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As intimidating as it might be, learning Japanese is one of the most meaningful things you can do this year, as it will open up the opportunity for you to discover a fascinating culture that will completely change the way you see the world. On top of that, once you’re bilingual, you’ll be able to communicate fluently with some of the thousands of Japanese native speakers who live in Australia, and participate in the many events and celebrations that they organise every year all over the country, so it’s a great way of improving your social life and expanding your horizons at the same time. In addition to this, learning Japanese will allow you to get better jobs all around the world, so if you’re planning on moving to other countries, or simply want to become employable and stand out in future job interviews, mastering this language is the way to go.

Achieving fluency will take a lot of hard work and dedication on your part, but if you sign up for Japanese lessons and follow some of the following tips and recommendations, you’ll be able to reach all your goals in close to no time and enjoy your learning process. Don’t believe us? Then check out this guide on how to learn Japanese and find out how you can make the best use of your time!

Language Trainers organizes Japanese courses in almost any destination!

All classes are taught by qualified, native speaker Japanese trainers and can be arranged at your office or home for any day of the week (including weekends) in the morning, afternoon or evening.

1. Why Learn Japanese Today

Before we go into all the things you can do to learn Japanese more efficiently, you should first get to know some of the most important reasons why you should study Japanese. This is an essential step on your journey to fluency, as it will help you find the right motivation to do all the hard work that’s needed to become a proficient speaker.

To Take Your Career to the Next Level

If you own a business, learning Japanese is a great idea, as it will allow you to find new clients in Australia who are part of the foreign-born community, and even reach international markets. On top of that, you’ll be able to take advantage of the successful economic relationships between Australia and Japan, which in 2020 accounted for 66 billion dollars, and find new opportunities to grow your business. On the other hand, if you’re currently unemployed, learning how to communicate fluently in Japanese is one of the smartest things you can do, as you’ll be able to make great first impressions at job interviews and apply for exciting well-paid positions in companies like Dell, Partnerize, Clarivate Analytics and other multinationals in the tech industry that want to improve their business relations abroad.

To Meet New People

There are over 125 million people who speak Japanese worldwide, so once you become bilingual, you’ll have the chance to expand your social life and make new friends all around the world. In addition to meeting native speakers at language exchange events and trips, you’ll be able to chat with other language learners in Australia who feel as passionate about learning Japanese as you do, so if you’re interested in attending social events and making like-minded friends, don’t waste any more time being monolingual!

To Immerse in Japanese Culture

Whether you’re an anime fan, or you love reading traditional haikus, learning Japanese is a great idea, as it will allow you to enjoy the different Japanese art expressions and pop culture in a whole new way. In addition to enjoying Japanese films and TV shows without subtitles, you’ll be able to read world-renowned authors like Haruki Murakami without having to rely on translations, and you’ll be able to appreciate the lyrics to your favourite J-pop songs. On top of this, you’ll get to discover many artists that are not well-known in Western countries, and be able to play some of the most incredible Japanese video games before they become mainstream.

To Expand Your Mind

Learning a language that’s so different from English can be daunting, but also extremely rewarding, as you’ll get to learn a completely new way of writing, speaking and even thinking. As challenging as this may be, the process of getting to know new words, sounds and writing systems will stimulate your mind in a whole new level and help you become a better version of yourself, so if you’re looking for a great next challenge that keeps your mind sharp, learning Japanese is perfect for you. On top of this, once you speak Japanese, it will be much easier for you to learn other Asian languages like Korean and Chinese, so you can think of it as a stepping stone to many amazing cultures and languages!

2. Tips to Learn Japanese More Effectively

Take Advantage of Rōmaji Before Learning Kana

Although you might be tempted to learn hiragana and katakana, collectively known as kana, right away, you should first learn many words and phrases using rōmaji. In case you don’t know, rōmaji is the use of the Roman alphabet we’re used to using in English and other European languages to write Japanese. Although Japanese people never use it to write, it can be really helpful for beginners who want to learn how to do basic things in Japanese like introducing themselves or learning survival phrases to travel, so take advantage of this tool in the early stages of your journey and only move on to learning kana once you know some essential vocabulary.

Find a Language Trainer

The best way of learning Japanese is with the help of a qualified language professional, as they’ll be able to guide you through the learning process and help you achieve your language goals much more quickly. On top of that, you won’t have to waste any of your time looking for materials online, and you’ll get to use updated resources from reliable sources, which will make a huge difference on how fast and how well you learn. Additionally, having a teacher means you’ll get a lot of practice time, and the chance to ask a native speaker any question that pops into your mind about Japanese culture, so as you can see, signing up for a Japanese language course is an excellent investment.

Learn New Words in Context

In order to learn new vocabulary in the most efficient way, you should always learn them in context. This means that instead of learning isolated words, it’s best to learn whole sentences that help you remember how certain words should be used. Doing this will motivate you, as looking for additional context every time you want to learn a new word will force you to look for examples, which will then lead to you expanding your vocabulary even more. To make this process more easy, you can download flashcard decks of Japanese sentences on apps like Anki made by other learners or copy some phrases from your coursebook.

Learn by Immersion

In order to become bilingual quickly, you need to immerse yourself in Japanese language and culture as often as possible from day one. There are many ways you can do this, like watching anime in its original language, reading manga, listening to podcasts or watching some of the wonderful Japanese films that are available on Netflix. Whatever resource you choose, just make sure you look up any new word you read or listen to, and try studying techniques like shadowing, or using flashcards to memorise them. In addition to expanding your vocabulary, immersing in Japanese art and media will allow you to learn fascinating aspects about its culture, which is really important if you want to understand the way Japanese people see the world, and the meaning behind their traditions and customs.

Speak Japanese Every Day

Many learners spend way too much time memorising new words or learning grammar, and too little actually practising their skills in an actual conversation. Although there’s no denying that a big part of the learning process involves studying at home, if you truly want to reach fluency, you should try to have conversations in Japanese as often as possible. Even if you’re just beginning, having basic interactions with your teacher or other learners at language exchange events can be really helpful, as it will allow you to actually put your skills to use and overcome the fear of making mistakes. If you’re not taking lessons yet and there are no events near you where you can chat in Japanese, you can visit websites like Meetup or Interpals and join some of their online conversation groups.

Take Language Level Tests

Do you want to track your progress and stay motivated through your whole learning process? If so, you should take language level tests regularly! On our website, we have a completely FREE Japanese Level Test you can take as many times as you want, which will allow you to measure how fast or slow you’re learning and also help you set specific goals for yourself, as you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re supposed to know at every level, and you’ll know what your strengths and weaknesses are.

3. Useful Resources to Learn Japanese on Your Own

Want to make the best use of your time to reach fluency fast? Then check out some of these useful resources to learn Japanese you can start using right now.

Websites to Read in Japanese

Learning how to read hiragana, katakana and kanji takes time, but fortunately there are plenty of free websites you can visit to improve your skills. Don’t know any? Here are some of our top picks.

  • As you might have heard, the first writing system you should master in Japanese is hiragana, as it’s much easier than the other two, and it will allow you to read most coursebooks and resources in the language. If you want to read simple texts like fairy tales and easy-to-read manga, you should take a look at Crunchy Nihongo, which has a great section for beginners where you’ll find plenty of texts that provide a great introduction to reading hiragana.

  • If your goal is to read the news in Japanese one day, you should start by reading NHK Easy News, a website where you’ll find various news stories written in simple Japanese. One of the greatest features of this website is its voice function to read the news, which you can use to listen and repeat and try to imitate the pronunciation and intonation of native speakers. On the other hand, if you’re already an intermediate or advanced learner and you want to check out some of the most famous Japanese newspapers in their original language, you should take a look at websites like Mainichi Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun or Yomiuri Shimbun.

  • Are you interested in visiting Japan anytime soon? If so, you should read Matcha, a magazine that provides great information for tourists who want to visit the country, and gives some very useful recommendations on things to do there. Even if you don’t understand some of the articles, you’ll be able to read English translations of them, so don’t forget to check it out.

Podcasts to Learn Japanese

Listening to podcasts is a great way to get used to the sounds of Japanese and learn useful vocabulary, so even if you’re a complete beginner, you should check out some of the episodes of the following shows.

  • Beginning Japanese is a great podcast for beginners, because in every episode you’ll get to listen to the host use a common word or phrase in a sentence, and then repeat it. As simple as this can sound, if you listen to many of its episodes, you’ll be able to boost your vocabulary and improve your pronunciation, so give it a chance, and you won’t regret it.

  • If you’re looking for a beginner-friendly podcast that’s actually challenging, you should listen to Japanese with Teppei and Noriko, which features unscripted, natural conversations between two natives but using very simple vocabulary and grammar. It’s ideal for learners who want to know how spontaneous conversations in Japanese sound like, so if this is you, don’t miss the opportunity of listening to this amazing show.

  • Ready to listen to your first multi-person conversation in Japanese? Then check out Let’s Learn Japanese with Small Talk, a show hosted by two native speakers who live in the UK who chat about the day-to-day life and experiences living abroad.

Useful Apps to Learn Japanese

Whenever you have some free time on your hands, you should use language apps. Whether you’re interested in improving your grammar, memorising new words or sounding more like a native, there are many apps you can try, so let’s take a look at some of the best ones.

  • If you’re interested in learning how to read and write in Japanese, you should try Kanji Study, an app that will help you go from a beginner level to an advanced level by showing you a set of Japanese characters with their translations and some example phrases. It has many lessons that will help you understand all three writing systems, and you’ll even get access to a dictionary you can take anywhere you go, so if you’re struggling to master hiragana, katakana or kanji, this app is exactly what you need.

  • Want an app that makes learning feel like playing a game? Then you should check out Duolingo, which offers plenty of free lessons grouped in fun categories like food, family and culture. The great thing about this app which makes it so popular is that you’ll be able to compete with other learners, win awards and share your results on social media, so if this sounds entertaining to you, try it out!

  • One of the best apps to learn Japanese grammar in a rational way is Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese, which is packed with organised lessons that have very detailed explanations, so it’s ideal for people who want to build a solid grammatical foundation. What makes this app stand out from the rest is that it seeks to teach students essential grammar through interesting dialogues, and provides plenty of useful suggestions to learn Japanese in a more efficient way.

4. Survival Japanese Phrases

Achieving fluency in a foreign language takes time, but if you’re planning a trip to Japan soon, you should at least memorise some basic phrases you can use at restaurants, shops and public transport to get by more easily.

English Version Rōmaji Japanese Version
May I ask you a question? O tazune shite mo ii desu ka? おたずねしてもいいですか
Where is___? ___wa doko desu ka? ~はどこにありますか
Where am I? Koko wa doko desu ka? ここはどこですか
I can’t speak Japanese Nihongo wa hanasemasen 日本語は話せません
Can you please say that again? Mou ichido onegaishimasu もう一度お願いします
Can I have a menu, please? Menu o kudasai メニューをください
I’m ready to order Chumon o onegashimasu 注文をお願いします
I’d like to order this, please Kore o onegaishimasu これをお願いします
Can I have some water, please? Mizu o onegaishimasu 水をお願いします
Where is the bathroom? Toire wa doko desu ka? トイレはどこですか
The bill, please O-kaikei o onegaishimasu お会計をお願いします
Where can I buy tickets? Kippu uriba wa doko desu ka? 切符売り場はどこですか
How can I get to___? ___ni wa dou ikeba ii desu ka? にはどう行けばいいですか
Which train goes to___? ___yuki no densha wa dore desu ka? 行きの電車はどれですか
Please give me a ticket to___ ___made no kippu o kudasai までの切符をください
Where is the tourist information centre? Kankou-annai-jou wa doko desu ka? 観光案内所はどこですか
How much is this? Ikura desu ka? いくらですか
Can I try it on? Kichaku shite mo ii desu ka? 試着してもいいですか
I’ll take this Kore o kudasai これをください
Good morning Ohayou-gozaimasu おはようございます
Hello (during daytime only) Kon’nichiwa こんにちは
Good evening/Hello Konbanwa こんばんは
Thank you Arigatou gozaimasu ありがとうございます
Excuse me Sumimasen すみません
Yes Hai はい
No Iie いいえ
Goodbye Sayōnara さようなら

As helpful as these phrases can be, if you’re truly committed to becoming bilingual, the smartest thing you can do is to sign up for a Japanese course. Although there are many wonderful institutions in Australia where you can study, if you’re looking for personalised lessons that are completely tailored to your goals and interests, you should study with us at Language Trainers! All you need to do to get started learning with us is send us a quick enquiry today and one of our team members will match you with a qualified Japanese teacher who will create a language course that fits your every requirement!

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