A visual journey through the breakdown radicals of 1700+ kanji

Read More »

Posted in Kanji Revolution, Learn Japanese, Yasuke Vs. Kanji | Comments closed

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



OUTLINE of the lesson
Explanation 説明
ネイティブのように (like a “native”)
movement, feelings, situations

Read More »

Posted in Yasuke Tips | Comments closed

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.

Read More »
Posted in Japanese textbooks, Learn Japanese | Comments closed

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.

Read More »
Posted in Random | Comments closed

Yasuke Tips: Using HiNative to practice Japanese


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

Read More »
Posted in Random | Comments closed

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.

Read More »

Posted in Yasuke Tips | Comments closed

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!

Read More »
Posted in Random | Comments closed

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.

Read More »

Posted in How To Teach Japanese, Learn Japanese, Teaching Japanese, Yasuke Adventures in Japanese | Comments closed

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.

Read More »

Posted in Learn Japanese, Yasuke Adventures in Japanese | Comments closed

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.

Read More »

Posted in How To Teach Japanese, Teaching Japanese, Yasuke Tips, Yasuke Tips for Teachers | Comments closed

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.

Read More »

Posted in How To Teach Japanese, Learn Japanese, Teaching Japanese, Yasuke Tips | Comments closed

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.

Read More »

Posted in Random | Comments closed


Nobody’s perfect 🙂

Read More »

Posted in 猿も | Comments closed

Drafting the would-be ultimate free kanji course


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

Read More »

Posted in Random | Comments closed

Hiragana Course Draft

Read More »

Posted in Random | Comments closed

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?

Read More »

Posted in Random | Comments closed

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!

Read More »

Posted in How To Teach Japanese, Teaching Japanese, Yasuke Tips for Teachers | Comments closed

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.

Read More »

Posted in Random | Comments closed

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.

Posted in Random | Comments closed

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!!!!
Read More »

Posted in Yasuke Vs. Kanji, 猿も | Comments closed

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!

Posted in Random | Comments closed

Marcus Bird on effective use of Heisig kanji mnemonics

As I push on with the revolution and dig up and shed light on all the people and websites promoting kanji mnemonics I keep finding more and more youtubers showing how mnemonics have worked for them.

I found this video today and I thought it was a good personal experience about how he started using the Heisig method to transition into reading kanji.


Posted in Kanji Revolution | Comments closed

Kanshudo’s dojo for kanji mnemonics


The other day I found Kanshudo another e-learning site working on an adaptation of Heisig’s “Remembering The Kanji.”

The website is pretty amazing with a beginner and intermediate course, flashcards, quizzes, vocab, and of course Kanji breakdown by component and mnemonics.



Here’s an excerpt from their about page:

Kanshudo is the fastest and most enjoyable way to learn and remember the Japanese kanji. Whatever your level of kanji ability, Kanshudo can help you improve, with games such as Kanji Match, assessment tools such as the Kanji Quiz, and study aids such as lessons, flashcards and favorites.
Kanshudo is also an invaluable daily reference tool, with a variety of sophisticated ways to look up kanji.
If you are just getting started with Japanese or the kanji, you can find everything you need to know to make your studies a success in our article How to master the kanji.


It’s great to see more people working on systems that build on Heisig’s RTK method.

While there are a lot resources out there (a short list) there is still so much more potential!

It’s time to take learning by Kanji mnemonics farther!

Please get involved in the Kanji mnemonics revolution!!

If you’ve used mnemonics to learn kanji please contribute a short video to JapanTree’s “Kanji Mnemonics Work!” collaborative youtube playlist

Or support the revolution on Patreon

Use systems like Kanshudo kanji mnemonics and give encouragement and feedback

The revolution needs you

Posted in Kanji Revolution | Comments closed

Kanji 101 – a great introduction to using Kanji Mnemonics / RTK

I found this well put together overview of learning Kanji with mnemonics and RTK and I thought I’d share it.

This a great video for helping beginners see how learning with mnemonics works.


It’s great to find more people using mnemonics and adding to, promoting, and improving Heisig’s RTK.


Posted in Random | Comments closed

JapaneseReader.com’s Micah Cowan on Remembering The Kanji and Kanji ABC

So the other day I found this high quality and thorough review of Heisig’s “Remembering The Kanji”


JapaneseReader.com – Remembering the Kanji, volume 1, by James W Heisig

I particularly liked:

I would love to see someone completely rework this system, and perhaps choose better keywords, and address some of the other problems I mentioned above. However, it still remains at this time, the most effective system for quickly gaining a solid repertoire of characters, and at the end of it, you really can read Japanese much more effectively. You obviously can’t read without effort and further study, but the difference in ability is well worth the 2 to 4 months you will have spent in study with RTK.


I too would love one day for the resources that different people have under development to improve Heisig’s RTK.

There are so many resources out there (a very short list) but its still a far cry from what I would love it to be.

RTK has been around for decades but besides some SRS systems few have really taken learning by Kanji mnemonics any farther.

And the few who have are mostly obscure. Sad.

Posted in Kanji Revolution | Comments closed

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

There is a revolution taking place in the way people learn – AND (if I’m successful) teach – Kanji!


The methods are faster, smarter, …. lazier


My goal is

to merge mnemonics and context

to use neuroscience and tadoku

to push these kanji methods into the classroom


And to shine light on all of the projects and rebels making the revolution possible…


The revolution will not be televised


Posted in Kanji Revolution, Neuroscience | Comments closed

One sweet and succulent dictionary! – an interview with Gregory of the Tangorin dictionary app

tangorin Japanese dictionary app

Hope you made room for dessert because today you’re in for a treat! We’re chatting it up with Gregory Bobin, creator of Tangorin Japanese dictionary!

JapanTree: What motivated you to start your Tangorin project?

Gregory: The faculty at my university declined my offer to digitize and open source the kanji learning materials they were distributing to students in small batches on paper (this was 10 years ago). I also couldn’t afford a denshi jisho at the time and I was working part-time as a web developer as I found all these Japanese-related open source projects online that just needed to be put together with a little code. I started using my own dictionary in class and my friends liked it so I put it online.

JapanTree: What part of running the project do you like the best?

Gregory: I really enjoy normalizing all the data coming from different projects like WWWJDIC and Tatoeba. The code that parses all those input files and builds the Tangorin database is in fact bigger and more complicated than the website/dictionary itself. I also loved watching my friends at university using my dictionary over their expensive denshi jishos.

JapanTree: What makes your app unique and how can readers get the most from your site?

Gregory: I think the user interface is what makes Tangorin unique. My main goal was to make it feel like a paper dictionary where all the information is in plain sight right below the word definition and you don’t have to “click” and move around to get it.

JapanTree: I know your app pulls from some great projects like tatoeba, tanaka, wwwjdic. As a knowledgeable person on those projects, how would you say they have impacted the development Japanese language apps?

Gregory: I’m pretty sure 90% of those apps wouldn’t even be there if it wasn’t for those projects. Especially Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC.

Japantree: Well, I’m sure everyone’s thankful for all those projects, including yours, that have made learning Japanese a little easier. Any last words for us?

Gregory: Thanks for taking interest in Tangorin!

Thanks Gregory. And thank you dear reader. If you haven’t already get your hands on a juice Tangorin today.

You can download the app at the following links:

Google Play app

iTunes app

And the project’s homepage is http://tangorin.com/ (Tangorin project home and extensive online Japanese dictionary)


Have a great day!

Posted in J-web Interviews, Learn Japanese | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Kanji Link


Found a really interesting site a while back
Called kanji-link

It has a great introduction to kanji

And thought I’d share it.

The introduction explains how 75% of the kanji fall under just ~30 radicals!

The chart explaining that looks great too. If you’re a teacher its great since its easy to use in the classroom.

Posted in Learn Japanese, Teaching Japanese | Comments closed

2,136 Kanji OR Die! The 97 Day Kanji Challenge – an interview with Nico from NihongoShark.com

Alright !!  I’ve got a treat for you!

Today I’m chatting with Nico from NihongoShark.

His website has plenty of good information for language learners including a free ebook on learning Japanese that gives an excellent overview of what and how to study.

If you’re looking for motivation, great advice (some of the best I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot), and a bias towards learning on the cheap (yay!), then Nico is definitely your man!

But enough of my talk. Let’s hear from the man himself.


JapanTree: What is the mission/vision of your site? What’s NihongoShark all about?

Nico: Yikes. I have no idea. I started the site on a whim, actually. I just thought that I had a cool method for studying Japanese. It makes a little bit of money, but that’s not really why I do it. If it was, I’m sure I’d work on it more often.

There is just so much that I would have done differently if I could go back to Day 1 of studying Japanese. And I want to share those things with other people and help them. I want to convince them that, Yes, you can learn Japanese. I want to go back in time and say that to myself, because I spent way too many hours feeling horrible about myself “failing at Japanese.” Learning a language is a mental struggle.

First, you have to believe that you can do it.

Then you have to commit to doing it. And commit means long-term. Studying consistently over a long period of time. Studying consistently over a long period of time. Studying consistently over a long period of time. If you keep going, you will get there. It’s math.

Once that’s drilled into your head, then you can start worrying about what’s effective, what works well and doesn’t work well—all the stuff that everyone else is talking about.

I want to go back in time and say stuff like that to myself. But, as I can’t, I might as well see if I can help someone else avoid my mistakes.

JapanTree: What’s your favourite part of running NihongoShark?

Nico: Thank you emails from readers. Sometimes I get emails from people who have learned all of the kanji using my method. Or just people that told me they found motivation through my site and my e-book, and it’s pretty much the best thing in the world.

I get one email like that, and I’ll be in a good mood all day. There’s not much nothing in the world that’s more motivating than helping people.


JapanTree: Where do you see NihongoShark going in the future?

Nico: I have no idea. I often go for long periods of time without writing anything. Then I get an email for a reader, and I might focus on the site a bit. Sometimes I think about giving it to a friend or a motivated reader—someone who would take better care of it than I do. But, I haven’t found that person just yet.

Also, I have a lot of jobs lately from publishing companies in Japan that are making books on learning English for Japanese speakers, and sometimes they mention my sites and say that maybe we could work on some projects for English speakers studying Japanese someday. So I guess that’d be cool, too.


JapanTree: What projects do you have cooking?

Nico: I’m writing a ridiculously detailed revision of my e-book on how to learn Japanese. But, yeah, it’s nowhere near complete. Also, my site EigoBoost.com, which is in Japanese, about how to learn English, gets a lot more hits than NihongoShark.com (roughly 30-40,000 unique visitors a month at the moment). So I work on that a bit, too. Plus I have freelance translating and writing jobs. Plus I have books and beer and food and video games and loved ones to share all that good stuff with.

Busy is not the word I’m looking for. I guess you could say, I have lots of things to do (and enjoy).


JapanTree: How can others contribute to NihongoShark?

Nico: Anyone’s welcome to write a guest post at any time.  About anything. “I Hate Japanese.” “I love anime.” “Best Japanese-language games on iPad.” Whatever. Anything that connects you with other learners is always good stuff.

High-level students are welcome to try an article in Japanese for my site EigoBoost.com. I’ll even get a native Japanese person to proofread it for you before we publish it.


JapanTree: What makes your site unique and how can readers get the most from your site?

Nico: Everything’s free. I think that’s pretty cool. Also, I list tons of outside resources for Japanese. It seems like everyone gets so hung up trying to sell their own products that they don’t share the best stuff that’s out there. Well, I don’t have any products! Yay! But then, that’s why I’m poor.


JapanTree: What posts are your favourites?

Nico: The most popular post, by far, is “How to Learn the 2000+ Joyo Kanji in 97 Days.” Many people have even completed it, too. Also of note are “The Best Way to Learn Japanese,” “Is Studying Japanese Worth It?” and “The Cheapest Way to Learn Japanese.

(Aside: I was really impressed by the Cheapest way to learn Japanese article, especially the Learning-Thru-Manga series. I had no idea they existed for books like E-myth and 7-Habits  – they’re two of my favourite books! The Is Japanese Worth It article is great too. Yet another reason to ignore the “Japanese is a waste of time” negativity. Personally after the intermediate level, when I started questioning if I would get a job in Japan, I decided to learn Japanese because I loved learning it and not because it would be “useful.” Its paid off. )


JapanTree: Nico, it’s been great having you for this interview, if there is anything else you want to give as advice to learners feel free to say it.

Nico: If you want this—if you really want this—then just don’t give up. That’s all. Just keep swimming. You’re crossing an ocean, but there is a shore. Trust me, I’m standing on it. Just keep swimming.


There you have it!

Just keep swimming!!

And while you are swimming, be sure to swim on over to NihongoShark.com

Nico was also gracious enough to contribute to a survey JapanTree is conducting on Japanese language learning.

So again, stay tuned for that!

Thanks Nico!

Posted in J-web Interviews | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed