Introduction of a self-taught Japanese Geek! | Japanese Learning Resources

Sunday, 8 February 2015


こんにちは みなさん Kon'nichiwa Minasan ~ Hello everyone

When I started learning Korean, I wrote a post about how I ended up learning Korean and the resources I was using as a beginner. I am at the starting line with my Japanese studies, and after a lot of research, I have come up with the best tools and resources that will help me effectively learn.

I started learning Japanese as a motivation and a change from my Korean studies. I was stuck in a rut and I needed something to get me excited about learning again. I never realised I will love it so much. Surprisingly, a lot of Japanese students are on exchange at my Uni now and I have met some awesome people amongst them. I love hearing them speak Japanese and the more time I spend with them, the more I am interested in their language and culture. 

'Nihongo', the word for JAPANESE written in Hiragana.



Alphabets

As with any language, the first thing you need to learn is the alphabet or in this case characters. The first thing you should know about 'nihongo'—which is the word for Japanese Language— is there are 3 sets of characters: the Kana's—Hiragana [for writing japanese words] and Katakana [for writing foreign words] and Kanji. 

I decided to learn hiragana first because I thought it'll be more efficient that way. Still think it was the best decision.

I checked out a few online resources and luckily I found an awesome YouTube resource for learning Japanese. They had free and fun detailed videos to learn the alphabet, grammar and vocabulary from native Japanese teachers. The videos to learn the characters also teach you the correct way of writing each character and examples you can add to your vocabulary bank. 

They also have a website which is an awesome resource but you need to pay for subscription. For more details check out their YouTube page by clicking: Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com


Grammar and Vocabulary


I thought about buying a textbook, but I was at a loss as to which one to buy. One thing I would recommend for anyone learning a language is to not rush in buying a textbook. I know how exciting it is at the beginning when all you want to do is rush to the nearest bookshop and go crazy book buying. But you need to control yourself, because the textbook you use can influence and determine how you learn a language, plus you end up spending money on a book you'll end up not using.

So the best option I think is to do your research and read reviews and relevant language blogs. You'll find different opinions on books and what they had to offer. I actually asked a Japanese learner on instagram and he recommended the Genki books. He believed it was the best one for a beginner and he also said I could find a free scanned copy online. How awesome right. Here's a link to the free Genki Book: Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese 1

You could also purchase a copy if you prefer a physical book. I have heard from other language geeks that it is a good book.

My latest find is this website called Kids Web Japan. It was set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan, for elementary kids abroad learning Japanese. It is a fun resource and I enjoy using it. Sometimes taking yourself down to elementary level helps you learn easier, which brings me to watching kids TV shows on youtube as a learning tool :)! Indulge the kid in you!!


Music and Drama's


This is a very important learning tool. I realized it's importance from watching korean dramas, I have gotten used to the sound of korean thereby greatly improving my listening skills. I have acquired the ability to spot grammatical structures and also learnt ways words can be used in different contexts. I also learn phrases used in everyday conversation. So if you have the time, start watching Japanese dramas and maybe listen to music too!! I watch my dramas in HD on Viki.com, although I pay a monthly subscription of around 3pounds to watch ad-free.

Japanese Language learners online


I find when learning a language, it is good to have contacts online of people learning the same language as you. You learn things like good textbook recommendations, tips and tricks, learning resources, and best of all you can read about their frustrations and joys learning the language which might be relate to you and it makes you feel better. The sense of community you get from it alone makes it worthwhile. Here are a few people you can follow on Youtube, instagram or twitter. 

Youtube:


The most awesome Japanese learner to me is KemusiChan! She self-studied japanese to an incredible level of fluency and I highly recommend you check her out. Link to her channel. It might be worth having a look at her playlist and older videos.

I love Japanagos channel by Chika. She makes videos showing you different parts of Japan, from the unique to the weird and interesting. If you wanna have a virtual tour of Japan, I recommend you check her out. Here's a Link to her channel.

I watch vlogs about life in Japan on Rachel and Jun's Channel. They're a Japanese/American couple living in Japan. Link to their channel


Instagram:

  
Marc Downing:  I like Marc's Instagram because he makes videos of himself speaking japanese or writing japanese words. It is good for learning vocabulary and he also has good recommendations.


Twitter:

I think twitter is best for when you can read Japanese. It helps you practice your reading and learn everyday words and sentences as well. You might not understand everything, that's okay, it's good to familiarize yourself with the words. In this case you could just follow accounts that interest you, like celebrities or news or interesting Japanese speakers. You could also follow accounts of youtubers.

P.S: You could also find good blogs to follow for more info. Don't forget to subscribe to my blog :)
You can also find links to my social media on my about me page.



This post is a work in progress. I shall be making changes or maybe a 'Part 2'. Right now this is what I am doing to aid my Japanese learning. 

Do you have more suggestions or questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section or send me an email: mirabobboi@yahoo.com.

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