How do YOU use Genki?

I see a lot of advice to use Genki to learn grammar, but a lot less discussion of how to use Genki to use grammar. I’m curious to hear what people’s methodology is when working with the book. Do you do all of the exercises? Just read? Handwrite or type up the exercise results? Workbook or no? Put sentences in Anki?

Just looking for tips!


I’m completing the exercises, handwritten. I think it is also an excellent opportunity to learn to write the script rather than just read it. I’ve also bought the workbook and I will complete those at the end of each chapter (I’m only two chapters in so far).

As a teacher, (not languages) I would strongly recommend against just reading, there’s not enough desirable difficulty*.

*Robert A Bjork


I agree that doing the exercises is important but I’ve been typing them up rather than handwriting. I never even handwrite English so I do not really want to put the effort into learn to write all the kanji (I could probably write the kana, albeit messily).

I love that you mentioned desirable difficulty. I also mentioned that concept in at the end of my post about my WaniKani study schedule.

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A confession: I read it casually on the bus and on lunchbreaks, didn’t really do the exercises, and ended up never touching the workbook.

For me personally, learning outside of a school format is what made learning the language exciting to me, because I could drive myself towards activities that worked and were exciting for me, and Genki ended up reminding me too much high school for me to want to engage with it more heavily.
Also, my own circumstances (shy, just want to read) meant I could get away a lot more easily with not practicing producing the language than people who actively have reason to speak it day to day. At the time too I had the main resources of: time on a commute, and being really excited to read more about this new language I was learning. But notably lacked: time at a desk, organized self-discipline.
So the format of just reading on the bus fit well into what I had and I think I did gain at least something from it.

I don’t really regret treating Genki so lightly, and now that it’s been a long time in the rear-view mirror I don’t think I would get very much out of going back now and doing it again more seriously. What I lost out on exercise practice may have evened out some by spending more time on sources I was earnestly invested in, or just by spending a lot of time studying over years.

To be clear: that’s not a flaw of the book, just an outcome of my weird circumstance, and I don’t mean it as advice about the best way to use it!
It’s just a note that there’s nothing locking you into the best, most rigorous study practice if you find a different style you’re more happy with. Even flipping through aimlessly and glancing at lessons randomly is probably (slightly) better than nothing, after all!
The important thing I think is that you have some mixture of sources that keeps you engaged and meets your needs, and part of the fun of self-study is you get to decide what that means!


You can also write them manually on a computer if you’re looking for a way to integrate that kind of practice into the rest of your routine. If you get a low-end drawing tablet to use then it’s almost the same experience as physically writing it, not a substitute for calligraphy of course, but completely adequate for normal writing practice. The machine easily get’s confused by poor stroke order so there’s even some extra incentive to learn that.

Here's what it looks like.

For Windows IME specifically just right click the IME in the tray.

@melodelfe I’ve been learning to write the Kanji and to my complete surprise it’s actually been super easy. It makes all of the Kanji learning process easier. People out here makin posts about 矢 vs 失 and 未 vs 末 and I’ve never missed a review on em. :joy: It’s not a time consuming beast like you’d think. There’s no writing them out over and over. Stroke order doesn’t even demand mass memorization because it’s so phenomenally consistent that after a hundred or so Kanji, you can intuit nearly every stroke in new ones. After the first week or two my only writing practice has consisted of writing answers with a drawing tablet for my 3rd party SRS recollection reviews. Doing recollection reviews outside of WK is crucial anyway, so the only extra time spent on writing Kanji is the difference between the extra time spent writing them rather than typing, and the extra reviews I get when some of them stay on apprentice for an extra day or two.

This method completely ignores penmanship, but just like you I’m not actually interested in using handwriting, only in the benefits of of enhancing my ability to recognize and remember Kanji. The additional effort required feels like an afterthought compared to everything there is to learn.


Like others have said, I also make sure to always do all the exercises both in the textbook and in the workbook. I also take notes about the grammer sections, because I know that writing stuff down using my own words helps me learn, so I do that for pretty much anything I want to learn.

Something else I do as well is to enter all the vocabulary I don’t know from the vocabulary list into Anki, and I usually try to make sure that I stay 2 lessons ahead of where I actually am. So, if I manage to find the time to start lesson 9 soon, I will input the vocabulary from lesson 11 into Anki. That way I already know all the words well enough to not have to look anything up by the time I start working on the lesson.

And I can recommend doing the Reading & Writing section for every lesson at the end of the textbook and the workbook (or if you’re not interested in writing, then at least the reading part). I heard some people say they didn’t notice that section at first because it’s at the back of the book, so I thought I’d mention it here, in case it helps anyone :slight_smile:


I skip the audio, vocab, and the story at the front. I do the grammar exercises for the workbook and textbook, will usually watch some videos on the grammar forms with channels like JapaneseAmmo, and will add it to my Bunpro. I dont do the group work or the listening :neutral_face:.
The listening practice specifically has always urked me with Genki, i personally don’t think they give you the proper tools to understand most of the listening and the sentence structure/grammar is not how it is taught in the lesson. If i feel like I’m not satisfied with my knowledge on a particular lesson I will restart it . I also never write in my books so when I review I don’t have to worry about seeing my old answers


I don’t have much to say about how to use Genki in particular, but I’m helping someone go through Genki right now, and someone on here posted this playlist somewhere:

They enjoy the supplement and I think he goes through everything pretty well. I also agree with everything he says about verbs in chapter 3 and recommend listening to that video in particular when doing that chapter.


I learn a lot better with supplemental material to reinforce books and reading, so Andy’s lessons have been great. Genki’s explanation for grammar is…lacking, I’d say, at least where I’m at, so I think exercises and additional content are helpful!

That and, as @QuackingShoe explained to me, the way Genki sorts verbs isn’t the best, so it’s good to watch Andy’s video in particular if you’re using Genki, in my opinion!

I do all exercises including the ones workbook. Without the. exercises, Genki is useful as Tae Kim guide or any other grammar reference. I did Genki 1 mostly as self-study (I had a tutor to grade my exercises and give feedback), As for Genki 2, I’m using it on remote classroom setting. I started Genki when I was WK lvl 30 or 40 so never saw the need to do Anki cards. I used to type but in the class I took we are required to write: my kanji recognition and writing skills improved a lot them (I try to handwrite as much Kanji as I can). The exercises are great because old vocabulary appears again and also older grammar points often resurface so it really solidifies your knowledge. I use Bunpro as a source of additional exercises.

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I just read the grammar points and plug them into Bunpro and if I ever tried anything active, it was trying to use the grammar points on HelloTalk posts, but that wasn’t/isn’t consistent. Just motivation based. Though I keep up with bunpro reviews.

I was originally gonna try to go through all the chapters on that Genki site that has all the workbook exercises online, but I stopped after like two chapters with no good excuse. Just laziness, I guess.

However, my friend recently got into Japanese so he’s starting Genki from the beginning so on the weekends we go through the group exercises together. We’ll see how much that helps. Should be lots, even from the most basic grammar.

I’m on Tobira now, I’m reading the grammar points first, then doing the readings and answering the exercises in my head.


Is there a way to do this on mac? I’ve been searching for a long time

The only thing I found on Google was this WaniKani thread. Apparently the Chinese option can get you most of the way? Mac is the only platform I couldn’t find anything for, but mazec is available for both iOS/iPadOS and Android. Allegedly Gboard’s handwriting option may also work with Japanese on the Android version. It seems like right now only way to run a proper Japanese IME with handwriting recognition on a mac is to do it inside an emulator for any other platform.


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