My 5 Tips For Studying Japanese


There are many different ways of tackling the Japanese language, whatever way you study Japanese, I hope it’s working for you. These are my 5 tips for stuyding Japanese that I use to study and apply what I learn, so far I’ve only been studying for about 7 months, but these are working pretty well for me.

5. The Internet

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Even though I beleive this to be number 5 in “My 5 Tips For Studying Japanese” I still use it the most, obviously. There are thousands of websites out there written by people who are trying to help with Japanese. You can find complete textbooks on Scribd, you can find thousands of Japanese videos on YouTube and you can even use websites to ask specific questions and someone will probably answer them. If you want to see how to use the internet to your advantage check out tofugu’s article on the Top 10 Online Resources for Learning Japanese for Free. Some people might say, the internet is all knowing and you can find any information you want, that’s also it’s weakness, you can find any information, and sometimes it’s wrong.

4. The Japanese Learning Community

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Are you having a hard time finding these thousands of great but hidden sources of knowledge, or don’t know where to start? Well there are thousands of like-minded people ready to help you out just because they want to. If you looking for a great source to learn news, culture and the language than check out japansoc.com. If you want to learn Japanese, but still want to be sitting at your computer, well guess what you can do that now aswell at edufire.com. you can attend online classes, and get to know both teachers and students to help you out. You can also literally follow the J-blog community by checking out my twitter and checking out who I follow.

3. Japanese Culture

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Enough of sucking up to the people I aspire to be, we’re getting down to some really good stuff, Japanese Culture. You might ask me “How can I put fit Japanese culture into my life” well, it’s pretty easy. If you want to listen to music, listen to Japanese music, If you have no idea where to start check out jpopjapan.com (or if you cannot listen to peppy Jpop songs like me check out this link for some great Japanese Indie-Rock songs to get you started). If you want to go out, go to a Japanese Resturant, use chopsticks, try the wasabai and remember to begin with いただきます! If your watching an Anime movie, turn of those bloody subtitles! I know some poeple who could quote “Spirited Away” word for word and they still watch it in English. If your in school and you need to do an assignment with pretty a leniant topic, make it Japanese. Right now I’m trying to work something Japanese into an Art assignment.  Picking up culture on your journey of learning japanese is an invaluable term, it all counts in the end.

2. Japanese People

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Now people, where can you find lots of Japanese people? JAPAN! If you’re serious about your learning then you need to immerse yourself as much into the Japanese world as you can. For those of who are unable to go right now in time, I’ve got some ideas that can get you near Japanese people. First of all, my family gets overseas university students to stay at our house while they go to university and sure enough, some of them are Japanese. I teach them English and they teach me Japanese and they become your friend after a while and someone you can stay in contact with even after they leave (apparently I have a place to stay in Saitama when I got to Japan). Japanese people are the absolutely essential if your learning Japanese, you’re never going to be able to get the pronunciation of words right or pick up some natural language in textbooks (audio tapes also are also bit helpful but they speak so unnaturally slow). For those who can’t really share their home, get a job in which you come into contact with Japanese people. I work in a supermarket right next to the same university my home-stay brothers study at and I probably speak to maybe about 3 Japanese people on average each shift and they get a real kick out of talking to white boy in Japanese, some even ask me about my shifts so they can schedule when to shop. Just a note, Japanese people are not machines, I’ve learned that you can hit a translator with 1000’s of words, but not a person, they normally have things to do, unlike me, which brings me to my final point.

1. Diligence

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This I reckon is the biggest misconception made by Japanese learners, you cannot expect to be casual about learning Japanese and expect to get better! If you’re studying Japanese maybe half an hour a week, just think, do you spend half an hour a week using English? All the other things in this list co-inside with sitting down and studying, alot. The more nerdy you are about studying, the easier it’s going to be. But the big comfort I can take from it is that a few years from now when I’m in Japan sitting down with my freinds chatting in Japanese, I reckon I’m not going to feel like a nerd then.

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15 Comments

Filed under Language, Tips

15 responses to “My 5 Tips For Studying Japanese

  1. Great tips.

    I find it’s also good to just surround yourself with Japanese even if you don’t understand it. That way you pick up the pronunciation and a few words just by having it as background noise.

    • headingforjapan

      absolutely correct, you can naturally just learn words by only listening. If you can’t understand it don’t worry cause when you learn it later you’ll have that whole “I’ve heard that word before!” moment, it’s a really cool sensation.

  2. Really nice article. Opened some nice tabbed links because of it.

    I’ve been listening to Japanese a lot on Japanesepod101.com. I get a lot of good speech there but you’re right, it’s nothing compared to having a real person to react to. I really need to get that element into my life.

    Thanks.

  3. Thanks for the mentions and the great article! Keep up the good work!

  4. This is a great post. My good friend is going to Japan in September. I am going to bookmark and forward this to him. Trust me, he needs to brushen up on his Japanese.

  5. This is great, and I really appreciate all of the information that you shared in this post! Keep it up!

  6. Good list. To bad it isn’t easier to find japanese people in middle united states where I am. I have met 2 japanese people 1 is my teacher. Second, moved away when they got hired by Microsoft. lol.

    Here is a list of learn japanese blogs I made a while back. It might help others too.
    http://dumbotaku.com/2009/06/29/top-9-japanese-language-blogs/

  7. I especially like the last point, which I think many people tend to forget. No matter the tool you use to study, you’re still going to have to pay your dues to learn it all.

    Your the last sentence made me laugh, though, because the more I study, the nerdier I feel about it 😛

    • headingforjapan

      It’s a weird situation, I feel nerdy when studying Japanese, but when I’m chatting with Japanese people I feel pretty cool.

  8. remino

    The best tip is #1, diligence. I’m a terrible student. I’ve spent years “studying” Japanese as a hobby, but can only pass JLPT level 3. It would have been a lot better if I studied more at home, but I didn’t.

  9. Joe

    I particularly agree with number 2, having Japanese people to talk to and perhaps even become friends with is a great, if not the greatest motivator. I know from personal experience, I have one really good Japanese friend from my time studying in Japan who I now keep in contact with by email and occasional Skyping. If there aren’t any Japanese people around you, you can try making an account on http://lang-8.com/ and get in contact with like-minded Japanese people studying English.

  10. I agree, surrounding yourself with Japanese and their culture can really help when learning the language.

  11. Pingback: Immerse Yourself In The Japanese Language

  12. Great article. Diligence is a really important one. It doesn’t have to be boring, but learning Japanese will take time and work. Also, making sure you are studying for the right reasons will also help you stay on track.

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