JapanesePod101 is one of those courses that I had always heard about, but never tried. So, one day I decided to finally give them a go and see exactly what they’re about. Today I’ll give you my JapanesePod101 review.
Since I want to be as thorough as I can while still sticking to the most important aspects of the course, I’ll first talk about what JapanesePod101 is and who the people behind them are.
Then I’ll talk about what they teach (the course content) and how they teach it. Finally, I’ll let you know what my personal experience has been with them and where you can try them out for yourself if you’re interested.
What Is The Course Like?
In the most simplest terms, JapanesePod101 is a course that teaches the Japanese language. But it’s not like a typical language learning course where you have a certain number of lessons and once you complete them you’re done.
On the contrary, JapanesePod101 is constantly adding new lessons and resources so that their members get a continual stream of new material.
Looking through their different lessons I found that they teach all four of the language learning skills:
These lessons can be accessed through a lot of different means that include their website (this is what I mostly used) and their smartphone apps on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
That’s one thing I really appreciated, that I could access all of the content when I was at home on my computer or through my phone when I was out.
In addition to their Japanese lessons, they have a lot of other resources such as frequency lists and flash cards. I’ll go into more depth on these later on.
Having said all of that, it’s also a community of like-minded people who love the Japanese language and want to get better.
For me, this was a big plus since I had other people I could talk to for advice on grammar or anything else I struggled with.
There are also a lot of professional tutors on their staff that I was able to talk to (in both English and Japanese) so I got answers from the teachers when I needed them.
So when you think about all of that, you begin to see what JapanesePod101 is. It’s a community of teachers and students, with a lot of lessons and resources that help people learn Japanese.
Let me talk a little more about the lessons now.
There Is A Lot Of Content
The first thing I noticed when I logged in to my account was that there are a lot of levels of Japanese. I thought this was awesome because I could skip to the one that was right for me and start learning new things immediately.
They have four levels to choose from:
- Absolute Beginner
So, since I had already been learning Japanese for a while I skipped the beginner stuff and starting looking through their intermediate library.
What I found was pretty impressive.
I was blown away by the sheer amount of content that they have within just this one section. When I looked around on the site, I found out that they say they have almost 3,000 lessons in total!
What was really cool was that these lessons were organized into different categories. One such category was labeled as “Japanese for Everyday Life” which I checked out and went through.
It focused on the words and phrases that most people use when talking to people in situations such as ordering food in a variety of situations, talking to the neighbors, getting a hair cut, and more.
There was also sections for each of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) levels that focused on the vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension that’s needed to pass. It also contains quizzes where I could test my knowledge and see what all I remembered.
Another group of lessons that I liked were the ones that focused on business Japanese. Since working in Japanese is a goal of mine, I felt that these lessons in particular were especially valuable.
I’ve only talked about three of the categories that I went through, but there are a ton more.
The reason why I really liked this is because I could always find lessons that interested me because they focused on either a skill or an aspect that I wanted to get better at in Japanese.
This meant that I was not only getting better at Japanese overall, but I was improving the specific parts of Japanese that mattered most to me.
I think that with their extensive library, they have something for everyone.
How They Teach
They use a variety of methods for teaching. The primary one is a podcast-style lesson where one or two people are talking to one another and discussing new Japanese words, grammar, an aspect of Japanese culture, or something else.
What’s really nice is that there are transcripts for all of these audio lessons, so that I could always read what I was hearing in both English and (more importantly) in Japanese.
In my experience, I’ve found that listening and reading to the same material is the fastest way to learn new words and phrases.
When I see the words, it helps me to understand them and remember them. Then when I hear the words, I not only learn how they sound in natural speech, but I also get some reinforcement for their meanings.
At any rate, there are additional methods that JapanesePod101 uses such as video lessons (they were pretty fun), some quizzes, their system of flashcards, and of course direct conversations with a tutor.
Having access to the other students in the community and the staff’s tutors was really nice since I could get my questions answered really quickly.
There were also many times when another person asked the same question that I was thinking of, and so I got my answer before I even typed it in.
Something else that I should mention is that due to the format of most lessons (the podcast style) and the fact that there’s an app for the course, I was able to access lessons and listen to them when I was away from home.
For me, the two biggest times to listen to JapanesePod101 on my phone was when I was driving and when I was working out at the gym.
I appreciated being able to learn on my own terms like this since some days I didn’t have time to sit down at my computer and go through the normal lessons.
In addition to the main lessons, they have quite a few additional resources available to their members such as:
- Custom Flash Cards
- Key Japanese Phrases
- 2,000 Most Common Words
- Grammar Bank
- Kanji Bank
The people at JapanesePod101 have worked really hard at providing their members with all the resources needed to learn Japanese from the absolute beginner level to an advanced one.
My Experience Using It
After using JapanesePod101, I can easily see why so many people recommend them.
They’ve got an endless amount of high quality Japanese lessons that cover a wide range of topics.
More importantly though, I could always find things that interested me and that I wanted to learn. Their lessons were fun and engaging, and having both the audio and the transcript made learning the new material easy.
Something that probably doesn’t get mentioned enough is how great their staff is. I always felt like I could reach out and connect with someone to get specific answers to my question, or to set up a tutor session where I could practice speaking Japanese.
I’ve tried out a lot of courses in the past, and I also own a lot of Japanese books that teach grammar and vocabulary, but since JapanesePod101 had so much content, I felt like it was the complete package when it came to learning Japanese.
In other words, it’s a great way to save on money since there’s no need to buy a dozen books or supplement it with additional Japanese language courses.
It also saves on time since they have their own custom flash card system and dictionaries. There’s no need to have multiple programs running when learning Japanese since those things are all included in this course.
Honestly, I kind of wish I had tried them out earlier when I was first getting started!
Where To Try It Out
In my opinion, JapanesePod101 has the best library of Japanese content to learn from. Not only do they organize it by difficulty, but also by category which makes it easy to find fun and interesting lessons to go through.
I found their teaching methods to be both engaging and effective for learning new words, grammar, and the cultural aspects of Japanese. They made learning Japanese a lot of fun!
It’s the best course I’ve found for learning Japanese from the absolute beginner level all the way to advanced.
If you have any questions or comments, let me know!