See Japan, Hear Native Pronunciation, and Learn Kanji

Here’s a cute and catchy resource - just getting going, but it’s totally great (these are my former students so I’m totally biased - but it is great)!!
Since they’re Japanese, it teaches in the Japanese way, but they manage very well to make it digestible for Japanese language learners - I think. Opinions?


It’s great! I have subscribed. It makes me very happy when I hear and recognise words I’ve learnt on WK - it’s very clear I think. You must be proud of your students :slight_smile:


They’re so cute and awesome! They’re actually my old ESS club head and vice head.

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It’s a bit cringy but cute…

I was going to say something about text visibility in the first video (the yellow text was a little hard to see with the sakura in the background), but I see that that was fixed in video #5, or possibly even earlier.

It feels like fairly good immersion practice even for advanced learners, because while the kanji might not be new, the words and structures the narrators use to describe everything might not be very common in, say, anime or dramas, so even if one reads a lot, one might not have heard these words being spoken aloud before. Thanks for sharing this. :slight_smile:


You say “cringy” but I prefer “peculiar.” At any rate it’s definitely cute, and there’s a lot of good info, so it’s gonna be a good resource.

If it’s for beginners I must truly be an infant because I couldn’t understand anything.

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Just two:

  1. Your former students are pretty awesome.
  2. The narrator has a future in broadcasting or MC’ing events: She enunciates very clearly (which I know is harder than it sounds).

The only “Japanese way” thing that I notice is the unconscious emphasis on handwriting and stroke count. The pragmatic reality is that few if any westerners (myself included) will ever learn how to write kanji by hand. It’s rarely mentioned here, but “writing Japanese” for even fluent non-native speakers pretty much always means using an IME. Few of us will ever learn how to handwrite characters. Sad, but true.

One corollary to this is that we sometimes find it more difficult to distinguish between similar characters. This may not be the best example, but I suspect that (ちゅう) (pour) and (おう) (depart) is harder for westerners to distinguish from one another than for Japanese natives who learn to write by hand. Both characters look similar, and even have the same number of strokes, but the difference between さんずいへん (⺡) and ぎょうにんべん (⼻) is even more obvious and memorable if you learn to write the characters by hand.

I also agree with the comment about the 字幕(じまく) legibility during the intro of each segment. I’ll grudgingly admit to possibly being older than most consumers of the content, but I’d definitely appreciate a larger font and more contrast. The shaded text background in the more recent videos is much appreciated.

Please congratulate your students for the fantastic work!


Thanks a lot for the detailed and well thought out analysis. I’m copying this statement and sending it to her. She’s super talented - I could go on and on about them but as just one example: when I was leaving the school (my term had come to an end) we had a little ESS going away party. This student created a sappy and nostalgic video of our time together over the previous years. It was like a video montage set to music and it was excellent. That’s the kind of eager talent we’re talking about here.

As far as the focus on stroke count of native over foreign learners, I have to say I think it’s something that we should focus on more. Most people simply say that we never actually hand write in Japanese, so it’s a waste to focus on strokes when learning. But I think hand drilling could be helpful for foreigners because it’s more actively engaging. You may be better able to remember if you actually write when learning. Maybe the movement of your had over each kanji engages your brain a little more.

Anyway, learning kanji is hard - really there’s no way around that fact.

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Oh, I agree. Definitely not a waste, but neither is it mandatory (and never bet against the path of least resistance).

I somewhat regret not practicing handwritten kanji myself. Doubtless, it would improve my English handwriting as well (I can’t even read my own!). Maybe someday.

Note that even learning to use an IME to type Japanese is an acquired skill for foreigners. We tend to take it for granted around here because it’s so much easier than handwriting, but using an IME is an acquired skill. We tend to take it for granted because context-sensitive choices feel like cheating by comparison.

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You must be a doctor! Actually, as a teacher with experience in public schools, I feel I can decipher anyone’s handwriting. It’s a bold boast, but experience and eye strain has given me some incredible abilities to read shoddy handwriting.

I agree with you completely, learning to type is a skill. People too often take for granted the things we do in daily life without realizing there’s a skill at play there. How many (older - usually) people do you see stabbing their keyboards with their index fingers for years and years, because they never took the relatively short amount of time required to learn the skill.

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The new vid’s got some great views, so I’m just plugging it here. Please check it out.

Oh wow, I just learned how to do furigana on here, I’m stoked!!

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