About the Japanese Only (Beginners) category

On whether to learn the kanji first or stay on grammar sooner

I also recommend learning grammar right away.

It’s not important that you memorize the meanings of words at that stage, so annotate the heck out of your books. You could also copy the vocabulary list and keep it handy as you read through the sample sentences. It will be hard work, but the grammar points will be what you remember because that’s what repeats in each example.

Meanwhile, you are using Wani Kani or SRS or something to memorize vocabulary. Trying to read an example sentence using the vocabulary is hard at first, because it doesn’t make sense how the words go together. But try to cobble together meaning.

At some point, these two paths converge, and you will feel like you are reading. At that point, you might want to pick up the pace on the SRS, because you will have a shocking realization that there are a lot of words. Even though I just told you this, and also, it is obvious, it will still feel like a shock.

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What’s Genki?

It’s a series of beginner’s books. There are Genki I and II, which are the grammar books (which also come with separate workbooks) and there is also the Genki Kanji book series, which cover the basic Kanji (Joyo) kids learn through elementary school.

I think they’re great but I wouldn’t go near them until you (and me) are higher level WaniKani user.

I have all the Genki books and oh my god they’re so boring and hard to get into because they show you something you’ll never be able to remember on one page, and then on to the next. The WaniKani SRS method, at least for me personally, is a lot more effective in getting a beginner’s vocabulary into my skull.

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I’d have to disagree. Genki textbooks have been excellent for practicing and learning sentence structure for me and some friends who are also studying Japanese. The vocabulary and kanji are significantly better taught on wanikani for sure, but Genki textbooks have been great for grammar.