Recommended learning resources

Hi guys, I am sure many of you know me from regularly posting, sometimes complaining, doing audio for the site, supporting the site… or perhaps sometimes even being a little bit objectionable! Despite all that, just like the developers of this site, I reallllllly want you to learn. Life is short, I get frustrated when I see people get really hung up on things which may actually be simple. So starting from today I am going to try add a new resource every day which I think will shave down the time it takes you to come to a point of fluency in Japanese that most people will never get to.

Why should you believe me? That’s the beauty of it. You shouldn’t. Learning is a constant battle and at often times a very personal battle. I will share what helped me get to conversational fluency in (just a touch) under 2 years. If it does not click with you, do not use it! But I will endeavor to only share things that I feel greatly reduced my learning time.

For today, I will share this video on しまう which comes from a ‘somewhat strange’ youtuber who has an undeniably strong feeling for Japanese (I suspect the author is a native Japanese person… but nobody really knows)

This video should open up しまう for you and unlock many grammar points that use this (but fundamentally share the same meaning). If the ‘done’ meaning does not click with you, the top comment and use of ‘totally’ is also very accurate! Depending on where you are from.

Future reference- Sometimes I will post videos in Japanese, sorry if these are currently beyond your level, but as there are many levels of learners here, I will try to mix up the content.


Todays recommended video. This one is in Japanese but has full subtitles available (and goes at a very leisurely pace).

This video covers the difference between らしい、そうど、みたい in a relatively simple manner with some pretty funny examples.

In general, 日本語の森 has a great selection of videos for each JLPT level that compares similar grammar points. These are all really good (especially for the higher levels)



That’s funny. When you started posting daily useful videos this was one I immediately thought should be posted.

So for the people who can’t understand this level of Japanese, here’s a quick breakdown of the usage:

みたい - Based on something you experienced, you think or imagine this conclusion

らしい - Based on information from someone else, you think or imagine this conclusion

そうだ - Repeat information as given from someone else

Now using the final example, they are waiting for the teacher. One notices how late it’s getting and based on that experience decides that the teacher isn’t coming (みたい). One gets a call from the teacher and repeats that the teacher said they are not coming (そうだ). Now the other based on this information concludes that the teacher is not coming (らしい).

Also from a little earlier in the video you can see that if your conclusion based on others information is the same as the information given then そうだ and らしい can be interchanged.

Honestly this video is such a great explaination that I think it should be in the readings section for each of the corresponding grammar points.


Yep, it is definitely a handy video that covers most of the usages of these grammar points. An extra important point is that らしい can only be used to describe things that fit into the category of the thing you are talking about.
For example if it is Spring and you say わぁーもう夏らしいですよね! It is 100% wrong.
This is because it isn’t Summer… it’s Spring! Only Summer can show the true qualities of Summer.
That’s better! Spring is only showing a quality of summer. Not ‘being’ Summer.

As far as ‘second hand’ information goes. Your conclusions are great :blush:


That first video… Wow… Once you get over the weirdness, it’s really informative, but will take some getting used to!

Will be following this thread with great anticipation, always love new content / sources.

Thanks for doing this!


If you can get over the weirdness, that first channel is an absolute gold mine. I will definitely be posting a few more of her… his… it’s? videos. :joy:


Todays recommended video… is not actually a video. But a whole range of videos. To be more precise, just a list of youtubers I recommend to power up your Japanese listening skills (and learn relevant words)

I recommend only subscribing to the ones that you like! Although you may have to force yourself to listen to some if you are weak in some listening areas and want to strengthen that in particular.

Here are my recommendations.

PDR is a very amusing youtuber that has very easy to understand Japanese. He also has a very high English level and sometimes does videos with his friends testing their English level. All videos are subtitled in English and in Japanese. He talks about very relevant things and how youth tend to think about them.

Nihongo no mori have a lot of grammar videos in Japanese about Japanese grammar, and how to use the various structures. They have almost every grammar structure you could think of and a huge library of Onomatopeia explanations. They also have playlists for slang and kansai ben. Which are very useful!

Hikakins main channel . A huge range of videos here from product reviews, chats with the govenor of Tokyo, chats with his friends, and even political views. A very funny guy that most people know from his beat boxing videos from the early days of youtube. Intermediate listening. Sometimes he can be a little difficult to understand, but rarely.

Corona games. She plays most new release games all the way through and has very detailed walktrhoughs where she talks about characters, their personalities, strategies, many things. She has a very clear… but very ‘kawaii’ voice. This one is fantastic but not good for people that do not like the kawaii voice.

This is Yuka Kinoshita. She is an 大食い. That’s basically the Japanese word for binge eating. You will learn all sorts of food vocabulary and cooking vocabulary and probably also have your mind blown by the fact she can eat the things she does and not die. Her accent can be challenging to listen to.

This is Seikin, Hikakins brother. He has a few different youtube channels and is a really funny guy. He does lots of product reviews. So you will learn tons of vocabulary for how lots of daily items are used.

This is Fischers. A group of guys that do lots of challenge videos and generally take the piss out of eachother. Perfect channel for those of you that want to learn how men talk to other men. (LOTS OF SLANG). Can be a little hard to understand at times but you will probably laugh so much that you will remember a lot of the words in their context.

QVC Japan. This is basically a huge shamwow type channel that advertises things in the same way they would be advertised on TV. Because this is a professional group and they are treating you like a REAL customer in Japan would be treated, you will be exposed to some real polite language in the same fashion as you would be in a store. If your goal is to become proficient in polite Japanese, this channel is indispensable.

Hajimeshacho is a very famous young guy that does various challenges, talks about random things and discusses viewer comments. This guy has a very unclear pronunciation style at times, so I only recommend him if you are confident with your listening. Apart from that, most of his videos are quite funny (although a little bit cringy at times, as he is still a young man who is obviously still discovering who he is as a person)

This one is a bit of a dark horse. This is a white guy that is a bit of a philosophical speaker, and although his pronunciation isn’t perfect 100% of the time, Japanese people love him and quite often comment that his Japanese is better than theirs… They are usually right. Gramattically this guy has fantastic Japanese. (Just a little bit of a western accent)

This guy does free videos aimed at Japanese middle schoolers that teach Japanese grammar with super easy to understand explanations and some absolutely mind blowing grammar tips that will make you a lot more confident while speaking. I really… really recommend his videos for learning to understand Japanese LIKE a Japanese person does.

Last but not least. This guy is a buddhist and talks about a lot of philoshophical things. He speaks very slowly and VERY clearly. Although a lot of the vocabulary is quite advanced, you could probably quite easily listen to these videos without actually watching them as they are all so well spoken. He also talks about a lot of concepts that are deeply engrained into the Japanese way of thinking, and will help you put your mind in to that frame.

@AlliCrabi These links are for everybody but I did promise I would send you some links in a previous post. So here they are :wink: Happy listening


It’s worth mentioning there are two different そうだ grammar points whether it’s a direct visual observation or indirect hearsay information (which can possibly change the entire inflection depending if the source is reliable):

  1. The hearsay version of そうだ “heard that”
  1. The conjecture そうだ “looks like” using V-masu + そうだ and different adjective conj.

日本語の森 is great but it wasn’t until a community teacher a while back spent an entire class drilling exercise on the above that I appreciated the differences.


Man, I don’t even know where to start… Thank you! SO MUCH!!!

As someone who never really got into using youtube for watching blogs and stuff it never even occurred to me to look these sorts of thing up, but now, in one post I went from a few Japanese series that I could (re)watch to a boat load of native content!

Thanks, you’re my personal hero!

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This is a good diagram.
I think it’s good to know that there aren’t 2 そうだ’s、as much as there are 2 points of view. There is the type that attaches to a noun, or the noun forms of verbs which are just nouns anyway. And the type that already has だ
I think the reason this is easy for me to remember is because ありそうだ (seems like it is) Is obvious that it isn’t hearsay, because there is no だ before the そう.
But the だそうだ hearsay version has two だ’s. One for my opinion, one for the person I heard it from. Seeing as though Japanese never claims to know anyone elses feelings or knowledge 100%, we need both だ’s to highlight that ‘my’ だ is only a maybe.

(Your description is correct too) I just like highlighting that It is in fact the same grammar point in a different form. Like saying ‘is a thing’

そうだ ‘according to A’s behavior/look, B is a thing.’ conjecture.
だそうだ ‘according to A, B is a thing.’ hearsay.


It is all great stuff! By far the easiest way to remember things is if they are interesting. And this covers a pretty broad range of interests hahah.

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Something like an i-adj doesn’t need a preceding だ and this was my most common mistake:

美味しいそうだ。I heard it’s delicious.
美味しそうだ。That looks delicious.

I agree now, same grammar point but just two different points of view (quite literally!). For a beginner, this may be hard to see heuristically unless it’s broken down (I spoke incorrectly for way too long :scream:). I like your description on noun or noun behavior though (verb, na adj, i-adj), I wish I learned it like that in the beginning.

For me it seems the confidence index just feels different depending on the situation and source though (my observation or hearsay), not like how the video presented.

Not that this is a grammar point about fake news or anything :slightly_smiling_face:


Yep totally. 100% agree. This leads to a common problem in Japanese. For the (not needing) だ、like you said, this is true… and also untrue. The だ is always there. Just it is omitted sometimes. This is a case where it is omitted.
Basically a 形容詞 in Japanese always has a です、sometimes it is just hidden :flushed::flushed::flushed:. Just like 形 implies, you are describing the ‘shape’ of something. The reason it is omitted on い adjectives is, as you would know, only です can follow an い adjective. And to say 忙しいですそうだ would sound absolutely horrendous hahah :joy::joy:

Edit: Actually I will call myself out here. Technically in sentences with い adjectives, だ or でさ isn’t needed at all, ever. This is because い adjectives have a built in copula. The only time you see a です with an い adjective is purely for politeness. In those sentences, です doesn’t mean ‘is’. It means… literally nothing.

But this is a grammar feature I hate going into, because despite how logical Japanese is, this always bothers me.
@s1212z read my edit, and check out this short video. It explains why I hate だ。It also may help you with all those grammar points that may or may not have a だ、and how to decipher who the information comes from. It is a beginner video, but in many ways very much an advanced video.


You are right, it’s a fundamental topic but it has a lot of depth and circles back to i-adjectives with verb behavior, nice video. When I listen to Cure Dolly, I always think of Mrs. Doubtfire giving a Japanese lesson.


Lmao Mrs Doubtfire, I never made that connection. Cannot unhear :joy:. I actually think the person behind Cure Dolly is a genius. I think the reason they don’t show their real face is because when people present a controversial idea, other people tend to attack the person rather than the idea. ‘who do you think you are, where did you get your degree in linguistics’ lol. They are probably just trying to avert that.


Thanks for the suggestions! I will also share some of the random stuff I have been watching despite being much lower level at Japanese

- Street interviewers - This guy seems like your typical ‘obnoxious youtuber’ but I think that actually works out well for people who want to study Japanese because he constantly flashes subtitle captions of what he is saying on the screen for dramatic effect and he uses a ton of casual slang. He basically goes around on the streets of Japan asking random young people, usually girls, provocative questions like how many people they’ve slept with.

Idols and Voice Actors - You can find a lot of content about idols and voice actors, sometimes people have made English subs for them and so you can watch them with the subs, then just put the audio on your phone and listen to them later. I have found they are easy to learn from because they have lots of jokes and games or activities from variety TV shows that can stick in your memory when you listen again, they have a lot of on screen captions and the voice actors usually have voices that are nice to listen to. You can also pick up things about Japanese culture from those variety type of shows with idols.

Daily Life Vloggers - Random examples, a lot of people are calming and have fairly simple easy to understand videos - risk of rain 2 - animal crossing - tetris

Video Game players - If you like to game, try to find Japanese videos of people playing the particular game you are playing atm and commentating about it, recently I was playing this game Risk of Rain 2 so I found some random stream of it and put it in the background.

Other suggestions are ASMR and cooking videos.


I watch a lot of ASMR videos too! Nice to practice and fall asleep at the same time hahah. Thanks for sharing!

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Todays recommended resource is one I actually created myself. One big problem I find with people learning Japanese (I work with many of them), is that they use English to describe Japanese. This causes the words that they learn to never have any form of impact for them, and they cannot describe anything unless it is bumbling out a few disjointed words.

My solution, I am slowly creating sheets of JLPT level vocabulary that uses JLPT level vocabulary to describe those words. The idea is that if you are at N4, you should be able to use my N5 vocab sheets to study. And for the vast majority, once you have read it once in English, reading the Japanese description will be enough to jog your memory of the English counterpart. That way instead of reinforcing Japanese with English, you are reinforcing Japanese with Japanese. It is also a great way to learn the nuance of that word as Japanese people see it.

I will provide both a .Word and PDF file for each JLPT level, but for today we will just start with N5. If you want to create decks out of these for anki, go right ahead. I will do another post after this one describing the formatting so that you have no trouble reading the descriptions.

You can download the files here. I will add other JLPT levels as available. 97% of the descriptions are taken directly from a concise Japanese dictionary. The intention of these dictionaries is to tell you the most useful information in the shortest amount of words possible. This is one of the best keys to a monolingual transition. As for the last 3%, these were translated by native Japanese people for me by asking for the most simple explanation possible with a synonym or two thrown in.

Edit: JLPT N4 added. N3 should come in a few days as it is a much bigger list and will take a bit of time.


How to use Japanese to Japanese vocabulary charts.

I have formatted these sheets so that the word appears first on the left, followed by the reading kana on the right. The reason I did not put the reading kana as furigana is that it is too easy to accidentally read the kana above the kanji and rob yourself of the chance to force yourself to remember the reading. Immediately after the kana you will see the description. Here is how to read the descriptions.

〈五〉 Verb type Godan

〈下〉〈上〉Either of these symbols refer to ichidan verbs, the other verb type in Japanse. The
下 is shimoichidan and the 上 is kamiichidan. This extended information is not super relevant to knowing the meanings, so just know that they both mean ‘ichidan’

▼ Symbol shows that the following description is an extension of the original meaning

▼~ Symbol shows that the following is directly linked to the original word to create a new word or expression

~ In general this symbol just means (the original word goes here). It can come before or after many different constructions. For example if the word your are reading the description of is 走る, then ~ just means (走る)

▲ Symbol shows that the following Kanji or reading is an alternative that has the same or very similar meaning.

[1] shows that a category of similar meanings will be divided based on (1) numbers in round brackets. Additional numbers in square brackets show a different family of meanings using the same verb but maybe very different meaning.

(派)(~) This symbol followed by a kana shows the kana used to change the verb into it’s noun form. For example

借りる- かりる 〈上〉 (対)貸す (派)(~)り

(å°¾) This symbol shows what meaning the word has when it comes on the end of another word.

〈名・ダ〉 This shows that the word is a noun or a na adjective

〈形〉 This shows that the word is an い adjective

(対) This shows that the following word is an antonym

〈副〉 This shows that the word is an adverb

(é ­) This shows that the following segment is used as the head of another word, and what meaning it carries in that case.

〈感〉 This shows that the word is an expression

〈接〉 This shows that the word is used for conjunction.

This may seem like a lot, but once you start reading them you will see that the explanations are very simple.


Recommended video of the day. This one is a fact about Kanji that lots of people that have been studying Japanese for years fail to notice. Once you do notice it and apply it to your Kanji learning, you will save yourself a boatload of time learning!

Ignore the clickbait video thumbnail, the actual content is super helpful and not something often discussed until people are at a higher level. However, straight from day 1 it will help you!