Build a good foundation using games and Rocket Japanese!!
As Japan is getting more and more influences from western cultures, Tourists in Japan have gotten the opportunity to actually read and UNDERSTAND some of what is written in Japanese characters.
Words written in Hiragana and Kanji require a knowledge in the Japanese vocabulary, but words written in Katakana usually do not. Before I started my studies in Japanese I had no idea that all it took was the ability to read some of the characters in order to actually understand what some of the words meant.
The usage of Katakana is not limited to foreign words but it is its primary usage. Katakana contains 45 simple characters and it is not very hard to have them all memorized within a week. After that, you will be able to read and understand hundreds of Japanese words. Learning them was the kick-start I needed when I first started my studies.
Here is a few examples of some words that you would be able to identify and understand if you know Katakana:
|English Word||Japanese Word||Katakana Spelling|
If you are attending a Japanese class, learning Katakana will have to wait until you are done memorizing Hiragana. Hiragana is more commonly used and is of greater importance if your intentions are to one day speak Japanese. But if your interest in Japan is of a more temporary nature, Katakana will bring you more satisfaction.
When I first started studying Katakana I was overwhelmed with the amount of memorization that I needed to do. But after a simple google search I came across a free Katakana memorization game and found motivation to keep going and finish fast. After spending several hours playing the game and another few using memory cards to help me with stroke orders, I was done.
To help me build a good foundation in my Japanese I also took a class and spent some time using Rocket Japanese. Rocket Japanese is perhaps the best online course for Japanese and it was money well spent. It is for anybody who wishes to acquire some knowledge of the Japanese language. But for anybody who aims for a native level in the language that is considered one of the most complicated, an online course will simply not be enough. Take a look at my review of Rocket Japanese and see if it fulfills your needs!