How to use textbooks?

Heya guys, I think this may have been asked before, but I have never used a Japanese or language textbook before, I recently bought Genki 1 and Tango N5 to use together, but I don’t really know how to use them?

I know it sounds trivial, like just work on it, but for some reason I feel like i’m missing something or like a method you are designed to work through when doing them. I have the workbook too but don’t really understand what it’s for.

Any help is hella appreciated!!! thanks guys!


Could it be that structure is what you need? What I mean is, Genki books are supposed to be used in a classroom environment which adds a certain collaborative aspect to it for the instruction and questions in which makes learning out of Genki fresh. I’d say if that’s what it is, there is a channel called Tokini Andy that sums up the lessons in a really good way along with unique dialogue and chat interaction that makes it seem like a teacher-student setting (without having it be monotonous).

Tango N5 can overlap with Genki I as they both teach N5 vocab, but can help if you need to review. As for the workbook, it is just supposed to reinforce the content that you’ve learned and in ways of how to use it in listening, writing, reading, and speaking.

(Sorry if this post was confusing in any way as this is my first forum post that i’ve made)


How to get the most out of textbooks during self-study is a very important question. You can read the explanation, and understand the grammar point being discussed, but how do you retain and internalize it?

In a traditional classroom setting, this would be done with classroom activities, worksheets, and such. In self-study, these aren’t always an option, and yet, something to reinforce learning is crucial. Can you imagine how much less effective WaniKani would be if you just did the lessons over kanji and vocab, but never doing the SRS part?

For some people, that kind of repetition might come from reading native texts and seeing the grammar points in the wild. Others might study multiple grammar texts, and use that sense of repetition to train the brain “this will come up again, remember it!”. I’ve considered trying to do an SRS deck of example sentences from textbooks to make sure I remember the relevant grammar point down the road.

I’m curious what people have found to be most effective for retaining textbook material (particularly grammer points) during self-study.


I can really recommend this site: Genki Exercises - 3rd Edition | Genki Study Resources


Once you learn anything, you have to either put it to practical use repetitively or continue to “learn” it (review/quiz yourself). Sometimes I narrate my life or have dialogs in my head. That way I could use the sentence patterns I know as well as identify those that I don’t. And you can work up to more advanced patterns in your dialog and look up missing pieces as needed. For example,
I’m going to the bathroom.
I need to go to the bathroom.
I have to go the bathroom to take a poop.
Nobody better be in that bathroom because I’m about to destroy the place.

I’m don’t think I’ve quite mastered this final level myself. I could literally say this but not with the same panache it has in English.


Well from my personal experience I just read through it and do the exercises I could, but I recommend the group activities be done with an iTalki instructor and maybe have some questions for them regarding grammar or vocab.

ToKini Andy also has a series a lot of people recommend if you need a more structured approach to Genki.

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