Welcome to my top two resources for learning Japanese.
I’ve personally used over a dozen courses and books for learning Japanese, and while they all had something valuable to offer, I wanted to narrow it down to the bare minimum required to learn the language.
If I had to start all over again as a complete newbie in Japanese, these are the only two resources that I would use to get back to where I’m at now.
Just so you know where I’m currently at, here’s a snapshot of my statistics for this last week:
The main thing I want to draw your attention to is that I currently know over 30,000 Japanese words.
I don’t say this to brag.
Trust me, it took a lot of hard work and I truly believe that anyone can accomplish this feat. Rather, I just want to show you that these resources that I’m about to share with you actually work.
When you know 10,000’s of Japanese words you can enjoy just about any native material you want to.
- Video Games
- Real Conversations
In my mind there are two primary levels of Japanese: Beginner and Intermediate.
The reason I say this is because once you reach the Advanced level of Japanese, you don’t need courses anymore. You just need to live in the language.
So here’s how you get to that point.
Resource Number 1 is for Beginners
The first course that I recommend is for people who are beginners. It’s called JapanesePod101.com.
You may have heard of them before because they are one of the most popular language learning courses in existence – and for good reason!
They understand what you need to learn when you’re just starting out with Japanese and how to go from zero to where you want to be.
Here’s what I think you need to learn as a beginner:
- Learn how to read Hiragana and Katakana
- Become familiar with Kanji
- Learn the most common words
- Learn the most useful phrases
- Get used to the basic grammar patterns
If you can learn all of the above, then you’ve got a real fighting chance when it comes to tackling native materials.
It will still be hard at first, but you’ll have such a strong foundation that you will be able to handle it.
The reason why I like and recommend JapanesePod101.com is because they help you learn Japanese through podcast-style lessons that include transcripts of what they’re saying.
This allows you to read Japanese while listening to it. I believe this is the secret to learning Japanese quickly.
They have lessons on everything you need to learn as a beginner, and quite a bit more to boot.
In fact, they have almost 3,000 lessons in the whole program!
In addition to these lessons that teach you to read and understand Japanese, they also give you a list of the most common 2,000 Japanese words to supercharge your vocabulary.
However, words alone aren’t enough. So in addition to that they also give you a list of Japanese key phrases that you need to know.
Are you planning on taking the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) at some point? They’ve got specific tools to help you succeed and pass that too.
The truth is that JapanesePod101.com has been helping people learn Japanese for many years with some of the best technology and information available.
If you’re not sure how to get better at Japanese, then give them a try. They know how to help.
And the best part?
Everyone starts out with a free account.
That means all you have to do is get started, and if you find out that it’s not the right thing for you, then no problem.
You won’t pay a dime.
If you’re a beginner in Japanese and you’re serious about getting to the next level, I highly recommend you check out JapanesePod101.com and see for yourself.
If you’re not a beginner anymore, then this next one is just for you.
Resource Number 2 is for Intermediates
The second course that I recommend is for people who are intermediates. It’s called LingQ.
LingQ was co-founded by a man named Steve Kaufmann. He knows 17 languages and has been learning for over 50 years!
By the way, his Japanese is excellent!
The interesting thing is that he’s been using one straightforward method the whole time – because it works!
So how does he do it?
It’s simple really.
Read and listen to material that you find interesting.
That’s it. That’s all he does.
But he has a secret in the way that he does it. A secret that only a few people know about.
It allows him to look up the meanings of new words within seconds. It also allows him to save those meanings so they’re easy to remember the next time he encounters them.
Would you like to know what that secret is? Have you already guessed it?
That secret is called LingQ.
LingQ is a system that allows you to click on each individual word in Japanese and then “save” its meaning and definition.
This makes looking up new words a breeze!
It also allows you to hear each word so that you can listen to what you read, and read what you listen to.
However, that is only half of the reason why LingQ works so well. The other half is what I mentioned earlier.
“Learn Japanese from materials you find interesting.”
Let me share with you some of the things I’ve had the pleasure of learning Japanese from through using LingQ:
- Japanese YouTubers like Kizuna AI
- Netflix shows like Terrace House
- Anime like My Hero Academia
- Novels like The Rising of the Shield Hero
- Real news articles from Japan
- Authentic Japanese conversations
All in Japanese. All with the help of LingQ.
The truth is that you have to consume a lot of native Japanese materials in order to become really good at the language.
LingQ makes that easy by allowing you to look up new words in an instant and by learning from materials that you naturally find interesting and enjoyable.
The reason why I like and recommend LingQ is because I get to do the things that I love anyway, like watching YouTube or reading a book, and I end up learning a lot of Japanese in the process.
The truth is that I don’t really study anymore. I just have fun in Japanese and I naturally get better each day.
You can do the same.
If that’s something that you think might be a good fit for you, then give LingQ a try. It’s free to begin.
If you do decide to give LingQ a shot, I recommend you go through the tutorials and watch the starter videos that explain exactly how to use the system.
After that, it’s off to the races on consuming materials you love.
If you have any questions, let me know. I’m committed to helping as many people learn Japanese as possible.