Where to start? Roadblocks? Bad studying habits? (A noobs plea)

I wasn’t sure if this section of the forum was a great place to go more in-depth with the problems of just starting out as well. Maybe It’s mainly for asking specific questions surrounding the language and not too much going into sharing ideas or stories like this. I just felt that I would feel a lot more calmer if I could get some insight from people that has a lot more experience with the journey ahead :slight_smile:

I also found this just now after posting this thread, that I found really interesting: (That Koichi himself has made) Click me!

Not sure if this is already something that has been posted in the past, but I’m fairly sure It’s not available in the pleasent section? It was just something that aligned very well with a part of what I brought up in my original post. I will definetely make sure to look around even more on the forums and see if I can find some more guidance. I hope that people are willing to share some of their stories though and maybe that could help a bit for the wiki you were talking about as well!

Maybe I’m overthinking this though, and just have to start going like everyone else.

I actually meant that Metamorphosis can edit the wiki themselves and add whatever they think could be useful to a fellow guppy. It’s been over a week since I graduated from pleasant but when I left we were working on it pretty much daily, but everyone will leave eventually so It’s good if Meta adds it themselves rather than asking Alex or someone else to do it.

Ahhh… Makes sense. If Meta likes to edit wikis…

Im kind of noob too but i started one year ago but started to be lazy after 6 months. Im picking up again now. Anyway i learned something about learning this language. I suggest to learn kanji here, learn grammar like previous poster said youtube+books. Third thing is to take in some vocabulary using memrise wordlists and tube. Would be good to find someone to practice talking with at some point.

I suggest Japanese Tae Kim’s free Grammar Guide: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/grammar Easier to read pdf: http://www.guidetojapanese.org/grammar_guide.pdf

You learn some kanji from there too and really get to understand how japanese language works. It is hard but has to be done. I liked these videos about verb grammar:

Maybe these too for some basic grammar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k74yjmfFb_A&list=PL4071737C12790477&index=4

Then some merise to tank up some vocabulary (free site if you haven’t tried it)

I recommend : https://www.memrise.com/course/638014/human-japanese-intro-vocabulary/
You automatically learn some grammar too. Word of warning tho. If you start being lazy doing reviews, you will be in trouble. So commit to it and do it daily since it is hard to bounch back if you have hungreds reviws to do. It is hard to learn new words in that situation.

Shorter lists might help to avoid that problem because you can choose list you use: So maybe these if you tend to get lazy often:: https://www.memrise.com/course/558/core-1000-part-1/

There are plenty of lists for vocabulary and kanji too. Just don’t do memrises own japanese course. It really is quite bad.

Well thats about it. Tae Kim and this site will take you far without anything else. Sorry for never learnng to speak proper english :slight_smile:

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Not sure if I have the privilage of editing wikis either, and maybe it should go through a filter as well so I dont put up stuff that people wont agree with? In any case, if I get something that would fit I would be more than happy to add it :slight_smile:

Also, thanks a lot for directing me to the “what to do now?” thread. Just skimming it through I can already see that it will be insanely helpful in the future :slight_smile:

You’re welcome!
(I didn’t catch your previous reply… Reading it now…)

@Usagipot and @Metamorphosis - I don’t know how true this statement still is… but when I first started with WaniKani close to two years ago (August 2015), people would often argue over whether or not Tae Kim’s grammar guide was a good resource for grammar or not. Some people would say it has errors. Now, since that was so long ago, it could very well have been edited and re-edited to correct those errors, but I don’t know for sure. I can’t recall precisely who had said so at the time, but a few level 60s back then and other higher level people (40+) who seemed very knowledgeable in grammar (over me, certainly) didn’t seem to think it was the best resource. So be cautioned… in case no editing has been done to his guide and website.

To quote Syphus, one of the people who is known in our community to be knowledgeable about grammar (and quite helpful in that case as well):

(And a continuation of that conversation here.)

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Well i think it’s because it helps me to understand how japanese works. All the other books i tried, failed to do that. Tae Kim actually explains why his book is different from others. Im noob so i can’t really know how accurate it is. Main thing why i recommended it, is because it helped me to understand how japanese think. Only that alone makes it worth checking out imo. My language is very different from japanese so that really helped.

Fair enough. I didn’t realize there was that element to it.

I recall looking at Tae Kim’s stuff once (back then) and it was too wordy for me. I just want the bullet points.

Hi there, this is just my two cents on the matter so feel free to take it or leave it. Basically I want to say as great as srs systems are (wanikani, anki), make sure not to get bogged down too much with them. Sometime last year I found that I was spending much more time on wanikani and anki than I was with genki, and ultimately I think that grammar should actually be more of a priority. My issue was that I wanted to increase my vocab quickly, but this just meant I had so many reviews that I would tire myself out keeping up with the reviews and not spend enough or even any time with genki. Vocab is certainly important, but in the beginning you need to ground yourself with some basic grammar before you can even put that vocab to use. So if you find that you are spending more time on vocab reviews I encourage you to slow down on the lessons you take and prioritse genki, as you do this your reviews will go down and make it much easier to keep up with the reviews and to find time for genki.
Anyways, all the best in your studies, just take it step by step and you will surely make progress!
Edit: When I say ground yourself in basic grammar, I mean the grammar points covered by genki 1+2 only cover basics of the language.

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I believe that pretty much everyone is allowed to edit wikis ATM since the forums are so new, it will probably be restricted to members soon

Anyway, if you find something helpful someone else is bound to as well. The wiki isn’t there so that people can agree with it, it’s there to be a useful resource for the guppies. You might as well add it if it could help someone else.

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We miss you @Kumirei!! I’ll be leaving there shortly as well. We have a couple new people adding and discussing but could really use more. Please come join if you are under level 10!!

Don’t forget to leave a message on the prison wall :ok_hand:

Thanks for the reminder! I probably would have forgot.

I haven’t read all the comments so people here might have already said the same things as me but here i go.

How i wasted time:

  • Japanese for busy people - doesn’t actually help you apply the language properly, go for genki instead as it is more thorough on grammar points
  • Rosetta stone - waste of money and teaches bad grammar

What i wish i had done sooner:

  • Genki
  • Vocab apps like memrise, making these part of every day life. vocab really helps make everything else easier
  • test my grammar and recap my grammar, don’t just keep learning new stuff, recap the old stuff otherwise you will forget it

What i am doing that helps:

  • Vocab apps
  • wanikani
  • Satori reader (reading every day)
  • Grammar apps for recap
  • daily listening practise (as i suck at this) I have a listening textbook and cd
  • I have already completed both Genkis so now i am reviewing and will buy a new text book soon. I also have an exam coming up, i find exams are great to encourage revision and retention

What i will do next:

  • Speaking tutor
  • writing compositions in Japanese.
    Hope this helps :slight_smile:

It’s not a LOT of time earlier, but to be honest you could (should?) start with Genki right away.

Now, I haven’t used Genki, but I’ve used Minna No Nihongo (it’s my Sensei’s preferred text), and if they are at all alike (and I believe they are), you won’t need the extra kanji/vocabulary to understand it. You won’t need any kanji at all, in fact - my Sensei won’t let you get started on Kanji until you’re on Minna lesson 5 or 6 because he likes to have you know some vocabulary and proper kana before you start using Kanji willy-nilly.

Anyway, the point is: You don’t need to know any vocabulary to dive into a proper beginner textbook, and Genki is definitely one of those. You might want to delay it as a choice, but I just want you to be aware that there is no point in it, the sooner you start learning grammar the better.



Can’t say that i’m any good in jap yet, but gonna give my 2 yens in any case.

There’s this guide, i personally found it quite useful, and it’s is up to date (also there’s WaniKani route! =).


As a general rule, an efficient way would be to get around reading kana fast, then practice actually reading it, well, faster than a turtle.

Then go to Tae Kim.

The next steps can differ according to your goals. If you want to read VNs and understand anime + manga fast, probably the best thing would be to go and read (well, try to) them. Just keep in mind that your experience would be somewhat ruined since reading a 10-hour VN for a few months or so isn’t the best way to get a good read. But the experience you would get… It’s worth it.

I actually really got around English only when I started to actually read it, w/out textbooks or such. It was OreGairu LN.

It’s the same with every other language. You won’t be any good with it if you stick to textbooks. The sooner you will dive into ‘real’ language - the better.


After about 1 year of heavy studying, these are my thoughts. I should also point out that I’m hoping to take/pass the JLPT N3 exam at the end of the year. I am also interested in being proficient in all aspects (reading, writing, speaking, listening) so my experience is related to that.

As others have said, don’t neglect grammar. You can learn kanji/vocab all day long, but without understanding the rules, you’re going to have a rough go.

When I use WaniKani, I’m also using KaniWani.com (free) to learn the WK vocab in reverse (ENG>JP). It works a completely different brain muscle in my opinion. If I could start all over, I would do both websites in tandom. Instead I’ve been spending the last couple months catching up my KaniWani levels to my WK level (just reached 28 today) and it’s been pretty brutal, but it’ll pay off. Doing both sites at the same pace from Level 1 would’ve been much more tolerable, I think.

I’ve been self-studying using the Genki I texbook and also getting close to finishing a second semester of JP01 at the local community college. College class was an interesting experience, but for me, I think I’ve got enough drive/motivation that I probably could’ve used the time more effectively without the class.

I actively try to find new friends to write to or speak to in Japanese using resources like the HelloTalk phone app or lang-8.com.

I routinely listen to the Genki I audio lessons in the car to/from work and when getting ready for work. This helps with listening and also going over grammar already learned and a heads up for grammar I haven’t gotten to yet. Sometimes it’s interesting to hear the new grammar examples being spoken and deconstructing how they work without even having an explanation yet.

Depending on your overall goals and how quickly you want to accomplish them determines quite a few things about your study schedule and materials. Hopefully something I said is helpful. It can get rough sometimes and I’ve known people who have just given up. I go through rough patches, but NEVER stop or give up. I know my goal and I’m trying really hard to reach it… even on the days it hurts.



You guys had a prison wall over in Pleasant? O.o

There’s no such thing in Painful…

Yeah… we leave a message before we leave. Kind of Koichi’s suggestion. Or Viet… I can’t remember…

I would say, the most important thing is to build and maintain momentum. Make Japanese a part of your daily life, so that it’s an ingrained habit. Don’t overload yourself, the burn-out risk is real - a sustainable, steady pace is what’s working best (at least for me).

Fortunately, Wanikani helps a lot with that. I’ve been trying to learn the language for half my life now, and sadly it’s a history of aborted attempts, where I would intensively start studying some resource and at some point just distractedly taper off and stop. You can’t stop WK - it’ll punish you :japanese_goblin:, and it’s gamified just enough that it’s the first thing and the last thing I do in a day, every day.

One thing where I disagree with コウイチ先生 is about writing. For me, actually writing down the kanji strengthens the memory by a huge degree, and improves the precision of the memory. It’s the difference between recognizing the general shape and the actual stroke pattern, and I find it makes differentiating between visually similar kanji easier. But it does take more time, and I guess I wouldn’t do it if I weren’t actually enjoying writing kanji so much.

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