1. Learn the Japanese alphabet


The first question when you start studying basic Japanese is “What should I study?”. And the answer is “the Japanese Alphabet”, as any language in the world, the alphabet is an essential foundation for forming vocabulary and grammar later,  especially a language like Japanese. 



You have to know about Hiragana and Katakana. Hiragana is one of the elements of the Japanese writing system so it’s a pretty important skill to learn pronunciation and communication. The good news is that this isn’t a difficult skill to learn. There are some excellent resources available for beginning learners. 


In addition to the two main alphabets, Japanese also have Tenten and Maru. Learning these 2 sound boards will be much easier if you have carefully learned two main alphabets, so don't worry!


  • Dakuten (also called “tenten”) is a diacritical mark used in the Japanese kana syllabary to indicate that the consonant of a syllable is pronounced sonorously. It is just a table that adds 25 more syllables, which is the letter established by adding 2 commas 'on top of the first letter' in the hiragana alphabet, called 'tenten'.

  • Handakuten (also called “maru”) is a diacritical mark used in characters of the Japanese kana syllabary and is that all syllables will pair from 2 single sounds, also known as "double sounds". Its characteristics are the letters や ゆ よ will write into ゃ ゅ ょ. 


2. Using the Japanese textbooks in the smart way

“Minna no Nihongo” absolutely is “the textbook” with Japanese learners. So how to use a Japanese textbook effectively? 


First, about Honsatsu (Main textbook)


  • 文 型 (bunkei) – Sentences: Some sentences use grammar structures in the lesson. 

  • 例文 (reibun) – Noun: Some examples use grammar structures  in the lesson.

  • 会話 (kaiwa) – Dialogues: Some dialogues in reality situation with grammar structures  in the lesson.

  • 練習 A (renshuu A) – Practice A: Summary has all of the grammar structures in the lesson.

  • 練習 B (renshuu B) – Practice B: Some simple exercises to practice grammar structures that you learn. 

  • 練習 C (renshuu C) – Practice C: Some example dialogues use the sentences that you learn in the lesson. 

  • 問題 (Mondai) – Problem: Listening and writing exercises and use grammar structures in the lesson. 

Secondly, Transition and Explanation textbook:

  • Vocabulary: summarize new words related to the lessons and topics of the lesson.

  • Transition: Translate all paragraphs, examples, dialogues in the main textbook to English.

  • Word and information is related to the lessons and topics of the lesson. 

  • Explanation grammar: explain grammar structures, how to use them, with examples and answers that are so easy to understand.


3. Define your goal after learning basic Japanese

Maybe each of us have different goal about learning Japanese, but I think you need to get some goals such as:

  • Focus on speaking exactly, intonation and stress,...

  • Get used to using Japanese verb and adjective forms.

  • Master some common sentences for communication.

  • Improve your vocabulary naturally.


4. Active practice

The most important rule when you study Japanese is “learning with practice”. After learning anything, you have to practice to remember it. 

But, the important thing is to actively practice it. Don’t do it like a mere routine or token form of service. You can try some suggest like: 

  • Practice after a lesson to remember it better.

  • Active reading: find some short paragraph and practice with them, you can make some questions and find their answers.

  • Active listening: you should buy some Japanese CDs with basic dialogues and try to listen 3 to 5 times to understand the meaning.