Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Japanese | Hiragana (ひらがな) and Katakana (カタカナ) Resources (日本語)



Yeesh, I really need to practice my Japanese! I'm actually really struggling with my course, I'm barely passing if not failing! I'm a bad studenttt~~~ Oo。。( ̄¬ ̄*)ぽあぁん

So, I thought I'd try something a little different! Japanese is pretty much my life right now, so it only makes sense to incorporate it into my blog, at least every now and again ٩( 'ω' )و

Disclaimer: I'm just sharing what worked or is working for me, I'm obviously not claiming to have all the answers. These are all just resources I've personally used and found very helpful or useful d(^^*)

When I first started out learning Japanese in my own time, I was alright with it, because everything's easy when you're doing beginner levels, and also because I found a lot of resources. I've been thinking about it for a while, and I've decided to start incorporating Japanese into my blog. I need to practice, as I'm still stuck in the awful habit of thinking up a sentence in English and then trying to translate it into Japanese, which does not work. It's taken me quite a few months to realise this but you have to try to think it up in Japanese, not translate from English. They're structured far too differently.

To start off with then, I thought I'd obviously start with the basics! There are three forms of script in Japanese: the two syllabary scripts Hiragana and Katakana, and then Kanji, which are Chinese characters with syllabary readings that represent concepts, ideas, etc. In order to get anywhere with Japanese, you need to learn Hiragana and Katakana first.

I really liked this series. It includes some basic vocabulary, and I found it great to practice with, as it has you practice writing them over and over again, and trust me, you really need that when you're first starting out! If you're planning on actually attempting to learn Japanese, it's incredibly important that you memorise these scripts. I'll discuss avoiding Romaji (Japanese words spelt out in English) probably in my next post, but moving forwards from learning Hiragana and Katakana, you only want to use books or websites that do NOT use Romaji. You'll only want sources writing Japanese in Japanese, so learn these scripts now.

There are a few apps you can use too if you're on the move. I like a lot of courses on the app Memrise, I'm pretty sure it's available on iPhones as well as on Android. This app has a lot of Japanese courses which again I'll probably discuss in my next Japanese post, and pretty much all of them start you off with learning Hiragana and Katakana first. Again, avoid any that use romaji (or are "anime Japanese"), and you'll be fine  (⌒▽⌒)☆ You can also simply search the words "Hiragana" or "Katakana" in your app store, and there'll be hundreds of apps offering to help teach you them, so you'll never be short in supply. They're great to help you remember them, but I honestly can't recommend the books above enough. You need to be writing in Japanese, because being able to choose the right character on an app is a world apart from being able to write the character yourself from memory.

Don't worry if you find it difficult, it is. When I tried my hand at learning Hangul, the Korean script, I was really put off because I kept hearing that even an idiot could memorise it in a few days, and I was finding it really hard. Everyone has their own pace, and learning a new language is hard enough, let alone one that doesn't share your alphabet! Just give it a go, there's nothing more rewarding than learning a new language sometimes (o≧▽゚)oニパッ

If you decide to try learning Japanese, then I wish you all the best of luck! If you're already learning, whether self-taught or otherwise, I'd love to hear what you found/are finding useful in your Japanese journey (o^∀^) Just let me know in the comments below!

Bye! x
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  1. Hey! do you get to go to Japan on your uni course? My mate lived in Tokyo for a year whilst he was getting his degree, went out to visit him. Hats off to anyone who can speak Japanese or even a bit, it's a right pickle!
    x GNAR MOSH x

    1. Hi! Yes, I do, I get to spend the entire third year of my degree in Japan, although we don't find out which city for a while yet (´ェ`*)ネー Your friend's so lucky to get to spend it in Tokyo!

      And thanks, it's bloody hard ahaha ヾ(´▽`*;)ゝ”