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Thread: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

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    Member dvac002's Avatar
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    Default Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Hello to everyone,

    I'm a shortlister who has some early intermediate Japanese under his belt and would like to perhaps study a bit more before heading out to Japan. I took several courses at my university and finished both Genki I and II and I'm looking for some advice from those already residing in Japan. Are the two Genki books a good enough foundation and resource to have before arriving in Japan. Should I try and essentially master the grammar and learn most of, if not all, the vocabulary from these two books, or would anyone recommend I take up another series or textbook to add upon what I already know? If so, any recommendations?

    Thanks!!

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    If your Genki is solid, and you remember most of the vocab/grammar from it, move onto heisig. It'll help you so much more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
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    Member dvac002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Thanks Gizmo! I've never heard of Heisig but I'll take your word for it. After all, I will have so much time on my hands!

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    Senior Member zombiekelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    You should definitely go past Genki. Genki is good but there are some things it leaves out that you'll run into here. (For instance, I don't remember the imperative being covered, just the more polite て request form.)

    Japan Times has an intermediate book, but it's not as cute and friendly as Genki. There's also a book called Tobira, but I didn't have time to use it and left it at home, so I can't give you any recommendation about it.
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    Member dvac002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Yea, Genki never covers the imperative form, but that Intermediate book you mentioned seems a good post-Genki starting point. As for Tobira, a couple of reviews seem to suggest it is a little more advanced so I'm not sure if it would make for a good transition.

    By the way, is Heisig only for kanji?

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    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Yes, Heisig's only for kanji. Book 1 teaches how to write and the meanings for each kanji, then Book 2 teaches readings. I personally didn't care for Heisig, but it works well for some people.

    For grammar and vocab, you could always get books geared for the JLPT. They're pretty useful even if you never plan to take the test.

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    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    I would spend less time focusing on textbooks and instead try to boost your listening/speaking by watching Japanese TV shows, listening to podcasts, etc. I've had so many moments since coming to Japan when I thought "Oh. They definitely didn't cover that in the textbook." The textbook will cover the ideal Japanese that they say you're supposed to speak, so you'll have to go to actual Japanese media intended for Japanese people to get a non-whitewashed sense of the language.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    ??

    Wow, I never realized the book doesn't cover it. We were taught it at some point, but I don't remember if that was because it was in the old version or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    About Heisig, some people don't like it, I find the amount of information and things I can read so much larger because of it, and it really helps with learning new words. I feel like my vocabulary expands soo much more rapidly and concretely now than it every did pre-heisig, and I have a much better grasp on new words I see. It absolutely doesn't help you with listening, grammar, or speaking, so if that's all your worried about then don't bother with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    Member dvac002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    I feel as if both listening and speaking improve with immersion and time, whereas I can begin studying and brushing up on my reading skills and vocabulary and grammar while I'm here awaiting August. Heisig seems to work for some and not for others, but it's relatively cheap so I see no harm in trying to improve my reading.

    I've heard about Japanese pod 101, but I'm a bit skeptical about its efficacy.

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    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Quote Originally Posted by dvac002 View Post
    I feel as if both listening and speaking improve with immersion and time, whereas I can begin studying and brushing up on my reading skills and vocabulary and grammar while I'm here awaiting August. Heisig seems to work for some and not for others, but it's relatively cheap so I see no harm in trying to improve my reading.

    I've heard about Japanese pod 101, but I'm a bit skeptical about its efficacy.
    Heisig is good, but be warned that it is a big time investment, and the payoff is definitely in the long run. Of course everyone who studies Japanese wants to learn all the "daily use" kanji as quick as possible, but unless you plan on learning to read newspapers, novels, financial documents, etc., Heisig is going to cover a lot of characters that you just plain won't use in everyday life. It's good to aspire to that level of fluency, but you have to bear in mind that it is a lot of work and time and has to be more than a passing interest.

    Don't fall into the belief that you can only practice speaking and listening when you're in the country - there is a lot you can do to improve your listening and speaking while overseas, and even after coming to Japan you have to make an effort not to surround yourself with English at home.

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    Member dvac002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Hmm...I have yet to decide what my end goal is. I have always told myself that knowing enough Japanese to be able to converse almost effortlessly was my goal, but I am starting to find myself quite uncertain and I'm having second thoughts on what to aim for. It's difficult to predict what my sentiment will be once I am actually there and whether or not I will even want to learn anything beyond elementary Japanese. At the same time, although it is time consuming, what bad can come from it? I'm probably not doing myself any favors by over-thinking this, so I think I'm just gonna stick to an intermediate textbook and look for some podcasts to improve my listening.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Everyone I know who just buckled down and did Heisig, regardless how much they might have hated parts of the process (or the length/commitment) has sung its praises when they were done. It's a big thing in my area, because we have had some great success from it (including one of the three foreigners who hold the Pre 1st Kanji Kantei). I personally support it, as I've been able to communicate (I did genki i+II in the old books) since I got here, not that I did right away... and find that though it put my Japanese study on hold for half a year while I did Heisig slowly, the speed I retain words now after heisig and the amount I can guess read is huge compared to before.

    I don't plan to be "fluent" in Japanese before I leave, but I do look at it as "why not try to get as far as I can" and Heisig definitely helps with that.

    If you want more details, look at AJATT | All Japanese All The Time | You dont learn a language, you get used to it. (All Japanese All the Time), it gives you a "how to heisig" on there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    I've never been to Japan (fellow shortlister) so I can't speak with authority, but I found myself in the same spot you in the fall after finishing Genki II. I definitely second the vote for Heisig, because as Gizmotech said it makes learning vocabulary so much easier, and it will probably lead you down the rabbit hole to the wonderful world of Anki. You also might check out the Core 2000 vocab packs on Anki, which are supposedly the 2000 most frequently used words in Japanese, sample sentences, pictures, pronunciations and all(almost rosetta stone style). Seeing the kanji in context and compound words makes them much easier to remember than Heisig's at-times awkward keywords.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Genki is very, very basic, and even if you mastered everything in between the bindings, you would still not understand half of what you're told or a tenth of what you read. It's a good starting point and nothing else.

    I wrote an addendum at Japanese - The Official /int/ How to Learn A Foreign Language Guide Wiki about what to do after reaching upper-novice level. Go and read it, it will help you a lot. Being in Japan is going to do a lot more for your Japanese than anything, but there are people who have lived in Japan for 10 years without being able to communicate, so if you aren't interested in synthesizing study and application you won't become fluent. At the very least, buy Tobira, even if it's the last Japanese textbook you ever use, it will get you a lot closer to where you need to be and you'll probably know 99% of all standard grammatical functions in colloquial Japanese by the time you get to the end of it.

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    Member dvac002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Hey Dickforce,

    I read your addendum on that Wiki page and I must say, it makes for a great read! I've already downloaded Rikaichan and Anki. Quick question though, is Tobira all in Japanese, or does it explain the grammar points in English? Kanji is without a doubt my weakest point, so I'm thinking of reviewing ALL the kanji from the Genki series and then starting Tobira. I'm also seriously considering taking up the intensive Heisig series due to the fact that many seem to recommend it and praise its worth. After all, it's just 20 bucks! Thanks a bunch guys!

  17. #17
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    just get the nihongo somatome books with the cute animals on the cover for whatever JLPT level you think you are at.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Dvac, it's very English. As you go up in level, you'll see less and less English. If you can completely understand what you're reading, it's too easy. If you can't understand what you're reading at all, it's too hard.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    Heisig is weird. I think if you decide to do it you should definitely aim to do it as quickly as possible, though it is difficult to do so, I took far too long to finish it but I was studying other stuff at the same time. I definitely am glad I did it in the end but I don't think I'd ever recommend it to someone beyond suggesting that they do some research about it to see if it's for them. It does make remembering/understanding kanji much easier but on the flipside it takes a long time for it to be useful and can end up being a huge timesink for nothing. If what you want most is functional conversational ability in Japanese it may not be worth it at all.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Advice:Should I study after Genki II?

    I still have no idea why people study kanji, as though it were a thing. Do you also study syllabic blocks and latin/greco roots while learning English? It's a writing system, study it as it applies to words you learn. Doing anything else is overcomplicating things for no payoff. The only thing kanji study is good for is preparation for the kanji kentei, and you shouldn't even be thinking about that for five years.

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