So you want to attempt the Japanese Language proficiency test starting at the N5. Don’t let anyone troll you that its the lowest level and you shouldn’t bother! Mastery of the N5 level as described on the official website is “The ability to understand some basic Japanese”. If you pass you should be able to read and understand typical expressions and sentences written in hiragana, katakana, and basic kanji and also be able to listen and comprehend conversations about topics regularly encountered in daily life and classroom situations. As requested by Heather on Youtube and a couple of people by Twitter I have prepared this post with a quick overview of some of the JLPT N5 tools I used to pass the exam.
Genki 1 Textbook and its accompanying workbook is the first of the JLPT N5 tools I would like to highlight. Its the most recommended text for a reason and I got through about half the book beginning numbers to Te form of verbs before sitting the N5 a second time. I bought the workbook on Amazon and borrowed the text from my local library.
Kana Dojo – an android app that is perfect for learning or refreshing Hiragana and Katakana (together called Kana) on the go. Learning Kana is one of the first things you should dedicate time to when starting to learn Japanese. I learned Kana many years ago but there are a few tricky characters that an app like this helps to keep fresh in your mind.
The Great Chokochoko Library. Unfortunately, the website is no longer being updated but contains a wealth of information and worksheets. I used my IT skills to dig up a few of the worksheets that are useful for reading and comprehension at the N5 level below. Take your time, go through them all and feel good about yourself as you make progress learning Japanese.
The JLPT website has free downloadable materials in the form a workbook for each level that includes an example of all sections of the test including listening. If you don’t use any other tool I talk about in this video go the JLPT website now and download this resource. When I did the test only a workbook from 2012 available but they have since added at the end of 2018. The workbooks are also available is physical form. I managed to snatch one for cheap on sale on Amazon.
Daiso Kanji Book. Daiso is a popular 100 yen store in Japan that sells everything from school supplies to pots and pans. Japanese people learn all the important kanji beginning at the 1st grade of elementary and that’s the book I started with. I also have the second-year book that I am working through now. The book shows stroke order, the different readings and most useful of all simple practice sentences – quite possibly the best 100 yen I have ever spent. I might do a giveaway of a couple of these in the future. This JLPT N5 tool makes an awesome gift
Takoboto Japanese Dictionary is awesome. A dictionary is vital to learning any new language and I have tried at least a half a dozen android dictionaries in the past few years. Takoboto is the one that stuck with me with its great design and features. I can look up words, see the readings in hiragana and kanji, I can also get explanations for the kanji and example phrases – it hasn’t failed me yet.
Finally, I recommend Satori Reader. The free articles allow users to read about and listen to different situations you could find yourself in, such as visiting the hospital and asking for directions. The vocabulary is broken down and easily translatable on the fly as it tracks your progress and allows practice over and over again.
There you have it. 7 JLPT N5 tools I used to pass the JLPT N5. Some of JLPT N5 tools can grow with you as your knowledge of Japanese improves. There are other tools I used but I didn’t want to make this post too long. If you are more advanced in Japanese or also learning any have any other tools you would like to recommend please leave a comment below or tweet me @Jamaipanese. Good luck studying Japanese!
Kirk is a proud Jamaican who started Jamaipanese.com in February 2006 and now lives in rural Japan. He enjoys sharing his experiences learning about Japan, personal milestones in life as well as interests such as photography, gaming and travelling.