Now that I’ve learned a fair amount of grammar, I was wondering how I should practice it and apply the knowledge. Any suggestions?
Hellotalk or similar apps. Make Japanese friends.
Consume Japanese content. Both reading materials and video/audio content. The grammar mostly won’t stick until you’ve really encountered it ‘in the wild’ multiple times.
If reading seems daunting you could start by watching Japanese shows (or movies / anime) with Japanese subtitles.
I’ve found that talking with Japanese people (in Japanese) was incredibly hard, even when I knew a decent amount of grammar, until I really got more familiar with spoken Japanese and seeing grammar actually pop up from time to time and think ‘hey, I remember that!’.
To add to the above answer:
Something that helped me a fair amount with being able to recognize grammar points was to just type in said grammar point in, say, twitter or other social media´s search function. That way you´re sure to encounter it in context (well, most of the time - something like ばかり can obviously have different usages).
Now if you´re talking outputting grammar, then also go for something like twitter and just post a sentence that uses your grammar point. In my experience japanese twitter tends to be very helpful with learning japanese, i had random japanese natives follow me out of nowhere and i could quickly chat with them (they also corrected my mistakes), so it´s definitely worth a try!
I’m wondering whether I should be aiming to watch kids anime like Pokemon.
Ooo. I never thought of that. Thanks for the suggestion!
If you’re starting with kids content then I would recommend things like myths and legends, because there’s always a simple telling of the story on youtube aimed at children or language learners. A side benefit is that stories like momotaro or kaguyama hime are known to japanese people the same way most english speaking people probably know snow white etc. That way you can practice and learn cultural references at the same time.
You can also try playing Japanese video games if you’re into gaming! Preferably a game you’ve played before in a language you can speak well; that way you won’t have to worry about misunderstanding and missing out on the story.
My favorite video game series of all time is MegaMan Battle Network (ロックマンエグゼ in Japanese, aka ‘Rockman.EXE’). I played (and re-played!) all games in English years ago and now know the story so well I can write books about it. Plus, because the story has a lot to do with technology, it’s a good way to learn tech-related terminology!
In addition, it’s a video game series aimed at kids, so the writing is less complicated and they don’t use that many kanji (which can admittedly be a disadvantage in some case).
Pick something you are interested in and have fun (that’s how I learned English by the way, so it works haha)!
Hm… I think I might want to try this with pokemon since the switch won’t require me to get another cartridge if I want to play on a different language Thanks for the suggestion!
Though it is passive input only, do give the “Let’s talk in Japanese” podcast a listen… the shows are graded according to JLPT level and are entirely in Japanese spoken by a native. It’s the best listening practice I’ve come across.
For games, try Animal Crossing on the switch. Saw the game being played on Kantan Japan on Youtube and it seems relatively accessible.
For reading, try NHK Web Easy: https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/
You can turn off the furigana and hear somebody speak the news. Its news written in simplified format.
This is maybe early but look up: つばさ文庫 / Tsubasa Bunkou . These are books published in Japanese written for kids with furigana on everything, some pictures and simple grammar. On websites like Bookwalker JP you can even read the samples! Eg Fireworks: https://bookwalker.jp/de43b46272-0f10-4afa-9ab5-b7f0e4975d95/
Hope this helps