Welcome to the Japanese FAQ. This is probably the most complete Japanese FAQ you can find anywhere.
Due to the FAQ becoming ridiculously long, it can be hard to quickly find what you want. In that case, use the search bar or Ctrl+F.
Why this FAQ was made¶
This FAQ aims to assist you with your self study. When it comes to learning Japanese, it is almost inevitable that you will often wonder about a lot of things. I’m not going to always be here to help you out, so I might as well dump all my knowledge here. I am sure your question will be answered in this FAQ. If not, ask it in the Discord Server
How do I learn Japanese?¶
Through massive amounts of input, in other words immersion. See the guide for more info.
Can you teach me Japanese?¶
No. I can’t teach you Japanese. No one can. You need to learn it yourself. Read my guide to get started.
Where can I find a Japanese language tutor?¶
You don’t need one. Why? Because you can self study. Anyone can self study. It is not as hard as you think. It will actually be easier since you can go at your own pace and study with what you like such as anime. I think tutors/teachers will slow you down.
When will I be fluent?¶
It heavily depends on your method (how you are learning Japanese) and how long you spend learning Japanese per day.
You say listen and read, but what should I listen to and read?¶
Raw anime, untranslated manga, light novels and visual novels. Unsubbed J-drama, Unsubbed Japanese Movies. In other words… NATIVE CONTENT: CONTENT MADE BY NATIVES, FOR NATIVES
Hey shoui, so I know the method you describe is better than what I’m doing right now but can you please give me permission to carry on doing my own method?¶
Don’t care. It’s your Japanese, not mine.
Best anki settings???¶
I don’t know. But I use Mary's with 10 cards per day. [Link]
When should I start using Anki?¶
You can start to use Anki whenever you want actually, you can even learn the kana with it. However I recommend you start using Anki when you already have a grasp of the kana and basic grammar, after that you can download and start working on the Tango Anki decks. (Mining comes after)
When (what time of day) should I do Anki?¶
I recommend doing Anki the first thing in the morning. (As early as possible)
How long should I spend on Anki?¶
No more than 1 hour per day. Prioritise immersion time, not flashcards. They are only a supplement to your immersion. I spend about 25 minutes with Anki.
And I study about 500 cards per day, Not anymore, I reset my Anki. Your format may vary the amount of time you spend. Personally I just use AnimeCards.
About grammar, should I do Tae Kim or Cure Dolly? Pls answer¶
Who cares. Just do whatever. (Cure Dolly is better in my humble opinion ;))
What JLPT are you shoui¶
The JLPT is a dumb test and it should never be used to measure Japanese ability. To answer your question: better than you.
My JLPT N2 friend told me.... Blah blah blah blah¶
Try to be more vigilant when it comes to taking advice from people. N2 is a pretty poor level.
My JLPT N2 friend studied with a lot of textbooks and he is good!¶
You don’t know Japanese so you wouldn’t know if he’s good or not. He might as well be saying BS and due to your lack of Japanese knowledge you just take it as “wow he’s a genius”, “wow u know so much”. This is known as the fluency illusion.
Easiest anime/manga/light novel/visual novel?¶
Mitsuboshi Colors/Yotsubato!/GJ bu/Hanahira
this may be inaccurate, but usually what the average DJT'er will consoom.
How to study kanji?¶
By reading. Just read, look up words. If you can read the words in their kanji in this sentence: そして起死回生の閃きを得たのは唯我部長だった。then you “know” the kanji. If you look up the words and then remember them then you'll know more kanji, well done.
How much kanji are used in Japanese?¶
The 常用 (Jouyou, kanji required to be taught in the Japanese school curriculum) kanji list has 2136 kanji. But don’t let this fool you. Approximately 3000 kanji are used in Japanese, outside of newspapers and JLPT/learner oriented material. Don’t worry too much about how much kanji are used in Japanese. I literally only think about how much kanji are used when I write guides and FAQs such as this one, it’s pretty irrelevant. You should just read.
How do I look up words easier on webpages?¶
Yomichan. You can find it on the Chrome Web Store or whatever Firefox uses. Load dictionaries into it and hover over text while holding the Shift key. I went into more detail in Yomichan Guide , so check that out.
How do I look up words easier in manga?¶
KanjiTomo. Just hover your mouse over the word. Works 90% of the time. If not then just write the word in Google Translate, there’s a handwriting feature for Japanese. It will recognise what you wrote no matter how sloppy you wrote it, it’s honestly great. - the detection, not the translation! After that look up the word in a dictionary.
How do I look up words?¶
How to learn Japanese slang monolingually? Most J-J dictionaries don’t have slang¶
Using my yomichan dictionaries.
Is it useful learning kanji radicals?¶
You don’t need them but if kanji still look like scribbles to you after months of reading, then you might want to search “KangXi Radicals” on Google and just look at them, hopefully that will help.
I have extreme difficulty remembering a certain word/kanji (outside of SRS)¶
Read more. Listen more. You don’t need to believe me if you don’t want to but you will eventually remember it with more immersion. I kept on forgetting 蝸牛[かたつむり] no matter how much times I looked it up, or so I thought. After about my 80th look-up I was able to remember it. So yeah. Or you could make an Anki card for it…
I am trying to learn grammar but I keep on forgetting the grammar points and I don’t understand the grammar points.¶
Try to rethink your approach to grammar. You need to immerse while following a grammar guide. Recommended grammar guides are Tae Kim and Cure Dolly. You can find these in Resources. Listen more. Read more.
Is remembering the kanji form of words usually written in kana useful? For example 蒟蒻 is the kanji form of コンニャク¶
Best dictionary for first-time monolingual users?¶
There is no single dictionary I can point to and say it's the best. Every dictionary has their weak points and strong points. Use every dictionary together. If you’re interested in my order of dictionaries in Yomichan, you can find that at Monolingual Guide
I don’t understand this sentence even though I know all the words.¶
Just forget about it for now. Listen more. Read more. It will come to you soon.
When I’m listening I don’t understand but when I looked at the subtitles/transcript I actually knew the words, why is this?¶
You need to listen more. Stop using subtitles.
When I’m reading I don’t understand, and I even looked up the words…¶
Increase reading speed???¶
Can I use Japanese music to learn Japanese?¶
By just listening to it? No. What you can do is look at the lyric sheet and look up the words.
But they don’t speak like real life in anime though?¶
I am going to immerse with J-drama instead because they don’t talk real life in anime.¶
Cool. it depends on the j-drama though, if it is unrealistic fiction (e.g. Ikebukuro West Gate Park) then it will be as unnatural as anime, if it's realistic fiction (e.g. Nigeru wa Haji da ga Yaku ni Tatsu) then it will be pretty close to real life Japanese.
I want to be able to understand anime without subtitles, will your guide work?¶
I want to be able to speak with natives naturally, will your guide work?¶
Will reading the AJATT, MIA and AntiMoon site be useful?¶
Kinda. 80% of the stuff on AJATT is trash, a lot of what's on MIA is about its Anki addons, but there are some helpful things on there. And honestly I don't even know about AntiMoon. The site is enough for most people.
How long should I immerse per day?¶
As much as you can. The more Japanese you do, the more gains you get.
This method seems too hardcore for me…¶
That’s ok. You don’t need to do it if you don’t want to. It's your loss though...
Why do you make it seem like your method is the only way to learn Japanese?¶
I don’t. That’s just what you’re thinking. The method I talk about is just more effective than more widely spread methods. Please prove me wrong. I won’t change my argument until you can convince me otherwise. I believe most widespread methods don’t help people achieve, nor give proper pointers on how to achieve the one thing everyone wants to achieve: fluency. How many people have said, “I want to watch anime without subtitles xD”? Countless amounts of people. Regular textbook and early output based methods do not help learners watch anime without subtitles no matter how many years they study. The method I talk about does. You learn with anime. You learn with what made you want to learn in the first place. That’s why I say it’s the “best method”.
shoui what’s your immersion setup?¶
Laptop and video player
When is hiragana, katakana and kanji used?¶
Go learn with immersion. Please note that the usages of these are not consistent. So I can’t really say for sure. Hiragana is used for words not written in kanji (such as こと which also has a kanji form 事), whatever sticks out at the end of a verb (e.g. 味わう, 掛ける. 怯む), things like “だろう, でしょう”, particles (such as を、の、は、に、が、で etc.), someone's name (like ゆみ, this can also be in kanji too because like I said it’s not consistent). Katakana is mainly used for foreign/imported words such as コミュニケーション (communication from English), レントゲン (Röntgen from German), オブラート (oblaat from Dutch). But katakana is used in 擬音語 (giongo, onomatopoeic word). There are a lot of these in Japanese. But not all giongo are written in katakana, things like あっさり are almost always in hiragana, things like ゴワゴワ are more likely to be in katakana. A change in nuance perhaps? Katakana can also be used for foreign names. Kanji is used when it is used. Yes. Kanji is used when it’s used. I recommend you just learn the usages through immersion. I have a picture in the guide about these writing systems too by the way.
Why is WaniKani bad?¶
It forces you to go in a specific order and at a specific pace. The SRS is poor and offers no customisation. You don’t learn with compelling content, instead you learn with whatever watered-down JSL stuff they throw in front of you. And it’s paid. Why would you pay to learn Japanese? It isn't a paid endeavour. I haven’t spent a penny on Japanese. It's a glorified textbook. They put you through an RTK-style tedious 2000 kanji learning process, only that they add readings to it, I guess the people over at Tofugu didn't realise learning readings in isolation is pretty much useless.
Learning is simple as it is. Don’t fall for pretty-UI learning programs such as WaniKani, they just want your money when in fact they are just selling a low quality product.
Fluentcards/Videobook looks bad. Please help.¶
Animebook. UPDATE: You can use MPV instead
How many words do I need to know to understand EVERYTHING?¶
Around 30k. You may think, but uh with 2k I can understand 80%? Yeah but it gets very steep after that. 10k is around 98%, 20k is around 99% and 30k is like 99.9% because I can’t guarantee that you can understand 100% with 30k. But it is definitely a good number to aim for. I don't understand everything in English so is it really worth the endeavour? That is your decision.
Why are Core decks bad? Should I do Core decks?¶
They aren't bad... it's just... The frequency lists the Core decks are based on are very low quality. So you aren’t even learning “core” words. It is also much more difficult than Tango.
HUH? NO FURIGANA? THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO READ THEN!!!¶
Furigana has never been necessary and relying on it only holds you back becoming able to read fluently. You should learn how to function without it. In my opinion furigana is pretty useless apart from when it's on names.
What’s better Tango N5+N4 or Core2k/3k?¶
Doesn’t matter as long as you get onto mining straight after you completed them.
I don’t have that green + button like you do in Yomichan¶
Setup AnkiConnect. https://foosoft.net/projects/anki-connect/ Make sure you also have a proper card type and have filled in the fields correctly.
Should I follow JLPT lists?¶
No, the JLPT is very restrictive. Just learn what you come across in your immersion. Are you learning Japanese to pass an exam lmfao?
I'm not ready for watching anime or anything without subtitles yet... that's for like, advanced learners like JLPー NO.¶
Wrong. It’s never too early to watch anime without subtitles. You need to watch anime without subtitles to get good at it anyway.
If you wish to make actual gains in Japanese, I suggest you stop using Reddit completely.
I don’t have time to learn Japanese¶
You may have more time than you think you do to learn Japanese. Stop playing video games. Stop going on Reddit. Wake up early. Do your Anki reps in the morning. Stop talking on Discord. Stop consuming content in English. Or if you really don’t have any time and it isn’t just you saying “I’d rather spend my time doing other things.” then just try to squeeze in even the smallest amount of Japanese into your day, it won’t be much but “barely any Japanese” is better than “no Japanese”
I am immersing late at night, is this bad?¶
It is bad. Please don’t immerse when you’re supposed to be sleeping, you’re only reducing your immersion quality.
This sentence in the Tango N5 deck…¶
Uhh this sentence in the TanGo N5 AnKi Deck says Blah Blah BlaBla but this word means BlahBlaBlah Blah so wouldn’t it mean BlaBlah Blah Blahh???? WHAT???? No. I know exactly what’s happening to you. You’re taking Tango’s translation as literal. Tango’s translations are not literal, you don’t even need the translation, they do nothing but confuse you into thinking BlahBlah Bla hhBlah means BlahhBlahhBlaBla!!? Maybe you did Tango N5 before you followed a grammar guide? Maybe Tango N5 sucks? I don’t know. Here’s my advice to you→ 1. Follow a grammar guide (Cure Dolly, Tae Kim) - I’m not sure what drugs Nukemarine is on but I don’t know why he thinks the Tango decks are a suitable replacement for a grammar guide. 2. The translations are not literal, they are pretty bad from a learning perspective, I have no idea why such a decision was made. It is best if you use no translation or a literal translation at best. You’re not learning English, also who says “The class is from 7 am” in real life??
UMM... I HEAR G SOUND BUT SOUND LIKE N OR GNNGNGGNGGN WHY???¶
I am actively immersing, you say just pay attention to what they’re saying, can you go into more detail?¶
It depends on your comprehension I guess. If you’re below 40%, just listen out for what words you can pickout, try to guess the meaning of phrases, try to like, listen to the sounds. When you’re at like 80% comprehension, pay attention to the plot of the anime and try to just get the meaning of sentences but not necessarily how it was said specifically e.g. what form a verb was in. For example if you came across the sentence 俺を誰だと思っている, you would know the message the sentence is trying to send but you wouldn’t pay attention to the particle を being used because you don’t need to to understand the overall meaning of the sentence. When you get about 90%+ comprehension, pay attention to the form; how the sentence is expressed, before you may not have payed attention to the には in あなたには関係ありません but now you should. Also pay attention to what specific words are used to express specific ideas in specific situations.
Will re-watching shows I have already immersed with be useful?¶
Yes but once you get bored, switch!
Can I get fluent with only 1 hour of immersion?¶
No. It will take you 10 years to even get close.
Is Genki worth it?¶
In my humble opinion, no. Genki is not worth your time. Genki is inferior to the free resources I’m giving you such as Tae Kim and Cure Dolly. Genki is also not meant to be used for self study, it needs at least 2 people and 1 Japanese teacher in the room. You need someone who knows what they’re doing (e.g. a Japanese teacher) in the room because if you just do it alone you will be heavily misguided. Ridiculous. I also think Genki explains things poorly, they basically teach English but force Japanese into it.
Should I do RTK (Remembering the Kanji)?¶
If you find kanji to be scribbles after months of reading then sure.
Can you tell me what this kanji is?¶
Just write it in Google Translate handwriting feature, it will detect it no matter how sloppy you wrote it. Then copy it into a dictionary such as jisho.org and then you’ll get your answer.
I can’t read kanji yet…¶
I absolutely hate it when people say “I can’t read kanji”. People that say this have no idea what they’re talking about. You mean, “words”; you can’t “read the words”? If you mean that then just look up the words then. If you can’t read this sentence “爆発が起こった刹那”, then DON’T say, “I can’t read the kanji”, say “I can’t read the words”. If you can’t “read kanji” then learn how to; by learning how to read. That’s just it, just learn how to read.
How do I learn how to read?¶
By looking up the words. Look at the Japanese sentence I gave above. Chances are you don’t know 刹那. Copy it into a dictionary or use Yomichan, it will show you the reading (せつな) and the meaning (きわめて短い時間)(if you are learning it bilingually it might be moment; instant). Congratulations you now know how to read more Japanese.
Hey shoui I found a cool site and it has so much grammar on it it’s called…¶
No. I know what you’re talking about. Your site uses a jank JLPT grammar list. Do not follow JLPT grammar lists. They will do nothing but confuse you. There is a reason why I only list 2 grammar guides (Tae Kim, Cure Dolly). JLPT Grammar is literally just words. Not grammar, but words. Like 90% of it is just words. You can learn all that "grammar" from anime. AVOID: japanesetest4you, wasabijpn, jlptsensei, bunpro and other similar sites.
How do you learn how to write Japanese?¶
Before you do this, try to think if learning how to write Japanese is even useful or not. For most people, not so much, but if you want to live in Japan you will probably need to depend on writing Japanese. To others it may just be a passion learning how to write kanji. In this day and age you can just type Japanese on a computer or on your phone, so it is not essential. Now to learn how to write: Just write a lot. Make sure you have a good setup. Here’s what I recommend: Genkouyoushi Paper (you can also use notebooks that have Genkouyoushi Paper) and Sarasa Clip pen. Just practice writing while looking at the stroke order for characters. Repetition. There’s no hack to get around it. You may have thought, “RTK”, but you are still doing repetition with RTK.
It's been a few months of learning. Why does it feel like nothing is clicking?¶
I think you need to up your active immersion. Make sure you are grading your Anki cards correctly. Make sure you are ACTIVELY immersing, not passive, ACTIVE immersion. Maybe you should go over Cure Dolly/Tae Kim again. If it’s been a few months learning then learn how to read manga, I think all of this will really help you. If you feel demotivated try to watch the first thing you immersed with, so you can see how much more you can understand now versus when you first watched it. Look at your Anki stats, so you can see how much you have actually learned.
I don't understand anything when immersing. Why is that? How long will it take for me to understand what I'm listening to?**¶
That’s cause you haven’t listened and read enough. Try looking up words you hear clearly enough. It will only take a few months of listening+looking up+japanese subtitles+anki to understand 80% of your immersion. That 20% is still the actual important details so you will still have a long way to go tho. Hang in there.
I'm trying to translate Japanese into English while immersing. Is this wrong?¶
Yes. But as a beginner it is hard to not translate to English. Try to use your willpower to try and not translate, overtime it will just go away and you will understand and think about Japanese you hear, in Japanese.
How often should I study and for how long?¶
Try to study everyday, so it will eventually become a habit. I don’t even need to think to open up Anki, click my deck and then click “Study Now”. It’s all inertia to me. Try to study as long as you can. If you have free time, try to use it for Japanese.
What are the requirements for reading Japanese? How long will it take for me to get there?¶
Like legit reading manga and books? You can start reading Japanese after some listening immersion. How much? Let’s just say, 6 hours everyday for a month. Around 180 hours? Around 40 12 episode anime? Or maybe even less? After that you can get into reading.
At what point do you begin learning how to read kanji?¶
What is good immersion material for beginners?¶
Most anime. Pretty much every slice of life anime. But don’t restrict yourself to just slice of life anime. Some things are surprisingly incredibly good for beginners such as Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer). Just find what interests you. You just need to immerse with whatever interests you because that makes it fun.
I have no idea how to start making decks and memorizing kanji. What do I do?¶
Making decks - Just follow the animecards.site guide. Memorizing kanji - Just do reading practice, and make cards if you wish.
How does you mine, shoui?¶
How many new cards per day?¶
Just do 10. If you feel like it is too less, do 15 or 20. Please bear in mind that the more new cards you do, the more reviews you’ll get.
Mining Mentality: When to mine (add to Anki) or just to look up and carry on?¶
Hey look, I’m not even gonna go into this because I think if you just do what I do, you won’t worry about things like this. Here’s what I do. The only things I mine are from anime I have already seen, or from books I’ve already read. The point is that if you’re looking up, you will remember about maybe half of what you looked up, I can’t say for sure though. So you go back to the content you just watched/read and mine whatever you didn’t remember. I’ve been doing this for nearly 6 months and it has worked great for me, and I think it will do for you too.
How many cards do you make per day?¶
One anime episode worth of cards per day. I mine anime I have already watched. When I run out of new cards I mine another episode to stock up on more cards to learn. I also mine books I’ve already read. I add 20 cards to review for the next day.
When is Kun-yomi and On-yomi used?¶
Wait, wait, wait. Stop right there. Get everything you know about kanji out of your head because it’s probably horribly misguided. Done? Good. Forget Kun and On and just read. I’ve never worried about these On’s and Kun’s in my entire life. It’s ridiculous and almost sad seeing people struggle because they have such a terrible misunderstanding of it. Learn words, then you will know all these On’s and Kun’s. Just read and remember words how they are, for example in this sentence: “造化の巧み”, look up the words and remember them. Screw On and Kun why is there even the distinction, it just confuses you. Yes I know in the sentence the first word is “onyomi” and the second is “kunyomi” but who cares? The problem is people get into such a conundrum over "kun vs on" due to poor explanation and communication from classes, textbooks and Japanese learning courses. It is honestly very sad. Next question.
Are mnemonics for kana, kanji and words and such good?¶
W-what should I do when I come across a kanji I don’t know?¶
You mean a WORD you don’t know?? Look it up. If you don’t remember it then that’s ok. Chances are you will see it in your immersion again, and that will be your chance to remember it
What should I do when I come across a word I don’t know (in reading)?¶
See above. This is a better worded question than above.
What should I do when I come across a word I don’t know (in listening)?¶
It largely depends on how many words in the sentence you don’t know. If it has 2 words you don’t know, you can choose to look up one of the words. If it has 1 word you don’t know, definitely look it up. - This is a “low hanging fruit”. If any more than 2 words, don’t look up if you want to guarantee you remember them.
But can't I learn Japanese by focusing on the audio while using the English subs as a guide?¶
What if I can't find anything I enjoy immersing with?¶
Keep on looking. Keeeep on looking. Try a lot of anime, hey, maybe it gets more interesting in later episodes? Maybe switch to J-drama? Or Japanese YouTube? For example, I finished Bakemonogatari (the light novel) in 3 days because I was HOOKED onto it. I found it really interesting and thus I wanted to finish it. I haven’t done this with any other book before.
Can I use romanji?¶
First of all, it’s romaji not romanji. And second, no. Don’t use romaji. Learn the kana as quickly as you can.
Kana or Romaji input method (IME)?¶
For your PC, definitely romaji input. For your phone, then kana input. No questions asked.
Should I use Japanese subs?¶
I might have already answered this but… not always. Only in the beginning. Split your time up between watching raw and in Japanese subs. The reason you need to watch raw is so you get the best accent in the end.
How much should I balance my listening and reading?¶
I think, when you’re at the stage where you can go on to reading without messing up your accent, you should read more than you listen. Why is this? Well, reading is probably the best way I currently know of to increase your vocabulary. These new vocabulary you acquired can easily transfer to your listening. Most of my vocabulary is what I learned from reading. There’s about a 90% chance you will hear these new words in the next anime you watch. It happens every time. Learned 滑稽 from reading one day, heard it in the anime I watched the next. I cannot think of any exception. Reading is a powerful tool. But don’t slack on the listening! That’s still very important. But, I can admit that reading for long hours is harder than listening for long hours so even if your reading hours are a little shorter than your listening hours (e.g. 4 listening hours 2.5 reading hours), you are still making some serious gains. Don’t see this as an excuse to slack reading though.
Should I study other languages along with Japanese?¶
If you don’t want to get remotely good at any of the languages, then ok. But if you want to get good at Japanese, then don’t study any other languages while studying Japanese.
I am learning Japanese with (n) textbook, is it bad?¶
Yes. Please follow the Japanese Guide and reconsider your approach to learning.
Is X textbook better than Y textbook?¶
Both bad. Follow my guide.
Learn the basics of pitch accent, either from Dogen's course or the NHK Accent Dictionary so that you can learn how to hear it in your input, so you can acquire it naturally.
I don’t want to believe anything you’re saying and I would rather stick with what I’m doing if that’s okay with you?¶
Where to find anime for learning Japanese?¶
Check out nyaa.si, anime-raws list, Crunchyroll and animelon in Resources If you have money check out Netflix. Crunchyroll is free but with ads. You can turn off subs on desktop but not on mobile. I’ve heard VRV works but it’s blocked in my region \;(
Where to find j-drama for learning Japanese?¶
Check out nyaa.si, rakuten viki, the j-drama google drive folder in the Resources. Chinese streaming sites seem to also have a lot of Chinese sub j-dramas, so you can use them if you can’t speak/read Chinese.
If you have money check out Netflix and Hulu JP. If you’re lucky enough to be on AvistaZ private tracker then you have access to just about any J-drama you like.
If you ask me (shoui) nicely I can find something on AvistaZ for you. I won't. My ratio on AvistaZ is ass right now and I don't want to download stuff I'm not going to watch
Where to find manga for learning Japanese?¶
Check out nyaa.si and itazuraneko in If you have money you can buy digital manga from Amazon JP.
Where to find light novels for learning Japanese?¶
Itazuraneko. If you have money you can buy digital light novels from Amazon JP.
Where to find visual novels for learning Japanese?¶
(listed in Resources) itazuraneko, nblog, ryuublogger, (sukebei)nyaa.si. If you have money you can buy visual novels from Steam. If you are lucky enough to be on AnimeBytes private tracker then you have access to just about any visual novel you like. If you ask me (shoui) nicely I can find something on AnimeBytes for you. No seriously, I will. Just make sure it isn't already on the free resources available to you.
How to text-hook visual novels?¶
How do I switch from traditional methods to your method?¶
You probably have a stupid flashcard deck on some stupid SRS that probably isn’t Anki. Even if you used Anki you were probably using some stupid pre-made deck. You are halfway through your second Genki textbook or whatever. You paid for Memrise Premium. You have a WaniKani subscription. LingoDeer lured you into buying their premium too. What should you do? Screw them. Cancel your premium subscriptions. Learning Japanese is completely FREE and I can guarantee you that. Delete your old stupid decks. You may worry that you may forget everything you’ve learned, but you won’t. You won’t forget everything. Stop using the textbook, return it or something. You may also have HelloTalk friends. Well let me tell you the truth about HelloTalk friends: they don't even care about you. They just want to practice English with you, not Japanese. If you ask them to correct you they will probably block you, so they’re just stopping any chance of you ever improving. So forget about them, why even bother? Speaking practice doesn't really mean much without immersion anyway. Now, it may be different what you gotta do depending on how good you are. If you haven’t gotten that far (e.g. can’t understand like 50% of anime yet) then just follow the New Japanese Guide from the beginning, if you already know kana, you don’t need to re-learn them. Watch the Cure Dolly grammar guide. Setup Anki, import the Tango N4+N5/Core3k decks and work through them. Immerse everyday. If you’re a so-called “intermediate” then just get to mining with AnimeCards straight away. Immerse everyday. There is no way you got to an “advanced” level or even close using a bad method so I’ll end this here.
How to deal with words with multiple meanings?¶
The answer is simple. You already know you should learn words in context and in sentences. The context+sentence is almost always enough for you to get which definition fits. If not, try a monolingual dictionary. I came across けんかを吹っ掛ける, 吹っ掛ける has 3 definitions listed in the Daijirin. The second one had the same example けんかを— so I was able to figure it out. （２）相手の困るようなことをしかける。「けんかを―・ける」「議論を―・ける」. If you can’t figure it out then just learn whatever. If you come across a usage of a word different to the one you learned, you don’t need to make a card for it, it will be easy to just learn this new usage.
How to deal with words with multiple readings?¶
If it has furigana on top, learn it with that reading. If it’s from anime, learn it with the reading they pronounce it with. If there is no furigana and audio then try using https://furigana.info/, search for the word and it will show you the readings in order of commonness. If you can’t find out, then just learn whatever. If you come across a kana usage different to the one you learned, you don’t need to make a card for it, it will be easy to just learn this new usage.
So the JLPT is sh/t, so what “level” are each of the N’s?¶
Word count is words that have appeared in the entire history of these JLPT tests, words that appear in N5 may not appear in N4, for example. Words from N3 may also appear in N2 for example. Lower Beginner - N5 (657 words), N4 (632 words) Beginner - N3 (1798 words) Upper Beginner - N2 (1803 words) Lower Intermediate - N1 (3442 words) Ok, maybe I'm being a little harsh, but at the same time I think I'm being totally reasonable So how many unique words in total? 7702. So yeah, you need 7702 words to pass the JLPT N1. That was much less than I thought it would be. You can cry all you want over me saying N1 is lower intermediate, but once you reach this level like I did, you will realise that it is only the BEGINNING. Please note that common words found in Japanese are not in JLPT lists, so if you have 8000 AnimeCards lol you may not know all of the 7702 JLPT words.
Is it bad if I make a mistake when speaking?¶
No. As long as you are immersing everyday, don't worry about it! Is it bad? It depends how you see it. If you care what Japanese people may think, then it is not bad at all. Japanese people are very nice and kind and don't really care if you can't speak Japanese good. If you want your Japanese to be natural and "good", then you still don't need to worry about making mistakes, because making mistakes is not a problem as long as you are immersing everyday.
I can understand my immersion but I’m not fluent, what should I do?¶
You need more immersion. Pay attention to what they’re saying. This is literally what I struggle with by the way, but you literally just need more immersion and you’ll get good, believe me
は vs が¶
They are completely different. Cure Dolly has a good explanation of this, start with her first video. The first step to understanding the difference is not associating them with each other. And then immerse to deepen your understanding
Can I get by with just kana? Kanji is too hard.¶
Thoughts on immersing while sleeping?¶
Thoughts on kanji study apps?¶
No. JUST READ!!!!!!!!!
Will speaking a lot make me good?¶
Then how do you get good?¶
Through input. Primarily listening for learning how to speak naturally and reading for increasing your vocabulary. Speaking is not learning. Listening and reading is learning. You are not learning anything when you’re not immersing. Speaking is just the icing on the cake.
Should I pronounce out loud new words?¶
No, I don't recommend it. You can get by just by reading it in your head.
Should I read out loud the sentence in my sentence cards?¶
Nah you don't need to. Absolutely fine if you just read it in your head.
Thoughts on passive immersion?¶
It depends. If you can’t understand like 90% of your immersion yet then it won't get you gains. If you understand over 90% then you can make gains when you listen in on it every now and then, but much less efficient than active immersion overall. Edit: After talking with Matt vs. Japan, we settled that passive immersion is useful for getting used to spending time with your target language.
Thoughts on Duolingo, Busuu, LingoDeer, Memrise, Drops and other similar apps¶
Don’t even bother LMAO. Follow my guide for some real Japanese gains Link
These two words have the same meaning!!¶
They have the same English meaning. English is not the best language to express Japanese. Japanese is the best language to express Japanese. You need to use a J-J dictionary such as the 大辞林 to find out the difference. If you’re not good enough to read a J-J definition yet then don’t worry about it because you can also find out the difference through immersion.
Grading monolingual cards¶
Ah, this one is a classic. You just need to remember the gist of the definition. It is hard at first but you get better at it. If I put this in my SRS:
きょうかつ 【恐喝】 ―する 相手の弱みなどにつけ込んでおどしつけ、お金や品物を出させようとすること。 「―罪」 the gist I remember would be
弱い相手 おどしつける お金など 出させる, or something along those lines. If I put this in my SRS:
そう-だつ サウ―  【争奪】 （名）スル 自分のものにしようとして奪い合い争うこと。「天皇杯の―戦」 the gist I remember would be
自分のものにする 奪い合い, that would be enough to get the word.
You’re probably confused but trust me it is tricky at the beginning but overtime you get good at it.
Grading sentence cards¶
If you’re doing sentence cards then I’ll talk you through the review process. Let's think back to bilingual cards, how do you grade them? You should already know that the sentence that goes on the front is the thing you need to understand, and the on the back is the word along with its reading and definition is needed to understand the sentence. The process of reviewing sentence cards goes as follows: You read the sentence, reveal the backside of the card, read the definition that is on the back of the card, if the definition on the back made you understand the sentence better, then grade it as a Fail. If not, grade it as a Pass. In other words, you grade the card as a Pass if the extra information (the definition) on the card was not needed to comprehend the sentence. It’s basically the same for monolingual cards.
How to grade Tango cards?¶
You should already know that the sentence that goes on the front is the thing you need to understand, and the on the back is the word along with its reading and definition is needed to understand the sentence. The process of reviewing sentence cards goes as follows: You read the sentence, reveal the backside of the card, read the definition that is on the back of the card, if the definition on the back made you understand the sentence better, then grade it as a Fail. If not, grade it as a Pass. In other words, you grade the card as a Pass if the extra information (the definition) on the card was not needed to comprehend the sentence.
Why do you do AnimeCards over sentence cards?¶
I want to pass the JLPT N1. How long will that take me with your method?¶
Like if you listen for 6 hours every single day and read for 6 hours every single day, and do 40 cards in Anki per day then like nearly a year? JLPT N1 is not that good, you know.
I don’t want to use Anki. Is that fine?¶
Uh, there is no doubt that your progress will be inevitably slower than someone that does the exact same as you but uses Anki. I don’t think any amount of reading can circumvent using the SRS. If you hate using Anki, then try to use a different format. AnimeCards are quick and simple to make and review. I recommend them. I think you can still get very good without using Anki but think of it like this: the SRS shaves a good year off the amount of time it takes to get fluent ;) Of course, SRS doesn’t make you fluent, immersion does, but SRS is a supplement to your immersion. SRS makes your immersion more comprehensible, so you make the most gains.
How about using an all Japanese textbook such as “Minna no Nihongo”?¶
Don’t use Minna no nihongo lmao. If you’re asking this question you probably have a misunderstanding on how you learn grammar as a beginner. Your goal isn’t to learn grammar. Your goal is to acquire grammar. There is a limit to how much you can understand Japanese grammar even when it is explained to you when you haven’t acquired it yet. If I read Tae Kim I can see it in completely different eyes to what a beginner sees it in. Reading a guide written in English won’t have much of a difference than reading a guide written in (watered down) Japanese, because you’re a beginner. So you just need to read Tae Kim/watch Cure Dolly and then immerse to acquire grammar. I studied Japanese grammar after I acquired it, not before. And I used resources for natives such as 国語辞典’s. It’s just to give myself a metaunderstanding of the grammar I have already naturally acquired. I can do this with English too, but I don’t care enough to find out so.. Eh.
Hey shoui I found (x) Japanese course, is it good?¶
If I haven’t talked about it yet then probably no because I don’t want to talk about silly courses like JapanesePod101, Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, Assimil. All which have been proved to be utter ass. There is a good reason why I haven’t talked about it yet.
When should I put my PC/phone in Japanese?¶
You don’t need to but it definitely helps. Do it when you’re used to reading I guess.
Is (x) anime good for learning Japanese?¶
I only want to sentence mine from anime, is this fine?¶
I only want to sentence mine from books, is this fine?¶
Is learning how to understand dialects like Kansai-ben difficult?¶
The Intermediate Blues¶
(Intermediate= >N1) The Intermediate Blues. The Intermediate Plateau. Whatever you want to call it. This is the feeling of not feeling like you are improving, despite doing 40 Anki cards per day, speeding through your reviews, reading for 3 hours, listening for 6 hours. In fact, there is no plateau. It doesn’t exist. You are either improving (when u immerse) or getting worse (when u dont immerse). The Intermediate Blues are usually felt when you remember back when you were a beginner and you could feel your progress everyday, you don’t really get that same feeling as an intermediate learner. You are improving. Please note that you can understand like 80% of your immersion with like 2000 words. You can understand like 90% with 10,000. It just gets very steep. 20,000 you understand like 95%. 30,000 you may finally be close to the 100%. The feeling sucks, but you gotta keep going. What usually motivates is when I hear in an anime a word I learned the day before, it always gives me a motivation boost no matter what
Should I put Japanese names into Anki?¶
Yeah whatever, do it if you want to learn how to read Japanese names like in anime credits or something, otherwise I don’t see the point. It’s still a pretty neat skill to have though.
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