5 Instagram Accounts That Will Improve Your Japanese
One of the hardest things about trying to learn a second (or third) language is finding the time to study. Between work, family, social life, school, and other daily time demands, sometimes it feels as though finding a free moment to study grammar and vocabulary is going to be impossible!
But, that’s one wonderful thing about our smartphone culture. Smartphones and apps such as Instagram make it possible to glance over vocabulary words. You can even JLPT prep questions or grammar quizzes for a few quick minutes. You can do it on your lunch break, while standing in line at the supermarket, waiting for your kid’s dance class to end…and so on! Instagram is perfect for language study for busy people because Instagram posts are, by nature, quick and memorable.
Even so, it’s easy to feel like a few quick minutes isn’t good enough, and become discouraged. But remember: Even if a few quick minutes is all you’ve got time for today, it’s certainly better than no minutes at all! Refreshing a few vocabulary words or sentences on Instagram every day can help keep those language skills active in your mind. When you do get a chance to sit down and really study, you won’t need to spend as much time to review before heading into that new section of your textbook.
So, without further ado, here are five Instagram accounts that we recommend you check out for studying Japanese, and why we think they’re great!
For more tips on using technology in your language studies, click here.
A native speaker of Japanese named Ai run j_aipon. She also speaks English. We recommend this account for beginning learners (JLPT levels N4 or N5), or for anyone who wants some quick and cute review! A lot of j_aipon’s posts include not only themed vocabulary, but also easy to follow grammar notes and examples (and sometimes fun cultural notes, too!).
One thing that makes j_aipon’s account stand out is that many of her posts include audio. It gives you the chance to hear all the sentences read by a native speaker and practice your listening comprehension. (Which is very valuable. Good listening comprehension material can be quite hard to find!)
A Taiwanese girl named Aya runs hi_japan_. We recommend this account for beginners or intermediate learners. Aya does not use any English in her posts (she does, however, use a lot of Chinese. Making her account a double bonus for anyone who is studying both Japanese and Chinese. Also great for Chinese speakers you know who would like to learn Japanese and prefer Chinese-language grammar explanation!). In any case, if you are an English speaker and an intermediate Japanese learner, the lack of English on her posts will not get in your way.
Aya’s posts are adorable and all hand-written. They have short and easily digestible vocabulary lists. They also have great grammar examples using short and long dialogues. Be sure to swipe through all the photos on each post. The dialogues or conjugation examples are often not the first image in a set.
Aya is very active on her Instagram. Since she plans to take the JLPT N3 in December of 2019 many of her posts are great for other JLPT preppers.
Click here to go to hi_japan_’s Instagram!
A girl from India who goes by Noriko runs languagejapanese. We recommend this account for beginning learners (JLPT N5) or anyone who wants to increase their vocabulary! Most of Noriko’s posts are vocabulary with a theme. The themes are incredibly wide-ranging (from types of fish to dating words to units of measurement)!
Noriko aims to help and inspire other students with her posts, which comes through in her cheerful manner and attention to detail. Her vocabulary lists don’t just give the basic words you might expect in each category. She creates highly complete vocabulary lists with all the words you might need. (In her bug list is not just ちょうちょう (butterfly) and はち (bee), but also ごきぶり (cockroach), せみ (cicada) and even いなご (locust)!
(Also, isn’t globalization an amazing thing? We’re just three people in this list and already there’s one Instagrammer from Japan, one from Taiwan, and one from India. They are all sharing information to help people not only in their own countries, but people around the globe learn Japanese!)
Click here to go to languagejapanese’s Instagram!
japanese_memo is also run by a Taiwanese man named Douglas. We recommend this account for intermediate learners. This account is similar to hi_japan_ (see above) in that he does not use much English. But he also provides many excellent Japanese example sentences to show how to use particular sets of vocabulary or grammar points.
japanese_memo has a great sense of humor. Many of his vocabulary sets contain words that it is difficult to find good examples for but that are very important for intermediate learners to study, such as gitaigo (onomatopoeic words). If you are a visual learner, the funny images he includes in his posts may help you to easily memorize new words and phrases!
A Brazilian man runs uknowjapanese. He currently lives in Japan and has a frequently professed love for Nutella. We recommend this account for beginning learners, or for anyone who wants to learn some new words or practice reading in katakana!
uknowjapanese creates entertaining and very visual posts, each with a katakana vocabulary word. Even for more advanced learners, fluidly reading katakana and quickly parsing out what English loan word a katakana word is supposed to be is an underrated skill! We see many people who are quite proficient with Japanese grammar, but have a difficult time deconstructing katakana words to find what English word or words they are taken from. This skill is very important. The use of borrowed English words in Japan, especially in advertisements and pop culture, is only increasing.
uknowjapanese also does Ask Me Anything days! If you live in Brazil (or anywhere!) and have questions about living and working in Japan, he is a great person to ask!
If you visit his website (youknowjapanese.com), you can also purchase his katakana images as decorative (and educational!) wall posters. Very minimalist and very pop-art!
Click here to go to uknowjapanese’s Instagram!
Yeah, we know, it’s uncool to give a shout out for ourselves on our own post. We did say FIVE Instagram accounts, so just think of this one as a bonus!
Since some of you are reading this on our website may not know we also have an Instagram, we just wanted to let you know: We have an Instagram!! We post content every day, with a focus on learning kanji in context and learning Japanese through storytelling. We try to take the frustration out of memorizing kanji by creating a story around the kanji and vocabulary in our posts. That way you can more easily remember what the words mean and why.
We also sometimes run Instagram (and Facebook) giveaway contests, where you can win Japanese charms or snacks – if you participate in a Japanese writing challenge!
Our team speaks English, Japanese, Mandarin, AND Cantonese; so come one come all! We are quite active there as well as here; ask us your questions about learning any of those languages, in any of those languages, and we’ll help you out!
Much of our Instagram content is not reposted here on our website, so if you follow the website only you may be missing out!
That’s all our Instagram recommendations for today.
We hope that you get a chance to check out the accounts above. We hope we’ve helped you find some good resources for those quick moments of study during your busy days!
For more tips on using technology in your language studies, click here!
Thanks for reading our blog!