Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Japanese- next steps

Now that you've (hopefully) learned katakana and hiragana, you're ready to learn some real Japanese! Now is a good time to go back to the notes I wrote from our first Japanese lesson HERE. In those notes you'll learn how to make a short greeting and say a little about where you are from. This is a great start!

If you dont yet have a Japanese textbook YouTube will be your best friend. There are tons of YouTube channels that teach beginner Japanese or help explain certain concepts and give advice on studying! Here's a list of some of the ones I watched (click for link):

Japanese Pod 101
Japan Society NYC
Japanese from Zero
Japanese Joshi

If you're serious about learning Japanese you're honestly going to need a textbook. I mean you wouldn't try to learn calculus just from watching YouTube videos right? So bite the bullet and buy a textbook. Obviously you can always find cheap, new, and used books on Amazon which is how we got our textbook. I did a bit of research and found out that many people recommended the Genki Japanese Textbook so thats what we went with, but there are some pros and cons.

Pros: it does a great job of explaining grammar points and it has you practice those points with all sorts of written questions. Cons: its focused on learning Japanese from the perspective of an international university student so a lot of the vocabulary and dialogue is centered around school and not normal daily dialogue you'd otherwise use. We also bought the extra workbook that goes with the Genki textbook. Its great if you just want even more written questions to practice the grammar you've learned, but its by no means essential. The textbook and workbook also come with CDs so you can listen to the dailogue you learn and theres even listening questions to work on, but I've been a bit lazy on studying at home with my computer and the CD so I haven't utilized this enough to comment on it. I bet if I used this feature more I'd be better at listening in Japanese...

So I would recommend getting the Genki workbook for the great grammar explanation, but it might also be useful to get another book that supplements that textbook with different kinds of vocab and topics- which is what we're doing with Japanese classes and the new textbook we got for those classes.

Like I said before, to make (and keep) progress its important to study daily, or as close to that as is realistic for you. At work when I don't have a class I spend my time working in my Genki textbook are drilling kanji/vocab flashcards. It does get a bit tedious, and sometimes I just can't stuff any more Japanese into my brain so I need a frickin break. but ultimately this has helped me advance as far as I have. Hey, learning something as difficult as a new language, especially Japanese, isnt going to be easy. It's just not. But it will be rewarding and exciting! So go check out some textbooks and keep practicing your vocab and kana in the meantime.


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