This post is a compilation of the best ways to learn Japanese… according to Redditors!
I have a confession to make…
I love reddit. For all its flaws, it’s still probably one of my favorite sites. I’ve probably spent at minimum 10 minutes on the site every single day for the last 5 years. And some days I fall down a reddit rabbit hole that takes me hours to get out of.
The beauty of reddit is that it uses the wisdom of the crowd to separate the good advice from the bad. That’s why when I’m looking for advice on something (especially things I’m too embarrassed to ask about!) I usually go to reddit to search for the answer.
Reddit Teaches You How To Learn Japanese
Today, I wanted to answer the age old question: What is the best way to study Japanese? So I turned to reddit to see what advice I could find.
Browsing through some of the all time top voted posts in r/learnjapanese, r/languagelearning, and r/japaneseresources, I skipped past the memes and funny posts to pick out some of the most recommended resources.
Here are a few of the most useful reddit posts I came across for learning Japanese:
Level: Absolute Beginner to Low Intermediate
This ‘Start Here’ guide is pretty solid, if a little dry.
It walks you through the very basics of the Japanese alphabet, textbooks, tests (JLPT), and links to some really great resources like the Kana study sheets.
I also agree with their Japanese textbook recommendations — Genki 1 and 2 — although it seems they recommend Pimsleur over JapanesePod101, which is good but I still feel JapanesePod101 is much better (I suppose it was included because Pimsleur is less expensive). PS: If you’re looking for JapanesePod101 Coupon Codes, here you are.
I also think they should have mentioned Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji, as that’s probably the best way to learn Kanji from scratch.
All in all, this is a great place to start in terms of a resource list for starting Japanese.
Japanese Level: All Levels
Reddit user SusieFougerousse created a VERY comprehensive list of free online resources for learning Japanese.
Actually the whole site is a pretty cool idea (that I wish I’d thought of) — collecting all the free online resources for a variety of topics (including language learning).
Even an intermediate student will likely find something here to help their study.
Here’s the Free Japanese Resource page, organized into sections (Apps, Video Lessons, Audio Lessons, Online Courses, Practice with Native Speakers, etc.)
While it’s maybe not a reasonable goal for most people to learn Japanese in just a year, sometimes overly ambitious goals are the ones that move the needle the most. Reddit user Storm94 posted asking for advice to help him reach a decent understanding before his vacation to Japan — in just a year’s time.
SuikaCider came to the rescue in the top comment with a comprehensive gameplan for reaching a decent level of Japanese in just a year. Here’s a sampling of his strategy:
His whole comment thread is worth a read for anyone planning out their Japanese acquisition strategy.
It’s rare that I agree this much with someone’s language learning strategy (it can be a very personal thing), but I agree with probably 90% of his suggestions: Genki 1 and 2 (plus workbooks), Heisig, Anki sentence decks…
The only things I disagree with are his anime recommendations 😉
Side Note: You Should Be Watching Terrace House To Improve Your Japanese
Speaking of Japanese watching material, I have to interject here with my own important advice:
If your end goal is to be able to speak natural Japanese and you’re not watching Terrace House regularly, you’re doing yourself a HUGE disservice.
Terrace House is a goldmine of real, natural, conversational Japanese language in daily use, as well as showing you important cultural context that you might not get from watching Anime.
Here’s an excellent video from MattVsJapan that talks about Terrace House and ‘reading the air’
Now that we’ve got that little rant out of the way… On to our next reddit post.
Level: Beginner to Low Intermediate
If you’re just starting with Japanese or know just a little, this video and the cheat sheet might help give you a better overview of how Japanese grammar works.
Japanese Level: Beginner to Low Intermediate
This one is pretty cool. Reddit user Zwergkrug created some really beautiful PDF posters with tables that summarize all the grammar points in the Genki textbooks (verbs, adjectives, etc). This is a good one to print out and keep laminated as a reference.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
A cool image found on Tumblr by user Shirookami99 that shows how to know when to read a kanji as On yomi vs Kun yomi. The image is originally from the book “kanji from zero”
Honorable Mentions, and Other Cool Japanese Language Stuff I Found on Reddit
This is a VERY cool project — another one I wish I’d thought of. James Knelson has compiled a site that organizes Japanese books by reading level. They even take a sampling of 5000 characters to see how difficult the kanji is.
James’ site is highly recommended for finding reading material that will help you with the difficult jump from Intermediate to Advanced.
A good podcast find for intermediate.
Related: Check out our list of best podcasts for learning Japanese.
Bob Ross-esque painting tutorials in Japanese, great for listening practice as well as for learning to paint!
This one is great for more intermediate to advanced students looking to improve their listening skills. If you like Bob Ross, you’ll probably like this.
Finally, if you’re looking to add a little “spice” to your Japanese learning (And your sex life), you might want to check out the List of sexual terms and fetishes 😉 (WARNING: This list in NSFW!)
Any good reddit posts about learning Japanese we missed? Let us know in the comments!
Michael has lived in Japan on and off for almost 10 years. He loves studying Japanese, and is currently working on going from N2 to N1 on the JLPT.