New to Japanese - Help

Hi everyone,

I have decided I want to start learning Japanese but I have never learnt a language outside of Romance/Germanic family. So I was just wondering what your thoughts are on the best way to go about it? And if anyone has any resources that have been really effective for them that would be so helpful!

I know this question has probably been asked before but any help is really appreciated (I’m a native English speaker in the U.K. if that helps for tips and resources)


Some good tips and resources on Lots of good stuff there - take your time to explore it. Perhaps start with these two:


Thank you Ron! I’ll check them out.


Many years ago, I started learning Japanese through the Teach Yourself series book and accompanying CD. It’s great for learning basic sound structure and sentences. However, I didn’t get any kana and Kanji practice. My son was attending the local Japanese immersion school at the time and I wanted to be able to help him learn. I still currently study Japanese, but it’s not a priority, more of a curiosity. I would, for easy understanding, find some children’s programming for learning hiragana, katakana and Kanji. One neat trick, if you can create the phonemes in Spanish, you can create the phonemes in Japanese.


Yes, same here. Thank you for starting this thread!

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Same Kai! Thanks for starting this thread :blush:

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@PinAngel thank you for your help!

and @Zeina-AR-DE-FR-EN and @heatherk you’re welcome :slight_smile:


I’m learning Japanese at University and we used the Genki I and II in the beginning. I could also reccomend Japanese frrom Zero. Apps that I can reccomend are Bunpo (includes grammar), Lingo Deer and Drops for Vocabulary, Takoboto and jsho are great Dictionarys (but I prefer Takoboto as it also shows penji for kanji, and often has an example sentence and differnt forms), for kanji learning I can reccomend Kanji Study, kanji tree and color Kanji. Memrise is also always a good tool to use and it has the vocabulary and Kanji from the Genki Books.
Someone once recommended Wanikani but I don’t have experience with that…
Youtubers I only know Dogen, he is absolutely brilliant but you won’t be able to leaarn much as he mainly makes short sketches.
And finally, something my professor recommended: expose yourself to the language as often as you can, watch movies and animes, listen to the music, to the radio, to podcasts and so on. Even if you don’t understand a single word you will subconciously learn to recocnize patterns in the language which will then help you when learning new grammar structures…

Wow, that’s almost an essay now :joy:
But I hope this helps and if you have any questions or would like to know more abou an app I reccomended, feel free to contact me :relaxed:


I’d recommend to have at least one published textbook made by native speakers (like Genki) if possible because I sometimes find weird sentences in free materials on the internet. Also, Japanese in anime, films or TV series sometimes sounds very weird if you really speak like that in the real life, so if you want to use such materials, it’s better to confirm that the language in them doesn’t sound too weird.


Wow this is so helpful! Thank you!

Just a question, would you say you prefer Genki or Japanese from Zero? (I am a student so Im trying to be cautious of my money too aha)

Thank you, and I will keep that in mind when looking for new content to watch :).

Hmm… good question, I think it depends on what you prefer, Japanese from Zero is a bit slower but more engaging while Genki is more packed with information and practices and thus seems “dry”.
So I think maybe as a self learner Japanese from Zero might be a bit easier and more fun :thinking:
But both books are very popular and famous, I’m sure you can dind reviews on YouTube if you want to be really sure :blush:


NHK has a whole section of their website devoted to Japanese learning.

Once you learn Hiragana, Katakana and some basic Kanji, I really like their News Web Easy section… but get your Hiragana and Katakana down first (will take 2-3 weeks if you can focus on it).


Yep, I love watching Chinese and Korean martial arts costume dramas, but the language is not your everyday colloquial Chinese or Korean. :smiley:


I love NHK radio! :star_struck: - broadcasts in so many different languages - even Esperanto (@teddynee - did you know this? or at least they used to have Esperanto, can’t see it now: . This was before I discovered SBS


Did anyone else here use Minna no Nihongo? I hear genki mentioned a lot now, but I started with MNN. Anyone use both?!

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I’ve used both Minna no nihongo I and Genki I. I prefer Genki between the two.

Minna no nihongo is very much focused on business settings and not very up to date (talking about sending faxes, listening to CD, having proper documents for meetings, etc.) whereas Genki is more modern and talks about topic that will interest a younger audience (dating life, hobbies, meetings with friends, etc.).

I think that the only advantage of Minna no nihongo is that you can buy exercises books in many different languages whereas Genki is only available in English.

I plan on continuing with Genki II this year :slight_smile:

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Any Japanese learners have textbook recommendations besides Genki and Mina no Nihongo? I am using Genki II textbook and workbook together with N4 prep books. I wonder after Genki II, which textbooks are available besides MNN and JLPT books.

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I’m not using it personally, but Tobira is highly recommended for intermediate level.

I’m not sure if it works for you to learn Japanese, but just for information. When I finished learning the basic Korean grammar, I quit using normal textbooks and began to translate Japanese sentences into Korean because most of Japanese sentences can be literally translated into Korean. For this purpose I used a grammar book or internet sites where all important Korean particles/verb endings are showed with translation into Japanese. Doing this, I especially paid attention to the cases where literal translation doesn’t sound natural to learn the difference between Korean and Japanese. I think it’s still good to have a textbook because you can learn vocabulary, but actually you can also start to make many sentences in Japanese using the way of expression in Korean.