Mar 16, 2018
Learning a new language comes naturally to some people - I've met people that just seem to have an affinity for all things linguistic and can pick it up easily. Other people (like myself) seem to find it a little trickier, and often have to start at the very basics to get a grasp on it all.
Enter the magical world of children's learning tools. My daughter was gifted a number of these "ring card" sets, which come in several different varieties. I've seen them at many bookstores in Japan before (usually hanging out around the kids books section) and I think they're helpful not just for children but for adults who are starting at the beginning too. They're well made, very durable, and the fact that they're on a ring means that they're less likely to go missing than other flash cards might.
I think they're also very helpful if you're a visual learner. I find that this is the case for me in particular - I tend to learn better by seeing than I do by listening, and I love when I can make picture associations for words. The cards contain a picture, the hiragana, katakana, and the word in English - so it's easy to start getting a grasp on simple words.
Look - I know, these aren't going to be what you're looking for if you've already got the basics down pat and you're after higher level language exchange. But if you've just set foot in the land of the rising sun and you're overwhelmed by trying to pick up not only a new culture but a bunch of new vocab too, something like this could be a good place to start. If nothing else, they make a great gift for young kids in your life.
You can find the ring card sets on Amazon here:
After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!