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haitch40
December 3rd, 2014, 08:23
I am currently learning Japanese through my uni despite not being in Japan yet so I would like some tips on how to improve.

sharpinthefang
December 3rd, 2014, 08:50
Practice, Practice, Practice.

Jiggit
December 3rd, 2014, 08:51
Practice, Practice, Practice.

Yeah I'm sure that he never thought of that.

sharpinthefang
December 3rd, 2014, 09:11
Yeah I'm sure that he never thought of that.

He never asked for specific advice.

Zolrak 22
December 3rd, 2014, 11:54
Form a study group, get a pen pal. Use www.lang-8.com, natives fix your sentences and you can usually get a language partner as well. There's a bunch of Japanese people willing to Skype there.

Use repetition software such as Aniki to memorize vocabulary.

Let's see what else... Depending on your skill level, you can probably read either children's books or news sites.

I remember there being a website for reading according to level, but can't quite remember its name.

Ini
December 3rd, 2014, 12:34
make sure its japanese you are learning, too darn easy to spend 15 years on it only to discover you were learning korean by mistake.

haitch40
December 4th, 2014, 11:51
make sure its japanese you are learning, too darn easy to spend 15 years on it only to discover you were learning korean by mistake.
Well the guy who runs the lessons is a native so I damn hope he speaks Japanese.

Antonath
December 4th, 2014, 12:30
Well the guy who runs the lessons is a native so I damn hope he speaks Japanese.
PvY6YQH9kE4

ALTInsiderFY
December 4th, 2014, 18:33
Cut out English from your life as much as you can. Drown in Japanese. It will be tough at first but its honestly the fastest way. It still will take years though, no matter what some websites say. I pm'ed you a link to get you started. Good luuck. And seriously make sure your learning Japanese and not Korean, I've seen that create broken homes and orphaned seals.

Gizmotech
December 4th, 2014, 19:31
It'll take me you years but I know two people who got n1 level (with convo) after two years of study and practice here in Japan

haitch40
December 4th, 2014, 20:38
Cut out English from your life as much as you can. Drown in Japanese. It will be tough at first but its honestly the fastest way. It still will take years though, no matter what some websites say. I pm'ed you a link to get you started. Good luuck. And seriously make sure your learning Japanese and not Korean, I've seen that create broken homes and orphaned seals.
I can't cut out English yet. I live in England.

ALTInsiderFY
December 4th, 2014, 20:51
I know AROUND you is English but you can change that environment. Here's some quick ways:

Going outside of your house? Put on headphones with Japanese songs, podcasts, or movies playing. I had Battle Royale on my phone constantly for a long time.
Inside your house? Change your OS to Japanese, ALWAYS have a Japanese show/anime/movie on your computer/TV, put up a Kanji poster.
Are you a student? write as many of your notes in Japanese as you can, even if its just the headings or chapter title or whatever. In between classes, you didn't forget your headphones right?

It's all about how bad, and how fast you want to get used to Japanese. The more you do, the faster it is.

haitch40
December 4th, 2014, 21:06
I know AROUND you is English but you can change that environment. Here's some quick ways:

Going outside of your house? Put on headphones with Japanese songs, podcasts, or movies playing. I had Battle Royale on my phone constantly for a long time.
Inside your house? Change your OS to Japanese, ALWAYS have a Japanese show/anime/movie on your computer/TV, put up a Kanji poster.
Are you a student? write as many of your notes in Japanese as you can, even if its just the headings or chapter title or whatever. In between classes, you didn't forget your headphones right?

It's all about how bad, and how fast you want to get used to Japanese. The more you do, the faster it is.
Ok that sounds good.

Got the music down as I became a TMR fan over the summer.
Kanji I need to learn for my exam in January anyway.
I could try to write notes in Japanese but I doubt I can do much at this stage. I can't really write about political or international theory in a language I am still learning the basics of.
Same with OS. I do have the Japanese language installed so I sometimes type it but I think it will be hard to find my way around the computer at this stage. Maybe when I have studied a little more.


Yeah I'm sure that he never thought of that.
I didn't the first half of last year. I was lazy with my studying and went into an exam not even knowing half the kana. That taught me swiftly how much of an idiot I was for not studying.

ALTInsiderFY
December 4th, 2014, 21:22
As for the notes, just your name and subject is fine. Of course you can't write the tough stuff YET. You will one day though.
TMR is sweet, I like this song, not TMR but from the singer. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNE93dieQF4)
For the OS, that's fine to wait, but waiting till your ready for everything will make you never be ready so be careful.

Sounds like your on the way though. Have fun!

Ini
December 4th, 2014, 21:42
Having an anime constantly playing on your computer and listening to "TMR" is a great tip. You'll have plenty of time to study once everyone has started avoiding you like the plague.....

ALTInsiderFY
December 4th, 2014, 21:53
Lol. Fine. If AKB is what floats your boat AKB it is then.

Jiggit
December 4th, 2014, 22:07
There is no good Japanese music.

I would actually like someone to prove me wrong.

ALTInsiderFY
December 4th, 2014, 22:34
Well we all know what opinions are like, but some stand outs for me in various genres...

Rock: One OK Rock - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh9yZWeTmVM
Chill: - Dragon Ash - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmEQHjM8Ivo
Metal: Blood Stain Child - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjTXeJZM8wg
Epic: Chrono Cross - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ595N9NZVg
Feels - Ayumi Hamasaki - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ__n_uBwUQ

Maybe there is something there for you?

Ini
December 4th, 2014, 22:39
thanks grandma, have you got anything thats been cool in the last few years?

ALTInsiderFY
December 4th, 2014, 23:04
First I was asked to show some cool music. Now I'm asked for FRESH new music lol. Aight Ini, here's one for ya, brand spankin'.

Baby Metal - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKDFWi8eb0A



ok that was a joke.

How about this? Its a pretty good song, just ignore the video. They are wearing rapper clothes for no reason.
Rock
http://youtu.be/qtSj-n7Haow?list=PLCHBij8O0NUCnMCVTRVpjM6Jkb4FeNN_r

haitch40
December 4th, 2014, 23:35
Having an anime constantly playing on your computer and listening to "TMR" is a great tip. You'll have plenty of time to study once everyone has started avoiding you like the plague.....
I know. I am trying to become the worlds ultimate fedora wearing neckbeard.

naginataonthebrain
December 5th, 2014, 02:47
thanks grandma, have you got anything thats been cool in the last few years?

Sakanaction is pretty good. They have interesting mvs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD4QeVlqHNM) too.

haitch40
December 5th, 2014, 06:58
There is no good Japanese music.

I would actually like someone to prove me wrong.
I learned that music is purely down to individual taste by noticing the charts. The amount of shit here that actually sells.

Jiggit
December 5th, 2014, 08:39
Well we all know what opinions are like, but some stand outs for me in various genres...

Rock: One OK Rock - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh9yZWeTmVM
Chill: - Dragon Ash - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmEQHjM8Ivo
Metal: Blood Stain Child - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjTXeJZM8wg
Epic: Chrono Cross - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ595N9NZVg
Feels - Ayumi Hamasaki - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ__n_uBwUQ

Maybe there is something there for you?

I've heard all these before and nope. I've tried listening to a lot of Japanese music actually, and for some time convinced myself it was good... and then I went back and remembered what I'd been missing.

It's kind of like Japanese beer. I'm sure there must be good stuff out there, but everything I've ever had tastes like someone described a different beer to them, let's say a stout, and instead of making a stout they made something that tastes basically like lager but if you concentrate really hard you might notice a taste vaguely reminiscent of stout. They can sell it to people who don't actually know what real stout is and they can convince themselves they're drinking stout while basically they're drinking the same lager they're used to.

And of course if you try and tell people that, no, this isn't really stout, this is just Japanified stout they'll think you're being a beer snob and if they're Japanese they'll get upset that you implied there's something Japan isn't bestest in the world at. After all, they enjoy their generic lager-stout, why wouldn't anyone else?? Unless they're just trying to be contrary...

And if you like real beer then you know that this is not proper beer and you can drink it just for something different or if you really want to drink Japanese beer. But at the end of the day you know that it isn't really interesting to you. And you know that the people who do claim to like it don't really know what they're missing.

In this analogy lager is Jpop and stout is whatever other kind of music they fill up a fifth of the glass with.

haitch40
December 5th, 2014, 09:49
It's kind of like Japanese beer. I'm sure there must be good stuff out there, but everything I've ever had tastes like someone described a different beer to them, let's say a stout, and instead of making a stout they made something that tastes basically like lager but if you concentrate really hard you might notice a taste vaguely reminiscent of stout. They can sell it to people who don't actually know what real stout is and they can convince themselves they're drinking stout while basically they're drinking the same lager they're used to.

And of course if you try and tell people that, no, this isn't really stout, this is just Japanified stout they'll think you're being a beer snob and if they're Japanese they'll get upset that you implied there's something Japan isn't bestest in the world at. After all, they enjoy their generic lager-stout, why wouldn't anyone else?? Unless they're just trying to be contrary...

And if you like real beer then you know that this is not proper beer and you can drink it just for something different or if you really want to drink Japanese beer. But at the end of the day you know that it isn't really interesting to you. And you know that the people who do claim to like it don't really know what they're missing.

In this analogy lager is Jpop and stout is whatever other kind of music they fill up a fifth of the glass with.
I will agree Japanese beer isn't the best if you want something other than lager. I don't like that many beers though as I don't like stuff that is too bitter so Japanese beer is fine for me.

jwkelley
December 5th, 2014, 11:11
Keep Anki running, words in sentence or phrasal form. Do this in spurts of 10 to 20 minutes throughout the day, 2 to 5 times.
Throw yourself in the language as much as possible.

Switch between things that you understand 98% to build fluency(reading a book, watching anime, writing a really bad essay, drunk chatting on skype) and things are much harder and require a lot more deliberate effort(grammar books, hard readings, complicated essays).

Judge progress by time you spent in the language vs how much you accomplished.


Good Japanese music.
Tokyo Jihen, Sigh, Boredoms, Melt Banana

Jiggit
December 5th, 2014, 11:24
Tokyo Jihen, Sigh, Boredoms, Melt Banana

Better suggestions.

To be fair I have found a couple Japanese bands I like. Sadly a lot of them have English lyrics or incomprehensible lyrics or no words. Good luck trying to learn anything from Melt Banana.

jwkelley
December 5th, 2014, 11:40
In all honesty i would rather listen to bad dialogue recordings than most Japanese music. I did find some old Japanese Jazz singer and another kind of disco funk singer which were more tolerable.

Ebi
December 6th, 2014, 09:42
Sakanaction is pretty good. They have interesting mvs (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD4QeVlqHNM) too.
I second Sakanaction. At the very least they don't sound like the rest of the rainbow anime pop groups, idol groups, or trying-too-hard rock & rap groups. And yeah, the videos are pretty interesting.

As for study tips, a lot of people have already suggested it, but I agree that it's important to diversify how and what you study. If you're into anime/manga and games, then use them to study, but with the understanding that a lot of the language used in those mediums is not something you'll use or hear in everyday life, so supplement the "fun stuff" with textbooks or other forms of structured study. Personally, music is one of my least favorite mediums to use for Japanese study because the sentence structure and language is almost never useful and it's harder to understand what they're saying (no context, poor enunciation, regularly use made-up words or mix in pseudo-English, etc.) but if that motivates you, then go for it.

One of my preferred methods starting out was watching movies I'd already seen before in Japanese, but without any subtitles (or Japanese subtitles only). It was a low-stress way for me to study, since I already knew the story so I knew the context of the dialogue and roughly what things meant, but there was no English to distract me. I find that if English is on the screen, it will capture my attention and I won't remember any of the Japanese lines even if I understood them.

But honestly, even if you really suck at Japanese right now and think you'll "never get it", there's still a good chance you'll pick it up once you move to Japan and hear it and use it 24/7. I could barely string a sentence together more complicated than "Watashi wa amerika-jin dess" when I got here, but I forced myself to speak every day. I mimicked the Japanese I heard, looked up kanji and words I didn't understand, took notes whenever my JTE went into grammar-explanation-mode rather than zoning out, and stopped caring if I made mistakes. I joined a study group that forced me to speak only-Japanese for 1 hour, uninterrupted. I later joined a sports team made up of only Japanese people around my age, which was great for speaking/listening practice and provided another peer group to socialize with. I downloaded some apps on my phone to practice kanji and grammar in my downtime.

I try to treat any experience here as a study opportunity. I needed to edit some photos, so I taught myself how to use the crappy Japanese image editing program on my work computer. I was hospitalized for a week so I spent that time looking up medical terms and chatting with my roommates. I've started learning how to cook Japanese food, so I joined CookPad and bought a bunch of cookbooks in Japanese. I feel like I retain more when I learn things while they're necessary and relevant to my current situation.

But don't feel too bad if it takes a long time. You may hit a point where you feel like you've plateaued and aren't improving much anymore. I just try to remind myself of what I couldn't do a year ago that I can do now and change up my study habits so I don't feel bored. But there's no shame in taking a break from studying. Just don't get trapped in the "gaijin bubble" forever.

Jiggit
December 8th, 2014, 08:28
If you ever want to feel like an idiot go find a kid from China or wherever who has only lived here for a few years. Guaranteed they will have better Japanese than yours and in all likelihood functional fluency.

Really iterates that the reason most ex-pats don't have great foreign language skills is because they shield themselves inside their little foreigner bubble.

It's kind of like weight loss. It's really simple to understand what you have to do, having it actually happen requires you give up some of the greatest pleasures in life like fried chicken and netflix.

jwkelley
December 8th, 2014, 10:36
Chinese who cant speak the language are either working in a back warehouse somewhere or went back to China.

Jiggit
December 8th, 2014, 10:42
That's why I said "kid". It's not the being Chinese that matters, it's the being a kid at a Japanese school that matters. Don't get me wrong, if those kids were adults they'd probably have just as terrible Japanese as I do.

jwkelley
December 8th, 2014, 11:07
Sorry was thinking college kid.