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explanation-3awhitehokochoko started out as a personal blog to keep track of my Japanese learning process as well as writing about all things Japanese I like. I quickly discovered that there were many of you out there learning Japanese and the blog became a great way to connect with all of you on the same boat as me. While I can write about how many words I learned today, which episode of Bleach I saw last night (actually I don’t really do anime) or the millionth rant about how much I want to live in Japan, frankly, nobody would care a f*ck (it’s my blog, I can swear however I want :)). I write what you care about and want to read about and that is Japanese.

Now, I’m not a teacher in Japanese nor really advanced, just a lad learning Japanese like you, but, I like to give back to society and help my fellow shipmates in making that Japanese learning experience just that little bit more easier and fun. On this blog you will find mini Japanese lessons, study tips, recommendations and all things I think will be helpful and interesting to know about and ofcourse my highly opinionated view. Enjoy the blog!






explanation-3awhite‘ve always had an interest in all things Japanese because to me it was foreign and anything foreign is way more interesting than your own backyard wouldn’t you all agree? Because of my interest in Japan I decided to learn Japanese when I was about 16 and even had a native private teacher (which I found myself) to teach me. Although it was good for my pronunciation, it did not last long since my attention span is somewhat short so I eventually gave up after a month or three. I do regret it to this day but I just didn’t have the discipline back then.

A couple of years ago I decided to take a break from my studies at the time, photography, and left for Shanghai to study Mandarin for a year and then return to continue my studies. That year turned into three and during my second year I changed my subject to Japanese at a friend’s recommendation. This has been fascinating experience as well as a whole new challenge getting taught Japanese in Mandarin with all Chinese classmates. I continued studying at my uni for 2 semesters (1 year) before I left and have been self studying ever since.

10 things about me
likes to eat: California Rolls and a bucket of KFC (the original)
works on: a Mac
am skilled in: Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign, QuarkXpress, Flash
lived in: New York and Shanghai
can’t do without: fresh Earl Grey tea in the morning
am also learning: Korean
speaks: Dutch, Cantonese, English, Mandarin
plays: piano
absolutely digs: Exile
wants to become: a photographer



All clay models and graphics, unless otherwise stated, are Chokochoko © 2010 and may not be used without permission.
Photos are The Photo and the Anatomy © 2010 and may not be used without permission.
This blog was created on September 10, 2009

67 Comments leave one →
  1. Arne Büttner permalink
    October 4, 2009 2:36 pm

    Hello 🙂
    Thank you for your nice comment on my blog. Sorry for answering so late, …. I was in Sweden for a project during the last week. And I had lots of things to preopare about this project, so there was no time for my Chinese blog (unfortunately). But there will be new articles soon …

    However, 我觉得你的博客真是挺好的,我可以看看你是怎么写的,可以学一下。^^


    Arne 🙂

  2. October 13, 2009 11:33 am

    jimmey jimboy… ur blog is soooo cool !!!… make me considering to have my own blog for my handcraft now. but unfortunately… no time to create it.
    love ur blog so much… however… what happen with ur old “firegrub” blog ?? there has more of our pics… “the hangzhou” pics if i’m not wrong. heheheh…..

  3. October 14, 2009 11:22 pm

    Nice blog, I know nothing of japanese. I must go there soon

  4. October 15, 2009 4:44 pm

    Found your blog through browsing wordpress forum topics. It’s one of the most visually challenging blogs I’ve seen! The pics are truly amazing! My untrained eye doesn’t see the downgraded quality you complain about… But, then again, you’re the expert! I’ve had an interest in learning Japanese ever since I got obsessed with sumo wrestling. Im Greek and a girl, who would have thought? And, no, my blog is not about sumo. It’s about US Movie and TV News in Greek. Keep up the good work.

    Maria from Greece

  5. October 18, 2009 1:55 pm

    Have enjoyed having a sticky beak through your blog! I studied Japanese back in high school and took a trip over to Japan back in 2004 – I loved it!

    That’s really pretty fantastic that you speak Dutch also. Are you fluent? My boyfriend has a Dutch background and we’re really wanting to learn a little 🙂

    Oh – and thanks again for commenting 🙂

  6. creativityjapanese permalink
    February 20, 2010 4:59 pm

    The design of this site is really neat!! It’s just gorgeous!! Great work! Looking forward to more entries from you in future!

  7. February 21, 2010 1:22 am

    I’m truly in awe of your site. The design is fantastic, the posts are well written and informative. It makes me want to improve my blog, as well as quit because it won’t top yours 😛

    • February 21, 2010 4:58 pm

      Thanks a lot! And noooo don’t quit ur blog! You have your own style blog and I like reading it. Dont give up! 🙂

  8. February 21, 2010 3:00 am

    hello~! i came across your site through creativityjapanese and i must say it looks amazing, both content and graphic-wise. ^^ Although I’m not active in studying Japanese now, I’ll be visiting regularly (:

    you are learning korean too? ^^ 화이팅!

    • February 21, 2010 5:03 pm

      Thanks, yea I am, though its so difficult! (because I haven’t quite gotten used to Hangul yet, I still have to read each little component) Does that say ‘fighting’?

  9. February 21, 2010 5:50 am

    WOW. NICE.

  10. March 9, 2010 8:09 pm

    I am really amazed by your site. Its so creative and personalized to your content, you’ve made learning Japanese fun!

    • March 10, 2010 5:21 pm

      Thanks for the kind words! Hows your photography coming along.

      • March 11, 2010 5:11 am

        Its been great. I am saving towards buying a better camera (Nikon SLR) and plan on taking a photography class over the summer. So I’m excited about it!! In the mean time, there are more gadgets and tablets to play with 🙂

  11. bunkalearner permalink
    March 19, 2010 1:07 am

    Nice site, I can see you’re putting a lot of elbow grease into it. It looks great. It’s also nice to meet someone else who’s also using a blog as a way to study Japanese! I appreciate your interest in my blog. Thanks for following!

    • March 19, 2010 6:43 pm

      Thank you too and appreciate your efforts! Goodluck too!
      (*elbow grease, always thought that was weird expression :P)

  12. March 19, 2010 6:05 pm

    wow! thanks for directing me to your blog. It’s really quite an inspiration and encouragement to be “in the same boat” as you would put it. 本当に感謝してる。気づいたんですけど、非常に沢山言語が分かるね。すばらしいと思う。日本語を話せるはずでしょうね。About how long was it before you were comfortable to speak in Japanese? I think conversing is like the ultimate form of comprehension.

    • March 19, 2010 6:34 pm

      Hey thanks for dropping by! Glad we can encourage eachother! Fortunately I had quite some Japanese friends (who were studyding Mandarin) and former Japanese classmates (from when I was studying Mandarin), and my roomates also had other Japanese classmates and friends, so there were always Japanese people around 😛 And I told my Japanese friends that they had to speak Japanese with me so that was the biggest boost. Though Im still learning Japanese and I wouldnt say my speaking is the best, but Im still pretty confident (as opposed to afraid to speak).
      How about you? You seem to chat away on your blog! 😀

      • March 19, 2010 7:11 pm

        That’s a lot of Japanese friends ne. 🙂 I’d say that is some boost! I’m pretty much in the afraid-to-speak level though. Writing is a whole lot different form conversing. Give me about a few minutes to say what I really want to say but in a conversation, I feel like there’s this tacit timeout that goes ping under a few seconds. hehe! I’ve tried chatting a lot in livemocha before but it’s really something to be speaking it everyday. Do you get to practice it everyday?

      • March 19, 2010 7:51 pm

        Well since I returned to my home country in Europe I don’t practise (speaking that is) as much as I used to, though admittedly Im also lazy to even switch on skype and talk to my friend, bah.I never tried live mocha though, I might give that a try.
        You ‘afraid to speak’? Your whole blog is full of you chatting! 😀

      • March 20, 2010 5:12 pm

        そうですか。yeah, I get bitten by the lazy bug sometimes too. But watching a bit of anime and a bit of manga is enough to get me going again. ‘Afraid to speak’ Japanese of course, English is so totally fine with me. 😀 Yeah, you should try livemocha. It’s not as eye candy as your site but it has great features (one of them is the chat). Maybe meeting new Japanese people will get you back on skype :))

  13. xqlusivevan permalink
    March 23, 2010 2:23 pm

    wonderful blog m8

    • March 23, 2010 8:37 pm

      Thanks for visiting! My desktop is still cluttered! I guess folders-in-folders are the way to go huh.

  14. ニケ permalink
    March 25, 2010 1:00 pm

    Hello! I have just voted in your brand-new poll, but could only select one option, whereas there are definitely more things on the list I’d be interested in. 🙂 Also, the text on the Vote button is not visible unless you hover over it, maybe you want to change this.

    • March 25, 2010 1:02 pm

      Hey, yea I just created it, but some things aren’t displaying the way I want it, so im editing it as we ‘speak’ 🙂 The vote button should be fine now, changed the color. Working on it!

      *and polls were meant to have one selectable option only otherwise you could just select everything and it wouldnt be a poll anymore 🙂

  15. March 28, 2010 3:53 pm

    Awesome layout and graphics! I can’t wait to see where you blog goes 🙂

  16. April 8, 2010 3:47 pm

    Read the Kanji is not the only site working like that unfortunatly. i had to simple write something about it and I guess I choose this place to coment about it 🙂 I do know the feeling to be honest. SO many sites out there are trying there best to milk the money out of students. In this case everyone wanting to learn anything is considered a student, no matter age or if the person has a job or not allready. I will be keeping me self to and livemocha and then slowly going over to my books here at home. Livemocha is not totally free either though, but it has a lott of good starter courses that are free and very easy to use.

    So I guess the reason why i wrote is: Happy to see that I am not the only one being able to react the way you did 🙂

    • April 9, 2010 12:32 am

      Yea I know, haha, I just felt like ranting 🙂 But in this particular case, it isn’t something worth paying for when there are a lot of other sites doing the same thing for free. I mean the number of Japanese learning sites are astounding and then comes along this site and like you said, desperately tries to milk money. Bah!

      But, some good news, the katakana sheets are available! Check out issue 14 🙂

  17. April 10, 2010 2:39 pm

    Allready downloaded, allready drooling over ’em 🙂 Dude, like I have told you before, I am amazed, eye candy from beginning til the end 🙂

  18. アヤナ permalink
    April 18, 2010 2:36 pm

    So I immediately fell in love with the front of your blog! I’ll make sure to stop by often!

  19. May 2, 2010 7:44 pm

    I really love this blog!

  20. May 8, 2010 8:46 pm

    Hello Squire Starsquid. I had to pop back here to show my appreciation for your great blog. I redid my own blog two days ago ( well, work that has taken me few weeks actually to plan and make happen 😀 ). The first three Articles in the new blog ( same address as before ) are about three blogs/sites that influenced me to want to start writing more then just for fun. Even though I am not a native English writer or speaker, and I know that my style is a bit… well the way it is, I still want to write about my passion for Japan and its Culture and language.

    So three Articles, a Trilogy… One fore the Geek side of mine, one for the serious Culture loving side of mine and one fore the eye candy/ Japanese language lover side of mine.

    Third article just popped up, I think you might now the blog I am reviewing there 😀 I hope I did you justice, I tend to write with emotions high 😀

    • May 8, 2010 9:03 pm

      Always nice to that other readers have found my little blog useful and I’m really glad that it could add to your inspiration. The new blog looks really good! More dynamic! I’m looking forward to whats coming! Keep up the great work! 🙂
      *and your English is just fine!

  21. Stefan permalink
    May 18, 2010 9:53 pm

    Hey! Awesome blog you have here, thanks alot! I’m glad to of found it =D

  22. lookitsbray permalink
    June 7, 2010 8:20 pm

    I don’t really have an interest in Japanese but I’ll say this. Your blog looks freakin’ amazing!!!

    Good Job!

    • June 7, 2010 8:30 pm

      Thanks dude! Had a peek at your blog just now, seems like a real fun blog! (the Spongebob-BP poster was hilarious!)

  23. July 8, 2010 3:34 pm

    Wah! Your website is AWESOME! It’s so organized and so cheery! I could stay here forever 😀
    Hope you don’t mind me adding you to my blogroll!

  24. August 5, 2010 1:11 pm

    Hey thanks for the comment! I thought it would be only proper to visit…AMAZING! Japanese is a killer of a subject but its soo interesting. You seem to have everything here!

    Hahaha well I’ll have to wade through this later, sleep beckons but I am really glad that I looked this up! VERY GENKI!


  25. April 19, 2011 8:48 pm

    I´ve found great sites to learn Japanese, and despite the fact you do not provide TONS of information about where to download Japanese stuff I really think this is quite of the most impressive blogs. I really liked the “progress chart”, I want one like those!
    Seriously dude, Your blog is nice!

  26. May 28, 2011 10:02 pm

    hiii i am karolla 🙂 i have a japanese blog for turkish people.. can we change link? 🙂

    • Squire Starsquid permalink*
      July 7, 2011 10:58 am

      Hi Karolla! Sorry for the late reply, sure!

  27. July 7, 2011 10:34 am

    Hello! I just discovered the Chocochoco blog yesterday and I have to say I’ve enjoyed everything about it. It’s really interesting, cute, not to mention fun to say. xD
    Because of your in-depth reviews I’ve discovered some fantastic books I shall have to get for my Japanese learning. (I just wish shipping wasn’t a biotch..)
    Thank you so much! Looking forward to updates. :’D ❤

    • Squire Starsquid permalink*
      July 7, 2011 10:57 am

      Hi Muffin! Thanks for visiting! Glad to hear you liked it 🙂
      Nice art-work you have on your blog (took a peek at it!) and beautiful drawing/coloring style!

      • July 7, 2011 2:42 pm

        Oh my goodness thank you! You’re too kind. ;u;

  28. October 3, 2011 3:47 am

    Dude! It is not the first time I wrote you, and yes I can not stop looking at your site. It is amazing and really inspiring. Yet, I admit it: I tried to copy your chart. Mine sucks (you can look at it in my site) I am here because I just want to ask you if there is any way I can get yours. I am not that highly talented as you in photoshop or the like, then I won´t be able to make mine without learning how to do it. And I don´t have anytime between work and my Japanese study. So, if you can (if not I will totally understand it) send me the pieces of yours.


  29. February 11, 2012 5:08 pm

    I stumbled across your blog through the wordpress forums and I’m really, really glad I found it! It’s very different from all those beginner’s learning blogs which are abadonned soon enough.

    I really love your blog.

    It’s not just the contents, but the design is absolutely adorable, too. I’ll keep following you for sure!

  30. Anonymous permalink
    March 22, 2012 7:49 pm

    Cool blog!
    But there is no twitter channel to stay well informed?

  31. minarai permalink
    April 22, 2012 1:05 pm

    This blog is very amazing! But, why did you stop posting in it? :O 続けてお願いします!

  32. Nike permalink
    June 21, 2012 3:55 pm

    Endoooooo, wat ontzettend jammer dat je niet meer van die leuke en mooie artikels schrijft hier… Groetjes!

  33. サンドラ permalink
    August 16, 2013 3:55 am

    I recently found your blog the other day and all I can say is that I’m absolutely in love with it! This has to be the first site where it actually has useful tools to learn Japanese. I can’t even describe how amazing this site is! I’m currently a senior in high school and am in a Japanese level four class. However, I need extra help. Although I’ve been taking Japanese for over three years I’m just not that great at it. I have some of the basics but my mind just won’t grasp it. But I think it’s because I don’t put in much time to truly study it, but I really want to learn and understand the language and culture. If I had a favorite race it would be the Japanese. I guess anime, manga, and my years in Japanese class have sort’ve inspired me. I just want to say ありがとございます!あなたは最高です。yes I truly only know the basics lol.

    サンドラ (my real name is Malia, Sandra is just a nickname with a funny background story)

  34. September 28, 2013 4:42 am

    My name is Annies. I come from Vietnam. I’m working for a Japanese company so I really wanna learn Japanese and English also. I search for help on Google n God bring me here. Nice to meet you and all your friend on this blog. If someone has time, please introduce me some materials that can help me learn Japanese to daily communicate with my Japanese colleagues. Thank you so so much <333333

  35. Kaylee permalink
    May 13, 2014 10:43 pm

    Hey! I’m Kaylee(but my friends call me Ariel, Annie, or even Tabby(yes, after a tabby cat because of my hair) so feel free to call me by any nickname you wish) and I’m a small town girl in the heart of Texas if that says anything…for those fellow Texans out there, yeah, I know you feel bad for me at times haha! Anyway, back to the point! I’ve been interested in Japanese recently and have started learning little by little through the Genki textbooks and workbooks. They work great and your blog has also helped me with a lot as well, but being where I am I don’t have many opportunities to actually put the little knowledge that I have gained in the past few days to use and I would love to hear suggestions. No one I know understands any thing about Japanese, or Japan for that matter, so the more insight the better. Thank you for reading!! :3

  36. Nik permalink
    July 10, 2015 3:09 pm

    Heya, My name’s Nik and I’ve just started learning Japanese (I’m a native English speaker).

    I just wanted to say thanks, as this seems like a great resource that I’ll use throughout my time learning Japanese. I loved the PDFs you’ve put up for handwriting, they really help!

    Have a great day! 😀

    • July 11, 2015 2:23 am

      Hi Nik, thanks for visiting and glad you found the PDF’s helpful! Goodluck with your studies!

  37. March 18, 2016 4:46 pm


    is there any possibility to access the articles in the library right now? Good reading material is rare and those articles are made with so much love, it would be a pity if they would just disappear.

    All the best for Chokochoko.

  38. lsrsgr permalink
    March 28, 2016 3:27 am

    It’s so hard to find N3 readings, will the articles be back up one day?

  39. April 5, 2016 6:30 pm

    most of the pdfs can be rescued from the wayback machine (just google it)

    • Raichin permalink
      June 6, 2016 11:41 pm

      I couldn’t recover any of them, the wayback machine website says they’ve been saver at some point, but when I try to access the saved version it leads to the now broken links of the PDFs.

      If anyone still has these files, I’d very grateful if they could send them or share them with everyone.

      I’m after the N5 beginner books at the moment:

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