How do you get over the "graded textbook hate"?

I just taken the J-CAT, and I have done poorly. So, I’ve decided to return to the textbook for sequential exercises… The textbook I use is みんなの日本語 (I have all 1-4), mainly to focus on 1. listening exercises 2. grammar; and I think the best way to learn this, is to go sequentially… (The bonus is I already have the sound files from みんなの日本語.)

Should I switch to げんき? (jk, though.)

BTW, I already have an idea… - throw all of stuff of each level into Anki and make sure I get things right at least 90% before going to the next level. (Similar to what? WaniKani, maybe?)

I can play “Mobile Game” on AnkiDroid.

The second idea to complement the first idea, is to start today at chapter 13… tomorrow will be chapter 14, Mar 20 will be chapter 20, and so on. (There are 50 chapters in total.)

Also, I will try to cram chapter 1-12 today…

Will it work? Will it fail? Anyways, it’s just 実験.

I use みんなの日本語 as well, though I’ve been going through it in group lessons. I put a lot of example sentences using the grammar points into my anki deck, so that I actually retain the grammar knowledge! I find that it is easy to understand new grammar points, but remembering how to use them correctly long term can be difficult if you don’t constantly use them.

I think one lesson a day might be a bit fast, though of course it depends on your individual learning pace. I would suggest covering the chapter and doing the learning exercises one day, and then perhaps do the homework for the chapter a few days later, to give you some spacing to help get it into your long term memory. The answer key is in the back of the book, so after you’ve finished your homework you can go through the answers and see if there are any areas which need some more work.

I haven’t used げんき, but I’ve gathered that both are good learning resources. I find that some of the audio recordings in みんなの日本語 can be a bit too fast, though my teacher uploads slower, different examples to her site here, one page for every chapter. I believe they’re accessible to everybody, so you should be able to use them if you want to.

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Thank you for the comment.

I have used みんなの日本語 up to about book 3 before, about 5 years ago… Then I couldn’t continue it.

The reason I chose みんなの日本語 at that time, is because it is the most popular Japanese textbook in my country.

I am totally self-studying. I have (almost) never taken a class in Japanese.

Now, I have absorbed a lot of vocab (most effectively, via Anki and reading short sentences). I can make sense of short sentences. (I do listening too, but with very poor comprehension.)

I heard there are many people who stopped WaniKani half-way to return to grammar as well… so, I want to know how they did it.

I’m starting out on げんき and I stick the vocabulary into an Anki deck, because I know I will not retain it at all once I turn the page if I don’t. It takes longer to get through a lesson, but I feel I’m learning something if I don’t.

Maybe I should create a another deck for the grammar points, but I’m not quite sure how that would look.

For me the best way to improve grammar and listening skills is to actually speak with people. Just reading about it or memorizing it doesn’t work particularly well for me.

Similar to you I’ve done みんなの日本語 books 1-3 and Japanese for Busy People books 1-3. Both had sets of strengths and weaknesses, but for me it all comes down to using what they teach. And for me I’m fortunate that native Japanese speakers are my teachers.

If that’s not available where you are I’d suggest trying to find a language partner online. I think paid is the way to go, but if that’s not possible perhaps you can find someone you can do a language exchange with.


I used みんなの日本語 1 and 2 as well, and it gave me a pretty solid grounding in Japanese. Although, i also was doing group classes at uni.

Its a bit of a dry book to self study from, so my best advice is to not not answer every question. Check each kind of question and make sure you understand, but for me, feeling like i had to do a pile of questions is what made me hate textbooks.

Just use it to check your understanding and then supplement it with some writing practice on lang-8 or something.

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I am doing Lang-8 as well, but I am thinking of it as a blog… I will write it if I have an idea for a blog post. I am getting lots of correction (i.e. so many mistakes).

Also, another place I learn Japanese is the comment on the blog post. I replied to native speakers’ written comment.

Lang-8 is the only current chance for my active skills.

I also try to help Japanese people on HiNative sometimes.

Sounds like you’re getting a lot out of it then. Good stuff!

Something I used to do was to also write a post after finishing a textbook chapter, and make sure that I used the new grammar structures and at least 5 vocab words. Just a handy way to make sure that you integrate your study into your active use of the language.

Of course if you have time, it’s also worth checking out the skype groups on lang-8 for some speaking practice too, if you’re interested.

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For the grammar points I have a sentence on each side of the card, one in English and the other in Japanese. I use the double sided cards, so I get 2 cards for every 1 I add. Any special grammar points like an edge case I put as a footnote on the bottom of the back of the card, to refresh my memory,

This way I have to be able to translate sentences from both languages, and it helps me remember the grammar points since I need to use them.

Can you give me an example of a card for these? Like, what you put on the front and what you put on the back?

Okay, here’s a pretty basic sentence. I tend to put the sentence in kanji and without, just in case it’s a kanji I haven’t learnt yet or forgot.


This cat is white. (polite form)



If it’s a sentence which could be translated a few different ways I usually just put the one way down anyway, but you could put several versions down.

More complicated example:


I got off the train at Umeda. (polite form)



Note: Verbs such as 出ます、降ります are used together with the particle を, which indicates a starting point.

I have the opposite card automatically created, so the front and back is reversed, but if you wanted it to be more appropriate you could create both separately and format them a d bit differently. For me the most useful ones are the ones where the front is in English since then I have to form the sentence in Japanese myself, which I find more difficult than translating the Japanese to English.

I don’t know if it would be helpful for you, but I started doing it after my boyfriend recommended it, since he’s been finding it very helpful while learning Korean.

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Cool. I wonder if furigana could be put in the cards to combine your two back sentences. I have no idea how to do that in HTML or Anki though.

Probably, I don’t know how though. I haven’t bothered that much with intricate formatting, since it takes time to set up but it would be nice to make them a bit easier to read. I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if you could find some html formatting online which someone has created to do it already. :slight_smile:

Since it gets talked about, I’ll show you some of my created material. I try to do 1 chapter per 1 day.

It took me a while to learn how to import Spreadsheet into Anki, though.

In case I failed, I might restart next month with Chapter 1. (I might really :sweat_smile:)


I have an idea for “grammar”.

Try to create a sentence that listeners/readers wouldn’t feel bad, or uneasy.

I will use ‘masking’ for this purpose, be it particles, verbs or nouns. And I will add English translation as a clue if I must.

I find it a little hard, and may take more than 1 day per 1 chapter, though.