Yesterday, we covered what I consider to be an essential set of books for learning the Japanese kana and kanji. By themselves, Remembering the Kana and Remembering the Kanji are great tools for learning Japanese. So great in fact, someone has created an entire website to help you use them more efficiently. Besides being a website, Reviewing the Kanji is an SRS (spaced repetition system) that contains all the the kanji in the Remembering the Kanji series.
It keeps track of what you need to study, when you need to study it, and also keeps track of all your progress with various charts and reports. One of the best parts about the site is the social aspect. You can write your story for each kanji and also see what other people are using for theirs (this will make more sense once you get the books).
As far as I know, there is currently no way to sync Remember the kanji and Anki, so you will have to choose which one you want to use from the beginning. Though there does seem to be a plugin for Anki to import “Reviewing the Kanji” progress. Both have pre-made decks containing all the kanji, and in fact the deck for Anki even contains links to the Reviewing the Kanji page. I recommend you try them both out and see which one you like the best. You can find a link to Reviewing the Kanji below:
Reviewing the Kanji
Next in the line of helpful Japanese tools are a set of books. Remembering the Kanji 1 & 2 and Remembering the Kana are extremely useful tools, and combined with Anki, will hep you learn the Japanese kana and kanji before you know it. The system used in these books to teach the Japanese characters in not orthodox, but it works. If you are struggling to learn the kana or kanji, or maybe have been putting it off because the task looks to daunting, then you need to get these books. Once you get started you will be wishing you had started sooner.
If you want to get the books now, and I recommend you do, you can find links to purchase them in the right sidebar.
If you want to get started while you wait for your books to arrive, you can download the sample containing the first 276 Kanji now:
Remember the Kanji Sample
You can find more information on the books at the below link:
Remembering the Kanji
One of the most popular posts on Japanese words has been the common Japanese Words list containing over 1000 Japanese words and kanji. That page has received quite a few comments asking for pronunciations in romaji (English Alphabet). While having romaji may seem to make studying easier when you first start out, learning using the English alphabet will actually hold you back. This article will cover the main reasons why you should start studying and master the Japanese Kana (hiragana and katakana) as soon as possible. As well as listing a few tools to help you learn more quickly.
Thinking in Japanese
If you want to learn Japanese as quickly as possible, then you need to immerse yourself in it. The more you are seeing and thinking in Japanese the faster you will be able to learn. If you are trying to learn using the English alphabet, then your mind is only half thinking in Japanese. You are seeing Japanese words, but your mind is trying to translate them into English. If you read using the kana (and eventually kanji) it is easier for your brain to make the change.
Once you learn to read the kana, you will realize how difficult reading Japanese in romaji really was!
More Japanese Materials
The more Japanese materials you have available to you the better. It doesn’t mean that you will use them all, but you will have a larger selection from which to choose the best ones. Once you learn the kana, you aren’t limited to only Japanese language study materials (textbooks, Japanese language books, etc). You can start trying to read Japanese magazines, mangas, websites, and subtitles on movies. This will also help you start learning the kanji, which are essential for anyone serious about Japanese.
Japanese has far fewer sounds than the English language. Furthermore, each kana can only be read a single way. Not like English where vowels can have different sounds depending on the letters next to them. Once you learn the correct sound for each kana, you will be better at pronouncing Japanese words. Of course you will still need a lot of practice to learn the correct pronunciation, but getting away from romaji (which can have several) is a good move in the right direction.
Travelling/Living in Japan
It’s true that you can find a lot of English signs in the main cities in Japan now days. However, there are many places that have no English signs at all. Having the ability to read at least hiragana and kana will really help you get around. Learning the first 100 or so Kanji will be an even bigger help.
Tools for Learning the Japanese Characters
Remembering the Kana– James Heisig, Author of Remembering the Kanji has created a unique and effective method for remembering Japanese characters. Using creative stories to remember each kana and it’s reading, the book teaches you the hiragana and katakana in about 3 hours each. You can read a full review on the book here: Remembering the Kana.
Read The Kanji– Now that you have finished Remembering the Kana, it’s time to get some practice. Read the Kanji is a great site that allows you to practice using Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji in sentences. It highlights the word and you type the reading. Not only is it great reading practice, it’s also great typing practice. The website keeps track of your progress and makes you review characters and words you know less, more often. I highly recommend this site.
Learn the Kana– This site has all the kana, but more importantly they also have the sounds. Very helpful if you are just getting started.
Rikaichan– Rikaichan is an amazing addon for Firefox that will give you the reading, definition, and a ton of other information of any Japanese word or character you mouse over. You can find a more detailed review on Rikaichan here: Reading Japanese Words Like A Pro With Rikaichan.
Anki– Anki is a spaced program that helps you learn quicker by showing you the right items when you need to see them. A great tool for learning Japanese and completely free.
Smart.FM– A website that uses spaced repitition to help you learn faster. There is a downloadable list for hiragana and katakana with sound.
Here is part 9 of using Japanese Adjectives in Sentences. Hopefully you have learned a lot of new Japanese words, a bit of Japanese grammar, and have a better understanding of how to use different adjectives. You can find all of the previous adjectives posts at the bottom of the list.
Last night, I saw a mysterious dream.
He began to talk with a serious face.
He looks worried about his mother who lives separately from him.
＊Adjective + そう（な）＝looks (adjective)
I was not satisfied with all the easy work at my previous company.
I’m going shopping for the ingredients I need for today’s dinner.
A strange person spoke to me at the (train) station.
I warned the children who were playing in the dangerous place.
I have a honest personality, so I can’t tell a lie.
More Japanese Adjectives Posts
Part 8 of Using Japanese adjectives in sentences. This page contains only “NA” adjectives. After this there is only one more post to go. 頑張って！ As always please leave comments if you have questions. Previous adjective lists can be found at the bottom of this post.
I got a lovely present from my family on my birthday.
I long for a person who can play piano well.
It’s better not to use a bad (unskilled) excuse.
What kind of food do you like?
Is there any food that you don’t like (hate)?
I remembered almost all the easy words in Japanese.
The hard work has been left up to me.
I wonder what’s the most important thing to me.
That’s an impossible matter.
Cakes are my favorite desserts.
* スイーツ＝sweets (desserts or something sweet)
More Japanese Adjectives Posts
Part 7 of Using Japanese adjectives in sentences. In this one we start getting into the “NA” adjectives. As always please leave comments if you have questions. Previous adjective lists can be found at the bottom of this post.
I encountered a beautiful person with blue eyes.
Wear a white necktie for weddings.
Wear a black necktie for funerals.
My sister gave birth to an energetic baby boy last week.
My friend’s sister is very pretty.
Let’s go to somewhere little more quiet.
My dream is to be a world famous singer.
This world has become convenient.
It is inconvenient not to have a convenience store around my house.
The clark gave me kind assistance.
More Japanese Adjectives Posts