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So you want to teach yourself Japanese? Part One

I took a year of Japanese in university - and in that year of intense study and group projects I had mastered hiragana, katakana, and some Kanji. I was doing well. Then the class was over and I no longer had an opportunity to use what I had learned.

90% of my fluency went up in smoke.

One of my 2019 goals is to re-learn all that Japanese fluency that I lost. I'm pretty much starting from scratch, so if you're also interested in teaching yourself Japanese, I invite you to come along on this journey with me.


GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese, 2nd Edition
GENKI: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese, Workbook
JapanesePod101 and their Youtube Channel - Japanese
DuoLingo App - Japanese
Essential Japanese - but ONLY for the audio CD

I also have a variety of handouts, practice sheets, and some flash cards from my old university class. I will strive to provide links to those resources as I'm able to locate them! 


I found this fun graphic (which was HUGE so I broke it down into smaller parts to fit on my blog) from Language Nerds and while I don't believe that anyone can become truly fluent in just three months - it does break down the best way to start learning a language from scratch!

Since we're tackling Japanese, apparently one of the hardest languages to learn, it's even more important that we start incorporating how to write a word while we learn how to speak it and use it in a sentence.

Let's start with some simple Japanese phrases:

おはようございます ohayou gozaimasu– Good Morning

こんにちは  konnichiwa – Hello / Good afternoon!

ありがとうございます arigatou gozaimasu– Thank You

すみません sumimasen– Excuse Me, I’m Sorry, Thank you

こんばんは konbanwa - Good evening
ごめんなさい gomen nasai - I'm Sorry

Next lesson, we'll start practicing hiragana!

*This post contains affiliate links - if you make a purchase using one of these links, I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you.*


  1. It's great you learnt a foreign language. I think that's one of the best experiences in life. Especially Japanese! My best friend took 3 years of Japanese classes and I, 3 years of Chinese mandarin. He always argues that Chinese is harderthan Japanese and I always insist that Japanese is harder than Chinese and that therefore he's more brave than me. LOL!

    1. I definitely think Chinese would be WAYY harder - Japanese has a finite set of sounds that exist in the language, but Chinese has all that tonal stuff going on, where if you say the same word just slightly different it becomes a totally different word.

      Though writing Japanese might be harder because that's three different integrated "alphabets" to master.

    2. I think you're right about the writing. And yes the 5 tones in Chinese can be confusing when you speak.


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