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Your Personal Japanese Language Resource Recommendations?

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I'm half-Japanese, half-British, however have not learned a lot of the language. I have had brief stints in Japan where I attended a language school, however I still can't form coherent sentences. I have now finished high school in the UK and will be spending 6 months or so in Osaka/Kyoto (setting off in September). I would like to self study up until I leave as well as carry on that independent study when I'm in Japan.

What resources/books did you find useful or would recommend to someone who is at a beginner-level in Japanese? Anything you can think of will be incredibly helpful! Thank you!
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
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What resources have you been using and what efforts have you made in the eight months since you first told us about your upcoming visit?
 
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How long did you attend that language school? Couldn't have been very much if you can't form a coherent sentence after a couple of weeks. Or is it that you aspire to say things far more complex than what is reasonable at your current level? That is, what do you want to be able to say, and how much actual training have you had?
 

achan222

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Here's what i found helpful when i'm in Tokyo.

There's alot of meetup groups, where there's native Japanese speakers who actually volunteer their time to practice Japanese with you...they are bilingual with English, so its perfect if you are starting out learning Japanese.

The key to getting good in speaking japanese, is just practice...this is the group i usually go to...which I think is very helpful...plus its free...which is the best part.

The Tokyo Learn, Practice, and Improve Your Japanese Meetup (Tokyo)- Meetup

hope this helps !
 

Mike Cash

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As the others imply you need to be more specific to get helpful answers. What grammar do you know? How much can you read? Do you have a native speaker (your parent?) around to help you? How much money are you willing to spend? Since technically "oishii!" is a coherent and grammatical sentence in Japanese, you probably can actually form some sentences...

You can always go to your local/university library to check for free resources. I do believe that the structure of a textbook can be really beneficial for self-study. I can't recommend a book without knowing your level though and "beginner" is too vague.

Basically my method when I was learning intensively and as cheaply as possible was a) go through at least one chapter of a textbook a week, making notes by hand b) brute force learning of kanji by copying them and their readings out (no one has yet convinced me their super-special memorisation technique is better) c) text chat with native speakers on LINE d) flashcards whenever bored or waiting for the bus e) watch a load of Japanese films and TV dramas with subtitles

I don't claim my method is the best or anything, but it does work.
 
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What resources have you been using and what efforts have you made in the eight months since you first told us about your upcoming visit?
Sorry for the late reply! Those 8 months have been dedicated to my highschool exams (which lead to my university place). There has been no space for me to begin language learning as I do very intense subjects. I have been working part-time to fund my trip and have organised various parts of my trip (i.e. work, accomodation, language school etc...). I created this post straight after my final exam. I'm looking mainly to find books or online (free) services to self-study until I begin my language school course. The aim is to mainly increase vocabulary and fix as many grammatical issues that I have in my sentences. My pronunciation is said to be good as I have had a lot of contact with the language from an early age, so that's not really a focus. I'm mainly aiming to learn words/phrases in bulk.

Thanks Mike!
 
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How long did you attend that language school? Couldn't have been very much if you can't form a coherent sentence after a couple of weeks. Or is it that you aspire to say things far more complex than what is reasonable at your current level? That is, what do you want to be able to say, and how much actual training have you had?
Sorry for the late reply! The language school was for a mere 2 weeks sadly, however I had stayed with my Japanese grandparents for 2 weeks prior and picked up various phrases (as well as resurfaced words which I recalled from my childhood). The course was more of an introduction in to Japanese. A lot of the stuff I knew, but because I have never had any formal training and only learned by ear as a young boy, it was useful in finding the fundamentals which I sadly missed out on due to that. I replied to Mike Cash with this to give an idea of what I need to work on: "I'm looking mainly to find books or online (free) services to self-study until I begin my language school course. The aim is to mainly increase vocabulary and fix as many grammatical issues that I have in my sentences. My pronunciation is said to be good as I have had a lot of contact with the language from an early age, so that's not really a focus. I'm mainly aiming to learn words/phrases in bulk".
 
Joined
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As the others imply you need to be more specific to get helpful answers. What grammar do you know? How much can you read? Do you have a native speaker (your parent?) around to help you? How much money are you willing to spend? Since technically "oishii!" is a coherent and grammatical sentence in Japanese, you probably can actually form some sentences...

You can always go to your local/university library to check for free resources. I do believe that the structure of a textbook can be really beneficial for self-study. I can't recommend a book without knowing your level though and "beginner" is too vague.

Basically my method when I was learning intensively and as cheaply as possible was a) go through at least one chapter of a textbook a week, making notes by hand b) brute force learning of kanji by copying them and their readings out (no one has yet convinced me their super-special memorisation technique is better) c) text chat with native speakers on LINE d) flashcards whenever bored or waiting for the bus e) watch a load of Japanese films and TV dramas with subtitles

I don't claim my method is the best or anything, but it does work.
Sorry for the late reply! Yeah what you suggested is great! Thank you so much!
Here's the reply I gave to Mike Cash about what I was aiming to learn: "I'm looking mainly to find books or online (free) services to self-study until I begin my language school course. The aim is to mainly increase vocabulary and fix as many grammatical issues that I have in my sentences. My pronunciation is said to be good as I have had a lot of contact with the language from an early age, so that's not really a focus. I'm mainly aiming to learn words/phrases in bulk".
When I talk about coherent sentences, the main thing is the coherent part. I often put the words in the wrong order (however I've become better at understanding how the sentences are structured based on subtitles Japanese shows, as you said). I will definitely do everything that you suggested! When you talk about the textbook, do you have any recommendations? I'm willing to spend however much is necessary on a good textbook. The reason I am coming to the forum is because I feel that a lot of the sites suggesting good books have some sort of financial gain involved (even if it's only small). This seems like the best place to find geniune and helpful options.
I have a lot of Japanese friends (from when I went to a Japanese primary school once a year for 2-3 weeks periods). I'm still in contact with a lot of them, however I have been using translation services to have conversations, usually just to save time. I think I'll work on trying to learn as I do that. It could be very useful I think.
Thanks again for your advice!! :D
 
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I will definitely do everything that you suggested! When you talk about the textbook, do you have any recommendations? I'm willing to spend however much is necessary on a good textbook.
I should say first there is no textbook that I really love and can wholeheartedly recommend. All the ones I've tried have significant shortcomings and they definitely need to be supplemented with practical use - watching TV or chatting with natives or reading longer texts.

If you're still shaky on basic grammar then the Genki 2 book may be good for you. Maybe you can find some of the content online to check if it's about your level or too simple.

Or if you can work out your approximate JLPT level, you might find the "soumatome" books useful. They are focussed on specific skills. I used the reading comprehension one to prepare for N2 and it helped generally improve my reading of more formal texts (as opposed to text chat with friends).

Minna no Nihongo is popular and I like that it uses a lot of kanji right away, but I do not recommend it for self-study because it has virtually no explanations of grammar points.

When it comes to apps I use the "JLPT words" flashcards for vocab (free) and for practice writing kanji I use "Kanji Sempai" (costs a bit for the writing features). Obviously many others are available.
 
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