Learning Japanese Entry #1 Introduction

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Learning Japanese Entry #1

This is my first entry on learning Japanese. I have many more entries on the way as I progress through the language and hope to provide some useful advice that should make things more efficient for other learners.

I’ve been tracking my progress from the start and will be posting my first entries from a few months ago (hence the differences between dates of writing and the dates of upload). I’m currently about 3-4 months (at the time of this re-post I’m now at around 1 year and 4 months) into my Japanese studies and am primarily focusing on the AJATT method of approach. If you are unaware of AJATT, it is an immersion method that focuses mainly on input rather than output. The main 3 factors of the method are;

  • 1. 10000 hours of Japanese audio within 18 months
  • 2. Learn 10000 grammatically correct native sentences
  • 3. Surround yourself with Japanese material as much as you can

The combination of the three have allowed a lot of people to obtain native fluency in Japanese (and other languages) within 18 months of study (including the owner of the site, Khatz). That’s the basic outline of the method I am following. I will fill you in with more information about it as I go along as well.

Well that leads nicely on to this. My first entry that I made on notepad on the 8th of June 2015.

Pre-existing knowledge of the Language: Some words and basic phrases from anime, Jpop and Jvloggers such as こんにちは (Hello)、おはよう (Good morning)、ありがとう (Thank you) etc but no knowledge of hiragana, katakana, kanji, grammar, sentence structure etc.

“8th of June 2015: Binge watched language “hacking” videos such as the TedxTalks videos on fluency in 6 months and got inspired to start learning Japanese. Previously I somehow ended up watching Jvloggers before hand (I think one of them may have been related to anime in someway but I have no idea) and gradually became interested in Japanese culture. Started learning hiragana and katakana on memrise. I’m not going to lie it was a bit difficult to get these obscure characters memorised but I enjoyed the process so it didn’t bother me. I’ve gone over all of them so far and can write most of them from memory without having to look them up. So far so good!!”

I think what I might do is analyse each of these posts to show you what I did that was inefficient (for me) and what I did that was good (for me). Of course different approaches work for different people so don’t take my word on anything, try it yourself and if it works or doesn’t work, great! Your one step towards better learning either way.

Earlier I spoke about a method called AJATT which I highly recommend for the hardcore Japanese learners out there, well I guess it’s actually a lot easier than normal study, and more lazy, and more efficient, and gets you to fluency faster than any other method with as little work as possible, and… you get the idea. Highly recommended.

I also spoke briefly about using memrise, in the diary post, to learn hiragana and katakana. Although memrise is free and can be used for both writing systems it drags the testing process out for a much longer time than needed and makes the whole thing rather tiring/boring. To refrain from this I would suggest using an app called Dr. Moku’s mnemonics which I also used. The apps cost a few pounds but are well worth it as they really help you to remember each character. Alternatively you can grab yourself Anki or another free SRS and download a hiragana and katakana deck which will be just as efficient! In fact, I will be discussing similar methods for Kanji in future posts.

That’s it for this post, I will see you next time where I discuss how to learn Kana.


Click here for more information on learning Japanese


By Matthew Hawkins

Here are some of my favorite tools and sites for learning Japanese

Thank you for reading this blog post, which I hope you found useful for learning Japanese. Here are some of the most useful websites that I’ve found for finding Japanese content to use for immersion as well as some really useful learning tools to help you through your Japanese studies. Some of these are affiliate links which just means that if you decide to use these sites by clicking the following links, then I will earn a commission. But honestly speaking, these are the sites that I use and recommend language learners, even my friends, to use anyway.

Anki Tools: To get started, I really like Migaku for Anki. By itself, Anki is already a super useful tool for language learners but Migaku allows for integration with websites like YouTube and Netflix, allowing it’s users to create flashcards from the shows and videos that they are watching, as they are watching them. If you use my link you can get an extra month for free.

Speaking Practice: For this I absolutely love iTalki. There are thousands of Japanese teachers on the platform that are available at all times of the day to have conversations with you, in Japanese. Some teachers take a more traditional approach while others are just there to chat, these are the ones I would recommend if you are looking to improve your conversational Japanese. Lessons start from just $5 and there’s no long term commitment, I highly recommend them.

Immersion: I’ve used a lot of different earphones / headphones over the years but by far the one that has come out on top is the NENRENT S570. This is a singular in-ear earphone that matches your skin tone to keep it discrete, meaning you can listen to the language you are learning while at work, or school. For a full list of tools and gadgets I recommend for maximizing your immersion time, check out this blog post.

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