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IzzyAndHerBeans's avatar

What are some resources I can use to learn more about Japanese culture?

Asked by IzzyAndHerBeans (353 points ) April 30th, 2012

I used to live in Japan back in the day but my Japanese is rusty and my knowledge of their culture is a bit on the foggy side as well. I’m looking to revamp my skills and become more involved in the Japanese culture. Do you have any website recommendations that can help me do this?

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6 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

Have you considered finding a pen pal in Japan that would be able to help you get back into the language and culture? Are there specific things about the culture that you remember and are interested in? Perhaps you could begin by researching those things and building from there.

geeky_mama's avatar

You could find a local chapter of the Japan-America society in your area and get involved. This would bring you in contact with Japanese folks living in your metro area and help you reconnect with Japanese culture to an extent.

You could try Meet-ups where people want to speak in Japanese.. this would give you like-minded friends who want to practice their (rusty?) Japanese.

I find renting or buying Japanese TV programs to be helpful, too. I pick out a few テレビドラマ that sound good to me and watch online or rent. If you have LOTS of money you could get Satellite TV and watch Japanese TV shows at home.
It used to be hard to get Japanese books outside of Japan…but now Amazon makes it really easy. You’ll find LOTS – including those for on the Kindle (if you have one)—there’s a really good series of classic Japanese books for like $2/each (Kindle version) – look for: (SORYU BOOKS Great writer series).

In our area we have really good Asian food stores – and since I cook a lot of Japanese food and shop there I’ve noticed sometimes people leave little ads on the bulletin board looking for a tutoring exchange. You could place a paper saying: “Will trade English tutoring for Japanese” at your local Japanese grocery food store.. maybe you’d find some newly arrived Japanese housewife who’d love to trade Eikaiwa for Japanese lessons with you.

Last but not least..if you have a place of your own and room for a roommate you could get a Japanese roommate (perhaps a student at the University) or…if you’re older with older kids you could host an Exchange Student from Japan. They’d be happy to share their culture with you – though you’d need to speak to them in English as they’re here to learn.

Which brings to mind one other idea—YOU could do an exchange. Various Japanese/American exchange organizations and scholarships exist
(like the Monbusho – the Ministry of Education in Japan) program and you could apply for an exchange if you would like to pursue an advanced degree or have an area of expertise that you could teach in a Japanese school.

LuckyGuy's avatar

If you add a $50 Roku box to your TV, you can get about a million Japanese Anime and TV shows for free. It is great language practice.
Find a Japanese restaurant in your area – one that is owned an run by Japanese (not chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean.) The first tip-off beside appearances is to ask for something in Japanese. I’m sure you still remember how to do that.

Then there are videos by these geniuses. For example:
Sushi – a Japanese tradition
Chopsticks – a Japanese Tradition
If you lived in Japan you’ll get the jokes and learn something at the same time. Enjoy!
Otanoshimini !

denzaburo's avatar

i think you can find a good pen-pal on twitter. There are tons of japanese people looking for someone who can chat or write with.

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