For me, this is the hardest part of studying any foreign language. Here are some resources.

Listening! Website. Flashcards. Rearrangement of materials I discovered at  

Listen Up! More audio flaschcards, which I created and posted at Quia. Updated regularly.

Ultimate Japanese. I'm  using the Advanced level of this excellent program, and created this study aid.  

Rosetta Stone. Web-based interactive software package. A little pricey, and not for raw beginners. Check out some of the free lessons to get a feel for it.

More links below....







Japanese media is everywhere, so there's no shortage of opportunities to practice your listening skills. Here are some more resources:


Radio Nippon - News and other stuff from Vancouver, Canada.

Photo essays - from New Zealand. Prosaic stuff, but useful for practice. 

Movies - Okay, here's where you can really have some fun. The Japanese make wonderful movies, and if you're a serious statebound student you should be watching them all the time.

Supuun ga arimasen - (there is no spoon). Enter the Japanese Animatrix.

Voice of Japan - Terrific software. Paste Japanese text - from the Web, from Word, whatever - into the window, and the program will read it to you in Japanese. You can even record the readings as .wav or  .mp3.


 Back to top











I love Japanese movies. Here's a few Sullypicks:


Ran - A  beautiful,  tragic,  devastating film, possibly the best movie ever made. Kurosawa sets Lear in 16th-century Japan to craft a searing indictment of  humanity. The final scene is almost unbearable.

Kagemusha - another Kurosawa samurai epic. .

Throne of Blood - Kurosawa's wonderful retelling of Macbeth.

Onibaba - a stark look at what people will do to survive. Haunting.

Heaven and Earth - A gorgeous (if inaccurate) depiction of the epic clash between the Takeda and Uesugi clans in the 16th century.

Tampopo - for a lighter flavor, check out this charming masterpiece from Itami Juzo. Fistful of Dollars meets Iron Chef. It's got everything: food, sex, family, friendship, food, murder, heartbreak, triumph, food,  love, and food. Have something to eat handy - this movie will make you hungry.

The Funeral - more fun from Itami Juzo.

Cure - The Japanese make creepy horror movies. This one is excellent.

The Yakuza - Brooding 1970's tale of love, honor and revenge, starring legendary American tough guy Robert Mitchum and legendary Japanese tough guy Takakura Ken.  Ken's extended sword duel at the end - masterfully interposed with Mitchum's gunfighting - is authentic kenjitsu.

Millenium Actress - This feature length anime shows what Japanese animation can achieve when it breaks out of the pop-bubblegum mode.

Ghost in the Shell - stunning full-length sf anime for existentialists.

Grave of the Fireflies - heartbreaking animated tale of two children adrift in postwar Japan.

Hanabi - Kitano Takeshi is one of Japan's great contemporary filmakers. This is a good introduction to his work.

Brother - more Kitano. Not as artful as Hanabi, but fun.

Back to top

Click HERE Return to