Best Way to Learn Japanese

 Best Way to Learn Japanese


As the old (and rather crude) saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. While learning Japanese is no exception, there are good ways and not so good ways to go about it. The old-fashioned way to learn Japanese was to start off with a little Tableware from Japan   intro into the pronunciation, learn a few greetings and phrases, then just when it seemed to be getting fun, you were hit over the head with the grammar hammer and dragged through endless hours of sentence structure, verb structure, use of particles etc, etc. Not only does this suck all the fun out of learning Japanese, (with the exception of those sickos who actually enjoy it;-) it is totally the wrong way to go about it. When you started learning your first language at the age of about one or so, how many of your parents whipped out a text-book and started teaching you the nitty gritty of conjugating verbs? My guess is that you learnt by observation. By watching and listening and eventually repeating what you heard. Learning Japanese should be no different. Immersing yourself into the language as much as possible gives you the best opportunity to absorb it and resembles a child learning their mother tongue. From that you could infer that the best way to learn Japanese is to go to Japan and surround yourself with the language 24/7. But while it is probably the best and quickest way, moving to another country in order to learn Japanese is simply not a luxury most people can afford. However there are other ways in which to immerse yourself into the language without actually having to go there. They include: Taking an online or classroom course.

Chatting with Japanese friends.

Reading Japanese books or manga.

Watching Japanese TV or movies.

Listening to Japanese music or Radio.

I would say the best way to learn Japanese with minimum cost and maximum speed would be to combine an online course with a couple (or all) of the other methods. This is where individual choice of cat skinning comes into play. I know some people learn Japanese almost solely through listening to Japanese music, and reach a level that they can have a reasonable conversation at. But unless you really enjoy the music and can listen to it over and over again, it is not going to sink in. As is the case with basically everything we do or learn in life, it’s much easier when we enjoy ourselves. Lets take a closer look at the options I’ve listed as supplements to an online (or classroom) course. The first one was chatting with Japanese friends. When I started learning Japanese in high school, I was also playing tennis at an academy in Australia and was really lucky to have a constant stream of Japanese players at the center. I would practice any words or phrases I had learnt the previous day in class and constantly be asking them how to say such and such in Japanese. They would also benefit from the exchange as they’d be asking similar questions about speaking English. This method of give and take is a great way to learn Japanese and review what you have been studying in your online or classroom course. Even if you don’t have any Japanese friends there are plenty of sites dedicated to these type of give and take chats, Japanese forums and places to meet Japanese friends on the net. The remaining three ways I’ve listed to learn Japanese are really up to you. Whether you prefer reading, listening to music or watching TV or a combination of all three, there is a huge variety of free material out there for you to choose from. Most Japanese books require you to at least be able to read the hiragnana alphabet but reading books aimed at younger children is a great way to improve your reading skills while picking up new words and sentence structure as you go. Japanese TV and music are obviously going to be similar, children’s programs and nursery rhymes may not be the most stimulating material for an adult but they are a great way to start learning Japanese. Alternatively you could battle it out with some more mature TV shows and songs if watching the Japanese version of The Wiggles isn’t your cup of Japanese tea. Whatever you choose to do, remember that enjoying yourself while you do it is without a doubt the best way to learn Japanese.

Adam has been living in Japan for twelve years and runs his own language s



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