Guide to Japanese Studying Tips


By Skye | August 26th, 2020

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    Studying Japanese?

    Here are some tips for you!

    Teachers in a language school are responsible for providing lesson plans and assigning homework to improve your understanding of the language- in this case, Japanese. Teachers may provide a sense of direction in class, but what about self-study?

    Our article, Japanese Studying Tips, will provide you tips for effectively studying the Japanese language!

    Hiragana Alphabet

    Tips for Pronouncing & Memorizing

    Tips on Pronouncing

    Pronouncing the characters in the hiragana alphabet is one of the more daunting tasks for English speakers when learning the Japanese language. As the characters in the hiragana alphabet are not written phonetically like the characters in the English alphabet, you need to learn how to associate the phonetic pronunciation with each character in the hiragana alphabet. The moment you read the hiragana character か, for example, you want to be able to hear the phonetic pronunciation in your mind for it. Here's a simple tip for accomplishing that task while studying the Japanese language!

    Sing along with educational videos reading out the characters in the hiragana alphabet. Don't be fooled by the simplicity! It's one of the simple Japanese study tips that are both effective & fun. Learning the English alphabet was as simple as singing the ABC's; learning how to pronounce the phonetics for each character in the hiragana alphabet truly is as simple as singing the 'Aiueo' song!

    Best wishes with your studies!

    Tips on Memorizing

    Memorizing the characters in the hiragana alphabet is also one of the more daunting tasks for English speakers when learning the Japanese language. I personally know a lot of people who gave up learning Japanese from the very beginning because they were intimidated at the idea of learning an entirely new alphabet. Here's a simple tip for memorizing the hiragana alphabet that makes accomplishing the task simple & easy! It's the same one I used when started learning the Japanese language.


    When you use hiragana alphabet charts to memorize the Japanese alphabet, the hiragana characters you're learning are paired with the phonetics. Use the chart to translate the Japanese vocabulary words you're learning from the hiragana to the phonetics, so as to memorize the hiragana.


    You'll come to associate the hiragana characters with the phonetics!

    Vocabulary Words

    Tips for Pronouncing & Memorizing

    Tips on Memorizing

    Memorizing vocabulary words in the Japanese language may be a daunting task for English speakers when learning the Japanese language, but it doesn't have to be a daunting task. Memorizing the characters in the hiragana alphabet and learned how to pronounce hiragana characters is actually the most difficult step! Once you know to pronounce and read the vocabulary words in Japanese, it's just like learning a new vocabulary word in English. That mindset has helped me significantly during my studies! I know the Japanese studying tip sounds too simple, but I have found it be true!

    Use flashcards to memorize Japanese vocabulary words too, as the use of flashcards is a tried & true method of memorizing information. One of the secrets behind the success of the flashcard studying method is that using flashcards allows you to instantly check your answers, and self-reflection is an action that deepens your memory of the information, as described by an article written by Taylor Sienkiewicz.

    If you have six minutes, you may find the article 'Why Flashcards Work' worth a read!


    Tips on Pronouncing

    Memorizing Japanese vocabulary words may be a daunting task for English speakers, but pronouncing the vocabulary words is a different matter entirely, so you don't have to worry about it. If you've memorized the characters in the hiragana alphabet and how to pronounce those characters, you've already accomplished the most difficult step! Now all that's left is breaking down the Japanese vocabulary words into their hiragana characters, and reading out the characters in order of first-to-last.


     いもうと, for example, is pronounced i-mo-u-to. I-mo-u-to is what the Japanese vocabulary word reads as when the vocabulary word is broken down into the phonetics of each hiragana character in the word. Yes, the Japanese studying tip for pronouncing vocabulary words is that easy.


    All you need to do now is practice until the words flow smoothly off the tongue!

    Making Friends

    Tips for Making Japanese-Speaking Friends

    Japanese Friends

    If you thought learning the characters in the hiragana alphabet and Japanese vocabulary words was a daunting task in your journey while studying the Japanese language, how about making Japanese friends with your newfound skills? Gaining experience as a Japanese speaker is just as much of an important part in the process of studying Japanese. Here are some Japanese studying tips on making Japanese friends. Can't understand how to make friends with Japanese locals due to a cultural barrier? There are tips for that too! Here are six steps for making Japanese friends.

    I can personally give one Japanese studying tip for making friends with a person from Japan: keep trying. Long before I understood a single word other than 'Ohayo' and 'Arigatou-gozaimasu,' I was a little girl running around a convention center in Okinawa, Japan. I wasn't the only child running around without adult supervision! There was a whole crowd of Japanese children who were speaking Japanese to me, while I spoke English back again, and we spent hours playing around the convention center.

    I didn't understand a single word they said and I highly doubt they understood me, either. I love that memory!

    Japanese Studying Tips Friends

    Language Communities

    You don't have to move forward with studying Japanese alone. I'm not talking about hiring teachers to guide you lesson plans while studying the hiragana alphabet, Japanese vocabulary words, and other parts of the Japanese language- I'm talking about Japanese language communities. If you're not familiar with the subject, we at BFFTokyo released an article on the subject during the 14th of July 2020. You can read more information on the subject here.


    An excellent way to improve your abilities as a Japanese speaker is to gain experience communicating with others using the skills you learned while studying the Japanese language. That doesn't have to happen by communicating with a Japanese friend or even by living in Japan.


    Good luck! I know you can do it!

    Reading & Writing

    Tips on Reading & Writing in Japanese

    Reading Japanese

    Now that you've memorized the hiragana alphabet & how to pronounce the characters of the hiragana alphabet in Japanese, I'm sorry to say, but it's time to tackle the daunting task of reading in Japanese. Some Japanese studying tips I can give for reading in Japanese is learning basic sentence structure and common kanji characters before even picking up a book. At that point, you can ease into it by reading simple books. Here are a few titles to get you started: Guri and Gura, Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru, Tebukuro wo Kai Ni. If you want more specific direction, don't worry! I still have more reading tips for you.


    Here's a BFFTokyo article on reading in Japanese

    Speaking & Listening

    Tips on Speaking & Listening in Japanese

    N5, N4 & N3

    Tips for Japanese Based on Level

    Japanese Language Apps

    & Why You Should be Interested

    Language Apps: For Pay & For Free

    Don't have time to schedule lessons with a professional Japanese language teacher to continue studying the Japanese language? Don't have the money to afford lessons with a professional teacher, who can set you up with lesson plans and instruct you based on your skill level? Or, quite simply, do you want to supplement your studies of the Japanese language? Consider downloading a Japanese language app!


    For more information, here's a link to the BFFTokyo article on Japanese learning apps and the article about free Japanese learning apps.

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