Hang In There! A Message For Those Starting Out

For those starting out… Hang in there!

I’m a 43 year old that started my Japanese journey only 3 months ago. It seemed so daunting at first and even worse when I reached the on’yumi and kun’yumi readings (almost gave up here, but after 2 days away, I missed doing my reviews).

It gets easier and even more fun the further along you go! Now I no longer want to quit, I want to keep going!

I credit WaniKani for keeping me going… Getting answers wrong just made me want to get them right more and through failures, I got better. In fact, the places I struggled with most, are now my strongest.

For those struggling here is my tip, again as someone whose memory is not that of a 20 year old).

  1. Get your Hiragana down 100%. Don’t move on until you can see it in your sleep.
  2. Learn some katakana, enough to know the difference just by looking at it, but no need to master it (at first).
  3. Learn vocabulary as much as possible, in particular, Kanji - get to level 3 of WaniKani and learn some additional words on the side. I hated Kanji, now I love it. I focused on things that are useful like: I, you, that, this, greetings (hello, good morning, etc…), some colors, basic numbers, common animals (dog, cat, chicken, fish, etc…), common things (bus, train, water, house, book, etc) and common actions (lift, hang, etc…). I say 200-250 words. A lot will come from WaniKani.

I did #3 so I could construct basic sentences later on.

  1. Then start learning basic grammar, which will help put the pieces together.

I’m currently at #4… and it felt so awesome to be able to read some sentences and understand. As well as take tests on Bunpro and get the context of the question for the most part. Yesterday I was able to speak into Google and it translated what I said in Japanese to English (I know this is not perfect, but small wins make a big difference).

I’m regards to writing: I felt writing got the content to stick more, but it slowed me down so I paused that for a bit. I plan to go back to it next month.

I hope this posts helps someone out there just starting!

If you have questions feel free to ask.

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My tips is, you defo need hiragana for even understanding what answer to put in the app when they ask for the reading, but there are a growing amount of katakana words going onto the reviews as we speak. And anyways, you can’t say you can read Japanese with only 2 of the three, you defo need all of them to understand the language.

Just get kana out of the way as they’re easy and can even be practiced easily by hand, unlike kanji later on.

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Yup, you need Katakana, but I learned most of it alongside everything I was doing if that makes sense.

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Also don’t worry too much about the whole Kun and On readings, or Rendaku… It will come naturally over time as you progress. Also, wassup fellow 43! Glad I’m not the only one jumping into learning a rather difficult language at that age!

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@Vittek heya buddy! Glad to see more 40 year olds in here living the 日本語 life! What level are you at now in Wakani?

What were some of your biggest challenges you faced up to now?

Right now just got to 18… which took me a year! Yeah I’m taking it slow but steadily. My brain is like an old Harddrive, slow, crashes a lot and makes weird noises. I think the biggest challenge (For me at least) is how japanese sentence are structured, with the particles, word order not being that important etc, which is such a difference from english/german. But I’m having fun and I try not to burn out on it, and I finally can see the progress. It’s no longer just “Moonspeak”, as I can translate more and more Kanji, and even make sense! Soon I’ll be able to at least dig into graded readers and really get going!
It was hard for the first 10 levels, but trust me, stick with it, and it will get easier!