Getting started with Japanese language

Japanese language is considered to be one of the most of difficult languages to learn. Probably no surprise there!

I’ve started learning this language for several reasons and the number one reason is falling in the love with Japan and Japanese culture. Both my boyfriend and I love it and we’ve already been twice in one year in Japan, visiting and experiencing as much as possible.

The second reason I’ve taken up such project, and what motivates me most, is my love for foreign languages. I wish I could speak as many languages as possible. Right now I speak Romanian, English, French and Swedish. I can easily understand Spanish and Italian (being a latin language native makes it easy), as well as Norwegian and Danish (whenever I see it in writing, thanks to my Swedish skills).

As for Japanese, I’m beginner level of course. Currently my boyfriend is more advanced than I am, especially as he started learning earlier. This has been useful actually, as I gained access to some of the best online tools for studying Japanese.

Below is a list of the online resources I find to be the best :

Online Japanese – English dictionary :

Tae Kim’s Guide to learning Japanese – by far one of the best language guide or manual out there. And it’s free! :

Hiragana and Katakana alphabet practice – another amazing website and app (I use it daily on my iPhone) :

I still have a lot to learn in terms of grammar and vocabulary (in hiragana/katakana writing) so I haven’t had the chance yet to test any of the Kanji learning website or apps.

As I love paper books and I feel most comfortable studying from such books, I felt something was missing. I couldn’t focus sufficiently on the learning process, while sitting with my computer or phone, and I was taking a lot of breaks or even postponing the entire study session.

Luckily, I found the perfect book! The book’s title is Japanese from zero! 1-4 and I highly recommend it. The most common problem with the Japanese paper books is that they use too much romanji. And this is not effective at all, unless you only want to learn how to speak and how to understand someone when they speak. 90% of written Japanese will be a combination of hiragana, katakana and kanji.

At the moment I only have the first book, which is of course for absolute beginners. I love it, it’s reader-friendly and I now have double the motivation to study and expand my Japanese vocabulary.

I’ve bought it from The book depository, a great website for books with free delivery worldwide. Not to mention, they deliver the books straight to your mailbox. A former work colleague tipped me on the website and I’ve been using it ever since. You can go check their books here:

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