Featured Post

Planning a Trip to Japan

You could go the easy route and pay a travel agent to plan your trip but that'll cost you a lot of money, money that you may not even ha...

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Start Learning Japanese

I have a ton of ideas for blog posts in my head but I haven't done one on learning Japanese in a while. I know there are people who are trying to learn Japanese like myself. We're all doing what we can to learn in our own way whether it's taking formal classes, watching anime and dramas, or studying with friends. Each of these sadly has a flaw. Taking formal classes cost money and you learn in the order of the textbook being used. Watching anime doesn't get you far in your studies and you only pick up small words and phrases. Studying with friends can be a good idea, but at the same time you all are either distracting each other from actually studying or you all look to each other for guidance and get stuck. I did all of these things and still do some of them. Japanese is a hard language to learn and it will take years if you are not fully dedicated everyday, like myself.

To a Japanese person my level of Japanese is at the lower intermediate level. I can read and write hiragana and katakana and make basic sentences. A beginner is not knowing anything, a total beginner. The upper intermediate level is when you know the grammar but you can't understand conversations in Japanese. And finally, advanced is when you know how to converse in Japanese and can understand Japanese television and newspapers. I really hope one day I can get to the advanced level but I'll be lucky enough to just get to upper intermediate. The obvious way to learn fluent Japanese is to live there for a few years but me and most other people don't have that opportunity to do so (it's just not in our cards we've drawn). I'm in no way qualified to teach Japanese to others, but I don't mind helping out with giving tips and stuff like that.

Grammar/ Sentence structure

There is one thing that we should all focus on studying though and that's what we NEED to study. Open up a Japanese textbook, go ahead. The first introductory chapter is useful because of the hiragana, katakana, and helpful phrases but then the chapters start to teach you vocabulary you don't need to know. I find that a textbook doesn't challenge you enough like an actual person does. The one thing a textbook is good for is all the sentence structure and grammar rules in it. Collect all of those into one spot and study those each day to keep yourself refreshed. Even form the sentence, leaving out nouns, subject, time, adjective/adverbs, and verbs so you can practice making your own sentences.
Understanding the particles is a critical part of learning the sentence structure.


In order to form sentences you need to know some vocabulary. Don't just learn random words. Be smart about what you learn. Ask yourself, "What am I going to Japan for? A job? A vacation?" If it's for school or a specific job learn the vocabulary related to those occupations. If it's for a vacation learn words for everyday conversation or what you think you would use like directions and asking questions. To study these vocabulary I suggest going back to the basics of studying and writing some flashcards. Learn 10 words at a time, adding 10 more everyday. Don't stop studying the flashcards for that day until you make no mistakes. If you miss a few days of studying you will have to start from the beginning because you won't remember anything, so make sure you study those flashcards everyday (it shouldn't take you any longer than a hour). 
Good old flashcards. They really do work.

Writing Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji

Learning how to write Japanese is important so you can read signs and other important information. With hiragana and katakana you just need to practice once a day, tallying how many you've got wrong. The goal is to keep practicing until you can write each one without any mistakes. Kanji is a little more work. Each day study 5 kanji, adding the previous 5 to the mix. Make sure that the 5 you are studying that day you have memorized it's English and Japanese meaning and are able to write the kanji. The next day, your goal is to be able to regenerate the previous kanji and it's meaning. If it can;t be done you need to study those thoroughly again with the next additional kanji. This method has worked for me previous, letting me comprehend 80 kanji at once.
You will keep getting better with each day!
I hope these study tips help you reach closer to your goal of learning Japanese. If you have any tips to help others please leave a comment below on your methods.
Like always, thanks for reading. I appreciate it all the time.

Follow me on social media for more Japan related content:

Facebook- www.facebook.com/japantherapynola

Instagram- www.instagram.com/japantherapy

Google+- www.google.com/+JenniferTorresjapantherapy