My Story Learning Japanese
I came to Japanese after developing an interest in manga and anime in around 2018. I started studying in 2019, initially just with Duolingo, to see how I felt about the language. I soon decided to get more serious about it and began to buy some books and check out resources online.
All my Japanese learning has been through self-study. I was making good progress, but then I also took up Korean, and with split time my improvement really slowed. My Korean has now advanced further than my Japanese, but I think that is partly because my Korean study has been more organised, while I have flitted here and there with Japanese, taking a lot of grammar notes but not getting much else done.
At present, I am working through a couple of textbook series. Mostly it's revision at this stage, but I hope soon to 'catch up' with my current knowledge and begin making progress again. I do monthly conversation lessons on iTalki to practice speaking, I am trying to get in some reading practice, as well as some writing on Journaly, and I listen to beginner-intermediate podcasts in Japanese several times a week.
I spoke more about my journey with Japanese learning in this video.
ResourcesThe following resources are ones I've found useful.
Please note that I am not receiving any incentive to recommend any of these resources. Nor can I say they will suit every learner, as everyone's learning style is different. I am sharing only my personal experiences with these assets and cannot guarantee they will benefit everyone.
Basic Japanese Grammar - This is the first textbook I bought when I started learning and I found it a really useful resource in the early days, as it covers all the beginner grammar elements clearly and concisely and it's easy to search within if you quickly need to check something.
Japanese Short Stories for Beginners - This is a fun collection of stories that are suitable for the indicated level. They offer a second beginners' volume, too, and also an intermediate volume.
Japanese Stories for Language Learners - Unlike the Korean version of this book, which starts at beginner level and works up to intermediate, the stories in this volume are really for a more intermediate-level reader. At my level, I can just about manage, but I need to refer to the notes and English versions a bit more than I would like.
Parallel Text Short Stories in Japanese - I bought this book, but at present it's still a little advanced for me. I skimmed through it but relied a lot on the English version. I liked the stories, though, so I plan to come back to this book once my Japanese is a little more advanced, to try again with more focus on the Japanese text.
|Japanese Ammo with Misa is one of the first Japanese channels I followed when I started learning. Her grammar videos are always easy to understand and she takes time to explain things and give plenty of examples.
|Japanese with Shun is the perfect channel for beginners. Shun's podcasts and vlogs cover a range of interesting topics and most are at a beginner to low-intermediate level, only occasionally dipping into something more advanced when he does interviews. You can listen to the podcasts on YouTube or other forums like Google Podcasts.
|Miku Real Japanese is another good channel for beginner and intermediate learners. She mixes things up between useful grammar lessons, cultural vlogs and interviews.
|Japanese by Chunking offers some well-presented, quick videos on different grammar forms from JLPT5 to JLPT2.
|The Japanese Page has a wide variety of content, but my favourite videos to watch there come from the Nihongo no Tane podcast series, which is excellent listening practice for high-beginner and intermediate students.
|Comprehensible Japanese provides videos for beginner learners. They are presented only in Japanese, but accompanying illustrations and images help to explain what is being said.
|Nihongo Life is a slightly different style of channel with a focus on grammar and vocabulary. I mainly watch the Sentence Builder videos, where you are given words mixed up on the screen and you have 10 seconds to order them in your mind into a correct sentence. It's a good challenge.
|Learn Japanese with Noriko is a podcast/vlog aimed at intermediate-level learners and above. I listen to them a bit, but I currently understand only around 50-60% depending on the topic. I'm saving them more for later study as I improve.
|Yuyu Nihongo Podcast is another podcast/vlog series presented for higher-level learners. The added Japanese subtitles assist, but you still probably need to be at least intermediate level to make the most out of it.
|Onomappu is a fun channel. It started out specialising in onomatopoeia, but it also includes a lot of fun comedy focused on explaining nuances of Japanese culture.
|Dogen is known for his amazing lessons on Japanese pitch accent. He has a paid series on this, but even the free content on his channel is useful. He also does short comedy sketches in Japanese.
Easy Japanese - A podcast aimed at learners at a high-beginner level. They generally run for 10-15 minutes.
Everyday Japanese - This is a slightly more advanced podcast than some of the others listed here and it's probably more suitable for learners at an intermediate level.
Nihongo con Teppei - A long-running podcast suitable for beginners. Each episode is general only about five minutes long, making it easy to listen to on a commute etc.
Sakura Tips - A sweet little podcast suitable for beginners. If listening via the website (linked) you can also see the transcript for the episode. Each episode is a compact 5 minutes.
Mochifika Slow Japanese - Slowly spoken Japanese podcast on a range of topics, suitable for high beginner and above.
Tofugo - A mix of episodes on grammar and culture.
I follow a number of Japanese language-learning accounts on Instagram. Here are a few I find useful:
I have used/am using the following websites in my studies