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6 Ways to Advance Your Japanese Study Online During Self-Isolation

6 ways to advance japanese study online

Right now is a strange time – restaurants are closing down all over the world, countries are on lockdown and much of the world is in self isolation. However for many people this can be a great opportunity to spend some time working on pursuing passions on the internet – such as Japanese study online!

There are lots of opportunities and resources across the internet to learn Japanese – all from the comfort of your home! 

This article is going to cover 6 ways to advance your Japanese study online at home during quarantine.

1 – Making Flashcards From Japanese TV Shows

If you’ve seen our article on using the Gakumei Chrome extension to make flashcards online, then this one is easy. If you haven’t already, go ahead and install the chrome extension. 

Now that you have it all set up, you can use it with Netflix to make your own flashcard decks to self study. If you don’t have Netflix you can still use the extension for any other web pages, but for this post we are focusing on using Netflix.

Using the GakuMei Chrome extension (make sure it’s turned “on”), go into any of your favorite Japanese Netflix shows – or pick a new one! – Turn on the subtitles and start watching!

As different words appear just mouse over them to display the GakuMei dictionary, then click “Add Flashcard”.

Once you have click to add the flashcard, you can start making flashcard lists. You can then go back and review your flashcards anytime! 

This is a Chrome extension, so you can do all of this without having to leave the Netflix page!


2 – Drilling Flashcards With Memrise

Maybe you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to make your own flashcard deck – or you’re just looking for premade decks to help you up your Japanese. There are alot of options online for pre-made Japanese language study flashcard decks – such as Anki and WaniKani, but Memrise is a personal favorite.

Memrise does have a paid option, but the basic plan is free and super easy to sign up! Just sign up and pick your language(s).

With Memrise, you have the option to pick from different pre-made decks suited to your needs. They have custom decks such as JLPT vocab and kanji decks for different levels, such as N3 or N4, as well as various Japanese literature related flashcard decks.

Memrise tracks your progress and racks up points for you. You can add friends as well as set daily goals for youself that memrise will track for each card deck you study. Maybe you could stir up some friendly competition with a language study buddy! 


3 – Read the News with NHK World Easy Japanese

Reading the news in Japanese can be a bit intimidating – But it doesn’t have to be!

NHK has a NEWS WEB EASY site for people who are still learning Japanese! It’s basically a simplified Japanese news website, with a few extra perks to help boost your language learning. While they have some international reporting, it’s primarily news about Japan in Japanese, so it’s a great way to keep up with what is going on in Japan while advancing your language ability!

You have the option to listen to audio recordings of the articles as you read them, so you can follow along for yourself. The articles have ふりがな (furigana – hiragana readings for kanji) above all of the kanji that you can turn on or off depending on your reading comprehension level. 

You can also choose articles from various categories just like a regular news website! So just click on a category or article that looks interesting to you. Then you can decide whether to have the “furigana” displayed as well as opt for audio. 

The articles are not that long, but they have a lot of the information packed in. This way you can absorb the content with ease.



4) Read Manga!

Old but Gold – Reading manga is a great way to boost Japanese language input while studying the nuances of the language!

Japanese manga is written by native speakers for native speakers, so in reading manga you will pick up expressions and phrases not found in most textbooks. This is a great way to study “conversational” and speaking Japanese. 

If you want something more beginner-friendly, Wasabi has Japanese manga set up as lessons with translations. This way you can really get as much learning out of the reading process as you like. 

Or – You can read manga online for free on websites such as ComicWalker if you are at a more advanced level.


5) Learn to Sing Some Japanese Songs

Music is one of the best immersion tactics for people with limited access. Now with most of the world in quarantine, music is going to be one of your best language immersion assets! Listening to Japanese music is a great way to advance your Japanese study at home.

If you have any Japanese bands or artists that you enjoy listening to, it’s best to start there! After all, learning a language – Especially Japanese – Should be something that you enjoy doing!

A really great way to go about this is listening to the music while reading the lyrics. There are lots of websites all over the internet that have Japanese lyrics printed in both romaji and kana. So depending on your level you can choose whether to follow along with romaji or Japanese.

Just pull up the lyrics sheet to one of your favorite Japanese songs while you listen and follow along. The key here is repetition and consistency. Don’t start with 10 different songs, you will overwhelm yourself! Do one at a time and listen through multiple times and you will remember them for a long time. 

Listening to Japanese music is a great way to expose yourself to Japanese vocabulary and grammar patterns that you won’t always come across in Japanese textbooks. And you will get great practice for the next time you are out at Karaoke with friends or co-workers! 


6) Japanese Podcasts

Over recent years, podcasting has become increasingly popular. There are tons of Japanese podcasts out there available for free. Listening to Japanese podcasts is another great way to boost Japanese input, as well as train your ears to adjust to hearing Japanese. 

Learning to read and write is great, but listening and speaking require you to train your ears and mouth to hear and speak Japanese properly. Which is why podcasts are a great way to get used to hearing Japanese.

Some resources for Japanese podcasts are Japanesepod101 and Learn Japanese Pod.

If you are at a more advanced level, feel free to just browse Spotify and YouTube for all Japanese podcasts targeting native Japanese speakers. This way you get that full exposure with all of the nuances that are hard to write down in a textbook.

Good Luck!