Learning the Japanese Language: How To:

Chapter One – Getting Started

Learning a new language can be intimidating, especially if it’s Japanese. With its unique writing system, complex grammar, and intricate honorifics, mastering the Japanese language can seem like an insurmountable task. But fear not! With the right mindset and approach, anyone can learn Japanese.

The first step under many learning approaches in learning Japanese is to familiarize yourself with the basics. They expect you to start by learning hiragana and katakana, the two Japanese syllabic scripts used for writing. Both scripts contain 46 characters each and are relatively easy to learn. After mastering hiragana and katakana, move on to kanji, which are Chinese characters that represent entire words or concepts. Learning kanji requires practice and dedication, but it’s an essential part of reading and writing in Japanese.

Basically, you can’t learn Japanese until you know about 200 new shapes and have memorized each one along with its sound. Doesn’t that sound difficult?

I agree, and there could be something better.

Let’s skip those letters for now. Let’s not learn the shapes and characters quite yet. We’re just beginning. That stuff is hard.

Japanese Grammar Rules

Japanese grammar rules! No really, it rules! It’s flexible and fun! And so different from English that it’s kinda fun to speak!

Japanese grammar is vastly different from English grammar. For example, Japanese sentences are structured subject-object-verb, while English sentences are structured subject-verb-object. In addition, Japanese uses particles to indicate the relationship between words in a sentence, whereas English uses the order of words.

But do you really have time to memorize a whole new grammar? There are tons of particles and basic sentence structures to learn. Like you have to understand the concept of verb conjugation, which differs significantly from English. Japanese verbs don’t change based on the subject of the sentence but instead change based on tense and the level of politeness required.

I think that’s pretty hard.

Japanese Speaking and Listening Practice

Practice is key when it comes to speaking and listening in Japanese, that part is true. People suggest joining a language exchange group or finding a language partner to practice speaking with.

And they suggest for listening practice that you start by listening to Japanese podcasts, music, or watching Japanese TV shows and movies. The more you immerse yourself in the language, the easier it will become to understand.

Well, that’s true. And it’s an awful lot more fun than just memorizing grammar and vocabulary.

But couldn’t there be a better way? I think there could be. It’s called the natural absorption method of language learning. You can learn a language just by absorbing it. No, really, you can!

Okay, all those fancy characters and symbols you’re expected to learn? こんにちは! Those can be absorbed too.

What am I talking about when it comes to absorbing a language? Obviously it means learning in your sleep while you do no effort, right?

Learning in your Sleep

Sorry, but you can’t just put on headphones while you sleep and wake up stuck speaking only 2 or 3 Japanese phrases. It doesn’t work like that – like, at all. Listening to a foreign language while you sleep might be soothing, and it might be enjoyable, but it does not really help you learn.

Sorry for the dissapointment.

But there is a way to learn that’s easier. You can learn a language without putting a ton of daily effort into it. You don’t have to be repetitive with a spaced repetition system. You can learn naturally.

Naturally Learning Japanese

Kon’nichi wa, friends! Hello! Let me teach you about a natural way to learn Nihongo. Nihongo, by the way, means Japanese. (Did you know German in Germany is actually “Deutsch” and Spanish in Spain is “Espanol”!)

So, how do we learn this new language, nihongo, naturally? Well, it’s easier than you might be thinking (omoe = to think). But nihongo can be taught without you actively studying.

Hai! It’s true! I’m not lying! Yes, ie, Hai! You can learn nihongo without studying for decades. It’s truly possible.

But how, you might ask? You might think (omoe) that I’m crazy suggesting you can learn nihongo without practice. But maybe if you just omoe about it for a while, you can understand my methods.

Nihongo can be learned the same way that children learn. You can learn it through absorbing it. Through thinking about it (again, to think is “omoe” so you’d be “omoe-ing” about it). How? Well let me tell you. Oshiete. I will teach you. Oshiete. Haha, that’s a funny spelling for a word, but it’s not pronounced o-shiet-e. It’s more like O-she-eht-eh.

You can learn nihongo by absorbing it through reading stories! But not just any stories. Stories carefully crafted to introduce you to new grammar, vocabulary, and sentences that match your reading level. Stories that help you omoe about the nihongo language.

Here’s what we do: We take some interesting and fun stories written entirely in your native language. And then we replace some very basic vocabulary with new words from the language you are learning.

Does absorbing a language really work?

Well, you’re going to have to tell me. If you omoe about it, do you know the meaning of the word nihongo? What about omoe?

I sure hope so. They mean “the Japanese language” and “to think”. We introduced them earlier as you were reading this paragraph. Sure, you had to read a lot just to learn two words, but did it really feel like work? Did it really feel hard?

And you will probably remember those two words forever. Because they were connected to other words in context. You would omoe about each new nihongo word when you encountered it. You probably substituted it word-for-word to the English equivalent in your brain automatically by now. You would think about each new Japanese language word.

But here’s the other question: how long did that take? It might have taken you 2 minutes at most to read these paragraphs.

Two words in two minutes seems pretty good. Study for 60 minutes and learn 60 words. That would be fantastic.

Well, I can’t guarantee any particular pace, but I can assure you of its effectiveness. I’ve learned so many words this way. And you will surely remember some new words every time you try learning with this method.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s learn nihongo right now!