6 ways to learn Japanese at home

Here are different ways to learn Japanese language at home while the pandemic halted your offline class plans or may be you’re still struggling for a vaccine slot to go ahead with your overseas university admissions. These tricks to learn Japanese at home are tried and tested since 2014, having proved to work wonders for me.

All about Japanese language

Japanese language might look complicated at first with four different scripts and not being able to pick up even a single word or so as it originates from an island country that has been almost isolated for years. It may seem impossible to learn Japanese language at home but trust me, its totally the other way around. To encourage you, let me share some not so popular facts about this not so difficult language.

  • Japan has adopted a lot of foreign words which are always written in Katakana script.
  • The language is so easy to speak because one speaks exactly how they read.
  • Most consonants are followed by vowels throughout the language.
  • If you know the Devnagiri script, couple of letters look almost the same.
  • If you speak an Indian language, the sentence formation is alike so skip translating in your head from English.
  • There are plenty of resources to pick up the language.

Japan has also been growing their relationships with other countries so theres good forecast of translation and interpretation opportunities from the near future. This also means a lot of opportunities to teach. Are you game already to pick up Nihongo?

Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are fantastic as they are great team with most of my other tasks. I usually listen to Japanese language podcasts while taking a shower, cleaning my room, putting my puzzles together or even doing some embroidery. I usually listen to short ones on varying topics entirely in Japanese language and make sure to bookmark them.

They say one develops the ability of a new language with optimum input so here is a basic to begin with. Its okay to not understand every word but just getting familiar with the sounds of the language is a great start. With time, you will pick up more and more words which would surely be a way to learn Japanese language at home. You can also listen to some purely in Japanese or that have a mix of your language and Japanese.

Watch Japanese TV shows

This is another favourite of mine and I believe its an appropriate way to pick up the culture as well as language. I tend to watch a lot of food shows while having my meals as they also give me ideas to experiment in cooking at home as well as help me learn food related vocabulary which i can use once I land in Japan.

You can start with Japanese original audio and subtitles in your language. In this way the visuals and subtitles will support you to understand the language better. With time you can graduate to original audio only and definitely learn Japanese at home.

Exchange postcards in Japanese

I have had the chance to exchange postcards with strangers from all over the world including Japan. I often write to Japanese receivers in Japanese so I can practice the language and even more often I tend to receive them in Japanese language as well. To do this consistently, I resorted to the postcard calendar.

Postcards have help practice in writing the script because one can only memorise these characters when penned down. It also helps in improving your reading skills as the topic is usually a surprise, therefore helping you learn more vocabulary. The artwork or picture on the front might help you gain more knowledge about the country. At the same time the stamps teach you more about their culture and the special occasion from when the stamp was released. Therefore you learn much more than just learn Japanese language at home.

Make Kanji wallpapers

This particularly is the one I am yet to try and the benefit is so obvious, its a no brainer to lran Japanese at home. But this idea comes from when I would walk through Japanese streets while I lived there, Id try to read everything that came my way. Id read billboards to name plates on houses. Id read the menu at the restaurant I worked at as well as signboards. This during my life in Japan helped me memorise and remember those characters.

They say when one sees something multiple times, even if unconsciously, they tend to remember it. May be cant do billboards and name plates while sitting at home but we can surely utilise our device wallpapers more productively. Just screenshot the Kanjis you want to memorise, save them in a folder and ask your device to randomly pick wallpapers from that folder. In this way, you see and learn with no extra effort.

Talk to yourself in Japanese

This one has been a classic for me since 2014. The moment I learnt a new word, I would use it in my head all day while talking to myself. Even if i didn’t dnt know all the words in a sentence in Japanese, Id replace only the words I knew and let the others remain the same as from my first language. Its a constant tip that I share with everyone I teach.

While you are stuck at home and find nobody else to practice Japanese language with, you’ve got yourself. Become self reliant and show some self love but in another language. Start talking and thinking in Japanese and that will definitely get you fluent in the language. When you’re stuck, just look up that doubt and there you would’ve learnt something else new.

Learn shodo

Shodo is the Japanese calligraphy I learnt at the community centre in Japan. I mostly started to go here as it had older Japanese people who couldn’t speak English so I would be forced to speak in Japanese and in turn learn it. With time I began to open my heart towards Kanji and even get more disciplined. Now I continue it over postcards and notebooks with paint brushes. The bookmark calendar has been useful to support me in forming this habbit.

Learning shodo will help you learn the correct stroke order of writing a character which is very important. A native can tell if the stroke order has been changed as it will look as a completely different character to them in that case. It also helps you learn the script, therefore you can learn Japanese at home and become creative. Additionally, it improves postures and disciplines you because of the rules set around it.

Best is to learn Japanese language at home

While I have learnt the language through offline and online group classes at Mumbai University, online and offline one on one conversation classes with natives, offline group classes offered at my university in Japan by natives and on my own, I found that studying on my own and through one on one lessons gave me the most flexibility. I could learn on need basis instead of being dumped with information. It also helped me correct my speaking in ways including, the intonations, pronunciations, sentence formation and like. At the same time, the rest did add some strict structure and competition to my learning while I wanted to write tests.

The online mediums of learning from home or anywhere have definitely proved to be a support to learn seamlessly while increasing the variety in the ways of input to the extent of podcasts, TV shows, traditional arts, postcards, wallpapers and the voice in your head. So, how do you plan to start learning the Japanese language at home?

Meanwhile check out my covid vaccination experience and get going with booking your slot.

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