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Programs for advanced Japanese

LBLB Registered User regular
edited May 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I speak Japanese fairly proficiently, having lived there for 3 years, but I'm starting to get rusty from not using it so I an looking for a program like Rosetta Stone that I can use from home to brush up. Rosetta Stone is not advanced enough, from the reviews I have read, though. Does anyone have any suggestions?

While it would also be great to just find someone and start speaking Japanese with them, I am looking for a more structured program, with lessons and that kind of thing. Thanks in advance!

LB on


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    angry-muffinangry-muffin Registered User regular
    I'm actually looking for the same thing (although I only lived there for a year). The best I have been able to come up with was watching studio ghibli films in Japanese. Something like online intermediate lessons one could go through in one's own time would be nice, especially if it was a free or inexpensive resource.

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    wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    Check if the Pimsleur Level 3 course is a good match. It's tougher than Rosetta, but I don't know if it'll compete with 3 years' residency.

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    NibbleNibble Registered User regular
    It's difficult finding advanced-level educational software for any language, probably because it doesn't sell nearly as well as beginner-level stuff. You'd probably have better luck just getting textbooks and studying them by yourself.

    If you want to practice kanji and word recognition, there is LRNJ, which covers all ~1900 jouyou kanji and ~3000 compounds; however, as far as I know, it doesn't cover any grammar and it is apparently no longer in development.

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    dorindorin Registered User regular
    If you are interested in something other than a computer program, I highly recommend the book Nakama 2. This was my college text book and it was very challenging.

    If you want something that is at an advanced level, but causal in approach, you might consider setting up a Japanese iTunes account and renting movies, listening to audiobooks, and downloading music from there.

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    TDawgTDawg Registered User regular
    As a fellow, current Nakama 2 student, I think that it is safe to say that, if he lived there for three years, it is almost certainly below his comprehension level. It may deliver on the structured material section, but it is second-year material. By the end it expects you to know ~400 Kanji? Certainly not more than that. A handy resource, and full of activities, but ultimately I don't think it is quite what he is looking for. Perhaps in conjunction with something else.

    In the textbook route, I know that the third, and final, year at my university uses Tobira. Supposedly it deals with more advanced grammar and also teaches culture at the same time through short expository writing, but I haven't actually had my hands on it myself so I can't say much for activities it has. If you are interested in finding out more I can hunt down one of my third year friends and take a look (you might have to PM me since I don't check help/advice very often). I feel this is probably more up your alley.

    I find that Tofugu has a pretty good collection and perspective on Japanese study materials. They promote some of their own stuff, but I feel like they accurately and fairly assess the usefulness of other study materials.

    I know you said you would prefer a more structured system but would it be impossible for you to pick up some books, light novels, (or manga)? Perhaps just make it a goal to read a book a month? I feel like this is perhaps the most enjoyable method of maintaining your Japanese, assuming you are at a sufficiently proficient level.

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