Immersion Troubles as a Beginner

Depends on you, but one thing will always be true. Regardless of whenever you start, be that 1 level in or 60 levels in, reading at first will be painful. We often say, that at first it’s less like reading and more like solving a puzzle,

Kanji, funnily enough, is less important in my opinion when first starting out. Most manga you will want to start with will in fact have furigana, and anime of course pronounces the words, and with that, kanji only acts like a helping hand when entering the words into a dictionary. Our general recommendation instead is to try to get the basics of grammar itself down. Specifically, if you have a rough and incomplete understanding of the N5 grammar points, you are already way better off. There are tons of methods to achieve this with, some free, some paid. You can go through an established textbook, like Genki. You can also opt for the free online equivalent, Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese. Or you can choose a video series, like Cure Dolly, or Japanese Ammo.

Once you have that down, personally I’d recommend starting with reading instead of watching content. This is simply because if you pick up a book, you can take your time internalizing every single sentence. Even if you go with anime instead, I’d recommend turning those Japanese subs on, I don’t see a world where you can learn anything from continuous speech without having experience with it.

Here on the forums we have book clubs you can join, there you can ask questions, read about others’ questions and you are even provided with a vocab sheet for the given book. It’s a decent spot to start from. We just started reading “Shikimori-san isn’t just a cutie” 2 weeks ago, so that will go on for quite a while still, but we tend to have a new book every 3-4 months: Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now Reading: Miss Shikimori is not just cute!