak well, here’s how I did it:
Please don’t study.
I didn’t study how to speak.
I learned how to speak.
English, Japanese, Chinese, French, Korean…
whichever language, they are all tools. And you do not study tools.
You use tools.
And in order to use it well, you’ve gotta practice.
There’s a Japanese proverb that explains this: 習うより慣れよ
which means practice makes perfect.
So it’s like sports.
Just because you have good tools and you know how to play, it doesn’t
mean you can be a good player. You need to practice.
So if you know the grammar, if you know the rules, if you have a wide vocabulary, there you go,
you can be a good writer, you can be a good reader, but not a good speaker.
You need to practice.
It’s not uncommon for many Japanese people who have a good score on
TOEIC test to not even be able to converse at all.
TOEIC stands for Test Of English for International Communication.
It’s one of the most famous tests for English learners especially in Korean and Japan.
It evaluates skills in business English.
It is a standard assessment tool that measures non-English speakers’ abilities
to communicate in English in professional and international situations.
One time when I was taking a job interview, the interviewee sitting next to me was
talking about how hard she studied to get a high score on TOEIC test.
She spoke with great intensity.
But once the interviewer asked her to introduce herself in English, she panicked
and all I could understand from what she said was,
‘I am human.’
Looking back I think she wanted to say her major was anthropology.
In order to get such a high score, she must have studied really hard.
She said she studied for the TOEIC test for 6 hours everyday.
And I look up to those people who can do something I can’t do. I really do.
But sitting in a chair and reading a textbook isn’t going to make you a good speaker
no matter how long you study.
You’ve got to practice.
About how I did it, it’s actually very simple.
I wrote useful sentences on my memo pad and said it out loud until my tongue
memorized it so that it would just come out without thinking about the grammar
next time I wanted to say it.
uh… But it’s not about how good your memory is,
it’s about how much your tongue, you yourself get used to saying it.
There are thousands of methods to learn foreign languages but you’ve got to
speak and practice to be a speaker whichever language you learn.
It doesn’t take that long as long as you keep practicing.
About speaking and pronunciation: one thing I recommend is that you
try to find someone who can correct your Japanese.
I asked all my friends to correct my English without hesitation.
When you make mistakes your friends probably don’t want to say, ‘oh you made a mistake.’
But unless you’re corrected you’re not going to notice it.
Maybe your grammar is fine but maybe your pronunciation is strange.
If you are a beginning you’re going to make mistakes anyway
but try not to let yourself keep making the same mistakes.
So if you can, try to find someone who can help you with it.
I believe that’s the best way to go and that’s how I did it.
I think I should talk about studying from anime, manga or Japanese dramas as well.
You might be told that you should avoid them when you study:
‘Don’t read manga, don’t watch anime, no dramas!’
‘They’re not going to help you! What’s wrong with you?’
It’s true… but it’s not true. I’ve been reading manga in English for years
and it helps me a lot when it comes to motivating myself.
I don’t hate studying but from time to time I don’t feel like studying at all.
When that happens I read manga so that at least I can put myself
in a place where I have to do something in English.
When I started reading manga I think I was 3 or 4 years old.
There was just too many words I didn’t know.
But I could still enjoy it. And same as the English version.
When I started reading them in English there were too many words I didn’t know,
but I could still enjoy it.
I wasn’t studying, but I was learning.
But I’ve never taken it as the main studying tool.
And I don’t recommend you use them if you are just starting out learning Japanese
because you’ll have no idea what the hell they are talking about without subtitles.
And even if they’re subbed, some anime, well actually many anime use strange words
and things you never heard in real life.
But If your Japanese level is intermediate or if you know the basics,
then I think it’s totally fine to use dramas, videos, movies to get used to Japanese.
You can take some useful phrases and words and use it in real life to improve
your speaking like I do.
If you’re going to use them as studying materials, then pick the ones that
don’t sound unrealistic.
If you can’t even tell, then it would be better if you just watch it for fun.
Here’s my advice:
Don’t use them as an excuse for studying Japanese.
I’ve been there and done that for my English studying.
I know they’re fun, interesting exciting… I personally love it.
But I believe there’s so much stuff you can do other than just watching anime or dramas.
Watching only anime or drama isn’t going to make fluent.
You need to study kanji, and grammar and you need to practice if you want to speak well.
I’ve met many exchange students who believe that
if they watch anime or drama a certain amount of time, someday they’ll know Japanese.
I don’t think it’s impossible, but it’s not that efficient.
No matter what, anime is anime, and drama is drama.
They’re for amusement, after all.
They can be a study material as long as you use them
actively for like dictation or shadowing.
And about manga, if you have favorite manga
then try to read in the language you’re learning.
These are the ones my wife let me borrow.
These are really good, if you haven’t read them then you should try.
And they’re all written in English.
I had read them all before I started reading the English version
so I knew the story and I could read it smoothly
even though there were many words I didn’t know.
All I needed to do was look up the words that I didn’t understand or know
with my dictionary.
By the way, I think many of you already have one of these, but for those of you who
I highly recommend you get one of these. This is called
If you study in Japan you’ll probably notice that all Japanese students have
one of these.
They usually get one when they enter high school.
You can look up words very easily. Some dictionaries have a special sensor so you can
write in kanji and it finds the kanji you’re looking for.
If you’re planning on studying abroad in Japan, you’ll probably need one of these.
But the thing is it’s kind of expensive. It costs somewhere between
15000? to 40000? ($200 to $450)
so some of my friends use the
dictionary application on their iPhones or smart phones.
The popular ones are pretty useful and you don’t need to access the internet to use it
once you download it.
As you can see, mine’s got a speaker
so it pronounces the word for you.
Easy to carry around and very useful. This is [f***ing] awesome.
think about the skill you want to improve the most first if you don’t know yet
and try to choose the best way to go about it.
One of my friends wanted to be a manga translator for his living
so while he was in Japan he watched anime every single day and came to me
and asked me questions about
slang or differences of similar words,
or the phrases only used in anime and manga and stuff.
And one wanted to be an English teacher in Japan and she wanted to be able to
communicate with her students better, so
she always talked to me in Japanese and asked me to tell her
useful and conversational phrases in Japan.
So maybe, just maybe, thinking about why and for what you’re studying, before you open
textbooks, before you start watching anime, might help you.
Thanks for watching!