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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

4 Great Resources for Learning Japanese from My 14-Year-Old

My 14-year-old son spends hours every day meticulously composing Japanese phrases in his notebook for fun.

He scans Twitter's short pithy messages in Japanese for reading practice, views his Facebook profile entirely in Japanese, pesters me to go to oriental food markets to buy junk food, and has appropriated our discount bin DVD of Ramen Girl to capture glimpses of Japan and listen to the dialogue.

In the words of an 80's hit by The Vapors, I fear he is turning Japanese - I really think so. This is on the heels of his successful self-initiated push to learn Spanish, last year, and his assiduous following of language hacker Irish Polyglot (@irishpolyglot) and his blog.

So, I asked him about the resources he uses most often. This is what he recommends for beginners like him.

1) - Denshi Jisho is an awesome English-Japanese/Kanji dictionary. Kanji characters can be searched by radicals.

2) - Solid site for vocabulary, Kanji and grammar practice. Also has a library of useful grammar tips.

3) - Great blog written by Khatz (or Khatzumoto) an American who learned Japanese with digital flashcards, and by watching Japanese TV shows and listening to conversation.

4) Japanese My Way - An iPad app with flashcards, dictionary and tutorial videos.


  1. Thank you so much for the helpful links & the great starter reading material! I am also a language enthusiast learning Japanese on my own, so it's a great motivator finding out that someone 7 years younger than me can do it. Thanks again!

  2. Thank you, Jasmine! He really has the drive to master Japanese. Also, he says that if you want a good book to help you learn all 2,000 characters you should try Remembering the Kanji by James Heisig. He's been using it for about a month and has learned about 350 with it. Cheers!