Using Japanese Japanese study things

Do y’all use Japanese study materials intended for Japanese people?

So, I live in Japan and I’m married to a man who can also speak English (but not super well? He knows a lot of vocabulary, though).

One thing he has a hard time wrapping his head around is that Japanese JHS study materials don’t help me at my level. I have a pretty high conversational level, but my kanji and vocabulary need work.

He keeps trying to get me to study more Japanese grammar books for JHS students but I can’t. I caved in and tried one of those Kanji-ken workbooks, but it was aimed at Japanese people who are, you know, fluent, and the kanji were just too random and disconnected and a lot of the examples used words I just didn’t know. It was too much work with very little effect and I stopped using them.

I’m sure if I had JLPT N2 or N1, it would be handy, but I am no where near that level.

Right now I have my N4 and am hammering out more proper grammar (I usually understand N3 grammar with context, but not perfectly) and kanji for the N3. I do sometimes use elementary level study materials. They’re at a level that is useful for me.

I know some people here (maybe @Leebo?) have used native Japanese learning material, but probably aimed at younger natives. Maybe someone can recommend specific elementary or middle school age textbooks.

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I have also used a Japanese kanken workbook, and, as you said, I think it isn’t very Japanese learner friendly. It was pretty good, though, but I also agree it would be hard to use without at least the N2.

(Note: the kanji were not random in my case, they were ordered by aiueo of their on yomi, then increasing stroke number)

Other than that, I have used study material aimed at Japanese people, but that were not intended to be Japanese learning ressources. For instance introductory books on my field of work. The goal was to learn the specialized vocabulary I need. It worked very well (and at times it was also a nice review of stuff I learned a long time ago but never used).


I also worked with the kanken books which are aimed for japanese … it was aimed for first grade students so thats it was quite but as you mentioned there are already a lot of difficult vocab that should be already known on their age but this is showing up on n2 or n1 for us. But if you can ask a native regarding the meaning you will increase your vocabs really good



Mine are actually that way, too. By random I meant there wasn’t a theme to connect them in my head in any way. I’m using this book and love it because it groups kanji by situations and places you’ll see them.

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Right, but that one isn’t aimed at native :wink:

There was a thread about the way Japanese grammar is taught to native and Japanese learner. The conclusion was that the materials tailored for foreign learners is indeed the easiest to use for foreign learners (as expected).

2 Likes中学入試-まとめ上手-敬語と言葉のきまり-要点がひと目でわかる-中学入試まとめ上手/dp/4424222233/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1549203825&sr=8-8&keywords=国語%E3%80%80まとめ

Maybe youre having a hard time with JHS material because you dont have the same foundation thats expected of the students. This book may help you fill that gap or at least you will know what you dont know compared to the JHS students.

Which KanKen level book did you use?


I went through the book pointed in the last comment, it’s ok to get you familiar with the names of basic grammar structures in japanese… won’t teach you anything new that you don’t know in your own language… maybe except some keigo basics.

That been said, actually this youtube series aimed at 中学 level has a more in depth approach.
As mentioned before learning with JLPT oriented textbooks at first its easier, you can even put some logic to it; afterwards it’s mostly idioms and set phrases. This last part is where having a basis on grammar structure as seen through the lens of japanese grammar will be a plus… you can just look that new idiom on the japanese dictionary and the explanations tend to be very clear… no exceptions and set rules for the most part.

If you’re set to take the JLPT, probably using material that follows that order will be more useful also.
If not JLPT, I’ll would put immersion (like tons of it) as a bigger goal, most japanese people don’t “understand” grammar … they repeat the patterns they’ve heard so many times.

So if you have an special or tangential interest in grammar I would give it a go to 国語 resources, otherwise it’s not a superior resource or anything like that :sweat_smile:

I’ll second that!! I’ve found that tracing the steps (basic sciences -> biology -> … ) that lead to my field of work it’s also a great way to start paving my way for using japanese for professional goals… It’s a long term proyect in my case… so I’m just digging into this basic biology book (aimed at kids of course :sweat_smile:)


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