Japanese Language Studies

Progress Update: Japanese Studies

Hello, hello!

It’s almost October, can you believe it?

Today, I’ll be sharing another progress update with regards to my Japanese studies.

Update #1: I’m making progress in the beginner’s Human Japanese course!

I’m now on Chapter 23, which is about halfway through. (In my last update post, I had progressed through chapter 12.)

Naturally, I’m taking notes as I go through each chapter. I like to type notes rather than handwrite them, simply because handwriting takes too long, and typing allows for instant changes and easier organization. I have two Word documents going: one for chapters 1 through 18 and another for chapters 19 through 30. I learned how to use the outline view in Word, so it’s really easy (and highly satisfying!) to have headings and subheadings at different levels to organize my notes for each chapter.

Here’s what the content of my notes looks like so far:

HJ chapters list
The headings and subheadings for my notes from the Human Japanese beginner’s course.

Disclaimer: I won’t be sharing these notes with anyone, nor will I be selling them or otherwise monetarily benefiting from them. They’re just for me to study!

Update #2: I’m finally making progress in learning katakana!

I got my flashcards laminated, and being able to carry them around and actually use them has been a big help. Mnemonics helped me learn and remember all of the hiragana, and they’re helping me remember the katakana too. I’m now using the Katakana Pro app on my phone to make sure I know them cold, on sight, without the help of mnemonics.

Here’s what the app looks like:


In addition to my flashcards, I also designed two grid sheets in different sizes (5 mm and 10 mm) to help me with writing practice. I printed one of each, and also had them laminated. No more wasting paper – and they’re reusable with any dry erase marker!

Katakana practice made easy! I made two different sizes of grid paper: 10 mm (which is on top here) and 5 mm (which is on the bottom). The 5 mm squares are quite smaller than the 10 mm squares, but apparently, that’s the size of paper that’s in most Japanese notebooks.

Update #3: I’m using a new app called TinyCards for vocabulary.

It’s a minimalistic flashcard app by the same people who made DuoLingo that lets you make your own decks, follow other people, and favorite others’ decks. It’s only an app, so there’s no website counterpart (unlike Memrise). I’m using it only for vocabulary right now.

Here’s what it looks like:


I know a lot of people use and recommend Anki, but I’m not sure I want to spend money on the app version just yet. (And I’m pretty sure TinyCards is SRS-based too.)

Update #4: I’m using Japanese from Zero to supplement my Human Japanese notes.

I borrowed volume 1 of George Trombley’s Japanese From Zero! series from my public library after hearing great things about it online. It’s definitely geared towards beginners, and everything is laid out so well. Kana are introduced progressively, with words being a combination of romaji and kana until all of the kana are introduced. I think this is fantastic for complete beginners who don’t know kana yet or are learning them at a slow pace.

It also has an integrated “workbook” section at the end of each lesson, with practice questions and exercises that help reinforce the content from each lesson. And speaking of the lessons, they’re organized in such a way that you don’t get information overload. Volume 1 has 13 lessons in total, and each lesson is around 10-20 pages long. That sounds like a lot, but the modular organization of each lesson’s content makes it really easy to get through without feeling overwhelmed.

I’m using Japanese From Zero! to learn vocabulary, supplement my understanding of grammar points, and reinforce my current knowledge with the workbook sections. As an accompaniment to the Human Japanese course, so to speak. I look forward to borrowing volume 2, and using the rest of the series as well! I’m finding it much more approachable than Genki. If you’re interested in checking out the series, you can try out the material online for free at YesJapan.com! (All you need to do is make an account, which is also free.)

What do you guys think of these resources? How are your studies going? Let me know in the comments!

That’s all for now, thanks for reading! Stay tuned! :)


6 thoughts on “Progress Update: Japanese Studies”

  1. Looks like you’re doing great!
    My studies have been temporarily derailed. I am taking a graphic design course and since I started doing that my Japanese has been pretty much at a standstill.


      1. Aw shucks! Thanks very much! :)

        It’s tough to juggle multiple things at once, but a little bit of time each day for Japanese does add up. Graphic design is cool! What kind of course are you taking?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is a very introductory course that covers Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign basics. I’ve found it really helpful so far since I knew nothing about the programs and I definitely can’t complain since I’m taking the class for free.


  2. You have a lot of great resources! It’s a good idea to design and print your own grid sheets, I never thought of doing so myself…
    What helped me memorise the katakana was to read out loud every katakana word I came across. Not just trying to guess the English word behind the katakana, but to really read every single letter.


    1. Thank you! I hope that sharing the kinds of resources I use will help others as well. :D

      Right! Intentionally reading katakana is important. Lately, I’ve been looking at pictures of food and beverages (and restaurant menus) to get reading practice. I love food, so it’s also fun!

      Liked by 1 person

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