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Discussion Anyone here learning Japanese?

Oheao

Workers of the world, unite!
Founder
Pronouns
He/Him
I want to get back into learning Japanese, but I've been slacking completely on that regard. I'm curious to see if anyone else here is also on the Japanese learning train and if so, which tactics you use to keep motivated.
 

EvilChameleon

Whatcha playin'?
Pronouns
he/him
FamiGold
13
So near the end of the Summer Olympics I decided on a whim to learn how to pronounce Hiragana. I was quite good at recognizing all the syllables.
Then at the end of the lesson it was like "oh by the way, there are two other ways to write Japanese" and I noped out of there so fast.
 

randomengine

Shriekbat
Banned
Pronouns
He/Him
I took 2 years of Japanese in college, culminating in a 10-minute skit entirely in Japanese without cue card reference.

Many years later, I have lost most of it.
 

Mendinso

Shriekbat
Pronouns
He/Him
Still learning, but it's a process.

Problem is when I run into a mental barrier, it's hard to keep motivated, because I feel like I "must 100% understand this", when in reality, you don't need to do that.
 

Dino Ventura

watch your back
Learned for more than two years to go back there but stopped because it became too much work for a hobby. Forgot a lot.
 

Future Boy Nemo

Daydream Believer
Memorized hiragana and katakana on a whim a few weeks ago, but various things have been eating up my time recently so I haven't gone any deeper than that. In December I'm hoping to have time to start working on grammar and expanding my vocabulary beyond the four or five hundred words I've picked up from anime.
 

balgajo

Octorok
I'm focusing only on reading japanese. I can read hiragana and katakana fluidly and I'm slowly improving my kanji repertory reading manga. When I see some new word I look for the kanji radicals on Jisho. Google Translate ocr is also fine but looking for radicals helps me to memorize better.

These days I realized that I improved on the grammar. Still there's a lot of stuff to learn.

Goal number 1 is to play Terranigma JP version one day.
Goal number 2 is to go to Japan without relying on my English.
 

Heron

Octorok
I tried learning on my own for 18 months before going to Japan in late 2019.

I just couldn't figure out the grammar. I think I didn't actively practice "creating" it enough - too much reading, not enough reproducing.

When I got down on the ground, my vocab was fine, I had enough Kanji to get around reading shop signs and menus etc (about 400 most common kanji) but I just couldn't conjugate verbs well enough to have proper conversations, or to discern which of multiple homophones the person speaking meant (every two syllable word in Japanese could mean like 17 different things lol). And that sucked. It was enough to impress the people I was with, though, lol, and I did have some lovely experiences where people indulged my shite attempts.

Haven't done much in the 2 years since, I should get back on it I guess.

Also, if you haven't been, go. One of the best places I've ever visited. I'm not into anime or manga or some kind of Japanese culture worshpper at all - I went purely for a sporting event with friends. But by the time I left (17 day trip) I was all in on Japan. The people, the landscape, the history... it all blew me away. Also... further you get from Tokyo the better it is.
 

lightning16

Octorok
I'm in the early stages of learning right now. Always had an interest and finally decided to start back in August. Learning hiragana and katakana was fun and easier than I was expecting, but then I started learning some kanji and I was like "oh, so this is why it's hard."

After learning hiragana and katakana I started learning some basic kanji but felt like it was difficult to learn without more context from the language, so I bought the first Genki textbook and I'm making my way through that right now. Very early in the process but I'm looking forward to seeing how far I can get.

As for keeping motivated, it wasn't an issue at first, but I'll admit over the past 2-3 weeks I've had issues keeping up with it. I tested positive for covid during that time and, while I felt perfectly fine physically, a lot of my motivation to do things plummeted. I'm trying to get back into a rhythm and at least looking through the textbook a bit as often as possible.
 

Dunban

Riki may well be the softest of all Nopon
Pronouns
He/him
I've studied a few times over the years, but never focused on it. I still haven't even been to Japan yet, but I do hope to visit someday.

I do feel like it is a difficult language to learn, especially if you're not using one of the recommended ways to learn kanji (like Remember the Kanji or Wanikani). Grammar is also quite difficult the more formal you get. I think even people who are proficient don't necessarily know Keigo. But I still revisit my studies every now and then, learning just a bit more every time.
 

AliceAbstract

Plays Children's Card Games
Founder
Pronouns
She/Her
Studied it for years, passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test at N1, now I use it in my professional life. In fairness, I started learning in middle school, right before the supposed cut-off age for learning a new language.

My advice to everyone who finds it hard to keep going/easy to lose what they've learned is to put it to use doing something you like. It's seriously hard to retain the language if you're just doing exercises and rote memorization from books (especially if you don't live with/near anyone who speaks it regularly). That stuff bores your mind and doesn't form strong mental connections for your brain.

If you like anime or games or dorama, watch or play those in raw Japanese. Or hunt through Japanese Twitter for a thread on a subject that interests you. Or watch unsubbed Japanese streams/news shows/documentaries. When you see the language used in a context that's fun and you happen to recognize a word you already knew, things will start snapping together in your mind and it'll be harder to forget.
 

Alent

JUS-TIN!
I'm only very casually learning. And i'm only really learning how to read--creating is a whole extra difficult task. It's a fun language and rewarding when you can read unexpected things out in the wild. もっと勉強しなければ!
 

Gengar

10th Most Popular Pokémon in 2020
Pronouns
He/Him
I started about 1.5 years ago but had some down periods, so not all of that time had consistent studying. I'm slowly but surely learning and retaining kanji; right now I can read some things on NHK Easy, for example. I recognize different tenses in grammar when I read but need to get better at conjugating on the fly.

Honestly, I'm not too concerned about kanji because I know that will come in time (with consistent practice). For me, I think speaking and forming complex sentences on my own will be the hardest thing.
 

Kingpin Rogers

Bob-omb
Pronouns
He/Him
I keep meaning to start but I'm lazy and haven't gotten round to it.
I'm also worried that my motivation for learning (occasional Japanese exclusive games and being able to watch/read Japanese media without the need for subs or translation) isn't strong enough to keep me going once I reach a first proper hurdle in learning the language.
 

Squiddo

Darkness within Darkness
Pronouns
He/Him
I truly want to get into it but got so many things to do first like getting my drivers license finally haha. Altho when i did the most important stuff ill start on it finally. Like now i only know like 4 or 5 words 💀 + me having adhd might make things hard but ill give it a legit good try.
 
OP
OP
Oheao

Oheao

Workers of the world, unite!
Founder
Pronouns
He/Him
I feel like I just need to get a good routine going, as it stands now I don't have anything close enough to being consistent/viable for retaining information.
 
I'm learning German and it's incredibly difficult. I can't even imagine how difficult Japanese must be.

If I ever make it past German, Japanese would be my next language.
 

Subnats

Sonic 06 Enjoyer
Founder
Pronouns
She/Her
Always wanted to learn Japanese but I'm terrible with languages. Did German in secondary school and Irish since primary and was barely able to hold a basic conversation in either, can't imagine Japanese would be any easier.
 

gul

Rattata
Pronouns
she/her
Been doing very light self study since the end of 2017. I can read some kanji, but not much. I'm going to try playing some games in japanese this year, since I find that to be a pretty effective way to force myself to read.
 

lexony

Bob-omb
Founder
Studied it for years, passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test at N1, now I use it in my professional life. In fairness, I started learning in middle school, right before the supposed cut-off age for learning a new language.
There is no such thing as a cutoff age for learning a new language. To be able to speak on a native level maybe yes but to learn to speak a language fluently it is never to late if you work hard enough.
 

Herb Alpert

Insert clever pun here
Founder
Yep, I'm trying to self study japanese. I use books for grammar and subscribed to WaniKani for kanji learning.

I'm French and have studied German for years at school then university, I think grammar wise japanese is easier.
 
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lightning16

Octorok
I'm in the early stages of learning right now. Always had an interest and finally decided to start back in August. Learning hiragana and katakana was fun and easier than I was expecting, but then I started learning some kanji and I was like "oh, so this is why it's hard."

After learning hiragana and katakana I started learning some basic kanji but felt like it was difficult to learn without more context from the language, so I bought the first Genki textbook and I'm making my way through that right now. Very early in the process but I'm looking forward to seeing how far I can get.

As for keeping motivated, it wasn't an issue at first, but I'll admit over the past 2-3 weeks I've had issues keeping up with it. I tested positive for covid during that time and, while I felt perfectly fine physically, a lot of my motivation to do things plummeted. I'm trying to get back into a rhythm and at least looking through the textbook a bit as often as possible.
Well, Covid definitely killed my motivation. Pretty much killed my motivation to do anything for quite a while, but I started cooking again, exercising again, and studying Japanese again recently! I felt super rusty at first with the things I'd previously learned. I was a bit worried because I was very new to studying when I dropped off of it, but as I've been getting back into reading the textbook and working through the workbook and everything I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I've retained from previously, so that's nice.

It's honestly pretty fun studying it. I felt this way previously too, but I think I'm realizing since this is something I genuinely want to learn that I actually enjoy my time studying. Such a foreign feeling to actually study what you want to study instead of what you feel obligated to study lol. I have the same feeling as I'm learning to cook. My intention right now is to dedicate at least 60 minutes per day to studying. Excited to see how far I can get by the end of the year.
 

WestEgg

King of the Krocs
Administrator
I started messing around with Duolingo recently and now know some simple phrases and vocabulary but am far from as me to speak at any respectable level. Will probably keep at it though since I’m actually having some fun with it.
 

Mazzle

Animetrash
Pronouns
He/Him
Started but then got so much other shit to do and learn, that all I know right now is Hiragana and Katakana.
Which is more than before I guess xD
But I liked Duolingo and have both Genki books and the Kanji Pict-o-Graphix, so yeah I really wanna do this once I
have the time
 

Leica

Bob-omb
Pronouns
he/him
I've been self studying for a while, mostly because I like the routine of it and it's good for the brain I feel lol. I use a combination of immersion (ie reading manga/watching anime without subs, etc) + anki where I do a precompiled deck and make my own cards with things I picked up from immersion too. I really feel just consuming stuff you like in the language in combination with some sort of SRS (anki, wanikani, etc) is the best method to learn without burning out too hard.
 

Herb Alpert

Insert clever pun here
Founder
Someone recommended the human japanese app. It's very well done and easy to understand. I think it's a one time purchase, around 10€ iirc.
I love it.
 

Herb Alpert

Insert clever pun here
Founder
Is there a German version of this?
Unfortunately I don't think so. Just english.
I'm French and the best ressources I've found are in english. But I think that learning a foreign language through another foreign language is something really cool and good for the brain.
 
Unfortunately I don't think so. Just english.
I'm French and the best ressources I've found are in english. But I think that learning a foreign language through another foreign language is something really cool and good for the brain.
I meant a version of this for learning German.

It looks like only Japanese is available unfortunately.
 

lightning16

Octorok
How do you guys balance learning kanji and learning vocab? I have a deck of flash cards with all the N5 kanji + some extras that I've added here and there, but every time I see kanji I don't recognize in an N5 level vocab word I'm tempted to make a flash card for it and add it to my kanji deck lol. I feel like that's not ideal. I just find it an interesting progression, where basic vocabulary words will often use kanji that are listed at a fairly high level. Like breakfast was one of the first vocabulary words I came across and it's spelled with 2 (or 3) kanji that are supposedly at an N4 level. I proceeded to add 朝 and 飯 flash cards and now I know those kanji, but if I do this with every word I come across I feel like I'll be making very slow progress in terms of learning grammar skills and progressing my overall learning.

I assume, if you use something like a Genki textbook (which I've been using), and you write breakfast in an answer, you're probably expected to write it in kana and not kanji? Honestly the hardest part of learning kanji I think is actually remembering the shapes while trying to write them. I've actually got my ~120 kanji flash cards memorized pretty well in terms of identifying the meaning of the kanji and the pronunciations/kana used to spell them, but I can only really write a few of them from memory. Basically, I can identify them when I see them fairly well but I can't reproduce them from memory. This makes me assume that if I'm writing vocab that utilizes kanji not taught yet or not expected to be known, I'm likely not expected to be able to write the kanji lol. Which seems pretty obvious now that I write it out.

The problem is, I'm not sure when I'll actually learn to write kanji off memory if I don't practice doing it in answers in this sort of context. Are there decent programs for writing kanji? It definitely seems like it'll be the most difficult aspect of kanji to really commit to memory. Being able to read kanji feels so much more obtainable to me right now than being able to write/produce kanji myself.
 

Herb Alpert

Insert clever pun here
Founder
How do you guys balance learning kanji and learning vocab? I have a deck of flash cards with all the N5 kanji + some extras that I've added here and there, but every time I see kanji I don't recognize in an N5 level vocab word I'm tempted to make a flash card for it and add it to my kanji deck lol. I feel like that's not ideal. I just find it an interesting progression, where basic vocabulary words will often use kanji that are listed at a fairly high level. Like breakfast was one of the first vocabulary words I came across and it's spelled with 2 (or 3) kanji that are supposedly at an N4 level. I proceeded to add 朝 and 飯 flash cards and now I know those kanji, but if I do this with every word I come across I feel like I'll be making very slow progress in terms of learning grammar skills and progressing my overall learning.

I assume, if you use something like a Genki textbook (which I've been using), and you write breakfast in an answer, you're probably expected to write it in kana and not kanji? Honestly the hardest part of learning kanji I think is actually remembering the shapes while trying to write them. I've actually got my ~120 kanji flash cards memorized pretty well in terms of identifying the meaning of the kanji and the pronunciations/kana used to spell them, but I can only really write a few of them from memory. Basically, I can identify them when I see them fairly well but I can't reproduce them from memory. This makes me assume that if I'm writing vocab that utilizes kanji not taught yet or not expected to be known, I'm likely not expected to be able to write the kanji lol. Which seems pretty obvious now that I write it out.

The problem is, I'm not sure when I'll actually learn to write kanji off memory if I don't practice doing it in answers in this sort of context. Are there decent programs for writing kanji? It definitely seems like it'll be the most difficult aspect of kanji to really commit to memory. Being able to read kanji feels so much more obtainable to me right now than being able to write/produce kanji myself.

That's what I like about WaniKani, you have a logical progression. First you learn some radicals, then some kanjis related to them, then vocab from these kanjis. Rinse and repeat for next level.
Learning them together helps greatly to memorize.
 

lightning16

Octorok
That's what I like about WaniKani, you have a logical progression. First you learn some radicals, then some kanjis related to them, then vocab from these kanjis. Rinse and repeat for next level.
Learning them together helps greatly to memorize.
Just signed up for this. I think I'll be seeing a lot of the same kanji I already know for a while, but this seems like a nice daily activity to go through to help reinforce everything. Looks good!
 

Herb Alpert

Insert clever pun here
Founder
Just signed up for this. I think I'll be seeing a lot of the same kanji I already know for a while, but this seems like a nice daily activity to go through to help reinforce everything. Looks good!
Indeed!
On my Android phone, I use a third party app called "flaming durtles" which links to WaniKani servers.
The UI is better for phones imo and you have notifications.
 

Olinad

A Courageous Little Animal
Pronouns
He/Him
I've been trying to self-learn Japanese for a long while now (when I started uni, about 10 years ago now?!) but with no great success. Hiragana and katakana are pretty well memorized, and I've gotten relatively deep into WaniKani a few times, but then stuff happens and I drop it lol.

I think this is like the fourth time that I'm trying to get back into it. Will nail it someday.
 

DenkeyKong

banana
I started learning Japanese, because I wanted to be able to read other player's names in Splatoon 1 lobbies. 90% or more are Japanese in there these days. I can read katakana and hiragana now and a bit of basic Japanase
 

Ahmed

Bob-omb
I was self studying Japanese for a few months some years ago. I didn't last long, but I'm planning to hop back in and start over.

Some things I have done:
Bought the Genki and Japanese for busy people books
Installed Anki on pc and laptop with some kanji decks
Subscribed to Japanese ammo Misa and learn Japanese channels on YouTube (I'll look up the exact channel names later)

I'm also planning to buy some Japanese magazines and newspapers, videogames and manga that contain kanji with furigana. Basically I want to improve my reading and listening skills. I've read that it's a good idea to tackle kanji as early as possible and to try to read magazines and newspapers to get used to them.
I know that writing is also an important thing, because of stuff like stroke order and number of strokes etc. But personally I'm not seeing myself needing to write in Japanese, though i might try that later on.

Anki is great for daily practicing with kanji, and the deck I'm using has natives pronouncing them. Genki will help with grammar, verbs, particles and stuff. Youtube is for listening skills, though Genki also has audio exercises.
 

Mendinso

Shriekbat
Pronouns
He/Him
Started back up again and it's a little slow, but... a little bit at a time is better than nothing.

Biggest thing that's pacing me badly is writing down my wording of the book for my own notes and my hand is cramping up something severe, ugh. Hand is really out of practice so it's going to be a slow burn there.

Biggest issue is not being able to properly practice some stuff with people (plus with mental health issues, it's extremely difficult to ask for help or explain my issues), but I'll see what I can do about that.
 

lightning16

Octorok
I started using WaniKani back on March 1st, so it's been about a month, and I'm really really pleased with my progress so far. This seems like a great way to learn kanji and vocabulary. I've cleared 5 levels so far and did the lessons for a lot of level 6 kanji/radicals and a lot of level 5 vocabulary just now. It does seem like things are ramping up a little bit, but I'm keeping up on everything as it happens so far. Some of the mnemonics are very silly and basically random, but funny enough sometimes those are the ones that stick with me the most (I still think of the sound my body makes standing on the sun being compared to onions frying in oil every time I see the kanji for sound to remember the reading lol). Anyway, in this one month I've got 164 kanji up through guru and master levels, and another 343 vocabulary words. I really doubt I'll clear 5 levels every month, but I really enjoy the pacing of this and it's really nice to be able to pair this type of learning with the more grammar-based learning from the Genki textbooks.
 

Herb Alpert

Insert clever pun here
Founder
I'm level 7 at WaniKani and have been using it for a year lol
I might throw an eye this genki thing, seems lots of people use it
 

lightning16

Octorok
I'm level 7 at WaniKani and have been using it for a year lol
I might throw an eye this genki thing, seems lots of people use it
lol I'll be honest I've been checking in on WaniKani for new reviews and lessons constantly for the past month. Basically just in my regular rotation of websites I mindlessly cycle through when I have nothing to do. I find the reviews pretty fun in a weird way lol.

I think Genki's the most widely used textbook in beginner Japanese courses outside Japan, but I could be wrong. My personal plan is to go through the lessons of the first two Genki textbooks and workbooks to try to get some kind of working knowledge of grammar. I haven't thought about what I'll do afterward, though. Genki textbooks are pretty common recommendation to start with but after that it seems pretty open-ended.
 

lightning16

Octorok
Anyone feeling like they're making good progress learning Japanese lately?

I think my progress has been going well. I can't say enough good things about WaniKani, so thanks yet again for the suggestion. I'm up to level 12, and I should send my first batch of level 12 kanji to "Guru" stage on Tuesday night. I've been introduced to 401 kanji and 1,224 vocabulary words on this site since I started using it on March 1st. When I think about how slow-going my progress was in fiddling with index cards and attempting to make this all work myself, this really is a game-changer. There are other programs out there I believe that also attempt to achieve similar things for people trying to learn Japanese, and I definitely think it's worth finding one that works for you if you're also in the early stages of learning.

The Genki textbook has been a bit slower to progress. I need to get better at just making sure I open up the textbook or workbook at least 5 nights a week. I'm starting to hit that point where I'm like "damn there's a lot of forms" lol. It's nothing too complex honestly, and as I work through the workbook I think it tends to make enough sense and all, but when I try to recall something I've learned previously, like the negative past tense of an adjective, I do find myself going back to consult textbook. And that's fine. It would be more weird if I perfectly had everything memorized as I went, but it's starting to feel like a lot.

I stumbled upon a nice YouTube channel that seems to do a pretty good job explaining various Japanese language concepts called Organic Japanese with Cure Dolly. Unfortunately the channel has ceased updating as the author has had some health issues forcing them to stop, but there are a lot of good videos available for anyone curious. The subjects touched in these videos covers a lot of the same material the Genki textbooks have covered for me up to this point, but I think Cure Dolly does a great job explaining things from a different perspective, and stressing the inherent differences between the Japanese language and the English language, and pointing out some issues that can arise for English speakers trying to learn Japanese by basically forcing Japanese to behave like English. She explains the は particle much better than the Genki textbooks did, for example. I think the channel is worth a look for people also learning.
 
Pronouns
He/Him
I've been self studying for a while, mostly because I like the routine of it and it's good for the brain I feel lol. I use a combination of immersion (ie reading manga/watching anime without subs, etc) + anki where I do a precompiled deck and make my own cards with things I picked up from immersion too. I really feel just consuming stuff you like in the language in combination with some sort of SRS (anki, wanikani, etc) is the best method to learn without burning out too hard.
I took it in highschool OP, which was 11 years ago...so I only remember basic sentences and grammar.

If you genuinely want to learn, @Leica method is a good way to go to start just so you don't burn yourself out trying to learn grammar.

italki is a great site to find a partner to practice speaking with. I've used it when I tried to teach myself Spanish. Lessons are cheap and there are plenty of free people to speak with.

Memrise is another good recommendation if Duolingo isn't your thing.

The late Moses McCormick was a polyglot for Asian languages (primarily, but he knew dozens of others) and his Level Up videos were inspiring, and a bit hilarious in some videos. Great way to relax while still getting some listening practice in.

Jisho is a great Japanese dictionary.

Hou Hou is an offline kanji dictionary making it fast and easy to look up kanji. You can also create your own flashcards for studying. It's really useful while having a conversation with someone (like through italki for example).


Omniglot is one my favorite sites, it's an encyclopedia of every fathomable language you can think of. I love it because it makes creating a conversation less stressful, in part by giving you the phrases to speak immediately and thus confidently; making you want to use the language more.
 

Vantell

Editor @ N1-UP
When I am starting my new job I am planning to start Japanese lessons as well. I have done some but not consistently.
 

EvilChameleon

Whatcha playin'?
Pronouns
he/him
FamiGold
13
Ope, I'm back at it. Got further this time than I did last Summer!
QG1.png
 

EvilChameleon

Whatcha playin'?
Pronouns
he/him
FamiGold
13
Remembering the readings for the kanji on WaniKani are brutal. I can remember the meanings just fine, because the visual stuff comes very easy to me, but remembering the sentence they throw at me, which word to remember in that sentence, and the hiragana that go with it, hoo boy.
 

lightning16

Octorok
Remembering the readings for the kanji on WaniKani are brutal. I can remember the meanings just fine, because the visual stuff comes very easy to me, but remembering the sentence they throw at me, which word to remember in that sentence, and the hiragana that go with it, hoo boy.
It can definitely be challenging.

I think at this point my brain tends to just attach the kanji to the specific pronunciation word in the sentence instead of the whole thing. Probably not very helpful, but I've found myself doing it. WaniKani tend to use the same words often to link pronunciations (し is almost always linked to sheep in the sentence), so I tend to cut out the whole sentences and just link the kanji to "sheep". I don't remember the sentences to form pronunciations for "stop", "samurai", and "finger", I just remember sheep when I see those kanji. Same thing with the よう kanji and yogurt. Kind of arbitrary at that point but it works for me somehow lol.
 


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