Any advice on fun ways to learn vocabulary for beginners?

Hi all, so I use a typical SRS system which is okay and I’m getting through it from a JLPT N5 level, but sometimes I get sooooo bored at SRS. Its not super bad but some days are better then others and I feel like there may be more fun ways to learn vocabulary that isn’t grinding out words for times I need a little break.

In particular looking for something in the beginner level (JLPT N5) as many advice I hear is to just “Watch Anime or Japanese Media” and if just watching anime worked, I’d be a pro Japanese linguist (I’m not) XD.

Thoughts so far is maybe some podcasts or videos or chill fun apps which lessen the grind.


Try the Drops app, is not as boring as other similar apps.
I learn a lot of vocab by watching grammar lessons, its more fun to see the vocab in context, instead of just SRS.
I recommend Misa Absolute Begginer List.


There’s ups and downs in any skill learning, language learning is no exception. I think it is better to slow down at said srs rather than quit it completely.


I recommend Nihongo Con Teppei Beginner Podcast. He talks for about 5 minutes about a subject in Japanese. He doesn’t do transcripts or wordlists, so you can only listen.


I second this. I’ve yet to really drill vocab because I also find it super tedious and boring. I’ve been listening to these podcasts as well, and did grammar from a textbook that each chapter introduces new words which I feel you learn naturally enough just from exposure while working through the exercises.
Sure I could probably have a bigger vocabulary but I don’t feel I’m that bad off either.


Thanks, its been a while since I used drops, so I might check it out again. Same with the Misa videos, but something visual will be nice. Cheers

Cheers for this, added to my podcast list, will see how it go’s!

I like to watch videos about japonese conversation to improve my vocabulary 'cause its nice understand what they are saying and catch the words.
I watch this channel (Benjiro) when I’m bored about do my lessons.



Yeah cheers, I might do this too! I’ve been really hitting in on the vocab because I had no vocab to use with grammer. But now I have some under my belt it will make the grammer more fun, plus you’re right, there’s a lot less vocab when I go the way of grammer so it will be more fun and like I’m still learning stuff.

I do a bit of Anki in the morning but most of my vocabulary practice comes from reading, playing games, podcasts and watching TV in Japanese.

Only learning through an SRS is too boring for me as well.

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As much as I’ve completed a from-absolute-beginner-to-intermediate-level textbook followed by Tobira (I’m at chapter 12/13 of 15, and I’m getting bored), much of my Japanese knowledge comes from anime. I think about a third of the grammar points in Tobira were known to me because of my first textbook, and as I went along over the course of months, most of the rest were known/deducible because of all the anime I’ve watched. I don’t use a single flashcard, because I know flashcards bore me to death. (I used to play flashcard-matching games on Quizlet to learnt French, but I dropped it after a few months as I got more comfortable.)

The problem is that to do this, you probably need a bit more kanji knowledge, and a good English-Japanese (or Japanese-Japanese) dictionary. (I recommend over Otherwise, picking things up on your own will be harder. Having a transcription is also very helpful, and you can find some for free (legally too, if I’m not wrong) on reaction blogs like Anicobin (google ‘[anime name in Japanese] [episode number in Arabic numerals]話 感想 anicobin’). (It only seems to work for anime released after 2013.)

Anyway, those are tips for if/when you want to start studying using anime and get even more out of all the anime you watch. For beginner level stuff… OK, before we drop the idea of anime entirely, you know, you can actually try studying your favourite anime songs. Not all of them are that complex. The sentences used are usually very short, and once you know basic grammar, the main challenge becomes vocabulary. I’ve picked up quite a few words and structures from songs, because now I know the lyrics. For stuff that’s really aimed at beginners, you could also try NHK Easy Japanese:

For ‘authentic’ Japanese that’s aimed at beginners, I think the podcasts suggested by everyone else sound good. I don’t listen to podcasts, so I don’t know much.

Finally (yeah, OK, I’m going back to anime…), if you have voice actors/actresses of whom you’re really a fan, or perhaps if you know of a popular Japanese media personality, you can try and see if there are subtitled interviews/events on YouTube. Sometimes (if my memory serves me), there are even Japanese subtitles. (Like, the dialogue will be transcribed on screen, sometimes with shaking or special colours for dramatic effect.) The easiest stuff to follow is usually random challenge videos or fan mail reading videos e.g. ‘Inori Minase’s (technically Minase Inori=水瀬いのり) Cute English’, in which Minase-san tries to remember the months of the year in English, so most of the Japanese used is quite simple too. There are also anime ‘radio shows’ (try searching ‘[anime name] + ラジオ/radio’) for certain series while they’re airing, and sometimes those discussions get fansubbed too, including in Japanese. I don’t know if fansubbing is common for stuff like this that doesn’t involve anime personalities, but you can try your luck. I’m pretty sure there are people who fansub V-tubers, for instance.

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I recommend this book. 1000 Essential Vocabulary for the JLPT N5 (Trilingue en Japonais - Anglais - Chinois) (N4 (4)): collectif: 9784872179811: Books

It’s not ‘fun’ per-se, but it should be motivating to see the way that the book orders its vocabulary and sentences in a progressive way that’ll help you feel as though you are making progress. And you’ll be able to start making connections to your own life (and possibly create sentences) … while noticing progress in what you know and can comprehend.

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I also recommend this book! I picked it up while in Osaka. It comes with a “red” sheet, which allows you to hide the answers while reviewing the vocabulary.

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