Day One: Hiragana


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 beginning. 


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.

PDF not the best option for your phone? 

We will be upgrading this to a mobile flashcard system for you soon! Check back for updates!


**Having trouble? Maybe you need a little edge? Try our Field Guide!

Improve your Japanese faster with the 30 Day Challenge Field Guide.


Daily Vocabulary

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.


  1. hello
  2. I
  3. you
  4. goodbye
  5. see ya later
  6. how are you?
  7. nice to meet you
  8. I’m fine thanks.
  9. pleasure to meet you
  10. good evening
  11. good morning
  12. Japan
  13. Japanese
  14. Japanese person
  15. excuse me
  16. sorry
  17. thank you
  18. yes
  19. no


  1. konnichiwa 
  2. watashi 
  3. boku 
  4. anata 
  5. sayounara 
  6. jya ne 
  7. o genki desu ka?
  8. hajimemashite
  9. genki desu yo. 
  10. yoroshiku o-negai shimasu
  11. konbanwa
  12. ohayo gozaimasu 
  13. nihon 
  14. nihongo 
  15. nihonjin 
  16. sumimasen 
  17. gomennasai 
  18. arigatou 
  19. hai 
  20. iie 


  1. こんにちは*
  2. わたし
  3. ぼく 
  4. あなた 
  5. さようなら
  6. じゃーね
  7. おげんきですか?
  8. はじめまして
  9.  げんきですよ
  10. よろしくおねがいします
  11. こんばんは* 
  12. おはようございます
  13. にほん
  14. にほんご
  15. にほんじん
  16. すみません
  17. ごめんなさい
  18. ありがとう
  19. はい
  20. いいえ

*This は is pronounced like わ. 

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