Jan 23, 2012 by Sushi Bird
I have been wanting write a couple of blog posts about how to study Japanese, and what I have done so far in my Japanese studying. Last semester I finished the third year Japanese courses at my university, but I have actually only been studying Japanese for about 1.5 years myself. (I have fiddled around with 日本語 for the past 4 years, but nothing serious until I decided to make a commitment about 1.5 years ago.) My Japanese is by all means not particularly amazing nor especially great, but hopefully there can be some tips and tricks people who are new to the language can pick up and use for themselves to actually get started.
There are already tons of good resources for Japanese which can explain the technical side of the language itself better than I can, so instead I will try to collect the resources I have been using and write a little bit about what methods worked for me so far and what didn’t work at all. I can not tell you how many times I have gotten the question “Oh, so you know Japanese?” or “Oh, you speak Japanese?”. Anyone who fiddle around with Japanese know that this is not a black/white thing, and just how much or how little I “know Japanese” is extremely hard to explain to people who have not had any experience with Japanese (or another language very far from your mother tongue). Obviously, the things I write here are merely my own opinions, and feel free to disagree with me, but personally I don’t think Japanese is the sort of thing where you wake up one day and you feel like you “know” it and you are done. so this is very much a work in progress. (This fits me perfectly, because I am very much a 90% kind of girl – once I get decent enough at something I tend to lose interest and move on. Good thing I will never reach 90% in Japanese, there will always be new things to learn, this will keep me interested and occupied for life! )
In any case, I realized that that I am sitting here with a lot of good resources and experiences, and why not share them with the world? Maybe it can help someone somewhere. (And there are probably awesome resources out there that I have not heard about myself, so feel free to share!) I know that when I started learning Japanese, I felt very overwhelmed, I did not know what resources were good and reliable, and what was just a waste of my time. So, I will type up a couple of posts, and these are the topics have come up with so far:
- Method and how to get started, general tips and ticks in order for you to incorporate Japanese language learning in your everyday life
- Books – a variety of books textbooks I have used to learn Japanese, and what was good and bad about them
- Online resources and webpages
- iPhone apps (and dictionaries)
- Nintendo DS games and resources
- Breaking in to real Japanese literature, a collection of books and where to start if you want to start reading real Japanese.
- How to combine drinking and Japanese studies (a little collection of great karaoke songs)
If you can think of any other topics which would be fun or useful to read about, feel free to make a suggestion! (I love suggestions!) I made a new category called “Language learning” here on the blog where you will find all the posts related to learning Japanese. Learning Japanese is a lot of fun, and I actually do not think Japanese is that hard. (In my opinion Japanese is super-logical and very structured.) However, it takes a lot of TIME! And it requires a lot of effort. Quite a few people might disagree with me on this. I know it is a popular take on language these days to just have fun and watch a couple of movies and the language will basically learn itself. I am not saying you will not learn a lot from watching cartoons, but in the end, I truly believe that you can not become proficient in a language like Japanese unless you actually buckle down and study.
So, brace yourselves! More posts about Japanese language learning will be coming soon!