Overwhelmed and confused

Yeah, I could imagine that. However, their way of progressively replacing romaji with kana with each chapter worked great for me as a way to learn hiragana. I used online version - it has mode switch, that can disable that system, and display all kana instead right from chapter one (there’s even Kanji mode). But of course paper version doesn’t have that handy feature :wink:

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Maybe one day! :laughing:

Thanks to everyone, I’m a bit less confused now.
I’ll stick to genki+tae kim for grammar(and bunpro for reviewing), wanikani(+kaniwani) for kanji and kitsun.io for vocab
Also thanks @Hikaru for the youtube recommendation, I’ll check it out


I would say the same as a few people above: choose 1-2 fundamental resources and just keep to them until you finish this stage.
One is better to be a textbook, perfect if it has the listening tasks and audio materials.
So the “finish the stage” above is “finish the textbook”.
Depending on your financial concerns and language goals I would also advise to consider guided education.
For me it was a huge disappointment to arrive to ~N3 and realise I have loopholes in my language foundation. Poorly understood grammar, poorly learned kanji, struggling to read and to speak right (only capable to pass JLPT, huh).
So yeah, go through Genki since you feel you are compatible, analyse your learning habits to see what works and what not.
Wish you progress well, Japanese is fabulous :sunglasses:


Title of this thread = me 99.2% of the time


Jay Rubin’s book “making sense of Japanese” When you learn new grammar (for example は/が ) you can read Jay’s chapter on it and really nail down and deeply understand it as to avoid making errors over and over and developing bad habits.

These SRS tools like wanikani, bunpro, torii, etc. are amazing and I wish I knew about them years ago. I can’t stop recommending them for supplementary learning.

For textbooks, Genki is really good. Make sure you take your time to do all the readings and cultural notes and don’t just blaze through.

Find what interests you about Japan and the language and use that as a base for what you will study. Why do you want to learn the language? If you want to be able to read, just start reading and suffer and skip words you don’t know. No matter how many words you learn or how much grammar, you’ll never feel comfortable reading until you do it a lot. If you have a goal of passing a proficiency test, there are very specific resources for preparing for those.

If you have virtually unlimited free time, one of the best things you could do is sign up for in person Japanese courses. Using your Japanese is the best and really the only way to improve and make it stick. If you have unlimited money to go with that free time go to Japan! :grin:


There are tons of ways to go and all have their own pros and cons, but here’s my basic recommendation.

  1. Start working on listening from day 1. Pick a Japanese TV show (any show is fine) and start watching one episode per day. As a dead beginner, of course use English subtitles but really focus on the listening. Try to see if you can hear things that you learned elsewhere.

  2. Initially, focus on vocabulary acquisition. As a dead beginner, the easiest words to remember are going to be those that describe tangible things – things you can perceive directly with your senses. Use anki, make your own deck, and learn a few hundred words to describe the objects you encounter in your daily life (table, cat, dog, car, building, road, pencil, smartphone, etc).

  3. Once you have a good grasp on these nouns, start thinking about how to describe them – we’re talking adjectives here. Big cat, small cat, fat cat. Long pencil, sharp pencil. You get the idea. Try to think of as many ways to describe the nouns you learned in step 2 as you can and learn them. (Again, use anki to practice).
    Note: This is where you start to learn grammar. You need to learn how to say at least “blue flower” and “the flower is blue.”

  4. Great! You now have hundreds of nouns to work with and quite a few adjectives to use to describe them. Next, verbs! Think about what you can do to those objects you learned. Pick them up. Knock them down. Throw them. Look at them. Also, what can they do on their own? Learn the verbs. And, more importantly, learn how to properly use the nouns with the verbs. What particles do they use?

  5. By now, you have a strong foundation in Japanese. You can more or less describe everything in your daily environment, from what it looks like to what it can do and what you can do to it. Now’s the time to take the deep dive into grammar and kanji. Follow your heart or whatever and do what makes sense to you.


That’s the best advice I’ve seen. Can’t go wrong with that.

Thanks, I’ll try that tomorrow, although I have already started grammar and kanji
Edit: What about a Kurosawa/Takashi Miike movie instead of tv shows? Would that improve my listening?(japanese dub of course)

I’m just starting to try to rebuild my grammar foundations after neglecting them for about 10 years, ha. My vocabulary is kind of leagues ahead of my grammar, so I was curious what you meant by by suffering through reading and skipping what you don’t know. I get frustrated when I know basically all the words in a sentence but cant quite link their relaionships together.

We’ll never know all the words or grammar patterns, and while intensive reading is great for learning nuance and perhaps new words, being able to read extensively is extremely important. It teaches quicker comprehension and to not have to stop and translate words or phrases in your head as often, allows you to get the gist of something when you only know half the words, get through more content, and probably enjoy the reading more. Stuff with pictures is especially good for this, as you can get an idea in your mind without blatantly reading a translation. I think it’s important to get comfortable swimming in a sea of foreign gibberish before you can work your way out, it’s much easier to drown if you get frustrated.

Aw… I envy you to have unlimited time. Do you have the recipe of time machine?
For me going to Japanese language school is more effective to learn grammar than study by myself completely. A teacher can really help you, because they know your grammar level better than a book material which often make assumption of your level. They also often can correct your mistake which you cannot get when you self study. I have pretty scarce of free time, but I can still go to Japanese language school 3 hours a week, and that very much help my self study, because they guide me where to study next by myself.

Woo! Long grammar post incoming that no one asked for because this is what I like talking about. :]

This is something that a lot of people have trouble with. I won’t claim to know it perfectly, and I’m sure someone will correct me if I say anything wrong here (which means I learn too, yay!), but I usually try to avoid mistakes by keeping these 4 uses in mind (skip to the last block for the one that helped me most, since I’m going in order of ways が was introduced to me via the Minna no Nihongo books):

Grammar point:can be used to mean “but”.
Example: かりますみません。
Translation: I understand, but I won’t drink. (lit. Understand, but won’t drink.)

が is like a formal けど in this use case. Works in more or less the same way.

Grammar point:is used when talking about traits of the topic .
Example: そのひとたかいですね。
Translation: That person is tall. (lit. That person’s spine is high/tall.)
Example: あのラジオらじおおとおおきい。
Translation: That radio is loud. (lit. That radio’s sound is big.)

This, I think, is where you can really kind of see the difference between “subject” and “topic” in Japanese, even though there are plenty of places where they overlap. Once we mark the topic, we continue to talk about it (as long as there’s no change understood via context). We can go back to the radio example for this one.

The radio is loud and red. (lit. The radio’s sound is big and the color is red.)

Even trying to write it a bit more literally, I have to fill in some gaps to make it a bit more fluent sounding in English. The way I see Japanese is that it’s a bit like speaking like a caveman sometimes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Once I got used to it, I grew to hate all the boilerplate, so to speak, that English has. lol
To break it down further, I see it a bit like this:

Radio: topic. (from this point on, we’re talking about the radio!)
sound big…
color red…

Small talk. Big meaning. (lol)
These next two are the two that I see the most.

Grammar point:is used when showing potential.
Example: スケートボードすけーとぼーどできます。
Translation: I can skateboard.
Example: いま電話でんわできません。
Translation: I can’t make a phone call right now. / I can’t use the phone right now. (lit. Now, can’t phone.)
Example: 日本語にほんごかります
Translation: I understand Japanese. (lit. Japanese: understand)

This one is pretty simple. You’ll learn more about potential form in N4 stages, but for now, remembering that when using potential form(できる), you use が. Also to note: 分かる is always potential, so you will always use が with it.

This last one is the one that I wish I knew sooner.

Grammar point:is usually used to mark a subject in a clause.
Example: わたしりたいことはこれです。
Translation: This is the thing I want to know. (lit. The thing I want to know is this.) (Super lit. “I want to know” thing is this.")

知りたい事 is the topic. 私知りたい is the clause modifying 事. 私 is subject of the clause. :]

Obviously there’s a ton more to this, but knowing those 4 uses, in particular the last one, will make が much less of an issue, I’ve found.

Now I press reply and then edit a million times because I made mistakes.


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