Covering all things travel, linguistic and cultural, with a focus on the humanitarian, sustainability, and education. Polyglot with experience in Japan, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Tanzania, and the US.
The 2 Anki Add-ons All Japanese Learners Should Use
We at Kokoro Media have written about Anki quite a bit. It is one of the most popular spaced-repetition flashcard apps out there and practically made for learning Japanese. (Even the name comes from Japanese: 暗記 anki means “memorize”!)
Anki is the only flashcard app I have used extensively and stuck with. One of the best features about Anki is that you can use “add-ons,” which customize your interface or your cards. (You can access these by going to “Tools” > “Add-ons.”) These can add a whole...
How to Study Japanese Efficiently
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As a busy adult, finding time, being efficient, and keeping you...
The Best Online Dictionaries for Japanese Learners
Whether you are a new learner of the Japanese language or already at an advanced level, a good dictionary (or dictionaries) is a must! We have come a long way from paper dictionaries and portable electronic dictionaries. Now, many of us use dictionaries online, on our web browsers, e-reader and tablets, Nintendo DS, or computer and smartphone apps. (Speaking of apps, here are some of our favorites from 2020 and 2021!)
There are so many options out there, and it can be confusing to decide whic...
Tokyo Not for You? Try a Smaller Metropolis
I’ve lived in three different cities in Japan, and to be honest with you, Tokyo has been by far my least favorite. Do I think Tokyo is a bad city? Of course not. However, I do think it has a conditionality to enjoy it–more on this later.
On the other hand, I have enjoyed more the smaller cities I’ve lived in–namely Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture and Utsunomiya in Tochigi Prefecture. And if I could choose to live anywhere in Japan next? Hiroshima. Why? Let me tell you.
Two Major Reasons Why I Don’...
How to Stay with a Japanese Host Family
If you’re going to Japan for study or travel, you may want to consider staying with a Japanese host family. Staying with a host family can be a wonderfully immersive way to learn more about Japanese culture and share your own. However, it might not be for everyone. Having lived with three host families before, including one in Japan, here are my two core questions to consider before deciding to live with a host family. I’ll also share with you my essential two tips for having a smooth host fa...
Want to Work in a Japanese NGO? Read This.
Are you interested in getting a job or an internship at a Japanese NGO? While there are a lot of similarities with NGO work in other countries, there are also aspects that are very Japanese. I worked for one year at a human rights NGO in Tokyo and am here to share my experience with you, from how I got the job to what it was like working there.
Investigative Report of Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh
An investigative report conducted by interviewing Rohingya refugees at refugee camps outside Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh. I conducted the field research, photography, and wrote the first English draft. Written in English, and later translated into Japanese (http://hrn.or.jp/wpHN/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/a41493d9ffca95e206e90cced3a4d459.pdf).
Bengali People: Culture, Dialects, and More
The Bengalis are one of the largest ethnic groups in South Asia and also in the world. So who are the Bengali people and where are they from? Let me walk you through a little bit about this fascinating group of people and their cultures.
A note from the Fluent in 3 Months team before we get started: You can chat away with a native speaker for at least 15 minutes with the "Fluent in 3 Months" method. All it takes is 90 days. Tap this link to find out more.
Table of contents
What Do Bengalis Sp...
Who Are the Ainu, and What’s Their Story?
Did you know that Japan has been a multi-ethnic country since its inception? If your response is “no,” you’re not alone. Apart from the Yamato (the dominant ethnic group in Japan, often just known as “the Japanese”), there are three other indigenous ethnic groups in Japan: the Ainu, the Bonin (also known as the Obeikei), and the Ryukyu (also known as the Okinawans). In this article, I’d like to share with you more about the Ainu people, whom I have had a deep interest in since my university d...
What is the Status of Abortion in Japan? An Overview of Women’s Reproductive Rights
The US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in June has turned the spotlight on reproductive and women’s rights worldwide. Under Roe v. Wade, access to abortion was a constitutional right in the US, even if only in theory. Since the draft of the decision was leaked in May, protests across the US erupted around women’s autonomy over their own bodies. The majority of Americans support at least some access to abortion. However, now with Roe v. Wade overturned, women in large swaths of the ...
Not All Kanji Are Chinese: Understanding Japanese Kanji Creations and False Friends
One of the first things you will learn about kanji is that they are Chinese characters. But did you know that not all kanji are from China? What’s more, not all words written in kanji mean the same thing in Japanese as they do in Chinese! Let me tell you about these Japanese kanji creations, which I only found out about once I started learning Mandarin as well – which you won’t likely learn about in either class.
Wasei Kanji: Japan-Made Kanji
Like wasei eigo (和製英語, “Japan-made English”) in ka...
Is the Swahili Language Hard to Learn? 6 Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them
The Swahili language is in the Bantu language family, spoken in central and southern Africa, and it is also heavily influenced by Arabic.
For this reason, there are many aspects that are often challenging for speakers of other languages to learn.
However, Swahili isn’t as difficult as you may think! Here are some of the most common challenges beginners face and how to overcome them.
A note from the Fluent in 3 Months team before we get started: You can chat away with a native speaker for at l...
Sustainable Stays: Enhance Your Japan Experience and Have a Positive Impact with Incredible Accommodations
Responsible tourism becomes more and more important with each year, and you may be wondering how you can increase your positive impact. Luckily, Japan’s hospitality industry is adapting and innovating with this in mind. Think globally and act locally through your trip by booking accommodations supporting cultural heritage, environmental preservation, and sustainable agriculture. You not only will have wonderfully comfortable lodging but will also be able to experience Jap...
Why Are Japanese Women Divorcing Their Dead Husbands?
It’s a simple, albeit controversial, concept: Irreversibly rocky marriages may end in divorce, and nowadays, more than ever before. However, in Japan, there is a growing trend of even happy couples ending their relationships–but only after one of them dies. What is this phenomenon of divorce after death, and what has caused its surge in popularity?
First, let me explain what I mean by “divorce after death,” called 死後離婚 (shigo rikon) in Japanese. This may go by other terms, such as “posthumous...
Get Away from the Crowded Cities: Take These 3 Trips in Japan This Fall (Autumn)
Japan is arguably the best to visit in the fall. The muggy rainy (and typhoon) season is over, so the weather is not too hot but not too cold. And more importantly, the leaves changing color in Japan are stunning! This year, you’re in luck. The Japanese government removed its most stringent Covid-era travel restrictions, and now tourism is set to be booming again.
I speculate that Japan will be pretty crowded with tourists. With border entry accessible for the first time in years and the rema...