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Variable Rush
October 8th, 2009, 22:19
I'm going to post what tools (books and such) I have to help me learn Japanese language and culture, you tell me they all suck and I should drop a pile of money on the Rosetta Stone programs, a private tutor, and who knows what else, okay?

Books:

A pile of Haruki Murakami novels in English (one of my Japanese pen pals recommended him, and he's awesome).
Japanese for Dummies.
Japanese Phrases for Dummies.
Wildcat and The Acorns by Kenji Miyazawa
Lonely Planet Japan 2003
Customs & Etiquette Of Japan
Random House Japanese - English Dictionary
The Hagakure
Tao Te Ching

I also have some English grammar books that I plan to take with me if I get selected.

Software:

A bunch of anime
My Japanese Coach for the Nintendo DS (I love this game, I feel I've learned more with it than most of the other tools I've listed)

I'm thinking of getting this soon:
Instant Immersion Japanese Levels 1, 2 & 3 - Mac/Windows (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9375794&st=japanese&type=product&id=1218094582265)

Thanks

DoABarrellRoll
October 9th, 2009, 09:34
Murakami is pretty fun to read, and I would never recommend Rosetta Stone.

UPGRAYEDD
October 9th, 2009, 13:01
You should just get genki.

Variable Rush
October 9th, 2009, 19:32
What's genki?

Shankerbelle
October 9th, 2009, 22:11
Yeh Haruhi Murakami kicks ass! Rosetta truly isnt that great either but their pen pal facility (Rosetta stone Shared talk) is pretty good Language Exchange Community - Practice Foreign Languages (http://www.sharedtalk.com/)

this is Genki (http://genki.japantimes.co.jp/index.en.html)

Its basically a series of books and online bits n bobs to help with independant japanese study. its quite good i was using the elementary set text book (http://genki.japantimes.co.jp/whatis041.en.html)
and workbook (http://genki.japantimes.co.jp/whatis042.en.html) and some CD's n stuff

Ive heard Pimsleur for japanese speaking and listening was good too - if ur a [censored] fan id reccoment [censored] that as its pretty pricey.

bizarrojosh
October 12th, 2009, 22:15
Isn't the Dao De Jing Chinese? I guess its influenced Japanese culture but if we are being picky then I'd take that off the list.

Use Anki as a study tool to help you retain the stuff you study. It makes remembering stuff much much easier than the traditional flashcard method. Search "anki SRS" in google and you should find it. Its great because it can be installed on your computer, it can be used in an internet browser, on iphone and ipods, and normal japanese phones with 3g capabilities (pretty much all new Japanese phones). Its great.

Spore13
October 16th, 2009, 15:53
The new version of Rossetta is actually pretty good, but I wouldn't pay a bunch of money for it (there are other ways after all)

I second the Genki idea and I would then use Anki to make your own flashcards. It helps to have one course of study that you focus on so you don't et overwhelmed, and then study the others casually. Use anime only as a supplement- and don't use things from it without lookin git up on your own. Subtitlers (if you use them) are great, but a lot depends on context. Sounds obvious I know, but I heard stories about people from my JTE's.

enigmaneo
October 17th, 2009, 12:16
I haven't seen the new version of Rosetta Stone but I have the older one and someone wouldn't pay me to do it. It is good for pronunciation especially if you aren't in Japan.

Miss_igirisu
October 21st, 2009, 11:19
You got it all wrong. Drop that DS game, it's the biggest pile of crap ever.

1. www.smart.fm (http://www.smart.fm) go get yourself some vocab.
2. Genki, Japanese for busy people, minna na nihongo... anything.
3. Japanese langauge partner. Try www.japan-guide.com (http://www.japan-guide.com) (classifieds, friends, select your city) or www.sharedtalk.com (http://www.sharedtalk.com)
4. Once you can make sentences, get Japanese on your computer (Global IME) and the get your arse over to www.lang-8.com (http://www.lang-8.com) and write you some diaries.
5. Tofugu.com is also a good resource. You can try his online lessons, but I've not tried them personally so can't comment, but he's a good guy and his Japanese is ace.

stufflikethat
October 22nd, 2009, 10:24
You should just get genki.
I second this. It's a really great Japanese textbook. It explains grammar really well. It's often used in college level Japanese classes, so you can probably find lots of used copies online.

I think the DS game is fine if you're a beginner. It gives you a good introduction to the language, and the games are fun for practice. As long as it's not the only thing you're using to learn the language, you should be fine.

Make sure your dictionary has Japanese in it (hiragana and katakana). If it's only in romaji, it will be useless to you later on. You'll also want to pick up a good kanji dictionary.

I also recommend picking up these flashcards: WhiteRabbitPress::... (http://www.whiterabbitpress.com/catalog/Kana-Flashcards-p-16159.html)
WhiteRabbitPress::... (http://www.whiterabbitpress.com/catalog/Japanese-Kanji-Flashcards-Volume-1-3rd-Edition-p-16165.html)
I currently use the ones for kanji, and they're extremely helpful!

I have the Instant Immersion programs. I didn't find them very helpful. It's good to hear some of the pronunciation, but you can get that from watching anime. I wouldn't waste your money

Variable Rush
October 22nd, 2009, 10:50
I think the DS game is fine if you're a beginner. It gives you a good introduction to the language, and the games are fun for practice. As long as it's not the only thing you're using to learn the language, you should be fine.

It's not the only thing I use. I do like it for learning words and finding out how to spell them and such.

Also, I recently found a book from the 1980s called "A Guide to Teaching English in Japan."

ChuChuRocket!
October 22nd, 2009, 13:17
Jonathan Fisher wrote up a nice review of Smart.fm a while back. If you're interested in learning vocab, you might want to check it out.

Wide Island View Blog Archive Language Learning Tool Reviews: Smart.fm (http://www.wideislandview.com/?p=1473)

Miss_igirisu
October 22nd, 2009, 13:29
It's not the only thing I use. I do like it for learning words and finding out how to spell them and such.

Also, I recently found a book from the 1980s called "A Guide to Teaching English in Japan."

I don't think I need to say it but teaching English in the 1980's and teaching English now is completely different. Back then it was all about grammar translation method. To a certain extent it's still the same now but the reason why we are here is to change that.

UPGRAYEDD
October 22nd, 2009, 14:40
(stuff)..... but the reason why we are here is to change that.


Haha

No we're not.

Miss_igirisu
October 22nd, 2009, 15:11
We're not here to put more communication in the classroom? Then why don't they only hire JETs with Japanese good enough to explain everything in Japanese and teach English just like a JTE?

enigmaneo
October 22nd, 2009, 15:21
We're not here to put more communication in the classroom? Then why don't they only hire JETs with Japanese good enough to explain everything in Japanese and teach English just like a JTE?
They hire JETs with good Japanese and bad Japanese. I haven't exactly figured out why they hire JETs with no Japanese. I originally came with almost none and my conversations were very short with students. Now that I've learned enough Japanese I can keep conversations going. I can switch to English and Japanese when needed which keeps the students engaged longer.

As to why they don't hire JETs with Japanese? My take which is biased and probably wrong is that Japan doesn't really care to match people's ability up with their job.

enigmaneo
October 22nd, 2009, 15:23
Oh, my other theory is they really don't want to learn English, but want to say they put X amount of people, and dollars into learning English. There was another discussion on the board to foster relationships between other countries and Japan for business reasons. I'm inclined to believe their goal is not to get students to communicate in English.

Miss_igirisu
October 22nd, 2009, 15:25
They hire JETs with good Japanese and bad Japanese. I haven't exactly figured out why they hire JETs with no Japanese. I originally came with almost none and my conversations were very short with students. Now that I've learned enough Japanese I can keep conversations going. I can switch to English and Japanese when needed which keeps the students engaged longer.

As to why they don't hire JETs with Japanese? My take which is biased and probably wrong is that Japan doesn't really care to match people's ability up with their job.

Or, because as they said at Tokyo Orientation, "you're not paid to speak Japanese". We're paid so we can speak English with the kids and giving them a break from coping off the board and listening to the JTE witter on in Japanese whilst butchering the English language, preventing yet another generation from being able to speak English.

enigmaneo
October 22nd, 2009, 15:30
Yes, but why continue a conversation if neither of you understand each other. What's better a 2 minute conversation saying I like music. Do you like music. When, if the student can't keep speaking in English, they use Japanese I respond in English if I think they will know it if I not I respond in Japanese. What I've found is that whenever possible they use English, and I use a lot more English.

If you keep speaking to them in English and they don't understand, they'll just say hey I'm going to play. This is stupid. Well, that's for middle school and low level high school.

I've also run into some of my former students who go to a good high school and studied hard, and I was able to speak all English to them.

Miss_igirisu
October 22nd, 2009, 15:38
I feel guilty we've taken over this thread and I'm sorry to the guy who started it but I'm so bored right now.

I break my own rules and talk to the kids in Japanese outside classrooms. They take the piss out of me when I make mistakes and I think that it's really good for them to see me trying hard and making mistakes but just carrying on anyway. When the kids come to the staffroom to clean, they teach me words I didn't know, like the words for broom and stuff, and I talk to them in English, ask them stuff like "what time do clubs start today? I forgot" and they like that we can help each other.

In the classroom, I use Japanese occasionally, like I've said before, my English gets translated so why don't I just translate for myself. But I'm asking the JTEs to stop this and let me ask the kids "if you understood, can you explain in Japanese?" So English is being used more and more in the classroom now, because the kids are trying to understand me.

As for convos, my kids know I like MatsuJun, so it's not hard for them to have the "You like MatsuJun, do you like Yamapi too?" kind of convo with me. I can have quite good convos with my (JHS) kids.

enigmaneo
October 22nd, 2009, 15:43
Anyway, Japan's real goal isn't to learn how to speak English. They're only goal for English is to pass a test. You don't have to speak to pass the test. Problem solved.

#1 Learning tool, Japanese students. :-)

Shankerbelle
October 22nd, 2009, 23:19
You got it all wrong. Drop that DS game, it's the biggest pile of crap ever.

1. www.smart.fm (http://www.smart.fm) go get yourself some vocab.

This is great! i knew of the other bits never knew something like this existed! thanks! :)

Virus FM
November 5th, 2009, 12:02
Books:

A pile of Haruki Murakami novels in English (one of my Japanese pen pals recommended him, and he's awesome).



Seriously? lol. If I was going to learn Russian, I wouldn't do it by reading War and Peace.



Japanese for Dummies.
Japanese Phrases for Dummies.


I have an immense disliking for the "for Dummies" books. It's 10% information encased in 90% sugar and hand holding. You got through college- you don't need sugar and hand holding when consuming information now.


Wildcat and The Acorns by Kenji Miyazawa

Guessing this is a Japanese novel translated to English.



Lonely Planet Japan 2003


A travel book?

...


Customs & Etiquette Of Japan

Well, at least you'll learn something.


Random House Japanese - English Dictionary

Keep this and throw away everything else previously listed.



The Hagakure
Tao Te Ching


In English?



A bunch of anime

OK for listening practice but a lot of people are just looking for an excuse to watch anime. Based on what you wrote so far, I can't say I have a lot of faith you're not doing this just to watch anime.



My Japanese Coach for the Nintendo DS (I love this game, I feel I've learned more with it than most of the other tools I've listed)


Probably your best tool right now (sadly).



I'm thinking of getting this soon:
Instant Immersion Japanese Levels 1, 2 & 3 - Mac/Windows (http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?skuId=9375794&st=japanese&type=product&id=1218094582265)

Thanks

In what little experience I've had with the Instant Immersion series, they come off like for Dummies applications.

I'm sorry if I've been brutal, but you are training to be a doctor by watching Grey's Anatomy.

Look at these:

www.smart.fm (http://www.smart.fm)
www.readthekanji.com (http://www.readthekanji.com)
google jim breen
watch Japanese television on youtube

kyoryoko
November 10th, 2009, 11:29
Watch Japanese drama for listening practice, manga for reading practice, and songs for Kanji practice (I translated the lyrics, good for remembering how to read and getting the meaning by singing and knowing how the word feels)

kamukamuume
November 10th, 2009, 12:54
Watch Japanese drama for listening practice, manga for reading practice, and songs for Kanji practice (I translated the lyrics, good for remembering how to read and getting the meaning by singing and knowing how the word feels)

that does help, but I think manga and dramas tend to repeat the same words a lot. once you're at 2kyu level or so, the average drama won't have much new vocabulary--but that doesn't mean you're even near where a functionally literate Japanese person would be.

there are plenty of vocab lists and such premade online that let you focus directly on stuff you don't know, and the aforementioned entertainment stuff can reinforce it.

just my two centz.

cielya
November 17th, 2009, 01:55
This is great! i knew of the other bits never knew something like this existed! thanks! :)

Same! I knew lang-8 (haven't used it yet, but I'll get on that), but smart.fm is great. Best of all, I can use it at work and still look busy.

Miss_igirisu
November 17th, 2009, 07:32
Lang-8 isn't as good recently as it's like "BUY PREMIUM!!!!!!" all the time. It's not cool.

alsmith
November 23rd, 2009, 15:05
what do you guys think of japanesepod101.com?
i'm looking for audio stuff to listen to at night before bed. i already have pimsleur.

UPGRAYEDD
November 23rd, 2009, 16:42
Jappod101 is good. Unlike pimsleur they actually explain things.

I usually listen to a full episode and then edit out everything except the dialogue then save that in the ipod for future listening practice.

AliDimayev
November 23rd, 2009, 17:59
Another great thing I do is when I look up a word I do not know, I make sure to read and sometimes copy down the EXAMPLE SENTENCES so I can see not only the word used in a sentence, but to also learn other words, grammar points, and particle usage.

Alphabet
November 23rd, 2009, 23:08
If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, kanjibox and japaneseflip are two really awesome apps for studying. They're nice for when you have time on the train to kill, or if you don't want to leave the warmth of your bed to find your textbooks.

Miss_igirisu
November 23rd, 2009, 23:45
what do you guys think of japanesepod101.com?
i'm looking for audio stuff to listen to at night before bed. i already have pimsleur.

J-pod101 is good. I used to listen to it all the time and really benefited from it. But now I don't really listen to it all that much.

alsmith
November 24th, 2009, 07:31
is there anything besides pimsleur and jpod101 in terms of audio stuff?

Miss_igirisu
November 24th, 2009, 07:56
is there anything besides pimsleur and jpod101 in terms of audio stuff?

If you use it well and regularly, Jpop101 should be all you need.

bizarrojosh
November 24th, 2009, 13:30
is there anything besides pimsleur and jpod101 in terms of audio stuff?

I would just like to point out how crazy this question is. Everything ever created by someone who is speaking, singing, talking, etc etc, in native japanese (i.e. nearly every native audio material produced in Japan) is something you can use. No, its not as forgiving as pimsleur or jpod101 who hand feed you the meanings and speak "unnatural" sentences. Yes, it will take more work to decipher the meanings, grammar and kanji. In the end, and this is my point, everything produced in Japanese is a source of audio stuff. You don't have to rely on text books and learning tools specifically produced for language acquisition. Try the language itself, not some crafted learning tool. But if you need to take small steps I encourage you to use these sources, just don't rely on them solely for your audio learning experience.

I personally think that if you can get your hands on "Japanese: The Spoken Language" and its audio drills that will really really help your pronunciation and ability to produce sentences quickly. Plus its far superior to both pimsleur and jpod101

Miss_igirisu
November 24th, 2009, 21:13
Japanesepop101 is natural Japanese and give you good phrases in chunks that are easily digestible. It's been completely fine for me over the years so don't worry and stick with it.

vertigo_stick
November 27th, 2009, 09:22
Charles Kelly's Online Japanese Language Study Materials (http://www.manythings.org/japanese/)

A neat collection of study tools. A lot of variety, even has 四字熟語.

His main site is actually ESL tools, directed at a Japanese audience. Which might be useful for you as a teacher...perhaps.

Miss_igirisu
November 27th, 2009, 09:30
Charles Kelly's Online Japanese Language Study Materials (http://www.manythings.org/japanese/)

A neat collection of study tools. A lot of variety, even has 四字熟語.

His main site is actually ESL tools, directed at a Japanese audience. Which might be useful for you as a teacher...perhaps.

That link is awesome. You are now my favourite person on here.

UPGRAYEDD
November 27th, 2009, 10:44
Matsukaze Nihongo Annai - Japanese Nouns (http://www.matsu-kaze.net/mk/meishi/)

Eira
November 28th, 2009, 10:21
is there anything besides pimsleur and jpod101 in terms of audio stuff?

News podcasts. One that I actually find really easy to listen to is some Korean news program that is in Japanese. I'm pretty sure most/all of the newscasters are Korean, so they speak a bit slower than most Japanese newscasters.

Other than that... Any podcast in Japanese, really. There's one that's interesting sometimes that talks about differences in how men and women think.

Depending on your level, it might be a bit much, but listening to more complex things can help you focus more effectively when you get to the easier stuff.

brad12
June 14th, 2010, 19:29
Thanks for your information here.The name of books that you are given,I hope is useful to others also.

earth
September 16th, 2010, 13:36
I am a Japanese language neophyte and think the Michel Thomas method is pretty effective. It's all audio so it won't help with writing but I think the method used it quite helpful. I used Michel Thomas audiobooks for learning Spanish and it was great. Here is the link:
Michel Thomas (http://www.michelthomas.co.uk/japanese.htm)

3ngrishsensei
September 16th, 2010, 14:06
www.readthekanji.com (http://www.readthekanji.com)


amazing. thank you!

Fabrune
September 22nd, 2010, 01:44
For kanji, you might want to check out http://kanjidamage.com (http://kanjidamage.com/) as well.

One of the things I especially like about Kanjidamage is that the guy made a page featuring Japanese words that have several different kanji associated with it, but explains which ones are used more often (Dupes - KANJIDAMAGE (http://kanjidamage.com/appendix/dupes)).

Also, another good site to look into is Japanese Lessons with Maggie (http://www.maggiesensei.com/jp/).

brad12
December 7th, 2010, 13:31
pretty nice post.....it look easy to learn japanese (http://www.learnjapanesefree.com/) now