Japanesepod 101 - Is It Worth It?
Updated: Feb 4, 2019
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こんにちは, everyone, and welcome back to Teach Me Japanese!
How is the studying going? Hopefully you've already got some of the kanji down from last lesson.
Today we are going to take a deeper look at one of the most highly recommended resources for learning Japanese on the internet, Japanesepod 101.
Before we get started, I just want you to know that I would never recommend anything to you that I haven't personally used and liked. When I was like you, and just starting out my Japanese language journey, I used this program. That being said, let's hear my honest thoughts on it, shall we?
If you haven't heard of it already, Japanesepod 101 is a website that, through podcasts and daily lessons, helps aid learners on the road to fluency. But it's a lot more than just podcasts and lessons, today we are going to be discovering just what makes it so highly recommended.
First up is my personal favorite feature of this website, the resource list. (though ours is pretty great too!)
Once you create a free account with Japanesepod101, one of the first things you can do is look at their resource list. It is impressively comprehensive, and includes things like a Japanese dictionary, kanji dictionary, and even a grammar bank with detailed grammar explanations.
Here's a look at their kanji dictionary setup. If you come across a kanji that you don't know, you can simply input it into the dictionary, and it will list all of the readings, as well as the meaning right there on the screen. If you want to know the stroke order though, make sure to keep an eye out for our kanji lessons here at TMJ.
Also, there is an interesting option to add a kanji to your "kanji bank". Once you've add the kanji to your kanji bank, you have the option of reviewing the kanji that you've saved with flashcards, like so:
The same goes for any vocabulary that you look up. There is a vocabulary bank as well where you can review saved vocabulary with flashcards.
There's even an option to include "vulgar words", which is a nice touch, I might add.
Next are the actual lessons offered by Japanesepod101. All lessons have a specific topic (here sushi), and an audio dialogue as well as a pod cast, vocabulary and kanji lists, lesson notes, and lesson transcript.
You are given the options to favorite a lesson, write your own notes, and download pdfs of the lesson and lesson notes. You can also actually download the audio/video files of the lesson. Of course the vocabulary and kanji are available to be added to your "banks", where you can later study them via flashcards. There is even an option within the lesson to quiz yourself!
My favorite thing about these lessons is the podcast. I think it is incredibly vital to be able to practice your listening skills when learning a language. Why? Because even if you are able to write and type or even speak in Japanese with no problems, if you have trouble understanding what the other person is saying when you have a conversation, you can not really call yourself fluent.
Things I really like about Japanesepod 101:
2) All those resources (kanji, grammar, vocab)
3) The ability to convert kanji and vocab into flashcards without making your own
4) From beginner to fluency, an easy to follow lesson plan
5) lessons about REAL LIFE that you ACTUALLY need for life in Japan
6) everything from informal/everyday Japanese to formal/business Japanese
And here's how I rate Japanesepod 101:
------>For a self learner, this is the number one website I recommend. Japanesepod 101 is one of the main reasons I was able to obtain conversational fluency, and I learned most of my kanji through them as well. If you put in the work, Jpod 101 will work for you.
------>When you are just starting out, the website's interface and be a little bit overwhelming, but that's probably just do to the fact that there is SO much information. The lessons themselves are fairly clear, although the lesson notes can be a bit iffy.
Customer support: 5/5
------->The Japanesepod 101 staff is very responsive and interactive in the comments of each lesson. If there's something you still don't understand at the end of a lesson, all you have to do is leave a comment and most of the time there will be a reply. Also, when I was a broke college student using the website and needed to cancel my subscription to pay the bills, I got an email back right away and the money was refunded into my account the same day.
-------> Even the free version of Japanese 101 is chock full of info, and perfect for beginners. I started out myself with a free subscription and only upgraded when I had finished all the beginner lessons and wanted to go further. That being said, if you want to get the most out of Japanesepod 101 you are going to have to pay a bit of money, more than you would for a run of the mill text book. But when you think about the fact that it is full of so much more information than any single text book on the market, you are really getting a deal. Instead of having to buy multiple textbooks and then kanji textbooks on top of that, you are getting everything you need in one interactive and engaging place.
My suggestion is to try Japanesepod 101 out for yourself for free, they even offer a 7-day free premium trial when you sign up so you can see what all the fuss is about. Most of their resources are free too! If you try it out and realize it's not for you, then no biggie. But if you really want to accelerate your way to Japanese fluency, I recommend the Premium Subscription to help get you there.(only $10 a month!)
That's about it for today guys. What do you think? Do you want to give Japanesepod 101 a shot? Have you already tried it? Let me know any comments or questions down below.
And as always, がんばってね！