Learning Japanese pt. 2 [FAQ]

As a continuation to the first Learning Japanese post, I decided to take a look at some common questions I came across while procrastinating spending time on forums and websites that deal with learning the Japanese language.

I try to answer them based on how I feel about them and my own experience. Hopefully it will be of some use of you.

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Learning Japanese pt. 1 [My Story]

There’s one question that’s bound to come up over and over again on any forum or website dedicated to learning Japanese:

“How did you learn Japanese?”

or perhaps just:

“How should I learn Japanese?”

…Or a variation of the above.

It’s not surprising – after all, learning a new language is a huge task and many people have no idea how or where to even begin, especially if they have never learned a foreign language before. That’s why, I figured I’d give answering this question a shot. This is going to be a multi-part post, and the first one is a summary of how I’ve learned Japanese up to this point.

Note that this is 100% my experience. What it means is that you might try some of the stuff that worked for me and find out that it doesn’t work for you. You might try stuff that didn’t work for me and realize it’s a great fit for you. My way is not the only true way of learning the language – there’s no such thing as one, “right” way of learning a new language. There’s only what works for you and what doesn’t, which you’re going to have to find out through trial and error.

So, with all of this out of the way, let’s get started.


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How I Play Video Games in Japanese

With Pokemon Sun and Moon already out in Japan and the US (at the time of writing this post, my fellow Europeans still have to wait a few days, unfortunately) I’m sure some of you will want to make use of one of the game’s best features – the ability to play it in multiple languages – to brush up on your Japanese skills.

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Or one of the other languages for that matter, but this is a blog dedicated to Japanese games, after all…

Anyway, if you’re not proficient with the language yet chances are you’re gonna run into quite a few new words during your Pokemon adventure. I know, I had to look up so much stuff back when I tried playing Pokemon Y in Japanese two years ago. Pokemon games, despite being quite beginner-friendly, are still written with native speakers in mind, after all.

Of course, stopping to look up unknown words can get quite annoying, especially in Japanese, where just inputting the word into an electronic dictionary can be tricky, if it’s written in kanji you haven’t learned yet. Over time, I’ve developed a way to make this as unobtrusive as possible for myself.

Of course it also gets easier as you understand more and have to look up less and less, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Naturally, all of the stuff here is applicable not only to Pokemon, but any game, or reading just about anything that doesn’t come in a form you can copy-and-paste.

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