Where to go next? (Grammar Study Question)


My name is Ryan and I have been studying Japanese for many years, but have been very serious about it the past couple. I have been through the first 8 or so chapters of Genki 1 at least 10 times and really have trouble feeling like I am making progress studying alone. I am making great progress on WaniKani, finally able to retain Kanji. When my girlfriend and I try and speak Japanese instead of English (shes Native level Japanese), I feel I can’t form sentences well at all. Not only that but the vocab from here I try and toss in seems very archaic and bookish. We think I need to work more on grammar instead of all this vocabulary.

Is my best bet to try and run through the Genki textbook again? I worry that I try and work through it too quickly and have trouble with direction. I think WaniKani is so effective because it is directed and reviews are given out, I really wish I had a plan of some sort. Are there any effective programs to work through grammar either online or a schedule to study different textbooks? I have been getting discouraged because I feel I have gone over this book so many times.

I am at a loss and want to feel like I am making actual progress, any tips out there?


Bunpro.jp is pretty good for studying grammar and has an SRS system like Wanikani. There’s a Genki I path that you can follow as well.

Give it a try and see if that works out for you.


I’ll link my answer here from a similar thread.


Have you been doing the exercises from the workbook?

The words aren’t archaic, but they are often bookish. That’s because jukugo (kanji compounds) tend to be used more in written language than spoken language. It’s a natural side effect of WaniKani being a kanji learning site.

The most important thing is to apply what you’re learning. If you want to get better at forming sentences and speaking, you have to do those things often. That means being strict with yourself not to fall back to English when talking to your girlfriend and perhaps asking her for feedback (if she doesn’t mind).

From the consumption side, book clubs also help solidify grammar. Only being partway through Genki 1 is a bit early, but you could always join one of the book clubs here on the forums.


Hi. Have you ever tried Japanese pod 101? They gave me a good start some time ago.

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I have been using Glossika an hour a day for the last month and really love it, although I set it to listening practice only, because I use it for shadowing practice. The site uses a srs and introduces a variety of sentences, such that, every sentence you learn is only slightly different from the previous sentences. This helps you think through why the sentence means what it does on your own. I love the site and would recommend it.
However, I’d wait until you finish Genki II to use it because the English explanations aren’t literal word for word translations, so if you can’t understand a basic level of Japanese, you won’t really know what you are saying.

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Are you living in Japan ? Personally, if you wanna speak well, living in Japan and speaking with natives is the best way if you wanna speak better. Otherwise try and find some language exchange apps. I have used Hello Talk and chatted in Japanese with quite a few people and its quite good practice. (source: 6 years+ living in Japan)

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I have done all the exercises in the first 8 or 9 chapters of Genki workbook, but I am not bridging the gap to using their structures well when speaking yet. But I think the thing I lack really is the organization to know what chapters to go over again. I will definitely check out the book clubs! Thank you very much for your thoughtful response.

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What you need to do is practice making more sentences - reading through a textbook over and over won’t make you any better at this. You need to actively use the language. And yes, it will be a struggle at first.

Make it a goal to make sentences or paragraphs or whatever every day. If there’s grammar you can’t think of, then sure, add that in.

With that said, if you’ve only been a fraction of the way through the first Genki book that isn’t covering a ton of ground… so you may find yourself needing to look things up quite a bit. Why not move along further?


I have listened to Japanese pod 101, but I think I may re-listen since I am much further along in my studies now!

No I am not living in Japan, but I think I can try to speak Japanese with my girlfriend more. I had been attending a Japanese - English language exchange club. Which was great structured practice, but cant due to Covid. When I am with my girlfriend I think it was just frustrating because English is much easier and more effective. Hoping we can try to alternate more though. Gotta start somewhere!


I would highly recommend you give this post a look through. Some of it may not be applicable, but I benefited a lot from reading through it


Thanks! Ill check this out!

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I am having the same problem, and I think it comes down to active vocabulary vs. passive vocabulary.
I can read fairly well for N4/N5 and some N3, but using it in conversation is really difficult.

I’ve been using italki for a few weeks now and struggling in real conversations seems to be the best way to improve. Luckily you can talk to your girlfriend for practice - just make sure she doesn’t mind correcting you. Like many people said also, making your own sentences can be helpful for getting used to using the things you learn.

Here are a few things that may help
This one lets you practice genki exercises on the computer so you don’t have to write by hand

These talk about some of the issues you mentioned and have helped me a lot


Curedolly on youtube also talks about passive/active vocabulary in some of her lessons, so maybe check it out

Best of luck - you will make it through

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You do any listening? I think just listening to something like a podcast everyday could help.


If you end up using Bunpro, @rharveyart, I recommend purchasing the dictionaries of Japanese Grammar as well. Bunpro typically provides page references, and the books typically have better explanations then anything you will find online

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Try yesjapan.com, especially if you have Japanese From Zero. The program accompanies the book. They have videos for each lesson with lots of great information. The presenter is the guy who wrote the book, and he is funny and gives great examples. He works on grammar and has information on how to use certain words and their use in sentences. Lots of great background on Japanese. It’s also a paid site, but I think well worth it.

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the practices in the Genki book helped me a lot, I found a pdf genki answers for all the practices in Genki 1 so i know if I got it right or wrong. i can send it to you if want me to. also I’ve been going through Japanese from Zero book series I honestly feel like that book really help me truly understand grammar in a easier way and it’s focused in teaching you natural japanese.

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Hey Thanks for offering! I did some digging and found the answer key pdfs for my Genki workbooks one and two and spent a lot of time yesterday working on the workbook, felt pretty good!

I have listened to Japanese and English combined podcasts. But I wasnt sure if I could find any suitable japanese only podcasts. I did enjoy watching Terrace House though and caught some common phrases out of that!