How to start learning Japanese (Part2)




Embarking on the journey of learning Japanese as a beginner is a thrilling experience. Everything feels fresh and promising, and each small step forward brings a sense of achievement. As a beginner, you're in a phase where progress is tangible and any challenges you encounter are part of the learning process.

At this stage, having a solid foundation in kanji and vocabulary is crucial. If you're using tools like WaniKani, you should ideally be at level 10 or above, which means you've mastered around 300 kanji and 1,000 vocabulary words. This knowledge base sets the stage for delving deeper into Japanese grammar and communication.

For many beginners, the allure of Japanese lies not just in its linguistic challenges but also in its rich cultural significance. Kanji, in particular, serves as a gateway to understanding deeper meanings embedded in Japanese literature, signage, and everyday conversations. It's more than just characters on a page; each kanji carries layers of history and cultural context that enrich your learning journey.


As you progress, integrating a spaced repetition system (SRS) into your study routine becomes essential for mastering vocabulary. While your kanji studies naturally introduce vocabulary, there's also a need to learn words that don't rely on kanji characters, especially those encountered in everyday language, textbooks, manga, and signs.

To effectively manage this vocabulary acquisition, it's crucial to establish a systematic approach. Begin by collecting new words systematically—whether through apps like Evernote, OneNote, or simple spreadsheets—and create a habit of reviewing them regularly. This ensures that new words become ingrained in your memory over time, contributing to your overall language proficiency.

Moreover, beyond just collecting words, understanding their usage contexts and nuances is key to becoming fluent in Japanese. Language learning is not just about memorization but also about grasping the subtle meanings and cultural connotations that words carry in different situations.


Once you have a strong foundation in kanji and vocabulary, the next logical step is tackling Japanese grammar. The key philosophy here is to leverage your existing knowledge—aim to understand at least 80% of any new grammar concept or sentence structure before diving into detailed study. This approach minimizes frustration and optimizes learning efficiency.

Choosing a beginner's Japanese textbook or program that aligns with your learning style is paramount at this stage. Textbooks provide structured lessons that build upon your existing knowledge, making the learning process smoother and more engaging. Whether you opt for a traditional textbook or prefer a self-designed program, the goal remains the same: to solidify grammar fundamentals that will pave the way for fluency.

Furthermore, immersing yourself in Japanese media and culture can greatly enhance your grasp of grammar. Watching Japanese movies, anime, or listening to music not only exposes you to colloquial expressions but also helps internalize grammar structures in natural contexts. This multimedia approach complements textbook learning by reinforcing theoretical knowledge with real-world usage.


For those inclined towards independent study, learning Japanese grammar without a formal textbook is also a viable option. Armed with a robust vocabulary and kanji base, self-directed learners can explore grammar concepts through diverse resources and cross-referencing multiple explanations to deepen understanding.

However, maintaining discipline and consistency is key when pursuing this path. Establishing measurable goals and tracking progress diligently ensures steady advancement in grammar proficiency. Additionally, engaging with online communities or language exchange partners can provide valuable feedback and support in navigating complex grammar concepts independently.


Transitioning from beginner to intermediate level in Japanese is a critical phase where many learners face challenges. It's here that the initial enthusiasm may wane as the complexity of the language increases. However, with a solid foundation in kanji, vocabulary, and grammar, navigating this intermediate stage becomes more manageable.

At this juncture, expanding into intermediate-level materials and resources becomes crucial. This phase offers opportunities to refine your language skills through more nuanced grammar, complex sentence structures, and cultural nuances embedded within the language.

Exploring authentic Japanese literature and media at this stage not only deepens linguistic proficiency but also fosters cultural appreciation. Reading novels, watching Japanese TV dramas, or following Japanese news outlets exposes you to idiomatic expressions and contemporary language use, further honing your ability to comprehend and communicate effectively.

Learn Japanese Anytime with NativeCamp

NativeCamp offers unlimited Japanese conversation lessons, allowing students to engage freely and frequently to develop conversational skills naturally at a competitive cost per lesson. Their "Sudden Lesson" feature provides on-demand, reservation-free Japanese lessons 24/7, catering to flexible schedules and short time frames like breaks or before bedtime. The platform supports learning across devices, accommodating diverse lifestyles, while native Japanese speakers provide comprehensive support for mastering language skills, including pronunciation and accent refinement.


Learning Japanese is a journey that evolves from mastering basic kanji and vocabulary to navigating intricate grammar structures and cultural contexts. Whether you choose a structured textbook approach or opt for self-directed learning, maintaining a disciplined study routine and leveraging comprehensive resources will ultimately accelerate your proficiency.

Remember, each step forward, no matter how small, contributes to your overall progress. Embrace the challenges, celebrate the milestones, and enjoy the journey of discovering the richness of the Japanese language.