Let's Learn Japanese

Let's Learn Japanese

Let's Learn Japanese is a video-based Japanese language study course for English speakers produced by The Japan Foundation.

The two seasons (Series I and Series II) were originally aired on television at a rate of one episode per day, with each episode consisting of two lessons. Text books which complement the series were also available; these contained vocabulary lists, explanations of grammar, transcriptions of scenes from within the program, and cultural information about Japan. By now, the first book is out of print but the second book is still available from some sources.Both seasons used a drama called "Yan and the Japanese People" for instruction. This drama consisted of scenes which focus on the experiences of a young man named Yan (played by Nick Muhrin), a foreigner living and working in Japan.

Let's Learn Japanese Basic I

Series one of "Let's Learn Japanese" was made in 1984 and 1985. It was presented by Mary Althaus and featured a number of skits, featuring Mine-san (Yusuke Mine), Sugihara-san (Miki Sugihara), and Kaihô-san (Hiroyuki Kaihô), which were designed to help the viewer memorize, and practice the use of, new words and grammatical structures. The series also followed the story of Yan's new life in Japan working as an architect.

Presented by Mary Althaus.

#I'm Yan.
#What's that?
#There's a cat.
#Where is it?
#Please give me some stamps.
#Please turn left at the next corner.
#May I look at this?
#May I write with a pencil?
#She gets up at 6 o'clock every morning.
#He doesn't drink milk.
#I went to Nikkō.
#When did you go?
#They're watching a baseball game.
#He's drinking beer while watching TV.
#It's hot every day.
#Is it hot enough?
#I want to drink some cold beer.
#Do you dislike fish?
#Mt Fuji will come into view before long.
#It looks good.
#I can't speak English.
#Is it possible to see the model room?
#Why aren't cars passing?
#We're a little late so let's hurry
#What's in the briefcase?
#Do you remember

NHK Let's Learn Japanese Series

There was also another Japanese language study series named "NHK Let's Learn Japanese"which was aired by the Japanese TV Network NHK in 1995. This series was about a man namedDavid Roberts, who went to Japan to work in an important project. He was assisted by a beautifulgirl named Yukko Gotto, and in later episodes they are joined by David's wife, Cathy Roberts.David was going to introduce to Japan American culture and food with the American Train.

Let's Learn Japanese Basic II

Series two was created in 1995 - 10 years after the end of the first series - and was presented by Tae Umino. The skits were performed by Andô-san (Seiji Andô), Koyanagi-san (Chinatsu Koyanagi) and Kodama-san (Yorinobu Kodama). In this series the story of Yan is continued (based on Episode 14-26 of the original Drama), only this time it is much darker and more interesting. Yan's heart is torn asunder by the young lady he had a crush on in series one, and he goes to Niigata to drown his sorrows in the wild winter Sea of Japan.

Presented by Tae Umino.


#I think I can be there by 4 PM
#Maybe you should go and meet her soon
#He said he's going to Nagasaki today
#I got them from a friend
#We're thinking of singing Beethoven's ninth
#Try reading the Japanese
#It's nice and clean now
#Will you turn up the volume on the TV a little bit?
#Turn the stove off when you leave the room
#I'm so bored I don't know what to do
#Shall I change the towel?
#Mr.Terada has been taking care of me
#If this design is chosen, I'll go back to my country
#You mustn't tell Yan
#He doesn't seem to be there
#Even if we invite him, I don't think he'll come
#I was in a hurry, so I couldn't buy it
#I'm planning to see the sea, visit old houses and so on.
#It's hard, working like that in this snow
#What's this fish called?
#The sakura hasn't bloomed yet, has it?
#There's only one bottle left
#We'll miss you when you've gone
#I've never traveled abroad before
#Give it to him when he's come down
#If you're ever in Japan again please stop by

Erin's Challenge / I can speak Japanese

A fresh start brought the third series "Erin's Challenge / I can speak Japanese", which aired first in spring 2007 and is also available as DVD. As it is especially designed for young people it features skits about Senior High School Students which are explained by computer animated figures. The main character Erin is learning Japanese with the help of the teacher Honigon and a small robot called N21-J. Besides the regular skits and explanations, there is also more information about Japan, its students and people around the world who are learning Japanese, too.

External links

* [http://www.irmnet.com/usn/llj1.html USN-Page about LLJ; especially interesting for people who want to order the second book]
* [http://www.jpf.go.jp/e/index.html Homepage of the Japan Foundation, with further information about these and other series & books]

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