I'm a Japanese n00b, preach to me

I’m on level 2 on WaniKani and have 680 XP on Duolingo. My vocab count is near zero, I have no grammar, and 35 guru kanji. If I was you from the past and you from the past totally sucked, what would you recommend they do? Any recommended resources? A particular area to focus on first? Pity? Scorn? Hugs? If you let me leach off your knowledge I will make you proud~

ty, lol (lots of love!) fae Papaya

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Get a proper textbook and do a few pages each day is my tip. If you want extra vocab I’d also get one of the 10k Anki decks with audio.


Well… I think it’s probably a good idea to focus a bit on building a vocabulary before you start with grammar (that way you can focus on the grammar points being taught without looking up every single word). WK will do parts of that, but you’ll have some gaps, most obvious will be the kana only words.

A good resource for vocab is the Core6K/Core10K anki decks, or the paid site iknow.jp (both use the same material).

For grammar I personally used Tae Kim’s guide to Japanese Grammar, combined with an anki deck to drill myself on what I’ve learned.

Once you feel comfortable doing so, I think you should also look for some native materials (books? manga? games?) to practice reading. I think a good idea is to have some candidates that you want to be able to read and then look into them every once in a while to see when they start making sense to you. For games you can look for let’s plays (実況プレイ in japanese) to have a look. With books or manga you can either search for reading samples (立ち読み in japanese) or see if it has a look-inside feature on amazon.jp.


I think most resouces out there are aimed at beginners. Just stay away from Duolingo. I heard bad things.

WaniKani is definitely a good choice. Have you tried memrise for vocabulary yet?


Oh, and once you feel like you might be able to actually write something in Japanese, I’d recommend checking hellotalk out and see if you can find a chat buddy. Don’t wait as long as I did, there’s no need to be lv60 :slight_smile:

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Really just depends on what kind of person you are. If you’re the kind of person who wants to be eased in and not bored you can start with Genki. If you’re a more serious student you can go with Tae Kim’s grammar guide (free). If you’re hot shit you can go straight to Kanzen Master’s N5 grammar book. Kanzen Master is for people who want to actually finish learning the language before they go to heaven but, to be blunt, it’s only slightly more fun than reading A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar if you get my drift. I don’t try to pretend like studying grammar is supposed to be fun though.

If you want to read manga quickly or something the fastest way to get there is to not bothering reading it. Just study until you finish N3 and then you can rough it out from there. I mean, if you wanna try feel free to go at it for fun but it’s too inefficient at that level to be an actual substitute for studying.

Aside from that, same as what other people said. Check out memrise or a core 6k/10k deck for vocabulary. Wanikani teaches you words to help you learn kanji not to help you read. A lot of them are eventually useful but certainly not for a beginner.


…it’s not supposed to be fun?


One day you’ll understand young one. It took me centuries to hit upon this little nugget of wisdom :thinking:

Thanks for the advice guys!

I have Anki and Memrise accounts so will get onto the vocab side pronto. I actually found while learning Korean that I enjoy studying grammar, but I already had a lot of words to work with at the time so I’ll maybe focus on it a bit later and just pick up some basics atm :slight_smile:

I’ve been studying Japanese for over a year and a half now, and it’s still fun, every aspect of it


Yep, every aspect for me is fun and I’ve been studying languages for a very long time. Japanese is the language I’m enjoying the most!

If you like learning online like with WaniKani and Memrise, you might enjoy learning your grammar from NihongoMaster.com. They give a short lesson and then srs drills, currently up to N3, but always adding more.


for me its fun since i enjoy linguistics and i think japanese grammar is very interesting and it’s satisfying when i understand how it works.

my suggestion is to practice writing a little bit. personally i use twitter for that since expectations are not high for tweets


Blessed are those who possess a strong sense of discipline, for they shall inherit the earth… and master grammar.


There’s a lot of good advice around this place, but what you should do depends on what your goals are. Do you want to be able to read manga? Watch anime? Visit Japan as a tourist? Live and work in Japan? Woo a Japanese person? Do translation? Teach Japanese? etc. etc. That’s what I would want to know before giving specific advice…

pats on the back


I wanna save your comment forever! It’s so helpful!

I just found out about Tae Kim’s guide to Japanese Grammar today, and now I have it on my phone for me to study alongside with wanikani. I’m loving the journey :slight_smile:

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What’s bad about it?

The general complaints have been about some mistakes with very basic stuff, like when you choose the particle は to make sentences, the voice will say “ha” rather than “wa”, and other things like that which are small but kind of “duh? how did they mess that up” kind of stuff.

I think it’s still in beta at the moment.

I like it so far, but I think it’ll improve in time.

They are just now releasing to android, and usually their web versions are much better.

It’s also just a supplement and I’ve found Genki to be much more helpful.

Yokatta desu! (^o^)

I agree with Grammar isn’t supposed to be too fun. Tae Kim alone without proper drilling isn’t really enough. Especially that I am not naturally talented with grammar. Both kanji and vocab or even immersion aren’t enough.

I badly need N3 to able to read manga with ease.