Japanese From Zero – My personal favourite and most effective way to learn Japanese quick and easy
The layout of this article
This article is created for a nice read to learn all about this series. Most of the questions you will have will probably be answered while reading. However, if you do not feel like reading it all I suggest skipping towards the end where I added a short Q&A to answer some questions about this way of learning to see if this is the course for you.
Have fun reading… :)
Tokyo Creative is designed for those wanting to make a trip to Japan and towards the Japan loving community. I, myself, am part of this community and I am pretty sure there will be more people like me dreaming to speak this amazing language with its mysterious writing systems and symbols.
I have been studying Japanese for a couple of years now, completely by myself and in my spare time, so I had to use my time efficiently. Over the years, I have tried various resources to study, but all of them seem to flaw at some time. Being too easy, too difficult or even bore the hell out of me after some time.
To save you some time finding a great method of studying Japanese, I want to present to you the first series of Japanese teaching I have fallen in love with!... JAPANESE FROM ZERO!
A series which teaches you how to speak everyday Japanese, sentences which you will actually use and will learn you how to use grammar correctly in a fun and easy way, explained by the author ´as if I were on a bus with you having casual conversation and me explaining you the Japanese language…´
I love it!
Video of the author explaining his series on the Morning News
About the Author
The Japanese from Zero series are written by George Trombley, a professional Japanese interpreter who has interpreted for big name companies such as Microsoft, IBM and DoCoMo. This American author moved to Japan when he was a kid, because his dad had been transferred and he experienced the struggles of an American having to learn Japanese by himself. As time grew, he developed a way to teach other people to speak Japanese and together with his Japanese wife and co-author of the books -- Yukari Takenaka -- he has been publishing the ground changing book series of Japanese From Zero.
The Website: Yesjapan.com
YesJapan.com has been the internet's longest/running interactive Japanese education website. In fact, it was possibly on of the first, before the world wide web exploded with resources to teach Japanese, and it continues to stay on top of a reason!
For only 89 dollars members can sign up for an entire and get access to all lessons. If you like to try the first course is completely free and available after sign up.
What makes an account even better is the opportunity to ask questions directly to the professional assigned teachers at Yesjapan.com. It is a feature most people will like.
If you ever find yourself with a question, it's easy to Google "yesjapan.com What is XXX?" where you'll likely find a page on the YesJapan site explaining this question.
So would I recommend YesJapan? If you like learning with online sources, YesJapan is definitely one of the best websites to go to and is a great deal for the money you will pay. (I know some websites ask a whole lot more).
Japanese from Zero series is accompanied by books. Videos are great for learning, but having a hands-on book is always nice for practicing your writing skills and writing things down will help your memory.
The Japanese from Zero series now consists of 5 books, each with a corresponding level . Besides these progressive course books of the entire Japanese language, writing and culture, there are also separate books for those wanting to only study the writing systems. These books are called: Kana from zero (with Hiragana and Katakana) and Kanji from Zero. (possibly more books of this series will be released in the future). All books are available on amazon.com, amazon.jp, book depository (and some other) and are for sale for around 20-30 dollars a book. (a very VERY good price in my opinion, because most other books teaching Japanese sell for around 60-80 euro’s a book)
The books are easy to follow and have plenty of writing and reading exercises. The special phrase and words list is what makes this book the best addition to the website/ YouTube videos which are also available online, but only cover a few words/grammar points, whereas this book provides you words list which will be beneficial for your Japanese understanding of words.
But there is more!
The Youtube series
One of the best features of this series are the accompanying YouTube videos made to explain the lessons. Whether or not you buy the books, this series is helpful either way to improve your Japanese skills! Having a fun and enthusiastic teacher teach you Japanese as if there were in front of you like a normal classroom (with the occasional mess up) this series keeps you interested to hear about the Japanese language and the trivia George is telling you about his life in Japan (including his flaws in his Japanese love life…)
Example of a video lesson
What I like about the Series
I think, if you read this article so far, you will have already read a lot about what I love about this series.
Originally I didn't buy his books and just found out about his YouTube channel. However, I quickly found out I loved his way of teaching (and his quirkiness during teaching) and wanted the full experience, wanting to learn even more words and phrases as we move along. The YouTube series itself is great if you want to just get the basis of Japanese down before your trip. I recommend you complete the full course, which will take you a couple of days to watch all the videos carefully and maybe more than once, before soaking it all in. However, if you fall in love before finishing the videos, the rest of the series is also highly recommended.
The books itself are a nice addition to the videos. I wouldn’t recommend it the other way around, since the book is sort of limited with the information given about a new grammar point/rules of Japanese and may be difficult to understand for a complete beginner in Japanese. It is however, completely useful if you also want to learn the Japanese writing systems. Therefore I recommend learning with the book if you also use this YouTube channel for references.
Can I use this series when I want to learn Basic Japanese for my next trip?
Yes, If you only want to know the basic Japanese, I suggest going to the Japanesefromzero Youtube channel and watch the first 30 or so videos of ‘Course 1’ where you will learn basic Japanese phrases you will need for your trip. The first videos will cover greetings, numbers, asking directions, saying what you like/dislike, asking for days and ordering food/other stuff. Even though you can binge watch the 30 videos in a day, I recommend a slightly slower pace to soak in the new knowledge.
If I am an absolute beginner… Is this book series for me?
Yes! Yes! Yes! This series is aimed towards the people not knowing a single thing of Japanese. This series will take you by the hand and guide you towards fluency. Because who doesn’t like to say: ‘I am fluent in Japanese’ IN JAPANESE!
If I am not a beginner, is this series also for me?
By scrolling through the Youtube channel videos you can find the videos which you will find valuable for your learning experience. Via the videos you can estimate your level of Japanese and buy the book that goes with the series you feel you are learning from. Myself, even though I felt like a level 2 I bought the level 1 book as well as a nice review.
I want to learn to write Japanese. Does this series help me?
Yes, the first book of this series, which are totally affordable, will teach you an easy way to learn Hiragana. The second book will learn Katakana and afterwards the books 3 and 4 (and 5 upcoming) will learn you the most important Kanji.
If you want to learn only Kanji, and not the verb conjungation, grammar etc, there is a special: KanjifromZero book which teaches you the JLPT 5 240 first Kanji. Or there is the Kana from Zero only teaching you Hiragana and Katakana. (But also included in the normal from Zero Books)
If there are any questions, feel free to ask them directly to Yesjapan.com or under this article and I will try to answer to the best of my abilities.