Master links on learning Japanese
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Learning strategies

Vocabulary

Speaking 

Listening

Reading

Writing 

Proverbs

Grammar

Particles

Kanji

Study materials

Interpreting

Note-taking

Translation 

Online dictionaries

Technology

Language maintenance

The JET programme

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Links
The Net is a goldmine

The websites listed here are the ones I have found most helpful in my quest to promote the mastery of Japanese. Most are free. Some are not, but I think they are still worth listing. (I don't receive payment for any of these.)

If you think I've made a glaring omission, overlooked the next best thing or a link has gone kaput, please feel free to let me know and I'll check it out.

General

Learning Strategies
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Vocabulary
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Speaking
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Listening
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Reading
  • Reading Tutor allows you to copy Japanese text into a frame then choose whether you want a Japanese, English or German explanation. It also has a vast collection of essays that can be read using the same tools.
Writing
  • There's a section on writing here at doogooroo.com with a few tips that might be helpful.
  • If you want to be inspired, read up on award-winning haiku poet Dhugal Lindsay. He'll inspire you to do away with the myth that only Japanese nationals can write beautiful Japanese.

Proverbs

  • You can try here (English) for commonly used proverbs organised according to categories with English explanations.
Grammar
  • Check out JGram for grammar lessons and some great online quizzes organised according to Japanese Language Proficiency Test level.

Particles

Kanji

  • There's a section on kanji here at doogooroo.com with a few tips that might be helpful.
  • The kantango site allows you to create your own set of kanji flashcards. Beats writing out your own. You can also indicate whether you've mastered a kanji or it needs review.
  • Can't read a place name? Try your luck at the Yuujiro postcode search system (Japanese interface).
  • The best way to read Japanese webpages on the fly is definitely with the Rikaichan add-on to the Firefox browser. It generates a pop-up with the reading and meaning of a kanji when you move your cursor over the kanji. The original idea was conceived by Todd David Rudick with considerable debt owed to Jim Breen's previous work.
  • If you don't use the Firefox browser but want the kanji reading/meaning pop-up functionality of Rikaichan, try out rikai.com by Todd David Rudick. Enter the URL of the Japanese website you want to read in the window at the top, hit go and you're away.
  • Another option is Babylon although, unlike Rikaichan and rikai.com, you'll have to pay (although you can download a free trial). You sweep your mouse over any word and press the middle button (or whichever button/keypad combination you prefer) and up pops Oxford dictionary definitions, Japanese (and other language) translations, machine translations, and the like. Unlike Rikaichan it can also be used in documents on your computer provided you're connected to the internet.

Study Materials

  • Charles Kelly's site has a huge range of Japanese language materials online. Definitely worth a peek if you're wanting exercises/drills.

Interpreting

Note-taking

  • Interpreter Training Resources has some excellent tips on note-taking for consecutive interpreting.
  • For quick abbreviations of city names for note-taking, try using the International Air Transport Association destination identifier codes (on the One World - Nations Online Project website). These three letter codes identify cities all around the world (provided they have an airport). (Eg. TOY = Toyama etc.)

Translation

  • The honyaku website is the best place by far for a comprehensive overview of the Japanese translation industry. If you're considering a foray into professional translation, start here. You can also check out the honyaku archives for older posts.
  • If you are serious about becoming a professional translator, you might consider joining the Japan Association of Translators (JAT) which is a non-profit Japan-based organization for individual translators. They hold the IJET international conference annually for professional Japanese translators (though Japanese interpreting sometimes gets a guernsey too).
  • Ken Ishida's 毎日一分!(in Japanese) is a superb email magazine that takes the first line or two from an English newspaper article, translates it into Japanese then offers an analysis. While targeted to Japanese learners of English, it makes excellent English to Japanese translation practice.
  • The Yomiuri Shinbun translation tips and techniques page (in Japanese) offers a series of short Japanese articles that have been translated into English with corresponding explanations (in Japanese). It seems targeted to Japanese native speakers translating into English, but it's systematic and there's a wide range of material.
  • The Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators Incorporated (or AUSIT) is Australia's professional body for interpreters and translators and is responsible for formulating the industry's code of ethics.
  • The National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) tests and accredits translators and interpreters in Australia. It also approves Australian tertiary-level courses in translation and interpreting. In the Australian interpreting/translation scene, you're a nobody without NAATI accreditation.
  • For completeness I'll mention the 日本翻訳協会 (confusingly acronymized to JTA) although, despite the name, they seem to me to be more of a test administrator rather than a professional organization. They administrate the 翻訳技能検定試験 which I think is largely targeted to Japanese nationals although I've yet to meet someone who's actually sat it.
  • Excite has the best free automated translation site (Japanese) I have found although, personally, I think automated translation is of very limited value.HINT: edit your English/Japanese first to get the best translation results (i.e. keep sentences short, avoid relative clauses etc.)

Online Dictionaries

  • My favourite online dictionary is the Eijiro dictionary (Japanese interface) featured at the top of the Space Alc webpage. Besides being very current, it has a plethora of examples which helps you figure out what to use when. It generally caters to a Japanese audience so it only has readings for some of the kanji, but you can overcome this with Rikaichan or by copying and pasting into the WWWJDIC(see below).
  • The Glova online dictionary (Japanese interface) would have to run a close second to Eijiroalthough you'll need to tick a few boxes in the Japanese interface to get it to translate from Japanese to English.
  • The most famous Japanese dictionary on the web would have to be the WWWJDIC (Australian site) developed by Jim Breen and the countless volunteers he has inspired. I recommend using the mirror site closest to your geographical location as it makes dictionary searches a whole lot faster. The WWWJDIC is packed with features - my current favourite is the mobile phone interface.
  • You may find translations of less commonplace words by performing a search of postings of the current honyaku mailing list or of the honyaku archives.
  • If you're feeling lazy, you could try your luck with Excite's free automated translation site (Japanese interfact). HINT: edit your English/Japanese first to get the best translation results (i.e. keep sentences short, avoid relative clauses etc.)

Technology

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Language Maintenance

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The JET Programme

  • It's probably a good idea to start with the official JET webpage if you're looking for an overview of the JET programme.

  • I would also recommend looking at the Big Daikon website for uncensored first-hand accounts of what the JET program can be like.

  • If you're looking to be a CIR (Coordinator of International Relations), definitely take a look at the CIR homepage.

  • Check out the AJET (Association of Japan Exchange & Teaching) homepage to get an idea of what JETs get up to besides internationalizing anything that comes in their path.

  • If you're a past JET looking for a mentor (or those hard to come by "コネ"), check out the JET Mentor Network.