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Japanese Study Resources

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Textbooks

Genki I: Integrated Elementary Japanese Course

Genki is a series in 2 parts. Genki I is the first of these, and correlates to the N5 level of the JLPT. Supposedly, by the time you finish the coursework you should be well prepared to pass the N5. Each of Genki's 2 parts has a coordinated Workbook (sold separately) and Audio CDs (included with textbook). It is a comprehensive resource and is often used in college courses as well as for independent study. I highly recommend this series.

Advantages:

Very well-written for native English speakers.

Integrated coverage of kanji, vocabulary, and grammar.

Many examples of each point and notes of exceptions.

Many exercises, and even more in the Genki I Workbook.

Lots of audio included on the CDs.

Disadvantages:

It's not free.

You will probably want some other study materials alongside it, but you should do that anyways.

Genki II

Genki II is the second book in the Genki series, and continues on from where Genki I leaves off. It is every bit as thorough and informative as the first.

Syllabaries:

StickyStudy

StickyStudy is an iOS SRS-based solution for learning and memorizing hiragana and katakana. There is also a Kanji app, but I have not yet used it.

Advantages

Convenient - it goes everywhere your iPhone goes.

Effective - it uses the tried-and-true SRS method.

Examples - it has katakana example words for each character.

Disadvantages

No hiragana examples (although it makes sense).

No writing practice.

Appears to be iOS only - not Android/MS compatible.

Vocabulary & Kanji:

Anki

Anki is a cross-platform SRS flashcard system that is extremely popular and sets the standard for other flashcard based systems. It also has a browser-based interface for computers where you can't install the software. If you're studying seriously, you should be using Anki.

Advantages:

Customizable appearance, format, everything.

Powerful and lightweight.

Syncs between all of your devices automatically.

Free for Mac, PC, and Android.

Find and import "decks" (flashcard collections) online for free, or make your own.

You can include media (audio) files on the flashcards.

Disadvantages

The iOS version is expensive and not as well designed as the desktop versions (supposedly).

WaniKani

WaniKani (beta) is a browser-based system for learning kanji. The first two levels are free, but the later levels require a paid subscription. WaniKani helps you learn radicals, kanji, and some vocabulary.

Advantages:

Nice, clean interface.

Some vocabulary included.

Many audio pronunciations are included with the vocab, and more are in the works.

Currently ~1700 kanji are included.

Disadvantages:

It only trains Japanese -> English recall, and not English -> Japanese.

Because of this, it mostly only trains your reading ability.

Memrise

Memrise (beta) has been out for awhile and is another SRS alternative to Anki.

Advantages:

Clean, fun interface.

User-created content.

Visual mnemonics.

Lists for numerous languages and studies other than Japanese.

The Kore2k and Kore6k lists have been uploaded for use.

Disadvantages:

User created content means the quality is variable.

Grammar:

Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar

Tae Kim's Guide is barebones yet thorough. It is great to use for quick lessons on new grammar structures, as an outline for your studies, and as a refresher. Tae Kim also has a Complete Guide to Japanese on his site that I have not used, but the Grammar Guide is a gold standard for Japanese learners.

Advantages:

The guide is no-nonsense and to-the-point.

An extensive amount of grammar is covered.

The site has a forum for asking questions.

Disadvantages:

You will need to use other sources for examples and as supplemental instruction.

r/LearnJapanese

A subreddit dedicated to Japanese learners.

Advantages:

You can ask questions yourself to an actual community.

You can find answers to questions that you didn't know you even had.

You can get multiple perspectives on a question from different users.

Disadvantages:

As many of the answeres are also still learning Japanese, you will want to cross-reference answers for accuracy if you can.

Practice:

Web Radio

Tano's Guide to the JLPT has a vocabulary radio broadcast for JLPT levels 4 and 5. Other similar broadcasts are availabe via some Google-fu. I use VLC to play the station over a Baroque station on iTunes while I read sometimes.

Advantages:

Listen to proper pronunciation.

Quiz yourself

English and Japanese separated into L/R audio channels.

Disadvantages:

The feed is a split stereo feed; if you are only wearing one headphone you will need to set your audio output to mono. Or just wear both headphones.

Tano's radio feed only covers N4 and N5 level vocabulary.

Shadowing: Let's Speak Japanese

Shadowing is a method where you speak along with a native speaker. This course includes audio CD's and a workbook with transcripts for each track.

Advantages:

It starts very easy and builds to a much more challenging level.

Native level speeds to really prepare you.

It is one of few study resources that focuses on getting you to speak correctly.

You can use the materials to help listening, reading, and speaking skills.

Disadvantages:

It's hard to find.