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Yokaze
10-09-2004, 05:11 PM
I want, more than anything, to learn Japanese. The problem is, I have no access to any classes (even living at a University >.<)

The closest class is more than 10 miles away and I have no car and other classes to attend to here.

I have gone through a book of Hiragana, and I'm fairly confident in my ability to at least read aloud anything written in Hiragana, without understanding, of course. I'm currently working on learning Katakana as well, but there's only so far I can go before I need some real instruction.

Are there any textbooks or audio products that can reliably teach me at least the basics until I can get a tutor or something? All suggestions are welcome.

Arigato Gozaimasu!

Marxama
10-09-2004, 06:09 PM
Text books can get you a long way, but if you're like me and don't really study hard except when a grade depends on it, then it'll take you some time :) I suggest getting Japanese For Busy People I-III, they will teach you alot about basic and more advanced grammar. Since you already know Hiragana, and are working with Katakana, I suggest buying the Kana-version of the books.

Also, for learning Kana, of course, it's pretty easy if you just write them over and over again, rubbing the characters into your brain. I managed in three days, after all.. [/brag] :D
As for Kanji, there are a few more of those... And they tend to be more complex. Some suggest doing practically the same as I suggested with the Kana, writing over and over again, but I don't think that is a very good method. Look for information about "Rememering the Kanji" by James W. Heisig, it's a great set of books that have helped me alot since I bought them

Good luck!

Yokaze
10-09-2004, 07:41 PM
I took a look at Japanese for busy people. Both romanized and Kana. Oh man is the kana one going to be tough to figure out. I can do it though, and I know in the long run it will benefit me to get the Kana version.

So that's a possibility. I plan on supplementing whatever text I get with a "Learn Japanese" CD collection, to get pronunciation down.

There are a LOT of texts and lessons to choose from... anyone else have any suggestions?

Don_Modesto
10-09-2004, 08:54 PM
Fwiw, research indicates that people who begin with a teacher have a much better record of continuing without one than folks who begin that way.

Search the net for a Jpn who wants to do language exchange. If you end up with a woman, double-check with her that she's not teaching you feminine forms of speech (although there was one fellow on tv there who made a career out of speaking that way and leaving his Jpn audience in stitches just for opening his mouth.)

Good luck.

Charles Hill
10-10-2004, 12:32 AM
Hi Rob,

I second Marcus` suggestion of Japanese for Busy people. I highly recommend you get the tapes/cds as well. I also recommend the book, How To Learn Any Language by Barry Farber. It will give a complete plan and a lot of suggestions for going it alone.

Charles Hill

Keith_k
10-10-2004, 04:33 AM
On the subject, has anyone ever used/ had success with language programs for computer, such as Instant Imersion, Rosseta Stone, etc? I am also interested in learning Japanese, and Korean but don't have time to take classes. I was wondering if these programs were worth the money.

saltlakeaiki
10-10-2004, 01:36 PM
I want, more than anything, to learn Japanese.I wish I had some good practical advice for you, but unfortunately this isn't an area where I have much experience. However if I take your claim at face value, the only obvious advice is that you have to go live in Japan :) I'm sure you've considered this seriously. I would like to strongly encourage it. It sounds like you're still young and probably unattached to worldly things, so you should have no trouble just picking up and going after graduation. I'd like to say "don't worry if you don't make a great deal of progress between now and then," but I'm sure that's not what you wanna hear :)

I would, come to think of it, advise you to get a copy of Nelson's The Modern Reader's Japanese-English Character Dictionary . It may seem way over your head at this stage, but keep it next to your pillow and it will serve you well for many years to come :)

Dave

p00kiethebear
10-10-2004, 05:01 PM
Nothing is a substitute for formal instruction by a ruthless Japanese woman with a pretty name like "hanako", who hates students and attempts to weed out the weak ones.
However since it sounds like this isn't an option, the next best thing is this site:

http://english2day.com/

Haven't found anything better for learning on your own than this site. I initially learned formally with 3 semesters, then moved on to this site. Immerse yourself in anime. Listen to J-pop music and read the Japanese and English lyrics to start making connections to certain words. As for computer software that you can buy, i have had no such luck, all software out there sucks. Period. Except for one program. Lemme go find it, it's free on line. Best of luck.

Marc Kupper
10-10-2004, 05:49 PM
See if your school has a local Japanese club or similar place where the exchange students hang out – they want to learn/improve their English, you want to learn/improve your Japanese. It should be a fun trade. One place to check for this, besides the school office, is the English Language program for international students. For example, Google finds http://www.applyesl.com/un/school/Sel%2Cs0107900%2C2%2C%2C0107900

Zato Ichi
10-10-2004, 08:08 PM
<snip>... the only obvious advice is that you have to go live in Japan :) I'm sure you've considered this seriously. I would like to strongly encourage it.

I'd like to add one thing to this: if you come to Japan to learn Japanese, go live in the boonies. In big cities, you can get by with English (there are occasional rough spots, of course, but nothing too serious), and the temptation to do so is overwhelming. In small towns, you're pretty much stuck with Japanese and, hence, forced to speak whether you want to or not!

Nothing is a substitute for formal instruction by a ruthless Japanese woman with a pretty name like "hanako", who hates students and attempts to weed out the weak ones.

:D Aside from a different name, I studied Japanese with a teacher just like that!

saltlakeaiki
10-10-2004, 08:29 PM
I'd like to add one thing to this: if you come to Japan to learn Japanese, go live in the boonies. In big cities, you can get by with EnglishI'm not sure I'd agree. I'd rather suggest that the choice of big city or boonies be made based on which type of place one would prefer to live. Since he'd be going over there with a strong motivation to learn the language, I don't think we need to worry about him taking the lazy way out :) I have a friend who taught English in the boonies of Wakayama, and he had a heck of a time learning Japanese because the locals were all intimidated as hell by him and mostly avoided him. Not to say that this is to be expected, necessarily, but... at least in the big city there will be plenty of people to speak J with, and most of them won't be afraid of you :)

Dave

Zato Ichi
10-10-2004, 10:10 PM
I'm not sure I'd agree. I'd rather suggest that the choice of big city or boonies be made based on which type of place one would prefer to live. Since he'd be going over there with a strong motivation to learn the language, I don't think we need to worry about him taking the lazy way out :) I have a friend who taught English in the boonies of Wakayama, and he had a heck of a time learning Japanese because the locals were all intimidated as hell by him and mostly avoided him. Not to say that this is to be expected, necessarily, but... at least in the big city there will be plenty of people to speak J with, and most of them won't be afraid of you :)

The flip side to this is that in the big city, most Japanese will try and speak English to you if they can... to a lot people here, the idea of a foreigner speaking any Japanese (beyond domo arigato and hai) is unheard of, so they will try and be "helpful" and use English. I've had experiences (rare as they may be :)) where my Japanese has been better than their English, and they still refused to speak in Japanese

As for people people not being afraid of you in the big city... well, let's just say that is not entirely true. ;)

darin
10-11-2004, 01:00 AM
The flip side to this is that in the big city, most Japanese will try and speak English to you if they can... to a lot people here, the idea of a foreigner speaking any Japanese (beyond domo arigato and hai) is unheard of, so they will try and be "helpful" and use English. I've had experiences (rare as they may be :)) where my Japanese has been better than their English, and they still refused to speak in Japanese

As for people people not being afraid of you in the big city... well, let's just say that is not entirely true. ;)

Try to get a job in a Japanese company. Student exchange is ok too. See if your school has a student exchange program.

PeterR
10-11-2004, 01:11 AM
As for people people not being afraid of you in the big city... well, let's just say that is not entirely true.
You terrify me and in the right light ---- scarrrry!!!!!

Zato Ichi
10-11-2004, 02:09 AM
You terrify me and in the right light ---- scarrrry!!!!!

Hey! That's genetics! It's not my fault I'm big and ugly! :D

Mathias
10-11-2004, 05:21 AM
I study Japanese with the Rosetta Stone program. Itīs a really good program, but also very expensive. It is on two CDīs (level 1&2) Iīm on level one and it is said to lead to intermediate proficiency.

It is to only program i have tried so i canīt compare but i think it is relatively easy to learn this way. But it is VERY important that you use what you have learned in your day to day life. Just this morning when i drove to work (20 min drive) i talked to my self about the weather, how cold it was, the treas turning red, that i was wearing much clothes and so on.

One thing i find difficult with the rosetta stone is the grammar. If you can get a grammar book and use that itīs a big plus.

/Mathias

saltlakeaiki
10-11-2004, 09:15 AM
The flip side to this is that in the big city, most Japanese will try and speak English to you if they can... to a lot people here, the idea of a foreigner speaking any Japanese (beyond domo arigato and hai) is unheard of, so they will try and be "helpful" and use English.Here we're arguing about where Rob should live, and he hasn't even said whether he'll go or not :) I can see that you've had a different experience than me. I lived in Tokyo for eight years, working at a J company, married to a nihonjin, and overall hanging out more with the natives than with gaijin, and yet can't remember even a single instance of someone insisting on speaking English to me after they found I could speak Japanese. If anything there was often a palpable sense of relief, not to have to speak English. Not to say there were no such incidents, just that they must have been rare enough that I have no memory of it. Maybe the phenomenon you mention is more a Kansai thing :)

Anyway, we're ignoring what is obviously the most important factor in choosing a place to live: finding a good aikido teacher and dojo to practice at :)

batemanb
10-11-2004, 09:50 AM
I've studied with a number of teachers, only one scary woman, the rest were all cuties (except for the chap, although he thought he was ;)). Studying alone is difficult, as is trying to do a years worth of study one on one in 5 months :eek:!

Find a teacher if at all possible.

If you want to do eventually do the Japanese Proficiency tests, the Japanese For Busy People is a good option. Now available on CD too, recommend that you use the books in conjunction with the CD's.

regards

Bryan

sharonbader
11-16-2004, 11:38 AM
Is anyone familiar with Pimsleur Japanese?

I have a copy of the CD's I find it difficult to learn since I have a terrible memory. I think the book would help a lot to follow along with. I really need visual reinforcement.

I would agree that the best way to learn a new language, especially one as difficult as Japanese, is total immersion. Unfortunately that is not always a possibility.

I was wondering how this compared with Rosseta Stone and other CD's.

Steven Taradai
11-16-2004, 01:10 PM
hello Rob,

I would strongly recommend you to buy a book "NAKAMA" volume 1 by the authors Makino, Hatasa, Hatasa. (Hougton Miffin Company, ISBN 0-669-27583-2)

it one of the best books available for studying Japanese. i have been using it for a while. additionally, all Japanese classes at my college use that book as well; both instructors and student find it very helpful.

just one thing, the book is quite pricey and not so easy to find.
i bough it in Boston in Sasuga Bookstore. you can visit their website www.sasugabooks.com

if you can't find nihongo classes next to your school, i believe this book might help you in your self-study.

Steven

Qatana
11-16-2004, 02:21 PM
Rob have you though about getting a job in a Japanese Restaurant? There are three sushi bars in Rodent Park that I know of...

mugen
11-20-2004, 01:12 AM
hi rob,
as Dave sugested, live in Japan will be a good thing if you are serious enough about learning Japanese. I understand that Japanese is not a difficult language to speak. Forget about learning Kanji. Dave did not mention about a second trick. Marry a Japanese like he did will garantee you'll master J quick. I'm bad.
rich

NH
11-20-2004, 01:38 PM
Hi,

I can highly recommend Pimsleur for getting a very good grounding. My only "complaint" is that it doesn't go far enough. It also - surprisingly - never covers some very basic vocabulary (like "mother" and "father"!). JBP is good at filling in these gaps.

Best of luck,

Nick Hallale
England
www.daito-ryu.co.uk

Chad Scott
11-27-2004, 08:21 AM
Before I moved to Japan, I studied the series of textbooks called Japanese for Busy People, along with the CDs. They provided a good, basic foundation.

My other advice would be to find some native (or non-native) Japanese speakers at your university to hang out with.

Good luck.

rachel
12-02-2004, 12:47 PM
Right now I'm using a book series called 'Genki: An Integrated course in Japanese', you can get it at amazon.com. I also have a book called 'First Steps In Japanese' for a class at school, I think that's for real beginners that just want to learn some basic conversation skills.

Barrett Condy
12-04-2004, 05:25 PM
What kind of trouble are you having? Are those courses not working well for you? Have you tried taking a college course?

iaquino
12-07-2004, 10:44 AM
If you are doing it yourself, the Living Language Ultimate Japanese with CD audio is pretty good.
and a very good pocket dictionary ie Shubun by Collins/Gem.
I am still learning myself.Listening comprehension is the hardest, because Japanese is regular conversation is fast and not the same as you learn in a college course. I listen to a lot of Japanese and try to figure out or identify the verb root word and the words before the verb.

Nikopol
12-13-2004, 05:14 AM
I too think a college course is your best bet. It's carefully structured, there is camraderie and a chance to practice and have direct feedback.

Japanese is by no means a difficult (spoken) language.

rach1234
08-17-2005, 05:34 PM
A really fun, good site I have found is http://www.YesJapan.com you can study on-line at anytime that is convenient for you. They have many options and levels. Plus there is a great community and lots of fun, with online teachers that will answer your personal questions anytime. I lived in Japan for 10 years, and wish I would have had something like that to study with. They also have live classes if you live in the Las Vegas area. :)

Abasan
08-18-2005, 03:22 AM
I used tripleplay japanese CD-ROM. its quite basic and it has games in it so that your learning is pretty varied. Especially helpful if you want to correct your pronounciation and hearing ability.

As for kanji, there's this book I used. Its Kanji made easy or something. That book is good to learn basic kanji because it gives you an idea why kanji appear the way they do. So basically you can figure out from picture what it means, and also helps you remember a lot more than just by rote memorisation.

However, I'm a lazy bastard. So my japanese is no good. This from nearly 2 decades of watching animes even. I guess, we can't have everything can we.