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what's the best way to learn how to read japanese? it's frustrating the hell out of me not being able read all those kendo books out there because i can't read japanese. other than getting japanese girlfriend. i have a wife.
The best way to learn Japanese is to take classes. Think of it just like Kendo... you can learn from a book, but you cant truly learn without a sensei there to help you. Obviously it's easier to learn a language from a book than Kendo from a book, but you get what I'm saying. A book is a good place to start for sure, but you'll still want to see if there are some adult classes available in your area. There are certain pronunciation anomolies among other things, such as methods to remember how to write Kana/Kanji that you just cant really get from a book.
I've had an hour long Japanese class every weekday for the past 3 years and I love it and have learned a ton directly from my sensei... however, when I try to learn grammar and such from a book, I find myself spacing out...
They have vocabularies both in kana and kanji. Very good place to gather some vocabs.
I also noticed if you know Chinese, Korean, or similar Asian languages. That you'll able to pick up Japanese a lot of quicker. And if you know Chinese characters, you'll have a lot of advantages in Kanji also.
If you can speak it already and can't go to a japanese class than I'd recommend practicing all the alphabets by repeatedly writing them the same way you learned the english alphabet. Then pick up a japanese newspaper/magazine make notes beside the words and re-read the articles. Just a thought though... I'm no expert in Japanese.
Search for the other threads on this topic. Lots of people have listed advice on them already so they are probably getting tired of repeating themselves. This should be added to the thread on most common questions.
Don't forget the grammar. I don't know how much the original poster knows already, but a lot of people who want to dive into reading Japanese forget that learning grammar can be just as challenging as learning kanji. Awhile back there was this guy on another forum who wanted to jump right to reading a novel. He didn't understand what the problem was because he could read all the hiragana and katakana and he had a kanji dictionary...