Mistakes you made when you first started learning Japanese

@Syphus Not sure how much money I’ve spent at Japanese restaurants thinking “This totally counts as studying.” Pretty sure it’s more than I spent on books.


This is true, but unfortunately some people will never have that “real” reason for learning Japanese. I don’t have any interest in moving to / working in Japan. I’m also not particularly motivated by anime or manga as some people are. I watch anime, sure, but I’m not desperate to watch it without subtitles. I am interested in reading books (much more so than manga), but I don’t know if that is enough of a driving force to get me to an advanced level.

Mostly, I’m learning Japanese because I find the language and culture to be interesting, and because I like the challenge. This leaves me learning at a much slower pace than those living in Japan for example. And this might mean that I will hit a ceiling of intermediate or upper intermediate (assuming I can even reach that) and never progress to an advanced level. But for now I’m just taking it one step at a time and I’ll see where that leads me.


Not starting sooner.


Although I understand your sentiment about people having a “real” reason, but what I was actually hinting at was “it’ll be nice if could know Japanese” type of thinking; there was no real purpose of acquiring such a skill. I think that some people downplay the legitimacy of their desires for learning Japanese because ( a ) they have no intention of living or working in Japan, ( b ) they have no intention of speaking with native Japanese speakers, or ( c ) they don’t share interests they feel are popular among other Japanese learners (e.g., anime, manga, etc.). [NOTE: this list is not exhaustive] In the end, if there is a real utility behind learning Japanese (e.g., there’s some connection to a personal interest) and it’s worth cultivating, then you have your real reason. In other words, what constitutes as “real” is dependent upon each individual; there are people out there who will share their unsolicited opinion about how another person’s reasons are illegitimate, but in the end if that learner spends time studying and is actually making progress in their studies, it doesn’t matter what other people think about their reasons to learn Japanese. Oftentimes I feel that people who don’t fortify their reasons for learning (i.e., it’s not made a priority for their) are often the ones who fall off the wagon with regard to their studies; anyone can fall victim to this even those with a “real” reason.


I always read the mnemonics, now. I aslo made the mistake of ignoring them, and it was much harder. It seems like I immediately forget the mnemonics, but just reading them magically helps.


Used to think hand writing hiragana over & over was the way for me to go when memorizing the stuff. I’ve got a composition notebook somewhere with an entire page filled with あs, another page of うs, etc. Got too tedious, so I dropped the practice.

Just 'cause it didn’t wotk for me don’t mean it won’t work for others, I think. A good portion of my Japanese study career consists of finding out what study methods do not work for me, a valiable process in its own right.


That being said, learning from your own mistakes can be a very time consuming (and/or expensive) process. Never hurts to learn from the mistakes of others, too.


This is my biggest mistake as well, and I still haven’t done anything about it. :scream::sweat_smile: It’s much more fun (and safe) watching Japanese youtube videos and novels.

I fixed my other beginner mistake, which was not watching/reading/listening to enough native material. I just did Wanikani, Maggie-sensei, Tae Kim and NHK easy. The key is to find a source that you’re really interested in, so you keep motivated even if it becomes tough.


I tried using Duolingo to learn Japanese only to realize later that they only teach keigo and they teach kanji in a horrible way. They also only teach up to N5. While searching for a place to learn Kanji I stumbled upon this cool site known as wanikani. I started using it a few days ago and I’m almost done with the level 1 vocabulary.
Wanikani is awesome and I will definitely pay the subscription once my free levels run out.


I don’t have anyone to practice talking japanese with, what methods do you guys use to practice japanese conversation?

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Check for the app called “HelloTalk”. It’s a place where you can find language exchange partners.


Okay thanks, will check it out.

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My hope is that I’ll fall into some sort of “eh, might as well” mindset to further my learning once I have reached my goal of being able to comfortably read light novels. At this rate, everything outside of my reading skill will be shit by that time, but obviously it will be much easier to improve those other skills if I can read well already. Hopefully out of obligation to get more out of the work I have already put in, I’ll keep pushing myself in a sort of cycle of not wanting to call it quits after so long.

Luckily I have yet to see anyone act that way on this site. I don’t doubt there are people stupid enough out there to do this, but its nice that they stay away from this website.


You raised an interesting point here. I think what’s important is practicing in context. Just writing out each character dozens of times will only help you write that character better, but writing out dozens of example sentences will really help you to remember the characters. And it’s the same for reading. That’s how I ended up learning kana after all.

I had gotten a Japanese-English dictionary for my tenth birthday because I had really wanted to learn. I spent days copying things straight out of the dictionary- I was exhausted and frustrated and still had no idea why I didn’t know what I was doing!

I gave up for a little while until I had a teacher who was kind enough to give me a very old edition of a Japanese textbook she just happened to still have. I was finally able to start connecting some dots and invested in new and more advanced texts.

I don’t know if I was just bad at internet or there weren’t those kinds of resources online then, but I feel like I spent a lot on books. It’s more convenient to get information now.


I don’t think I have either. I’ve found that usually these “discouragers” are people I know and trust, saying things without thinking about how it might make me feel. That’s why I usually refrain from sharing my goals and aspirations with people who aren’t like-minded (i.e., people who I think don’t have any drive to accomplish things in their lives).

This is so soooo relatable!

When I first started learning Japanese I began writing kana like a mad woman and just burned myself out after a week. I’d try to read something above my level and get depressed and don’t touch Japanese for months. For me, WaniKani has been very good at keeping me consistent. This may sound weird, but it stops me from going TOO ham with studying so that I keep coming back, hungry to learn every time! It’s probably different for many people but for me, learning Japanese was really all about pacing myself :slight_smile:

I’m at my 3rd month of WaniKani and still going strong so I hope you all and myself the best!


Mostly being too afraid to practice speaking because I would make mistakes. Can’t learn without messing up haha.


It’s nothing specific but yesterday I was going through old text messages from last year when I met my current boyfriend (Japanese, doesn’t really speak English). God it’s so cringy! Realized how patient he’s been with my convulated explanations. It’s also nice to see that there was actual progress done over the last year, even though it doesn’t feel like it when I don’t understand what I’m reading.