Online Resources

Websites

Tofugu is a well-established blog discussing Japanese language and culture, with many other popular child sites and tools for learning Japanese, such as Wanikani.

Maggie Sensei is a dog. She teaches you Japanese. The explanations include color-coded text to make entries very easy to read, and she covers slang you will not find anywhere else. Did I mention the teacher is a dog?

Lang-8 is a language exchange social networking website. Users create a profile and select a native language and target language of study (Japanese). In addition to a typical social networking site’s features, users can write journal entries in the target language and have them checked by native speakers, allowing the user to learn more natural expressions and improve writing skills. In return, the user is obliged to check other people’s journal entries, written in his/her native language. There are over 63,000 users, with Japanese natives consisting of the largest group, so response time is typically short and some of the articles are checked in a matter of minutes.

Anki is one of the leading websites/apps for flashcards, with an immense database of pre-made Japanese language flashcards. You can also make your own.

FluentU is a relatively new website/app that teaches language through authentic videos. It also has a wonderful newsletter service for its blog that offers tips on language learning, both Japanese and general.

Nihongo no Mori uses YouTube videos broken up by JLPT levels to teach authentic Japanese.

Japanese Class instructs through playing games and giving points, making language learning fun!

Imabi is an incredibly thorough guide for grammar, pronunciation, and everything, spanning from the very beginning essentials to diving into classical Japanese.

Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese is one of the essential resources for learners! He is especially well known for his thorough guide to grammar.

 

Podcasts

*You can access almost all Japanese podcasts for free on iTunes now! Especially for upper-intermediate learners, these can be indispensable for authentic listening comprehension training.

Japanesepod101.com is one of the leading language learning Podcasts out there with audio and visual materials for learners at all levels. While access to all of their feed isn’t free, you can download their most recent lessons at no charge.

Audio dramas in Japanese are amazing for improving your listening skills if you are of a higher level. These have interesting story lines, are completely in Japanese, very professionally done, and completely free. Just look up オーディオドラマ on iTunes to find a massive amount. I personally recommend those by 健介 (example here), as he has put out quite a few that never fail.

FluentU also gives several suggestions for listeners of all levels here.

FluentU also gives these tips as possible guidelines for studying with podcasts (this is in the case of Spanish, but works just as well with Japanese):

  • Use pre-made activities. Podcasts that are designed specifically for learners often offer activities that correspond to each podcast, such as worksheets to practice conjugations and vocabulary. If this is the case, definitely take advantage of these resources and do the activities.

  • Summarize the content. After you’ve listened to the podcast, try to summarize what you heard in Spanish. To practice your speaking, summarize aloud. To practice your writing, write out your summary.
  • Imitate the presenter. Choose a 15-second clip from a podcast and listen to it several times. Then, repeat after the speaker, such that you echo about a half-second behind the original audio. If that feels difficult without a transcript, listen and pause, second by second, to write out the audio (or, depending on your level, do this activity with a podcast that has a transcript). Try to imitate the exact tone and pitch of the speaker. Once you’ve mastered those 15-seconds, play the podcast starting about a minute before your part. When your part starts, hit mute and be the speaker!
  • Give your opinion. When there is a pause in the podcast, hit pause and add in your own two cents. What do you think about the topic? This will help you practice your speaking and conversation skills.

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