Satori Reader: April Update

Hi, everyone. Brian here with a quick update on Satori Reader.

Since launching in beta last December, we’re grateful to have received tons of fantastic feedback from the thousands of people who’ve used Satori Reader so far. It has helped us to shape and improve the user experience, and we look forward to continuing to refine the site over the coming weeks and months.

We’ve also been working hard to publish content. We’re up to 29 published articles (41 if you count both difficulties of articles that come in multiple difficulty editions) and have literally hundreds more in the pipeline. Because we annotate our articles so thoroughly, including not just word definitions, but conjugated word forms, compound words and expressions, and even explanatory notes on things that might be challenging to understand, it takes quite a bit of work for each article we publish. But with each article, we refine our process and get a little better and a little faster. Our goal is to deliver what you truly need to read, understand, and grow in your Japanese.

Today, we sent out another batch of 1000 invitations. If you signed up before about March 20, you should have yours by now. If you haven’t yet signed up, head over to to join the beta.

Thanks again for your support, and see you inside the beta!

The mobile view of the News series.

The mobile view of a typical article.


The Satori Reader Beta Has Officially Started

I’m thrilled to announce that we have kicked off the public beta for Satori Reader! We’ve sent out the first batch of invites to people who signed up in early September (in first come, first served order), and we will be gradually ramping up to greater volumes over the next several weeks as we make sure everything is working properly (the last thing we want is to have an unanticipated issue affect thousands of people right out of the gate).

If you’ve already signed up, please watch your inbox over the next several weeks. We hope to be bringing in large volumes of people by mid-January.

If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so at

We’re really looking forward to your feedback. Thank you again and see you in the beta!

Satori Reader Update

Hello, everyone! Brian here with an update on the progress of Satori Reader.

Over the past month, we’ve created dozens of articles spanning many different topics and styles of communication, including news, essays, dialogs, personal journal entries, and even an email thread between a couple in a long-distance relationship. We’re working hard to show you examples of all kinds of real-world Japanese.

All of our articles come fully annotated, with both per-word and per-sentence notes. And these aren’t machine-generated annotations—we know the difference, for example, between the no of possession and the no of nominalization. Notes reflect how words and expressions are actually being used in the current context.

We’ve also been recording audio for every article. And many of the articles are even available in multiple difficulty levels!

Getting the site itself ready while simultaneously preparing all this content has taken longer than we expected, but we’re getting close. We’ve very excited to get your feedback.

Hang in there a bit longer — we’re almost there!

Satori Reader is coming

I’m very excited to take the wraps off a project we’ve been working on for a long time. Today, we’re announcing open beta registration for our next big thing: Satori Reader.

One of the most common questions we get from readers is “Where do I go next?” Regardless of whether you’ve worked through the Human Japanese series or come from another background, a challenge that all intermediate students face is bridging the gap between the controlled Japanese of the learning environment, where the author is careful not to overwhelm, and the off-the-rails, wide-open world of communication intended for native speakers.

Satori Reader is our best effort to give students everything they need to navigate this stage of their journey and comprehend Japanese more deeply every day. It is:

  • A steady stream of fresh Japanese content…
  • Spanning many different modes of communication…
  • Available in multiple difficulty levels
  • Presented in kanji and kana according to your knowledge
  • Richly annotated with definitions, translations, and notes…
  • Accompanied by high-quality recordings
  • With built-in support for spaced-repetition review.

I could write paragraphs about each of these points, but things will make the most sense when you see them for yourself. Suffice it to say that this list represents everything we wish we had had when we were at an earlier stage of our own studies. We are really, really excited for you to get in there and take a look.

Satori Reader will start in beta in the coming weeks, and we would love to get your feedback on everything. If you’re interested in taking part, please hop on over to the beta tester signup website and let us know.

Thanks and see you there!

Tokyo Favorite Places is live!

Last spring, I was fortunate to spend ten weeks in Tokyo along with another member of the Human Japanese team. Though we both travel to Japan regularly, it had been a long time since either of us had spent such a long stretch in Tokyo, and it was great to be back.

Having daily access to all the things that make Japan wonderful–the fantastic food everywhere you go, the easy rail transport, the clean and walkable cityscapes, the friendly people–was awesome, and we both enjoyed our time immensely. (Your friendly author was caught indulging his vice and sneaking off to the local karaoke box alone–“so as to maximize singing time”–not once but on several different occasions during  the stint.)

A big part of our purpose there was to do research for an upcoming project. We’ve woven much of that work into a series of articles, complete with photos, videos, and maps, on twelve of our favorite places in the Tokyo area. These are fun locations to spend a few hours or a full day. Some are the tourist-packed spots you might find in your favorite guidebook, while others are a little quieter and offer slice-of-life glimpses of everyday Tokyo.

Whether you’re planning an upcoming trip or reminiscing about your last one, we hope you’ll enjoy the series. Take a look at and let us know what you think!

Word of the Day: Denwa (でんわ – 電話)

Word of the Day: Denwa (でんわ – 電話) Meaning: Telephone. Use ‘suru/shimasu’ to make into the verb “to call on the phone.”

Example 1: あなたの でんわばんごうを おしえて ください。 / あなたの 電話番号を 教えて 下さい。 / Anata no denwa bangou wo oshiete kudasai. = Please tell me (“teach me”) your telephone number.

Example 2: わたしは でんわが にがてです。 / 私は 電話が 苦手です。 / Watashi wa denwa ga nigate desu. = I’m not good at phones. (E.g., I have a hard time speaking on the phone.)

Example 3: でんわしても いいですか? / 電話しても いいですか? / Denwa shite mo ii desu ka? = May I telephone (you)?

Example 4: ごご くじに でんわ して ください。 / 午後 九時に 電話して 下さい。 / Gogo kuji ni denwa shite kudasai. = Please call me at 9PM.

* Please click the play button in the bamboo logo to listen to the recording.