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Practicing Japanese 2022/6/22 17:19
I actually started learning Japanese nearly 20 years ago at high school but never actually got past N5 level just learning hiragana and katakana and kanji. I manage really basic conversation, reading goes slow, I have barely managed to read manga.

I went through a university course covering Genki I but have had no people to conversate with outside the course and the few times I visited Japan.

I am quite lost in how to improve my language skills. I feel quite shy in starting conversation in Line or so, why I have stayed of that option for long.

I have the Genki books and so but just reading and writing and listening I don't know if it is good practice.

I need some advice in how to improve my skills and get to know people who speak the language too.

Thanks in advance.
by Lesso (guest)  

Re: Practicing Japanese 2022/6/22 22:11
Press on through Genki but don't take too much time dwelling on things that you are not 100% perfect on. Yes you should aim for a perfect understanding wherever feasible, but spinning your wheels against things that just won't stick is honestly one of the worst things you can do. It is how so many people end us as "forever beginners". Sometimes all you need is a different explanation and/or example sentence. https://nihongokyoshi-net.com/jlpt-grammars/ has plenty of these.

Set yourself an attainable goal with Genki, say one lesson per week might be a good pace (but I don't know anything about your lifestyle so maybe not), and just keep building your foundation. Read, listen to, and understand the dialogues. No need to repeat them too much. Do the exercises if you want to, and if you think they are helping to cement your understanding of the concepts introduced. But ultimately you just want to finish the books. It sounds like you don't have a lot of confidence to use the language in the real world, which is what you want to do. Well you probably aren't going to gain that confidence while you are in Genki mode. So getting through the books as quickly as possible is in your best interest.

From there I think you should be ready to start reading articles or even some books (with the aid of a dictionary) to build yourself a large vocabulary. You could also use something like jpdb.io to learn words in a more systematic fashion. Use sites like the one I linked above to fill gaps in grammar knowledge. You will probably also be ready to practice conversation. Language exchange apps like HelloTalk and Tandem are useful for this.

Like you I studied very basic Japanese as a teenager, but plateaued at a very basic level for over 10 years. I picked it up again and in a relatively short space of time reached a level I was happy with where I could talk about pretty much anything I was likely to want to talk about. All I did was read a lot every day (news, fashion blogs, Sailor Moon manga), listen every day (J-drama), study example sentences on JLPT grammar lists, and review flashcards for vocab (but I don't recommend paper flashcards these days, jpdb is way more efficient and just better in every single way). It is quite a lot of work but very doable as long as you can drag yourself through that beginner textbook and start having real contact with real Japanese, which is going to give you heaps of confidence, and then you are going to push yourself to have conversations in Japanese too.

Good luck
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Practicing Japanese 2022/6/22 22:56
Thank you for your reply.
Sounds like I am in the same situation as you were before. Since I had children some years ago my time got quite occupied, except for the times when visiting Japan. However, being a bit too shy I mostly stayed in business hotels, the most conversations happened with strangers in the countryside, why Japan has been the most convenient way in practicing the language (the pandemic put a halt to that though).

I have been into some apps with flashcards and grammar. Also watching a lot of japanese movies (with subtitles though, I guess it is not a good way in practicing).

Maybe this could be a good start in reading?
by Lesso (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Practicing Japanese 2022/6/23 04:35
Literally anything that feels like a good level for you (i.e. it is a challenge, you are learning new words, but it isn't a painful slog) and can hold your attention is good for reading. The same goes for listening. There are some useful podcasts available for this like Nihongo con Teppei. He does a beginner podcast too which I have heard good things about.

If you read NHK easy news, it would probably be helpful for you to occasionally try reading the normal article after reading the easy version. You may not be at that level yet, but one day making the transition to Japanese aimed at Japanese adults is going to be essential. A popup dictionary like Yomichan for Chrome would be helpful for that.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Practicing Japanese 2022/6/24 19:50
I recently found an interesting application that I would like to share with you.
Do you like manga? If you like manga, I recommend an app called "Langaku".
However, it has not yet been released overseas...

Are you looking at reddit?
For some reason, there are Japanese people on LLL (Lowlevelaware).
I am Japanese, but sometimes I look at reddit.

Also, I found an app called "SLOWLY".
It's a penpal app, but maybe it can help you learn the language.

I hope you find a fun way to study Japanese.
by okashi (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Practicing Japanese 2022/6/26 16:19
Penpal sites were helpful for me, too. I met some good Japanese friends and now have opportunities to converse with them also off the site as we added each other on social media after good communication on the penpal site.
by N1 (guest) rate this post as useful

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