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Are Japanese People Retarded?

When I turned around from the chalkboard, there was chubby Mr. Kamei with his plump fist stuffed inside his waistband. We were in the middle of English 301 and he’d either developed one fearsome case of poison ivy in his pants or was masturbating like crazy. This is what it’s like teaching college in Japan....
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Your Brain on 10,000 Sentences

You’re gonna need a way bigger hat All my life goals come from the internet. And so somewhere, in the ten minutes a day I spend surfing sites that don’t need to be immediately cleared from my browser, I stumbled upon the notion that studying 10,000 sentences was the one true path to learning Japanese....
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A Friend of Mine Learned Japanese in 1 Year

A reader recently posted an intriguing comment about foreign sumo wrestlers: “Within a year, they have a command of the language that would take most students years to develop.” Implying that with enough immersion and dedication, it’s possible to speak Japanese well in a short amount of time. Apparently, there’s a Japanese book that popularized...
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How to Write Japanese

You gotta love Anna. Seriously, because everyone loves Anna. She’s a busty, blonde Swiss-German who grew up playing the piano and speaking Swiss. And German. And English. And now she speaks perfect Japanese. God, I hate her. Nah, just kidding. Anna’s okay. In high school, she “picked up” French, Spanish, and Italian. Well, they’re all...
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Why Your Japanese Sucks

It’s not Romaji That’s Evil—-It’s Hiragana I have a new co-worker, who just so happens to be white. It’s very exciting, finally speaking with a real foreigner. I really gotta practice the English more. I think she’s from some place like Kansas, probably because she reminds me of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, albeit...
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How to Learn Kanji, in 10 Steps

I don’t go to a lot of cocktail parties. But somehow when I do, I always meet people studying Japanese. Maybe it’s just me. Or more precisely, people who’ll eventually stop studying, only they don’t know it yet. Here’s how the conversation goes: “Ken! I’m studying Japanese! I’m stoked! And I’m completely serious about improving....
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How to Stop Learning Japanese

“Ken Seeroi, you should write a book.” People always say that. Well, like six people, but that’s still a lot. After my fabulous career as English-teacher-in-Japan, I’m counting on book sales to provide for retirement. I assume each person will buy at least ten thousand copies. Of course, I could write lots of books if...
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Is Speaking English in Japan Unavoidable?

A reader named mintyroll recently commented: The “Japanese People Don’t Want you to Speak Japanese” part is one of those minor things I’ve always been afraid of whenever I think of how my first trip to Japan will be . . . Consequently, it’s made me want to reach at least fluent level of Japanese...
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Why no one Helps you Learn Japanese

I have a lot of great ideas. Really, just a ton. Oh sure, to the untrained eye, I’m kicking it on the balcony drinking Asahi beer and watching sardine trains packed with commuters ride into the sunset, but really, I’m thinking. Hard. Like about my tiny Japanese apartment, and how to make it more livable....
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The Real Japanese Learners

Making the Jump from Intermediate to Advanced Japanese Recently, a reader posed an interesting question: I’ve done the entire Pimsleur system, gone half way through Rosetta Stone, through RTK1, taken up an SRS, spent countless hours listening to Japanese audio, watching untranslated Japanese TV, trying to read sentences, and I feel I have very little...
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