Tag Archives: japanese immersion

Learn Japanese Free

Learn Japanese Free
Don’t have a penny? You can learn Japanese free.

Can you learn Japanese free? Absolutely. We can show you how to get to native-level fluency without spending a single penny.

Let’s assume you have no resources at all other than a computer or a tablet (you are reading this after all). You can’t travel. You can’t buy anything. Can you learn Japanese to complete fluency?

Absolutely you can. We’ll explain how.

It will be hard work, but any method by which you really learn Japanese, free or otherwise, is hard work, even if you spend fortunes on it. The methods we recommend have the advantage of being fun as well.

The best way to learn Japanese, or any language, is immersion. This is how children learn. But can you have Japanese immersion without living in Japan?

The answer to that is yes. The internet has made it possible. Ironically enough many learners who do live in Japan find it difficult or impossible to have Japanese immersion. This is because they are often teaching English and living in a heavily English-language environment in Japan. You could well find that your chances of Japanese immersion are better outside Japan than living there.

So if you want to learn Japanese free, how do you go about this?

Using the power of the internet it is absolutely possible to immerse yourself. YouTube is full of Japanese material. You really don’t need to watch any English media at all if you don’t want to. I don’t.

You can fill your iPod with Japanese songs and stories and anime soundtracks. Hukumusume is a really good source of Japanese stories both written and downloadable audio.

You can and should fill your ears with Japanese all the time. If you need to concentrate on something, turn it down, not off. Only when you really need to concentrate very hard do you have to stop the flow of Japanese completely.

Learn Japanese Free: how to get started

Maybe you don’t know any Japanese, or only a very small amount. Is it going to help filling your head with sounds you don’t understand?

There are different views on this but my view is “probably not”. You need to find a way to get a foothold in Japanese before you start. But don’t worry. You can still learn Japanese free. This doesn’t have to cost anything.

• First you should learn some Japanese grammar. Enough to get you started. We explain to how to do this here, with all-free resources.

• Next you should start working on Japanese anime with Japanese subtitles. Again we show how to do it with all-free resources.

• You also need to build a core vocabulary. Again, here is everything you need using free resources.

These techniques will guide so that you will be able to immerse yourself in Japanese and build your understanding step by step.

Thinking in Japanese

Japanese immersion isn’t just about reading and hearing Japanese. It is also about communicating in Japanese and thinking in Japanese. There is only one way to learn Japanese. You only learn a language by using it. Everything else is just learning about the language.

This means doing the things you used to do in English in Japanese. Watching movies, reading books/manga, playing games etc. It also means communicating with others in Japanese, and thinking to yourself in Japanese. And outer communication is the key to to inner thoughts.

This is the aspect of learning Japanese that most online, lone-learner techniques ignore. And it is very important. Language is a means of communication. The mind does not process input-only language as “real language”. You need to be using language to communicate thoughts and develop relationships before your “linguistic mind” can start firing on all cylinders.

Fortunately we have you covered there too. The Kawaii Japanese Forums are there for people to talk about Japanese or anything else, play RPGs or word games, or do anything else they want in Japanese. It is an easy stress-free, friendly way to ease yourself into the waters of Japanese communication. And (as you probably guessed) they’re free.

The Forums are the perfect bridge to get you across the psychological barrier between feeling Japanese as a “foreign language” and feeling it as something you actually live.

Learn Japanese Free – or very cheap

You probably have an iPod, phone or some kind of MP3 player already. But what if you don’t? Can you still learn Japanese free?

We can’t recommend a way of getting a free MP3 player, but you can get a cheap Chinese player on eBay or a local fleamarket for well under $5. It may lack some bells and whistles but if you want to keep the flow of Japanese into your ears and listen to stories and songs, even the cheapest player will do the job.

If you have a little more money to spare you could (if you don’t already have one) get a Nintendo DS. This game machine is “obsolete” so you can buy it very cheaply. It has a ton of excellent Japanese games with a lot of text, often with furigana. Unlike its more recent sister the 3DS it is not region-locked, so you can buy second-hand Japanese games cheaply on eBay or elsewhere.

But assuming you can’t even afford this, you absolutely can learn Japanese free.

Any questions? Use the comment form below.


List of Japanese Computer Menu Terms: a handy guide to your Japanese-speaking devices

kindle-fire-japanese-input-home-screen2Setting your computer’s (and other devices’) language to Japanese is an important step if you are serious about any degree of self-immersion.

It isn’t just the limited number of words you will be using in computer-ese. It has a much deeper psychological significance in making Japanese a part of the reality of your life, forcing you to see and think Japanese at unexpected moments, which helps to re-adjust the balance of your mind toward Japanese.

You can, and almost certainly will, switch back occasionally when you need to understand something complex. It is very little trouble to do so (just enough to stop you cheating all the time!) Don’t worry when you need to do that. The main thing is to have your interface in Japanese 90% of the time, and that really isn’t difficult.

Navigating a Japanesed computer or tablet is easier than you think. A lot of the menu items are actually just katakana-ized versions of the regular English names. If you can’t work out things like ウインドウ、ツール、ブックマーク and ヘルプ you can always type them into Denshi Jisho or use the sneaky Dolly shortcut of typing them into any typeable area of any webpage (the search box usually) and Rikaichan them. And of course everything is still where it was before, so you will find most things naturally.

Also, most of the regular menu actions have keyboard shortcuts, and you can recognize them in the menu by the bracketed shortcuts. Even so I would recommend saying the Japanese names to yourself each time you use them until you know them well.

As for the kanji, some of them are easily recognizable (開く, open for example) others probably aren’t. Don’t forget to pronounce them to yourself as you use them (きびしい人形ね).

We will be adding to this list over time. Please do not hesitate to add new words in the comments (we will pop them into the main list), or ask about ones you can’t work out.

List of Japanese Computer Menu Terms

In alphabetical order of English terms
Note: This list has become rather long. Please don’t be daunted by it. The aim is to give you a reference for anything you might run into. Actually a lot of what you encounter won’t be on this list. It will simply be katakana-ized versions of the English terms you know already. You don’t need to know this list! Just use it when you need it.

操作 そうさ action
追加 ついか    add
適用 てきよう apply
閉じる とじる close
環境設定 かんきょうせってい configuration (preferences)
作成 さくせい create
切り取り  きりとり cut
削除 さくじょ    delete
編集 へんしゅう edit
検索 けんさく   find
次を検索 つぎをけんさく   find next
強制終了 きょうせいしゅうりょう   force quit
書式 しょしき format
全画面 ぜんがめん full screen
履歴 りれき history
入力 にゅうりょく input
言語 げんご language
一覧 いちらん list
読み込み中 よみこみちゅう loading
場所 ばしょ location
管理 かんり manage
新規 しんき new
開く あく open
上書き うわがき overwrite
貼り付け はりつけ paste
印刷  いんさつ print
再生 さいせい playback
終了 しゅうりょう quit
最近 さいきん recent (as in 最近開けたファイル, recently opened files)
ゴミ箱 ゴミばこ recycle bin
やり直す やりなおす redo
再読み込み さいよみこみ reload
再起動 さいきどう   restart
実行 じっこう run
保存 ほぞん    save
保存先 ほぞんさき    save location (destination)
検索 けんさく   search
設定 せってい settings
表 ひょう table
元に戻す もとにもどす undo
取り消す とりけす undo
無題 むだい untitled
利用 りよう use
使用 しよう use
利用者 りようしゃ user
表示 ひょうじ view

We will be adding to this list over time. Please do not hesitate to add new words in the comments (we will pop them into the main list), or ask about ones you can’t work out.