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Learn Japanese: 5 Expert Study Tips From Bobby Judo

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Need some inspiration to help you learn Japanese? How about some advice from an expert? Bobby Judo is a TV and radio host in Japan. Although he was born in America, Bobby speaks fluent Japanese and hosts a popular YouTube series to help students learn Japanese. Here, Bobby talks about his own journey with Japanese and shares his expert advice for Japanese-language students… 

I had a passing interest in Zen Buddhism when I was in high school, and a very, very strong sense of wanderlust. My family didn’t travel much, and I always told myself that when I was old enough to go by myself, I wanted to go as far and see and do as much as I could.

I heard about the JET Program, and since I already had a positive image of Japan, I decided I was going to apply. So I already had it in my head to get a job in Japan, before I started studying. I took a year of Japanese at the University of Florida. After I graduated, I lived in New York for a year, and worked at a sushi restaurant; I made obnoxious attempts to practice with every Japanese person I encountered.

This wasn’t the best way to learn Japanese, so to save you some time, here is some advice to help you in your Japanese-learning journey.

Supplement Your Studies

Supplement your studies by using Japanese as much as you can in social settings. Find friends with similar interests, Japanese or non-Japanese, and spend time doing things that you enjoy IN Japanese.

For me, this was cooking and sports. I was never into anime or manga, and I know a lot of people read Japanese stories or novels, but I could never enjoy reading in Japanese like I do in English, plus those activities tend to be solitary.

Whatever new words or grammar points you learn, force yourself to use them in conversation. Even if it doesn’t work out; trying and failing increases your chances of remembering.

Ask Questions

Always ask for an explanation of anything you don’t know or understand.

Pretending you understand is the best way to make sure you never do.

Always Carry a Notebook

Carry a notebook. Write down any words, phrases, and grammatical structures you come across in daily life/conversation. Look them up later. Set aside a time, once a week or so, to review all of your new Japanese terms for that week.

With this method, you will interact with each new piece of language a minimum of three times, which improves your chances of retention.

Take Advantage of Learning Resources

I really got a lot out of the 日本語総まとめ book series, designed for JLPT takers. They’re great for individual study, and super comprehensive. Also, The Daily Yo-ji blog is great.

I recommend watching movies with Japanese subtitles. Lots of people will say, watch Japanese movies… but for me, I found that watching a Hollywood movie with Japanese subtitles worked so much better.

Comprehension happens instantly, and then you get to look at a naturalized translation into Japanese, so it’s like “Oh, when I want to say something like this, THAT’S how a native Japanese speaker would express that sentiment.”

I always use the example of an English-speaking character saying: “What was that?!” with the Japanese subtitle, 『今のなに?』 It never would have occurred to me that a word that means “now” should go into a translation of “what was that?” but it’s very natural in Japanese. “I miss you” translated as 『会いたい』 is another great example of this.

Get a Japanese-Speaking Job

This  is pretty difficult if you don’t live in Japan, but it’s the best thing you can possibly do to learn Japanese.

I worked at a handful of restaurants, a bakery, and then once I started getting TV and radio work, it gave me a real and immediate NEED to improve my language skills.

Learning Japanese Can Change Your Life

Learning Japanese is pretty much responsible for my current life; my family and my career. I’m a regular on local TV and radio, I’ve published two books in Japanese, and I’m slowly gaining national traction.

I love everything that I’m doing, and I never would have started down this path had I not set out to learn about a different culture, and experience life in a different country. I encourage you to learn not just about Japanese, but to be open to experiencing and seeing things from different perspectives.

It gives you a much broader view of the world, and presents all kinds of possibilities for your life that never would have occurred to you before.

Good luck and have fun!

Ready to get started learning Japanese? Sign up for lessons with a private tutor, today! 

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3 Ways Learning Japanese Can Boost Your Career

HEADER 3 ways learning japanese can boost your career

Whether you’re taking Japanese lessons for fun or for academic reasons, there are a number of benefits to learning Japanese. Here, Washington, D.C. Japanese teacher Taro T. explains how learning Japanese can boost your professional career… 

When you first start learning Japanese, you may be unaware of all of the benefits that can result from your new language skills. Once you’ve achieved a certain level of proficiency, you can put your Japanese skills to practical use, especially in the workplace.

Professionally, you can use your Japanese-language skills in two different ways: to earn supplemental income, and to build your full-time career in the corporate world.



This may come as no surprise, but if you’re proficient in Japanese, you’ll be able to use your language skills to work in translation. This is especially useful if you want to to earn a supplemental income.

Plus, you will be in high demand in the U.S. if you can speak Japanese. Census shows that there were 436,110 Japanese speakers in the U.S. in 2011. This number is small compared with other languages like Chinese (2,882,497) and Spanish (37,579,787).

If you want to get a job as a translator, however, get ready to buckle down and study hard. A translation job will usually require you to have an advanced knowledge of Japanese.

In translation, you will be working on all types of assignments from business and academic, to legal documents. The more technical the document, the more difficult it is to translate.

According to SimplyHired, the average pay for a Japanese translator is $43,000. If you would like to earn an income on the higher end, look into becoming a paralegal, as the average salary for a Japanese bilingual paralegal is $51,000.

Keep in mind that these figures can be deceiving, as part-time and temporary positions are more abundant than full-time positions.

Besides more income, translation jobs are generally flexible and convenient. The jobs are often project based, and you can work from home and around your schedule. This has been a lifesaver for me, and I’ve also met great a mentor through a translation job.



Despite the flexibility translation jobs offer, not everyone is looking to earn a supplemental income. You may already have a full-time career, or you may be looking to start one.

If that’s the case, you may want to consider working in Japan. Although this is a big decision and lifestyle change, it’s a great opportunity for you to build your career while living in Japan.

Besides, landing a career in Japan is easier than you think!

Robert Walters, an international recruiting firm, reports that there is a shortage of bilingual professionals. According to their report, there were 1.09 job offers for every candidate in 2014.

Bilingual professionals are in high demand in jobs in human resources, engineering, and sales, so if you speak Japanese and have technical skills, you have a good chance of landing a job in Japan.

Working in Japan also makes economical sense, as wages for bilingual professionals have been increasing at an average of 10 percent each year as the Japanese economy continues to recover.



While learning Japanese can expand your professional options, the real purpose of language is to connect with others.

Jerry Weintraub, a legendary talent manager and movie producer, says that the connections you have with others largely defines your life. Through his ability to make connections, he booked concerts for Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra in their prime years.

Most of us may not have the people skills and ability to negotiate like Mr. Weintraub, but knowing Japanese, even a little, can help you connect with new people. This could lead you to a new job, a new business opportunity, or even a great friendship!

Believe in the benefits of learning Japanese; I wish you all the best on your future success.

Start learning Japanese today, sign up for lessons with a private Japanese tutor! 


Taro TPost Author: Taro T.
Taro T. teaches Japanese and ESL in Washington, D.C. He is a language acquisition specialist and mentors students from the United States, Thailand, Italy, Korea, Turkey, and El Salvador. Born and raised in Japan, Taro came to the United States when he was 16 to learn English and American culture – he’s also fluent in Spanish. Learn more about Taro here!


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3 Wonderful Reasons Your Child Should Learn Japanese

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When you’re considering language studies for your child, don’t rule out Japanese lessons. Here, Montgomery, TX teacher Emily G., explains the benefits of learning Japanese… 

There are several great reasons for children to learn a second language.  Learning another language can help your child think faster, and help your son or daughter develop effective problem-solving skills.

While Japanese may not be the first language that comes to mind when you consider options for your child, there are a number of excellent reasons why your son or daughter should learn Japanese.

Besides the workplace benefits your child will experience in adulthood, learning Japanese can impact a child in a number of positive ways. So as you consider the best language-learning path for your child, here are three fantastic reasons for your son or daughter to learn Japanese.

1. Introduce Your Child to a New World

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You’re probably already aware that it’s important to introduce your son or daughter to different cultures, but have you considered the most effective way to do this?

While Spanish, French, and German are generally the most popular choices for language studies, they may not be the best options to truly broaden your child’s horizons. Mexico is just a hop across the border from America, while Spain, France, and Germany are just across the pond. In fact, these neighbors get even closer to home when you consider their impact on American culture.

What we tend to forget, however, is that America has another neighbor; Japan. This neighbor is both as close and as distant as they come. Unlike Western countries which have had a huge influence on American culture, Japanese culture is still very foreign to us.

You could expose your child to the familiar differences of other Western cultures, or you could introduce him or her to a whole new world!

2. A Deeper Level of Understanding (of English)

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This benefit may not be listed on most language-learning blogs, but in my number of years as a Japanese teacher, I have witnessed this first hand.

Students actually gain a better grasp on English grammar when they learn a second language. This is especially true for Japanese students, because the language is drastically different from English.

One benefit I see with my students is improved awareness of syntax. Syntax is the way words are ordered within a sentence.

In Japanese syntax, the main verb is always the last word in the sentence. After learning this, students realize, often for the first time, that in English, the verb appears immediately after the subject.

This is just one example of how learning Japanese can help a student gain a deeper understanding of his or her native language.

3. Freedom of Thought


This is my favorite benefit to learning any language, but especially Japanese! Every language has words and expressions that aren’t found in any other language, but Japanese seems to be full of these.

Aside from just being fun, these kinds of expressive differences help students think in new ways and recognize and appreciate differences between individuals.

For example, while an English speaker must resort to poetry to describe sunlight filtering through a canopy of trees, Japanese has a single word for this; komorebi.

On the other hand, learning Japanese can also teach students that humans are just humans, the same in many ways no matter where they’re from. You may have heard the French phrase raison d’etre (the reason for existence), but did you know that the Japanese have a word for this too? Ikigai, which means “the reason for living.”

Find more one-word wonders in Japanese here.

Learning Japanese isn’t just beneficial to students academically and economically, but also on an individual level. It opens a child’s mind to a new culture, helps a child learn to express him or herself, and encourages a child to celebrate the differences in others.

Learning Japanese is a great choice for any child’s future; plus, learning about different aspects of Japanese culture like manga and anime can be a lot of fun!

Want to sign your child up for Japanese lessons? Find a teacher near you today!


Emily GPost Author:
 Emily G.
Emily G. teaches Japanese, Latin, and Greek lessons in Montgomery, TX. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Classics from Texas A&M University and later went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Ancient History from the University of Nottingham. She has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Emily here!

Photos by grrsh, Jakob MontrasioLuxTonnerreLuxTonnerre

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Is My Child Ready to Learn Japanese? A Guide for Parents

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Want your son or daughter to learn Japanese, but not sure if he or she is ready? Here, Montgomery, TX language teacher Emily G. explains how you can determine if your child is ready to begin Japanese lessons…

Even though I teach several languages, Japanese lessons are my favorite lessons. I love to see parents encourage their children to learn Japanese, however, this doesn’t happen too often, and I can understand why. Between the writing systems and the pronunciation, Japanese can be intimidating for a beginner. Many parents may think their son or daughter is too young to learn Japanese. I’m here to tell you why your child is ready to learn Japanese, now!

Children Learn at a Rapid Pace

One of the first things you will notice about spoken Japanese is that it’s really fast!  Japanese clips along at a rate that some studies show is faster than Spanish. You may think that this is too much for your son or daughter to handle, but it’s not too hard for children, at all.

Children learn language at their own natural pace, regardless of the nature of the language. If you’ve ever tried to rush a nine year old, you know it doesn’t work. With Japanese lessons, a child can work gradually, at his or her own pace, rather than tackling everything at once.

Additionally, children are full of energy, so they can easily adapt to a fast-paced language. In fact, studies have confirmed that children are able to learn things very quickly, which means it may be beneficial to begin language studies at a young age.

Finally, let’s consider what a child can gain from learning Japanese. When you learn to speak a fast language, your brain is forced to think and function faster. It’s essentially the same concept as timed Sudoku, Speed Chess, or a speed round in a memory game.

Children Can Learn Respect Through Language

The Japanese language has a specific honorifics system that dictates how someone should speak and behave. Honorifics are words like “Sir” and “Ma’am,” or “Mr.” and “Mrs.” At first, honorifics can be very confusing to new learners. A beginning Japanese speaker may not know which honorific to use when or with whom. The benefit though, is that through Japanese lessons, a student begins to pay more attention to personal relationships. The honorifics system can be seen here, when describing members of the family in Japanese.

By studying Japanese, your child will learn how to address others with respect, and how to speak to people using proper etiquette. When a child learns Japanese, he or she is forced to see relationships in a new light. This is a huge benefit for young students.

The Writing Systems are Based on Pictures and Symbols

Many parents are concerned that the Japanese writing systems will be too hard for their child to comprehend. While the writing systems can definitely be challenging, they’re not impossible to learn. There is a huge benefit to learning Japanese writing systems, especially kanji.

In Western cultures, writing is similar to a math equation; you have a set of letters, and you add them together in the correct combination to form a word. Kanji is different. When you use a kanji character, you’re drawing a representation of an idea.

is my child ready to learn japanese

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You can see this above in the characters for “one,” “two,” and “three,” but did you notice that the kanji character for airplane includes one of the same characters as the kanji character for “to go”? Also, notice how the character for “river” looks a little like the lines a child might draw to show running water.

Associations are one of the primary ways children learn. This is why we use picture books to teach kids new words, and it’s why so many children love to draw and color. Japanese writing can be difficult, but it encourages artistic development and analogical thinking in a child.

These are only three examples, but I hope you can see how learning Japanese is very feasible and beneficial to a child. Learning Japanese encourages a child to expand his or her learning, and helps him or her develop in new ways.

Want to get your son or daughter started today? Find a Japanese tutor near you!

Emily GPost Author:
 Emily G.
Emily G. teaches Japanese, Latin, and Greek lessons in Montgomery, TX. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Classics from Texas A&M University and later went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Ancient History from the University of Nottingham. She has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Emily here!


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3 Simple, Tried-and-True Secrets to Help You Learn Japanese

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While there a number of great reasons to learn Japanese, studying a foreign language is a challenging endeavor. One-on-one lessons with a language tutor is the best way to learn Japanese. Luckily there are also a number of fantastic resources, study tools, and learning hacks to supplement your Japanese lessons.

Olly Richards speaks eight different languages, and is the founder of the I will Teach You a Language website. Through his website, Richards helps students of all ages learn to speak foreign languages. Here, Richards shares his three simple, effective methods to help you learn Japanese.

1. Use Japanese EVERY Day

This may seem obvious, but a lot of people underestimate the time commitment involved in learning a language. Because of the way the education system works in the United States, we’re trained to believe that languages can be learned the same way as any subject, like math or chemistry.

While Japanese is an academic subject, the ability to actually speak and use the language is a skill which must be developed. For this reason, you need to find ways to use the language every day.

Consistent practice will help you strengthen your Japanese language skills. Just like working out a muscle, learning Japanese takes dedication, repetition, and hard work.

More: 7 Awesome Japanese Learning Apps You Should Download Now

2. Speak Regularly

(With People you Like)

Language doesn’t just exist on paper; language is a primary form of communication. You know what it’s like to hang out with your best friends – the conversation flows freely. When you’re learning to speak Japanese, you may feel uncomfortable or nervous using your new language skills in front of others. You can overcome your apprehension by surrounding yourself with people you like.

Find a person or group of people you like, who you can speak to regularly! You will look forward to your Japanese conversation practice because you will be in the company of people you enjoy.

Regular conversation practice is another way to strengthen your “language muscle,” and remember, if you want this to develop, you have to practice every day.

More: How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese: A Timeline for Beginners

3. Understand Why You Started

Learning a new language can be challenging and time consuming. What are the chances that you’ll actually keep it up, once the grind and the reality of the hard work sets in?

For most of us, language learning isn’t a matter of life and death, so we’re always susceptible to giving up or slacking off, especially if there’s no one to hold us accountable.

Your Japanese teacher can help you stay on track, and tailor his or her lesson plan based on your goals. You must know why you’re learning Japanese, so that when the going gets tough, you have the motivation to help you power through.

There are a number of great reasons to learn Japanese, or any new language, find out the benefits of being bilingual here.

Now that you know the most effective study methods to learn Japanese,  it’s time to buckle down and start studying! Find a Japanese teacher near you, and have fun learning a new language!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese

How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese? A Timeline for Beginners

How Long Does it Take to Learn Japanese

How long does it take to learn how to speak Japanese? The answer can vary based on your objectives, learning style, and study methods.

Learning a new language is a journey. When it comes to learning Japanese, you’ll need patience, persistence, and a good work ethic. If you put in the time and effort, you can learn to speak Japanese fluently in no time!

Which level of fluency are you hoping to achieve? Answering this question will give you some deeper insight into how long it will take you to master this fun and unique language.

Basic Comprehension: 6 Months

If you know fewer than 200 words, you’re in the pre-beginner stage. You probably know basic Japanese greetings like kon’nichiwa (hello), arigatō (thank you), and sayōnara (goodbye). You should also learn how to count 1-10 in Japanese.

At this level, you may not believe you’re very far along, but you know more than you think! After picking up the first 200 words in a new language, you’re able to recognize them in conversations between native speakers, and  you start to comprehend these words. For example, if you know the Japanese word Kayoubi (Tuesday), you’ll  able to pick recognize it in conversations.

At the pre-beginner level, start looking up any words you hear and don’t understand. Look words up on Google Translate, and review them with your Japanese tutor.

At this level, with one-on-one lessons and consistent practice, you will pick things up quickly. Within six months, you will know enough Japanese to be able to find your way around in Japan. You will be able to make hotel reservations, ask for and understand directions, and have basic conversations with Japanese speakers.

Beginner to Intermediate (9 – 12 months)

With a solid work ethic, you can advance to the intermediate level in an average of nine months to one year.

The intermediate level is more fun, because you start to understand news and other TV programs in Japanese. You also know honorifics the words and terms to describe family members. At this point, you can proudly say you can speak (basic) Japanese!

Advanced Level and Beyond (2 – 3 years)

The average length of time to learn advanced Japanese is 2-3 years. At the intermediate level, you can understand most of what your teacher says and you can follow along with TV programs. When it comes to using the language with other Japanese speakers, however, you still have some limitations.

This can be frustrating, but it’s important not to get discouraged. In order to get to the advanced level, you will need to be able to understand different speech patterns and sounds, which can take a long time. To really learn and understand all of the nuances of the language, you will need time, a great Japanese teacher, and consistent practice with other Japanese speakers.

Reaping the Benefits

Learning a new language like Japanese requires practice and perseverance, but the benefits are well worth it! Are you ready to get started? Search for a Japanese tutor near you today.

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4 More Terrific Japanese Websites to Bookmark Now

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At first, learning Japanese may seem intimidating. The characters, also known as Kanji, can be difficult to memorize. Because it’s not as common to learn Japanese as opposed to Spanish or French, there are fewer online resources available. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you and rounded up the best Japanese websites to help you learn!

1) JapanesePod101

This is an ongoing podcast that releases new lessons every few days. Most of the lessons are audio only, however, the site does have some video lessons for beginners. JapanesePod101 offers pronunciation tips, cultural information, and tricks to help you improve your accent. This free podcast is available on iTunes and contains 66 episodes ranging from four to 15 minutes.

2) Imiwa

This is an online dictionary app that includes Kanji with the English (or other language) definitions. You can take notes through this app, analyze a sentence, and look up new words.

3) The Japanese Page

This is a fantastic website to supplement Japanese classes or lessons. This is a great resource to study grammar and learn to write in Japanese. In addition to basic vocabulary and grammar lessons, the site also includes blogs and information about Japanese culture.

4) Learn Japanese from Scratch

This YouTube channel teaches basic lessons on writing in Japanese. Learn Kanji and grammar through short three- to six-minute videos. New videos are updated every few months and cover a variety of grammar topics.

5) Watch Anime

Anime is created in Japan and dubbed in English. Popular ’90s kids TV shows like “Sailor Moon,” “Inu-Yasha,” and “Dragonball Z” are all dubbed Japanese anime. YouTube has hundreds of anime videos. Find some that are dubbed in English. These fun videos will help you practice listening comprehension. Hulu has released an English-subtitled reboot of “Sailor Moon.” Do some research and find the Japanese versions of your favorite childhood anime, then practice Japanese by watching your favorite shows. Find out more about learning Japanese with anime here!

These Japanese websites are extremely helpful, but the best way to learn Japanese is with a language tutor who can tailor lessons to your specific needs. Check out these websites and let us know what you think!

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5 Awesome Websites to Help You Learn Japanese

5 Terrific Websites to Help You Learn Japanese

5 Awesome Websites to Help You Learn Japanese

When you’re learning Japanese, it’s important to have some reliable resources to help you practice between lessons. Here are five great websites to help you learn Japanese.

1. PuniPuni

This Japanese learning website will help you improve through four basic skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. There are lots of fun animated videos that teach everything from basic Japanese grammar, to vocabulary and verb conjugations. You can download free eBooks to learn Hiragana and Katakana, and you can purchase additional learning tools through the online store.

2. Kids Web Japan

This website isn’t just for kids, it’s a useful online tool for Japanese students of all ages. Learn greetings and common phrases with the aid of fun cartoon-like pictures, and download audio files to learn proper pronunciation. If you want to learn Japanese history, you can read some of the ancient Japanese folk legends. Plus, have fun and test your knowledge with interactive games and quizzes.

3. Tofugu

Tofugu is a blog with lots of great content for anyone learning Japanese. You will find easy-to-use guides with videos and graphics to help you understand the different aspects of the language, and articles on effective and creative ways to learn and practice Japanese. Plus, if you’re planning a trip to Japan to practice your language skills, you will love the travel guides that are available on this site.

4. Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese

This website may have less frills than some of the others, but it doesn’t make it any less resourceful. This online guide is a thorough, comprehensive Japanese learning resource. Find lessons and practice exercises on Hiragana and Katakana, and detailed sections on different aspects of Japanese grammar. The site is easy to navigate, so you can find exactly what you’re looking for and spend time studying the areas where you need additional assistance.

5. Denshi Jisho

A reliable Japanese dictionary is a necessity for anyone learning Japanese. With Denshi Jisho, you can translate words from English to Japanese (and vice versa), look up Kanji symbos, and find the translation for basic sentences.

These Japanese learning websites can supplement the work you do with your private tutor. You will discover lots of great new resources as you continue your language lessons.

Love these online resources? Here are four more Japanese websites; check them out and have fun learning!

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5 Key Benefits of Learning Japanese

5 Reasons You Should Learn Japanese

 5 Key Benefits of Learning Japanese

Japanese may not be the first topic that comes to mind when you think of studying a foreign language, but there are many great reasons to learn Japanese. Whether you’re considering language lessons for yourself or your son or daughter, here are five ways you can benefit from learning Japanese.

1) Travel

Learning Japanese language basics is essential for anyone interested in traveling to Japan. While you don’t need to be fluent, you’ll have a much easier time making your way around if you can communicate. Plus, the Japanese people will appreciate your effort to learn their language. If your goal is to travel, start studying Japanese now.

Key phrases will help you when you visit Japan, learn essential travel vocabulary here

 2) Higher Education

Are you considering graduate or business school, or do you have a son or daughter who wants to go to college? It’s no secret that applicants are judged on several criteria, including foreign language proficiency. Make your application stand out; study a less-common language like Japanese.

3) Career Advancement

Many large, international corporations have branches overseas. If your dream job involves working at a big company like Apple or Coca-Cola, learning a second language like Japanese can create more job opportunities. As someone who is fluent in both English and Japanese, you’ll have more career choices than someone who only speaks English.

4) Professional Value

If you want to work internationally, you may think it makes more sense to study Spanish or French, but it may be more advantageous to learn Japanese. Because there are fewer people who speak Japanese as a second language, there’s less competition for positions with Japanese-speaking applicants.

For example, if you want to be a government translator, you may compete for the job with 500 other people who also speak Spanish or French. If, however, you speak Japanese, you may only compete with 100 other people. Learning Japanese can help you increase your value in the job market.

5) Culture

Half the fun of studying a foreign language in school is learning about the country’s culture! Japanese culture is one of the most unique in the world. Study the language and have fun immersing yourself in the fashion, culture, martial arts, and history.

These are just a few of the many beneficial reasons to learn Japanese. The most important thing, however, is to fully commit to learning the language. For the best learning experience, find a qualified Japanese tutor near you.

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Japanese Learning Hacks for Beginners

Japanese Learning Hacks for Beginners

Japanese Learning Hacks for Beginners

Want to learn Japanese but not sure where to start? As a beginner, it’s essential to have effective strategies to help you make the most of your time. Try these learning hacks from language teacher Taro T...

Learning any new language can be challenging, but one of the keys to success is how fast you can advance past the beginner stage.

I say this from my experience learning English and Spanish. I was able to gain fluency in the two languages based on how fast I went from the beginner stage to the intermediate level.

These Japanese learning hacks will help you progress and advance quickly, or in other words, help you make learning happen.

Don’t Just Study, “Feel” the Language

Japanese is a dynamic language and there’s more to it than just the words.  You have to get a feel for it before you start studying. You can get a feel for Japanese by observing a Japanese speaker’s body language, facial expressions, voice, and tone.

If you’re a native English speaker, learning Japanese  may seem daunting. When I was learning English, I felt the same way. Once I realized that language is simply a communication tool, my learning accelerated. I started using whatever English words I knew, and tried to imitate the mannerism of American people.

Not convinced this strategy will work? Think of it this way: if you know 10 nouns, 10 verbs, and 10 adjectives, you can say 1,000 different things. I bet you can survive a trip to Japan if you know 1,000 basic Japanese sentences.

Have a Purpose

Why do you want to learn Japanese? Maybe you want to cover politics as a journalist, or work as a computer programmer, or maybe you just want to be able to communicate with Japanese speakers.

Whatever your reason, defining your purpose makes learning easier. Once you’ve determined why you want to learn the language, you can focus on relevant Japanese vocabulary, phrases, and expressions.

Of course everyone has to start with the basics, but once you define your purpose, you’ll be able to focus on the most relevant and important aspects of the language. This will help you move past the beginner stage, and set you up for success.

Learning Japanese is a lot easier than you think. Use these learning hacks to supplement your Japanese lessons; you will be amazed at how fast you improve!


Taro TPost Author: Taro T.
Taro T. teaches Japanese and ESL in Washington, D.C. He is a language acquisition specialist and mentors students from the United States, Thailand, Italy, Korea, Turkey, and El Salvador. Born and raised in Japan, Taro came to the United States when he was 16 to learn English and American culture – he’s also fluent in Spanish. Learn more about Taro here!



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