September 9, 2020

Beginning Japanese Phrases Podcast and Videos

For Beginners to upper beginners of Japanese. New episodes every Thursday.


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Improve your vocabulary, listening, and pronunciation skills with shadowing and repetition. Each week, we will break down a useful vocabulary word and example sentence. Use the sentence break-downs to fully understand the Japanese.

July 11, 2024

June 27, 2024

June 20, 2024

June 13, 2024

June 5, 2024

May 30, 2024

May 23, 2024

May 16, 2024

March 27, 2024

March 21, 2024

March 13, 2024

March 6, 2024

February 28, 2024

February 21, 2024

February 14, 2024

February 8, 2024

February 1, 2024

January 25, 2024

January 17, 2024

January 11, 2024

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Looking for the other podcast?

If this podcast is too easy for you, check out Yumi's Nihongo no Tane! Click here to view the index page. For upper beginners to intermediates.

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  • Awesome!!!! I love all of if. I didn’t understand lots of the Japanese, but that’s the whole point isn’t it because we’re learning. I like that you break the sentences down into smaller vocab and explain things rather than just have the straight translation of sentences.
    I also love that you have the sentences in Japanese with furigana, plus romaji and English. I flicked back and forth between all of it and it really helped me learn a tonne in a very short space of time.

      • I’ll echo Kat66’s comments and thank Stephen for this great idea and the Japan Shop for implementing it.
        I’m a little muddled however. Will 日本語のたね and the Beginning Japanese Phrases podcasts be accessed through this site (only) or do we need to subscribe through iTunes, for example?

        • You can access both podcasts from anywhere. I still need to set up にほんごのたね (Yumi wanted it all in hiragana 🙂 ), but we’ve submitted the Phrases podcast to most places already. It may take a week or so for it to show up. I’ll post when it is ready.

          The show notes (transcript, vocabulary, quizzes, etc) will be exclusive for Makoto+ members, though.

  • Love the idea of the podcast with transcript. Would it be possible to add a couple of questions in Japanese (True / False; multiple choice) to the transcript document, so that after listening and before reading, we could “test” our understanding of what we had just listened to?

    • Definitely possible. I’ll try to make the time to add that to the workflow. It would definitely be helpful. Comprehension questions and maybe a few questions about key vocabulary words or potentially confusing grammar.

  • As already told in my letter, I love that and Yumi is very good to hear and understandable in the audio. Ok, I only understood the part where she introduced herself, but with the transcript it was easy to find out what it’s all meant.
    Keep up your good work. It’s great.

  • I think Steven has a good idea for a natural Japanese topic (2 or 3 minutes)
    I didn’t understand everything, but with a transcript it will be good.

    • Thanks! My son came down with a stomach bug of some kind (no fever), but as long as he is okay, I’m planning to do the transcript and set up the behind-the-scenes Makoto+ content for the above podcasts today.

  • Yumi San has a great DJ style voice . Seeds of Japanese is great definitely needs a transcript but listening to a very natural voice is useful

  • A podcast is an outstanding idea! The very best way to gain fluency in another language is to interact with authentic resources. As beginners, shorter phrases and lists of words are a great way to do this. Your phrases are great! Love the audio accompaniment. If I might, I would like to suggest a list of words that could be substituted into the sentences. For example, a very simple sentence frame could be:

    In the _____A_____, I like to ____B______ because it is _____C_____.

    In blank A — morning, afternoon, evening…

    In blank B — verbs of various kinds

    In blank C — adjectives / description words

    AB & C would constitute lists of words.

    Sentence frames are a great way to model natural language and ways of expression in the target language.

    Anyway, thanks for the great resources! Love the podcast idea, with a transcript bonus for Makoto subscribers.


  • I think this is a great idea. Improve listening skills and brush up on grammar, what’s not to like. I would like to see short children’s stories with narration and text, I think this would be a hit with subscribers, I am looking forward to this podcast. Keep up the good work.

    • We are looking into 2-3 minute talks by Yumi on different subjects (probably interesting vocabulary words, idioms, culture, geography, etc). This will have a transcript for Makoto+ members. I’ll mention the children’s stories idea to her. This may replace the Monday sentences, but we’ll still have repetition sentences on Wednesday.

        • Yes, we would like to do something like that too. The hard part is finding copyright-free content that isn’t too hard. I may make some videos of some of our stories with just the text (no vocabulary lists). That might be good for listening practice.

  • Very helpful and a quick fix if you are out and about. Great way to kickstart your Japanese immersion. Look forward to the app

    • Great! I’ll email everyone later once I get it all set up. Makoto+ members will have access to a version without the intro/outro ads too.

  • Wow this is very useful!
    Since I am trying to enhance my reading, I would like to get the option to hide the english translation and romaji by default, and just have a button to show it.

  • This is very useful. I particularly liked the way you picked up 今朝 from the second podcast at the beginning of the fifth podcast. That’s a good interval for reinforcement.

    • Ah! That was accidental. Haha. Right now, we are just using older sentences from the Shadowing and Repetition sentences. However, I am thinking of using themes like JLPT N5 vocabulary or school vocabulary or home vocabulary. That might have enough overlap to reinforce previous sentences.
      Thank you so much for listening. I’ll report back later (today, hopefully) with a proper podcast feed and video.

  • I like the idea very much and I believe in shadowing. My only points to add here are

    • I am not a friend of these commercial intro/outro. It gets annoying when you have to listen to it on and on.
    • It would be nice to have kind of autorepeat. I often use shadowing hand free.
    • The non plus ultra would be if I could control it with my watch. I still download a lot of audio content to iTunes to make it easy accessible.

    Thank you very much for all the great material you offer on Makoto.

    • Thank you!
      1) Yes, Makoto+ members will have access to versions without the intro and outro ads. 🙂 At first, the actual podcast feed will have the intro/outro, but I think there is a way to create a non-public feed. If so, I’ll create one for Makoto+ members to be able to subscribe to.
      2) Autorepeat. These podcasts will be based on sentences from our Repetition and Shadowing sentences. While, I can also have it set to autorepeat the podcast (on the website), it might be better to have just the sentence autorepeat?
      Once I get things set up, I’ll create show notes for both Samurai and Shogun members for each episode.
      3) We will have a feed (hopefully, today) for the podcast. You can subscribe to it in iTunes and listen to it with your watch. As I said above, I hope to also figure out how to create a non-public feed. That way, you can listen without the intro and outro. 🙂

  • These are great!!!
    I have only listened to the first one (just got the kid in bed, and have to walk dogs), but would love if these are downloadable/available through the usual podcast places as I can download them and take them on the go, subscribe thru my podcasts app so would be super convenient to go that route. Great stuff!!

    • Hi Damian — I hope that little dinosaur of yours is doing well 🙂
      I’ll finalize the format (based on everyone’s suggestions) and get a proper podcast created today. I will make a version for Makoto+ members without the intro and outro ads, but the podcast feed (at first, anyway) will have the ads. Maybe I can figure out how to do a hidden feed for the ad-free members-only version.

      • Thanks Clay 🙂 He’s doing great!
        Sounds great! I used the link to get the podcast in my app, and the ads are fine/not intrusive at all. I’d be totally fine to listen to those to get the convenience of my podcast app when needed, and love the added transcripts and video etc when accessing on the computer!
        I especially liked the miso soup one as it added a few details of interest in english over simply talking about the sentence which I think is nice to mix it up. The odd related fact or interesting aspect related to Japan is nice to have in there. I like the slower speed of the advanced one from Yumi also! I tend to turn everything into background noise at normal speed Japanese radio as I can’t keep up with it. I think a little English in the advanced one would be nice, but that’s me being not advanced probably. 🙂
        I’m excited for these! I love that they are bite size/shorter format also.

        • Thank you! I still have a lot of work to do to organize these better, but thanks to everyone’s suggestions, I’m pretty happy with the results so far. I added a second episode for Yumi’s:
          I need to do that for the phrases one.
          >>The odd related fact or interesting aspect related to Japan is nice to have in there.
          Yes, someone else mentioned that. I’ll try to add more “fun facts.” Culture and history are important aspects for language learning.
          BTW, I should have an ad-free feed soon. I’ll post that as soon as my assistant sets it up (it will be a private feed, of course).

  • The podcast feature is excellent. I’ll definitively be using them. I was taking Japanese classes before the pandemic and this is an excellent tool for practice. After all that is why I subscribed to Makoto. Thank you! Yoku Ganbattane!

    • Thank you! I will make a version of each podcast just for Makoto+ members with no intro or outro ads. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.

  • Hello!
    I loved these features! It’ll help me, ’cause I’m a complete beginner and I want to test JLPT N5 level. So this audio files will help a lot. If you put some videos with transcriptions I’ll like it too.

    • Thank you! Working on the videos. I hope to do an official launch with three of these tomorrow (including videos). Check back in 24 hours or so.

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