What is the next step for me?

Hello everyone ! (1st post here ! please tell me if I’m not in the right section/doing anything wrong)

I’ve been trying to learn japanese and practicing WaniKani for a while now (10 months approximately), and it’s starting to feel like I’m a bit bored with my daily japanese routine, and I should start using new resources. I would be very grateful if you have any to provide ! A bit of context on myself :

  • What is my goal : I’m not sure actually :sweat_smile: I’m learning mainly because I like learning new stuff and out of curiosity for japanese culture in general. Because I do not have any opportunity to speak, I’m focusing on writing skills right now. Since I am just doing it as a hobby, I do not have a lot of time to dedicate to it (around 1h per day), so I know I will progress slowly anyway.
  • what I’ve done so far : Wanikani (at a rather slow but regular pace), and I started learning grammar on the bunpro app. So far I went through the N5 entries, and completed by reading online guides, like Tae Kim’s.
  • Why do I feel bored : Currently I’ve been learning japanese a bit like it is a dead language (Anyone else who had to learn latin in high school ? :grimacing:) I’ve enjoyed learning and making sense of all these new rules for a while, but I’m starting to think I should try to use them “in the wild” (outside of SRS apps, I mean), because in the end that’s the truely rewarding thing.

The options I thought about :

  • Maybe a textbook would be nice to gradually go from dry grammar to real life content ? Do you recommend any ?
  • Try reading manga/book/whatever I can find online ? Since I’m very much a beginner, I don’t know if there is anything that could be kind of understandable and still enjoyable to read ? I recently found a japanese copy of Naruto, and was quite sad when I realized I could not understand most of it :smiling_face_with_tear:
  • Quitting my job and moving to japan ? (No, that’s not a real option, but let me daydream a bit … )

thank you for reading me !

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I think you should definitely try to join one of the (several) bookclubs run here in the forums, the Absolute beginners book club would probably be at a challenging, yet comfortable level for you! I find that reading with a community where you can ask your questions and discuss the sotry really helps :slight_smile: Alternatively, for content, maybe watch (easier?) anime with japanese subs, or podcasts for japanese language learners.

For N5-N4 level textbooks: I went with Genki (I/II) and don’t regret it

Ps. another good resource: https://learnnatively.com , which grades books/manga/novels based on their difficulty level. It would help you find material which are easier to read.

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Definitely a book club! I wish I had started reading manga so much sooner.

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Do you prefer reading or listening/ watching people speak? I find reading less interesting than watching people speaking. I use Fluentu which combines reading, watching/hearing people speaking taken from youtube videos. You get two weeks free trial. It’s expensive but of the many other apps i’ve tried its by far the most enjoyable.

i forgot to say. Probably the most useful part of fluentu in terms of learning to speak is that it asks you to translate things (from beginner to advanced) by giving you all the japanese words in the wrong order which you then have to rearrange in the right order. i feel this is a really useful way of learning word order which seems to me to be as important as grammar and vocabulary.

If Fluentu is too expensive for you i would also recommend Lingq and Japanese Pod101 as alternative ways of learning Japanese which might make it a bit more fun for you

As others said, join a Book Club, or you can also try Satori reader :slight_smile:

Another good way to begin adding real-life speech/listening would be with SuperNative! It’s totally free and you learn speaking/listening/recall using TV clips and then writing or speaking what you heard, so you can shadow how real people use Japanese (and also learn about lots of interesting tv shows this way). If you add a few minutes of SuperNative into your daily hour, you will instantly start leveling up your real world comprehension little by little

What is your grammar level?
Without grammar there is no much one can do.
The “beginner” in the “beginner reading club” refers to Kanji level, not so much as grammar level…
I strongly recommend the Genki textbooks but they work only if you do all the exercises in the companion workbooks. Just reading without exercises is not going to help much.

When I started to get bored with the resources I was using, I decided it was time to sign up for a class. I am lucky enough to live in a big city in Canada where there are options at colleges, universities, and the YMCA, but because of my schedule I was only able to take their online courses, and a number of my classmates lived far from the city (in fact, in one of my college classes, one of my classmates was living in Tokyo). I find it super motivating to have a couple of hours a week when I meet with others who are studying and I have a teacher to guide me. Some of the classes have been great, but even those that were not gave my study some structure and helped me connect with others. So maybe that’s an option? Even if you live in a place where you can’t take an in-person class, there are lots of online possibilities.

Woo, lots of responses, thanks everyone ! :smile:
I’ll look into the Absolute beginners book club, that seems like a good place to start ! And I take good note of learnnatively and supernative. there are so many good resources around, but it’s not always easy to find them.

So, I went through all the N5 entries in bunpro, so I guess I have some basics, but I don’t know if it’s anywhere near enough to read something native. I guess I will try and see for myself. If I hit a wall, I’ll reverse gears and get a copy of Genki and its workbook. Might be a bit less exciting, but it takes what it takes.

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Hmm, I did not consider taking a class (right now I’m living in Sweden while being faar from fluency in swedish, so I assumed it would be complicated). But going online is a good idea ! I’ll look it up!

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This is a decent time to start looking into NHK Easy as well. You’ll have to do lookups and some of the grammar will get into the N4 content, but it should be possible to get the gist of things and the articles tend to be short enough that you don’t have to commit as much time as other native media.