I was searching for a similar question but found nothing. (After all I guess that requirements differ from person to person)

So I'm starting from scratch. I've got reasons to study Japanese on my own and believe that it's possible. I don't really want to spell anything correct for a moment, my main desire is to chat on Japanese so I want to create simple sentences, ask questions, understand other people, read/write in Japanese communities.

I started with learning Hiragana, just spelling and writing this is really funny for me since they are symbols. It's very very boring trying to remember them all. That's the main reason why I'm asking for a new approach.

Maybe I need to try learning whole words (simple words) and sentences. And write it somewhere.

Another BIG question is Keyboard. I really have no idea how can I write Japanese here... Thinking about it scares me lot. Maybe I need to buy some special keyboard with Japanese characters?

And I will be surely happy to get some tutorials in any format.


------------------> for comments (Discussion) :

@Dave What is JLU material ? @Nicolas Raoul looking like very good materials to start from :)

  • Definitely not JLU material. Meta seems the appropriate place for it, so I'm migrating it for now...
    – Dave
    Aug 9, 2011 at 8:13
  • 1
    Here is a phrase list that you might find useful to get you started with ultra-basic conversation (remove the travel-related sentences): wikitravel.org/en/Japanese#Phrase_list Aug 9, 2011 at 8:21
  • @nCdy: I meant that the question was off-topic for JLU. Please check out the FAQ for more details: japanese.stackexchange.com/faq#dontask (also: please use comments to reply to comments: it makes it a lot easier to follow the conversation)
    – Dave
    Aug 10, 2011 at 2:52
  • Yes, they are symbols. Were you aware that the English Alphabet is made of symbols, too? Nothing but, in fact. Sep 27, 2011 at 4:07

1 Answer 1


For learning words, I suggest vocabulary lists* combined with the use of WWWJDIC** for example sentences.

For typing in Japanese, you do not need to buy a new keyboard. You will need to go to language and regional settings for your computer.

For Windows 7 :

[Control Panel]>[Region and Language]>[Keyboard and Languages]>[Change Keyboards]>[Add]>[Japanese Keyboard]>[Mircrosoft IME].

It allows you to input using hepburn romanisation. (except for and )

Mini Tutorial:

Press Enter after each Japanese word to finalise the word.

Press Spacebar to recognise the input as kanji.

Press F7 to change the unfinalised word to katakana.

Alt+Shift toggles between the your different input languages.

Alt+`(shares the key with ~) toggles between hiragana and alphanumeric in the Japanese IME.

Typing using Japanese IME

a i u e o :     

ka ki ku ke ko :     

sa shi su se so :     

ta chi tsu te to :     

na ni nu ne no :     

ha hi fu/hu he ho :     

ma mi mu me mo :     

ya yu yo :   

ra ri ru re ro :     

wa wo nn :   

Voiced kana

ga gi gu ge go :     

za ji zu ze zo :     

da di du de do :     

ba bi bu be bo :     

pa pi pu pe po :     

Glides (combination of the i column with the y row)

kya kyu kyo : きゃ きゅ きょ

sha shu sho : しゃ しゅ しょ

cha chu cho : ちゃ ちゅ ちょ

nya nyu nyo : にゃ にゅ にょ

hya hyu hyo : ひゃ ひゅ ひょ

mya myu myo : みゃ みゅ みょ

rya ryu ryo : りゃ りゅ りょ

gya gyu gyo : ぎゃ ぎゅ ぎょ

jya jyu jyo : じゃ じゅ じょ

bya byu byo : びゃ びゅ びょ

pya pyu pyo : ぴゃ ぴゅ ぴょ

Half Height vowels:

Put x in front of what you're typing, e.g. xa for

Little つ:

Put 'l' in front of tsu, e.g. ltsu for

Auto gemination:

If you type repeated consonants: E.g. bikkuri, it will automatically put in for you : びっくり

*Vocabulary lists can be found here

**WWWJDIC is good for example sentences and can be found here

  • tanos.co.uk/jlpt/jlpt5 - broken link ? by the way, I want to see the characters on the keyboard otherwise how can I know what I press ?
    – cnd
    Aug 9, 2011 at 8:46
  • the link is working for me now. You use hepburn romanisation to key in hiragana. I'll edit in a moment.
    – Flaw Mod
    Aug 9, 2011 at 9:24
  • yes, link is working now.
    – cnd
    Aug 9, 2011 at 9:40
  • I can type ぢ and づ on the Windows 7 IME using di and du respectively.
    – Troyen
    Aug 9, 2011 at 16:00
  • @Troyen yup I showed how to type them in the lower part of my post. What I meant was that "di" and "du" is not hepburn. They would be (d)ji and dzu in hepburn.
    – Flaw Mod
    Aug 9, 2011 at 16:29

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