I was following Tofugo’s guide too, but I recommend to start learning basic grammar at the level you’re at. It helps with burnout, because you feel like you’re actually learning, not just doing a repetition of vocabulary. You don’t have to buy a textbook yet, I recommend starting Japanese Ammo with Misa’s absolute beginners playlist on YouTube! I learned a lot, from just the first video! And then, when we get to level 10, we can start to expand our grammar!
@Zenyaa said it already, but I wholeheartedly agree with them that you shouldn’t worry about never
being able to “master Japanese” without living there. For example, my native language is Finnish and English is the second one I learned, and it is very very very different from Finnish. I can’t say I know English on a native level but I am definitely fluent in it and able to do almost anything in the language. And I actually mostly became fluent in English by playing video games as a kid and getting immersion and reading practice mainly through the internet! And that’s definitely possible with Japanese as well! Obviously, since I almost never get actual speaking practice in English, speaking is still my weakest point in it, but because I know the language so well otherwise, I can speak it too and in general it’s understandable. Plus there are quite a few options for practicing speaking Japanese online as well, but early on I wouldn’t stress that very much.
Just Wanikani and grammar studies (Bunpro + a grammar textbook is great) get you surprisingly far actually (although if you want to use some other kind of a textbook too, I’m sure they’re very useful as well). I haven’t personally used anything else much yet and I’m surprised how well I already can read (rather simple) text in Japanese - and I’ve only gone through a ~third of the content in WK and Bunpro. I can’t write much anything yet, but I trust it will become more natural with time and more reading practice especially. Around my level, reading and other types of immersion are becoming more comfortable - I actually start to gain something from them since I understand the basics already. It’s extremely motivating! Goal-setting is also so important: what would you want to be able to when you know Japanese? One of my short-term goals is playing some casual Nintendo games in Japanese (while learning at the same time), and I know that’s very doable and not even that far in the future - that motivates me a lot! And of course my bigger dream of going to Japan as an exchange student in university in a few years (knowing Japanese would enhance the experience a lot I’m sure). And who knows what the future might bring? Knowing a foreign language is always a huge plus for you, and not least for just generally broadening your thinking and worldview. Also you don’t really have to rush either. Take your time. If you feel like you’re burning out, maybe you can slow down a little. When you build the deep inner motivation for learning the language (through goal-setting and dreaming about the future where you already know Japanese ), a good pace for studying comes almost naturally. You actually feel like you are super excited to study a little every day - but not so much that you get overwhelmed. Strive for finding that sweet spot.
All in all, I remember that it was difficult in the beginning, feeling like it’s a huge hurdle to even learn the basics and that it’s going to take so much time to be able to do anything in the language, and was having the same thoughts as you - how will I even remember these words since I don’t encounter them anywhere? But I stuck with it for a while, and consuming Japanese media nowadays reinforces the things I have learned a lot, since I encounter vocabulary and kanji I learned on WK all the time
It’s really hard to just learn kanjis without actually learning Japanese like learn how to read ( aka learn grammar, vocab and put them together). I find it so easy to just learn grammar like a vocabulary phrase. It often has one very popular meaning and just learn it like vocab.
I would suggest you start your japanese learning right away to pair with your wk learning.
Where to begin: any course in your area, there must be Japanese language center. Would really suggest you take one as a total beginner. If Covid shuts down centers, then you can take online courses like using Duolingo (good for beginner imo) or Lingodeer.
Also, there is a very popular textbook series called Genki to begin with learning JP.
Do you have any solid motivation to keep learning Jp? whether it’s just reading LNs, anime or tv shows just do it.
You don’t even have motivation? Personally I don’t have one atm (well that’s crazy but yeah I just keep going cause I like the progess of learning and finishing something. I actually resetted 3 or 4 times and abusing vacation mode xD) The key here is being CONSISTENT. So, it’s not totally impossible to just learn Japanese w/t motivation. However since you’re a total beginner, it’s OK to just stop if you feel like there isn’t anything to keep you going.
TL;DR: Begin your JP study along with wk study. Learn grammar like vocab. Be CONSISTENT. If there’s totally no motivation, feel free to drop.
I honestly don’t understand how people come here with 0% japanese and start learning kanji just like that. I spent a year with a textbook before even touching WK cuz kanji didn’t irritate me that much. Learning kanji and nothing else is so abstract and meaningless that burning out is a natural outcome. I suggest picking some popular grammar book ASAP.
p.s.: this is just my super subjective opinion. Don’t mind it if it doesn’t suit you.
You need to find something that will work for you.
I find I ****ing HATE book only learning. Textbook anyway. Genki is boring as… well, it’s boring. I hate it. It’s also difficult because I don’t have anyone to learn with. Writing sample sentences then trying to correct your own grammar is… tedious.
Thing is, if you don’t find something, you won’t move forward.
I am going through BunPro at the moment, got the lifetime subscription and couldn’t be happier. I am pairing it with Tae Kim and loosely doing some Genki in between.
But that is what works for me. Will it work for you? Maybe! Maybe not.
One thing to be wary of is trying too many tools and never picking one. It’s too easy to go through the first 3-5 lessons of something, move to the next thing, and then learn the same lessons in another tool. You will become over confident and it will slow down your ability to move on. I can tell you this because this is what I did. I can’t tell you how many tools I tried. How many books I started and never finished. WaniKani is the only thing that has gotten me to stick to Kanji. BunPro is keeping me stuck to grammar. Textbooks are still an option and I still try them, I just can’t get over that hump yet.
Whatever you do, don’t stop learning. Any time you get down or lost, stop in! Everyone here has been super helpful for me and hopefully have and will be for you as well!
It apppears like a paradox but in the end, one has to ponder real hard about his japanese goals.
If the goal is to immerse (for most of us, it is), then immersion should be enjoyable. Of course, it takes a minimum knowledge not to be totally lost, and proper selection of the content according to one’s level.
Excuse me, where can I find this calendar map thing everyone seems to be able to bring up?
It’s a userscript! You can find it here: [Userscript] Wanikani Heatmap
Thank you! I got it working and all <3
I use Bunpro for grammar. But before that, I spent $100 on the JALUP Beginner Anki deck and that was super helpful! Pricey but well worth the money! It teaches you one word or grammar element at a time and keeps building with every sentence. Like solving fun little puzzles. You read a sentence and pass or fail the card in the deck based on whether or not you understood it.
But since $100 is a lot, I suggest Bunpro. Just $10 a month and I think it’s a great tool with a lot of example sentences for each grammar point.
If one just reads Tae Kim, one is going to have the false impression that one understands the grammar but would be unable to properly express oneself in writing. Genki’s exercises in the book and in the workbook really build important skills. I bought both Genki I and II and both workbooks as well. I do not support piracy but if one has no way to buy Genki, say you live in a country where the price of Genki is unafordable, I’m not going judge if you google Genki pdf…
to be fair to tae kim, if you spend the same amount of time on that you would spend on tae kim on genki, you’ll definitively be worse at writing.
I’ve seen enough burnout complaints, and made enough of them myself, that it’s starting to be a really familiar pattern.
Learning Japanese is not easy. No one said it was easy (or else they were lying to you). After the honeymoon period, when you’ve picked all the low-hanging fruit and studying starts to feel like work and not just learning new things for fun, you start to be tested. How badly do you want this? Do you want it enough to beat your head against a wall? Do you want it bad enough to keep slamming your head against that wall even when it’s painful and it seems like the wall will never break? Are you okay with the fact that the wall will never shatter all at once, only chip and crumble?
You can learn Japanese, but it has to be earned the hard way. It will take years of study and practice, and sometimes it will be tedious and boring. Sometimes it will feel like you’re not actually learning anything. There is no other way.
You can also take comfort in that. This is everyone’s experience (except for people who had a Japanese environment growing up, or who have amazing natural language talent). You’re not dumber or lazier than everyone else. You’re not studying the wrong way (probably). It’s just really hard and struggling is totally normal.
The only thing that really draws me to Genki is the exercises. But I don’t think doing the workbook with grammar knowledge of another textbook would be as useful… So what to do? At this rate I have my mind pretty set on Tae Kim, and going through both textbooks doesn’t seem very practical at all. Especially if my main motivation for it is to do exercises.