Monday, September 5, 2011

How I learned Japanese Part 1

How to learn Japanese. This is the written version of my video "How I learned Japanese". Thought some people may understand better by reading . Content might slightly differ from the video but mostly the same. This is going to be looong. Divide this into 2 posts.
You should watch the videos too here
I thought of all the Methods that I used to learn Japanese before going to Japan. And I had 5 Methods in total.

Method #1
Is just plain normal studying. I went to a good school that taught Japanese well. I had 4 hours of Japanese class a week. And learned all the basics here. The Hiragana and Katakana letters, basic kanji's, basic greetings, conversations, words, numbers all the beginner stuff. But most importantly I learned the grammar, adjectives and the structure of Japanese sentences how they work and how they combine. The structure of Japanese sentences was luckily the same as Mongolian so there were no problems. Unfortunately for English speakers the structure of the sentences are reverse which will make things a little confusing. Our school had 2 Japanese teachers who half of the time taught us. They spoke little Mongolian so it was all Japanese talking, this helped our speaking and listening. 
I'm not the academic study study study type. But I payed good attention to Japanese class and studied hard. Yes I studied at home too. I also started to go to extra lessons besides from school. Like cram schools. There are plenty of places and institutions that teach foreign languages here in Mongolia. So finding one was no problem for me. I went to extra lessons 3 times a week each 2 hours long for 2 months. In total I had 10 hours of Japanese class a week for 2 months. After the extra lessons it returned to the normal 4 hours a week. Note: This is in the school year before going to Japan.

I have 3 good books to recommend. They're called "Minna no Nihongo 1, 2 and the Minna no Nihongo kanji booklet "  It translates in to "Japanese for Everyone".
You can easily find these books on just search "Minna no Nihongo" and a bunch of editions will come up.
Minna no Nihongo has a good structure easy to understand. On the beginning of every lesson or grammar they're going to teach, they have a small conversation between 2 people using the grammar. So you will get an Idea of how to use it in real life. It explains how to use the grammar in example sentences so it's easy to understand. And of course there are exercises. They also had these stickfigure guys portraying the sentences in some exercises(I really liked them haha).

Method #2

Is Anime~tion. Yes! watching Japanese anime's helped me learn Japanese greatly. Especially in speaking, pronunciation, listening, vocabulary, and Japanese phrases. I think most people who watches anime will agree with me (say yes). 
By watching anime I've learned a lot of new words and Japanese phrases that I can use in real life. For example: 燃えてきた(moete kita)=I'm fired up!, あそびたい(asobitai)= want to play, わし(washi)=mostly used by old people meaning I or Me. いただきます(itadakimasu)=let's eat, ごちそうさまでした(gochisou sama deshita)=thank you for the meal. 闇に落ちる(yami ni ochiru)=I'll fall into darkness ^^;. 

When watching anime it's hard to concentrate on hearing the dialogues,Japanese voices and sounds while reading the subtitles(at least for me it was). So here is a little trick that I use. Just when the subtitle appears pause the video, they usually appear before the characters start talking. Read the subtitles first and playback the video. This way you know what the characters are going to say, so you can just ignore the subtitles and concentrate on the sound or voices. I caught more Japanese words and phrases this way. The only downside is that with all the pausing it kinda gets annoying and sometimes I'd watch the episodes again.Which was no problem for me and actually helped me more.
Also It's best to watch anime's with lot's of dialogues and less action. Slice of life genre anime's like Lucky star, K-on, Bakemonogatari, Clannad. If you watch too much Shounen type anime's you'll learn all the manly. . .tough-guy words unless you're a boy then it's okay.

The more Japanese sounds you hear the more your ears get accustomed to it. In a sense by watching anime your ears are picking up experience and leveling up!. Everything you hear is being stored away in your subconscious mind. The second time you hear those same sounds(words) you won't get surprised because you have experience hearing them. From this experience you will soon be able to roughly make out and understand what the other person is saying or anything you are listening.
Yup. like this Japanese anime IS in it's own way teaching you Japanese.(maybe you didn't notice)

Please continue to Part 2 here

1 comment:

  1. wow!! you really can learn fast! i envy you! ;)