In the age of the internet, studying any major world language should be much easier than it was several decades ago, when technology wasn’t nearly as advanced. We now have access to hundreds of free dictionaries online, sites how to learn our language of choice, and of course web sites written by natives for natives.
This latter category can be tempting, after all all you need to do is just search for something you have in interest in on Google by using a simple phrase in your language of choice, for example ゲーム (computer game) in Japanese.
Doing this is a fun exercise that I recommend to anyone studying a foreign language, but the learning curve can be pretty difficult for content made for a native audience, with domain-specific vocabulary and slang expressions. Even if you can force yourself to look up a bunch of words, often times the process can be tedious and you tire quickly.
The other day I discovered a great site made for Japanese natives, that happens to be very convenient for language learners of Japanese. It’s called “Naver まとめ”, where “まとめ” (matome）comes from the verb “matomeru” which means to collect or organize. That is exactly what this site does, like many similar news portals it collects information and provides it based on category.
The reason I feel this site is so great for those learning Japanese is because it presents all the information in very bite-size pieces, making it easy to spent just a few minutes skimming it, as opposed to 30 minutes or more to plough a long a difficult article. Each idea is condensed down into a single sentence, shown in quotes, followed by a reference in a smaller text. If you click on the reference text you’ll be sent to the place that idea came form. There is also photographs placed every few quotes to make skimming and understanding even easier.
This is an example of a recent article I read on Matome. I’ll show the title text plus a quote, along with my translation (will go for a mostly non-lteral one here) , to give an idea of how the articles are structured.
[Chinese youths who earn money by playing games for others]
[Young people who make a living just by playing games are increasing in China]
1st Quote: 中国では最近ゲームの代理プレイで稼ぐ若者が増えている
[In China, the number of young people earning via proxy gaming has recently increased]
1st Quote reference: （出典）ネトゲ代理プレイで稼ぐ中国の若者達が話題だから時給とか現実性を考えて見た
[Chinese youths earning money through playing online games for others has become a popular topic lately, so I decided to think about the feasibility of such an endeavor and how much they can earn]
Just from this brief excerpt, you can see how short the idea summaries are, and how the same thing is said several times with different phrasing. If you are clueless about what one of the quotes means, you can try jumping to the reference directly without googling anything, though odds are that will take a bigger time investment to sift through.
I highly recommend Naver Matome for anyone with intermedia grammar knowledge and a few hundred Kanji in their lexicon. Even if you don’t have those, you’ll probably get more satisfaction from looking up each word since the phrases can be ingested a little at a time.