Problems with learning cause I can't read yet (vocabs and grammar, not kana)

If I were you, I would put the native reading materials on hold for a moment.

Instead, it would be really great to work on your foundation. It is really important to have a strong basic understanding of Japanese before moving on to more difficult materials. The reason why is because too much too soon can lead to some bad habits, mistakes, and even burnout. I understand wanting to know Japanese immediately if not sooner, but there is a lot of careful work that should be done to assure your success in the long run.

I think it would be better to start off small with basic grammar and vocab before jumping into the JLPT studies as well. Maybe a resource like "Erin's Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese." Contents Library | The Japan Foundation (Erin’s Challenge) could be helpful to you. They have the scripts, you can follow along with and check before hand so you don’t feel overwhelmed or lost. It’s also free, which is a bonus.

Another thing would be to either use a textbook like genki or minna no nihongo if you prefer textbooks, or to find an app that allows you to view grammar in use rather than just a separate piece. I like bunpro, but there are tons of apps and materials available out there. Also, building up vocabulary is a very good idea. There are also a lot of apps and books available that allow you to see the word in use. (context is helps with remembering). Or, at the very least, when you come across a new vocabulary word, look it up on a website like and click on the sentence tab to read some examples using that word. Of course, these will have sometimes very complicated sentences. Don’t get discouraged!

I am all about reading! I really agree that reading a lot is the best way to learn a language. There is really no shame in picking up a children’s book and starting there. I did that. I went to the children’s section in the library and started with grade one and just tried to remain consistent. When starting to read for the first time, it is hard to know if the level is too high for you. I would recommend looking at the first page and trying to read it. If there are more than 3 words you don’t know, I might consider reading an easier book. Another good thing is to not focus on every little vocabulary you come across, but to try to gain an understanding from the surrounding sentence. And, if a word shows up more than 5 times, it is probably used throughout the entire book and looking it up could be very beneficial.

Of course, it is up to you to find a learning style that works best for you! I think you can definitely do it. You seem very serious about studying :slight_smile: I am rooting for you! Good luck.

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Thanks for reply, I actually use genki and I’m pleased with it, I’m also learnt some basic grammar from Anki and textbook so I can read some basic sentence, what I rather mean is that I can’t practice new grammar cause of lack of resources. And cause of that I don’t have resources, I can’t fully remember gramamar (the same thing with vocabs). However, you are right that books for Children will be the best starting point.


In most textbooks, say Genki, each chapter starts with a dialogue where new vocabulary and new grammar are introduced in the context of a real situation. Also, Genki has a readings part section that follows the chapters but for some reason it is placed after the standard chapters end. Of course that with Genki 1 the material is very simple but as you move ahead, the readings section at the end of the book becomes more and more interesting. When I finished Genki 2, I really loved some of the readings. Sorry, I just saw your reply that you are already using Genki… forget what I wrote…

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This is understandable. The human brain is a pattern recognition machine, and your internal pattern recognition for WaniKani’s vocabulary is to recognize it during reviews. In order to recognize it in different contexts, you need to be exposed to it in those other contexts. And it needs to be done repeatedly, so the patterns become internalized.

This is fairly normal. But memorizing grammar from grammar resources won’t prepare you for seeing the grammar in native material. You need to read (or listen, or watch) native material to build up recognition of the grammar used in various situations.

This is common. For some people (such as myself), learning about grammar in this way gives you a general concept of the grammar, but that doesn’t mean you’ll remember it, or recognize it when you see it. However, N5 grammar and vocabulary are very common, so once you start reading (listening, watching), you will encounter them often.

Over time, you will internalize them. The process may be fast, or it may be slow. But eventually you will start to recognize and understand the grammar without even thinking about what it means in English/your native language.

Different people learn differently. Some people learn better reading up on a lot of grammar. Others don’t. Some people can dive right into native material, looking up grammar and vocabulary as they go, and learn that way. Others need to begin with graded readers and slowly work their way up.

That said, I will always recommend the Absolute Beginner Book Club as a starting point to try.

And I routinely give the following disclaimer: The first time you try reading a native material, such as those in the ABBC, it will be very difficult. It will be a struggle to follow along. It will be difficult to keep up. But if you stick with it, and if you ask questions, and if you read all the discussion in the club threads, you will come out on the other side recognizing that you made progress.

Just reading one volume of manga isn’t going to have much impact on your ability to read another manga. But it’s enough to prove to yourself that you can do it, and the grammar you will have learned along the way will give you a much stronger foothold for the next thing you read.

Maybe jumping into an easy manga or simple children’s book isn’t going to be what works for you. But keep it in mind.

Personally, when I originally tried reading manga, I found it too hard, and gave up. Multiple times. I would be so much further along in learning Japanese had I not given up those times.


I agree but I wish the Book club were more up-front regarding what people should expect. For example, in 10分で読める伝記 one can easily find lots of N3 grammar points (formal conjuctive, ずに、とって… )

I like the Comprehensible Japanese Youtube channel. There are separate playlists for absolute beginner, beginner, and intermediate. All videos have transcripts and subtitles too.


I just checked this channel, I like how stories are mixed with drawing, that would be helpful in memorizing. Thanks!

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I find the videos useful for finding commonly used vocab and kanji. One I learned today is 炒 which means to fry. It’s a common word but isn’t in WK for some reason. Came up in the curry video which had like 20 words I didn’t know.

I rip the audio and listen to them on my phone/headphones.

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I love the Level 0-1 graded readers as well. At first, they were difficult because of the grammar. A few weeks ago, I read the graded readers again and was amazed to see how easy they had become. I also subscribed to TV Japan, and watch many programs, but the children’s programs are very helpful and they are also encouraging and motivating when you understand something. I’ve also noticed that every time I learn a new grammar point, I hear it on some TV program almost immediately. I am reading the Japanese subtitles on TV Japan faster, too, although I still can’t get through a whole sentence before it goes on to the next. But the improvement is there, and that’s motivating.


this one Game Gengo Textbook is quite useful. It’s the list of all n5-n4 grammar points on exemple texts from anime and games.


That sound interesting, I’ll check it later, thanks!