Welcome to my Learn Japanese Resources Page!
If you've been looking for some of the best resources you can find on improving your Japanese, you've landed on the right page!
What limiting beliefs do you have about learning Japanese? When you start thinking about jumping back on the Japanese, a horse that you've fallen off of so many times, what thoughts start holding you back? Any of these sound familiar?
Believe it or not, I've done this too, even without realizing it. It's what keeps me from sitting my butt down and doing what's necessary to get better. For just a moment though, I want you to let all of that stuff go.
Often I find not knowing what to do, where to start, or how to study can cause so much of the pre-Japanese study frustration that it can beat you before you even start.
What I'd like to offer you today is a list of Japanese tools and resources helped me. This won't be a very long list because I don't like overloading myself with tools.
Yes, there are affiliate links on this page. I do earn a commission when you buy. However, I personally own every single resource that I recommend on this page. In addition, I have also used, or am currently using, every service I mention on this Japanese resource page.
Please buy ONLY the tools/resources that will genuinely give you value.
Now, on to the resources!
Is listening causing you grief? If so, I can't think of a better tool than Japanesepod101. The concept of JP101 is quite simple. Real-world, Japanese conversations broken down into bits that you can understand, review, and apply in the real world. Japanesepod suits everyone from the complete beginner to the advanced student. This resource is pure gold at a reasonable price.
If you're not getting a chance to speak Japanese, you're doing yourself a huge disservice! Honestly, textbooks and apps are great but think about it, speaking is arguably the most important indicator of how well you comprehend a language. The beauty of modern technology is that you don't have to be in Japan to talk with native speakers.
iTalki and CafeTalk are my two Japanese resources for those who want to practice Japanese (with a native speaker) without breaking the bank. I've tried both. Both can be very effective. Of course, choosing a highly-rated teacher increases your chances of having a good experience.
Genki: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese and Genki I Workbook
This is the Japanese textbook I recommend if you've never seen a lick of Japanese in your entire life. If you sit down and go through the lessons in order, do what the book tells you to do, you'll improve. Not only is the book a great starter resource for beginners who are learning Japanese, it's great review if you're rusty.
I do recommend getting the workbook too, as it's gives you the chance to apply what you're learning.
There's a reason I did an in-depth review on this book. It's not because it's the "be-all-end-all," perfect book for beginners. It's because when I wanted to start learning Japanese, it genuinely worked for me.
I'm going to stick with the Genki series here as it seems to be a natural progression if you start with Genki One. I'd say Genki 2 and the textbook are solid options for lower-intermediates.
Shin Kanzen master is currently my favorite book series.
Why? because it's what I like to think of as a bridge series. If you're just finishing a series like Genki I & II, I'd say that puts you at a high beginner to low intermediate status. This Japanese textbook fills in any grammar holes and if you want to reach true intermediate status, I think this is the textbook to get you there.
You do need to be REALLY comfortable with hiragana and katakana, because this series forces you to use it. But if you're comfortable with that, this series is tremendous.
I'm currently using the N3 books for review, but keep in mind that while these book extremely reasonable on price, there is a slew of them. With the N3 level alone there are five textbooks - grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, and kanji.
You will ABSOLUTELY need a reliable, Japanese dictionary during your self-study journey. I personally use Japanese" by Renzo, Inc.
Yes there are other dictionaries out there, but this one trumps them all in my humble opinion. Keep in mind that it's now a free app, so there's really no excuse not to get this one. It's insanely valuable.
If you're stating to get more serious about your kanji I think Kodansha's Kanji Learner's Course is a great reference to give your a better handle on kanji and their components. It's not necessarily a course as it is a reference book (my main gripe about the book, by the way). But it's VERY USEFUL
For those of you looking for a more systemized kanji course to follow, my current recommendation for that would be Kanji in Context.
I'll finish this list with a community of Japanese self-study learners that I'm building, one self-study learner at a time called Japanese Mavericks. If you're trying to improve your Japanese this year, we'd love to have you.
I'm happy to answer any questions you have about these resources! Also if you have any recommendations you'd like to share, let me know!