Japanese: Where to Start

Learning Japanese is an endless journey and might seem overwhelming but sometimes all you need is to know where to start.

1. Get introduced to Japanese pronunciation with Romaji and then don't use them.

Romaji is essentially Latin letters used to write the Japanese words. And although you need to familiarize yourself with them at the initial stages, don't get used to them, as it will impair your ability to read in actual Japanese.

2. Learn Hiragana.

Learning Hiragana is like building the foundation for your house. Hiragana is used for the words of a Japanese origin. Although there are different mnemonic charts and techniques to memorize hiragana, I hate to say it but you have to write and probably write a lot.

3. Learn Katakana.

Katakana is an alphabet used for all the words of a foreign origin, and there are a lot of them in Japanese. Even though learning Katakana is a stepping stone, there is no other way than putting in the time.

4. Choose your textbook.

Choosing a textbook you can follow will give you structure and motivation to keep at studying. Consistency is key and you will get better results with shorter but more regular practice sessions rather than longer classes once a week.

5. Start learning simple Kanji

Kanji is a long game, as it takes quite a while for a non-Japanese speaker to master but it is not impossible once you know how to practice. Start with simple Kanji, set a reasonable goal and just keep at it.

Last but not least, find something that interests you about Japan. Learning the language is impossible without learning the culture and there is no better way to do it than exploring them both. So let's begin to learn Japanese!

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