How to Read BL 101—I mean, Japanese language learning tips.

Hello everyone! Finally after 48573920478947397939504277 years of actually disappearing from the whole BL fandom—well, not actually disappear it was just a while since I last visited BL sites since I was taking a little R&R because I can’t stand the temptation to buy all the new releases. But yeah, I still can’t that’s why I’m so frustrated so I try to avoid looking at BL sites as much as possible. But I still do check BL sites (I’m such an M I know) and just ogle at all the shiny new releases.

Anyway so on to the post!
As promised a *very* long time ago, I finally came around to make this Japanese language learning tips entry. Note that I won’t be teaching you guys HOW to speak the language. I’m just going to give tips and tell you about  my learning experience with the Japanese language. Yeah didn’t need to explain that eh, title says it all lol. Just don’t mind the “How to Read BL 101”. ;;

I started learning the language when I was in 3rd grade (9-10 y/o) and got serious when I turned 11 and continued self-studying until I reached the age of 13. I stopped for 2 years (or more I think?) since I was still in high school that time and of course, academics came in first on my priority list. I was also trying to do my best at French during those times since we had French in 4th year high school so I kind of got too interested in the language and eventually took a very long break on self-studying Japanese.

This is a compilation of Japanese studies I got to download a few years ago from Multiply (yes, I bought a new ink cartridge just to print those that time since it was a LOT). It consists of helpful grammar lessons and Kanji (vocabulary) lists that you usually use everyday.

Sorry I can only provide a few shots. /sob/ I’ll try to link the site if ever it’s still active.

Also, they have this very amusing entry wherein different members shared their experiences during their trip/stay in Japan! *u* Quite long but worth reading if you want to learn from personal experiences. Some are hilarious too, lol.

You should invest on a good Japanese dictionary. This dictionary has been really helpful but the only thing I don’t like is that I can’t bring it anywhere with me since it’s too heavy. ;; So best buy a pocket dictionary. But if you want, you can own two dictionaries.  I actually own 4 Japanese dictionaries. I gave one to my friend (which was the pocket one) and I have 2 more with me but this is the one I usually use.

One of my recent purchases. It’s really, really helpful. I actually got it for a cheap price considering its quality.

I’m the type who can easily remember things if I see it so it’s really more than helpful. It also has some helpful phrases and all contents have kanji + romaji for easier read.

The oldest textbook I still use for reference up to now. That “Kyoko” was written during my awkward days. I think I wrote that when I was only 9? or 11? I forgot, lol. I was into Naruto that time and my name then was “Uchiha Kyoko” HAHA. orz

Sample page! I swear this textbook is really helpful. I’m not sure if you can still get it locally though (Philippines). Although a friend told me you can buy it in either Amazon or ebay?

This is the book wherein I tried my best to memorize the whole hiragana and katakana table. Also, since it’s a textbook, you can find exercises and answers at the back page.

There are a LOT more helpful textbooks you can find at your local bookstores so IMO, go spend time at the reference section and examine all the Japanese textbooks one by one, lol.

Konjiki Runa’s “Hana no Arashi wa,” was the first BL manga with full Japanese text I got to read. I do get to read manga with full Japanese texts but it usually had furigana. The post-its you see there are my notes. I covert the Kanji into kana so I can understand it more clearly. This process is quite tedious but it will all be worth it in the end since you’ll get to retain some Kanji and phrases in mind. Also, you’ll get to practice your writing.

I also use flashcards. Flashcards are helpful especially if you only have certain words (Kanji words or simple phrases) you want to learn FIRST.

I recommend studying grammar and sentence structure first before anything else. Memorizing Hiragana and Katakana will then come next then Kanji. Don’t be like me I actually studied vocabulary first so right now I’m having problems with sentence structures. But if you want, you can study them at the same time (like what I’m doing now). But it’s not really advisable if you’re only starting. It will eventually get mixed up in your head and you’ll end up not learning anything.

With just a few months of endless reading Japanese textbooks, you’ll get used to the language easily. It will be helpful if you have a friend who’s also learning the language since you can talk with each other in Japanese and with that, you’ll get used to speaking + pronunciation in no time.

Some people said learning Japanese by watching anime will not help. Well it really depends. A LOT of my friends actually learned how to speak Japanese from the anime we watch then they do further studies by buying textbooks. You can also do that. IMHO, watching anime especially those genres with slice-of-life will be really helpful for Japanese language/culture reference.

I also use flashcards. Flashcards are helpful especially if you only have certain words (Kanji words or simple phrases) you want to learn FIRST.

Aside from textbooks, the internet is also a wonderful place to find good Japanese learning references. I mean, it is the internet, lol.

1.) QuickKanji – this site is very very helpful for learning Kanji. The site is very convenient to use and you can search a specific Kanji in 5 ways—radical, strokes, level, on and kun).

I often use this site whenever I’m having a hard time with a specific Kanji character. But when I’m still having a hard time looking for that specific Kanji character, I go to this site: (Kanji) Radical Index.

2.) Japanese Language and Usage – A discussion site. I don’t go to this site as much but it’s a good reference since you might have the same concerns with regards to grammar, etc.

Sorry I can only provide as much. I often site-hop when it comes to Japanese learning via internet so I wasn’t able to bookmark some of the other sites I went to. But honestly, I really depend too much on textbooks. orz;;

Other than the internet, I do have Kanji reference applications on my phone. But this is the one I use a lot:

1.) Kotoba! – Just like QuickKanji, it has a lot of ways to search for a specific Kanji character as well. *u*

I’m the type who uses her iPhone too much and I always go to Japanese sites whenever I’m not doing anything inside the car or I’m left alone at uni. This app has been very helpful to me since whenever I encounter a certain Kanji character I’m not familiar with, I can easily search it on this app! 8) I don’t really get to bring my laptop with me all the time since it’s heavy so thank God for this app.

This app is free by the way!

Other than this app, I also have the JLPT app (I think it costs $3.99?). The JLPT app includes quizzes depending on which level you’re in (N1, N2, N3, N4 or N5). It has a free version but I’m not sure about the difference between the free and paid? ;;

I also have a Kansaiben app. *u* The app is in Japanese though but if you’re interested, go download it since it’s such a fun app to use (you can hear how the words are pronounced as well!).

I find it funny how I used to often get questions in formspring like, “How can you read Japanese BL?”. I find it funny because whenever I read the question I start to think, “So BL has it’s own language now, haha”—HENCE, the title! LOL

So anyway, my advice for those who wants to start reading raw BL mangas (or any mangas/novels for that matter), be consistent with your Japanese studies. Don’t be like me who stops and starts then stops and starts again. Whenever you encounter a difficult word like a certain Kanji character, look into it and take note. Don’t be shy to interact with Japanese learners online. It’s okay to make mistakes so don’t feel embarrassed or offended if someone corrects you. You’ll learn a lot that way.

I don’t know if I should recommend going to Japanese learning institutes since I’ve self-studied ever since but I think it’s the best option for some of you if you want a more organized way of learning the language (by organized I mean module outlines). It may cost you a lot but if you think it’s worth it in the end, why not? Just make sure to choose a good institute.

For those of you who want to actually study Nihongo in Japan, I think a year will cost $600-$800. I’m not sure if that’s the average rate/s though. It costs a lot + think of your other needs like dorm, food, clothes, etc. orz;

Okay, so that’s it for this entry~.
If you have any question/s please leave a comment! ;v;

Feel free to talk to me about Japanese language and culture since I might actually learn new stuff from you guys!

6 thoughts on “How to Read BL 101—I mean, Japanese language learning tips.

  1. UWAAAAH HACHIIII thank you so much for this!! I’m in the middle of my Physics exercises so I can’t comment much now but I read your post and it’ll be really helpful!!
    Also, YOU’RE SO CUTE. YOU WROTE ”I also use flashcards. Flashcards are helpful especially if you only have certain words (Kanji words or simple phrases) you want to learn FIRST.” TWICE.

    Thank you again, Hachi! And I hope to be able to talk to you on Twitter soon orz.

    • Oh my ahahahah!! Do well on your Physics, Arya~! And you’re welcome! I hope it will really be helpful. ;v;
      OMG I DID? Will check later and edit orz;;; /////////

  2. Thanks a lot for the tips! I had tried to self study at the start of the year but I started German at university at the same time. Aha I already mix up my German with my Italian, it’d be disastrous if I learnt Japanese side by side as well. I also sometimes think I’m too gaijin to learn a new script orz

    Oh have you ever tried Anki? It’s a free program where you can make your own or download flashcards and then review them on your computer. What I like about it is you can put pictures with your words since I’m a pretty visual learner as well ^^

    • I forgot to include I actually studied Korean alongside Japanese so sometimes I get to mix up some words and pronunciations orz; You’ll manage don’t worry! And nooo, nobody’s too gaijin for a new language; you just need determination and the motivation to actually maintain learning the foreign languages you like. ;v; I also have a problem maintaining self-studying since I want to study Russian but meh, no time sob ;;

      Oh that sounds interesting *0* Thanks so much for the recommendation! Will look it up later ;v; <33

  3. Thank you for replying to my question in ask.fm and directing me to this blog entry!🙂 Sorry it took me a while to reply back. Anyhoo, the part of my “question” that got cut off was something like “disheartened whenever I see my penmanship.” Haha. I really have very poor penmanship even with normal text, what more with kanji and all? My other problem is time. I’m already in grad school. (Yes, I’m older than you, most likely! :D) I should have started studying back in College at least. *sigh* Anyway, I’ll try to finally learn the basics this summer break. Hopefully, I won’t quit halfway again like I usually do.😦

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