What is Shadowing and Can it Improve Your Spoken Japanese? I Tried Shadowing Every Day for a Month

What is Shadowing and Can it Improve Your Spoken Japanese? I Tried Shadowing Every Day for a Month

“I can read it and understand it, but I can’t speak like that!”

 …Does this sound familiar?

Almost all language learners feel that their production (speaking and writing) is not as strong as their comprehension (listening and reading). This is normal, but it’s still frustrating.

One method that is supposed to improve your listening and speaking is shadowing.

I’d heard of shadowing before, and I’d seen Japanese language learning resources devoted to it – but I’ve never tried it. I decided to try this every day for a month, and see what impact it had.

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ブライトンの日本語教室で手伝ってくれる素晴らしいボランティアの皆さん

ブライトンの日本語教室で手伝ってくれる素晴らしいボランティアの皆さん

ブライトン近郊に住んでいる日本人から「ステップアップジャパニーズでボランティアできますか?」というメールを時々いただきます。

こういうメールをいただいて、私は毎回とても嬉しく思います。近くに住んでいる日本人が私の日本語教室を見つけて、しかも手伝いに行きたいと思ってくださることは、とてもありがたいと思います。

今年度、日本人のボランティアは授業に手伝いに来てくださっただけではなく、イベントやワークショップも一緒に開くことができました。

イギリスのボランティア・ウィーク(Volunteers’ Week)をご存知ですか。

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Is it Shinbun or Shimbun?

Is it Shinbun or Shimbun?

It’s both. And it’s neither.

Beginner students often ask whether “shinbun” or “shimbun” (the word for “newspaper” in Japanese) is correct.

You’ll see both spellings...and books about the Japanese language don’t seem to be able to agree either.

If you look at the two most popular Japanese beginner textbooks, Genki has “shinbun”, whereas Japanese for Busy People has “shimbun” and also “kombanwa”.

But why?

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A Japan Pub Quiz!

A Japan Pub Quiz!

I wrote a little bit about my Japanese volunteers who come to help out at class and with events and workshops.

But I’m also helped enormously at Step Up Japanese by my students, who organise events, give me great ideas, and share helpful feedback on how to make class better.

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Our Fantastic Volunteers

Our Fantastic Volunteers

Sometimes, Japanese people write and ask if they can volunteer at Step Up Japanese.

I’m always very happy that Japanese people in Brighton and Hove have found my school and want to visit and help out.

This year, a number of Japanese volunteers have helped out in class and with events and workshops.

This Volunteers Week, I’d like to say a big thank you to my 2018-19 volunteers!

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Reiwa Afternoon Tea at Cafe an-an!

Reiwa Afternoon Tea at Cafe an-an!

My students and I went to eat these amazing Japanese sweets at Cafe an-an in Portslade.

We had Japanese afternoon tea themed around Reiwa (令和), the new Japanese era which started on May 1st.

My favourite was the elderflower tempura (so good!) and 水信玄餅 mizu shingen mochi - the clear "raindrop" mochi.

Also, I learned that the Japanese word for elderflower is エルダーフラワー (erudaafurawaa).

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What is the Japanese Calendar, and what year is it?

What is the Japanese Calendar, and what year is it?

Did you know that Japan has its own numbering system for the years? As well as the Gregorian calendar (the same calendar used in the west, the one that says it's 2019 now), Japan uses another system which names years after the reign of the emperor.

(The western calendar is commonly used too - and the two systems can be used interchangeably.)

So, what's the date?

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