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こんにちは!アリーシャ エイミー-ジェーン、意欲的なシンガー ソング ライター、英国からです。日本と韓国の歌を翻訳し、歌う人の英語歌詞を書きたいと思います。私の夢は、1 日、日本に住んでいるし、タレントのためすぐにオーディションに思って !私は願って彼らは私のような非常に神経質です。私は私は自分自身言語を少しずつ教えていますが、うまくいけば、私は十分で取得する知っているので日本語に堪能ではない !~

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How I'm learning Japanese (Alisha's advice?)


I N T R O D U C T I O N :

Hello~ Today I'm going to be talking about the methods I am currently using to learn Japanese~
The reason I've chosen to make this post is because I actually get asked a lot how I learnt...
And I get a lot of people asking me if I'm fluent/asking me how to say certain things xD
So, basically, this post is just going to be an Alisha's Japanese Expertise 101~!

Saa, hajimemashou~! さあ、はじめましょう~! So, let's start~!


So, first, I'll speak a little bit about my own experiences with the Japanese language... 
I'd like to say right now, I am NOT fluent in Japanese, not even close xD 
(I want to make this point quite strongly because I'm not guaranteeing my methods will make you fluent)
I know a lot of the basic phrases, and some of the more advanced (and full out pointless) stuff
But, I'm definitely not fluent at all, haha~ Although I wish I was, it would make things a lot easier \(^o^)/
And as for the actual written language, I'm absolutely awful. Really. I can't read anything. 
(That's not strictly true, there are a few things I can read but nowhere near enough to get by)
So my current area of expertise is the spoken language, and I'm working a lot on the written at the moment~

A lot of people say that learning an Asian language is one of the hardest things you can do...
To be honest; yes, it's been challenging, but nowhere near as challenging as everyone makes it out to be.
I was really nervous to start looking into the written language because of one factor alone:

Kanji.

I'd heard so many scary things about Kanji, and about the sheer amount of characters. (There are a lot).
Honestly, I was freaking out that I would never be able to cope with the written because of Kanji...
But, when I actually started looking through Kanji workbooks, etc. I realised it's not that complicated.
The rules for Kanji actually have the same rule as Hiragana and Katakana. 
There are characters for "syllables". That's all it is. 
Once you start to look at the different characters and the "syllables" they represent, it'll make sense~
(Honestly, I only truly understood this morning when I picked up my Pocky box and decided to find out what it said by using my Hiragana and Kanji workbooks... I actually found out what it said, so... It worked)


So, now I'll speak about the physical things that I use to learn Japanese:

Written Language:




This book is called 'Easy Hiragana - First Steps to Reading and Writing Basic Japanese'.
It's published by 'Passport Books' and the author is Fujihiko Kaneda.
I didn't pick this book up through the publisher, instead I was browsing eBay second-hand books, and I came across it, and it only cost me something like perhaps £1.50... It was super-duper cheap!
I think there will be lots more copies on eBay for a similar price *goes to check*
As you can see, inside there are a lot of different words written in English, Romaji and Hiragana. 
On the first 19 pages, it introduced the characters for individual syllables, with copy+trace activities~
And on all the other pages, there are a lot of activities such as tracing or copying words, or identifying words that are missing the Romaji using only the Hiragana provided. 
As this is a workbook, it won't specifically tell you x = y. A lot of it is re-tracing your footsteps and re-covering Hiragana that you learnt at the start of the book. Towards the back of the book, you get some complex sentences that you'll have to translate or write the Hiragana for. But, there are clear instructions~
I find this book to be particularly useful, because it contains a lot of Hiragana, and a lot of information, but it's all kept very basic and easy-to-understand. And, the exercises help you to remember characters fast~!





This book is called 'A Guide to READING & WRITING JAPANESE'.
It's published by 'Charles E. Tuttle Company Publishers', and there isn't any given author. 
This book was actually a Christmas present from my mum, so I'm not sure exactly how much it cost...
However, I do know that you can find this book on eBay, too~!
This book has to be the most useful Kanji book I've ever come across. It has all 1,850 most essential characters. (Please note: This book does not cover every Kanji, only the most essential) 
And although that isn't even close to being all of the Kanji, this book focuses on the characters you're likely to come across on a day-to-day basis, and ones that are most commonly used. So, if, like me, you're planning on moving to Japan, this book will teach you the Kanji you need to know at the very least. 
Every page is printed with 5 different characters, and for every character there's a step-by-step of how to write it, as well as some examples of it being used in words (along with those words' meanings). 
The characters are all written very clearly, and the information is clearly spread out, making it very easy to understand and to read. It's quite visually appealing, as the calligraphy for the Kanji is very well done. 
This book is currently my saviour, and I've been reading some of it almost every day~





This book is called 'READ JAPANESE TODAY'.
It's published by 'Charles E. Tuttle Company Publishers' and the author is Len Walsh.
Again, this book was from one of my second-hand book sellers on eBay~ 
*scurries off to find a link to another listing* 
To be honest, when I brought this book, it only cost me around 99p, not even £1... So, I wasn't that surprised when it arrived and it wasn't that useful. It was actually the first book I ordered to help me with the written language. Before that, I'd only been focusing on the spoken language. But, this book isn't the best...
Basically, what this book tries to teach you is how to identify the Kanji by associating them with pictures. For example, trying to say that the Kanji for 'tree' looks like a picture of a tree. (It doesn't, by the way.)
This book is great for people who can easily imagine things, but it doesn't work so well for me. 
The only reason I'm including this book here is because it contains a lot of interesting information, which may not necessarily help me to learn any Kanji, but it's still nice to know the history of the language, etc. 


Spoken Language:




This book is called 'Living Language Conversational Japanese'.
It's published by 'Crown Publishers, Inc.' and the author is Hiroko Storm.
Another result of my bargain hunting on eBay~ I already have a link ready for you guys~!
This is the only book I have for the spoken language, but honestly, it's all I need. This book is really, really useful! It's set out in various 'lessons' where it'll teach you a group of words, their meaning, and then how to use them in a sentence. Then, there'll be a mini quiz at the end of each 'lesson', about the words you've learnt in that 'lesson'. By doing this, it keeps making you think about what you've learnt whilst also keeping it interesting so you're not likely to just get bored of reading and give up~
Also, in the back of the book, there's a short section on Hiragana and Katakana, too~!
The main feature of this book is that it teaches you phrases that are useful for every-day conversation, rather than teaching you random Japanese phrases that you're never going to use. So, I think this book is super helpful, and I really recommend it to anyone trying to learn Japanese~ (Plus it's really cheap!)


JapanesePod101 is a website and YouTube channel that offers short, free video lectures~
Their videos are really entertaining and teach you both written and spoken language~
There are a lot of different 'series' on their YouTube channel, focusing on different topics, for example: Weather, Facial features, Body parts, etc. So there are lessons specific to words, which means it's a lot easier to get your head around a certain word because there's a whole video dedicated to it.
Also, the people at JapanesePod101 are all Japanese, so you can trust what they're telling you.
The videos are set out to be colourful and informative. My favourite lessons are with Hiroko
Also, they give a lot of detailed lessons on the way that Japanese sentence structures work. 
i.e. A = B ("A" わ "B" です). It'll make more sense if you actually watch the videos~! 


There's a LOT to remember with Japanese language, so something I recommend doing is making memory cards to test yourself at least once a week with at least one card per Kanji (I know it's a lot - but with hard work, you'll see amazing results) perhaps on each card write out the character, its meaning, and draw a picture to represent the meaning? Or, give some examples of words where it's used~
I also recommend the memory card idea for Hiragana, make one card per character~ (With Hiragana, there's less characters, especially if you choose to buy the 'Easy Hiragana' book listed above).
If you don't want to use these to test your memory by remembering what's on the back of each card, which is what my original suggestion was for the cards, you can choose to stick them up somewhere you're going to see them practically every day. 
Because the more often you see something, the faster it stays in your memory. 
I recommend sticking them up on your bedroom wall, but if, like me, you don't have enough room for that, then you can attach string from your ceiling going backwards and forwards across your bedroom and attach the cards with paperclips or clothes pegs like it's a washing line~

The key to learning any language is having patience and being prepared to dedicate a lot of time~ Nobody's saying it's going to be easy, and there are times you'll get frustrated and want to give up, but what makes someone able to learn a language is resisting that urge to give up~

I'm not saying it's going to be an easy task at all, I've been learning Japanese since I was 9 
(Although I'll admit I haven't always taken it as seriously as I do now, so before I barely learnt anything)
And I'm still here, not fully-fluent and trying to manically prepare myself to move over there in around 6 years... If you want some advice, cram as many Kanji into each week as you can. It'll help.
Just squish as many Kanji in there as you can. 
There are also a lot of Kanji workbooks available on eBay, including official Japanese schoolbooks that would be given to primary school children to help them learn the basic Kanji. I recommend using those if you don't want to create memory cards. 
Also, another tip: The brain remembers colours the best, so write any notes in colour. Bright colours. 


T H E  E N D.

That's all for this time, cuties~ I hope this post has helped those of you hoping to learn Japanese~
Remember: Anyone can learn a new language, it just takes time \(^o^)/

Until next time~