Japanese Language Videos

Learning the Japanese language isn't easy, but it is very possible. On the other hand, learning critical phrases for different situations can be a lifesaver. Knowing what you really need to say is as important as being able to say it. I actually have two gaijin friends that at different times and places taught me how to say Intercontinental Ballistic Missile in Japanese. While it is wonderful that they (and now I) know how to say it, I have yet to use it. And after having lived in Japan for more than two years, I have never heard anyone else use it either. Learning what will help you in daily life while you are in Japan may be a better use of your time.

So, what do you really need to be able to say?

If you are planning on really learning Japanese or will be in the country for an extended period of time, perhaps nothing is more important than learning to read the basic syllabaries, hiragana and katakana. This is the first step in conquering this language. Both syllabaries contain 46 characters representing sound, or "kana." The videos below show you characters and provide audio for proper pronunciation as well.

Hiragana

Katakana

It is possible to make additional sounds with glyphs, or small marks near the upper right-hand side of the kana. These glyphs may be use with either hiragana or katakana.

Kana Glyphs