Learning Japanese Tips!

Day 1

はじめました 猫ニク よろしくお願いします

Follow my journey to learning Japanese here. Although this says Day 1, I have been learning for a while now, Learning the Hiragana and Katakana was easy (comparatively), but Kanji and understanding the meaning behind the words I can read is proving to be a challenge!

I first went to Japan about two years ago, not knowing anything about the language apart from a few obvious words. I’m going for a month this time in September, and I hope by then I will know a lot more! – Click here to see some photos from my last visit! –

I read on a blog one time that the most important thing to know before you start learning a language is to know your motivation for doing so, it really does help. For me is is being able to read and understand the games I picked up, It would open up a whole new world of gaming to me if I could understand the language. There’s so many games I want to play that have never been translated and probably never will be. Of course it will also help when I visit the country in the future too! So make sure you have your goal in mind while you learn!

So many Japan exclusives! One day I will be able to play and understand them!

For those of you who are just beginning this journey, I will share some tips for learning the hiragana and Katakana.

Tip 1: 

The best thing I found for memorising the shapes and sounds is to picture them as objects. The more you can relate to it or if it is a strong image, the better it will stick in your mind. Don’t worry about having silly thoughts behind some of them, just use whatever comes to mind! Take Ma for example, I picture this one as a baby with four arms shouting MaMa! ま

Tip 2:

Get an app or print out a list. Then copy them while noting their sounds as you do so, that way you can match seeing the shape to the sound it makes, Japanese is a phonetic language so you can (nearly) always be sure how a word is pronounced just by looking at it! I’m sure there are lots of exceptions but I haven’t come across any yet… Try to pay attention to the stroke order when you write them down too, it’s not completely necessary but it does help and will make your writing look more natural. 

My apps of choice, iKana I especially recommend because it lets you do…

Tip 3:

Practise by using the Speed test and Romaji replacement test.

So for example, in this image you would click on the Hiragana for ho, which is ほ as well as showing understanding of the sounds, it also gives you a bit of context with the phrases.

Here’s some of my notebooks full of kana scribbles. Theres many more lying around…

Katakana can be learned in the same way, although I found this a little harder due to the shapes all looking so similar! Thankfully some of them look similar to their Hiragana counterparts so those ones are easy to remember at least! Take Ki or Ka for example. きキ・かカ

After memorising all this, I had no idea where to focus next and kind of gave up for a while. 

I was lucky a few weeks ago to bump into someone who happened to know a Japanese teacher, She gave me his number and after a short phone conversation, I had my first lesson booked!

I will be having lessons each Wednesday and using this blog to write down what I learned, mostly as a way for me to try and remember the content, but also to share it with everyone else! After all, the best way of making sure you understand something is to teach it to someone else, So look forward to that each Wednesday!

Thanks for reading so far, Hopefully having this blog will help me stay motivated. Feel free to leave comments of encouragement! or shout at me if I haven’t posted in a while! 


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