Resources to be avoided at all cost

JLPT N5 Wall Chart makes some super ridiculous claims. They say that you can pass JLPT N5 with a USD$27 wall chart. This wall chart is so convenient that you can fold it up and take it with you anywhere to study. Apparently, that’s better than carrying the same info in your smartphone.

The only truthful statement in the page was the one about the JLPT pass rates.

For anyone who is tempted to buy this product:

  1. To pass the exam, you need to know more than a list of kanji. You have to know GRAMMAR. JLPT has a reading and listening component for which this wall chart is of no use.
  2. There is no official list of kanji any more. The best we can do is grab several lists and combine them.
  3. It’s a waste of money. Take your friend out to see a movie instead.

If you see any other dodgy products, please post them here.


Rosetta Stone


I hate Rosetta Stone. TBH though, it does have a purpose with people who just need to get by.

It would be decent, if you didn’t need to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.
I hate how it doesn’t really explain anything. Just, this is this… why? because, trust us.


That website looks so sketchy


$21/month isn’t that bad considering WK is $10/month for just Kanji.

I just don’t like how they teach it.

Hmm, yeah I haven’t looked at their new stuff. Last I saw it was years ago when the three Japanese levels cost like $1000 or something. I forgot they now do monthly plans, and structures different or something. Never really looked into it as the old ways turned me off so hard.

Also, any of the numerous ‘Systems’ that promote ‘speak fluent in only three months’ or any other such BS.


They still teach it the same dumb way though. I’m using a combination of WK, JapanesePod101 (still evaluating that), some dude named Mac who sends out a JLPT bootcamp email daily, and Genki+private tutor and it’s working pretty well for me. Just ordered those 10 minute story books with Joyo ratings to start reading too.

Thoughts on non-native-speaking Japanese tutors?

I guess if I’ll take a JLPT exam I’ll make sure to sit next to someone who looks like they won’t pass. Easy!


But what about the person in front/behind?.. what if I have someone on both sides?..
Is that why I failed? Cause I was sitting next to a ~8 year old Japanese kid that looked like she was bored out of her mind and blew through the test? Damn it kid shakes fist Next time I hope they sit me next to that 70 year old lady.


That’s why I hate these charts. They’re so inaccurate. I was the blue guy. And everyone next to me failed, including me. (Maybe I shouldn’t have supplied them with my answers…)


The important thing here is to focus intensely on seating management at the expense of studying. Priorities people!


Sadly, that was the most useful piece of advice from that Web site.

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We all know that a poster is all you need to become fluent in a language.
Now, if I plan this properly, I can fill all the walls in my room with posters for various languages and I’ll become a polyglot in no time !


According to the JLPT site you linked, only 48.2% passed the December 2016 N5 *_* Feeling much better about passing that one now - and given how poor my listening skills are (definitely my weakest section) I’m going to credit Wanikani with massively boosting my score thanks to recognising all the kanji in the first section :slight_smile:

As for dodgy materials - I’ve been beta testing the Japanese for English speakers duolingo and have mixed feelings about it. It’s good for visually learning and reviewing the vocabulary and grammar points, but they have some activities where the pronunciation doesn’t match what the sound should be in context. For example, you drag and drop words to complete the sentence - but particle は is pronounced “ha,” or a kanji is pronounced using the wrong reading for context, like 日 pronounced as ひ when the next block you need to add to it is 曜日。That said I think it’s still worth checking out for anyone around A1/A2 level in Japanese who has an iOS device.


I’d say unless you know about others who’ve been taught by such individuals, it’s probably best to avoid taking the risk. I’d say the same even for native instructors as well. Some people carry the irrational belief that just because they are a native speaker of their language they are able to to teach it to others in an understandable way.

When I moved to Japan, I met an foreigner who was trying to give Japanese lessons to other foreigners, and I later discovered that they had no credentials to support whether or not they would qualified to give accurate instruction.


Thank you for this useful thread!

Japanesepod or any of their other websites for that matter

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