So, You want to learn that Japanese?
you probably think this will be easy while you're at it. Most likely you know rómaji （ローマ字）,
Ｗｅｌｌ ｇｕｅｓｓ ｗｈａｔ，
You. need .to .stop.
Go ahead and watch your anime and read your manga, just don't spell 可愛い as "kawaii" anymore. Don't go to japan expecting subtitles.
The absolute Basics
Now that we have that out of the way, lets get down to business. The first thing you'll need to do is learn hiragana ひらがな, then katakana カタカナ. also known as the kanas. This can take usually a couple days but for me being a slower learner, it is taking me 3 weeks. I hope it doesn't take you that long though its not a bad thing. Hiragana is the smoothly flowing one, used for native words, Japanese can be written completely in hiragana though it is uncommon. Katakana is the more brick like ones, with sharp turns and straight lines, usually foreign objects, like コンピューター （Ｃｏｍｐｕｔｅｒ）, and names of people, ジョジョ （Ｊｏｊｏ）， or more traditional Japanese names, are written in katakana. Usually though, names are written with specific name kanji that I will talk about later. though names can be written in katakana, its usually only used when you don't know the specific name kanji for the name. Here's what the two most used syllabaries (www.omniglot.com/writing/sylla…) in Japanese look like:
imgur.com/Nrd70lQ (I don't know how to add images to this)
かきくけこ がぎぐげご きゃきゅきょ カキクケコ ガギグゲゴ キャキュキョ
さしすせそ ざじずぜぞ ぎゃぎゅぎょ サシスセソ ザジズゼゾ ギャギュギョ
たちつてと だぢづでど しゃしゅしょ タチツテト ダヂヅデド シャシュショ
なにぬねの じゃじゅじょ ナニヌネノ ジャジュジョ
はひふへほ ばびぶべぼ ちゃちゅちょ ハヒフヘホ バビブベボ チャチュチョ
まみむめも ぱぴぷぺぽ ぢゃぢゅぢょ マミムメモ パピプペポ ヂャヂュヂョ
や ゆ よ にゃにゅにょ ヤ ユ ヨ ニャニュニョ
らりるれろ みゃみゅみょ ライルレロ ミャミュミョ
わ を ひゃひゅひょ ワ ヲ ヒャヒュヒョ
ん びゃびゅびょ ン ビャビュビョ
You're going to want to memorize this real good, and these are the things what work best for me
www.nihongoresources.com/media… brute force yourself through this and try not to refer back to notes while doing this as you will most likely over rely on them. After you finish this and feel like you've memorized both kanas, then you start testing how well you've memorized both, by using either of these, maybe both.
B-but.. but.. Micha-san, this is really stressful and I don't like doing it...Okay, then just stop. you aren't motivated to do it. You're viewing this all as something you have to do. You don't have to do it, nobody is forcing you, but you did choose to do it. This may just be the only thing holding you back but.. it holds you far back. Because when you don't do it and say you'll do it later, then you feel like shit. I don't know how to make you snap out of that state, you may not know either, but we need to work around that.
Away from that.... with using these sites, you should occasionally try and write out all the kana that you can think of off the top of your head in the right order in pen, put a box around the empty spaces of the ones you don't remember in pencil, those are the lines you are practicing for as long as you need.
Okay, now you're back again and it's a month or so later, you feel like you still can't make out most of the Japanese you've come across. For that, just start reading children's books over and over until you feel like you can make the sounds out almost immediately. I have made an upload file for those of you who have no idea what to search for.
After all this and not giving up, it's time to move on.
Now is when you grab a couple pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, and a big blank notebook or two, or even buy a specific writing notebook on amazon or eBay (actually don't, use what you have.) yes, the horrid writing part.
you have three options, videos, books...
Or a site with reading and videos. It has a rómaji selection, but Don't Fucking Use It (tm).
there is also a kana selection and a kanji selection, they say this besides them, 日本語 Ａｎｄ にほんご。 you want both on and the English selection on. I am talking about below the videos, select your own language for overall language.
If you're more of a books person or want something to go with your basic learning on the site use some of these,
www.guidetojapanese.org/learn/ a guide by Tae Kim, when I say Tae Kim, I mean this website, his guide can just be downloaded as a book or you can learn from the site.
or these actual books uploaded by me.
If you want to sit and intensely listen while someone talks to you about Japanese and japan, words, and other things, then heres some channels to check out.
www.youtube.com/user/japanesep… because nothing seems complete without ______pod101, not really the greatest but it'll do for some quick bedtime study.
www.youtube.com/user/TalkInJap… this is great, a godsend honestly. If you pay attention and don't rely on the subtitles, you are learning both words, and grammar structure. you'll notice JLPT and N5, N4, N3. select the N5 playlist for now. will talk about the JLPT later.
Besides learning Japanese, you can also learn about Japanese with these two great youtubers.
www.youtube.com/channel/UCHL9b… wonderful guy who came from England now living in japan. He covers many topics and honestly has interesting things to say, such as how to remember all of that kanji you're currently putting off to watch cat videos.
www.youtube.com/channel/UCn7Ly… Born and raised in japan, he and his group enjoy going around and interviewing different Japanese people on subjects such as foreigner racism and how to pick up a Japanese guy or girl, or what they like in a person.
Now with all of these, you should be writing down all of the kanji that you see. For example there are three kanji in 日本語.
日 Ｓｕｎ, 本 Ｔｒｅｅ, Ａｎｄ 語 Ｗｏｒｄ／ｌａｎｇｕａｇｅ．all four of these should be written down. the kanji have two pronunciations as they originate from Chinese text. the most used pronunciation is the kun-yomi, or the Japanese pronunciation. The Chinese pronunciation is called the On-yomi. most of the time, a kanji has a lot more than one pronunciation per word.
Moving on, the JLPT is the Japanese language proficiency test, it's usually taken by foreigners looking for work or to live in japan. The highest level being N1, and lowest being N5, though I haven't taken the test, I would rank myself N4, as I still suck at speaking in general. This isn't necessary for a job in japan and doesn't define how fluent you are, it's still worth taking. If you really want to make sure you do get a job in japan as a foreigner that's better than most natives, you could aim for the Japanese business language proficiency test.
Back to those kanji, now that you've filled all of you're notebooks with so many kanji it looks like you're trying to summon the great samurai of Edo japan, get Anki and start raging that I didn't mention this a lot earlier.
It's available on almost all platforms and uses spaced repetition for memorization. start putting all of the kanji from this list learn-japanese.info/kanjifirst… which you should know I hope, if not, rewatch some of those videos, reread some books, etc. or download some premade decks and study those. Make sure to make a few decks and study every day, also writing all of the kanji down.
I suggest learning the kanji with the meaning before the actual pronunciation. This allows you to be able to read Japanese a lot faster, because lets face it, you don't live in japan. It takes a while to be able to learn the pronunciation of kanji even without this method. The reason I have been trying to push the kanji before even grammar and right after the kanas is because there is a shit ton on kanji you need to know in order to even say flush a toilet or drive down a road, etc. into infinity. Learning enough kanji to read your favorite manga in its original glory can take a month or a few years, depends on the person, again. At this point, go ahead, give up. I dare you. Just don't come back until you feel satisfactory about your Japanese kanji comprehension skills, you don't even need to know how to pronounce them. A Japanese 4th grader knows about 640 kanji. an average adult knows about 3700 kanji. There are over 50,000 kanji. For comparison, the average English college graduate knows a little over 15,000 words, while a medical school graduate knows about 30,000.
This site will be your guide to the most common, or something like that, kanji you will probably see on an almost daily basis in japan.
core6000.neocities.org/ (May lag when opening)
I-if i-its got more symbols than words.... H-how am I supposed to learn it all desu??Look, my memory is pure cabbage in the form of lettuce and I am still worried about how I would memorize all of those kanji, but if you think about it, you can seriously create entire worlds with people with their own unique flaws and patterns of speech, their own circle of friends and interests and technology. you can remember those people for just about your life, and you think you cant remember some 4000 or so symbols to asign those magical people you just invented. Or more so, invent some story for the kanji.
Grammar and words
Wow, this is a journal from mid 2016, and now it's at least late 2016, I mean unless you already knew all of the previous stuff and are just skipping to here. Or maybe you're lazy and want to see whats ahead. Your choice. Amazing that you took all that time to finally get here.
For grammar, you should go back and revisit Tae Kim's site and TalkIn Japans videos, those both go in depth with the grammar and teach you new words at the same time. Don't forget to do your reps on Anki, and write down all the grammatically correct sentences, even switching out words for other words while keeping it all grammatically correct. It's also recommended to read Genki, though it's generally used in a classroom and given bad reviews by self learners like me, though I don't think its bad so fuck those bad reviews.
drive.google.com/open?id=0Bypu… The books are a bit big in size so they may take a while to download. These are the only books that I would recommend buying rather than downloading.
Japanese has many levels of politeness which can get a bit confusing at times, you could accidentally be too polite and end up losing a friend. It's weird but normal at the same time to be really unsuspectingly polite, since in English you just about treat everyone with the same level and tone of politeness or rudeness. I don't really have any resources that address this specifically but you can search it up.
Another great site for learning just about anything about Japanese and japan is Wikibooks. Members of Wiki can and will update these to match all current aspects of the language and that's what makes it great. You have the constant knowledge that the information is current.
After you've read all those and have a grasp on the basic grammar, congratulations, you can read and hopefully write Japanese, Oh whats that? You still have no idea what your animu waifu/husbando is saying? Besides learning the pronunciation to those kanji, this will also help.
There are many podcasts just around the web but most of them start out with the basics. Again, rewatch TalkIn Japans videos, since all she does is speak Japanese the whole time. That Japanese man Yuta is also a great source for listening, little to none of his interviewees speak English, except for maybe when he interviews foreigners. Otherwise just paying close attention to the words you hear in your favorite anime (I really hope it isn't the second season of SAO) or random show, maybe you just really enjoy those commercials, and writing down (in Japanese) things you don't know.
どこ語ありますか？Oh, how polite. Everywhere.
A bit complicated for me to explain, but you should've been paying attention to the books. As you learn Kanji, you learn the english equivalent, but as you read the childrens books, you should be writing down some of those sentences. You'll translate some of those and learn things like わたし Ｍｅａｎｓ Ｉ， ａｎｄ ｔｈｉｓ ｋａｎｊｉ 私 Ａｌｓｏ ｍｅａｎｓ Ｉ． and that's generally how you learn words.
Congratulations on your 6 month - 2 year - 4 year journey. remember to practice often and write in Japanese as much as possible so you don't forget it, or all that time was wasted.
Extras, Useful information
ichi.moe/ A godsend of a translator, explains what each part of a word/sentence means
www.j-cat.org/en/ I guess it would be like the JLPT, still a Japanese language test nonetheless
boards.4chan.org/a/catalog#s=D… Daily Japanese Thread, for japanese learners
www.genetickanji.com/ seems a bit undeveloped but worth testing out for what it seems to be promising.
www.tanos.co.uk/jlpt/jlpt1/gra… list of all required grammar for the JLPT
docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d… Reading list of all recommended materials for all skill levels
pastebin.com/w0gRFM0c Everything else, comment on this if anything on link is broken.