Shout Out to Japanesepod101.com
I started learning Japanese last summer, mainly because I am interested in the culture. Bunmei ni kyomi ga arimasu. Or, at least I think that’s the way you say it in Japanese. I welcome any corrections. While my marketing responsibilities don’t yet extend into Japan, they easily could someday. For now, it's just a very satisfying hobby.
I’m the type who wants to understand the grammar of a language. I suppose it comes from being a marketer and needing to craft content carefully. I want to not only be able to use a language – I want to understand the correct useage. For this, I comb through fairly dry books and internet resources.
Japanesepod101.com does have some of the basic grammar, but what it does is add some fun. The lessons are engaging and informative. They are easily paced at about ten minutes each so I can pop my ipod on while I do some mundane chore. Or, I can listen to a series of them when I go out for a run.
Best of all, interspersed between the language lessons, are culture lessons. These give important clues to Japanese culture such as the practice of “warikan” or dividing a restaurant bill equally between everyone at the table regardless of who ordered what.
The podcasts, several hundred of them, are FREE for download. That’s simply amazing. There are also two paid levels of subscription where you can get access to more grammar explanations, writing tools, and other learning materials.
If you visit the Japanesepod101.com site and scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see other sites for other languages – French, Italian, Arabic, German, Spanish, Korean, etc.