How do/did you learn Japanese?

Looks good.
I was looking for a website specialist for teaching Japanese.

How long do you use it and is it worth its cost ?
or to ask it better, how far has it gotten you?

I’ve gone through a little over 2000 of the 6000 words. I add every word, even ones I’ve already learned (through WaniKani or elsewhere) so I can review other aspects, like listening and English to Japanese. I’ve been doing it very slowly, only about 20 new words a week. It’s been worth the money for me. I bought a whole extra year for my subscription when I still had over 6 months left.

I do want to say that I’m in a similar boat, just reset my WK account back to 1 die to a lengthy break, but I’ve been able to pass the Try! JLPT N5 in the alloted time and can give a good crack at N4 if thats any indication of my (elementary) level.

For apps I just use Wanikani, japanesepod101 for listening/speaking and Imabi as an online textbook, however be warned it’s pretty dry.

That being said I’ve found the best way to learn is from a good old fashioned textbook, and apps like HelloTalk and HiNative that allow you to converse with native speakers. Textbook wise I use both genki and Minna no Nihongo, and recommend either of them.

Again, I too am a beginner so I’m sure you should look at other people’s advice before mine haha

PS is an amazing dictionary resource, I strongly recommend using it


Easily the most useful resource I’ve used.


There’s no central website that will teach you every aspect of Japanese. WaniKani is great for learning kanji and associated vocab, but that won’t get you very far on its own in terms of reading.

For grammar, you should first decide whether you want a textbook or something less formal, like an online guide to help your learning. Textbook-wise, lots of people use Genki I and II because they’re good beginner books. Other people use things like Tae Kim’s guide in conjunction with something like Bunpro to learn the grammar and then review it.

For vocab, there are many tools such as iKnow and Anki, where there are pre-made decks that will teach you the most common 6k, 10k, etc. vocab, with words that use hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Memrise is another vocab site with lots of pre-made decks for specific purposes.


Why are they lame? :open_mouth:

Anyway, in your leisure you can browse through the ultimate resource list. There really are tons of good options to learn Japanese from, you just have to find what works for you.

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I was lucky enough to study in college but Duolingo recently put out Japanese on their app and it’s pretty good for basic grammar and vocab to get you started. While I tested out of the early lessons, I believe it also has good hiragana and katakana lessons. I like using it so my skills don’t get too rusty.

Do you pay to use japanesepod101, if so what do you recommend. I am at tobira level now but speaking and listening skills are horrible

Genki and Kanzen Master for grammar,
Anki for vocab,
Podcasts for listening,
Kanzen Master Dokkai and books for reading,
WK for kanji.


Which level Kanzen Master books did you use?

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I like The price is not too bad and you only pay once, then you have it for life. It covers speaking, writing, grammar, both sets of kanas and some Kanji. There are lots of practice activities, too, which are fun. Each lesson is a conversation with reinforcement. I love it and am learning quickly. It’s efficient.

I recommend Tae Kim’s guide as a supplement to anything because it’s free and easily accessible online and as an app. :slightly_smiling_face:

It doesn’t cover everything, and I’ve seen people say that it only covers up to N4 (I’ve yet to finish the whole thing). What’s nice about it is by level 15, almost all kanji/Vocab used in the guide I have already learned though WK. It’s nice because then I don’t have to relook up words and just focus on the grammar. :smiley:

Tae Kim also covers slang and important short cuts natives take along with “reality checks”, so that way you can understand differences between traditional textbooks and spoken language. Which is mainly why I use the guide.

Tae Kim focuses on teaching plain/casual form first, which I think is important for being able to understand grammar which uses plain/casual form. I also use HelloTalk, and in my experience I’ve had more people talk to me in casual/plain than polite (Genki is the textbook I use for college, and I recommend it! It teaches plain form first), but I also don’t understand the nuances yet and maybe I’m being rude…:sweat_smile:

It’s worth noting Tae Kim also has lesson excercises, but only up the past negative conjugations.

But, I only recommend it as a supplement because I think that Tae Kim can be a bit confusing and not explain things well enough. I can’t think of a good example, but I remember using Tae Kim’s guide starting out with Japanese and feeling confused and discouraged at times until I opened the door to other resources that helped me understand.

A basic guide to Japanese Grammar is good and can be gotten on Amazon, though it is a bit pricey. It’s pretty thorough and usually clears up any confusion I have. :slightly_smiling_face:

Barons Japanese Grammar is cheap, but really should only be used as a supplement as it doesn’t really cover things in depth. I use it as a way to brush the surface of things I’ll be learning in the future.

Japanese Shadowing/日本語話そう I think is an awesome resource that has helped me with listening and speaking. A video of the audio is up on YouTube, but lacks all of the translations and additional material. The whole book comes with introduction to what the shadowing method is and a CD. My description is pretty succinct, but check it out on YouTube and maybe look into getting a copy on Amazon.

People on here have said good things about LingoDeer which is an app on the apple store, but I’m not sure about android. I don’t really use it, but from what I’ve done it’s a nice app. :slight_smile:


I figure I should also mention Genki! My experience with Genki has been as a text book for my college Japanese class. The book is designed to be used in a class based on the activities and some of the workbook pages (separate from the text book). However, it teaches about culture and expressions that have taught me stuff I haven’t heard before. I think it’s worth it if you have the money and don’t mind text book learning.


Nobody has mentioned this still, but there is also the venerable old fashioned way of going to language lessons, or hiring a language teacher (either in person or online). Interaction with other human beings is essential in actually learning a language.

  • Hiragana and Katakana from books when I was a child. Kanji became too difficult so I stopped.

This summer I started studying again seriously.

  • Grammar from the 2 Genki Texbooks and “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar”.
  • Kanji from WaniKani
  • Vocab from WaniKani, Core 2K deck and words I find in the wild (SRS in Anki).
  • Listening, watching Anime without subtitles.
  • Not practising speaking seriously until I’m really good at understanding Japanese.

Least helpful post: Growing up with it. Still can’t read or write to save my life though.

I use for reading practices, you can add your own texts, add words to your vocabulary, that you don’t know, and then add it to your anki tables. I reading Harry Potter now, and while my Japanese knowledge is poor, I’ve almost finished first book, and even could understand something


I never knew about, thanks! It’s like a new version of Learning With Texts!

I learned the basics in high school and college (up through about halfway through the Intermediate Japanese textbook). It turns out that after six years of disuse, though, I forgot much of what I learned from that book. (It’s also really dull.)

This year, my routine has been the following, trying to hit as many of these as I can in one day (I usually don’t wind up hitting all of them in one day). I currently live in Japan:

  1. Wanikani for kanji

  2. JET-offered upper-intermediate online grammar course (this was focused around dialogue and reading, with quizzes at the end of each lesson, and I found it really helpful; finished)

  3. Vocab, Reading, Grammar, Kanji and Listening JLPT N3 Nihongo Sou-matome books. I did the first three of these mostly in tandem with the course above, compiling notes from everything into a big document for review (along with other tidbits I thought were useful that I picked up from daily life). I use the kanji book to guide writing practice, as WK overlaps with it, though I’m less picky about getting to it frequently. I just recently started listening.

  4. Upon finishing much of the above, I added iKnow for vocab, which is powerful in combination with Wanikani.

  5. Building up to the test, I’m using a 500-problem JLPT practice book, which has been immeasurably helpful for review.

I think the most helpful things for me outside of exposure have been: 1) Using material that has clear daily tasks, either lessons or curated reviews, and frequent self-assessment quizzes, 2) Writing lots and lots of notes, building up a big searchable document to turn to when I’m like, “How do I say ____ again? What’s the difference between all the わけ constructions?” and 3) Actively looking for situations to use new grammar in in daily life, if only to reinforce it for myself. Even if I botch it, I tried.

Reading helps too: When I have time, I’ve been tackling some manga and prose. I have a few poetry books I’d like to attempt within the year too.

I’ll probably repeat a similar setup for N2 study. I wouldn’t mind trying a Japanese-language Japanese textbook prior to the JLPT books, though, so if anyone has recommendations, that’d be awesome. I’ve seen several at bookstores around here, but it’s hard to get a feel for which would be most useful at a glance.

Finally, I also take a break for a day (as much as you can living around the language) when I’m burned out. Always wind up coming back more refreshed the next day. Sometimes you need space to actually let new content settle.


What book is that?

I would suggest using KaniWani at the same time. That helps with word recall when you’re in a conversation. Also, I would recommend, a site you can use to read at varying levels (not to mention, because it was made by a fellow Crabigator worshipper, you can input your API key from WK). There’s also NHK Easy, and my favourite, animelon, where you can watch anime with Japanese, English, and romaji subtitles (you can choose which).

Personally, I learned Japanese listening to Living Languages, though. It’s wonderful and indispensable. Seriously, it helped me so much.

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