WaniKani only teaches you to read, not to understand spoken Japanese - so you’ll need to practice in other ways before turning off subtitles altogether (e.g. you can try watching with Japanese subtitles instead of English ones).
The official WK advice is to start learning grammar at level 10, though personally I think it’s never too early to start. Genki is fine. You can also try a free resource like Tae Kim’s.
Some people find writing kanji to be valuable, but it’s totally optional.
You should be doing genki along with wanikani or else you’re just learning vocabulary and not being able to put anything to use. Learn the Genki vocabulary lists as well it doesn’t matter if its hiragana/katakana only. I’m only on level 6 wanikani but I’ve been doing grammar for a while
As others said, never too early to start grammar. You need it if you want to understand Japanese.
Web: Bunpro https://bunpro.jp
The creator was a member of Wanikani and basically wanted to have the Wanikani of Japanese grammar. It uses the SRS system with the ability of typing answers in a gamified way (levels, badges, etc.), just like here.
Book/Web: Tobira Beginning Japanese https://www.9640.jp/nihongo/en/detail/?870
Sample Lesson 4 (PDF): https://www.9640.jp/BOOK_PDF/9784874248706.pdf
It’s a modern beginner’s Japanese textbook in full color. I like how the lessons are structured and how much content it holds. The great thing about it when compared with other textbooks such as Genki and Minna (which are great as well) is that Tobira covers a lot of aspects of Japan such as culture, food, technology, history, religion, society, instead of being mostly school character’s lives (Genki) and business people’s lives (Minna no Nihongo). Nevertheless, the PDF linked above is all you need to check to see whether the book is right for you. The web resources for this book also provide a teacher explaining all grammar points from the lessons in video format. It sort of feels like having a personal teacher. Definitely a nice touch from the publishers.
Just FYI, I struggled to find anime with Japanese subtitles. I had to download fan made subs and attach them myself most of the time to which point I would rather practise reading with something like Satori Reader and just use anime as listening practice if anything.
Going along with what the others have said WaniKani is teaching you reading. You would probably need to look into podcast/videos on YouTube that are aimed for Japanese learners who are beginners. Children’s anime would probably be too big of a step for you at this point of time.
I don’t use textbooks to study Japanese personally so you don’t have to get a textbook unless you want to. You can begin learning grammar immediately by reading Crystal Hunters. Crystal Hunters is a manga that teaches Japanese. Their guides have a list of what vocabulary and grammar will be used. It also gives grammar explanations as well. In addition it teaches nuances which textbooks don’t teach at all.
As for handwriting that’s quite time consuming, so if you are doing it because you like it/it’s for fun then go for it! If you are writing because you feel you have to do it in order to learn Kanji just know that’s not true. Handwriting is going to slow down your Japanese language learning journey by a lot.
I started watching anime (not intended to children per se) around lvl 35. I started with flying witch, since it is one the beginners manga recommendation.
I prefer anime beecause it is a two birds with one stone situation for me. I increase my reading speed following what they say and also a way to remember those early level kanji/vocab. Like English, to this day I always watch US movies and US tv shows with english subtitles. I dont see no problem with that.
Currently I am watching one episode per day of Dragon Quest 2020, and weeekly chainsawman, urusei yatsura, gundam mercury and bleach blood war.
I have finished how many dumbell can you lift, attack on giant, cyberpunk 2077 and jojo part 5 and 6 so far. Always with JP subtitles.
I can say I understand today around 80% the situation on screen. That’s why for 2023 I intend to decrease studying grammar points for n2 and n1 and focus more on vocab, since for anime having grammar until n3 is good enough, the problem is getting more vocab.
That’s my situation and currently happy with my achievements so far.
There is a bit of a conflict between using WaniKani (reading) and aiming to understand anime without subtitles (listening).
Do you plan to do any reading of Japanese books or manga? If so, you may want to check out the Pokemon and Cardcaptor Sakura manga.
Regardless of where you begin, starting out will be a struggle. You need to learn words, you need to learn grammar, you need to encounter those words and grammar in context (and in different contexts), and you need to encounter them enough to build up pattern recognition.
Reading won’t help with listening, but it can help with getting used to vocabulary and grammar that you’ve learned. If you want to try reading for this purpose, I recommend checking the list of completed books read in the Absolute Beginner Book Club and checking whether there’s anything of interest there and trying to read it (after learning some basic grammar) while utilizing the old book club threads.
I just went through the comments on reddit. That person has a blog that helps people learn Japanese, but not once did they same what level they were. There were even times where they pointed out things they disagreed with Crystal Hunters on, but then said they themselves might not be at the level to understand and have a native speaker check which Crystal Hunters already does this.
Nathanial is a university teacher in Tokyo, Japan.
Sean is a high school teacher in Chigasaki, Japan.
As for the guy with the free blog who is he? What are his qualifications? Is he a teacher in Japan?
Crystal Hunters saying they are the authority in Japanese makes sense as a teacher is an authority figure. They have the knowledge and the qualifications. They saw something wrong with the way Japanese is being taught and are offering an alternative way to learn that not only has casual form, but even teaches nuances.
Saw another person saying that their Japanese native speaker said it was wrong. Crystal Hunters said she could contact them and have a discuss, but the guy just refused. Why not have an open dialogue? I think it would have be interesting if she did have a discussion with them.
In general the Learn Japanese subreddit has a tendency of gatekeeping and being combative anyways. I feel Crystal Hunters have the right to defend something that they created with a lot of thought and care. If someone does not like the story itself that’s fine they can read something else instead or if they think they can do a better job then why not do that instead?
For a complete beginner it would be very challenging going straight into a manga made for native if they barely know or don’t know any vocabulary and grammar at all. At least Crystal Hunters can help get someone’s foot into the door when it comes to reading manga.
Their authority seems extremely shaky to me when the commentor brought up native speakers questioning the wording, along with other people in the thread saying things of the same nature.
I think I’d view them in a more favorable light if they weren’t so weirdly defensive in their replies, like just because r/LJ (and the internet as a whole really) can be aggressive at times that doesn’t give them an excuse to be that argumentative.
And ah! You have a competing website! Thanks for clarifying. It all makes sense now.
Thank you again for your opinion. We respectfully disagree.
Their response to a levelheaded, perfectly reasonable comment that calls them out. They’re hiding behind the excuse of “slander” when it’s the exact opposite? Leaves a horrible taste in my mouth. Probably the reason why that other commenter refused to speak with them.
Like, props to them for creating this resource, but it is VERY hard to recommend it based on how they conduct themselves.
For a complete beginner it would be very challenging going straight into a manga made for native if they barely know or don’t know any vocabulary and grammar at all.
I think you’re underestimating 1. how easy some manga can be and 2. the sheer amount of resources that exist specifically to streamline reading for beginners.
While it won’t have very complicated things like lots of keigo, it will have the complicated children’s language which is a lot of onomatopeia, maybe smaller, shortened words (I can only think of ねんねん for a way to say 寝る（ねる）however there are thousands more) I honestly found it easier to listen to anime that I have already watched in English and then put on Japanese subtitles alongside so you can see how it connects.
In my personal opinion, I found consuming content aimed at children was a lot harder than doing slice of life style anime or more realistic daily life conversations. Early language learning content is aimed at conveying meaning in a daily life. Depending on what level you know grammar and vocab, you might not be familiar with casual forms. Casual speech can get confusing, so without the background knowledge of the necessary grammar, it will be very difficult. If you’re up for the challenge, go for it! but it’s a grammer and vocabulary challenge, plus children’s language doesn’t use much kanji, so wanikani level might not have much of anything to do with when to watch.
Definitely start grammar as soon as you can, it’s essential! and use things outside of wanikani to improve the areas it doesn’t cover. Good luck!!
If you have a VPN, you can change things like streaming services to have Japan as the location and use the native Japanese subtitles within those. Even Youtube has the automated Japanese captions (although if you can find more trustful captions that would be better)
Watch anime is kind of a different story unless you’re talking subtitles. But I would suggest about N3~level, like early 30s. Hopefully by then you have grasp on grammar too. I like watching Pokemon, but theres a lot more wacky stuff going on vs material you could learn from. I would suggest any of the games post-Black and White for any real reading practice.