How to learn a language online

How to learn a language online

wayne parry

Learn Japanese online - for free

 

 

 

 

STEP ONE:  WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

The Japanese language is obviously spoken in Japan by over 125 million people as well as in several communities around the world that have received a considerable number of Japanese immigrants, such as in the south-east of Brazil, the US state of Hawaii and several parts of Latin America from Peru to the Dominican Republic. However, in all of those parts of the world outside Japan, the Japanese diaspora is now into its fourth generation and as a result, only local languages tend to be spoken.

This is still an important business language, despite the rise of neighbouring China and South Korea. Japanese is an immensely popular language to learn due to its cultural attraction through animated movies and magazines, fashion and contemporary art as well as its world renowned cuisine and innovative technology. The rise of Japan’s economy in the 1960’s helped to introduce the language to the rest of the world through its country’s surge in tourists travelling abroad and its brand image as a nation of hard-working citizens in a high-tech society. Combined with its rich history and refined social structure, it’s no wonder this language has maintained its position as the most popular Asian language to study around the world.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWO:  A CITY WHERE THE LANGUAGE IS SPOKEN

KYOTO

The ancient capital of Kyoto is home to many beautiful temples that date back several centuries and this city draws in a high volume of tourists, both domestic and international. By immersing ourselves in a typical street scene, we are able to get an insight into the daily lives of its inhabitants – an important step before taking on this language.

 

 

 

 

STEP THREE:  A PLACE WHERE THE LANGUAGE CAN BE SEEN

SHOPPING IN OKINAWA

Browsing through the shops and stalls of Okinawa, a group of islands between Taiwan and mainland Japan, is a great way to read the signs in the language. Identifying signs is another initial step before taking on the language and when we’re able to identify the written language, it helps us to remember words more effectively.

 

 

 

 

STEP FOUR:  SITUATIONS

TELEVISION

Watching TV in Japanese is a very stimulating method for absorbing the language. However, it’s important to take away the subtitles in your native language otherwise this will slow down the process, contrary to the belief that it allows us to understand what is being said. TV drama is by far the most effective situation to watch on television for it shows us real life scenarios that reflect human behaviour – happiness, sadness, grief, joy, love and so on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP FIVE: FOOD

JAPANESE CUISINE

The delicious cuisine of Japan is one of the world’s most popular and the year-by-year growth in the number of Japanese restaurants that can be seen from France to Russia is a true reflection of how favourable the food really is. Learning what the local people eat is a real way to learn how to communicate, for it opens us up to a very important part of culture – food. Here’s a tour of some of the more well-known dishes in Japan as well as a list (below) of a typical menu.

    

 

ENTRÉE

Okonomiyaki お好み焼き (savoury pancakes from Osaka)

Yakitori 焼き鳥 (skewered grilled chicken)

Takoyaki たこ焼き (deep fried octopus dumplings)

Tempura 天ぷら (deep fried vegetables and seafood in light batter)

Onigiri おにぎり (rice balls filled with salmon roe or pickles wrapped in seaweed)

Miso soup  味噌汁 (soy bean paste soup)

Kakeh udon カケうどん (thick noodle broth)

Karaage 唐揚げ (deep fried chicken pieces)

Gyoza 餃子 (pan fried pork and garlic dumplings)

Agedofu 揚げ豆腐 (deep fried tofu)

Edamame 枝豆 (boiled and salted soybeans)

Kani korokke カニコロッケ (crab croquettes)

Maguro sashimi マグロの刺身 (tuna sashimi)

Monja yaki もんじゃ焼き (Tokyo style savoury pancakes)

 

MAIN

Katsudon カツ丼 (deep fried pork cutlet on rice)

Yakizakana 焼き魚 (flame grilled fish)

Zaru soba ざるそば (cold buckwheat noodles)

Udon curry カレーうどん (thick noodles in curry soup)

Unagi  うなぎ (grilled eel)

Souki soba ソーキそば (Okinawa style noodles with stewed pork)

Yaki udon 焼うどん (fried thick noodles from Kitakyushu)

Miso ramen 味噌ラーメン  (noodle soup with soy bean paste from Sapporo)

Katsu curry カツカレー (pork cutlet curry served with rice and pickles)

Sukiyaki すき焼き (beef and vegetable hot pot)

Nikujaga 肉じゃが (beef and potato stew)

Goya chanpuru ゴーヤチャンプルー (bitter melon stir fry from Okinawa)

Nigiri zushi にぎり寿司 (hand pressed sushi of different seafood)

Fugu sashimi ふぐ刺身 (raw pufferfish which can be lethal if not prepared properly)

Ika somen イカそうめん (finely sliced squid in dipping sauce from Hakodate in Hokkaido)

Gyu tan 牛タン (grilled beef tongue from Sendai)

Taco riceタコライス (Okinawan dish of rice and Mexican style taco meat filling)

 

DESSERT

Castella カステラ (sponge cake from Nagasaki but originally of Portuguese origin)

Matcha ice cream 抹茶アイスクリーム (grean tea ice cream)

Amanatto甘納豆 (simmered azuki beans)

Mochi 餅 (sweetened rice cakes)

Monakaもなか (azuki bean paste between sweet rice crackers)

Ikinari dangoいきなり団子 (steamed bun with sweet potato and azuki beans from Kumamoto)

Imagawayaki 今川焼き (azuki bean waffles)

Anko purin 小豆のプリン (azuki bean pudding)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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STEP SIX: COOKING

LEARNING HOW TO PREPARE A TYPICAL JAPANESE DISH – KARAAGE

Karaage is fried chicken and it’s fairly easy to make. This clip shows us how to prepare a typical dish without using any other language apart from Japanese. Following instructions is a challenging but fun way to learn the language – and of course, the reward is the finished product. A cooked meal!

 

 

 

 

 

STEP SEVEN: MUSIC

POPULAR MUSIC IN JAPAN

While Japan keeps its place as the world’s second largest music market, its appeal hasn’t spread as easily as music from Latin America or certain parts of Europe. Several genres have emerged from Japan, including visual kei (a spin-off of the New Romantic movement from the UK) as well as J-Pop. It could be argued though that in other parts of Asia, popular music from Japan has been a huge success – particularly in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.

 

 

 

 

STEP EIGHT: SPORT

POPULAR SPORTS IN JAPAN

Sports in Japan follow two paths: traditional and modern. The more traditional sports include several martial arts such as karate, aikido, jiu-jitsu and sumo whereas modern sports have usually followed American trends such as baseball and golf. In this clip we can see Japan’s love of baseball where some players are as popular as pop stars or politicians.

 

 

 

 

STEP NINE: FILM

JAPANESE CINEMA

Many interesting movies have come out of Japan and the recent wave of Hollywood versions of Japanese horror movies is only one aspect of this country’s diverse list of box office hits, from comedy to drama. Here is a contemporary list of some popular (and award winning) Japanese films to have hit the cinemas in recent years.

 

 

Postcard (一枚のハガキ)  -  drama based on a true story at the end of World War 2

Confessions (告白)  -  a revenge suspense movie set in a high school

Nobody to Watch Over Me (誰も守ってくれない )  -  nominated as the 2009 film entry for Japan

Departures (おくりびと) – drama about a man who gets a job preparing dead people

I Just Didn’t Do It (それでもボクはやってない) – based on a true story about a man who is accused of groping a girl on a train

Hula Girls (フラガール) – set in a mining town in 1965 where a hula dancing group is formed

Blood and Bones (血と骨) – story about a Korean entrepreneur in the 1920’s in OsakaPostcard (一枚のハガキ)  -  drama based on a true story at the end of World War 2

Confessions (告白)  -  a revenge suspense movie set in a high school

Nobody to Watch Over Me (誰も守ってくれない )  -  nominated as the 2009 film entry for Japan

Departures (おくりびと) – drama about a man who gets a job preparing dead people

I Just Didn’t Do It (それでもボクはやってない) – based on a true story about a man who is accused of groping a girl on a train

Hula Girls (フラガール) – set in a mining town in 1965 where a hula dancing group is formed

Blood and Bones (血と骨) – story about a Korean entrepreneur in the 1920’s in Osaka

 

 

 

STEP TEN: PEOPLE

SKYPE

Communicating with friends on Skype is without a doubt a very effective way of learning a language. It is important to ensure that the level of the person you’re communicating with has a similar level in your language in order to really gain from the experience. If not, one of you is going to feel a bit left out and it won’t last. Here are two useful websites for finding language partners online.

 

STEP ELEVEN: WORK

THE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT

Japan has a well-known work ethic which pulled it out of the post-war period and into its boom time during the 1980’s. Working in Japan offers an enormous opportunity to become exposed in the everyday challenges of learning a language, from commuting to socialising. Here is a clip that looks at some of those challenges.

 

 

 

 

STEP TWELVE: RELATIONSHIPS

KANSAI vs KANTO

The two great metropolises of Tokyo and Osaka have a history of rivalry and it’s always interesting to know how the locals feel about their compatriots. In this clip we discover how far that rivalry has come.

 

 

 

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