What's up with NihongoNoMori?

This is something I actually noticed a while back, but it seems to be becoming even more common/widespread and I’m not seeing any topics on it.

Does anybody know what’s going on with the upper level NihongoNoMori videos? They used to have quite a few phenomenal playlists for N2 material, but it looks like hundreds of their videos have been taken down (I assume voluntarily) or made private in the last year? Specifically I can’t seem to find their series where they would explain the differences between grammar points with similar uses. Are they republishing these somewhere else, or recreating them and I’m just blind?

I was just about to start on any N1 materials they have, but if the resource is going to disappear before I can get through it, I don’t really know how to approach using them…

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I always got the impression that it was like… some specific university’s “teaching Japanese as a foreign language” department where people had to make some kind of video series as a part of their course or something. I don’t know if that is actually the case, or if it would explain the flaky nature of the channel, but yeah, I wouldn’t count on everything being there forever.

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So I went to the actual channel page after finishing up my round of Bunpro and found this video

They’ve moved from YouTube to a stand-alone paid-subscription service, so I imagine this new paywall would explain the disappearance of a lot of their videos. I do understand wanting to earn well-deserved money for a well-produced service, but idk how I feel with retroactively locking years of content away to force it. I think they should be offering some sort of new features or content that drives people to subscribe rather than just throwing up a fence and ticket gate around previously free content.

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They’re building that paid platform, but I do think that’s not the reason they’re deleting the videos. The team probably changed, and they’re redoing a lot of videos (for the better imo):

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To be fair, I haven’t watched any of the more recently published videos since they’re for lower N levels than I’m currently studying, but I’m definitely all for improvement of old content! I just wish they’d leave said old content up until it’s been properly replaced.

And actually as I’m scrolling through the channel directly now, as opposed to through links on Bunpro, I’m finding loads of the same videos I was looking for on N2 grammar (remade or not I’m not sure of) just in different places. I wonder if the links on Bunpro were just broken by re-organization efforts?

Regardless, it seems that I likely could’ve avoided this thread all together by just doing a small amount of due diligence on my own part by checking the channel properly. Sorry for the clutter y’all, it’s been a long couple months :sweat_smile:

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I noticed they updated their website recently, looks like N1 is open now. They put some of their samples up and the production looks nice (much better than daily YTs), 980¥​ a month so very reasonable. Nice to hear grammar explained natively and Yuka slows it down a bit to make it easier to follow. If they keep building their courses, will definitely check out…always enjoyed their content.

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Having looked through the contents now, I actually agree, and ultimately subscribed :sweat_smile: I’m a sucker for supporting people who put in solid work, and also for study resources :joy:

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Double-posting on my own thread, within a span of minutes. I’m a heretic, I know, but I didn’t want to tie this up in my previous direct reply so I made it separate.

For anyone interested in the site:

It looks like it’s only N1 for now (much to both my surprise and satisfaction. It seems like N2/N1 are usually last when new stuff comes out, which is always a bummer for me as an upper-intermediate learner), but there are clearly plans to work backwards and add content for the lower levels later.

Currently it only has Kanji, Vocab, and Grammar sections, but Listening and Reading sections are supposed to come out by the end of April. The kanji sections works much like WaniKani, in that she breaks down kanji into radicals and creates funny mnemonics for them, albeit more firmly rooted in the true origins of the components (again, to both my surprise and satisfaction). The vocab section poses an example question first, and then follows up with an explanation of the words meaning and nuance. Grammar usually opens up with a short and funny skit that uses the point before breaking it down into its construction, meaning, related points, and even whether or not you should use it in daily conversation, and even even what to use in its place to sound more natural should it not be appropriate in daily speech. Topping it all off, its taught fully in Japanese that anyone who has completed N2 should be able to understand (and I’d assume similarly for the lower levels once they’re completed and released) which makes it very easy to embody the concepts fully without having to relate it back to English or the other western languages.

This may or may not be my new main form of study from now on, and I may or may not have constructed an entire study plan around finishing the current content before July :eyes:

All in all, I’m looking forward to using this as a new resource. It re-sparked the vigor I had studied Japanese with previously with WaniKani that I had lost since hitting level 60, and I’m now pumped to get home and make a new study binder so I can properly and firmly slam my nose to the grindstone with this!

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Actually kind of smart tbh. The N5-N3 market is absolutely saturated with free content. No point in even attempting to try and get people to pay for what already exists for free.

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Yeah, you can hardly find N2 and N1 grammar because a large majority of Japanese learners are not really aiming for such a high level and they become pretty difficult to explain compared to N5-N3 grammar, which is expected

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That’s a shame. I looked through a couple of the videos with the new teacher and I just prefer the previous teacher. His live annotations when teaching really helped me.

This is a completely fair point, but I think highlights what makes it such a disappointing reality.

By being motivated to study higher level material than most, we’re often left to use bland or even outdated texts/resources, meanwhile flashy new apps and tools aimed for beginners come out left and right. I’ve lost count of the number of times some cool new resource has come out and I’ve gone “Oh this looks awesome, can’t wait to add it to my studies!” Only to find it didn’t have any material challenging enough for me. Feels good to be able to get something early and while it’s still useful for once is all :blush:

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It’s always depressing, because the attitude seems to be “If you’re good enough to be doing N2/N1, that means you’re fluent, so just learn via osmosis while living in Japan!” which is absolutely not true for most people, and makes the vocab/grammar sections of the test really hard. In some cases, I’ve ended up looking at vocab/grammar books aimed at native speakers, which… has had mixed results.

That was indeed one reason I loved NihongoNoMori–it actually broke down things for learners, despite still all being in Japanese. I haven’t checked out the channel in a while, nor have I subscribed to the new site yet, but I may have to give it a go! (I’m aiming for N1 this year, after a several-year study pause since passing N2.)

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He was great a teacher but their production quite homemade. They would have a whiteboard that wasn’t even readable at times because the camera was at a distance. My favorite was when they put a big plant in front and couldn’t see the key grammar points. Then they had another girl who was very good but dressed in a sexy maid outfit for some reason…quite the distraction.

I like Yuka’s channel, the original live YT-feeds were just a different format. She would be interactive with the audience or try fun activities like breaking down song lyric w/ grammar points while singing, even the occasional puppet show.

@Houndstooth, would be great to hear your feedback once you go through the course.

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Once I’ve been using it for a few weeks regularly, I’ll be sure to come back and post an update on my thoughts. I’m also planning on creating a Kitsun deck for the vocab section as I go along so I can SRS the words in the same order I’m learning them, and I’ll link that as well (though it will very much be a WIP as I go).

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So having used the site much more consistently up to this point, I figured I’d come back with my thoughts so far. Granted, I’ve been unable to use it as consistently as I would’ve liked since March (thanks real life!), but as it stands I’m roughly 40% of my way through the Grammar and Vocab sections.

I’ve been skipping the Kanji videos since I’d expect any kanji I don’t already know will pop up in the Vocab section anyway. I’ve elected to not comment on the Kanji videos since I haven’t really used them, but I’ll happily answer any questions people have about them to the best of my ability.

On to my thoughts.

General Thoughts

As I said before I’ve always liked Nihongo No Mori videos from the standpoint of studying Japanese in Japanese. I think this makes it much easier to comprehend more advanced grammar that doesn’t tie cleanly into one’s native language.

These videos are no exception, and are very well-made, and broken up into clear and concise sections based on their content. Yuka Sensei continues to impress with her ability to explain things in a clear and understandable way, all the while keeping it fully Japanese.

The videos clock in anywhere from 3-12 minutes each, with the vast majority of them falling in the 5-7 minute range. It should go without saying that at the N1 level, Nihongo No Mori will not work as a standalone resource, but I think it works phenomenally as a main study tool for new material given the detailed explanations by a native speaker.

Grammar Section

The grammar videos in particular stand out to me as particularly high quality content.
The entire section is broken into 16 chapters based on the general meaning of the grammar points, eg ~だが、~だから、~だけ, etc. Each chapter also has a short 10 question review test of the grammar presented, using practice questions based on the example sentences for each grammar point.

Each video begins with an example conversation that showcases the grammar for that video. Yuka Sensei then breaks down the grammar point in both meaning and structure before giving 3-4 quick examples of how it could be used, and what each of those examples mean, before diving into a much more detailed breakdown of 3 full-blown example sentences using the grammar where she also explains the nuance of any esoteric vocabulary they use. She then plays the example conversation from the beginning of the video again, and proceeds to break it down. The videos usually wrap up with a quick summary of the points meaning and structure, with an additional explanation of how formal the grammar point may be/what situations it may be used in, and how you can convey the same meaning in a more casual way for day-to-day use, or with friends.

She also frequently writes the example sentences using specific combinations of vocabulary that the grammar point is often (or exclusively) used with.
11/10 on the grammar for me.

Vocab

The vocab section is also very well done, though may not be as intuitive as the grammar section for some users. The videos are separated based on practice question type, those being reading, context, synonym, and usage questions. Let me elaborate.

Explanation of question types for those that need/want it.

Reading questions are straight forward, choose the proper reading for the underlined vocabulary word written in kanji.
Context questions have you choose which of 4 words best fits the blank in a given sentence. The 4 answers are typically fairly similar in meaning, or at least all share a common kanji or reading.
Synonym questions have you choose the answer which could best be used to replace the word underlined in an example sentence.
Usage questions present a word and have you select the sentence which most appropriately uses the word.

Each video contains a handful (changes depending on the question type) of vocab practice questions. After you answer each question, Yuka Sensei shows the correct answer and proceeds to explain why this is the correct answer, usually even going into great detail to also explain why the incorrect answers are incorrect.

It can be a bit of a slog at times if you already know the vocab presented, but that absolutely doesn’t take away from the value of the content itself, as it’s still great listening practice and I usually walk away with something I didn’t know regardless, a deeper understanding of a word I already knew at the very least.

Some Numbers

I did a very rough estimation of the number of hours of content provided for the N1 level, so here we go!

Grammar: ~14 hours across 16 chapters, 120 videos (and grammar points) in total.
Vocab: ~17 hours across 10 chapters, 195 videos, and 745 practice questions in total.
Kanji: ~36 hours across 20 chapters, 310 videos, and 829 kanji in total.

So you’re getting about 67 hours of content in total spread across 625 high quality instructional videos.

There are still the Reading and Listening sections yet to be released, and I doubt at this rate that they’ll be out in time for the Summer 2021 exam. However, I have no doubt that they’ve been delayed in part due to Covid, and to ensure they stand up to the standard of quality that the rest of the videos do. N2 and N3 are also on the way, with no mention of N4 or N5, but there’s no timeline on those levels yet.

TL;DR- It’s a great program, and I highly recommend it as a primary source of study for JLPT and even just Japanese in general, as Yuka Sensei provides the casual/daily conversation equivalent for all formal grammar points, and explains both nuance and use-cases for vocabulary. 10/10, well worth the money and something I will personally continue to support and use even after I eventually pass N1 (whenever that may be).

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I really want to subscribe to this because it seems that it would be so useful to me! Unfortunately, I need N2 or even N3 and have been waiting for the videos on their website since it was first launched (November or December).

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If you’re looking for N3 or N2 content, check out their Youtube channel in the meantime! It won’t be the most recently produced stuff, but it’s still great quality for a completely free product and generally has very similar structure.

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Haven’t noticed anything disappearing yet of the N2 stuff I’ve been reviewing occasionally. Thanks for the headsup, will have to download a few of the playlists to keep em safe.

I am also subscribed, and love the fact it is in Japanese! ^p^

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