What are some good steps for me to take as a beginner

to the japanese language? as far as im aware wanikani is great for the purpose of learning kanji and vocabulary but its not something that i should be fully dependent on and i should rather use it as supplement to my learning so what are some other things i should be doing in order to build my foundation on 日本語?

EDIT: i can read katakana and hiragana just wanna know what steps i should be taking next since im really usnure

ive heard of genki, RTK, JFZ, using anki and other stuff but not sure what i should start off with since i have so many options

A textbook would be good. Genki is one of the more popular one and I know it’s used in university classrooms. Quite frankly you don’t need RTK if you’re using WK. If you get Genki also get the workbook. For vocab I would recommend using one of the Core decks for Anki. For listening practice I do podcasts. You don’t need to understand anything when you start, listening is good either way.

Furthermore, have you seen this thread?


no i havent seen that thread


I thought this article was a fun read from Tofugu’s page:

They have a couple of different articles in the series. I borrowed the “Pimp-sleur” CDs mentioned in the article (a lot of inviting people to meet at your place/a hotel/their place/a restaurant for some reason) from my library and although they are kinda repetitive they work really well with conversational skills. I listen to them while I get ready to go out.

I started with Rosetta Stone. A lot of people don’t like it but I do because it helps with vocab and speaking. I got it for free though (a very long time ago). Still haven’t finished because it’ll put you to sleep if you get bored with repetition easily >_< Also it is a bit expensive.

If you ever get the opportunity to study abroad I highly suggest it, immersion learning is the best way to jumpstart language learning :slight_smile:

I also use Genki and took two Japanese classes some time back, but the classes helped more with grammar than speaking or reading kanji.

Wanikani has been the best thing I’ve tried so far for accumulating a lot of vocabulary and reading ability.

Good luck!!


Genki is not the best for self-studying, I believe. It’s better used in a classrom setting, or with a teacher.
I’ve heard that JPZ is really good for self-studying. I can also recommend 80/20 Japanese.

yes ive also heard that genki has lots of exercises that require a partner

im contemplating on picking up JPZ and which books i should get…

You might as well also check out taekim. It’s free and usually considered an alternative to Genki (that’s free and online) I began with taekim and it’s pretty solid for a beginner (I think) there are no lessons so I recommend using bunpro to memorize those grammar rules. This plus wanikani and you will be well on your way to reading in Japanese.

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ive checked out tae kim’s grammar guide and its extremely long, 343 pages (i recall) and i have been told that it’s simply an introduction to beginner grammar

Well of course you don’t have to finish it, I haven’t. It does start from base 0 though so you can use it for as long as you feel it’s helping. My first go at taekim was only up to the chapter about conditionals and then I stopped. It covers a bit more than genki 1and 2 I believe. Genki 1 and 2 is also just beginner grammar.


What are your goals? It may help prioritize your study routine.

N3 in a year.

Although I haven’t began seriously studying so today doesn’t count >:)

Japanese from zero uses a “progressive” approach, meaning it teaches kana in each chapter and fills in words with the kana you just learned. In this way, it is able to teach grammar right away alongside kana.

i.e. if you learn い then they write “dog” as “いnu” until you learn ぬ as well.

I went through all four books and since I started from literally zero, they helped me a lot. But people who already learned hiragana and katakana may find the approach a little distracting.

However, the grammar is roughly the same as any beginner grammar you’ll find in genki, taekim, etc.

JFZ 1 teaches hiragana + grammar
JFZ 2 teaches katakana + grammar
JFZ 3 and 4 teach kanji + grammar

For “beginner grammar” JFZ 1-4, Genki 1-2, and most of tae kim are roughly equivalent I would say.

“Intermediate grammar” would be things like Tobira, An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese, and the shinkanzen master N3 and up.


i already know hiragana and katakana so i guess i shouldnt pick up 1 & 2 but im not so sure about the grammar and might have to pick it up just for the grammar

but then again i can just use tae kim’s guide as a supplement and just buy kanji from zero

I have not used kanji from zero, but I saw the writer present it and was not impressed. I would not bother with it. He has a fairly limited knowledge of kanji, himself. He is fluent in spoken Japanese and listening, but his reading ability leaves a lot to be desired. Feel free to try his books if you want though. From what I have heard, they are not worth the time. Just wanted to give you a heads up, since I spent quite a bit of time looking into it myself when I was thinking about textbooks.

(also, I figure you know this, but as far as kanji goes, wanikani is a really awesome resource that HAS worked for a lot of people that I know in a fairly short period of time for the magnitude of studying something like kanji)

yes but i do want to get something physical like a textbook that i can use to organise myself and my learning and reviews.

i dont want to be solely dependent on WK, im a self-learner and I heard that the book was good for self-learners in contrast to something like Genki and i do feel like i can up the tempo without burning myself out

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I think Genki is a perfectly good textbook for self-learners. I used Genki I and II myself and they provide a proper foundation for basic grammar with thorough explanations and example sentences. Yes, the textbook itself does have some exercises that are done with partners, but there’s an entire workbook full of exercises you can do on your own, along with prompts for journal entries. There’s also an answer key for those exercises, and the textbooks themselves contain lots of reading material (both conversations and entire passages) that serves as good practice for beginners. Of course, in the end, it comes down to you and your preferences. I did not like the Japanese From Zero series due to its kana presentation and some of its insufficient explanations.

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I’m currently using Genki for self study, and I’ve found a way to incorporate the partner sections into my studying. I basically talk to myself/play the role of both partners and check my Japanese accuracy by talking into the google translate app on my phone whenever I do this. This way I’m practicing my on-the-fly speaking skills while google translates what I’m saying so I can see if I’ve made any mistakes. Using google forces me to speak quickly and fluently and to have correct pronunciation or else it won’t work, which is good. Google isn’t perfect, and can give weird translations sometimes because of lack of context, but I find it works well enough and actually makes studying pretty fun. It’s also fun to just mess around on it without the textbook and try to make up my own sentences using what I’ve learned so far.

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