japanese learning blogs

9 Terrific Blogs for Learning Japanese

So, you’re learning Japanese.

Are you tired of tearing your hair out in frustration when faced with enormous language obstacles?

Well, fear not.

You don’t have to go bald over this.

There is a rich bounty of great material out there for learning Japanese. These are not standalone resources, but superb complements to your lessons or other learning methods.

In previous articles we have told you about how you can learn Japanese with a drama and how you can learn Japanese with movies.

Here’s one more way to boost your learning: blogs.

So, unfurl your fingers, put that clump of hair back on your head, and get to reading these great blogs for learning Japanese.


9 Terrific Blogs for Learning Japanese

1. All Japanese All The Time

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

According to Khatzumoto, the host of All Japanese All the Time, classes suck. With that in mind, he has created a website that teaches Japanese through the fun stuff we all love doing, such as playing video games, reading comics, and watching movies.  His blog section consistently produces very high quality articles about the Japanese language, focusing on how to learn it quickly and effectively.  With titles such as “The Mother of all Sentence Packs” and “The One Where Richard Dawkins Taught Me about Cooking and Learning Languages,” you’re guaranteed an entertaining read.  The foot is not pressed all the way down on the fun pedal – these is plenty of educational stuff too.  However, it’s wrapped up in excellent and well-structured pieces that make you forget that you are actually immersed in a learning environment.

2. Tofugu

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

Hands down, tofogu.com is one of the most fresh, fun and creative Japanese learning blogs out there. The site shares a lot of information about Japan and the Japanese language, and there’s a particular emphasis on Japanese culture. The posts are comprehensive, well-written, and illustrated with a variety of photographs, animations, and videos.  Posts often include a reference section at the end so you can keep exploring. The topics covered are eclectic.  For example, a trawl through the site reveals articles covering such themes as rice, Nintendo and PlayStation, Godzilla, fabrics, and learning to drive in Japan. Occasionally, there are Q&As with interview subjects who’ve experienced it all firsthand.

With article titles such as “Can you Dig it? Of Love and Earwax” and “Unagi, The Japanese Eel: A Long Story,” there is never a dull moment.

3. Japanese Level Up

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

For those who want an exciting immersion into Japanese language, culture, and society, head on over to Japanese Level Up. Insightful posts on a diverse range of topics will keep your knowledge banks filled up with so many goodies that you feel you’re being spoiled. Whether the area under discussion is language learning, dating, pop culture, recipes or anime voice actors, there is always a generous sprinkling of Japanese words with their English translations.

The site is run by Adam Shapiro, who writes many of the posts alongside his team of expert writers.  They are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about all things Japanese, so fellow fans of Japanese culture will get a big kick out of this blog.

4. Tae Kim’s Blog

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

Tae Kim produces a useful blog on various aspects of learning Japanese. It is undoubtedly a great resource for those wanting to improve their understanding of the language. Tae Kim passes on many tips from his own studies of Japanese. There are more than ten different blog categories including colloquialism, culture, grammar, media, reviews, vocabulary and personal. There are also posts related to learning Chinese and Korean. The site has an active community, with many of the posts receiving numerous comments. New posts appear once every month or so. That may be quite a long gap, but they are well worth the wait.

5. Maggie Sensei

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

Maggie Sensei is on a mission: to teach Japanese in a fun way. Her blog is packed to the rafters with entertaining lessons about common day expressions used on the streets of Japan, not necessarily the ones you will come across in text books or in the classroom. Post topics run the entire gamut of language and culture with categories such as Japanese culture, Japanese manners, Japanese song, sentence patterns, business and colloquial. Each post is succinct and lovingly written. Since Maggie is a dog lover, they often contain captioned photographs of dogs. These pet pooches act as her teaching assistants. The blog is very active and attracts thousands of visitors every week. Beginners and intermediates will gain the most from this comprehensive site.

6. Nihon Shock

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

With a wealth of useful study tips, Nihon Shock is a great source of educational content about the Japanese language. The blog is run by Lloyd Vincent, who used to work as a professional translator in Nagoya, Japan. There’s a lot of meat here to sink your teeth into: stories of curious happenings from around the country, cultural tidbits, and useful information for those thinking of travelling or working in Japan. The articles are informative, well laid out, and are peppered with fantastic images.

On average there is one blog post per month. However, there is a healthy hinterland of previous articles going back to August 2009.  The blog site also has a vocabulary bank containing important words and their characters.

7. LinguaLift

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

When reading LinguaLift’s posts, you will pick up a lot of helpful tips on learning Japanese while reading about all manner of topics. They include Japanese pronunciation, gender differences in Japan, and Japanese body language and gestures. The content of each post is information-rich and interspersed with useful vocabulary. If you’re into a clean, minimalist ambiance, you’ll be happy to find this crisp homepage of articles embedded in a fresh, white space. This content-focused style makes the articles really pop out at you and command attention!

The LinguaLift blog is a terrific introduction to Japan for beginners, but intermediate and advanced students will still find useful material here.

If you really dig the material on the blog, then you’re probably going to love the LinguaLift language learning program itself. It’s designed to feed you quick, manageable lessons on a tight schedule and give you real, long-term results. The guidance given here is meant to keep you motivated and help you see the progress you’re making. And, best of all, you don’t even have to take anyone’s word for it—you can just try out your first LinguaLift lesson for free and see if it’s worth your investment.

8. Japanese Language Blog by Transparent Language

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

Short and sweet. This sharp blog contains tons of concise, information-packed articles. No gimmicks in this Japanese Language Blog, just the information you need. Paragraphs are never more than a few sentences in length and they are broken up by lots of striking images. There are some great Japanese learning blog topics here such as “How to Talk about Past in Japanese,” “Singing Japanese Songs as a Way of Learning the Language,” and “What is ‘Secret Money’?”

Overall, the blog delivers lots of language learning tips and vocabulary in an easily digestible way.

9. How to Japanese

great blogs learning japanese essential guide

How to Japanese is a fabulous resource compiled by writer and translator Daniel Morales. This vast reservoir of posts, which is quite regularly updated, is based sharing things that Daniel wishes people had told him when he started out studying the language. Words and phrases are explored in detail with clear, precise explanations. Daniel’s expertise and superb writing leads the reader gently through some of the trickier aspects of learning the Japanese language. Within the posts, which date back to February 2008, you will discover lots of essential grammar and vocabulary.

How to Japanese offers an excellent grounding in the language for beginners and intermediates.


Wait Up! One More Thing…

I didn’t stick the FluentU Japanese Learner blog (the blog you’re reading right now!) on the list because I assume you’re already convinced of its awesomeness. But did you know that FluentU is more than a blog? It’s also a language learning program!

FluentU takes real-world Japanese videos—like music videos, movie trailers, documentaries, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. It naturally and gradually eases you into learning Japanese language and culture. You’ll learn real Japanese as it’s spoken in real life.

Just take a look at the wide variety of authentic video content we have available. Here’s a small sample:

2014 11 22 22.17.301 A Beginners Guide to Japanese Internet Slang

You’ll discover tons of new Japanese vocabulary through these great clips.

Don’t worry about your skill level being an issue when it comes to understanding the language. FluentU makes native Japanese videos approachable through interactive subtitles. 

Having the Japanese subtitles turned on will help you visualize how Japanese words come together into full sentences. English subtitles are a great set of training wheels to make sure you don’t miss any bit of the message being sung or spoken. Turning off subtitles allows you to drink in the sentences with your ears alone, boosting your listening comprehension.

2014 11 22 22.21.10 A Beginners Guide to Japanese Internet Slang

Tap on any word to look it up instantly.

You’ll see definitions, in-context usage examples and helpful illustrations. Simply tap “add” to send interesting vocabulary words to your running vocab list for later review.

2014 11 22 22.21.42 A Beginners Guide to Japanese Internet Slang

FluentU has a learn mode which turns every video into a language learning lesson and gets you to actively practice your newly-learned language.

2014 11 22 22.48.14 A Beginners Guide to Japanese Internet Slang

Access FluentU on the website to use it with your computer or tablet or, better yet, start learning Japanese on the go with the FluentU app for iOS or for Android!

If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Japanese with real-world videos.

Experience Japanese immersion online!

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