As much as I’d like my degree in Asian Studies to qualify as a source for reliable information, most of the things I write here about Japan will be entirely from my perspective and wholly subjective. Thus, I want to offer some of the resources I use to understand or stay updated with the culture, news, and language.
- Tofugu: probably well known among people already interested in Japan. This is my favorite website for the general things about Japan. Sometimes the topics can be narrow or aloof, but it’s probably the cleanest way of getting well-written worthwhile information.
- Gaijin Pot: this website is the holy grail for any English speaking foreigner living in Japan, but also is directed to people looking to visit. I remember when it was run more like a forum, and those roots still hold strong. It’s community based focused on making the most of staying in Japan.
- The Japan Times: the essential newspaper. It has sites for both an English and Japanese language. Good if your interested in Japan news, but also a good way to preview Japan’s outlook on the rest of the world.
- NHK World: if the above is like the The New York Times, than NHK could be equated to America’s PBS. I hadn’t heard about it before coming, but it’s an excellent source for political, historical, social, and cultural news. They also offer decent multimedia language lessons.
- WaniKani: run by the people at Tofugu, I can’t imagine a better way to learn kanji in our modern world. It only focuses on kanji, but Tofugu also offers various ways to learn Japanese. If you’ve tried Skritter it’s similar, but with more direction.
- Tae Kim’s Blog: he’s written his renowned free e-book about Japanese language, and I appreciate that he (maybe sardonically) avoids filigree delivering a straightforward approach to adapting to the language.
- How to Japanese:this guy is a former JET writing mostly about Japanese language and literature. It’s more laid back, and probably for people who want to see practical reasons to study Japanese or get motivated by someone else’s success.
- Japan Guide: I enjoy this site because you can really map trips around your interest. If you don’t know quite what place to visit you can pick a topic and start your plan around that idea. They also highlight seasonal events and stay updated.
- Time Out – Tokyo: I originally used Time Out’s website when I lived in New York and was so thankful to see they have international websites covering the biggest cities in Japan. For on the coolest on-the-fly activities, this is your best bet.
- Go Japan Go: sometimes it’s hard to beat a good old fashioned webpage. This is the definitive guide for almost all of Japan’s worthwhile places. It’s basic, but full of information.