Today we will talk about how you can use Wikipedia to learn more about Japanese language and culture, and also introduce some sites that have some interesting stories from Japan.
I’m sure you have all heard of Wikipedia, an online free-content database. The thing that many people might overlook is that you can use it for learning about cultures and language as well! If you are a beginner, you can just use the English version to look up Japan-related articles, or if you are an advanced student, try looking things up in Japanese. It may be interesting to look up basic things in both languages, and see if the Wikipedia entries for different languages are the same. While you’re at the site, you can use spin-offs like Wikinews to catch up on recent events in the region. Of course, there is the risk that some information is incorrect, but if you’re just practicing your language the content isn’t the most important part. And watch out, Wikipedia can be very distracting if you have things you need to be doing!
I previously introduced some Japanese poetry sites, and now I will do the same with stories. Learning the folktales of a country can be very interesting and helpful in learning their values, at the same time as being rather entertaining. So, here I will post a few sites I have visited that deal with Japanese stories.
http://japan.lisd.k12.mi.us/resources/jumppages/folktales.html : Here is a few links to sites that all contain a few Japanese folktales. (Except for the third link on the left, which is broken) These folktales have been translated so Japanese students and non Japanese students as well can look through them.
http://www.isc.senshu-u.ac.jp/~thb0309/MinwaDB/English/ekatari/eIndexkatari.html : This is a very cool site; it has recordings of various folktales told by Japanese people. It may be a bit difficult to understand, because some of them are from regions and have the respective dialect. However, the site has many stories that are not as widely told, and may be only told in some specific regions. You can download the tales and listen to them whenever you want, as well.
Wikipedia : Here it is again! Wikipedia has a rather large database of Japanese stories, mostly those that are widely told. You may already know of some of them, but here you can not only learn the story itself, but the background as well.