May 26, 2014

10 tips on learning Japanese

1. Make notes - Notes will help you not only remember words but get used to writing them down. If you don't work your hand, you wont learn to remember how to write the words and it is easy to forget. Notes can always be re-written over and over again if you feel the notes are too messy, or for re-practicing. You should be writing down important points that you want to look back on later.

2. Use what skills you have - A lot of people worry about looking up stuff in the dictionary right away when they don't know how to say something, or they spend too much time trying to explain something they just can't. Use what vocabulary you already know so that you can get your point across, and worry about learning the more harder words at a later time.

3. Be patient - Japanese takes years to be fluent in, and it isn't something you can just master in only 10 mins. There will be times where you just don't understand anything, and that is ok. You will get there.

4. Talk to yourself - Nothing is wrong with talking to yourself when you have nooone to practice with. It is better than no chance at all to use your mouth mussels, Without practice you wont get any better. 

5. Studying is not work  - If you think of studying as a chore or something not fun, you wont ever learn. Think of studying as something fun and something you love. Find a way to incorporate studying into your hobbies. 

6. Look up unknown words - When you see a word you don't know, do your best to find out what it means. Especially if it is the only word you don't understand.

7. Skip unknown words - Sometimes there are too many words you don't know, that you will be spending too much time looking them up. In this case, skip over them and try to understand the sentence without them.

8. Don't be shy - Being afraid to use your skills will only give you less chances to practice and get better.

9. Use multiple resources - One website or book wont teach you it all, you need to use as much resources as you can. More resources will give you different ways to study.

10. Don't be discouraged - Making mistakes is a good thing. It helps you learn so you don't do it again. Don't be upset that people are better than you, you can be just as good as anyone, it just takes time. Don't feel upset if people laugh at your errors, they are just a-holes. ;)


  1. Thank you Mira! I enjoy your blog and videos, keep them coming. Have you ever used an electronic dictionary? Do you have one? What are your thoughts? Useful or no?

    1. Actually I really don't like them. They usually are out of date and have wrong translations. I experience pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnnnnnnntttttttttttttttty of Japanese people using them. They live for them. Back in the day when I taught English, even if I explained the words, they always needed to look it up. Often it would be wrong or strange, but they would generally trust it.

    2. Glad I asked! That would be the worst. Thanks ��

  2. These are great tips!
    1 & 4 are the ones I need to work on doing more!
    I do everything on the computer so I don't ever write. I'll need to in the future so I mine as well start now. Plus writing it down does help it stick with me better.
    I read a little better than I speak, I tried saying a simple sentence yesterday and it was like a tongue twister! So i definitely need to talk to my self more in Japanese!

    Thank you for this! :)

  3. Hello Mira,

    Yesterday i saw your "Unplanned live show" and i was wondering if you could give me the name of the book your recommended at the the end of the video. I tried to look it up today but the video is gone :(

    Thanks in advance,
    Gabriel G

  4. I have kind of followed you for a few years now, & congrats. You have evolved yourself into a really cool product. Just watched your video on "Swear words", very cool. I studied in Japan for 5+ yrs from 1970 to 76. Used my language skills in Hawaii for about 10 yrs where Japanese was a great marketing tool in the 70's & 80's. For the last 25 yrs, hardly used it at all. A couple yrs ago I decided I needed to get some of the language back, especially Kanji. So, the way you present your Videos, YouTube stuff, etc. is really as good as I've ever seen for learning and practice.
    My whole point here, Mira, is to just tell you that I am very impressed with what you have accomplished with this "Life in Japan" thing you have going on, and wish you the best of luck with all things in the future. Keep up the good stuff, and know that one day you will be where I am at with this attachment to 2 cultures. And you appear to become very natural in both about equally. I hope you realize the depth of your accomplishments, bc they are impressive. Again, Congrats Mira, I really am blown away with how much you have done in the past few years. wow, really coo.
    Thank You, Mira.