Learn Practical & Conversational Japanese

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Depending on your purpose, learning with JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) route might not be suitable for you. This route we’re about to tell you is for someone who don’t have much time to learn and would like to have a skill to properly function in Japan.

For this purpose, it’s much more effective forto skip kanji & reading and move directly to memorize conversational skill. Customizing your learning material for your need is the most effective way to master a language! Since what you don’t use will be forgotten anyway.

Now to achieve this, you will only need a minimum of 2 books and maximum of 4. The First Japanese Textbook for Foreigners in English (primary), Shadowing Basics – Intermediate (primary) and Shadowing Intermediate – Advance. These books will take you from 0 to be able to do basic survival skills in Japanese and a lot more).

Route to Master Practical Japanese in a Relatively Short Amount of Time

Important notes These books below will not help you much with reading kanji or understanding literature, or to take JLPT test. This books main purpose will give you the skill of practical Japanese (so you can get your basic needs in Japan).

The first and most important book is The First Japanese Textbook for Foreigners in English. As the name suggest, it’s basically a guide book for Foreigner teaching basic survival skills in Japan. This book method is ROLE PLAYING, it comes with 2 CD so you will certainly able to speak with proper pronunciations .

Note that for the book to be effective, you will need to do all the drill (role-play) given. Done correctly & diligently, the outcome will almost be the same as if you’re living in Japan. The best part of it is that these method are FUN!

Now, the book will starts from the very basic stuff, hiragana/katakana table, but then it will give you situation which will highly occur when you live in Japan. The book will provide you with common vocabulary, detailed explanation of what sentence you can use for each case + grammar patterns explanation, and it also will include helpful cultural information too.

This page below is about transportation (train). How to ask for a station officer to go to a certain station, how long will it takes, a typical train map, etc.


This one below is talking about visiting doctor. On the left side is all about body & various symptoms. On the right is a drill (role play practice) on that kind of situation.


The topic this book include are all very helpful. Other topics are:
• Opening a bank account
• Visit a barbershop, explain how you want your hair done
• Ordering food at restaurant
• Finding a place to live (rent apartment)
• Shopping at supermarket, haggle price, asking for items, etc.


This book layout certainly are very entertaining as it filled with lots of illustration. Although we do suggest to avoid book which used romaji to teach, but this book is certainly is not one of them. The romaji make it very easy for Foreigner to read and not at all intimidating!

This is the link to get it: The First Japanese Textbook for Foreigners in English (2CD included).

Next & last…

The next book is Shadowing (beginner) [primary] & Shadowing (advance) [supplementary]

This book cover what the previous book didn’t. Which is a drill for more advance conversational phrase. The book method is shadowing, which is basically also a ROLE-PLAYING. It offer a very unique way to learn which is only by shadowing the sound you hear as you read it. The book It will also give additional information regarding the sentence in the situation when it feels needed.

It will provide all common/very practical conversation, written in Kanji with furigana. Then you will read it as you HEAR it from the CD. The most important thing is that you will need to repeat it a lot until it’s becomes natural for your brain to recall it.

The book comes with quite convincing testimonials which you can see below.


Important Notes This method will take you to a level where you can use Japanese language for basic everyday casual situation, but if your purpose is to take a JLPT test or to read Japanese literature, just consider it as a supplement, since it won’t be sufficient.

How Shadowing Works?

Actually, just by listening and re-speaking a lot of sentences repeatedly, your brain will pick up the grammar pattern on it’s own. It’s just as how children learn language from their parents! That’s also why we can find people in a country who can speak but cannot read & write.

It’s a very simple method, really. Basically the book will provide all common/very practical conversation, written in Kanji with furigana. Then you will read it as you HEAR it from the CD. The most important thing is that you will need to repeat it a lot until it’s becomes natural for your brain to recall it. Here’s the preview below:


In case it’s unreadable, On the left side is the list of conversation. Mostly Question & Answer, written in Kanji with furigana. On the right is the translation (English, Chinese, Korean). Below is the enlarged size of some of the sentences provided (the English translation)


There are 3 versions, which one I need to get?

If you’re a beginner, you need to get the green one. If you want to expand your vocabulary/speaking skills so you can have a small talk with other people, get the blue one.

These are the links to get them:
• Shadowing (Beginner – Intermediate) (CD Included)
• Shadowing (Intermediate – Advance) (CD Included)

These methods above will give you ability to have a basic conversation & survival skills in Japanese, but it won’t help you much with reading text. If what you’re looking for is to be able to read Japanese literature/books/etc, check out this guide instead.

Happy Learning! 。゚✶ฺ.ヽ(*´∀`*)ノ.✶゚ฺ。


  1. I’ve read about “Shadowing” before, but I have not used it myself. It’s time to stop procrastinating, I’m gonna pick up the first one now! Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. You’re welcome! 。゚✶ฺ.ヽ(*´∀`*)ノ.✶゚ฺ。  Shadowing is a type of effortless language learning~ Since it directly input the language structure to your brain with repetition. And it’s also practical! We hope you have fun with it ヾ(@°▽°@)ノ

  2. I will only be in Japan for 2 years on independent visa, hence I do not require the JLPT. Would be useful to be able to listen and speak.

    I’ve learnt to write and read the 46 Hiragana chart. I sound awful and I’m practically reading character by character and it makes no sense at all. I just started on the katakana and i seemed to fare badly. I am seriously considering giving up

    1. Please don’t give up! If you already able to read but it makes no sense, it’s very normal! Learning language is not instant and require a lot of practice! Have you check the book we’ve recommend? If you’re just going to listen and speak, you could skip reading the character and just learning some basic grammar and useful phrases / vocabularies! Use books that focus on listening, repeating useful phrase and teach you basic grammar. Hope it helps!

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