In my last post I was talking about how I’d started using WaniKani, and I still am using it (I need to make a quick correction, I said the first two levels are free, it’s actually the first three). But… while I know I’m learning the kanji and the vocab and that’s all cool, when people ask me how I am getting on with Japanese I don’t feel like “well I learned the word for volcano the other day” is a very impressive answer (I did mention the order you learn things in is a little bit weird).
My other problem is that it doesn’t feel like its very useful right now, if I went to Japan tomorrow I can’t see that I’d have much use for the word marble (びーだま if you were wondering).So I have decided to carry on with that, but also come at it from a different angle. The one I dismissed earlier (I know, I know). So I have started with the “my name is Sarah” “Nice to meet you” bits.
I expanded my book search to the library in town and found Talk Japanese a BBC book that comes with audio CD’s and since I have learned the kana I can use Japanese for Busy People now as well (there is a romaji edition, but not in my library!).
Talk Japanese does pretty much what it says, there’s no hiragana, no kanji. Just basic phrases about things like ordering food or asking prices and cute little cultural notes. The CD’s that come with it give you the phrases and then test your understanding and listening skills with short conversations, it also has a small grammar section at the back. Honestly, its only a little book, but also it’s really cheap and I’ve enjoyed using it so far.
The reason I’m also using Japanese for Busy People is partly because these are the only two books I have at my disposal right now, but also because I feel a bit like I am cheating with the other book. Like just learning with the romaji doesn’t count somehow. Also I am enjoying using the two together, sort of referencing them with each other. For example, Talk Japan translates “have a nice day” as “Dōzo yoroshiku” while in Japanese for Busy People the vocab for the same phrase is “よろしく おねがいします”, which is clearly different. But taking the time to look up the difference between these is ultimately going to make my Japanese better.
I have also started following a bunch of Twitter accounts that have Kanji of the day or tweet Japanese phrases (you can follow me here if you want!) and noting down interesting ones. I have set myself a target of taking the first level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in July next year, always good to have a goal right?