These are some of the materials I acquired the moment I got interested in learning Japanese. I didn’t buy all of them, most of these are gifts from my very supportive niece. I’ve bought Genki 1 and 2 in Japan, I just had too. Japanese kanji, 600 basic japanese verbs, survival Japanese, Say it right in Japanese, and basic Japanese are books I bought here on a whim(not all at the same time). The rest were the ones my niece gave me. So yeah, out of all of these books, the only source that worked for me were Genki and Japanese Kanji Flash cards(although I’m not yet even halfway my beginners Kanji yet). Aside from these, I’ve gotten hold on a Minna no Nihongo textbook via pdf download just recently and I’ll tell you about that later. First, let me tell you about genki.
This book is simply the best for beginners who know nothing about the Japanese language. It is easy to understand and although I haven’t finished reading the whole book yet, I can say that it helped me understand how to construct a sentence, the use of each and every effin particles, verbs, adjectives and gotten close to 山下先生とメアリーさん。The book includes a CD which you can listen to for the vocabulary words (たんご）and for you to always listen to Robert and Mary’s lovelife(just kidding). Ofcourse, you have to start by learning the 2 writing systems of Japanese which is the Hiragana and Katakana. The book will introduce you to these 2 on the introduction portion. After that, you will be greeted by Robert and Mary.
A dialogue between characters always starts every chapter. The audio will guide you on the pronunciation and will even ask you to repeat each phrase. Of course, there’s an English translation after that. What I do is read everything over an over until I can read it as fast as the audio.
The next part would be the vocabulary, again the audio will guide you through this. I listen to this part over and over even as I commute to and from work, so that I can remember more vocabs (until I discovered memrise! more on this later).
それからThe grammar explanation. This is the first part so it’s really easy to understand. But don’t be fooled, nothing lasts forever. Of course as you progress everything gets more and more complicated. You’ll know what I mean when you get in the middle of the book. Don’t worry, if there’s a will, there’s a way!( Other helpful sources like online and mobile apps)
and the best part is you get to practice constructing your verbs and sentences. There is a れんしょう portion where the book gives you exercises where you can test your understanding.
Well there is also a Genki Workbook for that sole purpose, but I didn’t know that until I came back from Japan and didn’t get the chance to buy. The good thing is the school I went to gave us a copy of the old Genki textbook and workbook so I can use those. (luckily we use the same textbook)
This is only the first chapter of the book, I’m only at chapter 10(page 228) and I tell you, I feel like shit since it’s taking me too long to understand this chapter. But it’s fun when I get it too, so がんばります！
The book also contains a dictionary at the back and the basic Kanjis you will be needing for N5. What I like in this book is that as you progress, the english translations get lesser. It means that you should be able to understand without the english and just by reading Hiragana, I’m at the part where most of the sentences now have kanji. It is really hard but the reward is worth it.
Since I’m self-studying, I don’t focus on 1 source alone, specially for Kanji and vocabs, I use other means necessary to help me improve more.
For me, memrise is the best application for people on the go who wants to remember vocabs and kanji. The interface is easy to use and you can choose different courses like genki, minna no nihongo, tae kims guide or heisigs guide. Anki is good too, but I don’t use it that much coz I think memrise works better for me. The app offers free usage but you have to be connected to the internet, if you purchase the premium subscription though, you’ll be able to download the whole course and use it offline. The app gives you a learn new words feature then a review words you’ve learned feature and a listening practice feature. What I love about the app is the speedtest. It gives you a game-like memorization technique under time pressure. it also includes audio for some courses.
For Kanji study, I can’t say much since I’m still struggling with it, but some sources helped me memorize a few characters. One is memrise, the other one is the Kanji flashcards my niece gave me. Some people, are very very creative(I envy you) that they can make their own flash cards, but as for me, I’m very lazy for that kind of thing that’s why I thank my beloved niece for giving this to me.
as you can see it has 2 sides, the front would be the Kanji character and some example words with more kanji characters with it(gaaah), and at the back would be the meaning and romaji readings for each words. What I do is read this all the time so even if I can’t memorize the readings, I can remember what it looks like.
Well, these are what I use everyday that helps me. I hope this will be of help to some.