How not to get bored reading Genki?

I’m actually not huge on Genki. I did use it in high school and college classes, and think it’s still probably the best there is (and some of the English-language intermediate textbooks are even more dry, if you can believe it), but it’s far from amazing, both in terms of grammar explanations and engagement. It’s unfortunately the best there is.

Personally, I’ve found my self-study is spiced up by structuring regular quizzes into lessons, and have benefited from intermediate learning material that does so, both online and via test-prep books. My recommendation if Genki isn’t doing it for you would be to pick up the Nihongo Sou Matome books (N5 or N4, depending on your level) as a supplement.

You’re putting quite a bit of money into your study then, though, so make sure you’re in it for the long haul.

If you just want to increase vocab, I recommend iKnow, which is structured similarly to Wanikani but based around common-usage vocabulary rather than kanji. But, again, you’re laying down bank.

Edit – I also really enjoy learning grammar and do non-textbook reading as well (grammar’s the fun part since you’re learning the logic and figuring out how to express yourself; vocab is the part I find dull as dirt and need to gamify, since it’s rote memorization), but I still think some formal teaching material is essential for most people, especially at lower levels, and some are better than others.


Oosh that sounds tough haha! I don’t think i’ll be doing the brute force approach just get :wink: but I like your style. I mean I really want to focus on widening my vocab right now, as I do find grammar such as Bunpro to be pretty fun. It’s just Genki takes the long winded approach to everything, which I know has already helped me tons in getting around.

Yup, my approach to Genki was to pretty much just complete the workbook activities until I reached one where I didn’t understand how to complete it. Then I’d flip to the appropriate textbook section, figure it out, and continue my advance, Otherwise, my only use of the textbook itself was studying the vocabulary pages. Going through the entire textbook is way too slow for my taste, so the workbook provided a nice, abbreviated approach.

I still think my Genki 2 workbook is sitting on my bookshelf unused, thinking about it. I bought my first Japanese LN about the time I finished Genki I, so I got so caught up in trying to translate it that I just used Genki 2 as a grammar encyclopedia. :thinking:

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I’ll second this actually – Genki does some things I don’t like (major things), and it often winds up taking up a whole lot of pages to do it. I used Human Japanese in conjunction with KawaJapa. HJ isn’t perfect (though it’s done a decent job by me), but it generally provides information concisely without doing anything egregiously misleading, which is a huge plus in my book. Makes it faster to get through with fewer mysteries to clear up after the fact. It is big on doing vocab dumps, but I tend to just skip those as I expect to pick up vocab as I use it.


I seeeee! I’ve been going through the textbook exclusively without the work book! I bet the workbook would spice things up a bit with way more practical stuff!


The workbook is literally just instructions and exercises; no explanations and such. Each of the exercises are linked with the chapter/sub-chapter of the textbook, so you know right where to flip for whatever exercise is causing you issues. Significantly less snore inducing in my opinion.

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Thanks!! That is useful, where do you think Human Japanese takes you? It’s an online platform right? :slight_smile:

Honestly after like chapter 5 I stopped going through Genki completely for several months. I lost the motivation to continue but I was doing several other things like WaniKani and reading Japanese text constantly. Even though most of the time I couldn’t understand anything, every time I read something new I think I was passively acquiring new information without realizing it myself. Fast forward several more months when I got the motivation to get back into grammar and I came back into going through Genki very easily. I think about 80-90% was just reviewing material I already knew.
Basically what I’m saying is that after getting the absolute basics down, you can get very far without needing too much use of textbooks, as long as you keep reading, and read A LOT.


Sounds good to me, I mean If i can’t complete an exercise in the workbook then of course it’s time to flip to the textbook! I will work more with the workbook for sure :slight_smile: Perhaps just skimming through the textbook and reading it.

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Thanks for your input! What sort of texts did you read?? All with furigana? :slight_smile:

I think my main focus is to just smash tons and tons of vocab in, any ideas guys? I live in Tokyo now so I listen to conversations every day, I feel grammar will be enforced well with a wider vocab to hold it up. So far I can’t really express much!

Yes, Human Japanese is available as a phone or desktop app. HJ Vols 1 + 2 don’t cover quite as much material as Genki I + II, but I honestly think that’s fine as many people jump into reading before finishing Genki II. HJ does a free trial of its first few chapters, thou several of those are dedicated to Katakana; still, you can see the full chapter list and get a feel for it. Just take notes as you go through it and pick up any vocabulary you think is important to know (for example, they’ll load you up on food vocab, and honestly you can just learn that as you go along rather than drilling it then and there . . .). If you already have the Genki books, you can still use them (or Tae Kim) as references for basic grammar .

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Thank you!! :slight_smile:

Some had furigana, some didn’t. Either way I ended up looking up many words while reading. I read things on social media like twitter and I also used HelloTalk and browsed through that every day.

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Without trying to sound like a paid shill for it, iKnow. It’s basically WK but for vocab, and it’ll drill you on tons of common expressions WK doesn’t cover. Again, it’s a monthly cost (or you can pay in bulk a la WK), but most things we’re talking about here are paid resources.

Some would also recommend downloading Anki decks, but that depends on how much you want to have to curate your own cramming. As a plus side, they’re free. As a downside, the setup can be intense and it’s a much less guided experience.

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I’m willing to invest in something I can stick to and see literal progress, like WaniKani! It’s nice to know how many you have to review, how far you’ve come with levels etc. Not to mention the amazing plug ins. Worth the cash.

iKnow - I will check this out! I think Anki is a great tool but I just feel it can be quite dry too without supplement. Thank you Ian!

Personaly I found Genki to be simple to under stand mostly… however after getting to chapter 18 in the series I kind of felt like I didn’t learn as much as I would of liked.
So I switched to Taekim reading the website and using this deck. Jp Grammar - Tae Kim's Guide to JP w/ Diagrams, Kanji Info - AnkiWeb

So Far I have gotten up to Special express chapter.
And This is my personal feelings on the matter.
Genki is simple because it dosn’t go in to much detail as to why things are the way they are. it just says this is the way things are and that’s the way it is, so no need to explain… where as Taekim explain everything like why things work the way they do. Because of this It make it easier to figure out grammar points you may not have seen before. I found they way Tae Kim explained things fairly easy to understand. however If I had not read Genki first, i don’t know If I could say that? It may of been a lot too take in… although I got more out of taekim. I still learnt from genki and I’m sure that made Taekim easier to understand. So I would recommend reading through Genki if you got the time and you find Taekim difficult? and then reading through Taekim. but If you don’t have the time just do Taekim, as it covers everything Genki does and more. Taekim will teach you to understand the normal way people speak, so reading manga/ watching anime can be understood with Taekim alone.
Genki dosn’t teach you how to speak in real life situations… you won’t understand TV shows/manga if you just did Genki. This is just my experience thought.
I really do not understand how anyone can say Genki is just as good as Taekim… Genki is very much incomplete. Taekim covers way more. I’m not trying to offend Genk lovers, but I Really don’t wan’t people to waste there time. also I wouldn’t recommend doing the exercises in Genki. if anything just srs the example sentences. In your case though, I would say just read through genki without srsing or doig the exercises then read Taekim and srs that.

I hope this helps


I see! really interesting to hear, I though TaiKim was just for grammar though? Does it really cover enough vocab as well?

Yeah Taekim has a lot of grammar sentences that deck I posted the link to has over 700 example sentences. I have heard People say that Taekim dosn’t Have many example sentances… but I can’t figure out why? Also I would recommend watching these videos if you want to find more sentances. How to Use Subs2SRS, Anki and Sentence Banks to Study Japanese - YouTube
How to Extract Audio from Media - YouTube

Teakim and Genki focus on grammar, meaning they explain how words fit and connect togeather and how to order them. They are not used for learning mass amounts of words… Wanikani is good for that :+1:

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I have made a subs2Srs with terrace house actually haha, was fun to use but all a bit too chopped up for me.

When you say Grammar sentences do you mean those help to teach you Vocabulary also? :slight_smile:
Because Genki teaches tons of Vocab, if TaiKim taught tons of Vocab also then I would be happy to consider switching!

  • Sorry just saw your edit, i see. I don’t find WaniKani to be good for Vocab other than when reading for me, i’m not able to recall much of what I can read in conversation.