Japanese Podcast

Nihongo Creator Chris Vasselli on How To Learn Japanese Through Anime, Manga, Video Games & Harry Potter

Jul 20, 2020

Chris Vasselli is a programmer, passionate Japanese learner, and the creator of the Nihongo Japanese dictionary app for iOS. We discuss his language learning journey, how to acquire Japanese the fun, natural, immersive way, and why you shouldn’t fear the Japanese writing system.


  • How a love of anime, manga, and Japanese video games led Chris to learn Japanese.
  • Chris’ tips for learning Japanese through gaming.
  • The importance of learning from authentic content.
  • Good sources of comprehensible Japanese listening and reading input.
  • How stories and narratives help increase enjoyment and improve memory.
  • How to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access Japan-only content.
  • The tricky issue of referring to one’s spouse in Japan for same-sex marriages (同性結婚).
  • Why you shouldn’t fear the Japanese writing system and how best to learn it.
  • Why you should ditch “rote learning” and instead acquire languages in a fun, natural, contextual way.
  • How to overcome the fear of speaking Japanese and break out of your “input bubble.”
  • How to practice speaking Japanese anywhere in the world.
  • How to use the Nihongo app to read authentic content and create contextual, personally meaningful flashcards.
  • Why taking Japanese classes or moving to Japan are both advantages but not mandatory conditions for learning Japanese.

Concepts, People & Resources Mentioned

Connect with Chris