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The Do’s and Don’t’s of Studying Japanese

Learning Japanese is no walk in the park. At times it can be stressful and even intimidating. There’s hiragana, katakana, kanji, grammar and loads of vocabulary. It kind of feels like you’re not making any progress at times. If you’re reading this article because you are thinking of learning Japanese or because you feel overwhelmed from everything, don’t worry because if you follow these basic do’s and don’t’s your Japanese level will definitely improve! So on that note, let’s get started!

1. Do- Write In Japanese Everyday
Being able to read doesn’t mean anything unless you can write. Writing in Japanese is key to understanding grammar, sentence structure, and memorizing vocabulary. If you’re not writing down what you learned, chances are you are gonna forget it a week later.
2. Don’t- Use Google Translate
If you need help looking up a word or phrase then I recommend not using Google Translate. It's a good application but it's not always accurate. Word order is not modified correctly and there are words that are not commonly used in the Japanese language. I recommend using as a reference. Use Google Translate as a last option if necessary.
3. Do- Surround Yourself with Japanese People/Speakers
You would be amazed by how much you can learn just from listening to people speak Japanese. You get to hear what daily conversations revolve around, how intonation is supposed to sound, and new words that you wouldn’t ordinarily find in a textbook. Not to mention it’s the perfect time to practice speaking and asking questions.
4. Don’t- Avoid Speaking Japanese
If you don’t try to speak Japanese, you're not going to improve. Everyone at one point or another was a beginner and it’s common to feel self-conscious about making a mistake. But don’t worry mistakes help you grow and if you are living in Japan, Japanese people are very patient with you and they appreciate the fact that you are trying.
5. Do- Learn New Vocabulary
Even if Japanese grammar isn’t your strong suit, memorizing new vocabulary will help you out a lot. The more vocabulary you learn the higher the possibility you can talk about different topics in the future. Even if you don’t have time to study Japanese, learn new vocabulary at the very least.
6. Don’t- Avoid Studying
If you really want to improve your Japanese, then you will always find time to study. Whether it’s for an hour a day or 10 vocabulary words a day, each day counts and your hard work will pay off in the long run.
7. Do- Have Fun Making Mistakes
Try to have fun learning this complicated language. Your goal is to communicate effectively and it's not always going to go as expected. I once accidentally ordered a cocktail and instead of saying ぎゅうにゅう (milk) I said ぎゅうにく(meat) and the Bartender burst out laughing. I was mortified at the time but looking back, it actually was pretty funny. Laugh and learn from your mistakes.
8. Don’t- Give Up
Japanese is a hard but really cool language to learn. It may take a long time before you start to speak perfectly but I assure you, you will see improvement. So keep studying!