TODAY IS THE DAY
So you want to learn Japanese? Had enough of Anime dubs? Want to travel through the streets of Takayama or Kyoto and be able to read the signs, or at least ask where the bathroom is? Well this is the place to start. This is not some fake course that will supposedly make you fluent in 30 days. This course is to give you a headstart and help you develop your base in Japanese.
The first step to learning Japanese is being able to read the phonetic scripts, of which there are two. The first 'alphabet' is called 'Hiragana' which consists of 46 characters. We have provided a PDF that you can download and print to use as a cheat sheet until you get the hang of things. Do your best to memorize each character.
If you aren't big into charts, we recommend making your own flashcards and saying them out loud. There are also a bunch of free apps out there and heaps of classes on Youtube. Regardless of your methodology, this is the first step in being able to 'Japanese'. (We are in the process of developing physical and digital flashcards for the site, so check out our store every so often and we should have them available by late July or early August.)
The reason we have you do this first, is so you can understand the structure and take time to get used to the sounds the language makes. Japanese is really cool because it rarely, if ever, varies from the sounds standardized in each character listed. As long as you can pronounce and memorize those sounds you can pronounce Japanese. This goes against the popular belief that Japanese is a tonal language. It is not. Japanese has something called pitch accents, but we'll save that for another lesson. For all intents and purposes, Japanese is pronounced simply with the sounds on that chart.
Once you have that script down you are read to move onto the next step… Katakana.
We will be upgrading this to a mobile flashcard system for you soon! Check back for updates!
On top of having to get a grammar point down (of which this is one of the hardest), you also have 20 words to learn. We have them written them down for you in English, Romaji (romanized Japanese), and Japanese (hiragana). We find this helps beginners front-load vocabulary words because Romaji helps you pronounce them while you're still learning to read. Front-loading is a method of learning a lot of words quickly, or cramming them. We do this because your brain has been trained to quickly pick up English characters but not Japanese symbols, yet. Therefore, it's initially easier for your brain to remember them. This however is a mental tool and can quickly turn into a crutch, so don't rely on it too much.
＊This は is pronounced like わ.