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Japanese Lessons: Basics

By @cocophony


こんにちは!(Hello!) Welcome to the introduction of a very long project… the project in which I will be teaching you Japanese, for free!

Japanese is much more simple to learn than most people realize. For example, あ is pronounced like the ‘a’ in “father”. And that is it. All characters, with MINOR exceptions, are pronounced only one way. Unlike in English, where the letter ‘i’ can be pronounced like the word “eye”, or as in the words “sin”, “teaching”, and “introduction” (I speak of the second ‘i’ in that last word). English is confusing. Japanese has super solid rules that rarely ever get broken, and I mean RARELY, which is probably why it is so easy to learn.

Also, a lot of Japanese words are actually English loan words, like コーヒー (pronounced “kohi”, with the vowels slightly elongated) which means ‘coffee’. Sounds pretty similar, right? It makes a lot of words easy to remember!

The only thing I feel like is hard is remembering all the Kanji, which I will explain later due to the pure terror it brings to me. But it’s not necessary for QUITE a while. And technically, you don’t need Kanji for speaking… it is just a type of Japanese letter.

I have been studying Japanese for awhile now, for almost half a year. I suppose that I am not the most fluent, say compared to most “先生の日本語” (“Japanese teachers”)… by very much. However, I have reached a point where I can have a casual conversation with Japanese people I meet online, which I have met through Language Exchange sites and apps (which I will get to in a moment).

I hope writing this guide will not only help me refresh my Japanese skills, but will help other people learn this language I have such a passion for. Once my husband lands his permanent job, I plan on going to school and possibly becoming a translator! My first love is writing, but we all here know how hard it can be to get a novel published… *sigh*. I am learning too, remember, but I am learning at what my Japanese friends call incredibly 早い (fast).

I hope you enjoy learning Japanese as much as I love teaching it!

My current lessons usually follow this template:

-Lessons: the meat of each chapter. This is where you will learn.

-Notes: A simple list of the basics covered in each lesson

-Vocab: Five new words that revolve around what you learned in that chapter!


Here is some Japanese resources that are not necessary to this course, but will help you in the long run.

HiNative is both a website and an app, whatever is most convenient. You ask a question, and another user (a native speaker who is learning English, usually) answers your question! It is free, although there are some perks to having the premium membership (which I do have), but you can ask as many questions as you want answered for the low price of $0.00 (*cough* free). Also you can answer questions Japanese speakers have about English! The community is great, and is the best site someone learning a language could EVER have.

HelloTalk is an app where you can meet people who speak the language you are learning or are learning the same language as you! It is one of the MANY “Language Exchange” apps out there. It is set up as a social media site, where you can make posts and chat privately with native Japanese (or any other language) speaker! It is a great way to not only meet people, but keep your Japanese sharp. (this is exclusively an app, there are MANY sites out there for the same thing… feel free to look them up!)

Also, just a note of advice… NEVER USE GOOGLE TRANSLATE FOR TRANSLATING. It often makes mistakes, and because grammar in Japanese being different than English, it often translates the sentence incorrectly. PLEASE never use Google to translate from Japanese. Literally everyone says this. ありがとうございました (Thank you very much!)


Want to request a lesson? A specific concept you are stuck on? Just have a question in general? Either leave a comment below, or message me on Instagram, Tumblr (which the links are in the little button things on my page), or Snapchat me at @slytherin_pie.

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