I just attended a session by somebody from the Japan Foundation who was promoting their online resources, and they seemed potentially interesting for those doing self-study. From the looks of it there aren’t any remotely recent threads on the subject, so I thought it might be helpful to share
Disclaimer: I haven’t tried any of these properly, so apologies if it’s all terrible. Please report back if you do!
As I understand it, Minato is the umbrella term for their learning resources portal. You can find it at:
By default this page displays the Japanese Courses tab, which shoes you all of their ‘Marugoto’ courses. These are:
- Designed for self-study
- Available in several languages, not just English
As well as a host of other activities, they include wonderfully awkward videos that let you practice conversing with the computer?! A whole scene is acted out and there are points where the actors will turn to the camera and ask you questions (recorded). If this works well (which it might not), I thought it sounded fantastic for people who struggle to get speaking practice or find it too scary/embarrassing.
They go up to A2 level (JFS, mapped to CEFR), though he suggested a B1 course may be in the works. There is a B1 textbook you can get, I believe.
You can also take the Marugoto course with the support of a tutor. I think these are not free, for the most part, but the site seems to suggest that isn’t always the case.
They are designed to support students in countries where there isn’t good access to Japanese teachers, so you are more likely to be accepted if you are in an area where it’s difficult for you to find tuition.
There is also a “JF J-Learning Site & Apps” tab.
This has a variety of resources, including (but not limited to!):
Hirogaru: articles and videos on several areas of cultural interest, with or without subtitles.
Listen Together: collection of children’s, traditional and ‘indie’ music, searchable by theme or level of Japanese difficulty, with lyrics available onscreen and as a PDF.
Marugoto Plus: a version of Marugoto that you don’t have to sign up for???
Japanese in Anime and Manga: adorable site designed to help enrich your appreciation of anime and manga! It just covers things like the ways different characters speak and so on. Not exactly high-level stuff.
So… there you go! I’ve never seen the Japan Foundation’s learning resources discussed on here, so I hope this is a useful contribution to the pool of resources. I wasn’t, like, paid by them or anything just was randomly invited to this session and thought the WaniKanians needed to hear.
Like I say, I haven’t tried any of these out, so please let me know if you have any experience with any of them or try them out