It’s been a couple of years since I’ve gotten into my Japanese language grind, but I’m working on it. I’ll be studying for the N4 exam this year, so here are some resources I’ve used to help me study.
1. 1500 JAPANESE VOCABULARY WORDS FOR THE JLPT LEVEL 4
This book is an excellent resource, It offers three translations in Vietnamese, Japanese, and English. The book is small and compact so it’s easy to travel and study on the go. Another reason this book is great is that it comes with a red card that you can use to hide the Japanese translation in order for you to guess what the word might be. Being consistent is key. I think if you can make it a habit to learn ten words a day. You’ll get better in no time. One last thing, the publisher offers free audio files so you can shadow after the speaker to improve your speaking skills!
2. Remembering the Kanji 1: A Complete Course
So many people regard this book as being the reason that they today can read Kanji. For those unaware, Kanji are Chinese characters borrowed from the Chinese language and used in Japan’s written language.
The caveat is that Kanji may look identical to their neighborly counterparts but they are interpreted and read differently making the experience a tad bit challenging. The author makes this experience of recognizing and remembering these characters very easy and appealing.
The focus of the book is on recognizing, linking, and constructing your characters from a bottom-up approach. Remembering the Kanji eases you into what would be a long but rewarding journey and for that, I can’t recommend it enough.
3. Making Sense of Japanese Grammar: A Clear Guide Through Common Problems
Are you trying to learn Japanese through an English mind? Well, you shouldn’t and this book proves why. What I love most about this book is that it is a solutions manual for what you should and shouldn’t do. Every chapter is straightforward, it starts with an objective, a common problem, and the tools you can use to approach a solution.
When I first was learning Japanese, I always grouped clauses into fragments of English. I would think: “how should I say this” and then proceed to break Japanese language rules and sound very foreign.
A lesson from the book is with verbs:
You only need the verb to make a complete sentence.
Well, that’s radical (pun intended). However, the book explains why insightfully. There are many problems this book solves and I can’t recommend it enough.
JapanesePod101 is a platform that can be offered on all of your devices. The site promises to make you fluent, but only if you put in the hard work. To that, I wholly agree. There is tons of content on the site, from videos, flashcards, and audio lessons, to newsletter learning cards. There is a lot and little to be desired. Initially, the thing that threw me off at first was how overwhelming all this content was at first. I couldn’t wrap my head around how I should approach the behemoth in front of me.
I used JapanesePod101 for about 6 solid months, I listened to the audio lessons on my phone and went by repeating the words of the speakers. I did the lesson printouts and learn several interesting things about Japan in the process. The teachers are fluent in Japanese and all have their own personal experiences to share.
I can safely say that during those initial 6 months, I learned a lot, but I’m not sure how far it will get you. There are certainly lessons for those more advanced but I wonder if they serve a purpose at that point. I’m still in the intermediate levels of this language but when I do improve I will try to come back to JapanesePod101 and see what they can teach me higher up on that latter.
Takoboto is my equivalent of the Japanese app on IOS. It’s an Android app that functions as a robust dictionary to help with studying and learning some Kanji as well. It has stroke ordering, example sentences, and more. It’s very customizable to any need, you can organize study lists and build up categories of levels to improve on. Alternatively, Takoboto is available online through the link here: https://takoboto.jp/
The wraps up the resources I’ve been using to study for the JLPT N4 exam this year. What are you using? Leave a comment down below.