If you teach yourself Japanese, you’ll learn hiragana and katakana, vocabulary, and grammar, but you will receive less reading practice to put it all together. So, how do you hone your skills?

The sooner you begin reading, the better! You can improve your knowledge of Japanese words and syntax and your ability to comprehend Japanese prose. This is crucial at higher levels, where your language proficiency accounts for as much as 80% of your experience.

Choosing the Appropriately Challenging Japanese Reading Material

As a student of Japanese, you must have the ability to select reading material that is appropriate for your level of proficiency. There are several reasons why this is so. You’ll improve your learning rate and retention if you do this.

Assessing your reading level accurately is crucial. Most people learned Japanese primarily via trial and error. However, humans are masters at deceiving ourselves, and we tend to be overconfident in our talents.

A textbook or graded reader can act as a guide for someone just starting. However, as your Japanese skills develop, you will need to assess the quality of reading materials independently. Choosing an endeavour that is too challenging may cause you to lose motivation and give up.

But there are so many textbook options. Numerous materials beyond textbooks supplement the information you’ll find there. And those are essential for moving past the beginner level.

Know your Reading Level

Beginner level

You should begin reading some children’s books, essentially abridged versions of adult reading materials.

Intermediate level 

Although your Japanese comprehension will have improved, you may still struggle with materials created for native speakers. The textbooks are a good place to start reading Japanese, but if you want to branch out, you can try comics, newspapers, or novels.

Current events in Japan can be explored by reading online news articles written in standard Japanese. You can also read kid-oriented Japanese newspapers. The readings are split into three difficulty levels; pick one that suits your needs.

Advanced level

Your journey has come to an end. Try reading some books or articles written in the target language. Short fiction stories are perfect for the reader who loses interest rapidly in lengthy novels. Short stories rarely run over ten pages in length. There is a lot of grammar and Kanji appropriate for N2 JLPT candidates to study. Books are available for purchase on Amazon. 

All levels

If you still need help finding what you’re looking for, try other books written for younger readers. There is a book for everyone, from the absolute Beginner to the more advanced reader. It’s also simpler to monitor your progress as a Japanese language learner. You can go to level 2 once you’ve mastered level 1, and so on. 

Reading Resources

You can use it as a reference if it is written in Japanese. There are plenty of options available to everybody in Japan. Despite where you happen to call home, the internet has opened up many possibilities.

Japanese Folktales for Young Readers

The stories’ elementary level of vocabulary reflects their target audience. The traditional ways of Japan will also be revealed to you. The story of Momotaro is too amazing to be forgotten.

Book Levels for Basic and Up

The first place you should look is a library. Your local library contains a lot more books than you think. In any case, there are a plethora of internet resources that provide access to Japanese literature. The variety of used and pre-owned products available on Amazon makes it a great first stop.

Picking up a children’s book of any genre is good if you are starting. You could feel foolish, but you have to admit it makes sense. Non-fiction is an excellent place to start for low intermediates. 

Manga for Beginner and Above

Many learners’ initial exposure to Japanese culture is through manga, which can also become an integral part of their reading routine. Manga is a great reading material since the graphics add context and make the text easier to understand. You can figure out the word’s meaning with little to no help from a dictionary. 

Manga for newcomers typically features simple storylines about children or animals and contains little to no slang. The manga at this level begins to explore more complex Japanese vocabulary and grammar. Complex narratives and language at the level of the JLPT N1 exam are hallmarks of more advanced manga.

Newspaper for Beginner and Advance

A fantastic reading resource that also keeps you abreast of current events in Japan. Since being able to read a newspaper is typically held up as a sign of fluency, you may assume that only more experienced students would benefit from the medium. However, beginners can pick from a wide variety of possibilities.

The Japanese press is full of unfamiliar names and locations. Infrequent exposure might make it difficult for native speakers to remember city names. To that end, resources like hiragana timings were developed. They report on actual events but do it in oversimplified Japanese. 

Setting Ideal for Beginners and Advanced Students

People in Japan can also use the signs and adverts they encounter daily in public spaces and on public transportation. If you need help to understand a warning sign’s English, don’t worry; the sign likely includes translations into other languages. You can combine travel with education in this way.

Subtitles for Intermediate or Above

Subtitles are a great way to improve your reading and reading speed, though beginners should focus more on comprehension than speed. If you get this, you’ll have the basic idea. Rewatching a previously seen TV show is one method to implement this. Since you already know the basic premise and principal players, you may quickly pinpoint which areas of the language (grammar, vocabulary, etc.) need the most improvement.

Building Vocabulary and Kanji Knowledge

The most time-consuming part of learning Japanese is establishing a foundational vocabulary and expanding from there. Even more significant than Kanji!

There is no difference between languages. A language’s lexicon is its greatest asset. And if you try to learn it incorrectly, you can be in for a world of hurt.

How can I develop a natural fluency in Japanese vocabulary?

1. Do something easy. Anime is an option. Comic books and novels are both acceptable. Do not attempt to run (or at least not very quickly!) before you can walk. Pick something that looks good on you and is appropriate for your “age” in Japan.

2. Pick a long series. By being exposed to its language regularly, you can quickly build fluency. You’ll get some natural reinforcement for your memory this way. For instance, furigana subtitles for an older anime with 50 episodes may be found.

3. The Japanese-English pop-up dictionary makes it easy to learn new vocabulary items quickly. Without memorisation, some people can get by with just plain old exposure. Memorisation is helpful for most people. However, it depends on how your mind works. However, rehearsal will make the process far more streamlined, swifter, and in-depth than “raw” memory.

4. If you need a way to remember anything, try using a mnemonic. Vocabulary mnemonics are valuable tools; don’t be scared to use them. They have a lengthy pedigree in the canon of Western classical studies. They temporarily “pin” words to your memory before releasing them when you no longer require them. However, they are an excellent tool for learning vocabulary.

5. Word-based instruction in Kanji. Instead of trying to “learn kanji” as a concept, focus on learning them as you come across them in context. Deconstruct them (unless you don’t need to) and give each part a story. Some people are absolute masters of visual Kanji. They got lucky!) In any case, Kanji is necessary for communicating in Japanese. They’re pretty cute despite their intimidating appearance. Using these, you’ll find that learning Japanese vocabulary is a lot simpler in the long run.

6. Put less emphasis on memorisation. Even though you’ll be typing many unknown words initially, you can still type some of them. But be careful not to suffocate. Make a calculated effort to refrain from using words unlikely to crop up frequently. Remember that the word frequency information provided by the Japanese-English dictionary is also helpful. It would be best if you didn’t let yourself be limited by the number, but it is something to consider (along with how often a term appears in the text). The words you learn won’t all have to be memorised.

Two Types of Reading: Passive and Active

Do you realise that there are two distinct kinds of reading? Reading can be done in two ways: actively and passively. When reading for pleasure, the vast majority of people read passively. However, we turn to active reading when we need to learn anything. Combining the two is a great way to practise reading in Japanese.

When you actively read, you interact with the material, think about what you’ve read, and ask questions about the words and phrases you don’t understand. Here’s a strategy you may use, and if it works, you might discover that you remember a lot more than usual. 

After reading the entire piece, please take a few moments to summarise it, either mentally or on paper. Determine the story’s central message by asking yourself this question.

Read Again

If you still need clarification about something, read the passage over and make a note of it. You should consult your preferred method of learning new words and grammar rules.

Make Use of What You’ve Learned

After reading the entire piece, please take a few moments to summarise it, either mentally or on paper. Determine the story’s central message by asking yourself this question.

Finish Reading

The final reading is meant to help you cement what you’ve learned. Reread the content over the next few days to refresh your memory. Make some corresponding flashcards to study the text. Focus on the areas where you got stuck without having to refer back to the text constantly.

Reading Techniques for Beginners

Make Reading A Habit

If you want to create a new habit, give yourself about 21 days. Making reading Japanese a regular practice will help you learn the language more quickly, expand your vocabulary and grammar knowledge, and enhance your ability to express yourself in writing and speech. To become fluent in a new language, reading is a must.

Learn How Japanese Texts Are Organised

You have bought many Japanese books but need to learn to read them because you don’t know the language. There are two distinct styles of Japanese prose. One follows the same left-to-right, then top-to-bottom format as standard English text.

Another standard format for Japanese essays is vertical writing (Tataki). To read a tataki novel, begin at the top right corner, proceed to the bottom, and advance to the following line. So, you’ll start at the top and work your way down, reading from right to left. Reading more novels in Tataki can help you adjust to the writing system, which can be difficult initially. 

Choose An Appropriate Reading Level

Students frequently make this common blunder when attempting challenging texts like Japanese newspapers or academic papers. Find a book that is at about your reading level. Refrain from wasting time reading beginner books if you’re already an intermediate or advanced learner. 

Get A Reliable Dictionary

A reliable dictionary is an absolute necessity. Google Translate should not be relied upon. Google Translate’s incorrect translations have the potential to be exceedingly perplexing. We advise consulting reputable print dictionaries, online dictionaries, or mobile apps. Neither a bulky dictionary nor a pricey widget is something you want to deal with right now. Apps for mobile devices can be more helpful. I recommend the Japanese-Japanese dictionary Reikai Gakushuu Kokugogiten if you are an intermediate or advanced language learner. 

Increase Your Reading Speed

If you want your reading to flow more quickly, you need to work on your reading pace. Readers new to the Japanese should stay away from Romaji. You won’t learn more Japanese by reading Romaji. It only makes things worse. You must study Kanji and put extra effort into mastering hiragana and katakana. Although learning Kanji can feel like an uphill battle, help is available. In addition, I favour reading literature with Kanji rather than reading solely in hiragana or katakana. Because there are no spaces between Japanese words like in English, it might be difficult to tell where one concept ends and another begins.

Improve Your Vocabulary And Grammar

Learning new words and rules of grammar is essential if you want to become a better reader. You’ll remain at the same proficiency level if you don’t challenge yourself to learn new vocabulary and grammar. The benefits extend to reading, writing, and communication. It’s an essential first step for each language student. If you commit to learning 7-10 new words every day, your vocabulary will proliferate.

Undercover Reading

This aids in understanding what is heard. The next time, you’d listen to the audio while reading along with it. Stop to relisten to and write down the kanji readings of any particularly challenging terms. Again, there are alternative options; for instance, you could listen to a sentence and then read it. Your pronunciation will be enhanced as a result. This read-along narrative or the assigned readings in your textbook are great places to begin if you are starting.

Stream Anime Or Japanese Films With English Subtitles

See if you can find subtitled Japanese films or anime to watch. There are a variety of approaches. Watching kid-friendly anime is an excellent place to start if you’re just getting started. You can watch it with English subtitles once, then switch to Japanese subtitles for a second viewing. 

Anime and movies with Japanese subtitles are a great way to practise reading and understanding the language. You can pause the movie, look up unfamiliar words or grammar, and record your findings in a notebook. In addition, you can get video explanations on Youtube if you need clarification on specific terminology. 

Try To Use Reading Apps

There is an abundance of online resources available for studying Japanese. To begin your exciting journey of learning Japanese, read an article and get the needed apps.

Studying For The JLPT With Books

Do you want to determine how well you do in Japanese? You should consider taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). Moving to Japan could require learning Japanese to enrol in college or find gainful employment.

This test has five difficulty settings, with Expert being the highest and Beginner being the lowest. There are reading, grammar, vocabulary, and hearing sections on the JLPT. That’s why it’s so important to be able to read well. 

Read What Sparks Your Curiosity

Are you upset by textbooks’ lengthy explanations? It makes total sense. You don’t want to read some things in novels because they’re dull. If you push yourself to read something you do not enjoy, you risk becoming disinterested in reading altogether. If the book engages you, you will learn more from it. 

Engage In Inquiring Dialogue

There is nothing wrong with being curious. Feel free to ask if you know who speaks Japanese. Only some questions can be answered by consulting a textbook. The textbook explanation may only sometimes be adequate. Lack of practice significantly contributes to most students’ difficulties with a conversational style. Make enquiries! If you have a Japanese buddy, try asking them some questions.

Conclusion

Reading Japanese literature is the best way to acquire a deeper understanding of the language and its grammar. To get started, pick some reading content that is just a notch over your current skill set. Understanding your current reading proficiency is essential for accelerating your learning and enhancing your memory. There is a wide variety of textbooks available, as well as supplementary materials that can be used in conjunction with them.

Start with children’s books, which are simplified versions of novels written for adults. Textbooks, comic books, newspapers, and novels all contain reading material suitable for intermediate readers. Readings at this level should be longer works of fiction or scholarly articles written in the target language. Books, manga, newspapers, and subtitles in Japanese are great reading material for students of all skill levels.

The most time-consuming aspect of studying Japanese is undoubtedly expanding one’s vocabulary and kanji repertoire. Do something simple, like viewing anime or comic books, and expose yourself to extensive series to build a natural fluency in Japanese. While memorization is beneficial for most people, rehearsing can improve efficiency and recall beyond what is possible with “raw” memory alone. Use mnemonics, word-based Kanji education, and a focus on learning Kanji in context to expand your Japanese vocabulary and fluency in conversation. When you read actively, you make mental connections to the text, reflect on what you’ve read, and seek clarification on any unfamiliar terms.

Learn more through reading books that make you think and talking to people who make you wonder. If you want to learn Japanese quickly, you should avoid reading textbooks and instead practice speaking with people you know in everyday situations.

Content Summary

  • Recent years have seen a rise in the popularity of offices decorated in an industrial design, which offers a fresh and modern aesthetic while also encouraging innovation, productivity, and a certain rustic allure.
  • The raw materials, exposed structural features, and minimalist aesthetics of this design concept are reminiscent of historic factories and warehouses.
  • If you’re in the process of designing a new office space for your company, whether it’s a startup, a creative agency, or a large corporation, you might want to consider the aesthetic and practical benefits of an industrial design.
  • The beauty of an industrial-style office is that it successfully marries practicality and style.
  • Furthermore, the open floor plans and adaptable workspaces encourage communication, cooperation, and an energetic atmosphere at work.
  • Whether you’re just getting started or want to give your current office a facelift, this book will be an invaluable resource for brainstorming, planning, and carrying out an industrial-style office design that does justice to your brand and your employees.
  • Enter the fascinating realm of industrial office design with me as we explore how to make a workplace that encourages creativity and teamwork.
  • When creating a workplace to have an industrial aesthetic, the Planning Phase is essential.
  • You can make sure your office space is practical for your needs, in line with your company’s goals, and within your budget if you put in the effort to prepare ahead.
  • Think about the organization’s unique requirements and how the office will be used before making any decisions.
  • Decisions on layout and design will be based on this analysis.
  • Examine the workplace’s size, arrangement, and structure.
  • Determine any potential challenges or benefits to the design process.
  • Create a sensible spending plan for the workplace refurbishment.
  • Figure out the aspects of the industrial style you’d like to incorporate into your office.
  • You can lay a solid groundwork for your industrial-style office fit-out project with careful planning and an in-depth grasp of your needs, available resources, and design goals.
  • When designing a workplace with an industrial aesthetic, colour scheme and materials are pivotal.
  • They help establish the mood, style, and general atmosphere of the office.
  • Make sure the colour scheme works well with the other parts of the design and the brand as a whole.
  • Incorporate wooden furniture and accent walls to create a cosy atmosphere.
  • The furniture and layout of a workplace designed in the industrial style are both important considerations.
  • You should search for furniture that can be easily rearranged and reconfigured to meet the varying needs of your office and your team.
  • Focus on the health and happiness of your staff by investing in ergonomic furniture.
  • Design a space that encourages people to talk to one another and feel like they belong.
  • The furniture’s visual quality is secondary to its functionality in meeting the needs of both the company and its employees.
  • The lighting in an industrial-style office is vital because it impacts the mood, the efficiency, and the output of the employees working there.
  • Considerations for lighting an office decorated in an industrial design are outlined below.
  • Place desks and communal areas near windows to take use of natural light.
  • The look and feel of an industrial space can be enhanced by using exposed bulbs, wire cages, or aged or rustic-looking fixtures.
  • If you need more light at your conference table or workbench, try installing lighting under the cabinets.
  • Make use of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a multi-tiered illuminating scheme.
  • Put in dimmers or other lighting controls so you may modify the brightness of the lights to suit your needs.
  • Employees can improve their comfort and productivity by adjusting the lighting to their liking.
  • Keep everything looking neat and tidy by always hiding away cables and wires.
  • Take into account the office’s layout, functionality, and intended atmosphere while planning the lighting design.
  • Achieving a well-balanced lighting design that matches the industrial look while satisfying the functional needs of your office space may be done by incorporating natural light, industrial-style lights, task lighting, and correct controls.
  • Add some greenery to the workplace to make it feel more natural and uplifting.
  • Use of salvaged factory equipment or industrial-style shelving, for example, may lend both character and a feeling of history to a space.
  • Selecting and arranging these ornaments thoughtfully can provide character, vibrancy, and historical context to an office decorated in the industrial style.
  • Think about how to implement cutting-edge technological answers that complement the overall industrial feel.
  • Choose accessories that are unobtrusive and tasteful in appearance.
  • Make sure there is sufficient electricity and Wi-Fi in the office for everyone’s electronic devices.
  • If you want to save money on utilities and have a more comfortable home, smart technology like automated climate management and LED lighting should be installed.
  • Use a cable management system or wire covers to hide cables and wires for a neat and tidy appearance.

FAQs

What should I start reading when learning Japanese?

Hiragana is the foundational script from which katakana and Kanji are derived. Most introductory Japanese materials will require familiarity with hiragana before being used effectively. In a conventional classroom, this is the very first thing taught.

Should I learn to read or speak Japanese first?

Reading and writing are good places to start learning Japanese, whether you plan to take the JLPT or do any translation in the future. Focus on listening and speaking instead of reading and writing if that’s all you want to do with Japanese.

Do you need to know Kanji to read Japanese?

Learning kanji is optional for basic Japanese comprehension and communication, but it will make things much more manageable. In addition, understanding basic Kanji is necessary if you wish to live and work in Japan.

How many words should I start reading in Japanese?

Around 30,000-50,000 words will give you native-level reading proficiency, equivalent to a college-educated Japanese. Of course, this level is only attained by a tiny fraction of non-native Japanese speakers.

Is it better to read or speak Japanese?

If you’re looking for a more conversational approach to the language, you should learn how to speak it. However, if you want to learn the language, focus more on learning how to read and write it. They go hand in hand, so it’s really up to you what would make you learn things faster.

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