The Genki textbooks are now available in their third edition and even if the changes are rather minimal (some updated vocab, less racy dialogues, and more straightforward grammar explanations) I still picked up a copy of the 3rd. edition of Genki II for myself. The Japan Times compiled a PDF where you can already get a good look at what changes to expect. I started to work in September 2019 and completely neglected my Japanese studies.
When I noticed that the Genki textbooks got another revamp I just got the idea to revise them and then go over to Tobira together with a Japanese teacher from italki.
Years ago I briefly had a local Japanese “teacher” but I was nowhere near the stage of casual conversation and she wasn’t really someone who could teach. There was no structure, no teaching skills, and everything was just so random and unorganized in my study hours that I quit eventually.
What I desperately needed was some more structure and motivation in my studies and when finding a tandem partner is not possible italki seemed like the next best thing. Do you have any experience with it? If yes, please share them in the comments.
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Digital supplements for Genki
So Genki II was hitting the streets with a new edition and that was reason enough for me to get back to the study table. Looking around for things that could help me check my grammar knowledge I found a fantastic website called Genki Exercises.
A wonderful site that’s basically a digital online workbook for both the main Genki textbooks and the workbooks themselves. It lets you drill the vocab, Kanji, and all the example sentences/grammar practices. The best part: All this is available for the 2nd and newly released 3rd edition of the Genki textbooks. Fantastic stuff.
Use the official Genki Apps
There are three Apps available for the second edition of Genki which are covering the main components of the Genki textbooks (except grammar apart from conjugations). Unfortunately, these Apps are not working like an SRS like Anki or Wanikani but just give you the opportunity to mark whether or not you knew the item or you are unsure.
If you knew the item you’re basically done with it and won’t be shown it again.
My recommendation: Use unsure until you absolutely know the item by heart without much thinking.
Why not just use an Anki App for the Genki vocab?: Because you can learn the sets easily accompanying the Genki textbook chapters, you get nice little drawings, audio, and sentences. And that’s alongside the audio the most important factor for me: Always try to learn vocab in sentences.
I personally use (and still really love) the incredible JALUP App (which is now Nihongo Lessons). Another great alternative is iknow with their Core sentences. (Btw. this is my biggest gripe with WaniKani nowadays. I know they have sentences tucked away in the vocab meaning description but I think the new words themselves should be presented and learned as part of a sentence).
If you put in the legwork there are definitely some great Anki decks out there as well but for learning the Genki vocab just spend a few bucks and get the official Genki Card Apps alongside the books. I’ve already written about the conjugation App a few years ago. It’s decent enough to go through all the forms again but unfortunately, it doesn’t offer a truly usable SRS system.
New Apps are rolled out within the next months. my pictures are from the new 3rd edition Genki Vocab App. I advise you to get the new one even if you’re still using the second-edition Genki books. Just enjoy the better app layout, usability and
Neat little sentences from the main Genki textbooks.
Just two tips for having a better learning experience with the Genki textbooks. After moving I’ll continue two revise the Tobira textbook and will make a review for you guys. It’s time to finally revise my guide about self-studying Japanese as well.
Not much has changed since my last retouch of the article but I’ll slightly tweak the way I’d go about things nowadays.
The most important thing about learning Japanese or learning in general: Stick to one thing and pull through.