[JAPANESE | RAMBLES] Making a Crumb into Bread – Part 2 – The Beginning of Exploration

I said I wanted to make a sequel to the last Japanese-learning post and that I am doing! I am expecting to have a third one as well. You guys will know in time — I’m sure of it.

If you haven’t read the last post, that’s fine. Let me just summarize what is going on:
– one of my goals this year is to complete my textbook, Genki
– before I finish Genki, I need to review ~everything~ I should already know, since I have not studied Japanese since 2012 and my usage has been infrequent
– I decided during the review time, I would type up everything into lists and that is the only thing I decided on; I realized I needed to do things in between typing up notes and any sort of breaks I take from Genki

It’s the last bit that this post is a response to. I had no idea what I would be doing during the in-between and down times of learning Japanese. What do I do after I type up my notes? What do I do when I’m taking a break from my notes? What do I do when I’m at work during break time? What do I do when I have to wait somewhere? The most I knew was listening to music, but that sometimes gets tiresome and that’s not really going to help me oil the gears in my head.

That’s why I began to explore. I’m currently not done exploring yet, but the exploring I HAVE done has been pretty dang amazing, if I do say so myself. The website I began my adventures on was Nihongo-e-na, which I have recently done a review of. It has been the only website I’ve been using for exploration and it has not disappointed me yet!

So, what findings have I come across so far? Several quality sites that make my heart swell with joy and stamp out my anxiety rather quickly. I go into work smiling. My face is beaming when go and visit my boyfriend. Everyone asks me “why are you smiling” and my simple response is “exploring websites for learning Japanese”.

The Reviewing

One of the things I need to do badly was just review EVERYTHING. All the words I’ve learned, all the grammar, everything. In order to do that, I needed to use it in some way.

Marugoto+ was the first website I visited to do just that. I’m pretty sure it’s actually a supplement to a textbook series by the name of Marugoto. However, it seems (so far) to be a good standalone site. The practices (so far) are rather short and sweet, providing just enough review & practice to get back into the groove of Japanese. The Life & Culture section is great too and I have found it good to view, as I feel like Genki lacks culture notes.

If you visit Marugoto+, I would highly recommend the “Introduction to Japanese” section on the A1 site. Even if you have been learning Japanese for a while, the introduction may give you some information you may have not known or remind you of things you may have forgotten.

Erin’s Challenge is the other website I would HIGHLY recommend for review. It’s one of the websites that frequently comes up in “ultimate resources” lists. I personally never looked into it until this week simply because the layout just looks…cheesy to me. Honestly though, this website is FANTASTIC. It goes through a lot of the basic topics (like introducing yourself), but presents itself in a drama format, so it’s much less boring. There’s a lot of dialogue that helps give atmosphere to the topics, which I like a lot (so it’s not just “hajimemashite” “hajimemashite” and nothing else). I like the quizzes (ignoring that the typing one killed me because I had to click the words on the screen, aaaarrrgggh), the additional vocabulary, and culture notes too. So great!

As the website says though, it’s meant for people who have been studying Japanese for a while. I’m currently at mid-beginner and I understood a lot of the content. So, I would definitely recommend you’re at least at my level before you go into viewing it.

One thing I love about both sites is the ability to toggle the written words for most things between Japanese (kanji/kana), Japanese (kana), Romaji, and English. That way, if you still need romaji or kana, you can put those on. It’s so awesome!

The Learning

So far, the only website I found in relation to learning Japanese (that can be doubled for review) is The e-Learning for Japanese by the University of Tsukuba. The website is essentially a virtual simulation of a classroom, which I personally think is really cool. I haven’t gotten too far into it — I’m only on Unit 0 — but so far…wow.

I feel VERY confident that I can recommend the website to beginners of Japanese. And I mean COMPLETE beginners. Can’t afford a textbook or a class? Just go to this website! The website even states in its header that you can learn Japanese with the website, even if you’re a complete beginner.

I’m super excited about this website and most certainly plan on using it as review. I just need to get through Unit 0, which is kind of irritating since it’s stuff I’ve already known for the longest time (I don’t think I need to go over kana again for the billionth time…I think…maybe I’m wrong).

The Supplement

TUFS Language Modules honestly don’t really seem that exciting when you just briefly glance over it. However, if you’re learning how to speak Japanese or need to practice speaking Japanese, you definitely should check it out! Select your language (your native language, not the language you’re learning) and GO! The first pronunciation module talks about the pronunciation of つ(tsu), which people often say like す (su), if that catches your interest. It certainly caught mine. I always wondered what the pronunciation difference was between those two — I knew there had to be one!

Then there’s Japanese in Anime & Manga, which I was on the verge of dismissing initially. It’s actually pretty cool for learning character types in anime & manga and how they speak. I actually think the shining portion, so far, is the manga (accessible under “expressions by scene”). You can click each speech bubble and sound effect to hear it spoken/performed. They also provide the translation and some cultural notes. Gotta love that!

It’s definitely not a source I would learn Japanese from, but definitely something to supplement it. My primary motivation for Japanese is related to the world of anime & manga, so a site like this probably shouldn’t go completely ignored by me or anyone else with an interest in those subjects.

Other Stuff

I’m hoping to review all these websites soon, perhaps when I get a bit farther in them and really have a feeling for each one. I was thinking of doing a “Recommendation” series too for Japanese, but I think that’s going to wait a bit longer. Perhaps I’ll just make my own master resource list.

All these websites make me super excited, but I feel like I need to do some more exploring. There’s probably more out there just waiting for me to check them out and use them in my studies!

I think I’ll continue to explore the websites for both learning and review. I think I want to see if I can find a few more websites related to mostly learning, with some review, of Japanese. After that, I can start to focus on websites meant for reviewing.

I’m super excited about this for right now and I hope none of this comes crashing down on me.

I’m looking forward to figuring out how I will be dividing everything up too into different study sections.

I still haven’t figured out either what to do while I’m out on the go…these websites don’t really let me do that.

Anyone else excited?


Not surprised.

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