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Education

The Tofugu Podcast: Japan and Japanese Language

Updated 5 days ago

Education
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For people who want to visit Japan, live in Japan, and learn Japanese. Please excuse the tangents.

Read more

For people who want to visit Japan, live in Japan, and learn Japanese. Please excuse the tangents.

iTunes Ratings

270 Ratings
Average Ratings
227
23
10
3
7

Needs moar people just living their lives

By John Hackworth - Sep 10 2019
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Four and a half stars, rounded up.

Preeeeeettttttttttyyyyyyy good

By Senraid - Jul 11 2019
Read more
It’s preeeeeetttttttyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy good.

iTunes Ratings

270 Ratings
Average Ratings
227
23
10
3
7

Needs moar people just living their lives

By John Hackworth - Sep 10 2019
Read more
Four and a half stars, rounded up.

Preeeeeettttttttttyyyyyyy good

By Senraid - Jul 11 2019
Read more
It’s preeeeeetttttttyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy good.
Cover image of The Tofugu Podcast: Japan and Japanese Language

The Tofugu Podcast: Japan and Japanese Language

Updated 5 days ago

Read more

For people who want to visit Japan, live in Japan, and learn Japanese. Please excuse the tangents.

Rank #1: Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in Japanese feat. Kristen

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We talk to Tofugu translator Kristen about the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs. This concept trips up a lot of Japanese learners. Even people who think they know how transitivity pairs work in Japanese, they don't really. Kristen helps you understand transitive/intransitive verbs once and for all.

iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcast
Google Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay
Jan 20 2017
29 mins
Play

Rank #2: What's the Difference Between On'yomi and Kun'yomi Kanji?

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Read the article: https://tfg.li/2wMOjkR

This is maybe the most frustrating aspect of studying kanji. You start learning 山 as やま. Cool, one kanji memorized. Wait... it can also be read as さん.

Wait. All your other kanji have 2 or 4 extra readings too! Some are on'yomi. Some are kun'yomi.

Why does this have to be so complicated?!

It may seem confusing at first, but if you learn the difference between on'yomi/kun'yomi readings, where they came from, and how they work, we promise it will make learning kanji a lot easier.

Listen to this kanji-tastic episode where Kristen explains all this and more. When you're breezing through kanji like a pro, you'll be glad you did.

iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcast
Google Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay
Sep 22 2017
1 hour 36 mins
Play

Rank #3: How to Memorize Japanese Words Faster with Keyword Mnemonics

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Read the article: https://tfg.li/2fRsA52

Memorizing Japanese vocabulary takes a lot of time and energy, and there's so much to memorize! This alone makes people give up before they even get started.

But what if there was a way to alleviate this burden by making memories of Japanese words stick in your head almost instantly? You might not have to quit learning Japanese. In fact, you might just become fluent.

In this episode, Koichi, Kristen, and Michael teach you how to use the keyword mnemonics method to memorize Japanese faster and keep it in your head longer. After they walk you through the steps, you'll be able to create mnemonics and memorize Japanese vocabulary like a pro.

Best of all, you'll learn Japanese faster than everyone else. Listen to the podcast and thank us later.
Oct 07 2017
1 hour 19 mins
Play

Rank #4: When you go to Japan, Don't Make Any Plans

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Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRty

If you're having a hard time planning your trip to Japan, then don't! You can avoid all that stress of fitting everything into your schedule and trying to see the best spots by simply avoiding the planning. Taking the road less traveled can yield a more authentic experience and is a sure cure for the itch of adventure.

This week Koichi, fresh off a trip from Japan, and Michael sit down to discuss the joys in exploring Japan with limited or no itinerary. They give you insight on why traveling free from guide books and blogs can improve both your language skills and overall experience. Initially, this may sound crazy but after listening to the episode, you'll realize taking an adventure can be even more fulfilling than planning a ton of activities.

By the way, we also write about learning Japanese:

tofugu.com/japanese/

iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcast
Google Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay
Aug 04 2017
50 mins
Play

Rank #5: The 5 "Hidden Gem" Prefectures You Should Visit in Japan feat. Kay from JNTO

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Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRty

Koichi and Michael talk with Kay from the Japan National Tourism Organization (that's the Japanese government's official travel promotion arm, btw) about 5 prefectures worth visiting. Of course, this doesn't include Tokyo, Kyoto, or Osaka. No, these are hidden gems, prefectures that you may not have known about.

If you're looking for a unique and memorable Japan travel experience, you're gonna wanna listen to this one all the way through. The prefectures Kay talks about have a lot to offer, and you could spend weeks in any one of them.

So before you plan your Tokyo vacation, listen to this podcast and see if you don't change your plans.

Get in touch with JNTO:
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/visitjapan
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Visit_Japan
Website: us.jnto.go.jp
Mar 17 2017
1 hour 8 mins
Play

Rank #6: Why You Should Go To Japan Instead of Taking a Japanese Class

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Find us at: www.tofugu.com/

This week Koichi and Michael discuss the advantages of going to Japan to learn Japanese rather than spend time and money in a classroom. They offer practical advice for making your trip to Japan an impactful learning experience and a fun, long-lasting memory.

Topics include:
- One (basically) free trick to get a ton of random Japanese people to talk to you, in Japanese, so you can have non-stop conversation practice while in Japan.
- When to get the really cheap airplane tickets to Japan.
- Getting over your fear of talking to strangers (that speak Japanese).
- How being in Japan is like a "natural SRS," and how it guides you to what you need to learn next (something very difficult for teachers to do).
- How to make convenience stores, police officers, and people trying to get you into their restaurant into language practice partners.
- How flying to Japan, renting a hotel room, and eating three meals a day can be cheaper than taking a class.
- What to do to prepare yourself for your learning vacation, so you can get the most out of your time there.

Show Notes:

Learning kanji and vocabulary resource (preparing for your trip to get the most out of it): https://www.wanikani.com
Apr 07 2017
53 mins
Play

Rank #7: How To Get a Job in Japan feat. Peter Lackner

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Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRty

We talk to Peter Lackner--who runs jobsinjapan.com--about how to find a job in Japan. Turns out, Peter knows how to make it happen, no matter who you are (and how much education you have).

Get a job in Japan: https://jobsinjapan.com

DISCLAIMER: About a year after this podcast posted, Peter wrote back to us to let us know JESP, J-Wave, and WaveUSA aren't great programs and actually have been up to some shady business he didn't know about at the time of this recording. So he rescinds his endorsement of these programs and recommends you avoid them.

iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcast
Google Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay
Jan 27 2017
39 mins
Play

Rank #8: Learning Japanese and Secret Ways to Visit Japan: Advice from Loretta "Kemushichan"

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YouTuber Loretta "Kemushichan" has been making videos about Japan and the Japanese language for over 10 years now. And because of her expertise, we asked her to write an article for us (which you can read here: https://tfg.li/2C46DcV) and invited her on the Tofugu Podcast to drop some knowledge bombs.

Knowledge bombs liiiiiiike...

- The secrets she used to discover hidden exchange programs and other free ways to live in or visit Japan.
- The study methods she used to get her spoken Japanese sounding fluent.
- The problems Japanese small businesses are having with their tourism initiatives.
- And many more...

Listen and learn, friends. Then hop on over to Loretta's YouTube channel for more expertise.
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/kemushichan/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KemushiJP
Dec 11 2017
1 hour 11 mins
Play

Rank #9: Ways to Improve Your Japanese Pronunciation

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In this episode we get into Japanese pronunciation.

Whether you are a beginner, advanced, or fluent, you'll find something in this episode that will help you to improve your pronunciation.

To read more, check out our (really in-depth) guide:

https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/japanese-pronunciation/
May 23 2018
1 hour 10 mins
Play

Rank #10: What's a Yokai and Should I Be Scared? feat. Zack Davisson

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Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRty

This week Koichi and Michael talk to Zack Davisson, an award winning translator, writer, and Japanese folklore expert to discuss yokai. From the well known kappa to the obscure nebutori, Zack covers it all in this week's podcast!

What you can take away from today's episode:
- What is a yokai?
- Different types of yokai
- History of Japanese folklore
- Different types of folklore
- Japan's views on ghosts
- Koichi's views on ghosts

If you'd like to hear more from Zack, visit his blog: https://hyakumonogatari.com/
Zack's Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZackDavisson
Zack's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kaidankai/
Zack's books: https://hyakumonogatari.com/book-store/
Mar 31 2017
1 hour 24 mins
Play

Rank #11: What to Do with One Day in Tokyo

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Get your ideal day itinerary here: https://tfg.li/2fbRsb4

Oh no! The Tofugu Team has been kidnapped by Elon Musk and flown in his spaceship to Japan. He doesn't know how to have fun as a human, so he's forcing Koichi, Kanae, and Michael to show him what they would do with one day in Tokyo.

If you're in Tokyo for a short visit, you can get some sweet travel tips from the team as they move from place to place, Elon Musk trailing slowly behind. Exciting destinations like:

- A restaurant that serves shaved ice made with water from a World Heritage site
- An indigo clothing store
- A ramen restaurant that makes its own noodles right in front of your very own peepers
- A multi-level toy store
- A bath house with fancy wall murals
- A bar where you can taste your favorite movies
- And many more (like a lot more)

And if you want to read about Kanae's ideal day in particular, check out the article she wrote: https://tfg.li/2fbRsb4

iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcast
Google Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay
Sep 15 2017
1 hour 15 mins
Play

Rank #12: Tofugu Answers Your Weird Japan Questions: Volume One

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Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRty

For the first time ever, members of the Tofugu staff sit around and answer your Japanese language, living, and visiting questions. We answer questions like:

- Are the Yakuza dangerous?
- How old do you have to be to be an ALT through JET?
- Should you go to a nomikai even if you don't drink alcohol?
- Have we ever eaten Crayons?
- Should someone live in Japan for six months or twelve?
- And more? Probably? We didn't check carefully, so there are probably more questions that I didn't add to the description.

iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcast
Google Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay
Jun 23 2017
57 mins
Play

Rank #13: The 5 Best Japanese Learning Resources of 2017 (So Far)

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In January 2017, Tofugu started collecting the best, newest Japanese learning resources each month and reviewing them in a series (which you can read here: https://tfg.li/jlr2017).

It's been six months since we started, and we've collected 32 new resources. Now it's time to reveal the best of the best! In this episode, Kristen tells you her 5 absolute favorite resources. As Tofugu's translator, she knows what it takes to study faster, better, and stronger.

So if your progress is stuttering, listen to this podcast to discover new Japanese study tools that will get you back on your feet and running toward the finish line.
---
For the full list of all 32 resources, check out our series "JAPANESE LEARNING RESOURCES"
https://tfg.li/jlr2017

iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcast
Google Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay
Jul 28 2017
1 hour 8 mins
Play

Rank #14: Do Japanese People Stereotype Foreigners?

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Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRty

This week the whole gang comes together to discuss their personal experiences with discrimination in Japan. Join us as we try to navigate this complex issue without painting Japanese people with a “broad brush.”

In this episode, we discuss:
- What it means to be “accepted” by Japan
- Passive & active curiosity
- Why Michael stared down a foreigner
- Why old Japanese ladies hate Koichi
May 05 2017
43 mins
Play

Rank #15: ちょっと, a Little Word That Means a Lot

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Read more about ちょっと in our article:

http://www.tofugu.com/japanese/chotto/

We talk about ちょっと. At first it seems like a simple, little word. But, it actually has many meanings and ways to use it. We cover most of them, I think.
Jun 13 2018
1 hour 1 min
Play

Rank #16: Foreigner Forgiveness: What Happens When You Screw Up in Japan

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When visiting or living in Japan, you may be worried about making mistakes: speaking informally to a superior, using chopsticks awkwardly, or bowing at the wrong degree. Things like this cause a lot of anxiety for foreigners in Japan. But we’re here to tell you about foreigner forgiveness.

Basically, don’t worry so much. But on the other hand, don’t not worry enough. Some foreigners stretch this goodwill thin by taking advantage of peoples’ kindness for their own benefit. That’s not so good.

So how do you know when to quit worrying about the little things while also ensuring you don’t fall into an amoral abyss of cultural and situational ambiguity? That’s a tough question that no one person can answer. That’s why there are three people on this podcast. Join us as we attempt to unpack the moral gray area of foreigner forgiveness so you can enjoy your time in Japan more.

P.S. We’re definitely not talking about using your foreign-ness to get away with crime. DON’T DO CRIMES, KIDS! Or McScruff the Crime Cat will come for you.
Nov 20 2017
1 hour 4 mins
Play

Rank #17: The Absolute BEST Japanese Learning Resources from 2017

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Read the series: https://tfg.li/2oM5rYr
---
After a year of collecting the best Japanese learning resources every month and delivering them straight to your eyeballs, Tofugu sits down to discuss which study tools are the best of the best.

We divided all the resources into six categories. Then each host (Koichi, Michael, and Kristen) picked their favs before battling it out on the podcast field! Actually, they discussed it pretty civilly, but the result is the same: you now have a definitive list of THE BEST Japanese learning resources from 2017. If you’re having trouble sticking to your New Year’s resolution to study more Japanese, let this list be your shot in the arm.
Jan 29 2018
1 hour 47 mins
Play

Rank #18: Robot Restaurant, the Second Greatest Show on Earth

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Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRty

Beep boop. We are transmitting from the future, where all restaurants have become Robot Restaurant. Sure, Japan's Robot Restaurant is a fantastic show filled with music, lights, dancing, and robots, but the food is terrible. And since it's become every restaurant on earth, we are living a food nightmare (albeit an incredibly entertaining food nightmare).

Come with us on a journey, as young Koichi and Michael recount their first experiences with the famous Robot Restaurant.

iTunes:https://tfg.li/tofugu-podcast
Google Play: https://tfg.li/tofugu-gplay
Dec 22 2016
17 mins
Play

Rank #19: Is Japanese Class the Best Way to Learn Japanese?

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Get more from us at: https://tfg.li/2fEcRty

The whole gang gets together this week to discuss learning Japanese in a classroom. Everyone on the show has had different experiences learning Japanese, so it's an especially interesting look into the process. If you're currently in or considering taking a Japanese class, this is an essential listen.

You'll hear a range of perspectives from:
- Kristen's traditional route
- Koichi's mixed educational experiences
- Michael's self-taught journey
- Kanae's native Japanese classes
May 19 2017
59 mins
Play

Rank #20: How to Learn Japanese with Anime (And Why Maybe You Shouldn't)

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Resources for learning Japanese we talk about in this episode:
- Using SRS to Learn Japanese: https://tfg.li/2ila3Q1
- How to Study Japanese with Sentences: https://tfg.li/2iOtnc6
- Language Shadowing: https://tfg.li/2AMWZgW
===
"You can learn Japanese from anime!"

You’ve probably seen promises like these floating around the Internet. Maybe you’ve secretly hoped they’re true.

We’re here to tell you THEY ARE TRUE! But just because you CAN learn Japanese from anime, it doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

Koichi and Michael discuss the one way you can use anime to learn Japanese. It may not necessarily be the best way to learn Japanese, but it’s a way. Like if you REALLY just have to use anime to learn Japanese, we’ll tell you how.

Even if you’re not interested in anime in the slightest, you can use the principles introduced in this episode to learn Japanese faster and better than everyone else.

Weeaboos and Normal-boos listen up: there’s language learning gold in these here hills (the "hills" in this case being our podcast).
Dec 04 2017
1 hour
Play

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