Learning Japanese

September 12, 2012 at 12:08

During my first trip to Japan, I had the feeling that I was missing half of the experience of exploring and visiting the country. In general, Japanese people is friendly and always aiming to help you with the best of their smiles, but if you don’t speak Japanese, communicating with natives is going to be funny…

In a few weeks I’m visiting the country again and next year I’m planning to do a long internship in Osaka so…why not learn Japanese? I am really motivated and thanks to some nice apps I found in Play Store, learning kanji is child’s play.

Japanese is considered one of the most difficult languages to learn, but why? One of the main reasons could be that Japanese is written using three different scripts: katakana, hiragana and kanji. Kanji are adapted Chinese logographics, 2,000 to 3,000 in common use. Hiragana and katakana are syllabaries and katakana is only used for foreign names and adapted nouns…that’s an amount of new information that you have to manage to be able to read! Stay brave and keep calm – I told myself. Because my goal is to be able to read advertisements and to establish a little conversation at the beginning of May 2013, I decided to enroll in a language school. At the same time, I’m learning 5 to 10 kanji per day using AnkiDroid flashcards, Kanji Quiz and Obenkyo for Android. While the last two apps are focused only in Japanese, Ankidroid is a general purpose flashcards applications. Anki is supported not only in mobile platforms but also in Mac OS and Linux and you can download general decks to memorize from German verbs to protein amino acids.

For the grammar and vocabulary I’m mainly using at the moment Japonese in MangaLand, a very nice collection of books focused in learning the Japanese found in manga and anime.

Some webs I find very useful are this one to find kanji by radicals and Tofugu, one of my favorite webs to learn extra stuff about the Japanese culture.

As I get more into the Japanese, I’ll try to post more information. Stay tuned!