Let me know, what are your best ways for learning and memorizing effectively? And for those who are fluent in Japanese, I would love to hear your advice and thoughts on it!
(spoken by a true procrastinator)
For me, the Japanese language is like an exclusive, unreachable hot guy (think Hugh Jackman)… You have an urge to reach out for it, you’re willing to do the hard work, pretend you like sports, make your boobs bigger, you’re fully invested and yet, the hot guy continues to be as distant as ever. This is how I feel about Japanese.
When I first stared learning, I was happy and buzzing with confidence. I learned a few simple sentences, then a few basic grammar rules, some new words, 10 kanji and thought “Yay, this is easy!“. Yup! As easy as performing surgery on a bumble bee!
After 8 months of buying textbooks, scribbling kanji and talking to myself in Japanese I can happily say I know nothing and I’m proud of it. The first step to learning Japanese is to admit defeat right from the start. Admit it’s going to suck, admit you’re going to suck and keep at it, until you bleed out kanji characters from your eyeballs! Reach for the hot guy, even though there is a big chance he might turn you down.
With this said, I must mention one more thing as well. Even though it’s hard, it’s not that hard! If I have to count all the hours I have put into studying Japanese, they’re not very much, but I’ve learned so many things – which if placed into the whole picture amount to nothing – but still, it’s progress! It’s surprising how much I’ve learned, while still being a lazy fuck. Basically my whole study routine can be summarized into this:
(I have no idea what I’m doing)
Bulgarian language has a fairly similar pronunciation as the Japanese one, so I didn’t have much difficulties with it. But listening gives insight on a lot more. When I was a little potato, I used to stay glued to the TV, devouring every English cartoon show. I didn’t understand anything, but after months of constant exposure to English, you start to pick up things. You recognize meaning of words, you make connections and you remember them way more easily, instead of just reading them from a textbook.
I do watch anime now, but I watch adult anime (not hentai), which means there are lots of technical terms and くそ! So it’s not helping very much. A good place to start it watching movies. But a favorite of mine is listening to Japanese radio talk shows. There’s nothing better than drinking your coffee to the sounds of Japanese screaming: “Dozo yoroshiku onegai shimasu!!!!!!“
I found lots of Japanese entertainment and news shows on this site. Most of them, you can listen directly through the site. My all time favorite is Day Catch, it puts my mind to ease…
Japanese movies I really liked:
Actual Keit question:
-What were those adjective thingies, when you glue a くて form to them and they turn into other adjective thingies???
Yes, I’m super smart… That’s why I need reading, so after the millionth time I encounter a “te” form sentence, my brain would think: “Heeeeey, wait a minute, I see a pattern here!“. Stupid brain…
The White Rabbit Press flashcards deck is enormously helpful, for studying Kanji at home. I got mine second hand, but you can find them on their site as well. I keep my cards in a little box from Ikea, so my cats don’t pee on them. (sigh) Best thing about the deck is they give you 6 words composed of a particular kanji, which does miracles to my degenerated brain!
One way to practice kanji is learning the stroke order and writing them a thousand times. This didn’t help me that much and after the 150th kanji I was already overwhelmed and started to mess them up. Memorizing the radicals is a great step too, but not life saving. I suck at memorizing, so again, reading comes to the rescue!
There are many sites out there, which use furigana (they write the hiragana reading of the kanji as well as the kanji), but I prefer to read without their help. It’s much more painful and depressing, but worth it. I found out a lot of people are using Japanese Children Stories, but I didn’t like them at all. The stories were boring, repetitive and there were barely any kanji. So I searched for blogs and I found two awesome ones: Japanese Teachers Blog & Nippon Talk. I usually proceed like this:
- Read the text without furigana
- Read the text with furigana
- Understand nothing!!!
- Read the translation
- Read the Japanese text again.
If I want to practice just kanji, if say, I’m in our crime-scene looking subway or waiting at the bus stop with crazy people, I use the phone app Ja Sensei. It’s free and it has an awesome kanji list with all the meanings, you can practice writing them and quiz yourself as well.