Wednesday, March 22, 2017

★5 Things To Do Before You Start Learning Japanese★

So, I am happy to announce that this semester I finish my Japanese minor. It has been a real struggle for me, not because I don't understand Japanese but because I've had certain life events occur during my time studying Japanese, and because I feel that I have overcame the biggest chunk of it, I plan go back and retake the class that I was in for Japanese when my Mother passed away. I have support from the department head, and I think that putting this in a blog is important not just for myself but for anyone learning Japanese, especially those learning on their own. Here's 5 things to do before you start learning Japanese.
(Note:This photo is mine of my textbooks on my desk.)

1. Get rid of romaji! Learn Hiragana and Katakana: 
 With the first two weeks of learning Japanese, I learned both Hiragana and Katakana.
Hiragana is the writing system when Japanese words will be mainly written in when accompanying Kanji. Katakana is the writing system used only with foreign words that have no literal translation into the language. (Ex. アパート(Apaato) for apartment). It does not take long to learn Hiragana and Katakana. As you progress with learning the language, then can you tackle Kanji, but most Kanji will have hiragana script on the top.

2. Choose one textbook to study from, and stick with it: 

When I was learning Japanese on my own. I literally had like 4-5 books that I was studying from. The truth is that you need to find one good textbook that best fits your needs if you're learning by yourself. I'm an advent supporter for the Genki textbooks because that is what I used when learning, and I think they lay out things quite nicely. I have had people suggest Japanese for busy people, and minna no nihongo, but I can only give you a preference on Genki.

3. Do NOT use Google translate: 
Google translate is in no way a reliable source to help you better your Japanese. The issue is that there are levels of formality and it may not translate accurately on google. Just stay away from it. My Professors who were all Japanese, except for my last one who was fluent, discouraged us to use google translate. Also, because sometimes it will read the Kanji as chinese instead of Japanese.

4. Plan time to study at least 1-2 hours a day. 
This was one of my biggest down falls. It is crucial to set aside time to study but because the semester of fall 2014 was one of the most devastating semesters in my life, I ended up losing all motivation to study and it took me a very long time to pull myself out of that pit. I am looking to retake that semester's class in Japanese and I plan to set aside an hour at least to study Japanese.

5. Use apps, and other online resources. 
For those using Genki, There are now Genki apps for Kanji, and the grammar, and vocabulary. I highly suggest using it. There is Anki or memrise to also aid in studying Japanese. Check out Meguro Language Center for additional study materials. I also used Tangorin online dictionary for a lot of studying help. Also check out Kemushichan's youtube! She has a lot of great advice. Also, join facebook groups and do not be afraid to make mistakes.

Meguro Langauge Center



If you have any questions about studying Japanese feel free to email me or message me on my social media. Also, if you'd like me to give you thorough review on the Genki textbooks then leave a comment down below or tweet me.


  1. On the "one textbook" front, yes one language course only, but Minna no Nihongo and SitFun to my knowledge both have two books per level, a book of notes and grammar and a workbook of exercises. Can be a real pain going back n forth between the two on your desk! ;-)

    1. So, we actually went in order using these textbooks, and did not switch in between. For intro Japanese we used Genki 1, and for elementary we used Genki 2, and for the tobira that was used for intermediate. However, I am redoing my intermediate course, so the textbook has changed, and it actually looks a lot easier than tobira. I think that is one thing that kind of made learning in class difficult, is that we instantly went to an all Japanese book, so now they switched it.


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