by MJ

Reading Japanese - Thanks to Tofugu

I've been learning how to read the Japanese Kanji since early-2016. At the time I was working in Japan and I had to ask people to read certain characters at work, and if you know me well you know I am not a fan of asking for help--often to my detriment. So I set out to learn how to read Japanese. In fact I'm still learning, but I thought it'd be cool to share how I went about getting where I'm at now. 

I started with Tofugu's Ultimate Guide to Hiragana. Click that link and the first sentence reads, "to learn hiragana is to create a foundation for the rest of your Japanese." While you're on that page, bookmark it and go through the exercises. 

After feeling comfortable with hiragana, I jumped over to Tofugu's Ultimate Guide to Katakana. In my opinion katakana is a lot more useful for someone traveling to Japan because it's used to write foreign words. It's what's used when your name is written in Japanese.

Michael -> マイケル

In Japanese the above would sound like Mai-ke-ru.

With katakana and hiragana memorized I turned my attention to kanji--the characters inspired from China and are used to make writing a lot easier. For example, I could write museum with Hiragana as はくぶつかん or I can use the three kanji characters 博物館. When it comes to writing more than a few words, Kanji helps save time. 

I got to a middle-school reading proficiency in kanji thanks to the Tofugu service WaniKani. WaniKani deserves a lot of praise because it's helped me learn how to read and it's also helped me many times when I wanted to stop using social media.