Take your Japanese from zero to fluent to legendary, one step at a time. Quickly read over the guideposts and key terms and get ready to begin your language adventure.
1. Worlds should be done in order, but posts within worlds can/should be done simultaneously with each other.
2. Lengths of time are averages of how long completing the world may take you. Speed is your decision.
3. As you advance in worlds, what you learn and engage in will continue with you to later worlds.
1. Anki: A popular and powerful flashcard program which sets automatic timed intervals for studying.
2. Kana Conqueror: Guide to learning the first 2 Japanese writing systems.
3. Japanese-English Sentences (J-E sentences): Learning Japanese sentences by using English as assistance.
4. Jalup Beginner 1000: Japanese Level Up original J-E textbook.
5. Kanji Kingdom: Japanese Level Up orignal Kanji learning system to master all 2000+ kanji
6. Jalup Stories Beginner: Original fictional stories giving you practice with what you learned in Jalup Beginner.
7. Japanese-Japanese Sentences (J-J sentences): Learning Japanese sentences only through Japanese.
8. Jalup Intermediate/Advanced/Expert: Japanese Level Up original J-J textbook series.
9. Immersion: The environment you create (and surround yourself) of native Japanese material (books, videos, music, games, etc.) which simulates the idea of you living in Japan and living like a native Japanese person.
10. Passive Learning: Learning that takes place in the background without any focus required (ex. listening to a movie while cleaning the dishes, listening to music while running.)
11. Active Learning: Learning that takes place where you are directly focused on it (ex. sitting down and watching a movie, reading a novel.)
Questions to ask:
● What is your motivation for learning Japanese? Start writing down your goals.
● Do you have the dream of living in Japan?
● Is Chinese more beneficial to learn than Japanese?
● How long will it take you to become fluent? How many hours a day? (You sure? Others say it takes less/more time!)
● Is it bad to learn Japanese solely for the anime and manga?
● Is learning Japanese difficult?
● What does a simple overview (or even simpler overview) of learning Japanese to fluency look like?
● What would you do if you woke up fluent in Japanese?
● How does learning Japanese affect who you are?
● What’s the best age to learn Japanese?
● When is the right time to start learning Japanese?
● Who created Japanese Level Up and is it worth following?
The Jalup Game Mentality:
● Turning your “study” into your “quest.”
● Japanese is your new game.
● Keep track of your progress by level
● Play with your Japanese study time.
● Setting your “random battle” rate
● Maintain the anime hero training mentality.
● Everyone is a Japanese hero in the making.
● Developing your own strategy guide
● Develop the rage to master Japanese.
● Jump increasingly difficult hurdles.
● Make your Japanese study more challenging, not less.
● Learn Japanese through a game or as a game?
Psychologically Preparing For The Challenge:
● Prepare for the 4 phases of language shock.
● Studying Japanese should not be painful.
● Using this site’s posts as inspiration, motivation, and guidance.
● Don’t play the comparison game.
● Don’t visualize Japanese as some insurmountable obstacle.
● Japanese is simple. We make it more difficult.
● Embrace the difficulty of Japanese – it’s part of the appeal.
● What victory percentage would you play for?
● Dealing with your own difficulty setting and speed setting.
Not a beginner? Making a 2nd attempt at learning Japanese?
● Test Your Japanese level here and/or here to see where you stand.
● Already intermediate level? You may want to go back and complete RTK.
● Do you feel you are an eternal start and stop learner?
● Quit Japanese for a period of time and trying to restart?
● Stories of second attempt Japanese learners to motivate you: 1, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Purchase from Jalup:
Textbooks you may want/need:
Download for free:
Decide if you want to:
● Take Japanese classes in addition to self-study (and some things to watch out for).
● Major in Japanese in college and do a Japanese-related independent study.
● Study abroad at a language school in Japan.
● Use online Japanese study forums (if you do, you might want to keep your study methods quiet)
● Practicing your handwriting skill.
● If you want to become only a casual learner of Japanese.
● Learn how to use Anki, what it does for you, why using pre-made decks are so powerful, and how Adam used it for massive success. Need more instruction? Check out the official manual and intro videos.
● Set up the Japanese language on your computer so you can input Japanese characters with your keyboard.
● Make sure you are setting enough time every day to actually engage in Japanese.
● Learn how to read, write and pronounce the hiragana and katakana (first 2 Japanese alphabets) using Kana Conqueror (if you want some extra practice, try these songs or apps or games or creative order).
● Learn 500 kanji (the 3rd Japanese alphabet) by completing stages 1 and 2 of Kanji Kingdom, while at the same time learning 500 J-E sentences in stages 1 and 2 of Jalup Beginner.
Decide whether you will:
● Boost Anki’s power with media enhancements.
● Add additional kanji not found in the original sentences.
● Plan on being a power leveler or learning Japanese as fast as possible (read one person’s experience of getting to level 40 in 8 months).
● Use Remembering The Kanji or Jalup Kanji Assist as an alternative or alongside with Kanji Kingdom, or make your own J-E sentences instead.
Set yourself up for success:
● Enjoy being a beginner.
● Avoid being a perfectionist. Your way of studying Japanese will never be perfect.
● Do not get caught up in asking “why?”
● Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
● Be careful of trying too many new tools and methods
● Set yourself up with short, specific, and achievable goals. Can’t figure out good goals? See what everyone here is aiming for.
● How to be mediocre – good – great.
● Pump yourself up with 10 Life-Changing Quotes In Japanese And English.
● Try changing your color settings on Anki to prevent eye fatigue.
● Decide how many new Anki cards to add a day and don’t worry about your accuracy rate numbers.
● Transform your studying chores into studying habits.
● How to make the Japanese language like you.
● How to create a Japanese Master.
● Create the need to learn Japanese.
● You must master your use of time.
● You need time to make more time.
● Working smarter still means working your ass off.
● Find someone better than you to become friends with.
● Is it better to study Japanese in the morning or at night?
● Is it okay to be obsessed with learning Japanese?
● Prepare to go through cycles of being cocky and humble.
● Make sure to create a great study start and finish to every day.
● Is RTK actually teaching you Japanese?
● Why go from Japanese to English, and not English to Japanese?
● Feel like you’re not using RTK correctly and need a more thorough guide?
● What if you hate doing RTK? Now what?
● What if you hate using Anki? Now what?
● What about using romaji (English lettering of Japanese characters)?
● Should you learn Japanese slowly or quickly?
● What do you do when you have trouble understanding your sentences?
● When do you stop translating into English in your head?
● Should you keep daily time records of your studying?
● Is it okay to go at a super slow pace?
Handling early frustration:
● Learning Japanese is a game of Tetris.
● Trust me, Japanese is not impossible to learn.
● How your Japanese ability will actually progress.
● Was learning Japanese a New Year’s resolution? Did you fail it already? Should you even bother?
● Bad reasons why you think you can’t learn Japanese.
● You will luck into amazing study methods.
● Method not working? Try changing it a little.
● Anki may seem boring at times, but it’s like a time travelling machine.
● Failure is moving forward, so keep the momentum.
● Find out how you don’t like to study.
● Avoid evil Japanese learners.
What immersion all about?
● How to utilize the full power of Passive Listening.
● Properly dividing your focus.
● Use the 5-minute rule when watching videos.
● The faster you can get to immersion the better.
● It only takes one key to unlock the gates of immersion.
● You don’t need to finish what you started.
Setting everything up:
● Use the Jalup media guide to find videos you like (J-drama, anime, movies, video games, etc.) appropriate to your level.
● Watch videos > download > convert to mp3 > upload the audio (cleaning up unnecessary parts) to create your portable immersion device.
● Add other audio like music and podcasts.
● Just leave your TV on, which is especially easy if you use Netflix Japan (but beware the dangers).
● Make immersion follow you even when you think you’re too busy.
● Improve your listening ability just by using earphones or just sometimes closing your eyes.
Dealing with English subtitles:
● Try keeping your immersion pure, banishing any English.
● How to block English subtitles.
● If you insist on using English subtitles, use them most efficiently.
● Get used to anime once the English subtitles are gone.
● Why English subtitles are not accurate.
● Having doubts about the effectiveness of immersion?
● Feel like immersion isn’t working for you?
● How can immersion work when you only understand 1%?
● How can you enjoy Japanese TV that you don’t understand?
● Does Japanese TV suck?
● Is there any benefit to being a beginner just starting immersion?
● Is it bad to learn Japanese from anime? What are the powerful benefits?
● Is anime binging good or bad?
● Does listening to music count as studying?
● Why you can’t understand the news.
● Why you think you hate Japanese variety shows.
● Is it okay to hate most Japanese TV?
● Is it okay to use American Japanese dubs of America movies?
● How long should you listen to the same material?
● Why is the Japanese in anime is so difficult to understand?
● When things get difficult, try something completely different.
● With enough immersion, you will develop seemingly sudden Japanese abilities.
● Immersion isn’t easy – but that’s okay.
World 5: Continuing the Early Battles
● Complete stages 3 + 4 of both Kanji Kingdom and Jalup Beginner at the same time.
● Take the Power Level Tests to see how your progress is coming along.
● How to fight boredom.
● Found whatever textbook you chose just not interesting enough to you?
● Studying will make studying more enjoyable.
● Enjoy the small breakthrough moments.
● Balancing fun vs. study.
● Writing out kanji feel boring? Check out this motivational kanji writing video masterpiece.
● Be excited with what happens next.
● Go watch Lost In Translation (really, that’s it)
● Start visualizing your Japanese-speaking future self.
● Japanese is improving your life in ways you never imagined.
● Take and keep full control of your own journey.
● Reminding yourself how important learning Japanese is to you.
● Think differently: try the George Constanza or Mr. Miyagi approach to learning Japanese.
● Think you have it bad? Imagine studying Japanese if it was 1899. Or even 1999.
● Buy tickets to Japan! The sooner you can go for even a small trip, the better.
● Other people learning way faster than you? Use it to inspire, not to demotivate.
● Battle stories make your journey memorable.
● Evolving questions to banish self-doubt.
● Read inspiring stories of other learners that struggled their way to success: 1-3, 4-6, 7, 8, 9, Coco, Ninjam
● Learn why you make the switch from Japanese-English (J-E) to Japanese-Japanese (J-J), how it’s one big puzzle and whether it really matters.
● Complete stages 5 to 8 of Kanji Kingdom and 1 to 4 of Jalup Intermediate at the same time.
Creating your own J-J sentences & additional explanations
● How to change your training from J-E to J-J in Anki.
● How the branching process works and techniques for easier branching.
● Despite your readiness, be prepared for a challenge.
● Embracing the J-J dictionary dive.
● Get used to using a J-J dictionary (I recommend any internet dictionary)
● Learn the most common definition words.
● In the beginning, try using pictures or a children’s dictionary
● Learn how to deal with words not found in the dictionary.
● You will be reaching the Mid-level blues. Accept and embrace it.
● What to do when you reach your Japanese breakdown point.
● Feel like giving up learning Japanese?
● When will you reach the point where everything feels great?
● Why is Japanese taking you so long to learn?
● Enjoy studying Japanese now, not later.
● If you start slowing down, doing something is better than doing nothing.
● Learn what number of reviews due in Anki makes you not want to do them.
● Stop doing what you hate.
● End your study sessions on a high point.
● Know when you are most likely to quit Japanese.
Dealing with lingering worries:
● Avoid long sentences that give you a headache.
● Your need for Anki will slowly fade away.
● Reasons that will prevent you from ever becoming fluent in Japanese.
● Use your Japanese study time efficiently.
● Signs you’re getting the Japanese immersion you need.
● Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to completely remove English.
● What happens if you unintentionally see English definitions when you are doing J-J?
● Thinking your ultimate progress is limited because you aren’t living in Japan?
● When will you reach the point where everything feels great?
● Don’t learn things “just in case.”
● Don’t become a “second guesser.”
● Don’t get stuck in your comfort zones.
● Complete stages 1 to 4 of Jalup Advanced.
● Start reading native materials.
Best ways to read:
● The difference between extensive and intensive reading.
● Only read what is appropriate to your interests.
● Skip parts you don’t understand.
● Read in Japanese, not about Japanese.
● Step up your reading frequency (try the popular reading contest Tadoku for motivation).
● Block out the non-Japanese reading distractions.
● Use techniques to speed up your Japanese reading pace.
● Struggles with reading a Japanese book a day.
● Try to steer clear of massive blocks of Japanese text.
● Good sources to buy native Japanese reading material: 1) Kinokuniya, 2) YesAsia, 3) Amazon Japan, 4) Bookoff
● Making use of Japan’s abundant “Free Papers.”
● Change your mobile phone to Japanese.
● Yes, video games count as reading.
● Use Retro Games and nostalgia to boost your Japanese.
● Learn Japanese Through Cooking Dashi.
● Turn your password-remembering-stress into Japanese reading practice.
World 8: Embarking Upon Speaking and Conversations
● Complete stages 1 to 4 of Jalup Expert
● Start engaging in conversations.
● Register a Mixi account (Japanese version of Facebook), make friends and talk with them on Skype.
● Can’t or don’t want to use Mixi? Try Facebook.
● Try Japanese Twitcasting (live streaming community sites).
● Use Japan’s massively popular mobile app “Line.”
● Use Google Maps To Bring Your Home Closer To Japan
● Use Twitter as an easy way to chat, make friends, and start a conversation.
● Get involved in Jalup’s monthly Creative Captions: 1 – 2 – 3
● Turn World of Warcraft into Japanese and join a Japanese guild.
● Have a surprisingly entertaining conversation with Siri.
● Try the Saito-san app to talk with random Japanese people with ease.
● When chatting, decide whether you want to use kana or romaji input on your mobile device.
Talking in person:
● Prove yourself quickly in any conversation and make sure to get in the first word.
● Some of the confusing things Japanese people will say to you.
● Understand the difference between not understanding vs not hearing and not understanding vs. not understanding Japanese.
● Get used to the background noise that clouds listening ability.
● How to react to repetitive compliments about your “great Japanese”
● Don’t shy away from talking with other foreigners in Japanese
● Why you should avoid tempting “language exchanges.”
● Should you enter a Japanese speech contest?
● Practice expressing yourself through self-talking and shadowing/mimicking.
● Slow down; you are the one talking too fast.
● Develop your inner actor.
● Construct your new voice.
● Use the English found in Japanese.
● Fully enjoy the abbreviation madness.
● Get used to the formal language.
● Avoid bad habits that make your Japanese sound unnatural
● Correct your Japanese mistakes with variety shows
Confidence and struggles:
● Japanese speaking mastery is a never-ending battle.
● The 8 phases of transition from immersion to fluent speaking.
● Learning Japanese is harder than learning English
● Your skills will be unbalanced (with speaking weakest), and that’s okay.
● Don’t worry about your Japanese becoming too masculine/feminine.
● Prepare for the Japanese Random Level Down.
● Don’t let others’ speaking ability intimidate you.
● Polite vs. casual Japanese is hard for foreigners.
● Sticking with words you know vs. trying out new ones.
● When people tell you they wish they were “naturally” good with languages like you.
● Speaking good vs. natural Japanese
● Complete stages 5 to 8 of Jalup Expert
● Continue working through J-J using The One Deck, or begin/continue creating your own sentences until you reach your desired level.
● Enjoy as much fun native media as you possibly can.
● Prepare yourself for overcoming the high level blues.
● Will you blog about your Japanese experience?
● Should you keep going with Anki for years to come? When should you stop adding new cards?
● If you are living in Japan, should you make it your permanent home?
Do you want to work in Japan or get a job using Japanese in your home country?
● Becoming a Japanese Translator series.
● Become an English teacher.
● Join the WWOOF farming program.
● Become a part-time worker (and enjoy the benefits of the job immersion environment that comes with it)
● Become a TV actor, or join a variety show as a cast member or guest.
● Is taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) necessary? What levels do the Jalup decks prepare you for?
● How may potential jobs test your Japanese?
● 7 ways to prepare for and pass a Japanese job interview.
● Take a boring job to boost your Japanese.
● 12 Unique And Fun Jobs Using Japanese
Things to remember:
● No matter how high you go, always remain humble.
● You can keep up and improve your Japanese, even when you are away on vacation.
● No matter how much you love Japanese culture, don’t throw away your own culture.
● You don’t have to learn everything.
● Why you never stop learning Japanese.
● There will always be tiny gaps in your Japanese knowledge.
● You will become your own most valuable teacher.
● Understand your weaknesses, and your strengths will shine.
● Let the reasons you study Japanese evolve and change.
Never give up. You can and absolutely will do this.
(Last Updated 5/13/2016)