After N5

So, I am in the tail end of finishing Genki 1, tobira beginner 1, and みんなの日本語 1 and I am curious of where to go next after these books. I really was not a fan of how genki 1 did things, but tobira beginner also had a lot of issues. meanwhile minnna no nihongo had a ludicrus amount of vocabulary (plus no english, and i never bought the english translation. thanks Bunpro for having all the vocab for it!) so I want to know what did you guys do after the first book? I want a mix of formal and casual speak (minnna was all formal, while the tobira was mostly casual) and was wondering if you know of any other resources outside these 3 big ones in terms of textbook learning.

Sorry for any typos, my keyboard is not working properly and misses keys.

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Depends on the person, I was never a huge fan of textbooks honestly. After awhile I just learned piecemeal, point by point, and used bunpro as the curriculum itself. I used to grind Anki really hard as well.

The big question you have to ask yourself as you leave beginner and enter into intermediate is what do you want to be able to do in the language? Until you answer that question it will be hard to know what the best approach to take is.

I live in japan currently, I suppose my goal is to be able to hold a steady conversation in a casual setting. however most of the casual themed textbooks overlook much of the more formal situations in life, and outside of minnna, most of them are overly obbsessed with school life. I guess what I need is a book that focuses more on real life and not school.

Like I said, I never really used textbooks so I may not have the best recommendation for those. That being said, I think if those are your goals, you should start to increase your Audio input. Watching shows or movies on subject matter you want to discuss.

I think that for as important as is its, too much fuss is made over the different levels of formal and casual speech in the beginning stages. I wouldn’t worry about that aspect too strongly. As you follow along Bunpro you’ll start to get more clear understanding and you’ll realize that “casual speech” is also foundational to grammar at all levels of politeness, so it’s always important to learn how to use those constructions. Critically as long as you know masu form and you know how to not be a rude person you’ll survive in any conversation and you’ll start to pick up the natural patterns of speaking.

Realistically at this point just any textbook that you enjoy that helps you learn more, especially vocabulary is going to be the thing that you should focus on especially if you’re a textbook-based learner; however, you will have to start gaining aural competency if you want to participate in conversations. Primarily because understanding what the other person is saying is one of the hardest parts to actually developing conversation skills.

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The marugoto textbook series is aimed at daily life in Japan. I didn’t use it but it seems like the best series for actually covering normal things outside of school life and it focuses on getting you to be able to carry a basic conversation even if you don’t have 100% comprehension or know exactly what words to use. I think it is what you are looking for. The second in the series is probably right for your level but you can check the contents of each on their website.

One thing I will say is that basically everything in Genki 2 (or whatever other textbook aimed at that level) is used constantly in daily life. Unfortunately “normal daily Japanese” is actually a huge huge domain so textbooks have to artificially limit their domain so that students don’t get overwhelmed. All textbooks face this problem. The core grammar and the vast majority of the vocabulary (with some exceptions like rarer bits of stationery or something) is used literally every day in real life though so even when it seems a bit pointless it actually probably isn’t. This is especially true for the grammar.

Quick edit: Also you can just use Bunpro and start trying to listen to things you’re interested in. Reading is good as well but listening is really important for developing good errr listening skills and also good 相槌 and speech habits.


Irodori might be worth a try. It is by the Japan Foundation and is made for learners that are in Japan. JF also wrote Marugoto but that is more aimed at learners overseas. You could use both.

Irodori covers a variety of topics closely connected to everyday life

  • Irodori is organized by topic. Each lesson deals with a different topic connected to everyday life in Japan. You won’t just study the Japanese language—you will also experience Japanese life and culture through many different subjects linked to everyday life in Japan and the Japanese context. There is also a section of useful information for daily life in Japan.

It also has a free online course with mobile apps

Beyond textbooks, the Speak Japanese! series may be something worth checking out. For example, 日本人がよく使う日本語会話オノマトペ基本表現180 contains common onomatopoeia.

This website might be useful too


Ah thank you - this is actually what I was thinking of instead of marugoto! OP, I meant this one as well.

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If your goal is to hold a conversation, I wouldn’t focus on textbooks. Instead, I would focus on meaningful input and output of audio. I would recommend the website Glossika for great Japanese shadowing you can do.