This question gets asked a lot. Online and off. So I thought I’d create a post here to just kind of permanently link people to when I get asked this again.
First, The FREE RESOURCES. In list form because, well, everyone loves a good list:
- Genki Online Self-Study Room (Whether you have the Books or not, a GREAT free resource)
- MTV81(Didn’t know about this one? Me either until somebody linked me, you’re welcome.)
- TwitCast (Need to listen to natural Japanese? Girl/Boy speech are here. Watch live.)
- NHK News Web Easy (Know your Kana already? You can read the news! Maybe slowly at first…)
- Anime Season (Listening to anime counts as practice right?….RIGHT?)
- Japancast (My first introduction to the language, and they are still going!)
- Shared Talk (Practice speaking, or writing with foreigners.)
- MICAELA (If you don’t follow her on You Tube what are you doing with your life? ;P)
- Japanese Revision Tumblr (LOVE THIS)
- Twitter (Sign up, NOW. Why haven’t you done this? There are loads of japanese people typing in japanese all day long!)
- iKnow (Its a shame this is paid now. But I learned all my kana this way. ALL OF THEM. I still use it for Kanji.)
- White Rabbit (If you want learning materials, buy from here, they’re great!)
- Search “Kakitori-Kun” and “My Japanese Coach” They’re Japanese Learning DS Games!
Keep in mind these books aren’t for everyone, and everyone’s learning style is different. This is just my collection. (This counts as a PAID RESOURCE)
- Genki I&2 + Workbooks (Personally I use this in college and love it)
- Elementary Japanese (Tuttle Publishing)
- Japanese Kanji Power
- Kanji Pict-o-Graphix
- Essential Japanese Grammar
- Read and Write Japanese Scripts
- Dirty Japanese
- Berlitz Japanese Compact Dictionary
- Common Japanese Collocations
- Japanese Manga (Loads for cheap on eBay, I got 8 volumes for like 20$)
- Any Japanese Books/Magazines (I have Popteen, because I like that style. And I have a christmas story in Japanese)
There you have it! Thats basically what I use to learn from beginner to now. I’d say I could maybe pass N3 with a VERY LOW score. I’m definitely not good at speaking on the fly, so I can’t really give any advice for those who are N2 and N1 level.
My tips starting out are:
- Don’t tell anyone you’re learning Japanese. (they’ll discourage you)
- Learn your Kana first! Does it suck? Only while you’re learning it, but afterward you CAN READ!!! Its an amazing feeling.
- Learn the way that best fits you. I learn best with visuals, and grammar explanations. I also like to listen to Twitcasts a lot.
- Study a little every day. Even if its just one word, kanji or grammar point that day. Keep using it, or you’ll forget it.
- Get a Twitter Buddy/Pen Pal. Preferably somebody who REALLY wants to learn english. It will motivate you both.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes. This tip should be #1.
- Don’t COMPARE. You’ll only find the people that have been learning longer and get discouraged.
- Don’t look down on beginners if you’re more advanced. Drives me crazy to see really skilled speakers putting beginners down when they first start learning. Don’t be that way, you were stuttering and stammering when you started speaking. You said funny things, and messed up in the beginning, so don’t put new learners down. Its discouraging The more the merrier.
- Hannah <— watch (misshanake on YouTube Says this best and she is younger and more skilled than me)
Anyway, just keep in mind WHY you are learning the language. Are you doing it for you? Are you doing it because its fun? Are you learning Japanese because you want to go there? Or do you just want to understand the music? Whatever your motivation, whatever your reason, you OWN that reason and use it to fuel your learning. No reason is better than another.
Just think, you are one of the few who will be bilingual. Most people are too lazy, not interested, or don’t care to learn another language. Therefore they depend on people to translate for them, etc.
LETS ALL DO OUR BEST TOGETHER! If you have any questions let me know! I’m sure I’ve forgotten something.