About the Japanese Only (Beginners) category

This is the Japanese Only section for beginners. Staff will try to use easy kanji and expressions, but sometimes you may come across kanji you don’t know. To quickly look up the kanji reading and meaning, we recommend you to use a furigana extension such as Rikai-kun.


The browser extension will let you hover over the words and teach you the reading and meaning.

You should try to write everything in Japanese if you can, but there is a little more leniency in this forum for some English if you need to ask for clarification, or if you have question about something that somebody wrote. Staff may give you some explanation in English too. But, do your best to use Japanese as much as possible starting right… now!


P.S. For a more advanced Japanese Only forum check out Japanese Only (Advanced).


Was it intended for this category to be public? Because it is right now. Also, it looks like the topic close timings might be off since the other topic in this category (and in the advanced Japanese only category) is set to close only 4 days after the last reply, instead of the usual year.


I just changed it to a year!


Hi guys. I actually had Jen change it back to 4 DAYS!
Koichi and I wanted to try out the 4DAYS rule with the threads here so that you guys are encouraged to learn new things. It doesn’t mean you guys shouldn’t come back to old posts though. If it’s a good post and if you really like it, we should make it stay active and alive!

(If we got a lot of nays, we may change our minds, but why don’t we try this out for and see how it will go? :slight_smile: )


Ah, alrighty then. Just thought I’d mention in case it was a mistake.


Yeah, that’s our bad we didn’t explain. Thank you for bringing it up!


Indeed, this category is public, whereas Japanese Only (Advanced) is private. Is that how it’s supposed to be? Just checking.

Yes, we set this category public so that people can freely join the simple conversations. :slight_smile:

The advanced one will remain private (at least for now), so people can practice writing about more details they don’t want to share in public.


Ok, thanks for the explanation!

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Hi guy’s! I Really like these Japanese Only Beginners thread but most of the time I … can’t understand it :(. I Know i’m only level 4 at the moment (and only at Chapter 2 of Genki) - but still :upside_down_face::crazy_face:. Where to learn this beginner grammar?

Thank you!

Check out chapter 3!


Sorry @Earthly. I totally missed your comment here.

I totally understand your frustration. English is my second language and I’ve been there. For that, I have a few pieces of advice.

We usually recommend that you learn good amount of basic words (and kanji) before starting grammar. ​(So, on our Kanji/Vocab learning tool Wanikani, we recommend getting to around at least Level 10 on WaniKani (preferably level 20) before anything)

The reason is simple: “How do you read/say the word if you don’t know how to read/say it?” If you take this way, you’ll have a big enough foundation at that point to burn through Genki or any other textbooks. Does that sound fair?

For that, I think using SRS (spaced repetition system) is the most efficient. WaniKani uses that system so each item we teach will appear in your reviews in longer and longer intervals to test your memory. The first reviews will appear after 4 hours, then if you answer it correctly, it will appear after 8 hours, and so forth. If you get it wrong, however, it will go down (or stay the same if it’s already on the first stage).

You may make an argument and ask like, “if so, why is this Japanese Only Beginners meant to be for beginners?” It’s because I wanted people to have opportunities to use and read the kanji they learned even though they don’t fully undersatnd it. That’s why there is a translation/answer template at the beginning. You can also answer questions in English as well. So, it’s totally normal that you don’t understand everything at the moment and don’t worry about it. If you want to ask questions, feel free to ask away in English.

Once you start learning grammar, I recommend you should start practice to write a different variation of the same structure sentences (doesn’t have to be handwritten). For that, we also have an article about Japanese sentences and the best way to study with them.

Once you reach this point, you probably want somebody to take a look at the sentences you made and tell you sound if they sound natural or not. For that, we recommend Hi Native (You can download the app right now and start asking questions if you like. It’s fun!).

You could also check out Tae Kim, Imabi, and Bunpro as well because they are written in English (for free alternatives / more practice — doesn’t hurt to have more than one resource for the same grammar point since they’re explained differently).

There are a lot of resources and materials out there, and everybody has a different preference. We have a list for it, but you can look around by yourself too. I hope you’ll find some resources that work best for you :slight_smile:

Sorry that it turned out to be a super long reply. I hope that helps. Learning another language is not an easy feat, but remember that you are not alone and we’re always rooting for you! Good luck with your studies <3


I suppose it’s worth mentioning that several members of the community (including myself) recommend the opposite whenever someone asks. Often someone says, “I’m waiting until level 10 like the WaniKani guide recommends. What should I do in the meantime?”. At which point, we tell them to ignore that suggestion and start grammar right away. Speaking personally, I went through Japanese From Zero books 1-3 before joining WaniKani, and I thought this worked well. It allowed me to build a foundation in the language instead of learning hundreds of words in isolation that I couldn’t put into sentences.

Generally textbooks will teach the words they use in a given chapter (if not already taught), so I don’t think there’s much risk in not knowing how to read/say a word early on in grammar study.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. I know learning some grammar before kanji worked well for me, but it’s obviously not the only way to learn.


Thank you for your inputs!! :slight_smile:


Bookmarked, thank you!

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Thank you very much! Great information for me. Had a Japanese break, but here I go again!


@seanblue I got Japanese From Zero, but I’m struggling with each lesson introducing more vocab while I’m doing WaniKani at the same time. I’d rather learn the vocab with the Kanji + mnemonics on WaniKani and it’s hard for me to try to memorize vocabulary from both WaniKani and Japanese From Zero at the same time. But I also would love to look into vocab. Not sure if you had any tips since you did Japanese From Zero before WaniKani.

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I don’t know that I can help much. I just learned the words for each chapter brute force by writing up my own flashcards (in Quizlet) and studying them constantly. It didn’t even have SRS, not that I’d even heard of SRS back then. I just learned them in hiragana (sometimes with romaji too since Japanese From Zero doesn’t teach all the kana right away). It worked for me since it was important to me that I go slowly so I didn’t get overwhelmed.

I don’t have any suggestions if you really want to learn them in kanji right away. Perhaps just consider that when kids learn language at first, they learn the words verbally, not with writing of any kind, let alone kanji. So there’s nothing wrong with learning those common words without kanji, and then connecting them with kanji later just as native kids do. If anything, it makes learning the words in kanji later that much easier, since you already have something to connect it back to.


I am also using Japanese From Zero. Have you looked into yesjapan.com? That is the website for JFZ, and it has videos for each lesson, games, etc. The first 3 or 4 lessons are free, then it is a paid site, $99 a year, I think. The videos are really good, you get the vocabulary for each lesson, quizzes, and more. I love it!