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Japanese Resources

Well, 1 week to go and I'll be off to Hong Kong, followed by Japan. I'm getting all excited now, as dragging myself out of my pit has been hard work as of late and this holiday could not have come at a better time.

However, that's not the point of this post. The point of it is so that I can recommend some web resources to you, should you ever think of trying to study Japanese. It's not as hard as it initially seems. Honest!

Firstly, you'll probably want to learn how to read Hiragana and Katakana. Master that and you've mastered two of the three writing systems. Therefore, I couldn't recommend this link to you more highly (*clicky*). It's called the Ultimate Hiragana/Katakana Challenge and works on a very simple concept - all you do is click on each character as it floats around the screen in alphabetical order. I played this to death and found it a really good way of learning the order and recognising the characters, especially with Katakana, which is always viewed as a slightly more awkward set to learn.

Secondly, there's books. When I started learning, there weren't that many Japanese textbooks around, apart from the "Japanese For Busy People" series, but as time has gone on, there's a lot more about. In particular, you might want to have a look here. (*clicky*) They sell shedloads of good stuff, but more importantly, they also sell the past papers from the Japanese Language Proficiency Tests, which will be invaluable if you want practice.

Kanji will be the bane of your life. There's thousands of the little buggers. But to get to grips with the initial few hundred, you could do an awful lot worse than look at this book. (*clicky*) It presents them in a simple and easy to grasp manner, such that you might actually remember them!

Going back to the proficiency test, this (*clicky*) will also prove useful. It's a full vocabulary list for each of the levels, along with a dictionary. Then, there's the sushi test, which is an online version of the level four (easiest) test. (*clicky*) Unfortunately, though, it's really pedantic when trying to work on a Mac, so you might have to use a PC to do it.

The internet is pretty useful stuff when studying Japanese, as there's a whole load of good reference stuff out there, plus if you want to give forums a go and publicly air your language skills, there's loads of them. Here's such an example. (*clicky* )

Add a comment on if you've got any questions.... Gasp)
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