What else should I do to learn Japanese besides WaniKani?

Hey! I’m a little over a week into learning Japanese so basically, all I know is hiragana, katakana, the level 1 kanji, and こんいちは! I plan to continue using WaniKani to learn kanji and vocabulary, but what else should I do to learn Japanese via self-study? Do you have any recommendations on other resources to actually learn phrases and grammar and the like? I have heard good things about the Genki textbooks. Could beginning to watch anime also help or maybe not for a while?


Could beginning to watch anime also help or maybe not for a while?

Have you not before? What even got you into Japanese haha.


At first I was using Duolingo to learn Japanese. But after a while it got frustrating because they never explain grammar. So then I began to use Human Japanese which can be used either on your computer or your tablet. I opted for the iPad version so that I could carry it around with me and study in odd moments. It also teaches hiragana and katakana (including stroke order). And it includes a bit about Japanese culture too.


What brought you to start learning on Duolingo? (Even though we know that dang owl kidnaps families)


I have watched a little before; I’ve only watched Initial D and really enjoyed it, but that was almost a year ago lol. I wanted to learn Japanese because:

  • I want to learn many languages in my life, I am already nearly fluent in Spanish after studying for 4 years but it’s left a bad taste in my mouth due to high school instruction.
  • I have friends from the car scene (mostly drifting/gymkhana) that are Japanese or speak Japanese.
  • It sounds cool :smiley:
  • I’m a PC gamer so guess after seeing so many of what one might call “weebs” around the internet I’ve learned to like Japanese just because I’ve been exposed to it quite a lot.
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I will take a look at Human Japanese, thanks!

One good place for grammar is Tae Kim’s website

Another resource is this website. I think its beautiful because everything is spelled out - You get video practice, listening practice, reading practice, and learn new words. It is directed toward people preparing for JLPT, but I just use it for practice.


I’ve been studying actively for a little more than a year and a half now. I recommend just doing whatever keeps your interest piqued in general. I think Genki is a great resource, but is actually extremely slow for learning the grammar you need to be able to understand Japanese that you’ll see in anime and books. Tae Kim’s grammar book is excellent to skim through once and constantly reference when you see something you don’t understand. Jump into reading actual material like manga or games as soon as you can.

If you have an android phone, you can install a japanese to english dictionary and use google’s handwriting input to look up any kanji you don’t recognize as you read. The handwriting input uses stroke order, so you do need to have a minimal understanding of how stroke order works. However, learning stroke order doesn’t take too long as the rules tend to be pretty straightforward, with only a few radicals that use a stroke order that may not be too intuitive. e.g. 女


Let me rec the Genki books. They have been a treat for a self guided study. End of the day, I like sitting on my desk with a book, and Genki is just an amazing one at that.
I’m halfway through the first volume, I just ordered the second one.
I’m not having much trouble without a tutor, at least not yet :slight_smile:


Thank you all for your suggestions so far! It looks like Tae Kims books and Genki are the way to go. I’ve been looking at Tae Kims website these past few minutes. I’ve already set up my android and PC to use Japanese with.

Well, more abstractly, u should focus on grammar, vocab, reading and listening, i guess. Wanikani gives you the vocab part, so, i recommend you to take a book for grammar, writing the lessons as if you are in a class taking notes, i really think that if u writing the content, it’ll stays in your mind, instead of just reading. Im following minna no nihongo book, it has a translated book that has grammar explanation, so i recommend it. :stuck_out_tongue:

For reading idk, im currently increasing my vocab and grammar level for do that, but changing the lang of some of my most used apps (youtube, instagram, etc) to japanese has helped me to read some of word or phrases, so :man_shrugging:

My grandkids were using it to sample different languages, and it sounded like an easy way to drill myself and practice listening and pronunciation skills. I bogged down on the third time-telling section because there just wasn’t enough explanation.

Yeah I think that’s the problem with duolingo. All it gives you is a word or phrase and the English translation. Having something to explain to you the rules of how words are used and sentences are formed, so that you can express your own ideas rather than the ideas you’ve already read on duolingo, is much better. For languages like Spanish that are similar to English duolingo might be a much better resource.

I really like to use italki. You can book teachers or tutors to help you with any language desired. This way you can learn Japanese from actual Japanese people. They can explain grammar, give exercises, help you with speaking, you name it

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Nope, watching anime doesn’t help very much. If you don’t know the vocabulary words or grammar, you won’t learn them by osmosis, doesn’t matter how much time you spend on that.
But as a secondary exposure tool, sure. But nothing beats actively studying.


I’d recommend Assimil Japanese with Ease. It’s a really good course based on parallel texts.

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Tae Kim’s guide is a great start, after that and while doing WK I recommend just reading stuff and trying to talk to Japanese people. I highly recommend Pimsleur. it helps your pronunciation and goes pretty slow.

I LOVE RocketLanguages.com! It is a paid site, but it has reading, writing, grammar, culture, listening, and lots of reinforcement activities. Also it is a lot of fun. I have learned a lot from them quickly.

italki looks really good actually, ありがとう!

My answer: watch TV (drama’s, variety shows, not necessarily news but whatever you like most) and just listen and watch, don’t mind in the slightest if you understand 0%, just focus and try to follow and enjoy the show, you will be picking up rhythm and feeling, and then there will be a breakthrough - you realise you understood something, without even trying, just naturally.

This is not to contradict Spooky Spooks either - the important point is that you are watching TV as well as studying. The TV will back up and reinforce, but you will get extra from watching real people discuss things normally (or relatively normally). So I probably wouldn’t recommend watching anime because it can get a bit mental (depends on the anime though), and it needs to be TV as opposed to radio because the visual context will help a lot. You won’t learn by osmosis (probably), but you will definitely learn through context.

That said, there are different ways to learn and some ways suit others more. My partner seems to learn much more from speaking to people, and gets frustrated with TV. So try a few things and find your way, would probably be the golden advice.


Writing tends to be downplayed nowadays because of reliance on keypads, and you see Japanese people themselves struggle to remember when they are not used to writing and suddenly have to. Which makes sense because it’s a tough writing system comparatively.

Writing is really great if you can enjoy it: I love it. It becomes more than language study, more than stroke order; you aim for the balance of each one, it has a feeling, and then they flow off your pen. It makes writing something closer to drawing.