Guide to Self-Studying Japanese

A large proportion of Japanese learners self-study. Finding places to learn Japanese in a classroom environment can be difficult and expensive. Here’s a guide on how you can learn Japanese for free and from the comfort of your sofa.

When learning Japanese, the most important step is to learn Hiragana and Katakana, the writing alphabets of Japanese.

The best way I’ve found to do that is to make flashcards. Make sure you practice writing as well as recognizing them, this will not only be a great skill to have but will also reinforce the shapes in your mind.


[Hiragana 42], the best guide I’ve found to learn the Hiragana (in a day!)
[Hiranana and Katakana Quiz Site]
[Kana Invaders Game]
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Kana….

The next step is to start learning vocabulary. Where can you find what to learn? Use a site like Memrise to find word lists (for example, there is a word list for all the vocabulary in starter textbooks like Genki), and use the amazing interface to learn them and keep them in your long term memory.


[Memrise] as mentioned above to find and learn vocabulary lists.
[Most Common Words List]
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Vocabulary….

While encountering vocabulary, you’re likely to be coming across super-complicated-looking Kanji. You can learn Kanji through Memrise as above, but there are some other websites that may be of interest.


[Kanji Damage] A great site where you can learn Kanji through mnemonics.
[WaniKani] by the same people who make TextFugu can help you learn Kanji from scratch.
[Anki] An amazing program that will make sure you never forget any Kanji….

The next step is to apply that new vocabulary to grammar points and start making sentences.

If you can’t get your hands on textbooks like Genki, don’t fear! There are a lot of great online grammar resources.


[TextFugu] a highly rated ‘online textbook’ which will guide you right from the beginning of learning Japanese.
[Guide to Japanese] another online textbook with a lot of grammar points and excellent explanations.

So you probably started to learn Japanese because you have some interest in Japanese media. Time to start using it to your advantage!

Aside from the obvious watching Anime, J-dramas and films, why not try Reading Japanese News? Watching Japanese TV? Just make sure you are making these activities productive - note down new vocabulary, add them to Anki, and keep learning! It’s much easier to learn things you’re interested in.

The most important but difficult part of self-studying Japanese is getting your own compositions checked. Utilize all that grammar and vocabulary and write a short piece, it could be a diary entry or a short essay. Get it recorded for you by a native on RhinoSpike, and checked for grammar and consistencies on Lang-8.These sites also give you the chance to connect with Japanese natives, and perhaps start up some language exchanges!

For more resources, take a look at my Ultimate Resources List

Any more tips? Please submit them here!

boredomsrepercussions answered your question: 雑誌:CanCamの「カレの本性を垣間見た瞬間!」衝撃★告白集

Does it mean:

Ah! Sorry. It seems as if you were cut off before being able to finish your sentence. =( 

ecclemon answered your question雑誌:CanCamの「カレの本性を垣間見た瞬間!」衝撃★告白集

Haha! It means her boyfriend is a bit of twit :p

Ha ha, true! I don’t know why someone would bother to say that in the first place, if they don’t really want to do it. It’s just an unnecessary hassle. But I found it quite funny to picture the moment all the same. =D

nadinenihongo replied to your photo英語学習:Alice in Wonderland (ふしぎの国のアリス) Here is the…

This is really cool! Do you know any other series’ like this?

The same person has made videos with old public domain films here.

Including the Wizard of Oz, Charade (starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant), etc.

Actually, they have a website, which might be better? As the script is written down below in Japanese, English and with the vocab.! If it doesn’t come up straight away, click “英和対訳(単語・熟語訳付)" below the video you’re watching.

Lingocracy : Build Vocabulary Through Having Fun

A lot of people messaged me saying that they wanted a way to build vocabulary. Others asked for more reading material. Here’s the solution to both! I love this website. Read on to find out why and how it can help you learn Japanese.

What is Lingocracy?

Lingocracy is a relatively new website where you can learn vocabulary through reading passages of text in your desired language. For Japanese there are a few examples already up online, but you are also welcome to add your own - simply copy and paste the URL into the site and it will Lingocracy-ize it for you.

How does Lingocracy Work?

After adding or finding an article, it is presented to you as below with the words underlined. By clicking a word you don’t know, it will change it to red. Hovering over it gives the definition. It remains red throughout the article, so as you come across it multiple times you will recognise it as one that you don’t know, but should know!

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There are also audio recordings for words so you can simultaneously work on your pronunciation and listening.

Lingocracy then arranges your learned and unlearned words into handy graphs which encourage progress.

How do I learn vocabulary through Lingocracy?

So you’ve found a bunch of words you don’t know in that pesky news article. Then, you use Lingocracy’s practice app to learn it for good! This is my favourite part of the site because it, unlike other services, makes you review vocabulary in the context of sentences. This helps solidify the words even more than seeing them standalone, and can also help with their definition.

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The interface is simple, clean and nice. It reminds me somewhat of Memrise but both sites offer a different style of learning. (Memrise doesn’t use sentences/texts).

What things can I read?

Another fantastic thing about Lingocracy is that you can add your own content. This means you can work through NHK Easy News articles in a really effective way using the practice section.

Lingocracy also offers a Chrome plugin where you can instantly import your web pages into the Lingocracy site.

Bad points

Since Lingocracy is relatively new, the Japanese section is limited. But there are some great things on there already for beginners, and the fact you can add your own content means you can get started with things that interest you straight away. The problem with this is sourcing that content outside of news websites - which may be difficult, especially for beginners.


Lingocracy brings together some features of other websites and a few new innovations of its own to round off a great learning resource. Although not great for absolute beginners, this is fantastic for those wishing to expand and keep track of their vocabulary that they learn while reading materials online.

Read Japanese Articles With Macaronics

A few followers asked for reading materials at an intermediate-higher intermediate level. If you’re moving past the point of the NHK Easy News series, it might be worth moving into proper news articles.

What is Macaronics?

Macaronics is a community powered service where native Japanese content is translated into English and vice versa. It gathers articles from the web and lets anyone provide translations, correct those translations, and learn from them, all for free.

How can I ensure the accuracy of other people’s translations?

Although the translations available may not be 100% accurate, “… translations are implicitly and explicitly voted on by others, resulting in the best translations rising to the top of each story (as the default view, accessible by anyone), as well as reputational recognition for the individuals involved.” *

How can I use Macaronics to study Japanese?

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If your Japanese is good or you fancy a challenge, have a go at translating sentences from articles from Eng-Jp or Jp-Eng. You can do this on a sentence-by-sentence basis, switching between articles, or have a go at the whole article yourself. Some articles may only be half translated, and you can finish them off.
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Alternatively, you can check other people’s translations and if you find a mistake or something that can be said in a more natural way, you can change it and clarify the translation. This means that translations are checked by several different users, so you can better guarantee the reliability of them.

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If you’re not so confident with your translation ability, you can still benefit greatly from the Macaronics service. Articles and translations are available to view freely by all members. You can view them sentence by sentence, turn on and off the parallel view (showing both Eng & Jp at the same time), and even download them as easy-view PDF’s (including kana-ization of the Kanji)

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Have a go at, either contributing, clarifying or just reading!

You want to read the news in Japanese, but you’re waiting ‘til you can read 1500 Kanji/15000 words/whatever else is the mythical level you need to be at…
Wait no more! NHK Easy News has current news written daily for lower intermediate levels of Japanese learners. Here’s how I use the daily articles to study. [Translations aren’t necessarily accurate!]

ARTICLE: ソチオリンピックの選手村がオープン[Link]

一回 (聞いて翻訳する)
[For the first time, listen and translate in your head.]
- Rate yourself on the difficulty of this.

二回 (聞いている間に、読む。それから、翻訳する):
[For the second time, while listening, read the script. Then, translate.


Sochi Olympic Athlete Village Open

The Sochi Olympics begin on the 7th of February. On the 30th, the ‘Athletes Village’ where participating athletes will stay was opened.


There are 3 athletes villages, and all are newly built. One is on the coast of the black sea. It is close to the stadium of the opening ceremony and the skating venue, among others.


The other two are located near the mountain with the Skiing venues, among others. There will be approximately 2000 athletes and others staying at these coastal athlete villages.


The head of the athletes village is pole vaulter Ms. Isinbayeva.


Ms. Isinbayeva  won consecutively in the Athens and Beijing Olympics.


On the 30th, at the celebratory ceremony, Isinbayeva cut the tape, and the Olympic village was opened.


Isinbayeva said, 'Because you can take a leisurely stroll alone here along the coast, I think that athletes are able to prepare quietly for their matches.“


The earliest Japanese athletes to arrive in Sochi will be the Speed Skaters, on the 30th. These athletes will prepare for their matches at the coastal athletes villages.

[Write a list of the new vocabulary you have learnt, and add them to Anki/your notes.]

開会式 opening ceremony
棒高跳び pole vault

benkyogo  asked:

Hey I was thinking of doing some Uni work using the 'My Home My Life'/other Radio Dramas, just wondering if there was a place where you found the transcript for these or whether you made it yourself? (and if so where can I find them? ;))

Nice! I’m interested to hear more about what you’re going to be doing. =D

I only have a transcript for “My Home, My Life”, sorry, because they were posted alongside the podcasts (ha ha, no way I could make them by myself, unfortunately!!). Although, the webpage for them has been taken down now, and so only the podcasts themselves remain, it seems. =\

Sorry about that! I think you could possibly make a script yourself from “泣きたいときのクスリ” though, as the vocabulary is not too hard, etc. =)