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Hey all, I've been less active than usual the past few months and a major reason for that is that I've been studying super hard to play DQXI at launch. DQ in the west happens inconsistently (although we've seen a lot of success this last year in getting localisations) and we're never 100% sure we'll get any given title. Now I've tried to sit down and "learn Japanese" a few times before. I've played through several games in Japanese and watch plenty of anime and samurai movies but if I'm being honest- none of it really stuck.

Here's the hard truth: if you want to learn Japanese you are going to need to study. You are going to need to sit down and learn the grammar, the vocabulary, and yes- even the kanji. ESPECIALLY the kanji. You need to practice reading, writing, listening, and speaking to learn a language and that is where I'd been failing, I was looking for an easy way to learn, a passive way. That's not how you learn a language.

Step 1: Learn hiragana and katakana. Yes you need to, romaji is terrible and useless anyways if you are interested in Japanese gaming. Memrise has the kanas and worked well for me. There are a lot of apps for both learning and writing the kanas. Practice both reading and writing them every day.

Step 2: Actually studying. I didn't really start noticing good growth until I grabbed a textbook. Genki is a popular choice and cheap as far as textbooks go. It also has a workbook that goes along with the lessons. Read the lessons. Understand them. Do the worksheets. Listen to the audio recordings. There are also some decent websites with free lessons like https://www.nhk.or.jp/lesson/english/but none of them really compared to how well put together Genki is. I understand Minna no Nihongo is also excellent but I haven't checked it out yet.

Step 3: See step 2.

Step 4: Vocabulary. Flashcards work for some, memrise seems to work best for me. 

Step 5: Pace yourself. A few months ago when I started I over emphasized vocabulary. I was trying to learn 30 words a day and that really only lasted a week. 5-10 is much more doable (for me anyways, maybe you're a language learning machine, I am apparently not).


Do I need to learn kanji?

Yes. In fact you want to. I know it seems like this insurmountable monster. It is estimated that you need to know 2500 characters to read a newspaper. That sounds like a nightmare doesn't it? The book "Remembering the Kanji" can be purchased used on the cheap through amazon and is great for learning to recognize the radicals (the little characters that make up the kanji) and once you recognize the different radicals kanji stops all looking alike. Also you don't need to worry about all the different readings for each character, just learn them as vocabulary. The rest will come.

I'm still very much in the learning process but in a few months of actual study I have learned ten times as much as I did in years of "learning Japanese but not seriously studying" and happy to answer any questions.

The big thing. The BIGGEST thing. Study everyday. Be consistent. Consistency is more important than quantity. Studying for 10 minutes each day is better than studying 3 hours one day/week.

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