A visual journey through the breakdown radicals of 1700+ kanji

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Learn Japanese in Taiwan – first thoughts

(one of four shelves of Japanese children’s books and textbooks at Kaohsiung Main library; in addition to eight shelves of regular Japanese books on the fourth floor)

Learning a language is an interesting thing. Many feel that you don’t “learn” a language but rather “get used to” it. And I would agree in sentiment with that. (But for simplicity, let’s say learning Japanese).

Learning often has more to do with the student – the student’s discipline, curiosity, tenacity, and other aspects of personality – than with the environment. (I have met ex-pats in Tokyo who have lived there for 20+ years and can barely get past konnichiwa; whereas there are disciplined language learners who have reached a level of fluid speech before ever setting foot in Japan.)

So location isn’t as big a factor as one might think.

With that in mind I want to tell you about an interesting option for learning Japanese, outside of Japan.

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自転車免許証? When did Japan start requiring a license for bicycles? Let’s find out

So, between tadoku.org, simplified news websites, and watanoc.com I do article reading lessons often with students. And sometimes interesting things come up.

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Great Artists Do Not Create, They Do Not Copy, They STEAL

This is very likely the most important post I have written about learning Japanese.

In a 1996 address, Steve Jobs quoted the statement “Good artists copy; Great artists steal” (which he misattributed to Picasso – but that is besides the point).

What Steve Jobs likely meant – and what we will be talking about – is a fundamental habit of people who master a craft….

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Advice for progressing to advanced Japanese and into near-native fluency

Seven slightly-crazy tips to progress to near-native fluency:

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ウインドウズの日本語IMEの使い方 (How to use Windows Japanese IME input; how to toggle あ and A, included ) – 生徒は尋ねる

これは、“生徒は尋ねる”という記事シリーズです。(The Student’s Ask series)

As part of your self-enforced immersion routine you will want to type, web surf, etc. in Japanese. For that you will need Japanese typing input. And this post will teach you how to get it and how to use it.

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Presenting “Yasuke! Kanji Mnemonics for the Classroom”

In this incomplete but initial starter post, JapanTree is proud to present – the fruit of six years of effort – the world’s first kanji system to adapt the Heisig Method for use in the classroom.


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Pausing and Phrasing

Text of the article



END OF ARTICLE (more practice below)

(after the shorter phrasing, practice the longer phrase breaks; in green below)

To learn the kanji (& practice writing them)


すとれす たいしょほう あなたたいせつ している ことがら について まず かんがえてみましょう。

1021*against 1288*dispose of/ or manage 1258*law あなたが 398*big 167*cut / important にしている 1665*action/ incident 1346*pattern についてまず 660*consider えてみましょう。

その なかに けんこう , にん へ せっしかた, じんせい もくひょう や ゆうせん じゅんい たかい もの など が あります。

その 487*middle には 1683*healthy 1670*health61*person への 306*directly contact 84*direction / person61*person 470*life / birth 76*eye 575*sign/ mark832*kindhearted/excel 826*earlier/ the tip 869*sequence 154*rank 1642*tall いものなどがあります。

この きじ , すとれす うまく たいしょし, すとれす を やわらげる やくだつ あどばいす を しょうかいしています。

この 727*diary 1665*action/ incident では,ス 121*fortune telling レスにうま YKS5c*katakana ku 1021*against 1288*dispose of/ or manage ,ス 121*fortune telling レスを 371*peace/ Japan らげるのに 1295*role 149*stand up つアドバイスを 206*acquaint 957*introduce しています。

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日本語だけで! Getting by in only Japanese!(a Yasuke Tip)

1. Explanation 説明
2. ネイティブのように (like a “native”)


movement, feelings, situations

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Why I favor online textbooks like Tae Kim’s GuideToJapanese over mainstream textbooks

Lots of reasons.

Here are some reasons that I mentioned to a student I started tutoring back in 2015.

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Yasuke Tips: Writing Trifecta! Using Journaling, tools like HiNative, and “Shadow Writing” to improve your Japanese

The goal of this post is to help Japanese teachers, japanese tutors, classroom students, and self-learners BURN their English language retreat bridges and march on to victory in Japanese.

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Yasuke Tips: Using HiNative to practice Japanese


Don’t want to bother your Japanese friends with grammar questions? Try HiNative

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Yasuke Tips: Unusual LevelUps. How self-learning Japanese Sign Language (JSL) is helping me keep up my Japanese

I use lots of different methods to keep up my Japanese.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, I force myself to use Japanese through tutoring, membership in Japanese associations, and other ways.
I also have a few good Japanese friends (but they can be too busy for regular practice).
I also use HiNative to get a native check on my writing in Japanese.
And I read or listen to news (the news I like anyway) daily in Japanese.
Besides these things I have many Japanese-related projects going and these also force me to do something with the language. This website is one of them.
The other Japanese project I am working on as of late in self-learning Japanese Sign Language.

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Yasuke Tips! 検索 How to search the web in Japanese – A guide to a lifelong language habit

One of the best ways to improve your Japanese is to do web searches in Japanese and skim through the results. It is a habit that can help you immerse yourself more fully into Japanese and at the same time [hopefully] not hate doing so 🙂

But how to we do it? Let’s see!

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Yasuke Tips: ❝シャドーイング❞という日本語を訓練し方 (Shadow Reading to Hone Your Japanese)

When my wife makes a phone call she is almost always mistaken for a native Chinese speaker (she often has to tell them that she is a foreign to explain why she doesn’t know the technical term for something). 

When she talks to Chinese people in person for the first time they are almost always blown away by how flawless her pronunciation is (sometimes her pronunciation of Mandarin is better than theirs because they have a regional accent). 

And I am always jealous of her…

How did her pronunciation get so good?! More importantly, how can we do the same for our Japanese fluidity? Let’s find out.

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Yasuke Tips: A more in-depth look at how to use Erin.ne.jp to improve all areas of your Japanese, no matter your Japanese level

Erin.ne.jp is super useful and free. It doesn’t get much better than that for a japanese teacher (japanese tutor) looking for online resources. Which is why I already wrote about it being a great Japanese teaching resource (especially for immersion lessons). This Yasuke Tip will show you how to get all of the juice out of it.

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Yasuke Adventure in Japanese : How to ask Japanese if they understood in very polite Japanese

As a way of increasing the depth of our Japanese knowledge Yasuke Tips has suggested using Yahoo ChieBukuro.

The following is an example search.

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Yasuke Tips (For Teachers) – Using Erin.ne.jp to teach Japanese, especially immersion lessons.

A very quick write up of a topic I hope to delve deeper into later… Erin.ne.jp, the Japanese teacher/tutor’s Swiss Army Knife.

On the surface this website might seem to only match self-study and for only certain kinds of students. But let’s take a closer look.

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Yasuke Tip: Using Yahoo’s 知恵袋 to get a deeper understanding of Japanese

Let’s say you want to know the difference between two similar Japanese words. For example, 新し 新たな.

You can google “新しと新たなの違いは” and get good results. But you can also try Yahoo’s ChieBukuro (Knowledge Bag) to dig deeper. Here’s how.

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Yasuke Adventures in Japanese: Addressing People (GuideToJapanese.org textbook supplement)

(The following study material can be used to add more “meat” to the lesson on “addressing people” on GuideToJapanese.org)

あなた わたし “you” “I” – these are words that are seldom used by the Japanese. In a language where context is of the utmost importance and ほんね/たてまえ (本音/建前) rules the day, how can a mere mortal foreigner make their way through these complexities to the golden shores of Japanese proficiency…? This lesson wants to help.

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Nobody’s perfect 🙂

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Drafting the would-be ultimate free kanji course


The secret master plan… Shhh, don’t tell anybody…

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Hiragana Course Draft

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Journaling to improve your Japanese and maybe even your life

Isaac Newton did it

Abraham Lincoln and Andy Warhol did it

Leonardo Da Vinci, Marcus Aurelius, Charles Darwin, Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw and Maya Angelou did it. 

And if you want your Japanese to improve, I highly recommend you do it to. What’s that?

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Yasuke Tips for Teachers: Classroom Expressions for Japanese Language Immersion

Japanese teachers, Japanese tutors, this one might just be what you were looking for!

Taking Japanese lessons with a tutor? You can use these phrases too!

(Side note: This tip will be included later in Full Yasuke! Our textbook of Japanese and Guide to teaching Japanese. Check it out!)

Let’s take a look!

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Free Alternative to WaniKani – JapanTree Kanji Mnemonics (alternative or complement to WaniKani)

In this video I explain how to use JapanTree Kanji Mnemonics to help you with high school Japanese class kanji tests,
college Japanese class kanji tests, or your self-learning kanji progress.

Our kanji mnemonics series is free an can be a great alternative to or complement to WaniKani.

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Yasuke is on the way!!!

JapanTree – The Free Japanese Language School –  is proud to present …




An Online Study Outline For Students and Teachers


So far we have the guideline (outline) available as an aid to how to progress with Japanese study.
As a work-in-progress, I plan to steadily add textbook content to help you tackle Japanese.

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Japanese People Forget How To Write Kanji – How to remember the kanji with mnemonics


Don’t let it happen to you!

Learn to write kanji by mnemonics and you just might remember them long after that classroom kanji test…

Learning kanji without mnemonics is like learning to spell without having learnt the alphabet!!!!
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The New Japanese Textbook Revolution: knowledge free, paper at a profit

Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese.

Available on Amazon

A Guide to Japanese Grammar: A Japanese approach to learning Japanese grammar


There is a growing movement toward free Japanese textbooks and learning materials, supported by sales of paperback copies.

Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese is possibly the first of this kind as far as Japanese textbooks go. And our own Kanji Stories workbook is also an example of this model.

Yakitori’s Kanji Stories (paperback workbook)

In the weeks and months to come we will be looking for and shedding light on more.

We hope it helps your Japanese studies!

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