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Old 10-09-2004, 05:11 PM   #1
Yokaze
 
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Freaky! Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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!

"The only true victory is victory over oneself."

Rob Cunningham
3rd Kyu

Icon courtesy of Norbert Knoll http://www.aikido-verein-hannover.de
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:09 PM   #2
Marxama
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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]
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!

Marcus Magnusson
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Old 10-09-2004, 07:41 PM   #3
Yokaze
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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?

"The only true victory is victory over oneself."

Rob Cunningham
3rd Kyu

Icon courtesy of Norbert Knoll http://www.aikido-verein-hannover.de
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Old 10-09-2004, 08:54 PM   #4
Don_Modesto
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 10-10-2004, 12:32 AM   #5
Charles Hill
Dojo: Numazu Aikikai/Aikikai Honbu Dojo
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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
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Old 10-10-2004, 04:33 AM   #6
Keith_k
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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.
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Old 10-10-2004, 01:36 PM   #7
saltlakeaiki
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Quote:
Rob Cunningham wrote:
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

If it wasn't for the goat, you couldn't get in here for propaganda!
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Old 10-10-2004, 05:01 PM   #8
p00kiethebear
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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.

"Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity"
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Old 10-10-2004, 05:49 PM   #9
Marc Kupper
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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/Se...2%2C%2C0107900
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Old 10-10-2004, 08:08 PM   #10
Zato Ichi
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Quote:
David Iannucci wrote:
<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!

Quote:
Nathan Gidney wrote:
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.
Aside from a different name, I studied Japanese with a teacher just like that!
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Old 10-10-2004, 08:29 PM   #11
saltlakeaiki
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Quote:
R. Haruo Hori wrote:
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
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

Dave

If it wasn't for the goat, you couldn't get in here for propaganda!
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Old 10-10-2004, 10:10 PM   #12
Zato Ichi
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Quote:
David Iannucci wrote:
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.
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Old 10-11-2004, 01:00 AM   #13
darin
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Quote:
R. Haruo Hori wrote:
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.
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Old 10-11-2004, 01:11 AM   #14
PeterR
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Quote:
R. Haruo Hori wrote:
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!!!!!

Peter Rehse Shodokan Aikido
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Old 10-11-2004, 02:09 AM   #15
Zato Ichi
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Quote:
Peter Rehse wrote:
You terrify me and in the right light ---- scarrrry!!!!!
Hey! That's genetics! It's not my fault I'm big and ugly!
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Old 10-11-2004, 05:21 AM   #16
Mathias
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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

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Old 10-11-2004, 09:15 AM   #17
saltlakeaiki
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Quote:
R. Haruo Hori wrote:
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

Last edited by saltlakeaiki : 10-11-2004 at 09:22 AM.

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Old 10-11-2004, 09:50 AM   #18
batemanb
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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 !

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

A difficult problem is easily solved by asking yourself the question, "Just how would the Lone Ranger handle this?"
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Old 11-16-2004, 11:38 AM   #19
sharonbader
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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.
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Old 11-16-2004, 01:10 PM   #20
Steven Taradai
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nihongo

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
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Old 11-16-2004, 02:21 PM   #21
Qatana
 
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

Rob have you though about getting a job in a Japanese Restaurant? There are three sushi bars in Rodent Park that I know of...

Q
http://www.aikidopetaluma.com/
www.knot-working.com

"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:12 AM   #22
mugen
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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
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Old 11-20-2004, 01:38 PM   #23
NH
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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
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Old 11-27-2004, 08:21 AM   #24
Chad Scott
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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.
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Old 12-02-2004, 12:47 PM   #25
rachel
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Re: Help! I want to learn Japanese...

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.
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