So as of Friday this week I am completely finished with my University studies until late September, with everything going on right now I am out of work until my work reopens. In trying to look on the bright side this will give me a huge amount of time to focus on learning Japanese. I’m hoping to create a structure to my learning over the next few months until life returns to a somewhat normal state, partly this is to keep me sane as well as I usually feel better when I am following a routine.
I have Genki I & II and was wondering what are the best ways to work through these books? Assuming I was treating this like a full time study i.e 9-5 that is. (I have the workbooks too!)
Should I learn all the vocab for a chapter in advance to starting that chapter (A few days before) or jut learn them as they are introduced?
I’ve looked at Bunpro as an option to use alongside genki so I might try that for a month and see how it works out. I’m also using KameSame and have found that it really helps me to remember the WK vocab, although I have a feeling I will likely drop it come October with university studies starting back up.
If pre-learning the vocab helps you get through the lessons, then by all means do that (I didn’t because I’m lazy). Just make sure not to spend tooooo much time doing that, it’s all quite common vocab so you’ll probably see a lot of it again throughout the book and in your media consumption
I don’t know what it’s like to have all day to study Japanese But you could probably make progress in leaps and bounds if you just set aside half a day for textbook learning, and the other half for immersion (reading, listening, watching, etc). This is kind of how days were organised when I did a short intensive class in Tokyo one summer.
How much you do in one session depends on you and how easy/hard/fun/boring you find it – but you might want to plan how much time you want to spend per chapter, and therefore when you’d like to be finished by!
I use Bunpro for reinforcement (instead of doing the textbook exercises), and it helps a lot! I only discovered it after almost finishing Genki II, but I went back and did all the lessons on there and it has definitely improved my retention.
Reading is also a fantastic way to apply grammar skills – since I started joining book clubs on here my “grammar intuition” has improved greatly! Which means when I’m writing things, they’re starting to sound right or wrong.
Yeah I was thinking about doing something like that. But I find it really difficult to know what to immerse myself in? I don’t want something too simple but not something crazily overwhelming to the point I just give up.
Probably a mix of stuff you just like, and stuff that’s level appropriate… As long as you’re open to reading/listening/watching stuff outside your usual interests, you should be able to find level-appropriate material.
When you’re starting out, graded readers are great because they’re designed for learners but they’re not textbooks. Once you’ve finished Genki I you might want to check out the Absolute Beginner Book Club (assumes a mostly N5 grammar level I think). You can still ask questions on completed clubs, and read along with currently active ones!
Nihongo con Teppei (beginner and intermediate) are nice Japanese-only podcasts designed for beginners. He speaks rather slowly, repeats himself quite a lot, and uses a lot of English loanwords to explain things. The beginner podcast is about 4 minutes long, so it’s quite accessible after a bit of grammar and vocab study!
Netflix has Japanese subtitles on most Japanese content available in your country – even if you’re not in Japan! Netfix has quite a lot of anime, which can be fun to watch – it does’t matter if you don’t understand everything, the images will help you follow along a bit, and you’ll hear words you know. The Language Learning with Netflix browser plugin is nice if you want to be able to study sentence by sentence, or look words up while you’re watching.
I have just finished Genki I and I am about to begin Genki II. I did both the exercises and Bunpro. I found that doing the exercises alone leaves me no way to know whether or not I am doing it right. There is no teacher to correct me. Bunpro is a way to get feedback. It gives me a fail when I am wrong and this is important for learning.
My Genki I class was 5 days a week, and we basically went through 1 or 2 grammar sections per day on our own outside of class (meaning doing the reading, and then all the exercises in the textbook and workbook related to those sections) and then in class we did speaking and listening practice for 50 minutes (and tests and quizzes). All the homework and studying was a huge time commitment though—on my own I’d probably choose to go slower, because it often felt like I was running alongside a moving train that I could never quite jump on to.
I used the flash card app for Genki to help study. For a two week period, I studied 12 hours every day, and I would repeat one chapter three days in a row. I averaged three chapters a day. To study, I listened to the Vocab three times, repeated three times, flipped the card over, listened to the sentence three times and repeated three times. I live in Japan, so when returned to work after my vacation, my Japanese colleagues were surprised at my improvement, that includes my dentist too. The biggest complement I received was my pronunciation - it also effected my communication with strangers. Because my pronunciation had improved, they would talk to me as if I was a fluent speaker. Listening is paramount.