Learning Japanese using Fluent Forever

harajuku sake

I’ve recently decided to kick my Japanese study into high gear with Gabriel Wyner’s book “Fluent Forever“. I discovered it through Tim Ferris’s blog.

Gabe’s approach is novel in that instead of how language is traditionally taught, he uses what I would call a mise en place strategy. By that I mean that you do a bunch of prep work creating spaced repetition flash cards for rapid memorization and learning. Unlike every other language class or book I’ve ever taken, his technique is to not do translation (native language on one side, target language on the other), but instead exclusively use imagery and mnemonics.

At this point, I’m just beginning to use his approach which is (roughly):

  1. Pronunciation
  2. The 625 most common vocabulary words
  3. Grammar

He has an extra step for Japanese which you do concurrently with pronunciation. He provides a flash card deck for learning the 48 Kanji radicals that make up 75% of the most common Kanji to make learning Kanji a lot easier.

I’ll keep track of my progress here each week.

Tonight, I finished setting up my Kanji radical flash card deck and will be diving into it this week while also creating about 20 vocabulary word cards each day until I finish all 625 of the most common words. By the time I’m done memorizing the Kanji radicals, I hope to have about 250-350 vocabulary words ready to start studying.

My goal is to memorize 625 words within six weeks of starting the vocabulary deck (along with their Kanji, when present). Then, it’s on to grammar. I already have a decent foundation of vocabulary and grammar with my previous study and thus can practice conversation as I learn new vocabulary, which is a great help.