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5 Great Resources to Help Older Kids and Adults Learn Japanese

The Japanese language has been growing in popularity in recent years. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, more than 3.66 million people in 137 countries and regions are currently studying Japanese. Although some study for practical purposes such as studying abroad or employment, more people learn because of their interest in Japanese pop culture, like anime and manga. But despite this interest, becoming proficient in a new language can still take hard work. A key part of mastering a language is to look for materials that engage you to stay motivated to practice. Below are some recommended resources for older kids and adults to learn Japanese.

Japanese Playing Cards

By combining familiar playing cards with the flashcard concept, Lingo’s Japanese Playing Cards showcase how easy it can be to learn a new language. This item is kept in a tin box and contains a standard functional deck of cards with four suits of 52 playing cards and 2 Jokers. Teens and adults can enjoy games like Go Fish, Black Jack, and Memory. The main highlight is that each card contains one of the 54 most commonly used Japanese phrases and their phonetic pronunciations, allowing you to expand your vocabulary as you play.

Japanese Language Books

For the longest time, reading books has been a great way to expand your knowledge and improve your reading comprehension at your own pace. Books like the 50 Japanese Short Stories for Beginners are perfect for beginners, providing readers with stories in Hiragana, Katakana, and around 250 basic Kanji characters. This allows them to expand their Japanese vocabulary while enjoying simple but culturally-relevant stories. Another book older kids and adults can enjoy is Yotsuba&!, which is a slice-of-life manga or Japanese comic. All of Yotsuba’s speech bubbles are written in Hiragana, making it easier to process.

Erin’s Challenge

Nothing can beat the convenience of a resource you can access on your phone or computer. Erin’s Challenge, released by The Japan Foundation online, is a fantastic way for visual learners to learn about Japanese concepts in everyday situations. Not only are there video skits to teach you common phrases used in certain situations, but there are also different quizzes you can do to test your knowledge of Japanese culture. If you plan on visiting Japan soon, this resource can help you adapt to the language and new settings without the concern of being rude.

Hiragana and Katakana Charts

Practice makes perfect, and there’s no better way to memorize a foreign language than through constant reinforcement. You don’t have to worry about ruining your room’s aesthetic with our Hiragana and Katakana charts, as they carry a sleek, minimalist design that can fit most rooms. The charts contain the full Hiragana and Katakana alphabets, including variations and compounds and English translations and pronunciations underneath each character. If you’d like to expand your knowledge of Japanese further, you can check out our Genki Kanji Poster for commonly used kanji meant for elementary and intermediate levels.

Japanese Karaoke Songs

For a more dynamic learning experience, try learning some Japanese songs and singing them in karaoke. You can practice your pronunciation and speech speed through provided subtitles and accompanying musical instrumentals. As noted by, karaoke is a big business, with karaoke booths seeing as much as ¥379.8 billion (US$2.94 billion) in revenue. You can search for karaoke videos online or even rent a private karaoke booth in Japan, allowing you to practice without embarrassment.