First if you haven't already learn Hiragana and Katakana. After that you'll have the fun that is Kanji :p I recommend "Remembering The Kanji" by Heisig After that just watch/read Japanese anime, manga, videos etc. Of course with no translations xD Good luck~
Best way to learn japanese: get a good teacher. I tried to learn it last year and god damn it, even writing is hard T T
This is a random question but does anyone know of a good program or books for learning Japanese because I wanted to do some translating but I know very little Japanese so if u have and ideas that be great thanks and if u just don't care nm probably should've pot this under spam but owell
and why do I need to do captcha even when I'm logged in?
Just steal*ahem* borrow the books from a nearby language school, best materials there are.
Hiragana took me for EVER to learn for some reason, like, literally 6 months or more. But after I got it, I started katakana and it took me only 2 days to learn. I think that there were just a lot of stuff I didn't understand about katakana and all the books I was trying to learn from had charts but didn't really explain it well (especially stressed/ennunciated sounds, small tsu, why there's no HU but FU and FU but not FA/FE/FI/FO, which CHI/JI to use, wtf DZU is, etc). Since katakana has idential rules, once I figured out what was going on, learning the symbols was not hard. I also recommend "cementing" learning kana with lots of practice. Just look through raws, japanese websites, etc, and practice sounding out the kana even if you don't know what the word means. I bough a Japanese DS game during this period and I played the whole game and never knew what was going on but got a lot better at reading kana fluidly. Now, I often forget that my friends/family can't read even kana. I'll get stuff in the mail and they'll ask what it is and I'm like "it says right there... oh..." Off topic! Anyways, for learning Japanese, I gave up all hope of ever getting a career in exchange for going to an otherwise mediocre school with an excelent Japanese department and majoring in Japanese. We used the Genki series (I and II) for the first and second semester elementary Japanese and first semester intermediate Japanese courses. For second semester intermediate Japanese and all of 3rd year (upper intermediate?) Japanese we use a fairly new/unknown(?) book called Tobira: Gateway to Advanced Japanese (jyoukyuu he no tobira). A lot of people in my school dislike it or complain about it but I absolutely love it. The textbook is about 80%+ all in Japanese, but kanji you've not yet learned have furigana. It has large(ish) reading passages, 2-3 lists of vocab totalling in ~100 new words per lesson, and ~40 kanji per lesson. The really useful thing is, it divides the vocab and kanji into "need to know" and "only need to know because this semi-obscure word is related to the topic of this chapter". Often the words on the "don't really need to know" list will appear in later chapters as "need to know", though. And the book expects you to be able to read (not write) all the vocab words from the chapter after it appears onwards, even if you've not learned the kanji yet technically. My favorite part is the grammar section, which has around 20 really useful grammar points and detailed explanations and examples. I am doing my 3rd year abroad, so I haven't taken that level at my school, but as I understand it they divide the course into 2 classes: reading/writing and speaking/listening. Previous semesters, it's a 6-credit course that covers all 4, taught by native teachers, but 3rd year it's divided into the 2 3-credit courses, and the reading/writing portion is taught by the American professors in the Japanese department. I'm getting off topic again... My point was, I heard that the speaking/listening class for both semesters 3rd year uses Tobira, but the reading/writing uses some authentic materials that Japanese students use to learn kanji in middle school, as well as some original stuff (worksheets, etc) created by the teacher. 4th year Japanese at my school is pretty weird too. There is a 3-credit "advanced Japanese" where the teacher uses her own textbook (at my university, a lot of teachers do this; there is a printing department on campus and you can place an order there and they print and bind it for you, and it's quite cheap, like 8$ for a 200-page spiral-bound booklet), and then there are a few other high level 3-credit 'specialty' classes on topics such as "business japanese" "media Japanese" "manuscript (ancient) japanese" "classical Japanese" "JLPT prep Japanese" etc. I am pretty sure the teachers use mostly authenitc materials and their own textbooks for all of these. My suggestion is to try and enroll at a Japanese course if at all possible. I tried to study on my own for years but just completely lacked the follow-through ability. Look for a language school, university, community college, etc. I was able to start translating manga (really crapily) at about half-way through the 2nd semester of elementary Japanese (basically by the end of Genki I). It was really really hard, though, and I couldn't just sit down and read a manga, I was glued to the dictionary looking up every word and unfamiliar grammar pattern. By the eng of Genki II I could read manga and understand enough words to somewhat follow the story, and around 50-70% of the grammar. Translating REALLY helped my Japanese improve and the things I'd learned to stick in my brain. First semester, I actually almost failed out of the Japanese program (you need a C or better to progress to the next level and I got a C+) but second semester was a bit better (B) and then by 3rd semester I made a huge jump to the top of my class and got an A+. 4th semester I was still one of the best and had an A if I remember correctly. Reading/translating manga helped me a lot especially with recognition of kanji. I am still pretty bad at writing kanji, and my listening/speaking is not the best (compared to my best friend who is addicted to anime, and is really good at listening and speaking and vocab, but not as good at grammar and kanji, my strong points.) So I recommend you to stick with Manga, definitely! You might get made fun of by your teachers ocassionally for saying weird manga-esque words or phrases though. I have a fairly good idea of what kind of things are only said in manga/anime and not in real life, but once in a while I unintentionally come out with something that makes my teachers laugh. I hope something I said actually helped. When I'm on my own computer I'll try to post a list of helpful links. I have an arsenal of sites that I use often to look up stuff I don't know when I'm translating.