How to use Quora to practice Japanese

Quora, for those of you who may not know, is a website where users can ask and answer all kinds of questions. It’s a community of shared knowledge, not much unlike Wikipedia, and there are lots of questions being asked and answered every day. Recently, Quora introduced Japanese language support, which means there’s been a sudden, massive influx of Japanese users […]

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Study hiragana and katakana with Kuma Sensei’s new flashcard web app!

Greetings! It’s been ages since I’ve added any major content to Kuma Sensei, so first, apologies for the dearth of fresh, new stuff. Life is really good at keeping me busy — you know how it goes. But rest assured, I haven’t just been sitting around stuffing my face with Oreos and binging on Netflix (although I am finally getting into […]

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REVIEW: Kanji in Context

Kanji in Context

Context. It’s the reason I’m so bad at retelling funny stories. (Seriously–you just had to be there.) But when it comes to language learning, while it’s important to have guidance, the context in which you learn new information has a major impact on your ability to recall that information later. Let’s take flash cards, a common learning aid, for example. […]

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Learn Japanese – A 6-Step Study Plan

So, you want to learn Japanese. Great decision! But where do you start? How do you get there? What do you do when the going gets rough? For your benefit, I’ve put together this handy little road map for studying Japanese. It’s a multi-tiered approach that will tell you what to do at every step of the way (from absolute beginner […]

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Rei (礼): Mastering the art of Japanese politeness

Japanese businessmen bowing

One of the most complex aspects of Japanese culture for foreigners (myself included) to wrap their heads around is the idea of rei (礼), or Japanese courtesy. There have been attempts to explain the nuances of what’s going on during various cross-cultural exchanges (which often turn into gaffes), including this gem of a book, Polite Fictions: Why Japanese and Americans Seem Rude to Each […]

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