One of the most important first steps to learning Japanese is learning Hiragana. Once you learn how to read and write Hiragana, you will know the sounds of Japanese and you can begin to read Kanji (at least furigana). Once you have Hiragana at your disposal, you can set sail on your journey to the mystical land known as ぺらぺら. Here’s how I did it:
1) First I bought a grid notebook. I used A5 size, but B5 is fine too. If you live in a big city, there might be a Japanese book store in your area. If not, you can use Amazon. A regular graph paper notebook would also be fine.
2) There are 46 Hiragana characters in all, so I used one page for each character. Every day I practiced writing a few of the characters about 10-15 times each. If you really want to speed up the process, you can write all the characters each day. By the time you fill up your notebook, you should have the writing aspect down.
3) For speaking and listening practice, I used Anki. If you don’t know about Anki, you should! It’s an amazing free flashcard program that you can use to customize your cards and study from. Here are the links for the Anki site and 2 decks that I created and used to study Hiragana:
Basic Hiragana Deck (46 Characters)
Complete Hiragana Deck (104 characters)
That’s it! Some people say you can learn Hiragana in a few days. I took a few weeks. Really it’s up to you and your motivations for learning it. But no matter how long you take and how you do it, enjoy yourself, and feel good that you’re learning a new language!