Requesting Advise As a Begginer Looking To Further His Progress Towards Fluency?

OK, I have a ton of questions and concerns rushing through my head at the moment and I have no clue where to start. Also, I have no clue if this is the right place to post this but it seems like the best place for me to post. With that said, if it’s not, forgive me. :slightly_smiling_face:

So my end goal (in which I assume is the same as everyone else’s) is to be fluent in Japanese (rather it’s speaking, writing or reading). I want to be able to watch anime and not be so focused on trying to read the subtitles (I feel like I spend more time trying to catch up on reading subtitles then enjoying the anime as a whole.). I want to be able to read in Japanese, rather it’s social media, manga, personal conversations…etc. I want to be able to speak Japanese in case I ever get the money together to one day visit Japan. I always thought it would be fun to type all of my personal journals, notes, calendar information…etc. in Japanese so when people here in the United States try to sneak a peak at what I’m doing (Because us Americans are nosey) they can’t read it and get confused. Lol :grin:

I have always wanted to learn Japanese since I was a teenager but never tried because I didn’t think I was smart enough. Their is a lot of things that I never tried because of the old family moto “Be Realistic!” (sadly, I was not raised in a family environment where chasing your dreams was supported so their is a ton of things I wanted to do that I gave up on but that another conversation that I should probably be saving for a therapist or councilor that I should probably be seeing! lol :sweat_smile: Seriously though I’m a complete mess… :neutral_face:)

Well, now that I’ve officially turned 31 (as of last Thursday) I’ve recently found myself motivated to begin learning Japanese, thanks to an Anime called “My Hero Academia” and I’m legitimately excited about moving forwards and finally achieving something that I have always wanted to do that I never thought I could do until now (OK, so maybe I’m not convinced with 100% certainty that I’m smart enough but let’s just go ahead and ignore that very loud voice inside my head! :expressionless:). With that said, I need advise about how to go about doing that? It’s been 13 years since I’ve been to school and really haven’t attempted to learn anything in a long time so I want to go about learning Japanese the right way.

When I started this a week or 2 ago, I started with a Rosetta Stone trial, unsatisfied with how terrible it was (God… it was terrible) I did some research where I found Duolingo which is where I learned Hiragana and some Katakana (still memorizing Katakana through Duolingo). Then I came a crossed Tofugu.com which suggests to first learn Hiragana, katakana and then kanji before learning anything else (that is where they suggested WaniKani.com as a great place to learn Kanji). So after I was confident in my ability to read hiragana and most katakana, I came here where I have been since.

Basically, I just want to make sure that I am on the right track and going about learning it properly and I don’t want to spend 2 years learning Japanese to find out later that there is something I should have been doing this whole time or I could have been doing to be more productive. Right now, I’m doing 2 things. Everyday, rather it be on my breaks at work or when I’m not busy I’m completing my kanji reviews and lessons on wanikani.com. I’m also using tinycards.duolingo.com (a flash card app and website created by duolingo.com for additional studying) to further my memorization of Hiragana and katakana. I have not read a single thing about grammar, sentence structuring in Japanese… or anything else for that matter. Tofungu.com advised that I would not want to start learning grammar until I had learned kanji because it would just make things more difficult or confusing.

However, after reading through some of the topics here, I am reading that a few people are suggesting to start learning grammar immediately? I know their is an entire section of References I can look into but I don’t really know where to start or what kind of things I could be learning about that might be good to study in the beginning. Should I be doing additional studying while learning kanji on wanikani.com? It’s not like I’ve been doing this for very long considering It’s only been two weeks at most and I haven’t even broken level 1 yet. I know it’s not a race, I just have a lot of time on my hands. I work at a call center and I work 10 hour shifts, 4 times a week so their are 3 days where I have tons if I time I could be spending doing whatever and sometimes I wonder if I am doing everything I should be?

I just don’t want to spend 6 years studying Japanese and still feeling clueless. I know it’s not a race and studying a new language, specially one that is as different as the one I speak but I just want to make sure I do things right. So I was hoping I could get some tips and what I should be doing? What kind of things Could I or should I be learning while studying the thousands of kanji I will need to memorize here? Should I even be worried about doing additional studying at this stage or am I getting a head of myself? If not now, then at what point should I start studying grammar or additional things about Japanese to further my progress towards my ultimate goal of being proficient in Japanese? Are their any books, articles, web pages that are perfect for teaching basic things while I am memorizing kanji? :confused:

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Check this thread out if you didn’t see it already: https://community.wanikani.com/t/the-what-do-i-do-now-thread-free-resource-list/6534/3

Just try some things out that appeal to you. Read around on the forums a little bit, maybe join the book club once you have a few kanji under your belt. I’ve picked up a ton of good tips and resources just from reading along on the forums. I think its generally smart to learn from a few different angles at once, it’s helpful to me that the kanji on here come back in my grammar book (I have Genki) for example. But as long as you keep going you’re learning, so don’t stress out too much about doing it the most perfect efficient way.

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Don’t worry too much about this. Dive into something and do it, because doing something is better than putzing around wondering what the best way to study is. There’s debates all over the place about what the fastest or best method is for studying, but honestly, the key is finding what works best for you, your schedule, your learning style, etc. and sticking with it.

I am personally of this opinion as well. If anything, starting to tackle grammar and getting acquainted with how sentences work can actually help your kanji studies, since you can begin to actually use the vocab you’re learning. You also don’t need to know kanji to start learning how to pronounce Japanese and say basic phrases.

Since you’re just starting out, it definitely is really hard finding a place to start. In my opinion, the easiest way to go about this is finding a beginner textbook. A textbook can give you a good running start into the language, since they often come with basic vocab lists, exercises, and sometimes audio in addition to an intro to the grammar. Genki I and II, which I have gone through at some point, are popular books to start with. I’ve also seen other textbooks like Japanese the Manga Way, Japanese from Zero, or apps like Human Japanese recommended. If you’re looking for something free, Tae Kim’s Guide is easily one of the top resources out there also. Do some research and try something out. :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t know if I would have liked starting with nothing but Kanji for any given amount of time. So yeah… you might start grammar now too :+1:

There is this guide to choose your first textbook… and there’re apps, both free (lingo deer) and pay (Human Japanese).
Besides that, I would strongly recommend as crucial point: making an habit of your japanese routine ASAP. Spend a weekend or a week to inform yourself on the materials mentioned… choose one and go with it. Don’t spend unnecessary time double checking and searching for the ultimate tool for too long (very much like I did :sweat_smile:) … as once you are finnished with your very first basic resource you’ll be in a much better position to judge your next step acording to your specific needs and likes. Basic japanese is… well, basic… so you should cover it no matter what or where :man_shrugging:

I would recommend also keeping your vocab learning independent of WK, as vocab will alllow you to dive into reading, paying off sooner than kanji learning. Add new vocab daily (in the beginning comming from lists, textbook, etc… and then ,when possible, from exposure/context).

And lastly… whatever your main goal with the language, enjoy the little milestones: your first sentences, you first reading; that line of a show, that billboard writing, or just the name of the sushi restaurant near your place (that now it makes sense :sunglasses:).

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I can’t really give too much advice, but here’s what I got :slight_smile:
For the grammar thing, I actually highly suggest you learn grammar as early as possible. Because Japanese grammar is so different from English, you won’t be able to understand sentences even if you know the words. Also, reading more will help reinforce the words you already learned.
There are many sites for learning grammar, free and otherwise, but the ones I suggest are:
http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/complete/
https://www.imabi.net/
“A Guide to Japanese Grammar” by Tae Kim
Maggiesensei.com

More random links and advice:
Jisho.org is a great online free dictionary for words, kanji, and names
Use Kaniwani.com to help reinforce the vocab you learn here
Make sure to read as much as possible in Japanese! The place I normally use is amazon.co.jp (You will have to make a separate account if you already have an amazon one.)
Hinative.com is a great place to talk to natives and ask questions
Try to use hiragana instead of romaji as much as possible! It might be hard at first but it will help you read much quicker in Japanese as well stop any confusion (Such as ず or づ in a word)
Once you’re really confident, you can use Hellotalk to actually chat and have conversations with natives.
Hope that helps :sweat_smile:

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I do WaniKani daily as well as Rocket Languages Japanese (Reading, speaking, writing, listening, grammar, culture etc.). How much depends on time, but I do at least an hour each a day and usually much more. I also watch Japanese YouTube videos and watch a couple of TV programs. I’ll be ordering some graded readers soon, and have a co-worker I can practice speaking with. I’m pretty much a beginner, too. I’ve noticed on Rocket Languages that there are many, many dissatisfied Rosetta Stone people who love the Rocket programs. You get three free lessons to try out before you decide (or not) to buy. As for me, I absolutly LOVE that program. You learn quickly and it’s fun.

Thanks for sharing that link. I think I did see that but their is SO much resources their that I think I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start but as you said, I guess I just need to jump in check a few of the links out and check them out.

Yeah, that makes sense. The Tofugu article I read said that learning about grammar without first knowing kanji will make it difficult but as I’ve read in other articles, it seems that might not necessarily be true? :thinking:

This was particularly helpful because I was feeling overwhelmed with resources to start out with and having a few examples to checkout kind of gives me a good starting point.

So I think I did come a crossed this article from the very beginning and it seems to advise not to get into text books until your about a level 10 to 20 here at WaniKani and I wasn’t sure if their was a reason for that? This sparked my confusions when after reading through articles on here, a lot of people seem to agree that I should not wait to start reading through some of those beginner text books?

I will say that it felt really good to be able to read hiragana that I see on some of the candy boxes that my roommate has! I can’t understand them yet but I can read them and That really felt good. It made me feel like maybe I could learn Japanese. I would say it was a confidence boost for sure so I will definitely be clinging onto every single milestone. :grin:

I think the first thing I will do is see if my local library has any of those books available, either a physical copy or maybe on the digital library they have (my local library has digital books you can borrow using your kindle Reader table!) Also, it seems a lot of people suggest I should check out “Tae Kim’s Guide” so I think that will also be something I should check out for sure.

Plenty of good suggestions here already, but if you’re just starting out I’d like to add this one I think is good -

Stay calm and beef up till level 10 or so then venture in to the wilds.
Duolingo is not good for Japanese imo.
Good luck.

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