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日本ごをべんきょうします。 February 25, 2007

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Academically Speaking, Odds and Ends, Technology.

In an attempt to brush up on those Japanese classes I took back in college (and have mostly forgotten, for lack of practice), I found myself scouring iTunes for podcasts that might be of help. Then I stumbled upon JapanesePod101.com.

Podcasting from Akasaka in downtown Tokyo, the folks over at JapanesePod101.com have put together a very innovative, entertaining and – dare I say it – effective language-learning experience. Free daily podcasts cover survival phrases, vocabulary and grammar, as well as interesting nuances of Japanese culture within a format that gives the program the charm of a morning radio show instead of a stuffy classroom. Lessons are delivered in manageable increments that expose listeners to a variety of native speakers, making it easier to appreciate the different ways by which the language is spoken. And it’s hard not to be won over by the cast’s infectious enthusiasm and rapport.

Podcasts are free, on top of which the group also offers a premium service with added features (e.g.,detailed notes) on a pay-per-subscription basis. On their own, however, the podcasts already pack a lot of value for the busy commuter that wants to learn more of the Japanese language and the enchanting culture behind it. While there is no doubt that the service is ideal for the Japan-bound tourist intent on learning a little of the vernacular lest s/he be lost in translation, I am convinced that it is also a viable program in and of itself that will have listeners conversing in Japanese convincingly in no time.



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