Over the years I have developed quite the fascination for the Japanese. I’ve come to love the food, culture, and the language. Somewhere along the line I decided I was going to try and learn Japanese. Not only did I decide to learn it, but I was going to make the attempt without using a formal learning environment, a.k.a. classroom. This meant I had to find some decent resources.
I’ve been a foreign language student in the past; I studied both Spanish and Latin, so I knew I needed to find a good dictionary. Kodansha’s furigana dictionary was one of the better ones I found for a reasonable price. It is a hardbound book and fairly large. So it’s not going to be something you can carry around on vacation. It gives sample sentences for many of the words, so any nuances in word meaning are quite clear. One drawback for beginning Japanese learners is that you will need to be able read kana (hiragana and katakana). However, a good understanding of these can be learned fairly quickly from any number of online sources. Many websites offer lessons in grammar too, which is necessary to build natural-sounding sentences.
I’m still in the process of learning a lot of the grammatical rules and am by no means an expert on the matter. Learning any language takes years of practice, especially when it is fundamentally different than your native tongue. But I hope this will give a push in the right direction.
If you think this dictionary would be good for you, check it out at:
Kodansha’s Furigana Japanese Dictionary (Kodansha Dictionaries)