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Opinion Can I learn how to read and understand Japanese within 5 years? (PSOne/PS2/PS Vita Japanese Importers, スレッドに入る!!!)

LazyParrot

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The thing that makes Japanese so difficult is the grammar. There's just soooo many things to learn.
I wouldn't say that's true at all. I don't really think there are any more grammar points to learn in Japanese than in, say, German, but it is still a much harder language to learn for a native English speaker, and 99% of that is due to the writing system.
 

Mattyp

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May 29, 2017
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Learn something more useful like Spanish or German first, these languages are easier to learn and I found learning one language helps with learning the next.

5 years? 1 year of hard study and you would should be fairly proficient. I can hold simple conversations in Japanese and that’s it, reading is out of the question. Only self taught from travelling Japan quite a bit and honestly at the very start anime, watching that for the last 20 years it’s amazing how subs and words that continually get used in daily conversation get drummed into your head with enough repetition.

Listen to audiobooks while travelling to and from work. The amount of shit posting you do but working might not be a current occupation so you should have plenty of time to nail it.

I look forward to your Japanese shitposting baka.
 

eot

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1) dont spend a single minute learning how to write, other than maybe practicing hiragana/katakana writing to help with memorization. Fuck stroke order, fuck that shit. You are realistically never going to write a damn word of Japanese.
It's probably good advice, but writing kanji by hand is something I enjoy. Writing the characters also helps you recognize patterns that make memorizing kanji easier IMO. However it's true that if you're not consistently writing that knowledge will fade very quickly (it's even the case for native speakers).
 
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As someone who has experience learning languages, I strongly disagree with this. One of the biggest factors in successfully learning a language is motivation.
Ultimately it's up to each individual, but I don't think the desire to play Japan-only games is enough motivation. I think that's quite limited in scope, similar to only wanting to learn how to order food. The difference being that ordering food takes a few hours to learn, whereas the entire written language is hundreds if not thousands of hours of hardcore studying. In neither case there's the actual desire to truly understand the language, and to be able to use it to converse with people.

On the other hand it can't hurt to just start learning stuff. See where it takes you. Just stop when it's not fun and rewarding anymore.
 
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diffusionx

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Japanese is a really tough language to learn for westerners, just because its so different in terms of sentence structure, grammar, and of course writing system. It might be the toughest language. But 5 years of dedicated work, sure, You can definitely do it. The biggest roadblock is motivation, most people aren’t big enough weebs to keep it up when it gets very tough and tedious. Guys like Cerny or Trinen had motivations outside of playing vidya or watching anime.
 
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Mexen

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Five years is a realistic goal to speak basic, conversational Japanese and be able to read it too. You will still struggle with some of the more nuanced dialects and stuff but when you go to an onsen, you will know you're not welcome there without someone politely scowling at you.
It took me a year to master hiragana and katakana.
I'm still learning kanji. Constant immersion.
 

Wonko_C

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I found an interesting site to use as a supplementary tool: Watch Japanese dramas with subtitles both in [insert your language here] and Japanese simultaneously. You can click the words to get a pop-up with the meaning. Might not be of use for complete beginners, but it seems interesting/useful for people who already have some degree of proficiency.


There's also another one that does the same but ueses anime instead, I won't link to it because I'm not sure of its legality:
 
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Zefah

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It wasn't just to play games, but I learned Japanese to a pretty decent level of fluency in under 2 years of really hardcore study. I was a college student at the time and had tons of time. That was back in the early 2000s, too. It would be a lot easier to study and immerse yourself in the language these days.

I guarantee you it won't work with Japanese. The only time I've ever seen one of these "fluent in X months" people try to tackle Japanese they failed miserably.
It really just comes down to how much time you can dedicate to studying. If you spend thousands of hours on something, you will get fairly good at it.
 
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Northeastmonk

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My wife knows English and Spanish. She’s from Russia. She took all the high school and college courses for Spanish when she came to the US. She can have conversations in Spanish just fine. A community college might have some courses too for a couple hundred bucks. Rosetta Stone is another one that’s good.
 
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jshackles

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The first step is to get a Japanese game.

If you still have that pc I think you should get a game that can fully be converted to Japanese and do your first play through completely in Japanese. Use a FAQ or just switch the language on your install if you need help. The reason I say PC is that console games usually only let you change the voices. You need to work on your reading or youll won't be able to play games that don't have an English version (very rare nowadays though).
This is what I did about 25 years ago, for the same reasons that MiyazakiHatesKojima MiyazakiHatesKojima listed in the OP.

I had a PC with a 200Mhz Intel CPU, that had 16MB of memory. I found that it could emulate NES / SNES games pretty well although the emulation software was not nearly as refined as it is now. This is also when the internet was moving off of BBS systems and "web pages" were a new concept. (Anyway - I'm dating myself here!) Through searching for Final Fantasy info online after playing the original NES game and the most recently released Final Fantasy II, I discovered the II was actually IV and that there were two games that never made it to America. I also found out that Final Fantasy V had just been released in Japan. After some digging around, I was able to acquire ROMs of these games, but young me was stupid and didn't realize they were going to be in Japanese.

I spent that entire summer with scant resources - like physical resources, like books checked out from the library as even Google Translate wouldn't come around for another decade - pouring over the game and using context clues along with language clues to advance through the game. At first, I had to look up absolutely everything, but as time went on a lot of the language started falling into place. I played through all of the Final Fantasy games that America never saw until much later. I kept digging and found great games like Dragon Quest 5 and eventually 6. I kept at it for years and actually got pretty good with what I can only assume was a highly specialized subset of the language. A lot of the language skills I developed were pretty primitive because I never had to write it, never spoke it, or never heard it spoken aloud. My friends thought it was awesome as I would regale them with stories about these "hidden" video games.

However, after I moved off to college and real life hit it became something that I spent less and less time on, until I eventually stopped playing Japanese games all together (as later systems were more difficult to emulate or expensive to import). By the time I had the time and resources that I could devote to it again, globalization had happened and we have things like region-free game consoles and the overwhelming majority of Japan-only games I'm interested in playing getting western releases anyway. That being said, even after 25 years I can recognize enough to kinda/sorta get me by. I've been playing Dragon Quest Walk (like a Dragon Quest themed Pokemon Go) on my phone for a few months and my brain surprises me with stuff like "oh here is the item menu" even though a lot of stuff in that game has icons and such that make it easy enough to understand. There are still a lot of things I don't get and occasionally have to look up online though, like when they do game update announcements. My kids think it's cool now that I can just pick up something like that and know the language enough to just play it. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.
 

LazyParrot

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It really just comes down to how much time you can dedicate to studying. If you spend thousands of hours on something, you will get fairly good at it.
That depends. For example, the author of the Japanese From Zero books which someone recommended a bit further up has admitted to not knowing enough kanji to read novels in Japanese, despite learning the language for 30+ years and teaching it for a living. It's very much possible to spends years "studying" without making much progress.
 

Zefah

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That depends. For example, the author of the Japanese From Zero books which someone recommended a bit further up has admitted to not knowing enough kanji to read novels in Japanese, despite learning the language for 30+ years and teaching it for a living. It's very much possible to spends years "studying" without making much progress.
"Years" and "months" mean nothing if we don't know how many hours the person actually spent studying and practicing Kanji and reading novels. Maybe he or she started studying Japanese 30 years ago and used in some capacity throughout that time period, but if a conscious effort to study Kanji and read novels was never made for any significant amount of time, then of course that person would not be proficient.
 

LazyParrot

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"Years" and "months" mean nothing if we don't know how many hours the person actually spent studying and practicing Kanji and reading novels. Maybe he or she started studying Japanese 30 years ago and used in some capacity throughout that time period, but if a conscious effort to study Kanji and read novels was never made for any significant amount of time, then of course that person would not be proficient.
That's kind of my point. When it comes to language learning, it's easy to fall into a habit where instead of learning the language, you're learning about the language. You're studying, but not really. That's how you get people who passed JLPT N1 but can't hold a conversation, or people who can talk just fine but can't read books aimed at middle schoolers. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with that if it's in line with your goals, but it always seemed to me like learners of Japanese in particular seem awfully quick to refer to themselves as fluent, even if they are sorely lacking in certain areas. I've certainly never seen anyone who couldn't read a book in English refer to themselves as fluent in English, but in Japanese there seems to be no shortage of these people.
 
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10000

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I waa considering to learn japanese in the last few years, but then decided it is not worth if I use it just to play japanese import, so I learn mandarin instead 😂

5 years is verry achievable, but you should consider to live for a while in japan to boost the learning process
 

Zefah

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That's kind of my point. When it comes to language learning, it's easy to fall into a habit where instead of learning the language, you're learning about the language. You're studying, but not really. That's how you get people who passed JLPT N1 but can't hold a conversation, or people who can talk just fine but can't read books aimed at middle schoolers. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with that if it's in line with your goals, but it always seemed to me like learners of Japanese in particular seem awfully quick to refer to themselves as fluent, even if they are sorely lacking in certain areas. I've certainly never seen anyone who couldn't read a book in English refer to themselves as fluent in English, but in Japanese there seems to be no shortage of these people.
Yeah, I don't how it is with learners of other languages, but there does seem to be an abundant amount of Japanese learners who claim proficiency but have huge holes in their learning as you point out. With that said, I started learning back in the early 2000s and first passed JLPT 1 in 2005. Thanks to technology, the Internet, and smarter studying techniques, there are a lot more people these days who are pretty darn good at Japanese than there were back then.
 
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DESTROYA

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You learn a new language......pfffffffttttt hahahahahahahaha.
Face it your and idiot that can’t even read in his own native language.
 
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darth.shrimp

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I have studied Japanese for two years when I was in engineering school. That was enough to read simple* manga like DBZ with an online kanji dictionary nearby.
One of my friends I studied with continued working in Japan afterwards; I don't know how much work he put in it on top of what we learned in class, but for him two years were definitely enough to get there. I think 5 years will be more than enough if all you want is to be able to play Japanese games, if you're willing to work for it.
Unfortunately I forgot pretty much all of the kanji I did know, since that was more than 10 years ago; I still have the printouts though, so I'll definitely go back to them one day.


*by "simple", I mean manga where almost every kanji has those furigana next to it, which makes it much easier to look for the ones you don't know. DBZ and Naruto are pretty good with that, Bleach... not so much. You'd be lucky if you get furigana on given names, the first time a character appears. Definitely not for the same demographic, despite all of them being technically shounen...
 
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Ban Puncher

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Thank you, I do and yes I will admit I am a idiot.
I'll say. You edited your post and it's still wrong. Shameful display.
You learn a new language......pfffffffttttt hahahahahahahaha.
Face it your and idiot that can’t even read in his own native language.

Look, I'll do you a solid;
You learn a new language......pfffffffttttt hahahahahahahaha.
Face it you're an idiot that can’t even read in his own native language.
I ain't touching your crimes against punctuation though.
 

Khalid M.

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Good luck brah. Hiragana and Katakana aren't that difficult to memorize, I read them easily. Try to practice writing them every now and then.

I only know a handful of kanji but in my time playing the Super Robot Wars games on the PSP, I started learning them quickly since characters would speak and I would recognize the associated kanji for each word. Of course I forgot about most of them since these are the only games I play in Japanese.
 

Zefah

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By the way, we used to have a Japanese Learning OT in Community, but it got archived:


Still plenty of good advice in there.
 

LOLCats

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Ive thought about learning Japanese for this very reason. Feels like 5 years would be plenty to get a good grasp, but it all depends on your desire and how much effort. from my small amount of research, Japanese is super hard to learn. So It would probably be easier if you had a teacher or someone fluent learn with.
 
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Larsowitz

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You are right, but we aren't in 2007 anymore. Japan pretty much forces you to learn the language since April 2019 if you want to live/work there, you need to ace the JFT-Basic test otherwise you won't get a visa. You don't have to take the test when you've completed JLPT N4, though, but OP obviously hasn't.

Japanese themselves are confused by parts of their own alphabet, so I don't have any hope for OP.
My understanding is that getting a visa is much easier since the point system was introduced in 2012.

Are you sure that language skills are required? As long as you have a sponsorship letter from your employer you should be fine without the language.
 

Breakage

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Find a Japanese girl who speaks Japanese and English fluently and just talk to her everyday. The best way to absorb and learn a language is be around someone who can speak it fluently and can translate and break things down into the language you understand.
 
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Endless Fluff

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My understanding is that getting a visa is much easier since the point system was introduced in 2012.

Are you sure that language skills are required? As long as you have a sponsorship letter from your employer you should be fine without the language.
It's a new immigration policy they introduced last year. It's actually there to make it easier for grunt workers to get a work visa in Japan and that new immigration policy requires you to do the JFT-Basic test.


It would be easier for him if he were a teacher, he could simply apply for the JET Program, or if he were some form of specialist in some field, he could get by without speaking the language as well, but I doubt that is the case.

And of course... if you are rich or someone pays for everything then you'll easily get a visa, but I was under the impression that we are mostly people with limited means. So I didn't even think of a sponsorship.
 

Porcile

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Technology has made learning easier but at the same time has provided a wealth of distractions which make things harder to a certain degree. My questions for someone who wants to learn Japanese purely for consumption of their favourite Japanese media would be:

1: Would you be willing to give up playing games, watching anime, reading manga etc for a minimum of six months so that you could study the true basics of the language without distraction? From my experience this is the first point where people who love Japanese media fail to progress in any meaningful way and just give up.

2: After this initial period where maybe you learned about 15% of daily language, would you be willing to play your most anticipated games, watch your favourite anime etc entirely in Japanese? That is to say you would primarily be playing the game to learn rather than to purely enjoy. This the point where the rest fail. It's simply too tempting for most weaboos to turn on English subtitles and pretend like you are learning something because they just want to enjoy.

Ask yourself, "After six months sacrifice would I be willing to play through Death Stranding 2 or Snatcher 2, even if I could only understand 10% of what is being spoken or written?" How far are you
truly willing to go?

Me personally, I started studying seriously around 2015 and I don't even remember the last time I played a game in English/read a manga in English/whatever. If I watch a foreign language movie I will watch that movie its native language with Japanese subtitles.

Anyway, to go back to my earlier post in the thread, the vast majority can't sacrifice their enjoyment of consuming Japanese media in order to learn from it. That's why being a weaboo would seem to be a good reason to learn Japanese but actually your love of Japanese media might hold you back.
 

MiyazakiHatesKojima

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This is what I did about 25 years ago, for the same reasons that MiyazakiHatesKojima MiyazakiHatesKojima listed in the OP.

I had a PC with a 200Mhz Intel CPU, that had 16MB of memory. I found that it could emulate NES / SNES games pretty well although the emulation software was not nearly as refined as it is now. This is also when the internet was moving off of BBS systems and "web pages" were a new concept. (Anyway - I'm dating myself here!) Through searching for Final Fantasy info online after playing the original NES game and the most recently released Final Fantasy II, I discovered the II was actually IV and that there were two games that never made it to America. I also found out that Final Fantasy V had just been released in Japan. After some digging around, I was able to acquire ROMs of these games, but young me was stupid and didn't realize they were going to be in Japanese.

I spent that entire summer with scant resources - like physical resources, like books checked out from the library as even Google Translate wouldn't come around for another decade - pouring over the game and using context clues along with language clues to advance through the game. At first, I had to look up absolutely everything, but as time went on a lot of the language started falling into place. I played through all of the Final Fantasy games that America never saw until much later. I kept digging and found great games like Dragon Quest 5 and eventually 6. I kept at it for years and actually got pretty good with what I can only assume was a highly specialized subset of the language. A lot of the language skills I developed were pretty primitive because I never had to write it, never spoke it, or never heard it spoken aloud. My friends thought it was awesome as I would regale them with stories about these "hidden" video games.

However, after I moved off to college and real life hit it became something that I spent less and less time on, until I eventually stopped playing Japanese games all together (as later systems were more difficult to emulate or expensive to import). By the time I had the time and resources that I could devote to it again, globalization had happened and we have things like region-free game consoles and the overwhelming majority of Japan-only games I'm interested in playing getting western releases anyway. That being said, even after 25 years I can recognize enough to kinda/sorta get me by. I've been playing Dragon Quest Walk (like a Dragon Quest themed Pokemon Go) on my phone for a few months and my brain surprises me with stuff like "oh here is the item menu" even though a lot of stuff in that game has icons and such that make it easy enough to understand. There are still a lot of things I don't get and occasionally have to look up online though, like when they do game update announcements. My kids think it's cool now that I can just pick up something like that and know the language enough to just play it. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.
This is such a well-told story, jshackles jshackles ! You really have a knack at storytelling, makes sense since you are an avid fan of Valve :D
 
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DESTROYA

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I'll say. You edited your post and it's still wrong. Shameful display.



Look, I'll do you a solid;

I ain't touching your crimes against punctuation though.
Would it make a difference if I told you I never attended a English speaking school.
 
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Azelover

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I've been studying it for about a year and well, it's hard.

The phrase structure, the meaning. You master the hiragana and katakana, and you think "yes I'm doing ok". And then you start with the kanjis and it's like.. "oh shit!"

There's a lot to learn.
 
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Pallas

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MiyazakiHatesKojima MiyazakiHatesKojima learning a new language for any reason is good and enlighten but I suggest you get some help, like a tutor or classes. I’d even say maybe the Rosetta Stone program might help.

here’s some programs listed as the best for 2020

 
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Valkyria

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Depends.
This April marks the beginning of my 4th year learning Japanese. In 2018 I took N5 and this July I’m taking N4.
I’m an adult with a full time job so I do this in my free time. Every Saturday I go to class following Marugoto. We have just finished A2-B1 and started B1.
With this I telling you it depends on your time. Can you go for a year or 9 months tonJapan to go to class? If yes, you will progress a lot really fast. Are you going to class and take exams regularly? If yes, you will have discipline and will learn methodically. Don’t fool yourself, you need to learn everything to really understand a language.
If your plan it’s learning alone without support from a teacher, I’m afraid the odds are not in your favor.
I don’t want to discourage you, the other way around, learning Japanese it’s a blast, but I want you to be realistic. I encourage you to search for classes in your city.
 
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sonomamashine

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-Learn hiragana
-Learn katakana (your going to find everything in english riten in katakana)
-Dont bother learning Kanji (you wont make it + i dont want you gone forever)
-buy Genki (your going to read alot of rooberuto aka robert doing shit)
-grammar is hard a little bit (youll get used to it, just practice)
-just to make it clear again dont try kanji (gna get fkd up)
-you gonna find that japanese people are named after something
I want to play that PS2 Captain Majid/Tsubasu game lol.
So des nee
 

Valkyria

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-Learn hiragana
-Learn katakana (your going to find everything in english riten in katakana)
-Dont bother learning Kanji (you wont make it + i dont want you gone forever)
-buy Genki (your going to read alot of rooberuto aka robert doing shit)
-grammar is hard a little bit (youll get used to it, just practice)
-just to make it clear again dont try kanji (gna get fkd up)
-you gonna find that japanese people are named after something


So des nee
Reading Japanese without Kanjis it’s actually more difficult.
There is no short cut, a language it’s a whole. Everything it’s needed.
 
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Yeah, I don't how it is with learners of other languages, but there does seem to be an abundant amount of Japanese learners who claim proficiency but have huge holes in their learning as you point out.
Not only that, they also act as gatekeepers to the language, telling everyone they must use some obscure textbook ordered from amazon.jp otherwise their efforts are wasted and hopeless.

I haven't seen this with any other language; it's like a weeb superiority complex. Too much anime rots the brain or something.
 
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Deleted member 774430

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The best advice i can give you, beyond the usual "work hard, practice everyday" is to be invested in the culture of that country:

- watch anime or movies in Japanese
- read books in Japanese
- start to interact with them on social media, Line, etc.

The turning point is when you start to think in that language, instead of having that translation process in your mind.

Personally i don't think i could do it cause i don't have a big enough motivation besides playing japanese games and being able to visit the country (but that's a very expensive trip from here i may be able to do it few times in a lifetime).
 
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Azelover

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-Learn hiragana
-Learn katakana (your going to find everything in english riten in katakana)
-Dont bother learning Kanji (you wont make it + i dont want you gone forever)
-buy Genki (your going to read alot of rooberuto aka robert doing shit)
-grammar is hard a little bit (youll get used to it, just practice)
-just to make it clear again dont try kanji (gna get fkd up)
-you gonna find that japanese people are named after something


So des nee
If you look at japanese TV, and the Animes and so forth. They all use some kanji. So I don't think it's prudent to go completely without Kanji.
It's gonna take a long time. But that's how things are.

I'd say, take it slow. But get a private teacher if you can afford it.. Or go to a school. I tried learning on my own, and it doesn't hold a candle to how fast you learn with an actual teacher.
 
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Zefah

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Not only that, they also act as gatekeepers to the language, telling everyone they must use some obscure textbook ordered from amazon.jp otherwise their efforts are wasted and hopeless.

I haven't seen this with any other language; it's like a weeb superiority complex. Too much anime rots the brain or something.
The gatekeeping/methodology preaching is definitely a huge part of the "community"... On that note I don't think I've seen Remembering The Kanji recommended by anyone who is actually really proficient in reading/writing/speaking the language and yet it seems to be the default book that gets brought up in Japanese learning discussions on the Internet.
 
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Dargor

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Gonna be honest, quite late to the party already, but 5 years? Are you planning to learn japanese to teach at university level or are you planning to study only 5 minutes a day for the next 5 years?

I feel like thats too long to learn any language if you only plan to play games (which I would classify as mid level at best).
 
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