Want to settle on a beginner method but too much choice!

Hey all, I’m new to WK but have heard good things. I started out on Duolingo - I’m still very much a beginner - but am realising it’s pretty crappy so am looking for a different method. I’ve now got an anki deck (an N5 one) and just started here on WK, plus I’m doing occasional lessons with a tutor (prob once a month) using Irodori Starter.

But then I think ‘maybe I should get Genki?’, then I think ‘maybe I should do Remembering the Kanji?’ and then ‘maybe look at Satori Reader?’, but my level isn’t good enough yet and then I just sort of get paralysed by choice and watch a lot of YouTube videos about different resources and get in a muddle. I really don’t want to get stuck in planning - I just want to get a simple-ish method and do it consistently for six months and see where I am then. I’m a working mum in my late 40s and life is busy so I want to use my time well.

I also am not at the level where I can really read yet or understand much, but I really want to do some fun things that aren’t vocab/drilling/study. I just watched Hana Yori Dango on Viki with the subtitles in English and that was so fun! I probably only recognised the odd word but I really enjoyed it. I’d like to have access to some stuff which is simpler. I think once I can understand and read more that will really help.

I’m waffling now, but any suggestions welcome! (Oh and my reason for learning Japanese is mostly because it’s been fun so far, I like the culture and I’m a Buddhist, but also because I’d like to visit esp more rural areas)


There are only 3 things You need to mainly focus.
Grammar,Vocabulary and Kanji.
Kanji-Either Wanikani or Remebering the Kanji or Anki
Vocabulary- Wanikani or Anki
Grammar - Genki, Tae Kim or Bunpro.
Then You can also immerse in other Contents in japanese.
There are a Lot of other resources.
But These are my core 3.
Right now I settled to using Wanikani for kanji and vocab, Try N3 for grammar. Migaku for vocabulary outside wanikani.
Hope this helps. :grin:


Hey @Bluelotusmind welcome to the forum.
Since you’re an adult irodori might be a better choice for you since it is not aimed for students like Genki does, it is also free and online which is a plus for trying this kind of textbooks (it’s pdf with audio and you can download it).
Satori reader is too advanced for you.


So helpful! Thank you so much

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Thanks for the warm welcome :slight_smile:

I’m a perpetual student (basically haven’t stopped doing some sort of course since I was at school :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) but yes, I think that’s exactly why my teacher uses Irodori. It’s ok as a resource… I don’t feel very motivated to self study it I guess and as I’m not having lessons so frequently I feel like I’m just waiting in-between times. But that might just be a discipline problem on my part haha!

Well then, Genki and Minnanonihongo are using pretty much the same concepts as irodori, so if you find it boring, you might want to find a different kind of resource, maybe Lingodeer which is more playful and engaging, you can use it daily in small doses and have fun while you’re at it.

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Yeah, maybe playful is good.

I think that’s why I stuck with Duolingo, it’s playful… but realised I was more into the game and not learning so much, plus the phrases you learn are a bit random at times…

There will be as many varieties of answer as replies, but to learn a language you should to listen to people speaking it, read it, speak it.

All your other choices should be about making at least one of those things easier, and be in addition to doing those things, not instead of. So, spending 15 mins a day memorising the 1000 most common words with audio & text helps with reading and listening, but trying to Anki 10,000 context free words with no audio for 2 hours a day will be an inefficient use of time.

Watching TV in Japanese is good, in the beginning you can watch 3 times, first with your native language subtitles, then switch to japanese subs, then no subs; Disney+ & Netflix both work for this. Later you can skip the the first watch through, later still, the second. Anime is much easier to hear than live action - the voices are just clearer (try watching Shogun, some of it is just low frequency growling…). There are tube videos covering everything from grammar to shadowing for absolute beginners.

There are podcasts for when you can’t watch - Nihongo Con Teppie is good to start with, just don’t expect to understand anything at first. Do listen out for the parts repeated every episode though “日本語コンてっぺい時間…” might be the first spoken Japanese sentence you understand.

Graded readers are a good place to start reading - you can start now.

Once you’ve been doing that for a while, shadowing is a good entry point to speaking, Japanese 1-1 lessons or a native speaking partner will be very helpful too.

Japanese has a steep initial learning curve, so be suspicious of anything that makes it seem easy or boring.


It’s not super important which ones you pick. Just pick some and go. It’s important to not try too many things at once, so you don’t get burnt out.
You can probably just drop duolingo if you’re passed the point where you learn hiragana and katakana. It’s okay for those, but not good for much else.
I’ve used Genki, and I found it very beginner friendly, and a really good starting point.
I’d just pick a textbook and maybe 1 or 2 SRS platforms and just go. And remember to be patient and realistic with yourself. Learning a language is hard and takes a very long time.


So helpful, thank you very much. This is another angle isn’t it - there are vocab/grammar/kanji but also speaking/listening/reading/writing.

Do you have a recommendation for a verrry easy graded reader @Simian60?

Great advice - I think I was thinking I was trying too many things and didn’t want to do that!

I think I’ll try Genki. It’s got a pretty solid reputation hasn’t it. So WK/Anki/Genki and then other fun stuff like TV/graded readers when I’ve got extra time

If you plan on going the Genki route, you might want to check TokiniAndy’s video series. He has many examples in his videos and gives out some additional vocab.

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Good idea, thanks @mtlvmpr :pray:

I’m using Minna no Nihongo, but it’s pretty clear that Genki has more in the way of supporting resources like the above and Genki Exercises - 3rd Edition | Genki Study Resources


You may get other opinions on that, but I determined early-on that since RTK does not teach the Japanese pronunciations of the kanji (or teach the vocabulary and corresponding Japanese pronunciations of words that incorporate the kanji characters) it was not going to give me the results that I was looking for, and so I dropped it in favor of WK.

If you do want to learn to associate the kanji glyphs with some loose ‘meanings’, and you like their mnemonics (which I did not), you might give it a try. At least you can download a number of chapters for free to help you determine whether or not you may like it as a learning tool.


Exactly that. There are no “better” or “worse” ones, only ones that suit your style and goals better. Someone else’s recommendation isn’t going to be any better than random chance, unless they know you well. I’d say you can make a better decision on that after you’ve given it a while, then try some different things and see what you like.

I’d recommend in priority order (though at the same time as time permits - no need to do in series) - 1) irodori, 2) wanikani (though level 10-15-ish, 3) bunpro N5. THEN, just start reading real Japanese content and trying all the other systems to see if any catch on with you. But my advice above in the first pararaph applies to me too; I don’t know you, so :man_shrugging:

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There is only listening, reading, speaking. Nothing else is learning the language, just learning about the language which can be used to support learning the language.

For free, Free Tadoku Books – にほんごたどく

Start at Grade 0, and expect to put some effort in until you move to Grade 1. Read, re-read, listen to the audio, read along with the audio, ask questions in the forums if you’re stuck or confused. Re-reading is an essential part of the process. Stop when you get tired.

This is about as simple as it gets: https://tadoku.org/japanese/book/8137/ although it has no kanji, it does have spaces between word-like units. It also has a read along youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of6-B_fBw10

For a more story like book, try this one: https://tadoku.org/japanese/book/40182/ hopefully I’m not spoiling the plot too much, but it’s about a hungry dog, it has kanji, but no audio yet.

Tadoku say “don’t look things up”, but personally I would treat that as “try not to look anything up, but if it’s not obvious by the end of the second reading, look it up”. What you should definitely do though is not worry about understanding immediately, try to work out what things sort of probably mean.

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Ah yes, I forgot you can download some of it. I think pronunciations is an excellent point, thanks @servette

I might just stick with WK for now and see how I go

Yeah good point, we’re all different! :pray:t2:

@Simian60 I so appreciate your time and advice, this is like gold!

I had already had a little look and I can see (from a skim) that I have some vocab but it’s more grammar/sentences that I need to work out. But I’ll go slow and take your excellent advice. Thanks again!