Japan's Must-Read Magazine


If you are hitting the JLPT this year, especially levels 1 or 2, chances are the grammar has got you hunting online for plane tickets home (or at least to another country that speaks a more reasonable language). There are about eight million ways to express the same thing, most of which are so archaic they will never be found outside of the Kojiki, and anyone who actually uses them in conversation will sound like a toolbox, or a textbook, or both. But you gotta do it.

In cases like this, every little bit helps, and the good people at www.jgram.org have put together a handy resource to help you tackle and make some sense of this particularly vexing area. More than being designed by a single person, jgram.org is a community of learners, each bouncing questions and answers off each other and adding personal insights and revelations to the ever-growing database. Specifically targeted for JLPT studies, the information can be sorted by level, with lessons, quizzes and examples for each grammar point found on the tests.

One of the best services is the Grammar-A-Day mailing list that sends a grammar point to your inbox every day, complete with examples and discussion points generated by site users. It’s a nice bonus to regular study, reinforcing on a regular basis the trickier points of Japanese grammar. Be warned, however, that it is a daily list, with no weekend breaks. If you don’t keep on top of it, you will find your inbox being taken over by the daily mailings, so don’t slack.

The Grammar Quizzes are also useful, duplicating the format of JLPT questions. Any grammar point that you fail gets automatically added to your personal study list, allowing you to revise your problem areas. The quizzes come in both Flash and text format, and taking them will give you a good idea on how you will fare on the real deal in December.

The list and site are free, and require only registration to begin. Like all study, the more you put into it the more you are going to get out of it. Instead of spending your time online hunting for tickets home, buckle down on www.jgram.org and let the learning begin.