Before I started learning Japanese, I did a ton of research online to try and decide what the best method for learning Japanese is. Afterall, there are wayyyyy too many options. I speak a good amount of Spanish since I studied it through middle school and high school, but I still don’t know how to speak the language in the more casual sense that textbooks seem to avoid teaching.
Based on my experiences so far, I think the Japanese-learning resources that I’ve listed have been extremely helpful in getting me to the level that I’m at now (which is still the beginner level!). Once you learn how to read and write all of the Hiragana and Katakana comfortably, it feels amazing. At first, they might look like random squiggles and shapes, but pretty soon they become familiar and you’ll be surprised by how natural it starts to feel.
The key to mastering anything is practice. Although I’m constantly busy working and making music, I make sure to set aside time to review Japanese vocabulary and practice my writing skills. This is vital to the learning process because you probably aren’t being exposed to Japanese on a daily basis. In other words, you’ll start to forget a lot of information that you learn if you don’t focus and set goals. It’s fun at times and it’s stressful at times, but it’s always worth it.
- Japanese Pod 101 - This site is fantastic for practicing listening skills and learning plenty of useful phrases. The best part is that you can download audio files to play while you’re on the go. Whether you are a complete beginner or at the intermediate level, this is definitely something to check out.
- Human Japanese - I have this app on my computer and it’s amazing. This particular software is much more “human-like” compared to other learning tools because of how the lessons are written and explained. It’s essentially a textbook taught in a fun, interactive way.
- The Japanese Page - I first learned how to write Kana on this website. It’s a great start for beginners and I would recommend trying it out.
- Tae Kim’s Guide To Learning Japanese - For learning casual, practical Japanese, this has been my best friend. Not to mention, I’ve learned a ton of Kanji from this website too. It covers all sorts of vocabulary and grammar rules and it even includes some examples of typical Japanese conversations. Oh…and there’s NO Romaji at all!
- Anki - This download is a must. It’s a spaced repetition learning system that allows you to review all of the words and phrases that you’ve learned on a daily basis. Just input whatever new material you want and you’re able to rate the difficulty of each flash card that pops up, which determines how often they appear. This system helps you remember everything efficiently and I don’t know what I would do if I had to actually write everything down on paper. Thumbs up for technology!