How to learn Japanese online FOR FREE on Youtube? When people first think about studying a language, their minds will probably cast off to classrooms, tests, teachers, and the occasional quiz. However, it needn’t be like that!
Many people today are turning to the popular video streaming platform, YouTube, to learn all languages, and Japanese is no exception. As Japan grows greater in popularity around the world, so too does YouTube content surround the wonderful country. This includes many generous people offering fun, engaging, and free language lessons on the platform.
But with literally billions of videos on YouTube, how will you know where to even begin?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve listed out 10 fantastic YouTubers that you can follow to learn Japanese for free below.
Get started today!
Dogen is a channel that will likely pop up as a top result if you search up learning Japanese on YouTube. This channel is owned by one of the most fluent foreigners to have ever picked up the language (according to many loyal followers!).
Dogen’s channel is an eclectic mix of language lessons, comedy sketches based on real life experiences, enacting common situations in Japan for foreigners, and even videos about topics such as finance and politics.
2. Japanese Ammo with Misa
If you’re completely new to the Japanese language scene, then YouTube channel Japanese Ammo with Misa is the perfect place to start.
Rather than through structured lessons, learn Japanese in a fun and engaging way whilst still being taught the fundamentals.
Misa makes easy-to-understand, great coverage and contextual videos that are great for those wanting to pick up language skills and apply them to daily life.
3. Yuko Sensei
Yuko Sensei has been teaching Japanese at the university level for more than 20 years or so now, so suffice to say, she is an expert!
There are some jobs in Japan I never thought I’d experience: sushi chef, train conductor and working in an izakaya (a Japanese tavern).
Izakaya are unique places filled with beer, tapas-style plates and—sometimes—rowdy customers. I thought my passive nature didn’t seem suited to this work, but once the opportunity arose, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and applied.
Getting the Job
Trying to find a job in Japan with limited Japanese and visa restrictions can be tricky. I knew I wanted to travel outside of the city and feel the heartbeat of the countryside, but I needed a way of supporting myself while doing it. This was when I came across Workaway, a website dedicated to work-exchange experiences with locals worldwide.
I didn’t know much about Hokkaido at the time. Still, when I saw a placement for one-to-two months izakaya work in exchange for accommodation and food, I said good riddance to my moldy Tokyo share house. I jumped on a plane to chilly Hakodate on the belly of Hokkaido.
Soon after landing, I was whisked away to my accommodation by my gracious host. She would come to pick me up later to start my first evening on the job.
I knew from the very first “irasshaimase! (welcome!)” that I’d have to learn a thing or two about izakaya etiquette. From when the customers took their shoes off at the genkan (entranceway) till they clumsily put them on again a few hours later, I would have to be …continue reading
Relaxed coronavirus regulations unable to last even one month as sources say first omicron case has been discovered.
On November 8, Japan finally once again began allowing entry into the country for new international students, technical trainees, and business travelers. Sadly, instead of being the first in a series of steady steps towards the resumption of regular tourist travel between Japan and other nations, the relaxed restrictions have turned out to be an all-too-brief moment of respite before yet another coronavirus crisis.
On Monday, exactly three weeks from the start of the relaxed entry rules, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida that Japan is once again closing its borders to all new foreign arrivals. Kishida made the announcement in the morning, and the new restrictions went into effect at midnight, less than 24 hours later.
The reason for the tightening of protocols is concern about the potential spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. At the time of the announcement no omicron cases had been confirmed within Japan, but a 30-something man who entered the country on Sunday from Namibia tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival at Narita Airport, the largest international air hub for the Tokyo area. On Tuesday, government sources confirmed that the man is carrying the omicron variant, according to reports from public broadcaster NHK, Kyodo News, and multiple other media outlets.
Japanese citizens and foreign residents returning to the country will also be facing stricter regulations, as they will be asked to isolate themselves at home or in quarantine facilities for 14 days upon entering Japan.
The new precautionary measures are currently scheduled to continue for one month.
By now, most people have binged the Netflix series Squid Game. You might even be looking for more survival films and discovered Miike Takashi’s Kami-sama no Iu Tori or As The Gods Will—an equally bloody film that uses children’s games.
Why is a children’s game important enough to base an entire movie around? It could be because children’s games are a great way to learn more about a country’s attitudes and culture. And sometimes children’s games are pretty grim.
The monk farted
In one of As The Gods Will’s most famous scenes—spoilers—students play a game known in Japan as darumasan ga koronda, or“the daruma falls” in English.
In this game, one child faces away and says, “darumasan (a traditional Buddhist doll) ga koronda” before quickly looking back at the other kids—who are quickly sneaking up to tag them. However, if the child who is “it” turns around and sees someone moving, they’re out.
Sound familiar? In the West, it’s called red light, green light. Its Korean counterpart is also Squid Game’s most memorable moment. But, of course, in Squid Game and As The Gods Wills, the masterminds gleefully murder everyone who’s “out.”
Darumasan ga koronda also has several regional variations. In Kanto and Kansai, it might tell us about the regions’ different cultures. For example, a regional stereotype of Osaka is that people are a bit rougher than their more refined cousins in Tokyo. Perhaps then, that’s why darumasan ga koronda is sometimes called bosan ga hewokoita, or “the monk farted” in …continue reading
2021—a year that has been both very long and too short, is coming to a close. Before the year ends, though, here are some festivities to help you end the year with some good vibes.
And these aren’t the only events worth checking out, as winter illuminations and Christmas markets are very much a thing in Tokyo in December. Look out as well for New Year countdown events in our NYE guide.
1. The Japanese Beautiful Boys Exhibition (Dec 4-12)
A free exhibition of illustrations focusing on traditional Japanese historical dramas. Illustrations of famous Japanese actors, Hashizo Okawa and Masaki Kyomoto, dressed as samurai, ninja, and more. The venue is Ginza’s Gallery Pied-nu.
A collection where the capsules are just as cute as their contents.
If you’ve ever listened to the Japanese that’s spoken in Studio Ghibli’s 1988 anime film My Neighbour Totoro, you’ll have heard the phrase “Makkuro kurosuke dete oide!” which translates to “Come out, Soot Sprites!” in English.
It’s a phrase used by the children in the film when they move into their house in the countryside, and now you can use it too, when you turn the wheel on this new vending machine, which is set to appear nationwide at branches of Ghibli merchandise retail chain Donguri Kyowakoku.
According to the chain, this is an “unprecedented” capsule toy collection, where you’ll want to collect both the capsule and its contents, as they’re just as cute as each other.
There are four keychains to collect in the range, and two types of capsules, and to give you a look at what you can expect, the retail chain has shared a special video ahead of the new release.
▼ Check out the cute video below!
As you can see in the clip, the soot sprite capsules are soft to the touch and look absolutely adorable once they land in the tray of the machine. You can add some Ghibli charm to the way you pick your capsule up as well, by quickly cupping your hands around it, just as Mei does in the film.
▼ There are four different soot sprites to collect, as well as a white Totoro capsule.
Luckily, this place had no shortage of good food. In fact, even my Tokyo-based counterpart mentioned that the meals here blow a certain major theme park in Kanto — that we shall not name — out of the water.
So, here’s what we felt the five best meal options of the bunch were for the winter season of 2021.
#5. Question Block Tiramisu — 700 yen (US$6)
This dessert hits so many right notes, they probably should have made it a note block cake instead!
It excels at both design and execution with a really cool interpretation of the classic item spawn point. The sides are all made of fresh cookie with a randomly selected chocolate power up popping out of a bed of whipped cream.
But that’s just the beginning, inside is a densely packed and very creamy rich chocolate tiramisu.
#4. Super Mario Burger — 2,000 yen ($18)
Okay, I know all this stuff so far has been around since last spring, but screw it. It’s all just that good. I always think the appeal of Super Mario is that he’s a hero grounded in reality, in the sense that he’s just a pot-bellied plumber at the end of the day.
▼ It is amazing he can jump so high with that spare tire weighing him down.
This time, I will write how Japanese university students get a job – the system of 就職活動 (shushoku katsudo). It is abbreviated as 就活 (shukatsu). As this is a complicated yet interesting system, I will make this in 2 parts.
First of all, most of Japanese college students start college in April and graduate four years later in March. This tradition (伝統 dento) stemmed from the Japanese fiscal year (会計年度 kaikei nendo) that starts in April and ends in March. This has been one of the major obstacles (障害 shougai) for Japanese students who want to study overseas as 116 countries start a new academic year in September. BUT… things are more flexible (融通が利く yuzuga kiku) if you look at the US, for example. You can start studying from the spring semester, for instance. There is no such flexibility in most Japanese colleges. You enter your college with a huge entrance ceremony (入学式 nyugakushiki) and celebration in April, and you graduate with a huge graduation ceremony (卒業式 sotsugyoshiki) and parties in March.
In an effort to globalize the education, so that Japanese students can study abroad and Japanese universities could accept study abroad students from overseas more easily, Tokyo University set up a feasibility study to change the academic year starting in September. However, the study found that there would still be many obstacles especially because of the job hunting system. Such major universities in Japan as Waseda University, Tokyo University and Keio University have adopted the quarter system instead.
So here is what has been decided after the discussion between the Japanese government and the Japan Business Federation (日本経済団体連合会 Nihon Keizai Dantai Rengokai). I know this sounds strange, right? The Japan Business Federation is the most powerful economic group consisted of …continue reading
When visitors to Japan are looking for something to eat, it is easy to overlook the department stores. The image of department stores as being full of overpriced clothing and pretentious restaurants serving mediocre food is changing, these days, there are plenty of foodies who make a beeline for them to try local specialties at reasonable price.
The best place to find great local dishes is usually in the basement of the department stores. Known as depachika, which is made out of the words department (デパート- depaato) and basement (地下- chika), these areas should be on every gourmet’s must-visit list.
Food as a gift
One of the interesting uses of the depachika is for business people to buy gifts for the important people in their life (usually customers and coworkers in Japan). The gifts are often food-related products, such as the packs of cookies or cakes that are shared as souvenirs with the rest of the office after a business trip and the infamously overpriced melons and other fruit that Japanese businessmen often send to their favorite customers.
Buyer beware, what you see is what you get with these gifts, as a single melon may cost literally hundreds of dollars. Unless you are doing a lot of business in Japan or have a big event coming up, you will likely not have to worry about this section. Instead, most visitors will want to head for the food and packed lunches section.
Buying Depachika Food
Most depachika divide their food into three sections: a fresh vegetables and fruit section, a sweets and confectionary section, and a food/packed lunch section. Of course, depending on location, you may find a lot of other things down in the basement from wine-tasting booths to ethnic dishes.
Thankfully, the fruit and vegetable section is usually reasonable compared to the …continue reading