10 Japanese Learning Tips

When you search how to learn Japanese you get told this:

Learn Hiragana
Learn Katakana
Learn kanji
Learn Grammar

Which is…helpful but also not very helpful, in a way. I didn’t find it helpful because it’s very vague. I don’t do vague well! (⌒_⌒;)
The reality is some learners play games, never study, and they still learn the language. Others learn it with textbooks. Others use Memrise and Anki, apps/website to help remembering content thanks to SRS and mnemonics. Others mix them all up.
It’s up to you to decide which you prefer, as a learner and knowing how you best learn, or discover it by trying them all.

Now what’s my way to approach otome gaming?

First and foremost: to make your life easier do a crash course in the interface/menus kanji. Memrise has a course called Japanese Video Game Vocabulary for that exact purpose, I’m sure you can find lists in Wikipedia or Anki, to help you with that.

Second: you choose which game you want, or based in which criteria.
I’ve been told many people play Pokémon first because it’s all in Kana (means no kanji). I personally didn’t, but that’s me. There’s also a website for children’s with translations with mostly Kana that will help you get acquainted with the kana writing system if you aren’t yet! (^ω^)
My first otome was Amnesia because my criteria was “mute protagonist“. Arcana Famiglia and Kiniro no Corda are also mute but are harder/more complex in themes/gameplay, respectively. Amnesia does have some flashbacks/written scenes but they’re few.

VNDB lets you search for tags such like mute protagonist or voiced protagonist (or whatever you want) and search on your target platform. I can’t tell you how important it is.

Third: once you pick something that fits your criteria, look at reviews to see if the game is good or interests you personally. That’s important. You can also choose to read summaries of the story/characters before (full of spoilers) or after playing to clear doubts if you want.

Fourth: Another important thing is guides, Japanese guides are the best to match with your Japanese choices. Search name of game (Japanese) + 攻略 and you’ll discover guides for the game.

Fifth: You picked a game and it has a theme to it. Be it music, astronomy, biology, etc. You don’t know those terms, so what do you do? If you guessed crash course it, you guessed right! I can’t tell you how important it is, specially so you don’t get overwhelmed at the beginning of playing. I did it for Starry Sky in Spring and it really helped smooth my way into the game! (*^▽^*)

Sixth: Recognise that starting out you won’t understand even 50% of what’s going on unless you’ve had a lot of exposure to the language before. Be prepared to get overwhelmed by your lack of knowledge and looking up kanji at the beginning. My rule of thumb: if you see/hear it a lot, search it. If it seems important to the conversation, look it up, otherwise don’t sweat it.

Seventh: If you feel like you’d like to do some intense studying, either because you’re motivated or have interest, then do so. I did some JLPT (N5 to N4) because they were easier to find a lot and also meant it was divided in chunks and helped me keep my earlier motivation up for a longer span of time. Choose at your taste/feel like.

Eighth: You can learn quicker than you think as long as you do it every day and get exposed to it. Be it games, anime, raw manga, raw books/light novels, news websites, whatever interests you. You can learn the Joyo kanji (the minimal amount of kanji for newspaper which is 2150) in a yearA year. That’s not much at all.

Ninth: You can learn just by playing games and using hooker’s to extract the Japanese sentences from the game and use it to quickly look it up. AGTH is one example of such. I don’t know how effective, or quick it is, since I use SRS for it and play only on portables.

Tenth: Grammar and numbers are all about patterns. Once you start seeing the pattern of how they’re used, by being exposed and/or studying (either in Tae Kim Guide or an app), it’ll start fitting in your knowledge and cover the gaps.

Hope this helps for now! I’m actually currently writing a more in depth guide to learning Japanese with Memrise/other free resources available online, where I’ll try to walk you from absolute beginner and up. Are you interested in it? It’s been kinda going slow because I feel like there’s probably better ones out there, but when I personally decided to study there wasn’t one as helpful as the one I’m creating :’D

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12 thoughts on “10 Japanese Learning Tips

    • Kanji is pretty cool, specially when they make sense in terms of radicals hehe
      Why not try to write in kanji? Use an online dictionary when unsure, but practice it either way!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. this is an awesome post. thanks for telling us some of your methods to trying to play otome in a language you weren’t familiar with. ^^

    Like

    • Thank you, I’m glad you liked it!
      I’m making a legit guide from zero to higher understanding of Japanese explaining/using the methods I used, but I feel like it might not be very helpful or that there’s better guides out there :’D

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe, sponging that cum up heh? /shot
      /mind goes down the drain very easily
      Thank you, I’ll definitely be looking into it, I still have to decide exactly how I want it to go because I’m still learning so I might just divide it until i actually progress further in my studies :’D

      Like

  2. Well I -did- just soft ball that one out to you, didn’t I? 😄
    I think it would be really cool to get lessons from a fellow learner since it would be from a prospective I haven’t seen before so would likely help my learning curve, and part of the wall I’ve hit lately.

    Like

    • Yeah, you did even tho I wanna see how you’re doing your studies! 😤
      Gimme your knowledgeee ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ)
      If you want step by step Lessons Leaf is doing them with the Genki books, I don’t enjoy learning books but she’s doing great ^^
      Oh you’ve hit a wall? I feel like I haven’t hit a wall yet, just got unmotivated for a few months and now I’m good to go again, but I know how frustrating that is because I hit those all the time before I used Memrise to help me remember :’D
      RN I’m still in the middle of learning the joyo kanji and halfway through N3 jlpt course so I feel like I can’t help more than to that level cause I don’t know what it’ll take after that yet. Hence me wondering if I should divide it :’D

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, this is interesting. I don’t really play otome games (though I want to, I just don’t have much motivation and time for it), but this guide is still helpful in a way. As for me, I enrolled for our university’s basic Japanese language course. But that’s all elementary knowledge. Now I’m kind of doing some self-study. Since I can read katakana and hiragana, I always dare myself to read manga raws. I take note of the kanji characters which are frequently used and I just search their meanings and use.

    Moreover, because Japanese movies and dramas do not have much subbers compared to Korean ones, I usually dare myself to watch the ones I like even without subs. I think it helps improve my listening skills (though I know that their way of speaking in dramas/movies is different in real life).

    Anyway, I’ve got to try your method once I get my hands on an otome game. 😀

    Like

    • You could always start with some free, short otomes!
      That’s an idea, I’ll see if I can compile one list of that to help you and others like you~!
      Ooh, JP in uni is nice, shows you really wanted it.
      We always do the biggest strides when we self-study tbh.
      Oooh, raw manga! That’s very brave and strong-willed of you, and awesome, keep at it and you’ll slay it soon!
      There’s definitely something called immersion which means listening to stuff without subs or english, so you’re doing it right!
      Aww, thanks, I hope it helps you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I’ll be on lookout for that list then.
        Yep. It’s basic Japanese only, though, but it helps learning grammar and commonly used words.

        Glad to know that I’m somehow doing it right. Hahaha!

        Like

        • I’ll definitely try to make it then, just might take a bit as I play them all to see which deserve to be on It ;”’D
          A really good one is Japanese children stories, very phew kanjis, and has helpful translations after each line but separate enough you can read without it. It’s a website, so you might want to try it out ^^
          There’s no wrong way to go about it, as long as it works for you! 🔥

          Liked by 1 person

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