OK, so this year has been unexpected to say the least – but in terms of Japanese language learning at least I’m really happy with my progress.

If all goes according to plan (whats that again?) then the JLPT tests will be held in London in July 2021, so the goal remains to do N5 minimum with a push for N4. One thing I can say for sure that I’ve learnt this year – is that doing general conversational iTalki lessons, are a great way to start using the language in a more real and natural way. I was definitely a bit nervous about trying to do this at my level – what would we even talk about! 🙂

But the teachers are really great (the ones I’ve used anyhow) and they really good at guiding the conversation based on your level. I don’t think it would be easy at all to speak to a native Japanese if you haven’t done quite a few of these conversational type sessions – the textbook has obvious shortcomings, no matter which one you use.


Definitely also been a year for podcasts to gain some exposure. Some nice options were listed on the Japan Times website – but I can say that I’m really enjoyed listening to the Samurai Archive podcast. Think its turning me into an amateur historian. OK – maybe not.

I’ve also tried to find ways to train my ears to become more familiar with the intonations and sentence cadence – which is again, impossible from a textbook. Initially I thought I could merge my love for rock music and language, by finding a Japanese streaming radio station to hear both new 音楽 and get 日本語 practice at the same time.

This has been quite a challenge – not found one as yet – recommendations welcome!


What has been really cool is finding Netflix movies and series that help with this, and Erased is definitely a one to watch. Great series, so may get the manga and see how it compares.

Erased – you have options to watch the anime version too