Japanese books for Kindle from TheJapanShop

Have a Kindle? Want to use it to learn Japanese? This eBook might be a good place to get started.

Learn Hiragana on the Kindle

TheJapanShop has an inexpensive Kindle eBook available that will teach you Hiragana from scratch.

I highly recommend Hiragana as a starting place in your quest to learn Japanese. Once you learn to read and write Hiragana, you will literally know every single sound that can be made in the Japanese language. Most learner books that include Kanji will have the hiragana readings provided as well, so this is a critical step in the learning process. There are only 46-something Hiragana, so if you really put your mind to it, you can certainly master the Hiragana in a couple of weeks. Do it!

The book content was created by the creator of TheJapanShop.com and his Japanese wife, so you can expect that the quality is excellent.

If anyone else out there is using a Kindle to learn Japanese, I would love to hear about it! Let us know your routine in the comments below!

– Harvey

Hiragana, The Basics of Japanese on Amazon.com.

Japanese Podcast Recommendations – Part 4

The next podcast recommendation is Nikkei Veritas Moyamoya Talk by TV Tokyo Announcer Oe Mariko.

Moyamoya Talk with Oe Mariko

とーく!!! Just a quick Japanese print culture lesson. Seeing とーく, with it’s と and く in Hiragana placed around a katakana vowel extender ー thing may seem a little weird. Basically, this is トーク which is a katakana-ification of “Talk,” but they used Hiragana to make it cute. Hiragana is cuter than Katakana. I think this is a fact. That happens quite a bit in advertising, so keep on your toes!

This podcast is basically a conversation about recent business and economic trends that affect Japan. Most of the podcast has someone explaining things to Oe Mariko, and she keeps it moving by asking questions and giving prompts in a quasi-conversational manner. The podcast description says that it will clear up those unclear, fuzzy, you know… “モヤモヤ” subjects that you need to know if you’re an individual investor or just want to keep up to speed with the latest trends affecting the Japanese economy.

For example, on my flight back from China yesterday I was listening to one podcast where they happened to mention the increasing numbers of Chinese tourists in Japan. They went through the demographics of the visitors, what they were likely to spend on gifts, the places they were likely to visit, Japan’s readiness in regards to the increase in non-English speaking tourists, stuff like that. I recommend this podcast to anyone learning Japanese because it’s not as much of an in your face information dump as a straight forward news podcast, yet the conversation is serious enough that you’ll still learn lots from it.

Here is a link to the Moyamoya Talk Podcast Website.

You can also follow the host, Mariko on Twitter!

Here is a direct link to the Moyamoya Talk files in the feed.

Be sure to check out the Manyoushuu Podcast Recommendation, and Nikkei Trendy Podcast Recommendation, and the Profile Podcast from the other posts in this series!

– Harvey

Other Japanese Podcast Recommendations:
Nikkei Trendy
Ueda’s working person Profile!
Audio Book: Ningen Shikkaku

Japanese Podcast Recommendations – Part 3

Profile! I'll never be featured on this Podcast...

This podcast is called 上田の仕事人名鑑 プロファイル! Basically, the host will go out somewhere in Japan to find hardcore Japanese people working. I don’t mean soft cushy desk jobs, I mean 70 year old men who jump into chest-deep waters with a basket rake tied around their waist and scrape the ground for clams (あさり). It’s good stuff. You get to learn Japanese and Japanese culture at the same time. Fabulous.

One confusing thing here. When I first started subscribing to this podcast it was called ココが知りたい! It featured a lady who would just go explore some places in Japan and interview people to learn about what they did or about the place that she was visiting.

Then one day, the same podcast thread suddenly stopped getting ココが知りたい! and flipped to this 上田の仕事人名鑑 プロファイル. Now it seems that I can’t find ココが知りたい anywhere on the store. I guess it was replaced by プロファイル。Too bad! I think you can still find the ココが知りたい episodes though if you dig back in the links to the podcast files themselves.

Here is a link to the プロフィル! Video Podcast on the iTunes Store.

Here is a link where you can grab the individual files from the video podcast.

Be sure to check out the Manyoushuu Podcast Recommendation, and Nikkei Trendy Podcast Recommendation from the other posts in this series!


This guy is Tough

– Harvey

Other Japanese Podcast Recommendations:
Nikkei Trendy
Oeda Mariko – Nikkei Moyamoya Talk
Audio Book: Ningen Shikkaku

Cosplay in Kunming China

Last week I noticed a sign for a CosPlay convention happening here in Kunming China, so I decided to take a peek.

Despite living in Japan for 7 years, and also having lots of Anime-loving friends in the States, I had never been to a CosPlay convention before checking this one out.

From the pics I see around the internet of Comic-Con and whatnot, I think this one was not quite up to par with the rest, but it was still interesting.

Shopping for Anime Goods

This event had more people showing up to buy anime related goods rather than actually cosplaying. They were selling everything including little Dragon Ball figures, obviously pirated Anime themed jigsaw puzzles, character hats and costumes, and even unrelated stuff like random handmade jewelry.

Do you recognize the character hats?

There were indeed cosplayers, and this girl here with the giant hammer gets my vote for the best outfit.

I don’t know what character she was playing… anyone out there know? Maybe it’s an original character? Or Chinese?

Hammer Girl

I don’t know if this happens in CosPlay places in Japan or the states as often… but here in Kunming China there were quite a lot of guys dressing up as girl characters… with stockings and make up and everything. Not for me, but hey, I guess they did a good job. A Chinese teacher who was with me said that some of them looked prettier than she did… doh.

It was great to see the Japan-China culture mix though. There are lots of young Chinese who are very much into Japanese Anime. Some of the more popular ones seem to be Miyazaki Hayao stuff, and also Inuyasha.

Anyway, more pics from the cosplay event below. Enjoy!

– Harvey

She's a man, man.
2 girls 1 guy
Advent Chldren on the big screen!

Japanese Podcast Recommendations – Part 2

Got great feedback from the first Podcast Recommendation post, so here’s another one!

A podcast for your artistic side

This video podcast will introduce you to the ancient Japanese poems, Manyoushuu.

You would have to have incredibly advanced Japanese mad skillz to understand the language used in the actual poems the first time around, but don’t worry, most Japanese can’t either. That’s the point of this podcast. It will help you!

After they introduce the poem they will then use modern Japanese to explain the meaning. This podcast is, as was the other personal tech one, geared towards native Japanese speakers, so it doesn’t pull any punches. It’s real Japanese in action.

I love this podcasat because… well… I’m not a softy… usually… I mean geez… 何というのかな。 これは奇麗だよ!泣きたくなるぐらい美しい!!!

… What? I had something in my eye.

Manyoushuu in motion...

Anyway, let me know how you like it in the comments, and let me know if you have any other recommendations!

Search the iTunes Store podcasts for “Manyoushu” and you can find this one.

Here is a direct link to the Manyoushuu podcast in the iTunes Store.

Here you can snag the Manyoushuu Podcast .mp3 files individually.

They also have a proper Manyoushuu website here.

You can learn about Manyoushuu on Wikipedia… where else?


– Harvey

Other Japanese Podcast Recommendations:
Nikkei Trendy
Ueda’s working person Profile!
Oeda Mariko – Nikkei Moyamoya Talk
Audio Book: Ningen Shikkaku

TheJapanShop.com CONTEST OVER!

Thanks for entering everyone!

The winners of TheJapanShop.com giveaway contest are… *drumroll please…*

@meggiEm00m00 via Twitter

Mary via the Comments

Abhishek Duggal via the Comments

Nataliya via the Comments


Ken via the Comments!

We’ll be contacting you by email to tell you how to use the prize! If you don’t hear from me in 24 hours, drop me a line and I’ll be sure to get you your goods.

Thanks for entering! I hope you enjoy your stuff!

– Harvey

Contest: Win $25 of TheJapanShop.com Goodness!

Hello everyone!

As you may or may not have noticed, TheJapanShop.com has a new website!

In celebration of this momentous occasion I’m collaborating with TheJapanShop.com to give away $25 dollar TheJapanShop.com gift certificates to 5 lucky readers!

How to Enter the Contest:

Do all of the following:

  • In the comments on this post, let us know which TheJapanShop.com products you would spend the $25 gift certificate on! Be specific! We’re curious to know what you are all interested in.
  • Mention how you like the new TheJapanShop.com website, please be specific if there is something you like… or hate! Brutal honesty is encouraged!


If you are on twitter, retweet my tweet about this contest for another chance to win! Every person who retweets will have their name added to the pot.

RT @JapanNewbie Win $25 bucks to spend at http://www.thejapanshop.com any way you like! Details here! http://bit.ly/cptrV2

If you do both the tweet and the blog comment I will enter you into my super random winner generator twice, doubling your chances to win! (You can still only potentially win once though. Heh.)

The contest ends on Sunday 9pm Japan-time, so get your submissions in! Winners will be announced on Monday.

To get us started, if I were to enter this contest I would put the money towards the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar. My Japanese level is beyond most of the content in this book, but my wife is occasionally teaching Japanese to beginners and this would be a great reference for her students. I used an earlier version of book when I was in high school. It saved my life.

Regarding the new TheJapanShop.com site, it’s much better than the previous site. I don’t like how currently the search box defaults with the text “Search” though. Just a pet peeve, would rather it be blank. I bet they’ll get that fixed soon!

Good luck everyone!!!

– Harvey

Japanese Podcast Recommendations – Part 1

I’ve been meaning to put together a list of my favorite Japanese Podcasts for quite some time now, but never seem to get around to it. So, in order to stop the slack, I’ve decided to just do it one at a time and forget about organizing a pretty list. It’ll work out, I promise.

This first podcast is one of my favorites and I listen to it regularly.

Geek-out while improving your Japanese

The Shukan Nikkei Trendy podcast features two female hosts who talk about the latest consumer technology-ish trends. It’s very professional, and they speak very clearly.

For example, the podcast I’m listening to now just mentiond the Gundam Cafes! When the iPad was coming out they also discussed how they thought it would do in the Japanese market. Fun times. What more could you ask for? Really!?

Searching for “Nikkei” on the iTunes Store under podcasts will get you to this podcast. You can also try this direct link to the Nikkei Trendy Podcast on the iTunes Store. Use this link if you just want to snag the mp3 files individually rather than subscribing through iTunes.

Remember, listening above your language ability level is a GOOD THING. It will help you improve your Japanese. Promise.

Enjoy! Let me know how you like it. Also let us know in the comments if you have any other Japanese Podcasts you recommend!

– Harvey

Other Japanese Podcast Recommendations:
Ueda’s working person Profile!
Oeda Mariko – Nikkei Moyamoya Talk
Audio Book: Ningen Shikkaku