Let's Practice Japanese!

I've decided that I really need to start blogging at LEAST once as week as it gives me something to do and something to focus on other than work and school. Plus, I love blogging- it's very fun and relaxing ^^

Today's topic is Practicing Japanese because school is starting up for me real soon and I've realized I've gone the whole entire summer without even having spoken one Japanese word. (Which is terrible because I'm going to be thrown right into advanced Japanese classes this coming semester! >_<) So I've been gathering up all my resources and coming up with ways to enjoy practicing and reviewing Japanese! Let's start!

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So what I find most difficult about this language learning process is practicing and applying things that I have learned in class to things in real life context. What I mean by this is, for example, I can study a grammar point until I think I've mastered it, but then I still feel unfamiliar with it when I hear it being spoken out loud in a different context or when I'm not expecting it. Which is how the real world works right? To help with this I recommend 2 things- anime and youtube videos!

~~Anime~~

Yes I know this is a common one, watch anime if you're learning Japanese which I would normally NOT agree with because they use such weird and obscure words sometimes, and I mean jeez what's up with those voices? BUT with reviewing I've come to learn that it sometimes is helpful to pick up an anime to watch.  I also have a short attention span and don't like watching something really long on my computer like a movie or drama, so I find this super refreshing since anime episodes are usually no more than 30 minutes long. I also try to find series that are uploaded without subtitles too sharpen my listening and see how much I can pick up!

**I recommend: Mamegoma anime because I think this one is great for listening practice. Its a story about children and their small seals (aka mamegoma) and their adventures! It's a kid's show and relatively normal so they use simple language and nothing too obscure! Plus its so cute I mean look:

~~Youtube Videos~~

Talk about real life, youtube is the perfect place to get great videos because there is such a huge variety of them and you can basically find anything you're looking for! I think it's easier to understand a scripted anime, but if you're looking for practice with the real thing, watch a youtube video with actual Japanese people talking in it.  You can practice listening to native speakers talk and see how much you understand! I have so many Japanese youtube channels that I love watching.

**I recommend: Popteen TV and Kawaii.i youtube channels. Of course I recommend these channels because of their awesome gyaru fashion >< I think they are helpful because you get to hear what language teens are using now in Japan and more specifically, gyaru teens! I've been able to pick up a few words and some useful things here and there. These may not be the best channels with reviewing since they don't talk as much as like vloggers do, but they are super interesting and entertaining!
--Popteen TV has short videos of the Popteen models doing their thing, hanging out and just being cute. I don't think many people know it exists, hell it took me a long time to find it but its so awesome and cute!
--Kawaii.i follows Jelly model Mana Honda as she explores Japans and tells foreigners about great places to visit and explores different kinds of Japanese fashion styles. Not only is it helpful and makes me want to go to Japan again SO bad, but it has a variety of cool things that you can learn about Japan and Japanese culture. The only downsides are they have stopped updating and there are subtitles (which could be an upside if you're not that comfortable with the language yet!) but there are plenty of existing episodes to watch so no worries there!

---> LINK for Popteen TV
---> LINK for Kawaii.i

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For serious- get down to business- type reviewing, what helps me is to go through a few lessons, meaning, I focus on let's say one grammar point or set of vocabulary words. By doing this I feel like I am using the "divide and conquer" technique! I start building my way up one step at a time. I like to pick out lessons that on things that I know I've had trouble with in the past (such as keigo and kenjougo -shudder-) and go from there. Or even picking out random lessons is fun too! You can do this by picking a chapter in an old or current textbook, or if you are not learning Japanese in school, any book that you can find on learning Japanese from a local library or bookstore! ....OR you can enjoy listening to a 20-30 minute podcast which is what I love to do! Download one on your ipod or from online and listen anytime you want! I like to listen mostly before I go to sleep (I've heard that it helps stick hearing something right before you go to bed) or when I'm driving because driving is so boring and it keeps my brain on!

**I recommend: JapanesePod101.com These podcasts are AMAZING. They have different series that you can download that range from "absolute beginner", to advanced! You can pick whichever level podcasts you are comfortable with and start listening. Most of them are stand alone podcasts, meaning you don't have to listen to them in a specific order, but it is also good to follow them from the start because they structure their lessons super well.  They range from around 20-30 minutes but I've seen some that have been shorter. Perfect for my attention span hahahaha.
--If you have an ipod/iphone or whatever, you can just search "Learn Japanese" in iTunes on your computer and it will be the first podcast! Or if you want to download directly from the site just go to JapanesePod101.com and sign up for a free trial and download podcasts there! The only downsides are that if you want to use the website with the podcasts (which they will recommend to you over, and over, and over), you do have to pay to join but if you've never been before you can sign up for a 7 day trial and hurry up and use as many resources as you can! The ones on iTunes are always free though (to my knowledge) so that's a good bonus if you are only interested in the podcasts :)

---> LINK to JapanesePod101.com

Alright well that's all I have for tips! I realize this doesn't help if your focus is on reading or writing, but I struggle so much with listening practice so I thought I'd just share some of the things I like doing.  I hope this helps someone out :)

Until next time~~~~
(yes old picture but I just found this in photobooth lololol)
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As always, if you want to, follow my twitter and instagram, both @xsakisaki and my tumblr is xsakisaki.tumblr.com

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