Japanese Language Resources / 日本語教材
Last Updated: 10 November 2014
Online Grammar and Expression Guides
- Japan Times’ Well Said Column: This is a great column that teaches you various natural expressions with different dialogue scenarios.
- Maggie Sensei’s Blog: Simple explanations of Japanese grammar. Great for intermediate students!
- Tim Sensei’s Corner: Another Grammar page. This is better for beginning students.
- Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide: Comprehensive beginner to lower intermediate grammar explanations. Tae Kim also has Facebook group where Japanese learners can help each other out.
- Dmitri_can and Hayashi 日本語ブログ: Two non-native Japanese teachers in Singapore on teaching and learning Japanese. Great guides on what to study for JLPT and some good reading material recommendations.
- Yamasv’s Lang-8 Journal: This Japanese guy writes about Japanese expressions and grammar in English as a way to practice his English. (What an ingenius idea!) Almost all his entries are useful, and he rarely makes mistakes. You need to be a Lang-8 user to see it though.
Online Dictionaries and References
- Weblio’s 英和和英辞典: This is great from translating English phrases into Japanese. It shows a number of examples similar to your inputted phrase, so you can see the context in which the suggested Japanese phrase is used.
- Onomatopoeia Dictionary: A list of onomatopoeia. The site is in Japanese. Learners who are not comfortable with a Japanese site yet can check out this guide by Tofugu.
- NHK Easy News Web: Easy version of daily NHK news. Great for lower intermediate students and above!
- News in Slow Japanese: This is great for learners who struggle with listening. Sakura reads in a much slower pace to help you understand. She even has a list of vocabulary so you can follow along!
Videos and Podcasts
- Erin’s Challenge: We used this at the beginner and intermediate levels at my language school. It’s nice to see expressions come to life in short video clips.
- 日本語の森: Free short video lessons taught completely in Japanese by students of Waseda, Kyoto & Doshisha universities. They’ve got lessons to cater to all levels from beginners to advanced students.
- 日本人の知らない日本語 Drama on YouTube: I’m a big fan of the 「日本人の知らない日本語」manga series and only recently found out they have a drama version. The best thing is that you can find on the entire drama on YouTube. I’ve linked it to the one with Japanese and Chinese subtitles. The language should be simple enough for intermediate learners to understand.
- 恋愛心理学知りたい！ is a podcast about the psychology of love. Since the topic mainly revolves around daily life, the conversations are fairly easy to understand for intermediate students and above.
- Anki Japanese Shared Decks: Learn new words and kanji, using Anki’s intelligent flash cards. You can sync your cards via Anki Web so you can learn wherever you are on multiple devices. (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android)
- iKnow: Similar to Anki but a paid version with high quality content done by native speakers with seamless syncing support between multiple devices. (Mac, Windows, iOS and Android)
- Japanese Verbs for Android: I used this a lot in the beginner and lower intermediate levels. It helped me conjugate verbs, when I wasn’t sure.
- JLPT Words for Android: I also used this as a quick dictionary in class. You can also use the built-in quizzes to test your vocabulary according to your JLPT level.
- Wakaru for iOS: Here’s an iOS app that shows the meaning and furigana for words/kanji you can’t read. It works with PDFs and eBooks.
- Rikaikun for Chrome: A browser add-on that allows you to hover over Japanese words you don’t know and show the meaning and reading for it, while you surf! Similar apps include Rikaisama for Windows and Rikaichan for Firefox as well.
Pitch Accent and Pronunciation
- Japanese Pitch Accent Wiki: A quick guide on Japanese pitch accent.
- Video on Pitch Accent: A Japanese learner analyses and explains the Japanese pitch accent system
Where to Buy Japanese Books Online
- Amazon Japan: There’s a lot of Japanese books here and they do ship internationally. The only problem is that the shipping fee can cost as much as the book.
- Book Depository: There are some textbooks here. If you don’t live in the US, this is a great place to get books from. The shipping is absolutely free!
- White Rabbit Express: A really good selection of Japanese learning materials. The price is a little high but if you can’t find it anywhere else, this is the place to go.
- Surugaya-a-too on Rakuten: A second-hand shop with lotsa books, games and CDs. The books are extremely cheap and in great condition but expect to pay a bit for shipping. They also take a week or two to confirm the orders.
- eBook Japan: For those who prefer digital books, here’s a place non-Japanese can buy their manga and books. I personally don’t use it as that the iOS and Android apps are pretty unstable.