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During my time at university, I took a year of Japanese classes . I already had some basic knowledge from self-study but the pressure of having deadlines helped me revise much better than having to do it all by myself. Having a native speaker teaching me also helped me a lot! Now I have graduated from university, I want to keep up my Japanese studies. Today I share with you my resources for self-studying Japanese.

what japanese text books are the best

Japanese Language Textbooks

1. Japanese for Busy People

In class, we use the “Japanese for busy people” textbooks. In my experience, they’ve been very useful in a classroom environment. If you want to get this one, please make sure you get the kana version and not the romaji version! I do feel that this book is best used in a classroom, rather than using it for self-study because I’ve needed some extra explanation from my teacher on the side.

2. Genki

Published by the Japanese Times, Genki is probably the most popular textbook when it comes to learning Japanese. I used it before taking my first Japanese classes at my university and I love(d) using it! My teacher even recommended me to have a look at it during the summer. Genki has a clear layout, easy grammar explanation and helpful exercises. It’s a bit pricey compared to Japanese for busy people but in my opinion, it’s definitely worth your money.

best japanese language apps

Japanese Language Study Apps

1. Duolingo

Duolingo already had lots of languages available but recently they’ve finally released a Japanese course too! I’m really enjoying the way Duolingo teaches you new words, it’s very effective. You can set daily goals and reminders which makes it almost feel like a game. Duolingo is a free app, it does have some adds popping up every now and then but it’s not too annoying.

2. Memrise

Another great app designed for learning languages. What I love about memrise is that there are so many Japanese courses to choose from. There are basic courses, special courses to learn Hiragana and Katakana, there’s even a special course with vocabulary that is taught in the Genki workbooks! Memrise is also a free app.

3. HelloTalk

Hello Talk is another free app where you can chat to native speakers of your target language. You simply fill in what languages you speak and what languages you want to learn. Then you can find people who want to learn the languages you speak. For example, I chat with Japanese people who want to learn English. It’s a great way to learn and meet other people. It’s one of my favourite apps even though you obviously have to help your conversation partners with their language learning, but you get a lot for it in return.

How to start learning Japanese

Online Resources For Japanese

1. Tea Kim’s guide to learning Japanese website and Facebook group

Tea Kim’s guide is the place to go for me when I struggle understanding something, usually grammar related. There’s a clear explanation for a lot of grammar rules on the website that have helped me massively with my Japanese assignments over the year. They also have a great Facebook group where people post questions and help each other. It’s such a nice little community that I’m very happy to be a part of!

2. JapanesePod101

I have absolutely loved the Japanese podcasts on this website! I used a free trial because as a poor university student I can’t afford to get a subscription at the moment, but even in the free trail, I learned a lot of new things. What I love about the podcasts is that you can listen to them at any time, on the bus, in the car, before bed, etc. It has helped me a lot with my pronunciation before taking Japanese classes because a textbook obviously isn’t the best when it comes to pronouncing words.

3. Tofugu

I follow both the website and the facebook page of this amazing blog! What’s nice about this website is that they have a great library filled with resources to learn the language, but also have a lot of information about the country and the Japanese culture. Learning a language is not only about vocabulary and grammar, but it’s also about understanding a whole new culture and experiencing that through the language!

4. Language sheets

There’s lots of fun and useful language sheets online! Sheets with vocabulary about body parts, colours, days of the week, animal names, etc. I’ve created a Pinterest board to put my favourite ones together in one place. They’re fun extra’s you can use to broaden your Japanese knowledge.

If you have any websites, apps or books that you would recommend, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure to check them out!

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