Where do I start aside from WaniKani?

Hi alligator/crab people,

I'm in level 9 in WaniKani and really enjoying it. However, that's all I'm doing. I'm not studying Japanese in any other way. I'm looking for recommendations on how and what to study other than the kanji. Any advice?



Get a textbook and start learning some grammar? Something like Japanese From Zero or Genki. Or you can use an online resource if you prefer.

By the way, you might want to remove the leading spaces from your paragraph. Apparently it makes the post formatted strangely.


Anything that you find enjoyable would be a good start. Anime, movies, podcasts, youtube videos. There’s tons of media out there that you can start doing some immersion learning with.

Grammar is another thing you’ll need to work on. Either using an app like BunPro or a textbook of your choice.

You can take a look at the resources list for some inspiration! ^^


So if you don’t want to spend too much money on books, here’s what I would do:

At about level 5, start doing BunPro for grammar. It costs a little money, but there’s a free trial and after that it’s not too expensive, like a textbook would be. The nice thing is for each grammar point it has links to several free “more explanation” resources on the web.

Then when you get close to N5-complete, and you’ve been keeping up with WaniKani, you should start reading NHK News Web Easy.

Reading is really your biggest bang for the buck, everyone is going to say that. But without a head start of some vocabulary and grammar, it’s just going to be demoralizingly painful. That’s the only reason I say wait until you have at least a N5 grammar and vocabulary. It’s totally a matter of opinion, but that’s mine, based on my experience and learning style.

And then it depends on your goal. If it’s having real conversations, or passing the JLPT, you HAVE to find some Japanese speakers to talk to. There’s no substitute. If you just want to read, you can probably delay that some. But even then you’ll learn a lot faster that way. Again, I’d recommend waiting until you’re about N5 in grammar if you have a choice, just for frustration factor.

My own approach to learning Japanese includes grammar, using Tokini Andy’s Genki playlist, listening with Japanese with Noriko, and reading. For reading I have been using the The BookWalker Freebies Thread to find free reading material. I also recommend using something to learn kana-only vocab like Torii SRS or Anki. All of these are free online!

Tae Kim’s guides are over here:

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I noticed the link I gave was incorrect. Fixed. I know where tae Kim’s guide is. Still it’s much convenient to use this site because it’s all in one page and you can just ctrl+f to search immediately for reference.

i don’t really think anybody will pay attention. Piratebay is not darknet and it’s just much more convenient to use take Kim’s from that site. Although I was never aware of offline guide version, so it can be a much better option for some people.

Ah, I see. I just load up google and type “tae kim [grammar construction].” :wink:

Oooh just noticed the grammar guide (which is the more technical one, not the beginner one) is available as a PDF. Searchable and offline-friendly.

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I made a mistake when I started WK. I focused exclusively on WK. By Level 15, I was drenched in kanji, vocab, and radicals. I didn’t make time for the other parts of the language (I do understand a lot of spoken language but suck at speaking as all my Japanese consumption was watching Anime/J-Dramas and not actually thinking in Japanese).

Figure out a pace in WK that allows you to keep leveling up/learning Kanji, while adding in other parts of the language. You will need to understand spoken Japanese. Start watching Japanese programming with Japanese subtitles. Or watch in Japanese, no subtitles at all, and focus on listening. Put your phone away. Turn off your tablet. Your computer (unless you know, that’s how you are watching… in which case, turn off ALL notifcations and don’t get distracted with Instagramcracker, Fartbook, or any other thing that takes your focus off of LISTENING.

As @seanblue said, pick up a grammar book. Mix this into your language learning process. Build a schedule for each day if that helps you. Maybe Sun/Tue/Thur/Sat you do WaniKani. Mon/Wed/ mix it up. Monday do GENKI for a chapter or 2, and Wednesday, spend an hour or 3 watching RAW or Japanese subtitled (not English subtitled) content while focusing on it.

Or build a daily schedule that looks something like this:

8 AM - 9 AM = WaniKani time
10 AM - 11 AM = Japanese language YouTube with Japanese subs
1 PM - 2 PM = Read and work on GENKI
5 PM - 6 PM = Back to WaniKani

Something like that. Obviously you don’t have to do this exactly, but you need to start mixing up your learning and include all aspects. Technically as children we learn to speak by listening and don’t start reading until school age. Now you have the luxury of figuring out what you really want to focus on first. I still think speaking/listening is easier to start with as it allows you to “hear” what you are reading when you get to that step, but that’s not how everyone learns or wants to learn.

Whatever you do, don’t give up.

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Bunpro for learning grammar, and as apps I use hey Japan (or hello japan, i do not remember the name) and migii that is an application to practice with JLPT tests

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Genki (will get you to lower N4) and/or Tae Kim’s guide to Japanese (also up to around N4). Proceed to your upper intermediate/advanced learning book of choice. I picked Tobira and it suits my current kanji and vocab knowledge.

Also, build Anki decks of every useful word you encounter, including synonyms or derived words.

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Thanks for all the responses. I feel very welcomed in the community. I’m going to check out some of the links and try to diversify my studies.


Hey :slight_smile: I’m not really that far into studying Japanese myself, but I have written this article on my new blog and maybe something of it could help you <3 ^-^
My Blog

I always get super bogged down in textbook style stuff, so I got this little book called 日本語500問 N4-N5. It’s just 500 multiple choice questions split up into basically 1. recognizing kanji, 2. choosing the right word and 3. grammar. You spend about 20 minutes a day taking a little self-graded test and it’s over in a month.

It’s worked out really well for me because it’s identified my shortcomings (I’m great at reading thanks to wanikani, but not great at figuring out the right word without kanji, and abysmal at grammar) and it’s allowed me to take a more self-directed approach to learning. I’m going back, seeing what I don’t know, and looking it up. I’ve been back on iTalki talking to native speakers about things that confuse me, or that I want practice with. Then I’m creating my own flashcards in Anki with full sentences so I get repeated exposure to words and grammar in context.

We’ll see how it goes, but it’s been really clicking with me so far. It’s a nice feeling to sort of explore and say “oh I want to know how to express this concept today!”

Also I’m watching おしりたんてい on Netflix. Have you seen this guy? He’s got a butt for a face, solve crimes. Knocks out the perp with a fart. Incredible.

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