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Well... study group is a stretch :P

Since some people were asking, thread created!

Share your tips, frustrations, achievements, favorite apps, stories...

 

I'll start by saying that today was the mother's day festival from the japanese school and i was so sad when i had to take off the yukata :sadPooh:

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Aaaah it must be wonderful to have it on, though! How interesting, I don't think there's a single japanese school here in Italy. Or at least, in Rome. I know there's a Chinese school, but Japanese ain't that popular. 

 

Well, I'll just start off by quickly sharing my history with Japanese, and I would love to hear other people's stories as well!


Basically, I've been wanting to learn it since elementary school, when anime would be the only time I could spend having fun with my bigger sister, and we would watch them with English subtitles. I started learning Hiragana and Katakana, but would drop the studying because I couldn't take lessons, nor I knew anyone to help me, nor I could get any books anywhere. I re-started studying in my second year of high school, this time a little more serious. I downloaded Genki, an Integrated course in Elementary Japanese (and this is still the book I'm using now). But I had to stop after 3-4 months because I didn't have the motivation to study something like a third language alone while also studying for the musical high school. I was very chaotic and uncertain in my passions. I went from studying Arabic alphabet to study Braille to study Korean to study how to count in as many languages as I could remember (went up to 63, made a video on youtube, and from there I started forgetting).
Last year in August realized I wasn't able to be constant in my study because I was scared and I would discourage myself and, well, basically, mental illness would get in the way. Luckily, things started getting better around January, so it's been officially 5 months that I've been studying constantly by myself, and next year in September I'll start studying it officially with University.

 

As for the means of study: I have a book with all of the N5 kanji (that I haven't used much tho), I am halfway through Genki (I have almost finished the first book of grammar, though I have to do all the reviews of all the past lessons, and that's gonna take a while xD), and I have discovered the magical world of Wanikani. If you don't know what it is, oh my god, google it. It's the best memorizing kanji/vocabulary/radicals system I've ever come across. It costs very little after level 3 (which is where I'm at), but unfortunately I've been waiting to buy it, because of money shortage.
Similar to wanikani I've tried Anki, wth japanese deck cards, but I'd rather stick to wanikani.

 

I'm probably gonna fill this thread up whenever I need help for correcting my exercises. I apologize in advance (lol). 

Thank you for reading through all of this trash! :img_21:

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Puniyo   

I took Japanese level 1 to 3 in college but then they decided to NOT open level 4 because they said it wasn't useful here (heartbroken... :icare:)

 

I still remember most of the stuff but without practice, they kind of start to fade away.

 

For casual learners, including myself, who can't afford to spend as much time as I wished, I use this website --> http://www.linguti.com/

There are some glitches and sometimes it can be slow to load but it's quite fun and it teaches you the basics... at least I can practice my listening and typing skills... haha!

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I was studying Japanese and got up to N3 in about a year and a half when I began to be affected by a stupid rare medical condition. Mental exertion would make me crash and I had to abandon all my studies. All I could do was watch Japanese television in the hopes that I'd absorb something so that my efforts wouldn't have been wasted. I picked up a lot through TV including learning many new kanji without needing to study thanks to the colourful onscreen subtitles. I really recommend leaving a stream on in the background whenever you can. People complain about the dangers of picking up impolite and slang Japanese this way but I think most people are smart enough to read the mood and situation and understand what's what. I think it's also important to learn if you want to understand movies and books. I still have a hard time understanding the rolling r yakuza, though.

 

I also used Japanesepod101 a lot when I was studying which really helped with absorbing grammar but ultimately was too expensive to keep up. There's also a great website called Satori Reader which is incredibly useful but I haven't been using it for very long.

 

But the number one most useful tool which I have used everyday for years now is an iOS dictionary app called Imiwa. Unfortunately it's not available for android. It's the only reason I'm hanging on to my very old and very broken iPhone 5 instead of getting an android.

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surimi   

Oh dear, so far it looks like I am the biggest newbie around. :redface:

Level: complete and utter beginner! I have been learning as a self-learner since the beginning of April, and that was my first contact with the Japanese language. So far I've learned most of the hiragana sans about 7 signs, a few katakana signs and a few kanji (I can read them, but I doubt I could write them). As for my vocabulary, it's predictably very limited and very chaotic - making even the simplest sentence is a big challenge for me at the moment. I'm going to start attending a proper beginner course in July. Already looking forward to that!

By the way, @Murieleirum, is the Genki book good? The regular courses at the language school I've chosen use it, though not my short summer course.

 

At the moment, there are so many things that confuse me. I hope some native speakers and advanced students stop around here often, because I have several questions, and noone to ask them. Some of the things going through my head at the moment: do I say 'Nihon' or do I say 'Nippon'. Do I pronounce 'ei' as 'ei', or as 'ee'. Do I use the word 'ikura' for 'how many' when talking about how many grams of candy one wants. And I am frustrated that my books don't list word stress. Were it not for me having purchased Watanabe's linguistic study, I'd never even suspect it played such a big role! I mean, if I mix up the two 'hashi' words, it's pretty harmless, but I was creeped out to find out about 'seikou' - I really wouldn't want to wish someone lots of success and wish them, umm, other things instead. :shocked: At least I guess it's the stress that plays the key role there...

 

And what made me start learning? It was a combination of factors. Like many, I have long been fascinated by Japanese (and Chinese) culture, language, food, music, and the country and people in general (but not enough to seek it out purposefully, I have to admit). Add to that my fondness for FS that's been on the upsurge this last couple of years - and besides our dear Planet's icon, I have several other big favorites from Japan. Also, I am a little embarrassed to say I have been entertaining my family for years by immitating the pronunciation of Asian staff in local restaurants (in private, naturally!), and I've been told I have a knack for nailing the pronunciation. Finally, what gave me the last push I needed was a brief conversation about Japanese with Hydro, back in our previous home. It brought home to me that studying the language all the way to top levels was actually doable. So when I say she's an inspiration to me I am not exaggerating. I went to borrow the first self-study book the very next day!

And that's how I embarked on the Japanese study adventure. Not regretting it a bit. OK, maybe except for the moment of despair yesterday when I stumbled upon numerals for days in a month, and found them quite different from the basic numerals. If anyone managed to read all my ramblings observations all the way to here, thanks for reading! :flowers:

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23 hours ago, Puniyo said:

 

For casual learners, including myself, who can't afford to spend as much time as I wished, I use this website --> http://www.linguti.com/

There are some glitches and sometimes it can be slow to load but it's quite fun and it teaches you the basics... at least I can practice my listening and typing skills... haha!

 

Thank you for that link! That doesn't seem like a bad site at all! 

As for practicing, is watching Yuzuru's japanese interviews and documentaries 24/7 not enough? :rofl: Cause that's what I do. 
Well, I know it doesn't count as speaking and writing practice. Unfortunately, I think speaking is the biggest problem for us trying to learn Japanese outside of Japan, on our own.

 

22 hours ago, SparkleSalad said:

I was studying Japanese and got up to N3 in about a year and a half when I began to be affected by a stupid rare medical condition. Mental exertion would make me crash and I had to abandon all my studies. All I could do was watch Japanese television in the hopes that I'd absorb something so that my efforts wouldn't have been wasted. I picked up a lot through TV including learning many new kanji without needing to study thanks to the colourful onscreen subtitles. I really recommend leaving a stream on in the background whenever you can. People complain about the dangers of picking up impolite and slang Japanese this way but I think most people are smart enough to read the mood and situation and understand what's what. I think it's also important to learn if you want to understand movies and books. I still have a hard time understanding the rolling r yakuza, though.

 

I'm very curious: N3 seems like impressively high for just a year and a half, my compliments to you. Does N3 level allow you to listen to random japanese youtube/dailymotion videos (for example) and understand most of it? 
Since right now, I'm at the point where I 'get the mood' but get like 10% of content, I am very impatient to be at the point in which I will up my content comprehension and, for example, translate short, simple Japanese videos to my friends and family on the go.

39 minutes ago, surimi said:

By the way, @Murieleirum, is the Genki book good? The regular courses at the language school I've chosen use it, though not my short summer course.

 

I like it very much, I have to say. I think it's well done, I've heard it's used in multiple universities around the world, it's written by four people, three of which are natives. Plus, it was free to download. Yay! 
Ah, together with the two Genki books, if you're interested, there was also a Hiragana&Katakana handbook, with special memorization techniques. You just have to search for the torrent of "Genki Elementary Japanese" and you should find it (watch out for the pop-ups xD).

45 minutes ago, surimi said:

Some of the things going through my head at the moment: do I say 'Nihon' or do I say 'Nippon'. Do I pronounce 'ei' as 'ei', or as 'ee'.

I think it's the same, but I hear/read Nihon more often than Nippon. Thus, I use Nihon.
'Ei', like in せんせい (sensei), or like in とけい (tokei) is pronounced 'sensee' and 'tokee'. It's like the final 'i' is a prolungation of vowel, a prolungation of sound. 

 

 

By the way, yesterday I was beginning lesson 12 and the んです form. I found it incredibly hilarious. Because the book was like "So far, you learned how to state things. Now, you will learn the proper form to use when you are explaining things, giving a motivation etc." and I was like. "Oh, you mean so far I've learned how I will never say things since I'm ALWAYS EXPLAINING THINGS TO PEOPLE"

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Puniyo   
51 minutes ago, Murieleirum said:

 

Thank you for that link! That doesn't seem like a bad site at all! 

As for practicing, is watching Yuzuru's japanese interviews and documentaries 24/7 not enough? :rofl: Cause that's what I do. 
Well, I know it doesn't count as speaking and writing practice. Unfortunately, I think speaking is the biggest problem for us trying to learn Japanese outside of Japan, on our own.

 

The website is nice and the exercises are good for memorizing. It takes some time though to go over one lesson... haha! 

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1 hour ago, Murieleirum said:

I'm very curious: N3 seems like impressively high for just a year and a half, my compliments to you. Does N3 level allow you to listen to random japanese youtube/dailymotion videos (for example) and understand most of it? 
Since right now, I'm at the point where I 'get the mood' but get like 10% of content, I am very impatient to be at the point in which I will up my content comprehension and, for example, translate short, simple Japanese videos to my friends and family on the go.

 

I didn't study in a group or at university but had a one hour private lesson a week. They did call me the shinkansen for how fast I got through the books. Taking a private lesson allows you to go as quickly as you can manage as you're not tied to a set curriculum or stuck going at the pace of this slowest student in the class. The downside was I wasn't as good on my feet with conversation because I didn't have that chance to chat with other people. But during the period when I was bedridden, I would just watch Japanese TV wherever possible and that helped my conversational skills a lot. Repeating every sentence after you hear it is good, too. The back and forth can be lightning fast but your brain gets better and better at keeping up this way. Of course, speaking with humans is the most ideal way of learning but if you don't have that chance then this is an ok substitute.

 

The school used Minna no Nihongo which is completely in Japanese and fantastic for increasing your reading comprehension though a bit of a pain to try to jump back into without the accompanying Grammar and Translation volumes which have the explanations in English. The video lessons are hilarious. I recommend it just for the hairdresser scenario lesson.

 

My grammar has suffered a lot from not studying for awhile but I did play around with subtitling some short clips from Japanese variety shows here and there to share with my family, though it was too exhausting for me to keep it up. I'd also watched a lot of Japanese TV with my family and would translate as as much as I could for them as we were watching. The biggest obstacle for that was just vocabulary. For instance, I have no prior interest in sport so watching Japanese figure skating videos isn't as easy for me. 

 

I don't think i could have done this at んです level (very beginning of 2nd book in MNN, I think) but by the end of that book you probably will be able to translate short videos!

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Puniyo   
4 minutes ago, SparkleSalad said:

The school used Minna no Nihongo which is completely in Japanese and fantastic for increasing your reading comprehension though a bit of a pain to try to jump back into without the accompanying Grammar and Translation volumes which have the explanations in English. The video lessons are hilarious. I recommend it just for the hairdresser scenario lesson.

 

The video lessons!! I remember these... we used to laugh so much when we watched them in class. I remember to introduction/greetings one (first lesson or so) was so awkward... :rofl:

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1 minute ago, Puniyo said:

 

The video lessons!! I remember these... we used to laugh so much when we watched them in class. I remember to introduction/greetings one (first lesson or so) was so awkward... :rofl:

 

I actually lost a good 10 minutes of class time because my teacher went into a massive laughing fit and couldn't pull herself together after she saw the haircut they gave the actress. XD

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Puniyo   
9 minutes ago, SparkleSalad said:

 

I actually lost a good 10 minutes of class time because my teacher went into a massive laughing fit and couldn't pull herself together after she saw the haircut they gave the actress. XD

My teacher actually made us act like the people in the video each time he showed us. Needless to say, our classes turned into a comedy show :rofl:

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43 minutes ago, SparkleSalad said:

The school used Minna no Nihongo which is completely in Japanese and fantastic for increasing your reading comprehension though a bit of a pain to try to jump back into without the accompanying Grammar and Translation volumes which have the explanations in English. The video lessons are hilarious. I recommend it just for the hairdresser scenario lesson.

 

I will search for this book! I love hilarious lessons. 

44 minutes ago, SparkleSalad said:

Repeating every sentence after you hear it is good, too. The back and forth can be lightning fast but your brain gets better and better at keeping up this way.

Yes, I definitely agree and I try to do it as much as I can. In anime, more than real life tv show, because yeah, they're usually too fast. When I was little I saw the same episodes many times, so I had the phrases stuck in my mind and I didn't even know what they meant. Only recently, I've thought back on this phrases and realized: hey, I know what that means now! 

 

It's one of the few satisfactions I'm beginning to have.

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14 minutes ago, Murieleirum said:

 

I will search for this book! I love hilarious lessons. 

Yes, I definitely agree and I try to do it as much as I can. In anime, more than real life tv show, because yeah, they're usually too fast. When I was little I saw the same episodes many times, so I had the phrases stuck in my mind and I didn't even know what they meant. Only recently, I've thought back on this phrases and realized: hey, I know what that means now! 

 

It's one of the few satisfactions I'm beginning to have.

 

Another tip I remembered! Try to find an asadora (morning drama) you like to watch. They're about 10 minutes each episode which is a really managable length for studying. Watch the episode first with subtitles then over until you can hear every word spoken without assistance, even if you don't quite understand every word. Great for listening comprehension without being bored stiff.

 

I really enjoyed Gegege no Nyobo which is a semi-fictionalised biography of the wife of manga author Shigeru Mizuki. The only downside is that a lot of these shows have a second function as promotions for regional culture so they often lay the local dialect on thick.

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I've searched for good tv shows, but never thought of looking for asadora! Any other title recommendation is welcomed! :space:

 

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Puniyo   

Instead of drama, I used to watch a lot of variety shows. I was (I still am, but they ended it after 20+ years :sad-smiley-046:) a huge fan of SMAPxSMAP. They were extremely funny and had wonderful cooking corners so I learnt a lot of Japanese from them. Also, I basically devoured every single drama from Kimura Takuya :embSwan:

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