How long would it take to learn Japanese?2021

Me In Japan contemplating how many hours I had spent learning Japanese

The question “How long would it take to learn Japanese” is almost impossible to answer in a universal way, but I can share my own experience. I’ve also gone through and tallied up roughly how many hours of content the major Japanese language learning programs and platforms have which you can see below.

Japanese language programHoursLinks
Duolingo383574 Lessons x 5 Sub lessons = 2870Average. 8 minutes per lesson 2870 x 8 = 22960 mins/60 =383 Hours See more here
Pimsleur91.584 Hours of audio lessons 30 minute core lesson  7 hours of reading instruction 84+0.5+7 = 91.5See more here
Japanese POD 101304Total 5 lessons of 117 hours and bonus contents including Kanji and Japanese traditional songs which are of 187 hours so the total adds up to 117+187=304
Rocket languages Japanese380Total lesson time as reported on websiteSee more here
WaniKani226+8500 items x 8 repetitions x 12 seconds per repetitionSee more here
LingQ1000+LingQ relies on user generated and 3rd party content. It functions as a “content aggregator” allowing users to The website is saying that they have 1000+ hours of content here
FluentU1000+FluentU uses freely available Youtube content and adds functionality to look up and review words. They are adding content all the time.See more here

Perhaps the best way to answer the question is to look at the question I am sometimes asked:

How long did it take you to learn Japanese?

You never really stop learning a language. Even in your own native language you continue to learn new words and concepts as you go. This is even more so the case in a second language.

For me, I started learning Japanese in middle & high school. I did around 4 years during this time. I didn’t really apply myself at the time, but was able to learn the basic scripts for writing simple Japanese: Hiragana and Katakana. In fact, this stage of the learning didn’t take long at all. So I guess there first question is:

How long does it take to learn Hiragana and Katakana?

I think if you put your mind to it, most people could incorporate learning these into an everyday life in around a month or so. There are plenty of apps that can automate the process these days, such as duolingo etc. For me I learned the scripts through a system of creating pictures out of the letters. I think having some kind of mnemonic system happening when you are trying to memorise anything new makes sense.

How long does it take to learn to speak Japanese?

After learning Japanese at middle/high school for approximately 4 years, I traveled to Japan to live for a year on a working holiday. I found that I was totally unable to have an everyday conversation.

I had had very little actual speaking and listening practice in real life, or close to real life simulations. I had memorised perhaps a few hundred words, but these didn’t come out in real time at all.

After living in Japan for around 3-4 months, and making a concerted effort to actually try and use the few words I did know, I found I was able to get to a level where I could have a very basic conversation. I’m talking about something like “Where are you from? How long have you been here? What will you come” kind of level.

This was in the days before even electronic dictionaries, so I would constantly carry around hard copy Japanese-English and English-Japanese dictionaries. They were heavy in the back pack!

I would write down any new words that I heard and look them up and review them every day or two. 

I would also watch TV shows in Japanese and just see if I could pick anything up – usually not much.

In this way, within six months I was able to have slightly more involved questions, saying things like “What’s the name of this dish? How do you make it? Is there a special order you are meant to eat things in?”

Long Term Japanese Learning

I’ve now been “learning” (probably “using” is a better term” for more than 20 years. At this stage I can watch most modern day tv shows, where they are using everyday non-dialect Japanese, and understand perhaps 90% of what they say. I can watch the news and understand maybe more like 70%, especially in the sections on politics.

How Long Does It Take to Learn to Read Japanese?

The other big project is, of course, reading. You have three scripts to learn, Hiragana, Katakana and Chinese Characters (Kanji). As I have said, I think you can learn Hiragana and Katakana in about a month’s time.

Kanji is a whole other story. I remember asking a Japanese friend at the start of my Japanese learning story, “How many Kanji do you know”? He answered “how many English words do you know?”

There are literally 10s of thousands to learn. 

The good news is that you only need around 2000 or so to functionally literate for most intents and purposes.

I have gone through periods where I have studied the Kanji quite intently for periods. I used Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji for a period, and found it’s mnemonic system quite helpful.

That being said, I find over the long term I constantly go back and forth between remembering Kanji (including reading, meaning and their use in conjugations) and forgetting them again. It’s a bit like a leaky boat that I have to constantly keep bailing water out of. 

Electronic tools have helped with the process a lot. You can now look up most Japanese words pretty easily on a Kindle, and you can read most text on a computer browser using a tool like rikaikun.

I still like to read physical books sometimes too. I find I can get the general gist of a modern novel, but probably still have 20-30% that I understand partially or not at all.

This level allowed me to pass the N1 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test some ten years ago (about ten years after starting to learn Japanese). Even then, I only just scraped through.

Is Learning Japanese Worth It?

Yes, I’ve found the whole process of learning Japanese intensely rewarding. I’ve loved the experience of having this whole different world open up to me. 

Unfortunately, as a non-Japanese person, you face a constant “battle” of people often not wanting, or even believing, that you can speak Japanese. So that can be frustrating. But this very much depends on the person. 

I would say if you want to learn Japanese, just jump in. You can go all out, try and live your life in Japanese, change your computer language, speak with as many Japanese people as you can, or take your time. 

Overall, my experience is that the fastest way to improve Japanese for me is to speak it and listen to it. This forces your brain to do everything it can to understand what is happening in real time. You naturally start forming links between existing knowledge and new information coming in, making things “stick” so much more naturally. So my advice, if you want to learn Japanese quickly, is to find every opportunity you can to start speaking with Japanese people right now. Even if you feel you’re not ready.

Can I read Japanese books on kindle? 2021

Can I read japanese books on kindle?

If you’re like me, you’ve spent years learning Kanji, reading whatever you can your hands on, with a Japanese dictionary in one hand and a book in the other. To people like you and I, the era of the eBook is a veritable shangri-la for reading Japanese. 

When it comes to eBook platforms, Amazon and Kindle are the heavy hitters. So the first big question is: 

Can I read japanese books on kindle?

Yes, it is possible to read Japanese books on Kindle. 

The basic steps to do that are is:

  1. create a Japanese Amazon account, and 
  2. log in to the Japanese account on a browser 
  3. Purchase the item
  4. Download the item to your Kindle device, or app.

Of course, there are few hurdles that you need to clear on the way to making these simple steps happen and accessing the hundreds of thousands of titles on the Amazon Japan store. These are outlined below.

Once the hurdles are cleared, the Kindle Books offer a Japanese reading experience where, gasp, you look up any Kanji with the tap of a finger, get an English or Japanese definition, and add words to a list for later review. 

My physical dictionary-the-size-of-a-brick-carrying young Japanese self would have been very jealous.

Strangely, there is a lot of vague advice on the internet about how to get these Japanese ebooks onto your device, but often the info is incomplete or contradictory. Copyright restrictions exist that create artificial borders between regions, making it surprisingly confusing to purchase and download your Japanese ebook  and make it to the fabled shangri-la land. 

So I thought I would set out here in simple steps to make it easy:

How to Purchase Japanese Books On Kindle and Amazon Store

  1. Create an account on Amazon Japan 

Visit the Japanese version of the Amazon web store (ending in .jp). It is best to use a different email address than the one that you use for another Amazon Store in another country. This avoids the problem of your Kindle app trying to automatically log you in to your other country’s account, which stops you from being able to login using your Japanese account.

  1. Open a desktop web browser, go to Amazon.co.jp and hover over “Accounts & Lists” in the top right of the screen.
  2. Choose “Your Content and Devices” from the dropdown menu.

  1. Click on “Preferences”

  1. Under Country/Region Settings change “Current country/region” to Japan and enter any Japanese address

This can be any random address you look up on Google Maps.

  1. Navigate to the book you want to purchase on the Japanese Amazon store and submit order. 

You do not need a Japanese credit card to purchase from the Japanese Amazon store. Any valid payment card will do.

  1. Log into your Kindle device or eReader using your Japanese Amazon account details and enjoy reading your Japanese eBook!

That’s it? Simple right? Well, hopefully. There are a few other things to consider though.

Drawbacks of Japanese Books on Kindle

The biggest drawback of using Japanese books on Kindle or Amazon is that you can’t be logged into both your Japanese and non-Japanese account at one time. This means that when you, say, want to switch between your books purchased on the American Amazon and Amazon Japan you have to log out of one account on your device and log into the other. This in itself would be annoying, but the more annoying part about this is that anything that was downloaded on the device will be deleted and replaced with the content from the other device. If you are an English-speaking reader of Japanese, chances are you are also an English speaking reader of English. So you are likely to come across this problem.

Is there a way to get around the English to Japanese switching problem on Kindle devices?

There are a couple of work arounds for this issue. 

Remove DRM and import

The first is quite involved and not for the faint hearted. In short the process involves using a combination of three pieces of software Calibre, DRM Removal Plugin and Kindle Previewer.

The whole process is abley outlined by Matt Vs. Japan in this video.

Link Your .jp Amazon account to your non-Japanese Amazon account

 

The other way is to switch the region setting of your non Amazon.jp account to “Japan”. Amazon will prompt you to link your accounts, thus allowing you to import Japanese purchases. 

 

There are some pretty major drawbacks to this method also:

 

  • You can no longer purchase or gift books from your non-Amazon account.
  • You can’t unlink your accounts later.
  • Older Kindle devices and PC/Mac versions of Kindle aren’t able to read the Japanese books 

 

The work around to the work around for this is to set up a second(!) non-Japanese account and gift books from your original non-Japanese account to your new non-Japanese account. But by this stage, things are probably just getting too ziggy to be worth the effort. In light of this, the link account option is probably not going to be particularly helpful for most users.

 

Kindle Unlimited on Amazon.co.jp

 

Similar to other Amazon stores, Amazon.jp also has an unlimited service. 

 

This means that you can read as many books as you want for less than 1000 yen per month. Unless you are a heavy reader of Japanese books, this is likely not to be worth your while. But if you read two or more Japanese books a month, then it works out to be worthwhile.

 

Can I Read Manga on a Kindle?

 

Yes, you can. Reading manga on your kindle is one of the major drawcards for a lot of non-Japanese Japanese language readers. That being said, the experience of reading Manga on a Kindle can be a little patchy with responsiveness sometimes feeling sluggish and the device lacking effective zoom in and zoom out mechanisms. Strangely enough, reading manga on a mobile phone’s small screen can often actually feel better.

 

Do I need to have a Kindle device to read Japanese Amazon eBooks?

 

No, you can read your Amazon ebooks on Kindle apps for any of Android, iOS, Windows or MACOS. Compared to the Kindle device, some of the advanced functionality can feel a bit lacking. For example, the ability to customise dictionaries on the Android app is limited, meaning that you can often be left not able to look up a reading for a Japanese word or kanji. 

See the full list of Japanoscope Japanese Language Learning Resources here.

You may also be interested in our post on Japanese Coloring Books here.

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1). I’ve written songs in Japanese and have released several albums through Tokyo label Majikick Records. You can hear my music at my bandcamp page:

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

僕の音楽はBandcampで聞けます。

Cornelius Keigo Oyamada bullying articles translated

Cornelius & The Olympics

So you may have heard about how the composer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was forced to resign. He’s pretty well known in Japan for his work with Flipper’s Guitar, and outside of Japan for his work under the name of Cornelius.

I was personally pretty shocked when I read the comments that led to his resignation, as I’ve listened to his music for quite a few years now, and been to see him play live before.

From the way it was being reported, that he had been sacked for some comments about bullying he made in a magazine a quarter of a century ago, I thought it was probably some pretty mild form of overzealous accountability culture. But having read through a bunch of Oyamada’s comments, I was wrong.

Should Oyamada have been forced to resign from the Olympics?

Personally, I think given the way the Olympics pretty much aims to make inclusiveness central to it’s very being, I think it is only natural that Oyamada Keigo has been compelled to resign over the comments. I guess the other question for me is, should I still listen to his music? I don’t really know the answer to that question at this stage, but I think it’s good for people that are interested in his music to at least be aware of not just the general gist of the controversy, but the specific content and tone of some of what he has said. 

That being said, the comments were part of a large expose on Oyamada Keigo, and his history of bullying that spanned several victims across elementary, middle and high school. So I’m just going to present a few here, in translation, so you get an idea.

Where Did Keigo Oyamada’s Bullying comments appear?

Oyamada’s accounts of his school years bullying originally appeared in Rockin’On Japan magazine in 1994, and in the August 1995 edition of Quick Japan.

Translating Oyamada’s comments on bullying

Reading the comments, it sounded more like an account of potentially criminal level abuse, recounted by someone who sounded less apologetic than, well, kinda boastful.

 

I’ve tried to translate the text so that it captures the casual, almost trash talking kind of tone, so I’ve used a lot of swear words. 

Most of these comments are translated from magazine articles re-published here.

 

The first part is in question and answer format with an interviewer. Perhaps most damning about the text is the way in which Oyamada seems to laugh after many of the statements. Anyway, here’s some excerpts from what he said:

There was plenty of fretting over the borders in Japan this week, as is happening around the world.

Keigo Oyamada’s Bullying Comments



「あとやっぱりうちはいじめがほんとすごかったなあ」

So, you know, the way I was picking on people was pretty fucked up.

 

  • でも、いじめた方だって言ったじゃん。

Like you said you were on the bullying side right?

 

「うん。いじめてた。けっこう今考えるとほんとすっごいヒドイことしてたわ。この場を借りてお詫びします(笑)だって、けっこうほんとキツイことしてたよ」

 

Yeah, I was picking on people. Looking back I was really doing some fucked up shit. So let me use this platform to offer my apologies (laughs), or something like that, you know I was really doing some beyond the pale stuff, believe me.

 

  • やっちゃいけないことを。

Like things that shouldn’t be done?

 

「うん。もう人の道に反してること。だってもうほんとに全裸にしてグルグルに紐を巻いてオナニーさしてさ。ウンコを食わしたりさ。ウンコ食わした上にバックドロップしたりさ」

Yeah, I guess you could say I was really getting off the straight and narrow path. You know, I was doing stuff like making people get naked, then wrapping them up with a thread and making them jerk off. Or making them eat shit. And, after making them eat shit, making them do wrestling style back slams.

 

「だけど僕が直接やるわけじゃないんだよ、僕はアイディアを提供するだけで(笑)」

But it wasn’t me that was actually doing the stuff, I was just the provider of ideas (laughs)

 

  • アイディア提供して横で見てて、冷や汗かいて興奮だけ味わってるという?(笑)

So you were the one looking on from the sidelines, with a cold sweat, savouring the excitement of it all (laughs)?

 

「そうそうそう! 『こうやったら面白いじゃないの?』って(笑)」

Yes, yes! Like “wouldn’t it be fun if we tried this” (laughs).

 

  • どきどきして見てる? みたいな?

Like you were just watching on, getting off, with your blood pumping?

 

「そうそうそう!(笑)」

Totally (laughs)

 

  • いちばんタチ悪いじゃん。

That makes you the worst one out right?

 

「うん。いま考えるとほんとにヒドイわ」

Yeah, looking back, it was pretty fucked up.



沢田さん(仮名)のこと

About Sawada (fake name)

 

沢田って奴がいて。

There was this guy, Sawada. 

こいつはかなりエポック・メーキングな男で、転向してきたんですよ、小学校二年生ぐらいの時に。

He was one epoch-making guy, who switched across to our school, around year two of elementary school.

 

それはもう、学校中に衝撃が走って(笑)。

And, I tell you, it sent shock waves through the school.

 

だって、転校してきて自己紹介とかするじゃないですか、もういきなり(言語障害っぽい口調で)「サワダです」とか言ってさ、「うわ、すごい!」ってなるじゃないですか。

So when you switch across to a new school, the first thing you do is a self introduction, right? And, right off the bat, he’s like (in the voice of someone with a speech disability) “I’m Sawada” – and, naturally, that’s going to make you go like, “Woah, what a piece of work”, won’t it? 

 

で、転校してきた初日に、ウンコしたんだ。なんか学校でウンコするとかいうのは小学生にとっては重罪だってのはあるじゃないですか?

 

And, on the first day he comes across to our school, he does a shit. And doing a shit at school is just like the worst crime when you’re in elementary school right?

 

段ボール箱とかがあって、そん中に沢田を入れて、全部グルグルにガムテープで縛って、空気穴みたいなの開けて(笑)、「おい、沢田、大丈夫か?」とか言うと、「ダイジョブ…」とか言ってんの(笑)

So there was this cardboard box, so we put Sawada in, and then wrapped it up in tape, put in a few air holes (laughs), and then we’re asking him, like, “you alright in there Sawada?”, and he’s, like, “I OK” (laughs). 

 

そこに黒板消しとかで、「毒ガス攻撃だ!」ってパタパタやって、

Then we got out, like, some blackboard dusters, and we say to him “It’s a poison gas attack”, and we start whacking it round,

 

しばらく放っといたりして、時間経ってくると、何にも反応しなくなったりとかして、「ヤバいね」「どうしようか」とか言って、

 then we kind of leave him for a bit, and after a while, there’s no response, so we start saying, “yikes, what should we do now?”

「じゃ、ここでガムテープだけ外して、部屋の側から見ていよう」って

so we say “OK, let’s take off the tape and watch from the side of the room”,

 

外して見てたら、いきなりバリバリ出てきて、何て言ったのかな…?何かすごく面白いこと言ったんですよ。……超ワケ分かんない、「おかあさ〜ん」とかなんか、そんなこと言ったんですよ(笑)それでみんな大爆笑とかしたりして。

and we take off the tape, and all of sudden there’s like this rip, rip, rip, and then, what was it he said? I tell you he said something really hilarious. Some weird arse thing like,“Mummy!” or something, you know something like that (laughs). And I tell you, we just started laughing our arses off.

 

高校時代

During High School

 

ジャージになると、みんな脱がしてさ、でも、チンポ出すことなんて、別にこいつにとって何でもないことだからさ、チンポ出したままウロウロしているんだけど。

As for Jerseys, we’d make him get his gear off, but this fucker just didn’t give a shit about having his dick out one bit, he’s just fidgeting around with his dick swinging. 

 

だけど、こいつチンポがデッカくてさ、小学校の時からそうなんだけど、高校ぐらいになるともう、さらにデカさが増しててさ(笑)女の子とか反応するじゃないですか。

But, I tell you, this fucker has this big old cock, right from elementary school on, so by High School, it just got bigger and bigger, and, you know, that gets the girls going right? 

だから、みんなわざと脱がしてさ、廊下とか歩かせたりして。

So everyone was just getting him naked on purpose, and making him walk down the corridors. 

でも、もう僕、個人的には沢田のファンだから、「ちょっとそういうのはないなー」って思ってたのね。

But, you know, I’m like Sawada’s biggest fan so I’m like, “that’s not where it’s at”. 

……って言うか、笑ってたんだけど、ちょっと引いてる部分もあったって言うか、そういうのやるのは、たいがい珍しい奴っていうか、外から来た奴とかだから。

Or, I don’t know, I was laughing, but also part of me was pulling back, that sort of thing, people like that are pretty rare, I guess it was like he was someone who had come in from outside and all that.

 

こういう障害がある人とかって言うのは、なぜか図書室にたまるんですよ。

But you know these people with disabilities, for some reason they just seemed to accumulate at the library. 

図書室っていうのが、もう一大テーマパークって感じで(笑)しかもウチの学年だけじゃなくて、全学年のそういう奴のなぜか、拠り所になってて、きっと逃げ場所なんだけど、

So the library was kind of like a big old theme park, and not just for my year, but for people like that from every year level, like it was their “safe” place, like the place they could escape to.

何かたまに、そういうのを「みんなで見に行こう」「休み時間は何やってるのか?」とか言ってさ。そういうのを好きなのは、僕とかを含めて三、四人ぐらい

So, every now and then we would be like “let’s go down and watch them”, “I wonder what they are doing for lunch break?”. There were like 3 or 4 of us who were into that…

So that’s just a small sample of what is an interview which spans across several pages, and outlines abuse-level bullying against several victims across several years. So, I don’t know whether that means we should never listen to Keigo Oyamada’s music again or not, but I think it’s worth being aware of what people that you might be looking up to in one way or another have said in the past. 

We’ve written about some of the music that was actually used in the Tokyo Olympics Closing Ceremony here and have translated some of the extremely negative commentary on twitter in Japan leading up to the 2020 Olympics here.

Anyway, if you’re interested in doing deep dives into Japanese culture and language, please follow and subscribe!

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Japanese Essay Tokyo Tower

東京タワーは、東京でいちばん優しい。Tokyo Tower Is Tokyo’s Kindest Tower

Today we feature a Japanese essay that has an insightful lesson.

It is about the difference between seeing a thing from afar, or hearing about a thing second hand, and seeing that same thing up close. It’s about getting your information, and your experiences, about that thing directly from the source. In today’s age of information gluts, and gluttony, where to “know” something is to say that you once googled it and scanned the the top 3 search result headlines, the essay argues the case for deeper experiential learning.

It uses the spectre of Tokyo Tower, potent symbol of a mega-city, as a parable to explain why it is better to live life in close range, than at  arms length.  It was written by Inazo Inamoto( 稲本稲三) and appeared on his note.com blog. We have a reading of it in Japanese, then in English, then a mix of the two. I hope you enjoy it, and please subscribe if this is of interest, and check out Inamoto’s other work on Note.

Approx Japanese level

Text Type

東京タワーは、東京でいちばん優しい。

今日は、「普通の旅」をしました。

その地域で生活するというだけのことです。

こういう風にして、僕は疲れていると感じたとき、いつもいる場所から少し離れて、ボーっとする時間を確保しています。

仕事や家のことで忙しくしていると、どうしても「あれを終わらせなくちゃ…」「早く寝ないと…」と、常に何かに追われている感覚になります。

特に僕は、家で仕事することが多いので、仕事のオンオフが曖昧になりがちで、仕事のことを考えない日はありません。

家の中には、仕事グッズがたくさんあり、隙さえあれば仕事を進めてしまいそうになりますし、実際に取り掛からなくても、仕事のことを考えてしまいます。

なので、完全に心身を休めるためには、家の外に飛び出して、一人でゆっくりする時間を取ることが欠かせないのです。

今日は、東京タワーを観ながら、ボーっとしていました。

東京タワーは、どういうわけか、どこから見ても綺麗に見えるので、東京タワーに向かって歩いていない人でも、振り返って写真を撮っていました。

通行人のほとんどが、東京タワーを綺麗に撮りたい一心で、何度でもシャッターを切り、地べたにカメラを置いたり、腰を後ろに90度曲げようと無理な体勢をとりながら、自分なりに最高の角度を探していました。

その他にも、東京タワーに照らされた恋人を見つめてはしゃぐカップル、東京タワーを眺めて芝生に寝っ転がる中年男性、インスタ映えを狙う女子大生、展望台に昇る楽しみを抑えられずに走り出す小学生、その誰もが東京タワーに心を動かされていました。

これまで僕は、東京タワーを都会の象徴だとしか思っていませんでした。

もし、東京タワーが喋るなら、「資金力のある大都会じゃないと、こんなスゴい建造物は建てられないだろ?ほら、これが東京の凄さなんだよ!」と、いやみったらしく自慢してくるんだとばかり思いこんでいました。

しかし、実際のところは、全く違いました。

東京タワーを見れば見るほど、僕は安心感に包まれていきました。気がついた頃には、芝生に座り込んで、2時間も東京タワーを眺め続けていました(笑)。

恋人がいようがいなかろうが、仕事がうまくいこうがいかなかろうが、全東京の人々を暖かく受け入れて、どこから目を合わせても嫌な顔をしません。

その証拠に、ほとんどの通行人が、東京タワーに心を奪われているのを何度も目撃しました。

たくさんの人の心を預かってくれる東京タワーが、東京でいちばん優しいヤツなのかもしれません。

ちゃんと近づかないと、分からないものはたくさんあります。

ただ、見ただけの情報、聞いただけの情報に満足するのは、もったいない気がしました。

そして僕は、これから何かあるたびに、東京タワーに心を預けたいと思います(笑)。

Tokyo Tower Is Tokyo’s Kindest Tower

Today I took what you would call a very ordinary trip. By “very ordinary trip”, I mean going to a place other than my own local area to stay overnight, and live for two days.

In this way, when I feel I’m getting tired, I take myself to a place just a little away from where I am, and provide myself with some time to zone-out. When I busy myself with matters of the office or the home, I can’t help but get myself caught up in thinking “I must finish that…” or  “I must get to sleep”. This is especially so as I do a lot of my work from home, switching from on the job and off the job can become hard to differentiate and there is no day that I don’t think about my work. My house is full of the tools of my trade, I find it hard not to fill every spare moment of time with progressing my work, and even if I don’t get started on something, I think about what I should be doing.

So, to completely relax mind and body, getting out of the house to spend quality time alone is irreplaceable.

I spent today gazing vacantly at Tokyo Tower.

Somehow, Tokyo Tower is a thing beautiful to behold from any angle. Even the people not walking in it’s direction turn to take photographs.

Most of the passers-by are as one in their determination to photograph Tokyo tower at it’s most beautiful, and they repeatedly release the camera shutter, or place their camera on the bare ground, or bend at the waist at unreasonable 90 degree angles, in pursuit of the perfect shot.

You also see care-free lovers luminescent in Tokyo Tower’s haze, middle-school boys lounging round on the lawn staring up at Tokyo Tower, high-school girls going for the Insta-shot, elementary school children sprinting towards the observation deck unable to contain their excitement, every last one of them their hearts moved by Tokyo Tower.

Until now I had thought of Tokyo Tower as being no more than a symbol of the city.

If Tokyo Tower could talk, I thought it would sneer conceitedly, “Behold the financial muscle of the great metropolis, who else could erect such an awesome edifice? Heed Tokyo’s grandeur!”

But, actually, the situation is quite to the contrary.

The more I looked at Tokyo Tower, the greater the sense of calm that enveloped me.

Lover, or no lover, work going well, or not going well, the tower warmly takes in one and all, meets each eye to eye and points not a disagreeable face to any vantage.

In evidence, I noted all but a handful of pedestrians having their hearts repeatedly stolen by Tokyo Tower.

This Tokyo Tower, that keeps the hearts of so many safe, just may be Tokyo’s friendliest giant.

Some things you can’t understand unless you get up close.

It made me think that to simply be satisfied to hear about or see something from afar is a great waste.

I think that from now on, when I have the need, I will entrust my heart to the safekeeping of Tokyo Tower.

ただ、見ただけの情報、聞いただけの情報に満足するのは、もったいない気がしました。 It made think that to simply be satisfied to hear about or see something from afar is a great waste.

Favorite lines

ただ、見ただけの情報、聞いただけの情報に満足するのは、もったいない気がしました。

It made think that to simply be satisfied to hear about or see something from afar is a great waste.

ちゃんと近づかないと、分からないものはたくさんあります。

Some things you can’t understand unless you get up close.

たくさんの人の心を預かってくれる東京タワーが、東京でいちばん優しいヤツなのかもしれません。

Tokyo Tower, that keeps the hearts of so many safe, just may be Tokyo’s friendliest giant.

Unfamiliar Words For me

資金力 Financial might

インスタ映え To try and make yourself look good for an Instagram photo

Conclusion

Seeing a picture of an icecream is not the same as eating an icecream. Watching people fall in love in a movie is not the same as falling in love. Gazing at a Tokyo Tower from a far is not the same as seeing the people who live, play and pass through its arches everyday. Inamoto’s essay is a call for mindfulness, but delivered in a modern way without any of the residue that that Buddhist-derived buzzword holds. 

It’s a lesson you don’t have to go to Tokyo Tower to implement. 

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Jun Togawa Suki Suki Daisuki

戸川純 好き好き大好き
Togawa Jun Suki Suki Daisuki

Who is Jun Togawa?

Jun Togawa was once asked in an interview whether she was an “Idol” or an “artist”. She replied, “would it be bad if I said I was both?”.

She is one of those people that you can truly say straddles the boundary between pop and art,in a similar way to, say, a Bjork, or a Lady Gaga or even her country woman Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. In her ability to constantly change form and shape shift into various pop and sub cultural forms, there’s also a bit of Madonna or David Bowie about her. Vocally, she often uses a tight warbling vibrato that sounds to my ear similar to Johnny Rotten. Certainly, there is a punk sensibility about a lot of what she does. Like most great artists, she is an exquisite mish-mash of various seemingly disparate but somehow destined to meet elements.

日本語の解説は下記にあります。

Approx Japanese level

Themes

Suki Suki Daisuki Japanese

好き好き大好き

 

常識をはるかに超えてつのる想い

突然変異的に勃発したバラ色の恋

もはや暴力的とも言える程の純愛

既に昭和史に刻む勢いのジュ・テーム

 

Kiss me 殴るよに唇に血が滲む程

Hold me あばらが音を立てて折れる程

好き好き大好き 好き好き大好き

好き好き大好き

愛してるって言わなきゃ殺す

 

日常を打破して具体化するエロス

本能で重ねる情事 無限地獄

アンチニヒリズムの直観認識は

潜在的幼児性暴力癖を誘発

 

Kiss me 殴るよに唇に血が滲む程

Hold me あばらが音を立てて折れる程

好き好き大好き 好き好き大好き

好き好き大好き

愛してるって言わなきゃ殺す

 

Kiss me 殴るよに唇に血が滲む程

Hold me あばらが音を立てて折れる程

好き好き大好き 好き好き大好き……

 

Suki Suki Daisuki English Translation

Love You, Love You, Really Love You

Beyond all common sense, this feeling just keeps getting worse

A sudden and strange mutation, a rose coloured love escalation

A love so pure and violent

I wonder if I can survive it

A je t’aime that could cut right through

The showa epoch too

Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips

Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks

Cause I love you love you really love you

You better tell me that you love me or I tell you that I’ll kill you

Pummelling the everyday 

An eros getting more concrete 

An instinctual affair

Over and over in a hell endless

A direct premonition

Of anti-nihilism

Awakens a latent devious fixation

Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips

Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks

Cause I love you love you really love you

You better tell me that you love me or I tell you that I’ll kill you

Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips

Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks

Cause I love you love you really love you

You better tell me that you love me or I tell you that I’ll kill you

「アイドルなのかアーティなのか、どちらなんですか」とインタビュアーの方に訊かれたときも「両方、ってわけにはいきませんかね」と答えました(笑)。 Jun Togawa was once asked in an interview whether she was an “Idol” or an “artist”. She replied, “would it be bad if I said I was both?”.

Jun Togawa Background

Jun Togawa As A Purveyor of Toilet Technologies

From the early 80s, she managed to work within and without the system as an actress, a singer, creator and destroyer of aesthetic worlds. In Japan, strangely, her early career was often associated with her role in toilet commercials. She appeared in ads for the company Toto, who had just created a questionably revolutionary toilet innovation called the “Washlet”, an electronic bum cleaner that was a forerunner to the high tech toiletry that Japan has come to, also strangely, become well known for. Her television talk show appearances of the time inevitably started with hosts referencing the tagline from the commercials 「オシリだって洗ってほしい」, which translates as “Your butt wants some cleaning-love too”.  Such are the ignomonies an artist attempting to make their way in the world must endure. The thrust of the advertisements was the fairly convincing argument that “you wouldn’t just wipe your hands clean if they were covered in the bog, so why don’t you wash your arsehole you dirty slobs”. 

Jun Togawa as Singer

In appearances singing on Japanese television during this time, she often seems to be making herself up to look like many of the cute girl-idols of the time, but with a glint in her eye. Flying just south of all out parody and just north of purist sincerity, you get the sense that no one quite realised that, on some level, she must have been taking the piss.

Musically, she got her start singing at the ultra hip, Nylon 100% cafe in Shibuya, Tokyo. She impressed the cognoscenti patrons of the coffee shop such as young musician Koji Ueno by singing a 1940’s imperial Japanese ballad called Soshu Yakyoku.  A song written for the film Shina no Yoru “China Nights”, which you can see here,  and originally sung by iconic pan-asia-atlantic star Yoshiko Yamaguchi, Soshu Yakyoku isn’t what you would expect to hear a young up and coming singer cutting their teeth on.

Jun Togawa & Guernica

Togawa started a group called Guernica with Ueno, where they dressed like a couple of clean-cut war-era Japanese entertainers. They played covers and original songs based on the music of the time, but all of it was given a disembodied, and electronic, twist.

The feeling of futuristic nostalgia that pervades Guernica’s music would go on to be one characteristic of much of Togawa’s work to the present day.

Jun Togawa’s Most Well Known Song – Suki Suki Daisuki

The song Sukisuki Daisuki is the title track from the 2nd album released under Togawa’s own name. The album is number five if you include her work with ゲルニカ and ヤプーズ. Sukisuki Daisuki has become perhaps her most iconic song internationally.

Suki Suki Daisuki Meme

Suki Suki Daisuki inspired a meme of the same name in the late Twenty-Teens where various various international manga and anime artists created a myriad of more or less cute-cum-grotesque images to go with the song’s iconic pre-chorus and chorus.

Suki Suki Daisuki & The Concept of “Yandere”

The song is a precursor to what came to be known as やんでれ Yandere, predominantly in the anime world, in the new millennium. Yandere is a portmanteau of the words 病んでいる, meaning sick or suffering, and でれでれ, meaning flirting, fawning or being lovestruck. On the surface, the word sounds linguistically pretty close to the English word “Love Sick”, but it has a different nuance to it. It suggests a sort of stalkerish sensibility in a lover. It hints at something dark, sinister, and sadistic. Characters of this type, especially female characters, perhaps reflecting the male sensibility of many of the people creating the comics, are prevalent in the anime world.

Though the term ヤンデレ hadn’t been coined when Jun Togawa released “Suki suki daisuki” the song offers a good representation of the Yandere concept. Indeed, the song has played a role in the creation of the idea in Japanese popular culture. It is most clearly crystallized in the iconic end line of the chorus. “You better tell me that you love me or I tell you that I’ll kill you.” Stephen King and Annie Wilkes couldn’t have said it better in “Misery” (though Annie probably would have been a lot cuter if the story had been set in, say, suburban Saitama).

Suki Suki Daisuki Lyric Notes

The lead up to the chorus is visceral in its imagery: 

Kiss me 殴るよに唇に血が滲む程

Hold me あばらが音を立てて折れる程

Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips

Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks”

At the same time as being raw and physical, it’s also comes across as intellectually cerebral, with line like:

本能で重ねる情事 無限地獄

アンチニヒリズムの直観認識は

An instinctual affair

Over and over an hell endless

A direct premonition

Of anti-nihilism

“Anti-nihilism” isn’t a word that finds its way into a lot of pop songs.

Suki Suki Daisuki’s Strangest Line

It was probably the following line that gave me the most trouble to translate:

潜在的幼児性暴力癖を誘発

In my translation of the song I’ve gone with “Awakens a latent devious fixation”. But this is a bit of a sanitised, generalised version of Togawa’s original Japanese. 

The original has two interpretations that you could take, depending on where you place the “性” that comes between the words 幼児 and暴力癖.

The less confronting interpretation you get by attaching the 性 to 幼児 gives you the word “infantile” making a sentence meaning something like:

“Invites a latent infantile violent propensity” 

If you attach the 性 to 暴力, you get the word 性暴力, meaning “sexual violence” or “sexual assault”. In this translation  幼児 and 性暴力 would needed to be translated as “infant sexual violence”, or paedophilia, which you would need to translate as:

“Awakens a latent paedophilic urge.”

Ouch. I’m not sure that would fly in the Western pop charts, then or now.

But there is no shortage of Japanese people confused about this sentence also. See this thread (in Japanese) on Yahoo Answers (or Yahoo 知恵袋 in Japan) where someone has has posted a question asking what the line means. The answerer refers to a quote from Jun Togawa’s own book that (and which you can read an outstanding translated excerpt about the song here, also see juntogawaforever translation of the song here), thankfully, confirms that the line is closer to “Invites a latent infantile violent propensity” translation.

『それと言葉でいう幼児性ね。最近は全然暴力ふるいませんけど、幼児的な暴力癖があるんじゃないかという気がするので、意識の上では謙虚にしなきゃなと思いますよ。』

“The word is “”Infantile””. I haven’t exhibited any violence at all of late, but I feel like I must have some kind of infantile propensity towards violence within me, so I think I should keep a sense of modesty at the front of my mind.”

So, that is a relief.

Not that Jun Togawa seems to have many concerns about broaching taboo subjects in her lyrics. The title track from her debut, and previous to Suki Suki Daisuki, album was Tamahime-sama, which was a song about menstruation. In the intro video that accompanies the song Suki Suki Daisuki, Togawa holds a cat and tells us that she is moving from the theme of “menstruation” on the last album to the theme of “Eros” for this one. 

Now that’s a transition of themes that proves that she is indeed an “artist”, even if sonically she was aiming at something akin to an “idol”.

Other notable Versions of Suki Suki Daisuki

In 2013 the Japanese Idol girl group BiS did an unlikely collaboration with legendary noise band 非常階段 Hijokaidan to form the BiSKaidan and cover Jun Togawa’s Suki Suki Daisuki. The result sounds like this:

This inspired Jun herself to team up with Hijokaidan to form 戸川階段 Togawa Kaidan and record a version that seemed to dispense with cute veneer of the song and do a version of the song that sounds like some kind of bedraggled Yakuza hag singing the song to an unfaithful lover in a dark before committing grizzly murder.

Vampilla has also lent their slew of guitars to give the song a slow doom rock vibe as evidenced by this clip of them playing the song live in 2018:

Other Jun Togawa Connections & Stuff

Togawa has also worked with other artists we have looked at on Japanoscope including Haruomi Hosono who has produced music for Guernica. 

She has also worked with groups such as Halmens:

Jun Togawa is also written a lot including publishing several books of essays and works about her own life:

世界の「好き好き大好き」:戸川純の歌の英訳と背景

戸川純はかつて インタビューで「あなたはアイドルそれともアーティストですか」と聞かれたことがあります。そして彼女は「両方と言ったら悪いかしら?」と答えました。

 

彼女は本当にそういう2つの世界にまたがることができるアーティストだと思います。

おそらく、 レディー・ガガとかビョークとか、戸川純さんと同じく日本人の きゃりーぱみゅぱみゅ、といった感じの人かもしれません。さらに彼女は全く異なるイメージになりきる能力 を持っているところはマドンナ、あるいは デヴィッド・ボウイと似ています。そして、彼女の歌い方にはひとフレーズごとにちょっとした音の震えるようなビブラートがあり、どこかジョニー・ロッテンを彷彿させます。また、彼女の振る舞いには、どこかパンク的な要素がある気がします。他の著名なアーティストと同様に彼女は様々な異質な要素を寄せ集めて、新しく絶妙で彼女独自のものを作り出します。

80年代戸川純とマスコミ

80年代初頭から芸能界の表舞台だけでなく、マスコミから離れた場所でも、彼女は女優として、歌手として、クリエイターとして 美的世界の創造者として、また時には破壊者として活動を続けてきました。

面白いことに、彼女が芸能活動を始めて間もないころ主にトイレのコマーシャルで世間一般に知られるようになりました。彼女は当時、TOTOの「顔」のような存在となっていました。TOTOは当時、革新的なトイレ「ウォッシュレット」を販売開始したところでした。これは、お尻を洗う小さなノズルが出てきて、水を吹き出すというものです。「ビデの自動化」といったようなものです。コマーシャルに出てくる彼女はとても印象的でした。そして、必ずと言ってもいいほど彼女が出演するテレビのトークショーの殆どの 司会者はそのCMの広告のキャッチコピーについて言及しました。

「オシリだって洗ってほしい。」

英語訳すとEven your bum wants to be washedという意味です。

駆け出しの若いアーティストたちにとって少し恥ずかしいものだったに違いありません。(しかし、この広告のフレーズは確かに説得力がありました。手にウンチが付いていたら自分の手で、紙を持ってきて拭いただけで終わることはないでしょう。 洗いますよね。 じゃあ、お尻も同じように洗えばいいのでは、と。)

 

しかし、当時の彼女が歌手として出演しているテレビ番組では、 アイドルのような格好で出演していました。 ところがそれは彼女がわざとそれを演じていたようにも見えます。パロディとして演じているのと、本気でやっているのと、二つが交わるところから少しずれているところで活動していました。

おそらく当時の世間一般の人々には、彼女のこのような感覚が上手く掴めなかったのでは、と思われます。 彼女とどう付き合えばいいか、どこに分類すればいいかよく分からなかったかもしれません。

 

ミュージシャンとしては、彼女は独創的な東京のカフェ「ナイロン100 %」にてデビューしました。「蘇州夜曲」という1940年代の日本の帝国的な歌謡曲を演奏しているところをミュージシャンの上野耕路さんに見つけられたのです。

それは「シナの夜」という映画の曲でした。英題は「China Nights」という映画。1940年の戦時の中国が舞台となっています。この曲は、普通なら若い新鋭ミュージシャンが歌うような曲ではありません。

それで上野さんの目に留まったのです。そして、二人がゲルニカというバンドを始め引き続き同じような音楽をやることになりました。

戦前の日本のポピュラー音楽のような音楽をやっていました。見た目もとても印象的で。当時の非常に真面目なミュージシャンに見えました。皮肉的で無表情だったからです。どことなく暗い感じがしました。

しかし、彼らはそれを未来的な意味でやっていたのです。電子音楽的な要素もあり、彼らの解釈で皮肉的に演奏していたのです。そのような美意識は、彼女のミュージシャンとしてのキャリアの中で一貫して多くの戸川さんの作品に見られます。 懐古的な未来主義とでもいうのでしょうか。

 

世界の好き好き大好き

「好き好き大好き」は彼女の名義で出したセカンドアルバムのタイトル曲です。「戸川純」として。もしゲルニカやヤプーズも含めるなら彼女の5枚目のアルバム、ということになります。彼女は、ヤプーズというバンドの一員としても活動していました。

これらのソロとバンドの間に一線を画しにくい、 ジュン・トガワとヤプーズ。時には、それが 戸川純とヤプーズ、そして時にはただのヤプーズ、そして時には 「純」、「戸川純」。いずれにしても、これは完全にソロ名義でのセカンドアルバムです。

 

好き好き大好きミーム

この曲は おそらく彼女の最も世界で著名な曲となっています。この曲がミームになった、というのも一理あります。発売されてから30年以上経っているのに。様々な人々は様々なアニメのアニメーションを のイメージをつけたりしています。ちびっこキャラのような、かわいいとグロテスクの間のようなキャラ。

いわゆる「ヤンデレ」ですね。

好き好き大好きと「ヤンデレ」

この曲は、いわゆるヤンデレの一例になると思います。これは アニメでよく見かける概念です。これは、「病気」や「苦しみ」を意味する「病んでいる」という言葉を組み合わせた造語です。そして「デレデレ」という言葉。「デレデレ」とは誰かを大げさに褒めたり、媚びたりする意味があります。あるいは、愛に打たれること。

 

それは文字通り直訳すれば「Lovesick」という言葉に近いものがあります。しかし、そのニュアンスはかなり違います。この言葉は暗い意味合いを持ち、ほとんどある種の、ストーカー的な意味合いが含まれています。少し暴力的であったり、サディスティックであったりちょっと病んだ感じで夢中になっているような、ちょっと病的なくらいに夢中になること、を指します。しかし「ヤンデレ」という言葉は、戸川純が活動していた。当時は存在していませんでした。

歌詞の中に出てくる描写には、誰かが誰かのことに夢中になって、人に暴力を振るうようになり、その人に暴力をふるってほしくなってしまう、というところがあります。

この作品は日本の現代文化、特にアニメにおける「ヤンデレ」の概念 に影響及ぼしているかもしれません。そして、そのコンセプトは最も明確に、象徴的なある一行に集約されています。サビの部分が「スキスキ大好き」で、可愛い感じになっていながら、最後の一行は、あの

「愛していると言わなきゃ殺す」

です。

愛していると言ってくれないと 君を殺すよっと。これがいわゆる、純粋に液晶化された「ヤンデレ」の典型例だと思います。おそらくスティーブン・キングの著書『ミザリー』の中でアニー・ウィルクスは、これ以上うまく言えなかったでしょう。アニー・ウィルクスがもし日本にいたとしたら、おそらくもっと可愛くなっていたと思いますが。

好き好き大好きの歌詞・英訳

 

多くのこの歌のイメージ、歌詞は、とても直感的で、生々しく、かなり暴力的です。例えばサビに入る前の部分で、

「キスミー殴るように 唇に血が滲む程」

というところがあり、英訳すると、

「Kiss me, like you’re hitting me

Till the blood comes running from my lips」

その後 「Hold me, till my ribcage

Makes the sound of bone as it breaks」と続きます。

しかし、この歌詞は 生々しく、直感的であると同時に知的で頭脳的な ところもあります。歌詞の一部に

「本能で重ねる情事 無限地獄

アンチニヒリズムの直観認識は」

というところがあり、英訳すると、

「an instinctual affair. Over and over in a hell endless. A direct premonition of anti-nihilism.」となります。

「アンチ・ニヒリズム」

というような言葉が出てくることはポップ・ソングの中には、 欧米でも日本でも、ほとんどないでしょう、と言えると思います。

しかし、僕の中でおそらく次の一行が実際に英訳するのに一番苦労しました。

「潜在的幼児性暴力癖を誘発」

これはかなり奇妙です。何か問題が起きるような、ある種の心配させるようなフレーズでもあります。

「Awakens a latent, devious fixation」と訳しました。しかし、これはかなり寛大な翻訳ではないかと思います。

一般的な、クリーンな感じに訳しているものです。このフレーズにはいくつかの解釈があります。「性」という言葉をどこに置くかによっても。「性」」をどこに付けるのか。たとえば 「幼児」に付けることができます。だから「幼児性」は”infantile”になります。 しかし 、これはあまり一般的な言葉ではありません。一方で、「性」を付けられるもう一つの言葉 に「暴力」があります。つまり、「性暴力」、 その場合の意味は sexual violenceやsexual assaultを意味します。だから、「幼児」に 「性」をくっつけると次 のような翻訳ができます。Invite’s a latent, infantile, violent propensity というような。 これでもかなり変な感じがしますが、「暴力」に「性」を付けるほど問題にはなりません。この場合「性暴力」になります。これだと、おそらくawakens a latent paedophilic urge」と訳すことになります。 潜在的な小児性愛者を目覚めさせる、というようなつまり、幼児に対する性的暴力。

この場合 それ以外の呼び方はありません。

「paedophilia」になってしまいます。

多くの日本人もこのセリフに戸惑っているようです。ヤフー知恵袋で誰かが質問を投稿していました。

“この曲のこのセリフの意味は?”

これに対して、誰かが 戸川純さんの本からの引用を投稿していました。

『彼女は自分の言葉で「それと言葉でいう幼児性ね。最近は全然暴力ふるいませんけど、幼児的な暴力癖があるんじゃないかという気がするので、意識の上では謙虚にしなきゃなと思いますよ。」』

だから、いろいろな意味で安心しました。彼女によると、「性暴力」ではないということです。そのような問題ではありません。とはいえこの曲の全体的な文脈を見ると、明らかに、暴力とセクシュアリティの関連性について述べたもの、といえると思います。考えさせられますね。ジェーンズ・ アディクションの曲でもペリー・ファレルが「セックスは暴力的だ」と言っています。つまり、この関連性を考えていたのは彼女だけではない、ということです。しかし、直訳して「小児性愛者」と訳す必要はありません。

助かりました。しかしながら、戸川純さんにはタブーとされるテーマをよく歌で表現します。

たとえば彼女のデビューアルバム「玉姫様」には同タイトルの曲があります。このアルバムのコンセプトというか、「玉姫様」という曲は月経の謎に迫る、というようなものでだから、彼女は物議を醸すような話題に触れることを恐れません。

「好き好き大好き」のプロモーションビデオの最初の部分でも猫を抱きかかえて可愛い印象です。

しかし、『前作が女性の「生理」をテーマにしていて、

今回のテーマは、「エロス」です』と彼女自身が言っていました。 このようなことから、私は、彼女がただのアイドルでもアーティストでもなく、 彼女はその2つを兼ね備えている存在だと思います。

Want more Translations? Try a topic from this list:

Other Song Translations

Songs In Translation

smells like teen spirit 和訳

スメルズライクティーンスピリット 歌詞の徹底解説 。ネットですでに存在しているNirvana Smells Like Teen Spiritの和訳を見ましたが、どれもいいところと悪いところがあって、かなり間違っているのも多いと思いました。
自分の納得行く訳を作ろうと思いました。

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Language Learning Program Reviews

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Rocket Japanese Review 2021

Average Score 3.5
3.5/5

Learning Efficiency

Well set out, more well structured than something like Japanese Pod 101, and more comprehensive than Pimsleur.

3/5

Price

Price is reasonable at around $260 with a coupon, compared to Pimsleur at $550 outright for complete course.

3.5/5

Ease of Use

Well designed interface for both computer or mobile. They have forums for discussing with other students, but not nearly as active a community as something like duolingo or memrise.

3.5/5

Amount of content

Good to get you to an intermediate level. Rocket says they include 378 hours , I believe they are including reading and writing. Favourable Pimsleur with around 75 hours of audio or Japanese Pod 101 with around 200 hours of audio content.

4/5

Rocket Japanese Overall Verdict

Rocket Japanese is a solid, well structured, “no frills” option for learning language. 

 I’ve given it an average 3.5 stars out of five. Rocket Japanese doesn’t really “excel” in anyone area, but does give you a good broad grounding. I recommend this program for beginner to intermediate or business level Japanese learners that want an all inclusive online program that gives you well rounded approach encompassing listening, speaking, reading, writing, grammar and culture.

See my full Japanese Language Resource List here.

rocket Japanese writing module

About The Rocket Japanese approach

Rocket Languages for Japanese as takes a fairly “white bread” approach, it just gets on and gives you the basics without really doing anything fancy. At the end of the day, no language program is going to be able to take you all the way to fluency in and of itself, and you’ll need to combine different tools, learning approaches and environments. But most of us want to minimize the chopping and changing where we can. Rocket Japanese does a pretty good job of tying everything up in a neat package. 

It’s structure is a fairly “conversational” approach, with an emphasis on listening to conversations and asking you to play the role of different people within different situations. These conversations are natural enough, giving you a real sense of the language.

There is not nearly as much emphasis in Rocket Japanese on listening as you get in programs such as Pimsleur Japanese. Personally, I’m a big fan of learning predominantly through listening, so I would like to see Rocket Japanese really throwing you in the deep end a bit more with listening to more conversation unassisted by text prompts all of the way. This brings us to the issue of language and practice pacing.

Rocket Languages Japanese Pacing

Rocket languages progresses at a slow and steady pace. Many of the example sentences even in the most advanced lessons are spoken at a very slow pace – not even close to what is used in everyday language. This is fine for beginners, but not so good as you progress and for those that want to challenge themselves. Indeed, quite a few people find the pace of the program leads to boredom and lack of motivation.

Rocket Interactive Audio Lessons

 Things I like about Rocket Japanese

 Things I don’t like about Rocket Japanese

Fully structured “neat package” course

Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing - Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji

Nothing exciting about the course overall.

Does lots, but doesn't really excel at anything in particular.

Well laid out with 4 Audio modules, 4 language & culture modules.

Some people find the pacing leads to boredom.

Writing section includes videos

of how to write all of the letters and characters

Writing doesn’t give you practice drills

no interactive modules or recognition games.

Plenty of content

378 hours (how this is calculated is not clear, the actual hours of audio is are much less) You can use the progress tool to see your daily and overall points tally

No mnemonic devices

to help you create learning “shortcuts”.

Some gamification

longest streaks, leaderboard position compared to other users.

Gamification is fairly rudimentary.

Duolingo this ain't

Benchmark and Certificate testing

Platform tests your current level

Benchmarking and Certification are very basic.

I found that the benchmarking didn’t measure my current level well.

Ability to save notes and vocab

to help with review

No spaced memory Graduated Interval Recall

(like pimsleur) no spaced repetition system, like wani kani, or duolingo or Memrise

Has a solid mobile app

for learning on the go easily

No live talk with a teacher option

akin to Japanese Pod 101. Best to compliment the Rocket Japanese with live chat teaching services like “iTalki”.

Includes forum

ability to post and respond to discussion threads with other learners

Forum not that active

doesn't have the thriving community of some other platforms

One-off payment model

Don't have to pay ongoing for a subscription

Payment model means you must commit to the program

which could be a plus or a minus depending on how you look at it!

Is Rocket Japanese good value for money?

Rocket Languages pricing is reasonable at around $260 with a coupon, compared to Pimsleur at $550 outright for complete course or ongoing subscriptions for other courses.

Rocket Japanese Pricing

Summary

Overall, Rocket Japanese is a solid, no-nonsense program for beginner to intermediate & business level Japanese learners. 

Combine with other platforms to create your own learning suite:

Japanoscope is a member of affiliate programs for some of the products it recommends. Japanoscope receives a commission when these products are purchased from a referral from this site.

Language Learning Program Reviews

Rocket Japanese Review 2021

I take an in depth look at the Rocket Japanese platform, 2021 edition, in depth and outline what I like, what I don’t like and what some of the alternatives are.

Read More »

About the reviewer

I’m Peter Head. I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1). I lived in Japan for four years as a student and on working holiday.  I have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

Moshi Moshi Yusuke – 30 Top Japanese New Japanese Words In Japanese in 2020 P.II

Do you know these Japanese words? AI超え おうち時間 顔芸 These are some of the new Japanese vocabulary that entered the lexicon in 2020. Japanese language, like any tongue, is a living, breathing thing. It’s constantly changing. This means the process of learning Japanese is an ongoing one. But a fun one! Each year, the education company U-Can releases a list of the 30 new words, called 流行語 or 新語, that have entered the Japanese for that year. I chatted with Moshi Moshi Yusuke もしもしゆうすけ about the different words on the list. We talked about the different social movements in Japan that have occurred over the year that have lead to these new words coming into the Japanese language.

じゃあ7行きましょうか。AI超え。これはたぶん知らないですよね。知らなかったですけど 1 回軽くちょっとだけ調べました。でも説明あんまり。。。将棋のすごい選手今年出てきましたね。

そうですね。厳密に言うと今年ではなくてもっと前から有名だったんですけども藤井聡太という人がいるんですけど。

本来そもそも将棋というのは分からない人にわかりやすく説明するとチェスに似たルールのゲームです。

チェスと同じようにとても頭脳を使うゲームなので基本的には年配の人がプレーヤーであることはすごく多いんですけども藤井さんという人はまだ 10 代なんですね。たしか 18 歳か 19 歳かそれぐらいで。で将棋のいわゆるチャンピオンに対して何度も連続で勝つようなこの人ですね。

この人ですね。十八歳か十九歳か。すごく有名な人で若いのに本当に負けないんですよね。当時一番強いとされていた人と対戦したときにすごい難しい局面を迎えたときにチェスと同じで結構考える時間はあるんですよね。

20, 20 分以上考えてとった行動が本当に大逆転の一手だったんですけどね。後で人工知能 AI ですが考えて考えて考え出した最高の一手が藤井さんがやった行動とまったく同じだったんですよね。通常チェスでいうとコンピューターと人間だと大体勝率は同じぐらいかまだ人間が勝てると思うんですけども将棋の場合はコンピュータつまり人工知能と人間が対戦すると人工知能が勝つ場合が多いんですね。

それぐらい難しい競技でそれでコンピューターが打ち出した最高の手段というのをその場でコンピュータが出す前にやってしまったということで人工知能を超えたという意味で超。という言葉が流行りましたね。

じゃあこの藤井さんが、なに、AIに勝ったんですか。

実際に直接対戦したわけではないので勝ったわけではないんですけど人間が緊張した場面で考えだした。わずか 20 分くらいで考え出した手段に対して人工知能は何時間もかけて、出てきた答えが同じだったということは人間の方が勝ったということでAI声と言われているんですね。

 

Let’s go on to 7,

 

Supassing AI .

 

You probably don’t know about this, right?

 

I didn’t know about it, but I did some research. I couldn’t find out much. A great Shogi player came out this year, didn’t he?

 

There is a person named Sota Fujii. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t this year, but there is a person named Sota Fujii who has been famous for a long time.

 

Originally, Shogi is a game with rules similar to chess, to explain it  for those who don’t know.

 

Like chess, it’s a game that requires a lot of brain power, so there are a lot of older people who play it, but Mr. Fujii is still in his teens, maybe 18 or 19 years old and he has won many times in a row against so-called Shogi champions.

 

 He is18 or 19 years old. He is a very famous person, and even though he is young, he hasn’t really lost. When he played against the strongest player at the time, and he faced a very difficult passage of play, you have a lot of time to think, just like in chess.

 

The move he madeafter thinking about it for more than 20 minutes was really a big turning of the tables move. Later, the artificial intelligence AI thought and thought and thought, and came up with the best move, which was exactly the same as the move that Mr. Fujii had made. Usually, in chess, if it is a computer and a human, the winning rate is about the same for both, or the human can still win. But in Shogi, when a computer, or artificial intelligence, and a human play against each other, the artificial intelligence often wins.

 

That’s how difficult the competition is, and the fact that he did it before the computer could come up with the best method on the spot, means that he surpassed the artificial intelligence. That’s why the word “AI goe” became popular.

 

Then this Fujii-san, what, won against AI?

 

It doesn’t mean that he won because they didn’t actually play against each other directly, but a human came up with a play in a tense situation. The artificial intelligence took hours to come up with a method that took a human only about 20 minutes, and the answer that came out was the same, which means that the human won, and that’s why it’s called AI Goe.

 

 

 

So, we’re saying that this word AI Goe, so aI obviously means “artifical intelligence”  and “goe” means to transcend AI. So this Shogi 選手何なんと言ったらいいんですか Shogi player. By the name of Fujii Sota has become very famous in recent years. I’ve personally only noticed him in the news this last year or so but the last few years he’s become very famous as  being 18 歳でしだっけ18はい 18 Years old and being the new champion of this sport, I guess you would call it, and that in the space of 20 minutes when they gave the same problem for him and a computer to try and work out the best solution in the game, the solution that the computer came up with and he came up with proved to be exactly the same solution, so that’s where this “AI goe” is coming from。どうですか。このリストに載るぐらい使われてるというか有名な言葉になってるんですか。

いや実はそんなことはなくて超えAIという言葉が有名というよりも藤井聡太という人物がとても有名でその人を代表する言葉としてそこに入っただけだと思いますね。おそらく藤井聡太とそこに書いたほうがよかったんじゃないかなとは思いますね。他の人個人名が入ってるのもありますからね。

ちょっと不思議ですね。次行きましょうか。 8 Essential Worker英語圏の人だったら誰でもすぐわかると思うんですけど。

そうですね。これは例えば医者とか、看護師あるいはインフラに関わる人達がなくてはならない職業を指している言葉ですね。

これはよく使われていますか。

日常会話でエッセンシャルワーカーといったことはないです。おそらくニュースでそういった言葉が使われたりすることはあるんですけど流行語と言われるとどうでしょうね。日常会話では使わないですね。

僕から今回遠くから見てちょっと不思議に思ったんですけど結構このコロナ禍になってこういう英語の外来語使うことになりましたね。コロナ関しての外来語でなぜ不思議に思うかというとこういう危機的な時こそみんながわかる普通のその国の言葉を使うのが当然じゃないかなと思うんですけどわざわざ英語の外来語を使ってメッセージを伝えようとするのはなんででしょうね。

おそらくそれは 2 番目の新しい生活様式につながることだと思うんですけれども外来語を使う目的が何なのかはちょっとわからないんですけどおそらく。聞き慣れない言葉を出すことによって新しいものだという印象をつけたいんじゃないかなと思うんですよね。

じゃあその分みんな「これはなんだ」もう、危機的な気持ちになるということですかね。

おそらくそれが目的だと思いますね。今までなかったものを今までなかったものが出てきた新しい対応をしなければいけないというメッセージも含めて聞き慣れない言葉を使うということなんじゃないかと僕は思ってます。

そうか、外から入ってきたものだということを強調しようとしているところがありますかね。

うん、そういう意図もあると思います。

あと単純に外来語を使うのがかっこいいと思っている人がたくさんいるというのもあると思います。すごく単純な理由だと思います。

でもそれは何、芸能人の世界とかだったらわかるんですけど政治家とかそういう格好良さとか意識するところですかね。

やっぱり民主主義国家ですから投票で決まるわけですよね。ある種の人気投票でもあると思うんでやっぱりカッコ悪いよりいい方がいいとは思うでしょうね。

そうですか。なるほど、面白いですね。日本のニュースは結構見るんですけど今でもクラスターたぶんどっかに載っていると思うんですけど。

クラスターありますね。

ありますね。今でも大体そのクラスタという言葉をニュースで使うときは集団感染クラスタと言っていると思います。

もうコロナ禍になってもう何カ月くらい経つこの 8 カ月間くらいですかね。

2020 年の 1 月 2 月ぐらいからだから、もう 10 カ月近く 10 カ月以上経ちますかね。

ということはそれだけ時間が経っても集団感染クラスタを言わないといけないとニュースが思う、ということですね。

そうですね。

だったら集団感染だけ行った方が早いじゃないですかと思ったりしますね。

そうですね。

ただ僕がニュースを見ている限りは集団感染という言葉のほうが多く出てきますね、ニュースでは。なのでクラスターが起こったという言い方よりも集団感染が起こったという方が圧倒的に多いですね。きく言葉としては。ただ集団感染という言葉は今までにあった言葉でクラスターという言い方は今までになかったので新語ということなんじゃないかなと思います。

そうですね。

 

 

So, we’re saying that this word AI Goe, AI is artificial intelligence and goe  means to transcend AI. So this Shogi player. By the name of Fujii Sota has become very famous in recent years. I’ve personally only noticed him in the news this last year or so but the last few years he’s become very famous as being 18 years old, right? old and being the new champion of this sport, I guess you would call it, and that in the space of 20 minutes when they gave the same problem for him and a computer to try and work out the best solution in the game, the solution that the computer came up with and that he came up with proved to be exactly the same solution, so that ‘s where this “AI goe” is coming from. What do you think? Has this word become so popular that it deserves to be on this list?

 

Actually, I don’t think so. I think it was just that Sota Fujii is very famous and the word was included there to represent him rather than the word “AI Goe” being famous. I think it would have been better to write “Sota Fujii” there. After all, there are other personal names on the list.

 

That’s a little strange. Let’s go next. 8 Essential Worker, I think anyone from an English-speaking country can easily understand this.

 

Yes, that’s right. This is a term that refers to, for example, doctors, nurses or people involved in infrastructure.

 

Is this used often?

 

I don’t think people use “essential worker” in everyday conversation. Perhaps there are times when the word is used in the news, but I’m not sure if it’s a “buzzword”. People don’t use it in daily conversation.

 

I was looking at it from a distance and wondering why people have decided to use a foreign English words in the Corona disaster. The reason why I wondered about the use of foreign words in relation to Corona is that in times of crisis like this, I think it’s natural to use the normal language of the country that everyone can understand, but I wonder why people have gone to the trouble to use foreign words in English to convey their message.

 

I think that this is the second thing that leads to a new way of life, but I am not sure what the purpose of using foreign words is. I think they want to give the impression that it is something new by using unfamiliar words.

 

So I guess that may help everyone have a sense of urgency, like “What is this?”

 

I think that could be the purpose. I believe that the use of unfamiliar words includes the message that we need to take a new response to something that was not there before.

 

So, is there a function of trying to emphasize that it is something that came in from the outside?

 

Yeah, I think that’s the intention.

 

I also think that there are a lot of people who simply think it’s cool to use foreign words. It could be as simple as that.

 

But, I guess, if it was in the world of entertainers, I could understand, but politicians and the like, are they conscious of trying to be “cool”.

 

It’s a democracy, so positions are decided by vote. I think it’s also a kind of popularity contest, so I think it’s better to be cool than uncool, right.?

 

I see. I see, that’s interesting. I watch a lot of news in Japan, and I think the word “cluster” is often on the news.

 

You do hear cluster.

 

Yes, you do. I think they still generally refer to “cluster” in the phrase “cluster – or mass infection” when they use that term in the news.

 

How many months has it been since the corona disaster, about eight months?

 

It started around January/February of 2020, so it’s been almost 10 months, more than 10 months.

 

So it seems that the news still feels it necessary to say “cluster or mass infection” all that time.

 

Yes, they do.

 

If that’s the case, I think it would be faster to just go to the Japanese word for “mass infection”, don’t you?

 

Yes, it would. But as far as I can tell, the term “mass infection” is used more often in the news. So the term “mass infection” is much more common than the term “cluster”. It’s just that the term “mass infection” has never been used before. However, the word “mass infection” has been used before, but the word “cluster” has never been used in the past, so I think it is more appropriate for a new word list.

 

 

Um, so we’re just having a discussion about this one, the “Essential Worker”  and just saying that there have been a lot of words that have been brought in from English to describe the whole Corona situation, which seems a little mysterious to me. It seems to me that in a time of crisis, that country would use very simple language from their own language that everyone already understands to try and get that message across clearly. But we’re saying that maybe they’re using it for a couple of reasons. Maybe they’re using these words, one, because maybe it’s a bit “cool” or something, which I was saying I could understand in the world of entertainment, but you would think in the world of politics that they wouldn’t care about that sort of thing so much. But we’re saying in a country where politicians have to get elected, they do think about what sounds cool and that sort of thing. Yeah, but it’s interesting that all of these words have come into Japanese this year to describe this situation.

次も似たようにお家時間、ステイホームどうですかこれ?

やっぱりこれも残念ながらコロナ関係の話ですね。

そうですね。お家空間でどういう風に使うんですか。

お家空間。例えば仕事が休みの日に。お家空間は何やってるの。っていう感じでしょうね。

あまり使わないかな

ステイホームはどちらかというと家にいなさいと言う意味。。。

そうですね。

お家空間はそういう風に使う?

使わないないですね。

おうち時間はただあくまでも家にいる時間のことを言ってるだけで stay home とはちょっと違いますね。うーん不思議ですね。一緒に入ってるのはこれ。ちなみにちょっと飛んでしまうんですけども二十三万も違うことが一つの枠に入ってると思うんですよね。

テレワークつまりリモートワークのことなんですけどワーケーションはワークバケーションですよね。まったくその。違う言葉ですよね。テレワークとワーケーションは内容が全然違うんで。

そうですね。

なぜここに一緒に入っているのかちょっと僕には分からないですね。ただ確かにこのテレワークあるいはリモートワークという言葉が流行りましたね。

そうですね。日本のニュースでよくこれを聞きましたね。テレワーク。オーストラリアでそんなに使われてないですね。でも徐々にちょっと聞くようになってきたんですけどひょっとしたら僕が初めて聞いたのが日本のニュースかもしれないですね。

なるほど。テレワークにしてもワークにしてもお家 時間にしても stay home にしても。

まあ。やっぱり日常会話にはそんなに出てこないですね。ただテレワークに関しては仕事中に出てくる言葉なので結構会話では出てきます。特に会社員はよく使う言葉だと思いますね。

結構使うんですか。多分こっちはほとんど説明的に”work from home”とか”today I’m going to work from home” or “are you working from home”がほとんどだと思います。

やっぱりそうですよね。でも、まあ、使いますよ、結構 。

「ワーケーション」ってどういう意味だったっけ。Work-Vacationしながらちょっと働くということ

働きながら自由な 時間をもつということかな。どういう意味なんでしょうね。

どういう意味でしょう。ワーケーション

ワークとバケーションが合体した言葉ではあるんですけどおそらく、まあ、それこそお家時間と同じような内容なのかなと思いますよね。

そうですか。お家時間

お家時間。

お家時間、ちょっといまだによくわからないですが。お家時間。仕事のコンテクストで使うんですか。 お家時間って

お家時間は仕事だけではないですね。

休みの日も含めてですね。

コロナの関係の言葉ですね。

 

Um, so we’re just having a discussion about this one, the “Essential Worker” and just saying that there have been a lot of words that have been brought in from English to describe the whole Corona situation, which seems a little mysterious to me.

 

It seems to me that in a time of crisis, that country would use very simple language from their own language that everyone already understands to try and get that message across clearly, but we’re saying that maybe Maybe they’re using these words, one, because maybe it’s a bit “cool” or something, which I was saying I could understand in the world of entertainment, but we’re saying that maybe they’re using it for a couple of reasons. I could understand in the world of entertainment, but you would think in the world of politics that they wouldn’t care about that sort of thing so much.

 

But we’re saying in a country where politicians have to get elected, they do think about what sounds cool and that sort of thing. Yeah, but it’s interesting that all of these words have come into Japanese this year. All of these words have come into Japanese this year to describe this situation.

 

Next, in a similar way, we have “stay home”, how about this one?

 

This is a Corona-related story too, unfortunately.

 

Yes, it is. How do you use ouchi jikan?

 

Ouchi Jikan. For example,when you take a day off work you might say, “what are you doing with your Ouchi Jikan?” I guess.

 

I don’t know if I use it much.

 

Stay home means you must stay in your house?

 

Yes.

 

So is that, how you use Ouchi Jikan?

 

Not exactly

 

Ouchi Jikan just refers to the time you spend at home, which is a bit different from stay home. It’s strange that it’s lumped in with the others. By the way, it’s a bit of a jump, but I think there is another word at number 23.

 

Telework, which is remote work, but a work vacation is a work vacation. It’s a different word. Telework and work vacation are completely different in content.

 

Yes, they are.

 

I’m not sure why they’re in here together. It’s true that the terms “telework” or “remote work” have become popular.

 

That’s right. You often heard this on the news in Japan. Telework. It’s not used that much in Australia. I think I might have heard about this the first time on the news in Japan.

 

There you go. Whether it’s telework, workation, ouchi jikan or stay home, they don’t come up that much in everyday conversation. However, telework is a word that comes up during work, so it comes up in conversation quite often. I think it’s a word that is often used especially by company employees.

 

Do you use it a lot? Over her we usually use explanatory phrases like “work from home” or “today I’m going to work from home” or “are you working from home”.

 

That makes sense. But, well, I use it a lot.

 

I don’t know what “work vacation” means, I guess it means working a little while having a vacation.

 

I think it means having free time while working. I wonder.

 

I wonder too. Workcation.

 

It’s a word that combines work and vacation, but perhaps, well, that’s what Ouchi Jikan is all about, isn’t it?

 

Okay. Ouchi Jikan.

 

Ouchi Jikan.

 

Ouchi Jikan,. I still don’t understand it. Ouchi Jikan. Do you use it in the context of work? Ouchi Jikan?

 

Your Ouchi Jikan isn’t just for work.

 

It includes holidays.

 

 

So we’re talking about this one お家時間 which literally means time at home, which they’ve grouped together with “stay home”, which, I don’t know,  we’re not sure why they’re grouped together so much. “Stay home” seems to be used more as a “telling people to stay home”, whereas I think we’re saying お家時間 is more just talking generally about any time that you’re at home and talking about being home. So these seem a little different. And we’re also talking about “telework” and “workation”. And it’s strange that on this list they’ve “telework” and “workation” have been listed together, even though they seem like quite different things. But who are we to decide how the list should be? Let’s go on to number 10.

オンライン。これは何か抜けているかな。

まるまるオンラインなになに。

何だったかな。ちょっともともとのリストをみてみましょう か。

オンライン。まるまるなんでしょうね、は。

オンライン例えばオンライン会議とか今までオンラインでやらなかったことをオンラインでやるようになった。そのことに対してオンライン何々ですね。オンライン会議が一番多いですかね。あとはまあ、あまりないかもしれないけどオンライン面接とか会社ではよく使いますね。

なるほど。なんでもオンラインになりましたということですね。

そうですね。

So this ones just a fairly generalised “online” just saying that there’s an online something. So online meetings, online interviews, that, just this word has started to be used a lot more. That’s relatively simple I think. これはいきましょうか。顔芸・恩返し。

はいはいこれはドラマですね。

半沢、半沢直樹。

ありましたね。最近復活したんですね、今年ぐらいに。

数年前に流行ったドラマなんですけれどもまた今年はじまってすごく人気があるドラマなんですけれどもそのドラマの出演者がすごく顔を大げさにリアクションするんです。それでそれを顔芸という風に言うんですよね。

顔芸ちょっと見てみましょ。

これですねこの人。これが半沢直樹の主役。これが同じ人ですか。

違う人の声ですね。これが主役ですね。

これが顔芸ですかね。

とそう、そのな表情がそのドラマの特徴なのでそれを顔芸という風に言うんですよね。

どういう風に使うんですか。

この言葉は使わないですよ。日常生活では使わないですよ。

でも半沢直樹に関してどういうふうに使うんですか。あの顔芸はすごかったねとか。

そうそうそう。そうですね。あとは恩返しと書いてありますけどこれがドラマの内容ですね。顔芸。顔芸、そうですね。これなぜ顔芸って言われるかっていうと出演者のみんなではないですけど結構出演者の何人かは歌舞伎俳優なんですね。

あ、そうか。 

普通の俳優ではなくて歌舞伎俳優なんで歌舞伎っていうのはすごく表情豊かなものなんですよね。なのでそれがドラマの中で出てしまったんだと思うんですよね。

歌舞伎、ちょっと英語でやろうかな。かぶきFace多分出てくるんじゃないかな。こんなんじゃないね。こんな感じかな。

こういうのもありますよね。

こんな感じ。こういうのとか。

そうですね。

ちょっと少ないですけど。

いわゆる日本の伝統芸能ですね。

ええ、面白い興味深いですね、これは

でこの日本の伝統芸能をやってる人たちは歌舞伎をやってるだけではなくて非常に演技も上手なんでこういう半沢直樹のような現代劇にも登場します。

この半沢直樹の主役をやった役者さんも歌舞伎もやっているんですか。

 いや、この人歌舞伎俳優だったかどうかちょっとわからないですね。

So we’re saying “kao” means “face” and “gei” means, I guess in this context it’s like a “trick” that you do with your face, or something you can do with your face, literally sometimes translated as art, but doesn’t make sense in that context. Yeah, like a facial “trick” I suppose. And we’re saying that there’s this show called “Hanzawa Naoki”, which is the name of lead character, Hanzawa Naoki, which has been very popular in Japan this year. It was originally popular, I watched the show, I don’t know, it feels like 4-5 years ago that I watched the original. It’s kind of about a bank worker 銀行で働く人だったと思います。

見ましたか、この番組?

 ええと見たり見なかったり、全部は見てないです。

僕あはたぶん前の 4、5 年くらい前じゃなかったかな、見ましたけど最近のやつは見てないですね。

Um, so we’re saying, yeah, it was a drama that was based around a bank worker that’s trying to kind of move his way up in the world of finance. And he’s become very famous for having these super expressive faces I guess you would call them. And we’re saying that, we’re not exactly sure about the lead actor, but there are definitely actors within the program that have come out of the world of Kabuki and Kabuki is very well known, you know, for having these, sort of, facial expressions that are very big and expressive and…舞伎の顔の何か名前があるんですか。言葉があるんでうか。「決まり顔」とかそういう

いやそういう風に言われないですね。

Anyway, he’s become very famous for these big facial expressions that are asort of similar in some ways to Kabuki. So this show has become very popular, and that’s why it’s on the list of words for this year

昔の最近のやつ見てないですけど4、 5 年くらい前にやっていた時にたぶん一応全部全部見たと思うんですけど結構面白かったです。面白かったですけどそういう演技が何でも大げさでよく日本のドラマでそういうふうに演じていることが多いですね。なんか、リアルに現実的に演じるんじゃなくて、結構大げさにリアクションとかすごい大げさにやって演じることが結構あるんですね。

ありますね。

僕から見てすごい不思議に思うんですけど。

僕もすごい不思議に思うんですけど一番最初の話に戻るんですけど愛の不時着っていう韓国ドラマがあるんですけど韓国ドラマもいやむしろ韓国ドラマのほうがすごく大げさに演じる傾向があるんですよね。

僕はちょっと不自然だなと思ってますね。もちろん日本のドラマもそうですね。ちょっと大げさですよね。

でもきっとそれわざとそういうふうにやってるはずですね。

そうですね。

ということはどういうことでしょうね。そういう歌舞伎の伝統とか繋がったりするんですかね。どう思いますか。

通常考えればつながってないとは思うんですけど。ただまあ。出演者で歌舞伎出身の人がいるから多少は半沢直樹に関しては多少はそういうのがあるんじゃないですかね。普通のドラマあまり歌舞伎と繋がってるとは考えにくいですけどね。

でもなぜかそういう演じ方はあるのは事実です。多分そういう、。いやどうでしょう。それわざとやってる。としか思えないぐらい大げさにやってますね。

そうそうそう。普段の生活で見るような見ることがないような動きをしたりしますよね。あれは僕はちょっと好きじゃないですけど一般的になってますね。

でもそうじゃない映画の世界とかすっごい現実現実的に描いてる映画とか「万引き家族」とかありますね。だから全貌はそうだということじゃないですね。

そうですね。

流派的なものですかね。

あるかもしれない。監督の考え方とかそういうのもあるかもしれないですね。

そうですね。はい、「顔芸」でした。

So we’re talking about this one Ouchi Jikan which literally means time at home, which they’ve grouped together with “stay home”, which, I don’t know, we’re not sure why they’re grouped together so much. “Stay home” seems to be used more as a “telling people to stay home,” whereas I think we’re saying I think we’re saying “Ouchi Jikan” is more just generally talking about any time that you’re at home and talking about being home.

 

So these seem a little different. And we’re also talking about “telework” and “workation”. And it’s strange that on this list they’ve “telework” and “workation” have been listed together, even though they seem like quite different things. Who are we to decide how the list should be? Let’s go on to number 10.

 

Online. I wonder if I’m missing something in this.

 

online something something.

 

I wonder what it was. Let’s take a look at the original list.

 

Online. 

 

Online, for example, online meetings. Things that we didn’t do online before, we’re now doing online. That’s what online is on here for. I think online meetings are the most common. And maybe not so much, but online interviews are often used in company contexts.

 

I see. So, I guess we are just saying everything is now online.

 

True.

 

So this ones just a fairly generalised one. “Online” just saying that there’s an online something or other. So online meetings, online interviews, that, just this word has started to be used a lot more. That’s relatively simple I think. Let’s move on to “Face tricks”, and “returning a favor”.

 

Yes,  this is a drama show.

 

Hanzawa. Hanzawa Naoki.

 

That’s the one? It’s been revived recently, I guess this year.

 

It’s a drama that was popular a few years ago but started again this year and is very popular. The actors in the drama exaggerate their facial reactions, and it’s called “kaogei”.

 

Let’s take a look at a bit of kaogei.

 

This is it. This is the guy. This is the main character of Hanzawa Naoki. This is the same person?

 

That’s a different person. That’s the star of the show.

 

Is this the kaogei?

 

Yes, the facial expressions are a feature of this program, so it’s called kaogei, isn’t it?

 

How do you use it?

 

I don’t use this word. I don’t use it in my daily life.

 

But how would you use it in relation to Hanzawa Naoki? Like, “That kaogei was amazing”?

 

Yes, yes, yes. That’s right. And it also says “return the favor,” but that’s what the drama is about. The reason why it’s called “kaogei” it is because some of the actors are kabuki actors, not all of them.

 

Oh, right.

 

They are kabuki actors, not regular actors, and kabuki is known for very striking facial expressions. That’s why this has continued into this drama.

 

Kabuki, I think I’ll type a little English. Kabuki Face. Maybe it will comej up. It’s not like this. It’s like this.

 

This is the kind of thing that people do.

 

Like this. Like this.

 

Yes, it is.

 

There aren’t so many here.

 

It’s a so-called traditional Japanese art form.

 

Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s interesting.

 

And the people who are doing these traditional Japanese arts are not only doing kabuki, but they are also very good actors, and they appear in modern dramas like Hanzawa Naoki.

 

Is the actor who played the main role in this Hanzawa Naoki also a Kabuki actor?

 

 No, I’m not sure if he was a kabuki actor or not.

 

So we’re saying “kao” means “face” and “gei” means, I guess in this context it’s like a “trick” that you do with your face, or something you can do with your face, literally sometimes translated as art, but doesn’t make sense in that context. I guess in this context it’s like a “trick” that you do with your face, or something you can do with your face, literally sometimes translated as art, but doesn’t make sense in that context.

 

Yeah, like a facial “trick” I suppose. And we’re saying that there’s this show called “Hanzawa Naoki”. And we’re saying that there’s this show called “Hanzawa Naoki”, which is the name of the lead character, Hanazawa Naoki, which has been very popular in Japan this year. I watched the show, I don’t know, it feels like 4-5 years ago that I watched the original. It’s kind of about a bank worker.

 

Did you see this show?

 

 Well, I’ve seen bits and piecees, I haven’t seen it all.

 

I saw it about 4 or 5 years ago, but I haven’t seen the latest one.

 

Um, so we’re saying, yeah, it was a drama that was based around a bank worker that’s trying to sort of move his way up in the world of finance. And he’s become very famous for having these super expressive faces I guess you would call them. And we’re saying that, we’re not exactly sure about the lead actor, but there are definitely actors within the program. There are definitely actors within the program that have come out of the world of Kabuki and Kabuki is very sell known, you know, for having these, sort of, You know, for having these, sort of, facial expressions that are very big and expressive and Do you have a name for the face of Kabuki?

 

Is there a word for it? Do they have a word for it?

 

No, they don’t.

 

Anyway, he’s become very famous for these big facial expressions that are sort of similar in some ways to Kabuki. So this show has become very popular, and That’s why it’s on the list of words for this year

 

I haven’t seen the latest one, but when it was on about 4 or 5 years ago, I think I saw the whole thing, and it was pretty interesting. I think I saw all of them and they were quite interesting. It was interesting, but the acting was exaggerated. You often get that sort of acting in Japanese dramas. Instead of acting realistically and realistically, they often beef up their reactions and act in a very over-the-top way.

 

Yes, they do.

 

From my point of view, it’s really strange.

 

Going back to the first point, there is a Korean drama called “Love’s Crash Landing” and Korean dramas also tend to have exaggerated acting.

 

I think it’s a bit unnatural. Of course, Japanese dramas are the same. It’s a bit exaggerated, isn’t it?

 

But I’m sure they do it that way on purpose.

 

Yes, they do.

 

I wonder what that means. Is there a connection with such Kabuki traditions? What do you think?

 

I don’t think you’d usually see them as connected in that way. But well. Some of the actors are from Kabuki, so I guess there is a little bit of that in Hanzawa Naoki. It’s hard to think that ordinary dramas are connected to Kabuki.

 

But it’s true that somehow there is such a way of acting. Maybe that’s how it is. I don’t know. I think they are doing it on purpose. It’s so exaggerated that you can’t help but think that it must be intended.

 

Yes, yes, yes. They do in away that you don’t see in everyday life. I don’t like it, but it’s becoming more common.

 

But there are movies that are not like that, movies that portray reality in a very realistic way, like “Shoplifters”. So I don’t think that’s the whole story.

 

Yes, that’s true.

 

Is it a stylistic school thing?

 

It might be. It could be the director’s way of thinking or something like that.

 

That was “Kaogei”.

Language Learning Program Reviews

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Transgender Women Accepted Into Japanese Women’s Universities

We’ve translated some Japanese media and social media about recent moves for the Women’s Universities in Japan to welcome transgender women as students.

There are a group of Women’s Universities in Japan that have recently come out to say that they will soon start accepting transgender women. This is, of course, a major change in the country and has been covered in several major news outlets and provoked a lot of discussion, of a more or less civil nature, across social media.

Today we’ve translated some excerpts from Asahi News, The Huffington Post Japan, and a selection of tweets from twitter to get an overview of the coverage.

We present the selections in Japanese, then in English, then sentence by sentence in Japanese and English for those that are interested to get down in the weeds of the language a bit more

トランス女性OK、深化する女子大 課題はハラスメント

(2020年8月13日付け朝日新聞より)

 

生まれた時の性別が男性で、性自認が女性のトランスジェンダーの学生の受け入れが今春、お茶の水女子大(東京)と奈良女子大の国立2大学で始まった。

実際に入学したかどうかは明らかにしていない。

来春は宮城学院女子大でも始まる。

受け入れを検討する女子大が増える中、大学側に当事者を保護する取り組みを求め声もあがる。

 「全ての学びたい女性に開かれているのが女子大。それは、戸籍上の女性に限らないということ。女子大の使命の延長線上にある」

 この4月、トランスジェンダー女性の受け入れを始めたお茶の水女子大の三浦徹副学長はそう話す。

同大は2018年7月に受け入れを表明。19年4月に対応ガイドラインを制定し、準備を進めてきた。

どう接すれば…受け入れ前は不安の声も

 受け入れにあたっては「性自認が女性である」ことをどう認定するかが問われた。

同大では、受験前に申告書を出してもらい、性自認の確認や、受験時や学生生活を送る上での態勢などについて必要があれば面談をする形にした。

医師の診断書は必須ではない。「性自認は変化する。あえて多面的にした」と同大は説明する。

Trans women allowed, Women’s Universities Deepen, Harassment Challenge Remains

 

From this Spring, two public universities, Ochanomizu Women’s University (Tokyo) and Nara Women’s University, have begun accepting transgender students whose sex at time of birth was male but who identify their gender as female.

It is not clear whether any transgender students have yet been admitted.

From next Spring, Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University will also begin admitting transgender students.

As women’s universities that accept transgender women increase, so do the voices calling for safeguards for students.

“It’s the Women’s Universities that provide all women wishing to learn a safe place. That does not apply only to women who are listed as such on the official Family Register. This is an extension of the mission of Women’s Universities.”

So spoke Ochanomizu University Vice Head of School Toru Miura in April.

The university announced that they would accept transgender students in July 2018. Since drafting guidelines in April 2019, preparations have been proceeding.

Prior to the changes, voices expressed their unease at how they should interact with the students 

Questions have been raised about how “people that identify as female” should be validated under the new system.

At Ochanomizu, prospective students are asked to submit an application document prior to sitting the entrance exam and, where necessary, are asked to have an interview to confirm status of their gender identity in relation to exams and student life.

There is no necessity for a medical certificate from a doctor to be produced. “Gender identity changes. We now presume that it is versatile.”

室伏学長(お茶の水女子大学) は会見の冒頭で次のように述べた。

 

学ぶ意欲のあるすべての女性にとって、真摯な夢の実現の場として存在するという国立大学法人としての本学のミッションに基づき判断した。

今回の決定を『多様性を包摂する女子大学と社会』の創出に向けた取り組みと位置づけており、

今後、固定的な性別意識にとらわれず、ひとりひとりが人間としてその個性と能力を十分に発揮し、『多様な女性』があらゆる分野に参画できる社会の実現につながっていくことを期待している。

はるか以前の社会と比べると格段に進歩したが、それでも様々な場で女性が職業人として活躍するには困難がある。

その現状を変え、女性たちが差別や偏見を受けずに幸せに暮らせる社会を作るために、大学という学びの場で、自らの価値を認識し、社会に貢献するという確信を持って前進する精神をはぐくむ必要があると考える。

それが実現できるのは、女性が旧来の役割意識などの、無意識の偏見、そういったものから解放されて自由に活躍できる女子大学だろうと考えている。

本学はすべての女性たちがその年齢や国籍等に関係なく、個々人の尊厳と権利を保障されて、自身の学びを進化させ、自由に自己の資質能力を開発させることを目指している。

その意味からも、性自認が女性であって、真摯に女子大学で学ぶことを希望する人を受け入れるのは自然な流れだろうと思うし、多様性を包摂する社会としても当然のことと考えた。

As a national university corporate body, this decision was based on our mission of providing a place to all women who have a sincere desire and dream to learn.

We see this decision as part of a movement to create a women’s university and society that embraces diversity

We dream of a society where “diverse women” can participate in a variety of fields and where each person can achieve their own expression of their own unique human abilities, unrestrained by rigid concepts of gender. 

Though we have come a long way in comparison to societies of the distant past, there are still many barriers to women’s fruitful participation in the workforce.

We believe that we must change the status quo by fostering women’s sense of self worth and resolve to contribute to society, so that they can take their place in society to lead happy lives free from discrimination and prejudice.

We believe that it is the freely functioning women’s university that is able to free women from the conceptions of women’s traditional roles and from unconscious bias.

Our university aims to develop all women, regardless of age or nationality, by guaranteeing each and every individual’s dignity and rights, and pushing forward their learning to create people with the ability to freely express their innate abilities.

In this respect, we consider that it naturally flows that women who identify as female, who hold sincere desires to study at a women’s university, should be welcomed and that this should happen as a matter of course within a society that embraces diversity.

Some Twitter Comments

@milk_and_wine

Trans女子大のトランス女性受け入れに当事者でもないのに(当事者ってのはこの場合、その大学の学生たちのこと)「女子大終わった」みたいなこと言ってるトランスヘイターこっわ。

普通に学生やってるトランス女性より、こういうひとたちの方がよっぽど一緒に学びたくない…こわいし…

 

@ripo0079

トランス女性がお茶大入るのは女性の権利の侵害などと訴えている方は概ねお茶大には縁がない程度の知的階級さを感じさせますね。

 

@horry_a

「人の生命に関わることがらについて『コスト』という言葉を使う」って、ほんとにダメだと思う。

去年、お茶大の報道時に、誰でもトイレの増設は必要(でもトランスを閉じ込めてはいいけない)って書いたら「コスト」がかかるって非難がきた。

それはコストじゃない。必要なもの。

 

@MJunko0523

お茶大のトランスウーマン受け入れの件で、トランスウーマンになりすます奴がいるから駄目だという人たち。

たとえば、ある国で「日本人になりすました奴が犯罪を行ったから日本人は全員入国禁止」と言われたら、「はいそうですか」と納得するのですか?

私は納得できません。

要はそういうことです。

@milk_and_wine

I find the Trans-haters, who, without being in any way the ones that are personally affected by the admitting of transexual women (which is to say, students), and say things like “It’s the end of Women’s Universities”, just give me the creeps. I find the idea of studying with them a lot more scary than studying with transexual women.

 

@ripo0079

I find that the ones who say that allowing transexual women into women’s universities is a breach of women’s rights are generally those of the intellectual class with no connection with the university whatsoever.

 

@horry_a

I think that the use of the word “cost” when talking about matters that affect people’s very being is just not on.

When it was reported last year about Ochanomizu University,  I wrote that it is necessary to extend the provision of toilet amenities and I took criticism over the cost that this would entail.

That is not a “cost”. It is a necessity.

 

To the people who say that it won’t do to have trans women at Ochanomizu because there are men that will make themselves out to be transgender to get access.

If you heard that there was a country where they said “There are people making themselves out to be Japanese citizens that are coming to our country and committing crimes, so we will ban entry to all Japanese Citizens”, would you just say, “yes, that’s fair enough” and accept it.

I would not.

It’s a similar thing.

Language Learning Program Reviews

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Japanese Language Learning Resources 2021

Tools I use for learning Japanese

These are the Japanese Study tools I used to pass N1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I’ve listed them in different section and numbered from my favorite to least favorite tools.

Japanoscope Weekly Podcast/Blog/Youtube

Many of these I still use today in creating the translations I make for my Japanoscope Weekly Podcast/Blog/Youtube Channel. I divide these roughly into Japanese Language Proficiency Test levels:

JLPT1 Practice

JLPT2 Practice

JLPT3 Practice

JLPT4 Practice

I also add tags to these so they can be browsed by different topics. 

Comparison of How Much Content Japanese language Programs Have

It can be pretty hard to tell which Japanese language learning resource gives you the most bang for your buck. I’ve gone through and worked out as best I can roughly how much learning time is included in each. 

All the language programs do things in very different ways, so it can be hard to compare “apples” to “oranges”. But hopefully it is somewhat helpful in guiding your decisions about which platform you may want to invest time and money in. It may go some way to help answer the often asked, but almost impossible to answer, question how long does it take to learn Japanese?

 

Integrated Japanese Learning Courses

1. Pimsleur

I think learning from listening is about the faster way to learning language. FOr this reason, to me, Pimsleur is probably the best Japanese language learning method I have come across, but it’s not cheap. You’ll need to weigh up how serious you are about your language learning.I’ve done a Pimsleur Japanese review here.

2. Japanese Pod 101

is a solid podcast/audio based platform, with lots of content and good value for money, especially with the lower end tiers – which give you the meat of the content without fluff. I’ve done a Japanese Pod 101 review here.

3. Rocket Languages Japanese

One of the more solid all inclusive Japanese learning programs for beginner to intermediate levels. Rocket Japanese Review here.

4. Memrise

I’ve been a subscriber to the paid version of Memrise for a couple of years now doing a couple of languages. It really is one of the most “versatile” memorisation tools out there. This is because the wealth of user created content and courses that exist on the program. You can memorise everything from Japanese Buddhist jargon through to morse code. The in house language courses feature structured video snippets which I find really helpful. You don’t realise how much body language comes into real world communication till you try this.

Memrise has a good introductory video based course which helps give you some  of the context you get when listening, and watching, native speakers in real environments. Japanoscope Memrise Vs. Duolingo article here.

5. Duolingo

Duolingo is perhaps the most popular learning platform on the planet. I don’t think you can really gain a high degree of fluency through it, but it is a fund, game-like way of keeping you motivated to get the basics or review words and phrases that you may have learnt in a more comprehensive system. Japanoscope Duolingo Japanese review here.

Learning Kanji

1. Heisig Method

The Heisig method is a totally mnemonic based approach to learning Kanji by attaching stories and pictures to the radicals that make up each character. This approach can literally save hours, months and years of Kanji learn-by-rote practice. People have different approaches, and it’s good switch between them over time, but this is the one that has worked the best for me and I recommend as a starting point.

Japanese Dictionaries

There are a lot of solid dictionary options on mobile and desktop, and I find it’s good to have a few options to reference. The ones I tend to go to the most are listed here.

Mobile

1. Akebi

On mobile, Akebi is hard to beat. Create vocab review lists as you look up words. Search for kanji by drawing on your smart phone screen.

2. Aedict 

Aedict has pretty much everything that Akebi has, but the design isn’t quite as aesthetically nice. It does have some JLPT quizzes built in, which is handy if you’re working towards the test.

Desktop

I tend to go back and forth between a lot of dictionaries on desktop, and a lot of the time I end up just coming back to Google Translate. But here’s some of the ones I have bookmarked that I use regularly:

  1. Jisho.org 

  2. EOW 

  3. Weblio

  4. Tangorin

Reading

Web Furigana Plugins & Extensions

1. Rikaikun

Rikaikun plugin for desktop browsers is an absolute life saver. Well, at least a massive time saver anyway.

2. Japanese.io

Japanese.io also has a browser plugin that can read anything on a screen for you but their plugin links back to a larger reading platform that lets you import in any text, even as a scanned PDF and gives you Kanji readings and translations. They also offer a collection of out of copyright books to plow through in their native interface.

Memorisation of Japanese vocabulary, Kanji etc.

1. Anki 

I find Anki for most intents and purposes as good more commercially orientated options for straight out memorisation purposes at the irresistible price point of free. It’s totally open source, and has a long history. Which is good, but the platform tends to show it’s age and “techy” background. It’s not so good at providing structured courses as is Memrise, which has its own in house content. There are a few different implementations of the open source platform for mobile interface. I use “Ankidroid” app on Android and have had no troubles.

2. Memrise

I’ve been a subscriber to the paid version of Memrise for a couple of years now doing a couple of languages. It really is one of the most “versatile” memorisation tools out there. This is because the wealth of user created content and courses that exist on the program. You can memorise everything from Japanese Buddhist jargon through to morse code. The in house language courses feature structured video snippets which I find really helpful. You don’t realise how much body language comes into real world communication till you try this.

Podcast

Japanoscope Podcast/Youtube (Advanced)

Well, I’m biased on this one, but we put a lot of effort into translating  the sort of Japanese sources we really don’t think you would find anywhere else. We go deep. Level is generally JLPT1 or JLPT2.

Minna Kikeru Radio

Japanese indie music legends talking about random stuff about music etc.

Japanese Pod 101 (Beginner to Upper Intermediate) This is the “big boy” of Japanese language podcasts. It’s been around for years and morphed into a full blown language learning course along the way. You can get episode free every month, but they tend to be across all learning levels, which is okay for everyone but great for noone. To get everything systematically in your level you need to buy the course. They also post a free pack of Japanese learning resources on their site to download every month here. Japanoscope full platform review is here.

未来授業

A podcast discussing general social issues in interviews with people doing interesting things.

Learning Japanese Through TV/Anime/Movies

Netflix

Netflix has a pretty solid offering of Japanese content. If the content on offer in your own country’s version of Netflix isn’t enough, you can get more by using VPN to unlock more content.

Midnight Diner

Everyday language in fairly real-life situations. Based around a diner, so good for people that are interested in food.

Studio Ghibli

Near complete catalogue of classic cult animations including My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, Ponyo, and the wonderful film about Tanuki using their testicles as weaponry – PonPoko.

Followers

Great for modern, trendy language. Highly Stylised look at the social mores around social media etc.

Neon Genesis Evangelion

This is a bit of a sci-fi dystopian classic. The Japanese in this can become highly technical when discussing robots, futuristic engineering and monster nomenclature. For this very reason though, it is of interest to advanced Japanese speakers who want to expand their linguistic horizons.

Animelon – anime with clickable subtitles

Animelon is based on a cool idea: anime with subtitles where each word is clickable – meaning you can instantly look up the meaning of each word. The idea is to make the learning of Japanese something fun, rather than just dryly pouring through textbooks.

The (free!) site takes things further by automatically adding each word you have looked up to a list that you can then test yourself on using an integrated flashcard platform. Pretty cool.

Animelon also gives you hiragana, katakana and romaji subtitles, all of which you can switch on or off – making it much more appealing to learners of all levels.
If you need help with reading the Kanji, you may want to integrate animelon in with a Japanese screen reading tool such as “10ten Japanese reader” or “Japanese IO” to hover over the Kanji for readings and translations.

The drawbacks of the platform are mainly around the amount of content available. The content doesn’t seem to have any formal relationships set up with publishers. They don’t have a paid platform, but ask for donations. The whole thing feels somewhere between a “fan” site, and a legitimate business site. The upshot here is that the number of titles and episodes, though enough to provide value, is still quite limited.

Music

Minna Kikeru

A platform set up by Japanese Independent labels during Covid-19 by banding together to make their music available for streaming or download. A treasure trove of left-of-centre music, a lot of it with interesting lyrics – including this heartbreaking song by Tenniscoats which we translated. We also did a podcast translating some of the artist blurbs here.

Lyrics

I’ve got a whole series of Japanese lyric translations that serve as entree into the world of Japanese alt-pop music.

Japan had its own parallel folk music boom in the sixties, with a similar focus switch from music to words. I’ve done translations of songs by artists such as Takada Wataru, and the Folk Crusaders.

The lyrics of contemporary artists such as Yujiro Kudo, Hori Yuji, the mighty Tenniscoats

See also our post on how to download Japanese books for Kindle here.

Language Learning Program Reviews

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Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1). I’ve written songs in Japanese and have released several albums through Tokyo label Majikick Records. You can hear my music at my bandcamp page:

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

僕の音楽はBandcampで聞けます。