Tools I use for learning Japanese
I started learning Japanese about a week ago. So far I’ve made some satisfying progress. I can read some Japanese now, as well as understand some basic sentence and conversation structures. So I thought I’d share some tools I use to help practice.
Lessons and basic intro:
I follow a few YouTube channels and mainly JapanesePod101.
I got the basic idea about Japanese there. Also learnt about Hiragana, Kanji and Katakana writing systems and why we need to learn all of them.
In these videos, Risa explains the characters with mnemonic devices to help remember them for our beginner period. While some of the mnemonics didn’t seem to make too much sense, they still helped. :) I’m very appreciative of this.
Then I went on to learn the basics of conversational patterns:
And I joined their website where they had podcast-like discussions and FAQs that helped clear some of my doubts.
Help with reading online
- Google Translate Chrome extension - I enabled “Immediately display popup”, so that as soon as I select a word, it shows its pronounciation audio sample with meaning.
- Rikaikun Chrome extension - With this, you can hover on any Japanese word and it shows you its meanings and pronounciations in basic Hiragana. It’s very thorough and helpful. (20 something MBs)
In Mac OS X, you can add Japanese as an input language, and it’ll let you switch between Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji (Romanji) easily. Then I type in the English sounds and it gets input as Japanese. It’s pretty convenient.
What I’m doing now
I’m practicing reading Japanese by going through Japanese-only websites. There’s a lot of Kanji (Chinese characters) to remember, but it’s a bit easier after the Kanji intro in the link above.
I’ll keep posting more updates with what I learn, and any tips that may help someone like me trying to learn Japanese.