About this website

About this website

This website provides video learning materials, in particular the videos of "Erin's Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese."

The main character of the skits is an exchange student, Erin. She has studied a little Japanese in her home country and comes to a Japanese high school. She begins to use the Japanese expressions she knows little by little. At first, she isn't confident of her Japanese, but she gradually improves and before long becomes able to speak Japanese confidently.

Erin also experiences many aspects of Japanese culture together with her friends and her host family: not only traditional Japanese culture, but also new culture through her daily and school life.

On this website, we not only offer skit videos, but also grammar explanations and sample sentences for studying Japanese, and vast amounts of photos and quizzes to learn about Japanese culture.

Please use this website to slowly increase the amount of "things you can do" in Japanese with confidence, and experience a variety of Japanese culture, together with Erin. We hope you will use Japanese and experience Japanese culture and find it "fun" and "exciting". And if you find you love Japan and Japanese people even more, then that will make us even happier.

Purposes of this website

This website has the following two main purposes.

1. Learning Japanese

This website helps learners to increase the number of "things you can do" (what we call "Can-do") in Japanese through watching many videos. The website is not intended to teach beginners Japanese grammar and sentence patterns from scratch. Rather, it is most appropriate for people who have already studied some Japanese at school or through other materials. Those who have some knowledge of Japanese but have seldom used it can learn how to use the expressions they already know in actual situations by watching the videos. However, even people who have never studied Japanese can learn step by step by looking at the explanations in English and in other languages, while people who already have advanced Japanese-language skills can also improve their ability by watching the videos featuring actual scenes where Japanese is used.

In the videos, "real Japanese that is actually used" is presented. Easy but unnatural expressions are avoided as much as possible. This may make you feel that the Japanese expressions on this website are difficult. But you do not have to understand all the Japanese on the website. You can listen to Japanese expressions that are as real as possible, think about the meaning and increase the number of your "Can-dos."

2. Understanding Culture

You can get more information about Japanese culture while watching the different videos. And while doing this, please think about the differences and similarities with your own culture. This will help put both Japanese culture and your own culture in perspective; it is important to realize that there are many kinds of cultures in the world.

Contents of this website

Basic skit

These are short skits that an exchange student, Erin, tries many things using Japanese in school and in daily life.

Image: Basic skit

Advanced skit

These skits are conversations among Erin's Japanese classmates. The expressions and speed of the conversations are almost the same as those of ordinary Japanese people.

Image: Advanced skit

Key phrases

You study the key phrases in the Basic skit with CG Teacher Honigon and Erin. In addition, you can also watch several video clips where different Japanese people use the phrases in various situations.

Image: Key phrases

What's this?

Interesting information related to the scenes and topic of each lesson are introduced.

Image: What's this?

Let's see

Various aspects about Japan related to the scenes and topic of each lesson are introduced.

Image: Let's see

Let's try

Learners can challenge the various aspects about Japan related to the scenes and topic of each lesson.

Image: Let's try

Develop vocabulary

There are illustrations and audio for the vocabulary related to the scenes and topic of each lesson.

Image: Develop vocabulary

Learn onomatopoeia with manga

There are videos that display the onomatopoeia found in the manga of basic skits, as well as explanations and example sentences of that onomatopoeia.

Image: Learn onomatopoeia with manga

Bonus Contents

Download Documents

Overview of video contents/Overview of language contents

You can download overview of video contents and language contents for lessons. Please use them when preparing for a lesson.

Culture Quiz List

You can download a list of the questions and answers to the culture quizzes found in the <Let's see> corners.

Collectively Download Learning Materials

You can collectively download the learning materials from each corner.

Cast

Animated Characters

N21-J

A robot that helps Erin with her studies. He projects important characters and words on his monitor.

Image: N21-J

Erin

A British exchange student who goes to a high school in Japan (near Tokyo). She lives with a host family. She studies Japanese language and culture passionately.

Image: Erin

Honigon

Erin's teacher. He uses easy Japanese to give her pointers and teacher her important expressions.

Image: Honigon

Cast

[Erin] TOYOTA Ellie

A British exchange student who goes to a high school in Japan (near Tokyo). She lives with a host family. She studies Japanese language and culture passionately.

Image: [Erin] TOYOTA Ellie

[FUJIOKA Saki] KURASHINA Kana

Erin's classmate. She is cheerful and caring. She is Erin's best friend. She likes chatting and fashion. She's on the tennis team.

Image: [FUJIOKA Saki] KURASHINA Kana

[MITAMURA Megumi] ISHII Meguru

Erin's classmate. She studied piano and painting as a child and is very good at both. She is serious and studies hard. She is developing a crush on ORIHARA Kaoru.

Image: [MITAMURA Megumi] ISHII Meguru

[HAYASHI Kenta] YUKI Jutta

He has been classmates with FUJIOKA Saki since elementary school, and he is on the tennis team with her. He's upbeat and energetic and has many friends.

Image: [HAYASHI Kenta] YUKI Jutta

[ORIHARA Kaoru] ISHIGURO Hideo

HAYASHI Kenta's classmate. He goes to the same cram school as MITAMURA Megumi. His goal is to become a "smart musician". He plays drums in the band.

Image: [ORIHARA Kaoru] ISHIGURO Hideo
  • Host Father: OKAYAMA Hajime
  • Host Mother: OSHIMA Akemi
  • FUJIOKA Akane (Saki's Older Sister): HASEBE Hitomi
  • Saki's Mother: OMORI Mikiko
  • Homeroom Teacher: HIGASHI Seiji
  • Math Teacher: FUKUMOTO Shin'ichi
  • School Nurse: TAKEUCHI Akiko
  • Staff Room Teacher: MASHIBA Azuki
  • Saki's Tennis Club Senior Member: OGINO Nao
  • Kenta's Tennis Club Senior Member: MORI Yuji
  • Box Lunch Shop Clerk: ROKKAKU Seiji
  • Ramen Shop Owner: NAKAZAWA Seiroku
  • Crepe Shop Senior: Worker:MIURA Riki
  • Doughnut Shop Clerk: SAKURAKAWA Hiroko
  • Fashion Shop Clerk: KAWABUCHI Mayumi
  • Rental Shop Clerk: TSUTSUI Shunsaku
  • Convenience Store Clerk 1: SHINKAI Fuminori
  • Convenience Store Clerk 2: TAKAHASHI Yuichi
  • Bus Driver: NAGAKURA Masakazu
  • Woman Giving Directions: TAKANOHASHI Kiyoko
  • Station Attendant: SATO Jota
  • Dentist: TAKAHASHI Osamu
  • Police Officer: SAKURA Toru
  • Kenta's Friend 1: MIYASHITA Hiroyuki
  • Kenta's Friend 2: MATSUMOTO Yuichi
  • Kenta's Friend 3: SASAKI Wataru

VOICE CAST

  • Erin: SAKATA Kayo
  • Honigon: NAGASAKO Takashi
  • N21-J: SAKATA Kayo
  • Narrator: NAGASAKO Takashi

Staff

"Erin's Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese." Contents Library (Aug.2020-)

Production and Operation
The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa
Administration
TAKAHASHI Ayumi / UCHIDA Yoko (The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa)
HABUKI Miyuki / ISOMURA Kazuhiro (Lecturer at The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa)
Production Assistance
Brain Corporation

The web version "Erin's Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese." (Mar.2010 – Jul.2020)

Production and Operation
The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa
Editorial Supervisor, Content Creator and Writer
ISOMURA Kazuhiro (Lecturer at The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa)
Content Creator and Writer
HABUKI(AKAZAWA) Miyuki (Lecturer at The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa)
Writer
SHINOHARA Aki (Lecturer at The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa)
Administration
TAKAHASHI Ayumi / UCHIDA Yoko / NISHIJIMA Amiko / YOKOTA Azusa / ISEKI Sugako / NAGATA Yuko / HIRUTA Mari (The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa)
Production Assistance
Brain Corporation
Contributers
FUKUNISHI Toshihiro / SUNAGAWA Yuriko / ISHIDA Sayuri / KATŌ Noriko / SATOMI Aya / SEKI Yuko / SEKIZAKI Hiroki / TANAKA Masumi / TAWARAYAMA Yūji / TORITA Kazumi / MAKINAE Ami / YAMATO Akiko / YAMAMOTO Kazuaki / YANAGIDA Naomi / YUMOTO Kahori / WAKI Keiko / WATANABE Fuyumi / WATABANE Mayumi
Special Thanks to 'Minna no Kyozai' website
Narrators
ŌMI Gorō / HORIE Yukari

Erin's challenge! I can speak Japanese. (Broadcasting in Japan:2006-2011, Publication of DVD Teaching Materials:2007)

Production
The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa
Co-Producer
NHK Educational Corporation
Production Assistance
DIRECTIONS, Inc.
Editorial Supervisors and Writers
YANASHIMA Fumie / KUBOTA Yoshiko / ISOMURA Kazuhiro (Lecturers at The Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa)
Cotributer
YAGI Atsuko (Visiting Lecturer, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies)
Scriptwriter
YAMANA Hirokazu
Manga Illustrator
YANAGI Rika
Illustrator
OKAZAKI Kumi