Memorizing words and writing

Currently going through the first lessons of Genki after doing WaniKani level 2 and learning some stuff in BunPro. I followed everything in Tofugu’s learn hiragana/katakana guide before getting here, so I don’t actually know how to write except in romaji of course.

Dumb as I am, while going through lesson 3’s workbook pages I noticed I should have learned that already. What are your recommendations to memorize the writing?

Also, I haven’t been memorizing the vocabulary sections. The first workbook exercise for lesson 3 is memorizing 12 verbs. What are your commendations, and should I be memorizing absolutely everything in these sections?


I would learn how to write hiragana and katakana right away. Otherwise, you’ll be completely stuck when it comes to Japanese writing and are more likely to be stuck in a 50/50 romanji mode.

The vocabulary that is put into those first sections of Genki is also extremely common, so I would try to learn almost all of it.

The third chapter of the book is where it usually hits people that they are learning a completely foreign language … Don’t give up! If you find your pace in this chapter, you’ll find the next few chapters much more reasonable.


The only way (in my opinion) to learn writing is to write. Buy a cheap laptop-sized whiteboard and a mountain of pens. That and an SRS flashcard app (I use Flashcards Deluxe but there are others).

For learning kana, try the new kana section of Duolingo.

For kanji, the book Remembering the Kanji.

For words, either whatever comes up in the book of look up the N5 vocabulary list on

Early on I suggest try to memorize just about everything you can even if it’s not the most useful stuff. Early on your focus is just drenching your brain in Japanese so it can start to try and figure out how to learn it (unconsciously) in the first place. Once you’ve got all the N5 vocab + you whatever book vocab then I recommend continuing along the JLPT vocab lists but start adding personally useful vocab as well.

Overall, (in my philosophy) when it comes to learning a language, more is more is good.


Suggestion: Don’t go thru Genki lessons without doing the exercises in Genki and Genki’s workbook since they have plentiful of kana and katakana exercises.

One thing that helped reading hiragana was the app Human Japanese. It has a version of the memory game in which you have to match the romanji card with the corresponding kana card.


I’d recommend checking out this free nifty app where you can set Hiragana only, Katakana only, both or any variations you’d like. You just type in the character’s roumaji counterpart. For example: か --> ‘Ka’

Once you press the ‘a’ to finish the ‘ka’ it moves you directly to the next character basically stream lining you forward. In other words, no needs to press enter. After a while, you just automatically know it. And, if you don’t, well, it won’t open up the next character. It was super effective for me!

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I wonder, how has this improved your overall handwriting?

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I write well enough that impresses native Japanese people. Some even claim that I can write more/better than they can.



I was thinking more about your handwriting in general, like your Latin letters as well.
I have a problem with horrible handwriting, so I wondered how writing Kanji like that affected you! :smiley:

I can’t say I’ve notice any major changes in my English handwriting. Though I generally have good handwriting. I will say that I do write slower in Japanese (and slowly getting quicker and dirtier with time lol)


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I agree that the only way of learning how to write is to write. However, instead of a whiteboard (no diss on whiteboards, I used them to death in university), go for a small boogieboard. They are one of the best inventions ever for people that want to practice writing/drawing.

I personally recommend this model, as it is a newer generation, very portable size and you are able to get finer lines on it as opposed to the early iterations that had very thick lines. I use mine everyday just for writing notes.


@Asher Yeah that does look really nice. I’ve already got a mountain of markers though so I’ll have to stick with the whiteboard for now. www

In addition, there are Buddha Boards. It’s this cloth paper that you can write on with water that pretty nice for practicing your 書道 on. Then when it gets you can use it again.