language learning

Duolingo free language learning app released their first Japanese lessons, so we tested them out!

Check out what we thought of the Japanese language course released today!

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Japanese reporter interviews college students to find out why anyone would study Japanese

Why do we love Japan so much? What drives us to obsess over its culture, language, food, and everything else? Why do we keep coming back day after day to read articles about a country that, for many of us, is on the other side of the planet? For some the answer is easy, but for others, not so much.

One group for whom foreigners’ love of Japan is especially difficult to comprehend is the Japanese people themselves. Many of them have no idea why so many of us would bother to take an interest in Japan, much less learn its intimidating language. In an effort to try to figure this out, one of our RocketNews24 Japanese writers who lives in England did some investigate journalism and interviewed three students studying Japanese at the University of Cambridge.

Do their reasons for loving Japan match yours? Read on to find out!

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Pronunciation anxiety: many Japanese people don’t want to speak English unless it’s “perfect”

With the 26 letters of the alphabet, we can make pretty much any sound present in the majority of languages. But Japanese just doesn’t contain certain sounds present in English, like “th” or “v”, and their “r” is somewhere right between our “r” and “l”, making them sound almost exactly the same to Japanese ears.

Since most Japanese people grow up only speaking Japanese, it means that when they start learning English at school, they either have to learn entirely new sounds (difficult) or else try to render English in Japanese sounds (which isn’t accurate). As a result, many Japanese English learners feel a lot of anxiety over the accuracy of their pronunciation. But should that really be holding them back?

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Learn Japanese from YouTube: Amp up your listening skills with this four-step guide

It used to be that if you were studying a foreign language in your own country, the only listening practice that was easily available to you was hearing your teacher or classmates speak, or listening to the CD that came with your textbook. The first Japanese textbook I ever bought actually came with a cassette tape, which was particularly irritating as it was 2006 and I didn’t even own a Walkman any more.

Then someone invented a website that allowed users to upload short videos for all the world to see. Fast-forward nine years and YouTube is one of the biggest sites on the planet, making it a veritable treasure trove of free online spoken content.

So whether you’re after language lessons, YouTubers who vlog in Japanese, or just want to try watching your cat videos in a foreign language, online videos could be your new secret weapon. The trick is just knowing where to look.

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English learner’s dictionary you must have, my young Padawan!

The English-language study market in Japan is huge, and alongside the more serious stuff there are also some more oddball publications, which pride themselves on teaching everything from the correct usage of the F-word to the phrase “I just took a dump“.

From educational publisher Gakken, however, comes an awesome-looking product that, although it’s very much a movie tie-in, takes itself entirely seriously. This is the Star Wars English-Japanese Dictionary for Padawan Learners, and we can’t wait to get our hands on a copy! Ever wondered how to say “Vader wants us all dead” in Japanese? Well, now’s your chance.

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English pick-up lines: Foreign writer shares his advice with amorous Japanese men

We recently came across this article on English pick up lines for Japanese guys wanting to get ‘close’ to women while they’re on holiday abroad. Some of the tips are a little out there, though. What do you make of the advice offered?

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Tried-and-tested ways to learn Japanese while having fun!

Everyone has their own studying methods, but no matter which one you choose, learning a language boils down to mastering four things; reading, writing, listening and speaking. I know people who study so hard they literally memorize words out of a dictionary. There are also the people who think that the best way to pick up a language is to live in the native country and speak the lingo as much as possible.

I believe in practicing over studying. And by “practicing”, I mostly mean “surfing the internet”. If you’re currently struggling with learning the Japanese language, or if you hate studying but would like to improve your Japanese, read on!

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Lingo mambo! Spanish YouTuber teaches us 14 Taiwanese pet phrases【Video】

One of the best things about living overseas is the opportunity to learn the local lingo. By learning to communicate with the locals, it’s easier to get by day-to-day, and you’ll be able to unravel much more about the country’s culture. A Spanish YouTuber living in Taiwan shared a list of must-know pet phrases that he picked up by observing the locals. If you’re learning the Chinese language, starting a new phase in life in Taiwan, or even just imagining taking a trip to the lovely country, hit the “read more” button!

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Otaku Internet services: For all your online Japanese geekery needs

When it comes to language learning, one of the biggest problems is staying motivated. Memorizing 100 kanji for a test next Friday might get you through the work, but memorizing 100 kanji so you can read your favorite comics or talk online with fellow comic-fans will really light a fire under your keister. And we all tend to learn better when we’re having fun! We think someone proved that with science and stuff. It might have been Mr. Sato…he’s been playing with the chemistry set again.

Anyway, we know a lot of our readers are both Japanese-language learners and manga/anime fans. If you fit that description and you’re always looking for something to help keep you motivated to study, why not add these sites to your daily reading list? It might be difficult to get through everything at first, but if you keep with it, you’ll be reading like a champ in no time! Just don’t ignore your real homework! We don’t want any angry Japanese teachers knocking on our doors…

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All about butts: Learn some great anal Japanese phrases with this picture book!

It’s certainly true that everyone poops, and it’s also obviously true that everyone has a butt. But just how much do you know about your butt?

Probably not as much as Noritake Suzuki, author of the anally-focused children’s book Oshiri Wo Shiritai, or, in English, We Want to Know About Butts!

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