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.

UPDATE: has more info on journaling ideas.


So let’s start with what journaling is all about (and dispel some misconceptions)

Misconception: “you want me to write a diary?! I’m not a schoolgirl.”

Journals are not schoolgirl diaries. They are the habit of almost every historical great; And even some fairly efficient but far from great people like me 🙂

I don’t have to tell you how to journal or what to journal – it’s entirely up to you (which is the great thing about journaling).

But if you are totally drawing a blank, check out these language journal ideas:

Once you start to write something you’ll need to do a few things like:

  • research topics
  • look up words and learn to use them in context

Thankfully I have made some guides to that too.

The “Native-Check” (with HiNative)

Like I’ve mentioned elsewhere, there is no shame in having a native check your Japanese – even if you are a Ninja. Even monkey’s fall from trees.

(Not being humble enough to get something checked by a native is the reason Asia is littered with EngRish.)

This is how to use HiNative to check your sentences and interact with some real people.

Shadow Writing

Once your sentences are polished it’s time for the real heavy-lifting bodybuilding. Let’s pump some iron! Yay! Ha!

The method described in the link below (the “Benf”) will have you dissect your sentences and re-write them from memory. It’s a great exercise, but basically any practice you want to do is ok.

Another thing you can do is take your sentences, type them up, and then put them into a Japanese text-to-speech recorder to make yourself some audio for Shadow Reading.

For Japanese text-to-speech I use the free Balabolka, but you might have success with any of these.

Once, you have your audio you can Shadow Read behind the audio – in the same way I describe using

That’s it

Enjoy Journaling!

As a bonus, here is one of my journal entries.

(the blue marks are showing where I self-corrected kanji. It’s why I leave spaces)

The journal entry is about my somewhat unusual “levelup” of self-learning Japanese Sign Language to re-enforce Japanese vocabulary (and just because I love sign language and it’s fun).

I turned it into a post on my blog I keep in Japanese:

I hope that give you some inspiration and a starting place to do something similar yourself. Or maybe you are running in the other direction…? I hope not. It’s not as scary as it might seem.

Give it a try.

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