Help with n4-3 resources

Hey all, I just need some help finding immersion that I can use on a daily basis. I have school, sports and another language so I don’t get any more than an hour a day besides weekends. Is there any sort of podcast, manga anything that I can quickly just sit down and read/listen. I am fully confident with n5 grammar and more than halfway through n4 with a bit of n3 knowledge as well from just reading books, so something around that level. But my kanji isnt at the same level as my grammar, as u can see im only like level 5

3 Likes

You could probably try reading some of the material read by the absolute beginner book club. Most of the manga and books read by that club have furigana on most kanji, so you should be able to join in even if you don’t know a lot of kanji. You should also be familiar with a lot of the grammar, as most of it is usually around N5-N4. Reading one or two chapters within an hour should be doable, and your pace will probably pick up the more familiar you get with reading.

There are also quite a few manga that have furigana everywhere. So you could also just start reading one of those. I recently read through the first few volumes of 葬送(そうそう)のフリーレン for example, which also had furigana everywhere and most grammar points were around N4-N3 level. A significant number of shounen manga have furigana on nearly all kanji, so you could just pick up one of those and start reading through them as well. I remember the demon slayer manga being around the same level for example.

But in short, not knowing kanji isn’t too big of a problem. There are quite a few materials out there with a lot of furigana. So as long as you’re comfortable with the grammar, you could just pick up something with furigana and read that as practice. I’d advice picking something you actually like to read, that way you’re more likely to stick with it. :grin:

2 Likes

I’m studying for the N3 and playing Monster Hunter Stories 2 in Japanese. It has been pretty enjoyable. It got even furigana and all, if that helps you. But to be honest, I think that on the N3 level, you can try mostly any games, just try to avoid narrative heavy Visual Novels as those usually have a lot of words that you probably don’t know yet. Also avoid sci-fi and lore heavy stuff for obvious resons.

1 Like

thank you, i’m gonna go check out the books to read. i’ve read yotsubato so far and i found it quite easy in terms of grammar so i will look into more manga to read. hopefully the shounen stuff isn’t too hard since i want to try reading it. thanks once again .:+1:

1 Like

thank you for the recommendation. been looking for a game as well so that’s good too. and i’m not quite on an n3 so probably can’t jump to games all in difficult japanese. thanks anyway, will check it out👍

Probably not a hot pick, but I would check the Aozora Bunko books: Here, Have a List of Aozora Books by WK Level

The children’s books are N4 with a bit of N3 usually. The downside (but perhaps an upside for you?) is that they use hardly any kanji.

Just be aware that many of the books are old and some use old kana orthography, but that will be indicated in the book’s details (新字新仮名).

EDIT:
Corrected the kanji for old orthography. 新仮名 indicates only new kana, but the full entry in Aozora is 新字新仮名, because it covers both kana and kanji.

Something that you should be able to read easily : NHK Web Easy News (not too sure about the word order though…). They are simple and short texts and you can keep with Japanese News.
Otherwise, I am studying for N3 and I am paying a game called Shiro to Kuro no Alice (it is an otome). It´s quite simple and most of the vocabulary/kanji keep coming back (Like repetition). It is voice acted for most of it (except the main character and the narration) and the voice actors speak quite slowly and articulate very well. So you can get all the words. Also, in this game you can repeat the dialogues as much as you want :slight_smile:
And for studying, Kanzen Master is actually very good. It´s not exactly a hobby but it is very good training for reading. The texts aren´t too difficult nor too easy. I highly recommend it.

2 Likes

thank you for recommendation. i’m gonna check the list out and pick something. also i think books with kanji are generally better for learning quicker as i can also pick up vocab along the way. let me know what you think; whether it’s better to read with or without kanji

1 Like

thanks very much. i’ve got two game recommendations now so this winter holiday after this term of school is gonna be pretty fun! and as for the web news i did read somewhere else about the nhk easy version so i will look into that. and finally i just wanna ask if it’s worth switching from minna no nihongo to kanzen master as i’ve already finished the first and ordered the second minna no. i know the minna no series gets dry after the first few books so i’m looking into both kanzen master and tobira as books for the future.

You could have a look at japanesepod101.com
You can get a trial membership to see if you find it helpful. There are a series of podcasts at different learner levels. Each one has a conversation in Japanese followed by a breakdown of the vocab and grammar points. There is a pdf for each lesson so you can read the conversation afterwards too. As the levels go up more of the discussion switches to Japanese too.

Another popular one for listening is Terrace House on Netflix. It’s a reality show with 6 young people living in a house together, so lots of casual Japanese conversation to listen to with the subtitles on. The commentary by the hosts is very funny too!

You can pick up vocab from books with less kanji as well ;). The difference is that the less kanji you see, the more you have to rely on pure phonetics and context to understand the text. It’s kind of the “Japanese toddler experience”.

1 Like

Kana only text is also kind of similar to listening practice right? Although I guess when you’re listening you get different cues instead like intonation, and likely a narrower range of vocabulary.

Kana heavy stuff is definitely incredibly hard to parse and it really reinforces why kanji is a thing lol.

1 Like

That’s how I see it as well :slight_smile: . I would say that actual listening practice is vastly easier, though, because there are pauses, emphasis, etc. which might be missing in a kana-heavy text. Heck, sometimes I’m happy to get commas in all the right places :joy:.

Right now I’m slowing moving away from kana-filled books/stories to ones with more kanji and it’s a different kind of problem, because sometimes I see kana where I would already expect kanji. However, I sometimes catch myself not actually paying attention to individual kanji when I know the word and I just read it as a whole.

1 Like

I really like the podcast “Japanese with Noriko”. You can listen to it on Spotify or on her website for free. She talks about different topics and the episodes are normally between 5 and 10 minutes long. She also has longer episodes where she talks with other people, mostly native speakers. And she provides transcripts on her website for free.

Here’s her website: https://www.japanesewithnoriko.com/

I love her podcasts because she talks about interesting things. And even though she doesn’t talk slowly but in her natural speed, I can understand her very well. I’ve learned many useful words thanks to her podcast.

本当におすすめです!