Saturday, May 12, 2007

Japanese Pod 101 - Free Podcasts, Pay for More

Since December of 2005, I've been listening to's podcasts. They are free to all, and don't be fooled by the name, "podcasts" don't require iPods. JPod101 has the best material for beginners, intermediates, and even advanced learners of Japanese.

Before I explode with my admiration, I should tell you that, since I am a paying member of, and since I have such faith in their product, I've signed on to be an affiliate. This means that, if you click here or on the JPod buttons to the left or on the bottom of my page, I get a commission from any service sale.

Why JapanesePod101 has the best Japanese-learning podcast:

1. The structure of each mp3. First, there's a short English intro. Then, the voice actors perform a Japanese dialogue, one time fast, one time slow, and one time with English inserted. (The actors, after the first month of the podcast, are all native Japanese speakers.) Then there's a little conversation about the dialogue, and after that they zoom in on the vocabulary and grammar points.

2. The friendliness of the hosts. The voices on this podcast are incredibly friendly. They love what they are doing, and they have fun with every topic. For over a year, I commuted every day to work with their voices in my ear. Recently, I've skipped a few lessons, and I really feel like I miss them.

3. It covers all bases. Listening, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, idioms, culture, common phrases, survival phrases... Plus, if you pay them a pretty reasonable fee, you have access to the PDFs they create. The PDFs will increase your reading ability, both of hiragana and of kanji.

4. The forum is filled with tips of how to study Japanese. If you have a question, search the forum, and then ask it if it hasn't been answered already. There's such a lot of information on the forum pages that I haven't even looked into half of it.

5. The other Japanese podcasts are pretty bad. Others I've listened to have too much English, or are too low-level for me. Some are scant on details, preferring to teach just one sentence a week. What?! Why bother even opening that mp3? JPod gives you hundreds of times that kind of content.

So, dude, go. It's free to listen, more to read.

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