The first step I took in my journey of learning Japanese was to find out the basics of the language. There are three writing systems, that consist of
hiragana, katakana and kanji.
I started learning hiragana which is the most basic form of the language. All Japanese words can be written out in hiragana, however katakana is mainly used for foreign words and kanji which are the small pictures that depict words and phrases. All together they allow words to be separated from a meaningless stand of characters that mean nothing.
There are a few online sources that I found super useful for ‘hiragana charts’. Tofugu.com is one of my favourite webpages, and continues to share the most useful and interesting posts. Here is a link to their page for some really cute and useful charts that helped me learn the sounds.
They also have some mnemonics that help with the harder ones to remember. Two good examples are the characters ‘ki’ and ‘to’ ; ki looks and sounds like a key き, and to sounds and looks like a toe と. Very entertaining, much fun, learning.
I also found the book ‘Kanji – Pictogtraphix’ really useful for hiragana, and also for starting out on katakana (SO difficult to get my head around after learning hiragana). I got it second hand from Amazon and it has been incredibly useful and funny for the little pictures they use to represent the characters. Highly recommended for anyone looking to get a physical version of the characters and mnemonics.
Hope this helps and enjoy learning, Jooosiekinsan XXX