So, you want to learn Japanese…

What are you, nuts or something?  Don’t you know how ridiculously insanely difficult it is to learn Japanese?!!!!

No, don’t fall for that.  That’s not true.  Studying Japanese is really a lot of fun, and it is definitely doable.

So, now that we’ve got that out of the way…

Here are some things that I’m doing right now:


Of course, you have to build up to the point where you can read in Japanese, but you should start trying to read as absolutely soon as you can.  How soon is that?  Actually, very soon, as long as you find the right reading material.  Level zero graded readers would be the place to start.

The trick is to find stuff that is at the right level.  To me, that means stuff you can get through without constant recourse to a dictionary.  It does not necessarily mean that you recognize every word or even completely understand every sentence.  You can try to figure things out from context and then check it with a dictionary later.

This does mean that, at the very least, you want to leave roumaji behind as soon as possible.  It isn’t that hard to learn how to read hiragana, so start with that, but move on to Kanji as quickly as you can.


Surround yourself with Japanese.  I am not talking about watching anime with subtitles.  So much of your attention will be on reading the subtitles that it won’t actually be all that helpful.  What I am talking about it:

Streaming radio stations


YouTube videos

Streaming Radio apps like Tune In

There are really two separate things here.  You definitely want level appropriate listening, which mean that you can more or less understand what is going on.  There are a lot of options for that, especially if you spend some time hunting around YouTube.

However, you can also make use of Japanese music or even talk radio even if you don’t understand the words.  At the very least, you are getting the sound of the language in your ears, and that’s not a bad thing.

Tonight, I have Japanese homework to do:

Verb plain form そうです (which is not to be confused with verb masu form そうです ‘cause that’s a whole different thing)

And ようです which can apparently come after a verb, an adjective or a noun

And that’s it!

Which mean, I suspect, that there are complications and subtleties in these seemingly simple constructions, otherwise there would be more.

And, since I will have the house to myself this evening, talking to myself in Japanese, putting on a Japanese movie…Possibly となりのととろ one more time or maybe おもいでぽろぽろ which a friend recommended because it has a lot of every day Japanese.  (The advantage/difficulty of that particular DVD would be that I have never watched it before, so I should be totally lost and learn some stuff in equal measure.)

So, tonight at least, as close to immersion as I can get.




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