Learn japanese tips

Carry a notebook

This Japanese tip might seem like an obvious tip but it is important. If you hear a word that you don’t know, take a few seconds to write it down and then review it at the end of the day. After a week, you may have a whole list to learn. Review those words over and over and incorporate them into your conversations or studies. After all, there is a reason you heard it in the first place, and it’s most likely because it’s commonly used in daily conversation.

Change it up!

As we’ve written here, there are many different ways to study the Japanese language, and if you find yourself getting tired of one platform, just switch to another to keep it exciting, fun and fresh. Don’t forget to take breaks, you don’t want to burn out.

As much as you can, speak Japanese

Do not be shy or afraid of making mistakes. You are studying the language and no one expects you to be perfect straight away, so speak Japanese and allow others to correct you if you make a mistake. Also, speaking Japanese more frequently will get you more comfortable with the language and studying it will be easier. This is an important Japanese tip for you!

Set a goal

It’s easy to lose track of your studies if you just wing it. Instead, set a daily goal of anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour of Japanese language studies everyday, depending on your schedule. Or, if you’re using textbooks, set a goal relative to the number of pages or chapters in a textbook.

Consult foreigners who speak Japanese

This might be a strange Japanese tip to you. Well, Japanese teachers may teach by the book, but that’s not necessarily the best way to learn. Foreigners who speak Japanese, especially those who speak the same language as you, may be able to better explain Japanese grammar in relation to the language they share with you.

Forget about kanji… for now.

Start with hiragana and katakana. These two sets of alphabets will help you speak and listen to Japanese better. Besides, unless you’re studying Japanese for a paper examination or to work in an office, learning to write kanji is quite redundant as you’ll most likely be typing on your phone or computer which will automatically turn the alphabets into kanji for you. You will rarely be writing kanji by hand.

Start with common words and phrases

If you aren’t studying Japanese in a classroom and you have full reign over your own curriculum, start with words and phrases that you commonly use in your own language. Alongside the typical “My name is [name] and I’m from [country], and I am a [occupation]”, learn how to say “I’m going to the toilet”, “I want [something]”, “I’m getting another drink”, or “I don’t need a plastic bag” (The first few phrases I learned in Italian were “I want a beer” and “I’m drunk”). You may use these phrases a lot in your daily and social life and repeating them in Japanese over and over, with a few variations, will help you grasp both verbs and nouns better. This Japanese tip will help you improve quickly and effectively.

Ready For Some Serious Japanese Speaking Practice?

Lindie Botes is a brave woman: “My tips are quite odd and daring but they work for me. I use a phone application called Saito San (also known as “Mr and Mrs Smith”) to literally phone random people. It connects you via a phone call to someone in Japan. Through this I force myself to practice conversational Japanese and put myself in a situation where I can't use English. After all, immersion and speaking the language is how a child learns to speak, right?” See a video of her trying out this app here.

Learn Key Japanese Phrases

Learn phrases to keep the conversation in Japanese during a language exchange. You could do a lot worse than this list, courtesy of guidetojapanese.org. Alternatively, check out my guide to the 73 basic Japanese phrases you'll need to survive your first conversation with a native speaker. And if you're still looking for a native speaker to talk to, discover how to find a language partner in Japan.

Take Time To Find The Japanese Tutor That's Right For You

Benny describes his recent experience looking for a tutor on iTalki.com: “Another thing I've been doing this week is alternating between different teachers on iTalki to decide who I would learn the most with. Sometimes they use way too much English, despite me insisting on Japanese, and if they keep it up then I don't request future sessions. One or two teachers showed good initiative and themselves were insisting on Japanese only before I could mention that I'd prefer this, so I'll be sticking with them, even though (and precisely because) those are the sessions that absolutely exhaust me the most.” Benny's got very specific criteria for choosing a tutor. What would be yours?