Saturday, May 25, 2013

Studying Japanese

I wanted to study Japanese in college--but never got around to it. It was probably one of my biggest mistakes from those four short years (of which there was no shortage). I enjoyed studying Korean, I occasionally still have nightmares about Mandarin Chinese, but I feel a distinct tinge of regret whenever I think about the opportunity I missed to get a good foundation in the Japanese language at the University of Washington.

In preparation to return to Japan next year, I recently made a commitment to myself to spend at least an hour each day studying Japanese. I own a copy of Rosetta Stone Japanese, and am hoping to finish at least one or two units a week.

There are several other great online resources for beginners studying Japanese, including the NHK's Japanese Lessons, the Japan Foundation's Erin's Challenge, and for the nostalgic Let's Learn Japanese starring Yan-San as he explores Japan in the early 1980's! Nihongo Master is a great way to learn and practice Hiragana and Katakana, they currently introduced a pay-wall for the majority of their content beyond learning basic reading, but they are still a good resource.

I also recommend the online dictionary Denshi Jisho, however, I often end up using the free dictionary program Tagaini Jisho instead since it doesn't require an internet connection. I hope that you will pray for me and encourage me to take time each day to study Japanese! If you know of any other good Japanese resources online or worth purchasing, let me know--I am potentially interested in picking up a copy of the Genki Japanese language learning books, which are a little more formal that what I have been using so far.

There is a lot to be said for old fashioned flash cards, reading children's books and watching Japanese YouTube videos. I hope to be at a level soon where I can start to appreciate some of the vast amount of resources available in Japanese online.

What resources have you found to be helpful?


Ian Smith said...

Celia Olson (OMF missionary in Hokkaido) replied on facebook: We heartily recommend James Heisig, Remembering the Kanji. I'm guessing you've already learned hiragana and katakana, but he's also written Remembering the Kana, in which he boasts that it is possible to learn both in 6 hours, and it worked... There's also a website, which has online flashcards to go along with Heisig's kanji method. For grammar and such, we used a series of books called Minna no nihongo, and we liked them because the textbooks themselves were entirely in Japanese, forcing us to think in Japanese from the beginning. There were companion grammar and vocab books in English for each book. For vocab aquisition, I would recommend Anki flashcards... but don't add too many at a time, since it gets overwhelming. You can find them if you search online. 頑張ってね。

Unknown said...

I knew a great place in Tokorokawa that would give a one hour lesson once a week for 100 yen. Not really helpful now though. The OMF missionaries also connected me with that place.