How To Teach Japanese Teaching Japanese Yasuke Tips Yasuke Tips for Teachers

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

A very quick write up of a topic I hope to delve deeper into later…, 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.

How To Teach Japanese Learn Japanese Teaching Japanese Yasuke Tips 検索 - web search in Japanese

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.


Yasuke Adventures in Japanese: Addressing People ( textbook supplement)

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

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.



Nobody’s perfect 🙂


Drafting the would-be ultimate free kanji course


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


Hiragana Course Draft


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?

How To Teach Japanese Teaching Japanese Yasuke Tips for Teachers

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!


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.


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.

Yasuke Vs. Kanji 猿も

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!!!!


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.

2022 UPDATE: we have a revised version of the following workbook that is also a “kanji-writer’s dictionary“. We also have a phone keyboard dictionary for “hint-assisted kanji recall

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!

Kanji Revolution

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.


Kanji Revolution

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 by making a donation to Benfii/JapanTree

Use systems like Kanshudo kanji mnemonics and give encouragement and feedback

The revolution needs you


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.


Kanji Revolution’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” – 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.

Kanji Revolution Neuroscience

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

J-web Interviews Learn Japanese

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 (Tangorin project home and extensive online Japanese dictionary)


Have a great day!

Learn Japanese Teaching Japanese

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.

J-web Interviews

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

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, which is in Japanese, about how to learn English, gets a lot more hits than (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 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

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!

J-web Interviews

Gone Fishin’: for a human approach to Japanese – An interview with Brian Rak of Human Japanese


Today I’m here with Brian Rak of Human Japanese. His app, Human Japanese, is on a mission to help you “get” Japanese in an engaging and human way.

This is definitely one program anyone learning Japanese will want to try out (especially self-learners). I know teachers and tutors will love it too. The introduction to hiragana (with the history of man’yougana) is amazing, as is the comparison of the quantity of English vs. Japanese sounds.  But enough of my talk, let’s hear from Brian!

JapanTree: What is the mission/vision of your app? What is Human Japanese all about?
Brian: Our apps teach the Japanese language from square one.


JapanTree: What motivated you to start it?
Brian: The thing that really got the ball rolling for me was Jay Rubin’s amazing book Gone Fishin’: New Angles on Perennial Problems, which I discovered as a teenager in Japan. This book blew my eyeballs right out of their sockets. The way Rubin broke down the language — his combination of humor and clarity — was a revelation to me. I remember reading the book on the train and laughing out loud out from the sheer delight of feeling the pieces click into place.I wanted to share that feeling with others. But Rubin’s book was not appropriate for beginners. It assumed a relatively healthy pre-existing knowledge of Japanese. I gradually began thinking that perhaps I could write a textbook in Rubin’s style but which started from square one. This was way back in the early days of the web. I started writing about Japanese grammar on a free Geocities web site. The site was a collection of short articles, each of which answered a single question, for example, the correct use of the particle yo. To my surprise, people started emailing me and thanking me, saying they had understood some concept for the first time as a result of my articles. That was really fulfilling. Those emails made me believe that maybe I really could write something that would help people.


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

Brian: What I like best is when people write to tell us how the apps have touched their lives. One example was a student attending a high school where Japanese was not offered. He was in love with Japan and wanted to go on a foreign exchange, but he had no good resources to learn Japanese. He found our app, studied his heart out, and demonstrated his Japanese to the people in charge of the exchange program, and they let him in. Knowing that we had a part in helping him fulfill his dream was immensely satisfying.


JapanTree: Where do you see your app going in the future?

Brian: We want to continue creating high-quality resources. My driver is always, “What do I wish I had when I was at an earlier stage of my studies? How do I wish someone had explained this concept to me?” We do our best to give people what they truly need on their journey, not merely what is expedient to develop.


JapanTree: What projects/etc. are you working on?

Brian: We’ve got a couple projects brewing but I shouldn’t talk about them yet. Stay tuned. 🙂


JapanTree: How can others contribute to your project?

Brian: There are so many language resources out there these days, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. If you like our app, please rate it on your favorite app store, tell others about, link to us on your blog, and so on. Little things like that make a huge difference in helping us to continue on our mission.


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

Brian: Most other Japanese apps out there are basically flashcard systems. Don’t get me wrong — vocabulary is important and there are certainly fantastic apps out there for that. Where Human Japanese comes in is at the level of, how do these words go together to form actual sentences? We present the core engine of the language in a way that teaches you all the important nuts-and-bolts but is also fun and exciting. In fact, it’s my view that it’s fun and exciting precisely because it teaches the nuts-and-bolts. The moment of getting something, of feeling that click in your brain, that aha! moment of clarity — that’s one of the best feelings a human being can experience. We want our users to feel that from chapter to chapter as the pieces fall into place.

(I know I have always felt elated during my eureka moments with Japanese. And knowing now as a teacher how it feels to help a student “get it,” I’m sure it must be fulfilling to help an army of users to have eureka moments!)

JapanTree: What content is your favourite?

Brian: I’m very happy with both our apps, but Human Japanese Intermediate contains some of the best content I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone on the team just poured their hearts into this thing. From the graphic design to the programing internals to the photography to the main content itself, it was a true labor of love, and we hope that comes through.


There you have it.
If you haven’t already, skip on over to download the app. Windows tablet people (like me) will be happy to know it is available for Windows PC and tablet, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android.
Thanks again to Brian for the interview!
Brian was also nice enough to contribute to a survey JapanTree is conducting on Japanese language learning.
Stay tuned for that!
J-web Interviews

The Internet’s Best Japanese Translation Dictionary – An Interview with Honyaku Star!

honyaku star japanese translation dictionary

Today we’re talking to Mark of LocalizingJapan. Mark is the creator of the Japanese translation dictionary Honyaku Star.

“But,” you ask, “just what is a ‘translation dictionary’? What makes it different? And what makes Honyaku Star the best?”

Ahh, my friends you’re about to find out.

But first, I’d like to say, if you’re like me you might already have a dictionary of choice (is it sacrilegious to use anything other than Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC?) and you might be wondering, “Why would I need another dictionary?”

I was like you. I didn’t think I needed another dictionary, and then I met Honyaku Star. I promise you its worth your while. But don’t take my word for it, let’s here from the man himself and then look at a few search comparisons.

Without further ado, the interview:


JapanTree: What is the mission/vision of your site? What is it all about?

Mark: Honyaku Star is all about being the best translation dictionary on the Web. It’s fast, has millions of translations, and is easy to use. It is different from a traditional dictionary in that it doesn’t have things like parts of speech (is the word a noun or a verb) type of stuff. You search for English, and you get Japanese translations–you search for Japanese, and you get English translations. I’ve used dictionaries that provide all of that extra information and never found it useful. I know if a word is a noun or verb–I just want the translation. And, I want to see it used in context. That is very important. Getting as many example sentences with translations is equally important in order to see how the word or phrase is used. Which brings us to another point–you don’t just look up words in a dictionary; sometimes you want to look up phrases. So Honyaku Star allows for that as well.

It might make sense to think of things like Honyaku Star and ALC as more like translation search engines rather than dictionaries. However, they don’t search the Internet, so search engine isn’t the right way to describe it either. So Japanese/English translation dictionary is probably the best description.


(Aside: Mark’s note about example sentences brought me back to my first year of school in Tokyo and my first Japanese electronic dictionary. Those example sentences were the greatest thing on Earth. Natsukashii)

JapanTree: What makes Honyaku Star unique from other dictionaries and how can users get the most from your site?

Mark: No pagination. If you search for something with a lot of results, you will instantly get 1,000 results all on one page. I never liked how ALC and similar sites use pages and pages of pagination when there are a lot of results. I want to scroll through them and browse at my own pace and not wait.

To get the most from the site, I recommend using Rikaichan/Rikaikun in your browser if you are not a native Japanese speaker. Honyaku Star intentionally doesn’t provide pronunciations for translations to keep the site fast and interface clean. But with something like Rikaichan, you get that for free instantly. It’s how I work with it.

JapanTree: What do you like the best about running Honyaku Star?

Mark: I mainly built Honyaku Star for me. It’s the Japanese/English dictionary site I would want to use. But finding out that other people find it useful and enjoy using it motivates me even more to keep developing it.

JapanTree: What motivated you to start it?

Mark: I used ALC a lot for translation work, and found that it was slow, didn’t have translations for some things, and the site has so many advertisements and distractions it. ALC’s main purpose is to sell you books and services–not be the best Japanese/English dictionary. I wanted a faster, better ALC with a clean interface and couldn’t find one, so I built my own.

There are many niche subject matters aren’t in any formal dictionary, but users/fans of that subject area might have built up their own glossaries. For example, I personally added a lot of video game terminology into Honyaku Star because it is something I’ve tried looking up in many dictionaries and failed to find in the past. Maybe it is not useful to a general audience, but someone somewhere might be trying to look up the same thing, and just because it isn’t mainstream for a ‘professional’ dictionary doesn’t mean it isn’t worth having. Honyaku Star is the online dictionary for everyone. All terminology and translations are accepted and wanted as long as they are accurate.

JapanTree: What challenges did you face in starting your Honyaku Star project?

(by the way, I’ve been playing with it and it really is extensive. I searched for some difficult to find things like a word I couldn’t remember recently when doing some simultaneous translating. The word was “comfort zone.” The word wasn’t in Breen’s dict (I submitted it after) or Tagaini Jisho or my Aedict app.)

Mark: The main challenge was how to make it fast. Fortunately, there was a project called Senna, and now called Mroonga, that is an n-gram index for the MySQL database that is specifically made for indexing Japanese. Mroonga makes Honyaku Star fast. Then, the next challenge is making the translation dictionary the best one out there. I am constantly looking for new sources of data and updating it. Beyond traditional dictionaries, there are translation resources all over the place that provide terms and example sentences. For example, many open source projects have documentation that is translated into multiple languages. Individual translators might have built up a personally glossary of hard-to-translate terms over the years. Any source helps if it can add new content. You will not find these types of sources in a mainstream dictionary, but they are very useful, so Honyaku Star has them. And finally, time is always limited. There is always more work to do than time available to do it.

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

Mark: The goal is to be the best advanced Japanese/English translation dictionary on the Web and have translations for everything.

JapanTree: How can others make contributions to the project?

Mark: Contribute translations. If you have personal glossaries or translation memory databases that you can share, everything helps. Even just an email with a word or phrase that you noticed isn’t in Honyaku Star.


And there you have it, Honyaku Star!

If you didn’t “get it” (understand the difference) and still don’t know why you need it… here’s my advice, go play with it now!

Then take a look again at the things Mark mentions – notice the beauty of no pagination, bask in the light of a thousand example sentences, and find those hard to find definitions/phrases.


Testing :

For my part, I did a little playing around and testing. Nothing substantial (not anything like a scientific study), but maybe interesting. I wanted to see quantity of entries for somewhat obscure terms and compare it to other dictionaries

Examples of great (and random 🙂 ) searches:


The Colbert Report

Why Colbert Report? I don’t know. Felt like it. Came up in Honyaku Star. WWWJDIC and ALC had nothing


How about musical terms? (Let’s try a slightly obscure musical instrument)

I searched for “mellophone” an instrument I played in high school marching band (my high school made all the saxophone players learn mellophone for markching band)

  • Mellophone
  • メロフォン

ALC and  WWWJDIC had nothing

linux kernel: 19 Terms and Phrases

  • Linux kernel
  • Linuxカーネル
  • In case there are serious bugs, Linux kernel version are numbered
  • 万が一本当に深刻なバグがあったときのために、Linux カーネルのバージョンのナンバリングには工夫がある。

ALC brought up no entries for Linux Kernel and searching kernel rendered a mass of other uses of kernel that I did not have patience to wade through.

Searching ALC for Linux brought up 34 entries. The same search on Honyaku Star? linux: 220 Terms and Phrases”


Hey! Why are you still here when the dictionary of your dreams is waiting for you?


My Japanese Diploma – years of hard work, money (mostly other people’s), sweat blood tears, created this sheet of paper

japanese diploma
diploma from Jochi Daigaku (Sophia U) in Tokyo

My diploma, a bachelors degree, from Jochi University in Tokyo Japan.

Earned in 2006. Displayed here in 2014 to say I got one.

It is a B.S. in “comparative culture” – the name of all degrees from the then faculty of comparative culture.  In my case it was a degree in International Business, specifically Economics and Comparative Marketing. Sounds impressive, don’t it?


Japanese Tests

Registering for the J-cat

I think it would be great to get rid of the JLPT; J-cat a free test from the Univ. of Tsukuba is a nice alternative.
I have registered for the J-Cat and am awaiting my login info.

Only being able to take it once in 6 months is a little worrying. I need to play with the pre-test and make sure I’m ready to challenge the test and prove my Japanese language beast-hood.

some pictures from registering


J-cat homepage. Notice the red arrows I added pointing to some pretty nice EngRish :)
J-cat homepage. Notice the red arrows I added pointing to some pretty nice EngRish 🙂

J-cat checks your system to make sure you meet system requirements. My windows tablet passed
J-cat checks your system to make sure you meet system requirements. My windows tablet passed

J-cat sends an email confirm stating you will get access to take the test in 72 hours.
So I have some time to get ready.


Use your personal Japanese library to teach your students – Pictures of my Japanese language library

During my three years of University in Japan (and in my high school classes) I amassed a small library of Japanese textbooks. I am willing to bet that if you have reached the advanced stages of learning Japanese you have at least a small library too.

On top of that I picked up a ton of cheap books/videos at Book Off during my time in Tokyo. (most of them were only 100 yen ~ $1 USD)

Maybe you have too. If not, maybe you live near a Book Off branch (in the U.S. there is at least one I know of in New York).

Start mining these resources to teach your students Japanese.


Here are some of my Japanese library items:

Yokoso Japanese textbook
Yokoso Japan textbook audio CD

japanese movie songs
CD of movie songs

bugs bunny japanese japanese popeye

not partially useful
not partially useful

Japanese school education videos are great teaching tools.
Japanese school education videos are great teaching tools.

kids video with captions and furigana on cover
kids video with captions and furigana on cover

Hayao film
Spirited Away. I think this one cost me more than 100 yen, maybe 500.

cheap 100 yen video. this one proved to be pretty useless as the cover should have suggested.
cheap 100 yen video. this one proved to be pretty useless as the cover should have suggested.

japanese kid video
bought this at Book Off. 100 yen

catalog of kanji that comes with tuttle
catalog of kanji that comes with tuttle

tuttle cards tuttle cards

tuttle cards
tuttle cards

tuttle kanji flashcards
THE Tuttle kanji cards. 3rd and 4th level.

japanese language resources
language resources pile

japanese language library
my pile of Japanese language books

grammar dictionary
Japanese grammar dictionary. If you are teaching Japanese, this is your best friend.

manga in japanese
Manga. Some, like this mainstream one, can be useful

Japanese children's novel
Children’s novel. Cost 100 yen at Book Off

intermediat to Advanced japanese situational japanese Inside situation Japanese textbook situational japanese

situational japanese
situational japanese

handbook for foriegn students in Japan.
This is a Handbook for Foreign Students that Sophia University hands out. A little window into student exchange.

science magazine
kids science magazine

japanese science magazine
Japanese science magazine for children.

situation japanese
Situational Function Japanese textbook. This book is an attempt at a living language textbook

A business magazine in Japanese. Kinda random. But resources like this can be interesting for your student.
A business magazine in Japanese. Kinda random. But resources like this can be interesting for your student.

A good beginner's book. Glad I kept a few of the beginner ones.
A good beginner’s book. Glad I kept a few of the beginner ones.

hiragana chart
hiragana chart in Yokoso japan. A pretty good beginner’s text

kanji book
intermediate kanji book

japanese textbook
another intermediate to advanced textbook

translated books in japanese
back of the same book

translated book in Japanese
The Missing Piece by Shel Siverstein in Japanese. I think I book this at Book Off

kanji book
an intermediate kanji book

kanji books
This is one of my Kanji books. I pilled up a lot of these during my studies. If you copied the pages instead of writing in the book it will be easy to reuse when you teach Japanese

japanese textbook
From intermediate to Advanced Japanese. There are some great portions of this textbook that can be watered down for even lower level students.

Advanced Japanese textbook
Advanced Japanese textbook. Even if you don’t have students at this level it is good for you to review and drill these basics to keep your personal level up.

Business Japanese
Business Japanese textbook. This book is an advanced Japanese textbook geared toward business majors

Japanese language class textbook for native speakers
Japanese school textbook. Japanese language textbook use by native Japanese in school

Disney video in Japanese
Disney’s Pocahontas in Japanese. Watching video that you know already in English is a great way to learn


Neuroscience Teaching Japanese

Neuroscience and teaching Japanese

In 2012 I went to a seminar taught by the director of (Canadian Institute of English), a PhD in Neuroscience.

The course taught laguage teachers a couple dozen methods of teaching.

These methods were based on neuroscience and how our brains learn.


our brains learn when our bodies are active.


sitting at a desk, in a classroom…. is THE worst environment for learning.


boring lessons … are the worst way to teach anything.


with those thought in mind, I am posting thoughts on NeuroScience and teaching Japanese. Many more to come.


George Lucas influenced by Akira Kurosawa

When my Japanese got to the intermediate level I fell in love with Akira Kurosawa movies.

7 Samurai, Ikiru, Madadayo are some of my favourite movies of all time.

(I love the line in Madadayo where the teacher makes “baka” soup – a deer/horse combo. It you know the kanji for baka you know why that’s clever in an Oyaji-gaggu kinda way) 🙂


The thought happened to pop into my head that Star Wars borrowed a lot from Japanese elements so I googled it (I had this thought before but had never googled). I’m not a Star Wars fanatic (never been to a fan gathering and haven’t watched them quite 100 times), but I like Star Wars so the result of that google research was interesting.

Turns out George Lucas and Akira Kurosawa had a lot in common and Lucas “bit” (to us the bboy phrase) a lot from Kurosawa’s style.

Check it out

How To Teach Japanese Teaching Japanese Yakitori Sensei ! Yasuke Adventures in Japanese Yasuke Tips for Teachers

Adventures in Teaching Japanese

If it is your first time here – I am a non-native Japanese teacher. (years of Japanese/ Japanese University grad)

I am currently teaching at a small private high school that encourages innovative methods.

For me, teaching Japanese is like coming home. It is like giving back.

In my senior year of high school my Japanese teacher was Puerto Rican. He was also my best Japanese teacher and is (based on their Japan Bowl results) one of the best Japanese teachers in the U.S.

I owe him a lot. A whole lot.

So for me, teaching others is like paying forward what he did for me.

Teaching Japanese is an interesting road.

The more I teach the better I understand the languages advantages and challenges myself.

Japanese is a neat language.

One goal of this site is to record my adventures teaching Japanese. And hopefully what I write might help some other Japanese teachers and language learners.

I will be adding more , highlighting resources , etc.

So sign up for my newsletter.