“Japan’s very interesting. Some people think it copies things. I don’t think that anymore. I think what they do is reinvent things. They will get something that’s already been invented and study it until they thoroughly understand it. In some cases, they understand it better than the original inventor.” – Steve Jobs

Japanese culture is an enigma to many people in the West simply because things are done differently. But, it is essential to state that by no means does different signify inferior. The Japanese are incredibly skilled in everything they do; they approach the issue with a distinct mindset.

Honestly, long ago are the days of Jap Crap where everything made in Japan after the war was poorly made. Currently, the Japanese are recognised worldwide for producing things of quality. Just think of companies such as Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Sony, Toshiba, Nintendo, Sega, etc.

We could go on for a very long time listing reputable companies from the land of the rising sun! 

Therefore, it's simple: Japan is a place that values quality and has built a reputation of greatness for itself. Therefore, everything from the people to the language is worth learning more about. So, for what are you waiting? Reinforce your Japanese language skills today!

Without further ado, in today's article, we shall examine how interested students can strengthen their Japanese reading skills to acquire fluency in the most efficient way possible. Let's get started!

Use the Beelinguapp Application

Learning how to read in another language that has the same structure and alphabet as your mother tongue is already severe.  Nonetheless, the bar is raised even higher when you have to read and recognise a unique language that has characters and not specific words with vowels and consonants. Such as?

learning on your phone
Instead of downloading more useless apps on your phone, download one that can help you learn a new language such as Japanese. (Source: Unsplash)

We're talking about Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic. However, even though the Japanese kanji characters look more like perfectly crafted pictures and not words, they can be learnt efficiently. How is that? Cue in the Beelinguapp.

Not well known outside the education industry, although it should be, the Beelinguapp is a mobile application that can be downloaded off the Google Play and App Store. Created and released in 2016 to help learners acquire the basics of reading in a foreign tongue, Beelinguapp can make memorising kanji characters more enjoyable.

What are some of the added benefits of using Beelinguapp? The following are a few benefits of using Beelinguapp to hone Japanese reading skills:

  • Texts or short stories are simultaneously shown in both languages which means that learners can rely on their mother tongue to translate parts of the book that they don't understand; this dramatically helps students feel empowered and confident.
  • Users of Beelinguapp can choose between new stories, texts, and articles that are released every week to provide students with a beautiful variety that makes language acquisition and reading less stale.
  • For the more distracted types, the feature of having the sentences you are reading highlighted in both languages keeps things organised.
  • The offline abilities of Beelinguapp make reading in your new language a thing that can be done more frequently on the go.

Honestly, the previously mentioned reasons are only a few of the hundreds of reasons to use Beelinguapp. We much suggest using the app not just for reading but for pronunciation, speaking skills, and overall comprehension skills in the Japanese language.

Also, the Beelinguapp website is worthy of checking out because there is a blog, some helpful videos, useful instructions, side by side learning, and reviews from past students. Check out the Japanese learning stories to get started right away!

Crack Open Some Good Books

purchasing a book
There are many highly recommended books that are originally written in the Japanese language. (Source: Unsplash)

While the suggestion of purchasing some recommended books in Japanese is not necessarily for beginners, it is worth stating that for intermediate and advanced students, reading some enjoyable stories is essential to improve their skills as a reader.

Many students of the Japanese language don't even try to learn how to read the characters of Kanji, katakana, and hiragana. Hence, we salute you for attempting to find some good books and completely immerse yourself in Japanese reading.

Just FYI: it can take years to properly read a Japanese book from cover to cover and understand the language being used. 

When selecting a book in Japanese, learners are spoiled for choice since there are many brilliant Japanese authors working today.

Without further delay, the following are three highly recommended books for students seeking to master their reading abilities in Japanese:

  • Yotsuba&!: an action-filled book with plenty of heroes and heroines doing great things, Yotsuba&! features basic grammar and simple vocabulary that makes reading possible for Japanese beginners and intermediate students. Funny, awkward, and worthy of being called a page-turner, the Yotsuba&! book keeps Japanese learning entertaining.
  • Stories You Can Read Smoothly: I think the title speaks for itself, Stories You Can Read Smoothly is a fantastic book for Japanese learners who want to practice their reading in a slow yet steady manner. The short stories take around 15 minutes to read, and Japanese learners can have the goal of reading at least one per day to hone reading skills. Another great feature of Stories You Can Read Smoothly is the small test at the end to test your knowledge and overall comprehension.
  • Kowai!: featuring short stories and tales from 15 different authors, Kowai! is aimed at young readers or Japanese beginners since the sentence structure isn't hard to understand, and the grammar is easily comprehended.

While we could go on and on about the thousands of recommended books, novellas, and short stories that can be utilised to practice Japanese reading, the previously mentioned are highly suggested from reputable sources. Also, you might have already noticed, but we'll say it anyway, mangas are perfect to practice reading in Japanese while at the same time enjoying a light-hearted story.

Make Good Use of Subtitles When Watching TV

watching movies and TV
By turning on the Japanese subtitles, advanced learners can practice their reading and word recognition. (Source: Unsplash)

What's your favourite loafer activity to do? Watch your favourite TV show on Netflix or Prime Video? If so, you are not alone. Streaming services keep popping up like mushrooms to meet the demands of millions of users who want to watch new series after a long day at the office to relax and unwind.

However, did you ever think that watching your fav TV show could help you become a better reader in the new language you are acquiring? Not in your wildest dreams! Putting on subtitles in the foreign tongue you are learning is a form of studying.

So, Japanese learners, for what are you waiting? Just add subtitles to the next show you binge-watch, and you'll massively improve your reading skills or character recognition. The following are some irrefutable reasons to add Japanese subtitles when watching your TV show of choice:

  • Reading speed is increased,
  • Listening comprehension is improved because you are paying closer attention to the subtitles and how they are translated from English to Japanese,
  • The new vocab words you have learnt during class time are visualised on the subtitles and better understood in the context of a conversation.

It is essential to mention that watching TV shows with Japanese subtitles is a tip better served for intermediate and advanced level Japanese students since beginners may get discouraged from not understanding any of the Kanji characters from the get-go.

Hire an Experienced and Native Japanese Tutor to Hone Reading

Of all the suggestions mentioned in today's article, the most practical and beneficial tip to become a better reader in Japanese is that of hiring a private tutor.

By having guidance, specific instruction, and tactful correction, a language learner thrives and becomes the best at what they do. There is no beating around the bush; private tutors are the bomb! The following are some intriguing reasons that back up the choice of hiring a private tutor to learn how to read in Japanese:

  • It has personalised instruction and feedback that touch on topics such as pronunciation, tone, and accuracy of the text in question. The best one-on-one Japanese tutors offer counsel in a way that encourages the student to continue reading and not feel disheartened.
  • A knowledge of tips and tricks that have proved successful with past students and significantly make the learning process more efficient. Reading advice should not be scoffed at when coming from a native Japanese tutor.
  • A private tutor becomes someone to listen to your reading without any judgement since the most sought after teachers make the learning environment a positive place.

And while many sceptics might think that native Japanese tutors aren't readily available in the UK, they couldn't be more mistaken! A little online resource known as Superprof makes reading practice in Japanese a complete delight since there are hundreds of native Japanese tutors offering their services via online lessons all across Europe.

We aren't just biased, Superprof is sincerely the best in business due to our affordable prices, a wide variety of accredited instructors touching on more than 1000 topics, and a customer support system that will do everything to make sure you are satisfied with your learning experience.

So, for what are you waiting? Take the plunge and dedicate one, two, or three hours a week with a private educator to hone your Japanese reading abilities; you won't regret it!

By way of conclusion, it is worth stating that reading in a very foreign language such as Japanese is no piece of cake, but it can be done and the suggestions in today's article will make that happen. Don't stop believing!

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Krishna