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Starting to learn Japanese is hard, with a vast amount of content on the internet to help you learn it's hard to even start to learn. This guide will go over some resources, and give tips helpful for those starting to learn the language.
Luckly Japanese has many valuable learning resources created for it to help you get better. Like said above, because of that it may be hard to wade through everything, so here are some standouts:
NOTE: I WILL NOT BE LISTING TORRENT SITES IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS PM ME
The Koohii forums - A fantastic place to meet fellow minded people to talk about Japanese. The website mainly attracts self-learners and those who used the RTK method (I will speak more about this under tips), but those using classes won't feel too excluded. Try checking the resources section often to keep up to date with current language learning programs.
All Japanese All The Time blog - The website that pioneered the AJATT method, it holds a fair amount of good articles about learning Japanese. Recently the creator of the blog Khatz has been trying to cash in on the popularity of the blog, try not to spend money there. I suggest you read through the table of contents to skip past most of the advertising that goes on.
Japanese Level Up - A website similar to All Japanese All The Time but personally I find it better as of late. The articles are more frequent and are focused more on Japanese, and not some sales ploy (not to say the website doesn't have any of those). I suggest you check the 'walkthrough' for some reading in your spare time.
Kitsunekko - A website focused on direct downloads for subtitles, clearly you should only use it for Japanese ones. I put the Japanese section in the link only because you should stop using English ones.
Play-Asia - If you have imported any game you probably know of Play-Asia. The prices vary and you might be able to find places with better deals, but they sure are convenient.
HMV Online - A good store that has many DVDs, manga, CDs, and games. The prices are low, but the shipping is high.
Yesasia - Similar to HMV Online, however the prices are usually higher and after a certain amount spent you get free shipping.
Justin TV - You probably already know of Justin TV/Twitch TV, but I'll remind you. If you want a great source of free immersion and listening use this. I also suggest always using Justin over Twitch, you can find Japanese streams quicker.
NicoNico - Come on man, it's NicoNico.
Lang-8 - A website where you pretty much just write about random things in the language you want to learn and those who already know the language correct you. It really improves your writing skills, and you should help improve others English too.
JLPT Study - A website/forum made to help you get through the JLPT.
Hirsgana.com - A site where you can put in a web page and it adds furigana to every Kanji. I haven't used it really, but it might be useful for those starting Japanese.
Real Kana - If you still don't know Katakana/Hiragana than drill them into your brain using this.
iKnow - A website similar to Anki (will talk about that later), but you have to pay for it. It has a better interface and gives you more feedback than Anki, however the review system is a bit worse and you have to pay for it.
RtKWiki - A wikia that focuses on learning Japanese, it's rarely updated but you might as well look.
Easy NHK News - A smart idea while learning a language is to read news sites actively, the problem is that it can take a while to reach that level. So if your not good enough to read NHK normally, try this site.
Koetaba - For some free audio books check here.
Aozora - For transcripts of some audio books check here, and free books in general check here.
Japan P.E.N. Club Digital Library - This website also contains some free books for you to read.
WWWJDIC - A good J-E dictionary.
This section won't be too large, as I haven't tried many programs out there yet. I might update it later.
Anki - The biggest SRS program out there, I highly suggest you use it or something like it. More information will be about SRS in the tips section.
KeyholeTV - A easy, legal way to watch Japanese TV. The quality isn't too great, but if nothing is on Justin TV you might as well try here.
Podcasts - Podcasts aren't really 'programs' but I'll put this here anyways. The Koohii forums have a great podcast thread, check it out.
Sub2srs - This program can take screenshots of your favorite anime and drama, and use the subtitles that you inputted to make a card in Anki. I could never get it to work, but people that can love it.
Rikaisama - A plugin for firefox that translates Japanese words that you mouse over. It allows for J-J translations and audio too!
Don't follow one set way of learning. I gave you links to AJATT and Japanese Level Up, but I suggest you not follow by what they teach you word by word. As an individual you should make your own plan, your own way of studying.
If you aren't studying now, start studying now. The longer you put it off the harder it will be to start, the more time you spend doing something else the better you could have been earlier on. What I'm saying is that you only have a short amount of time in your life, lets say you wanted to study Japanese for months, maybe years. Think about how good you would be if you actually started when you said "I should start learning this". The longer you take, the less time you have to fully enjoy knowing the language in your life.
Personally I procrastinate, if I started Japanese when I said I would I would be a hell of a lot better than I am now. You need to use the time that you haven't been studying as motivation to start studying now. You should look back on the time you lost, but only to make you start doing it now. Japanese takes a while to learn, and the sooner the start the better.
You think Japanese is hard? It isn't as hard as your making it out to be. The hardest thing about learning this language is yourself, whenever you complain, waste time, and make excuses you make the language hard. You have the full capability to learn this language, all you need is time, self control, and the ability to not make excuses for yourself.
Your reason to learn Japanese is as good as any. If you can put into the time and effort to learn this language for whatever reason, that reason is good enough for you to learn the language. You can want to learn Japanese to be able to understand Japanese pornography for all I care, if you can put in the time for that reason it's a good enough reason.
You have enough time, manage it. Don't let time be a reason why you can't study Japanese, most people can find ways to make time for Japanese. You play video games? Play less video games and study until you can learn while playing video games.
Kanji isn't the devil. Buy/download Remembering The Kanji, get the Lazy Kanji Modv2 deck or something similar off of Anki and study. Personally I don't even think you need to do all of that, it certainly helps, but with a bit more effort on your part you can still master words without RTK.
Japan isn't perfect. I doubt you believe this, but I'm just reminding you. No place is perfect, if you think your life will change for the best once you go to Japan stop thinking that.
Immerse yourself, but not too early. I believe immersion is the best way of learning any language, however if you dive in too quickly it can easily lead to burnout. If you can't do what you enjoy in Japanese at whatever stage your in of learning Japanese then don't fully immerse yourself. It will lead to you having nothing to do besides studying, then that will lead to burnout.
Talk to the Japanese, in Japanese. A fantastic way of learning a language is talking to someone that knows your target language in your target language. Find some place like Mixi, Lang-8, or whatever and and talk to some Japanese friends on Skype.
Start buying games with Japanese text. While costly, Japanese games are a fun way to use your Japanese skills. I suggest to start buying them early on in your studying to set short-term goals.
Get a kindle if you want to read on the go. I highly suggest buying a Kindle Paperwhite or something similar and using it to store your manga/books. You can currently buy Japanese kindle books, and you can easily find downloadable manga online. If you plan to read outside of the house there isn't anything better.
I got a bit lazy towards the end of this blog, I might update it later and add more resources/tips. Until then feel free to ask me any questions, if anyone reads this.
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Mar 31, 2013 5:30 pm GMTYangire joined the union Niche Stuff And Off Topic Union