At Satori Reader, we work hard to produce high-quality materials for you to practice your reading and listening comprehension skills, and we're thrilled to be your partners in this journey that is learning Japanese. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for using and supporting Satori Reader!
At the same time, it's important to understand that no single resource can possibly teach you everything you need to know about Japanese. From grammar to vocab to kanji, to speaking to listening to culture to reading and beyond—learning a language is a many-faceted endeavor, and we encourage you to explore a variety of resources. Sometimes one resource can fill a gap another one leaves. Sometimes a particular resource explains something in a way that clicks better for you. Sometimes just seeing the same concept approached in different ways can help you to get a better overall grasp of it.
The following are resources that you might find useful in addition to Satori Reader. They're all resources that either we personally or many of our users have enjoyed using. Thank you again, and これからも、一緒に勉強しましょう！
A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar
This book, by Seiichi Makino and Michio Tsutsui, along with its Intermediate and Advanced siblings, is an absolutely mandatory resource on any Japanese student's bookshelf. A battle-scarred copy of the set sits our lead annotator's desk within arm's reach, and we all refer to them regularly. Note that these books are not a step-by-step introduction to grammar, but rather more like a grammar encyclopedia. You don't read them cover-to-cover; you hope and pray there's an entry on that weird pattern you just encountered and are delighted when there is.
Human Japanese was this team's very first app. It starts from square one and offers a guided, step-by-step introduction to Japanese. If you're just getting started or you want a light refresher, Human Japanese is a warm and friendly voice that will help you get up to speed.
Human Japanese Intermediate
Human Japanese Intermediate picks up where the intro app leaves off and provides a smooth, unbroken ramp into such scary-sounding but vitally important topics as relative clauses, embedded questions, verb nominalization, and more. Grammar-phobes, have no fear: Human Japanese Intermediate demystifies tricky concepts with clear explanations and frequent comparisons to similar aspects of English, all delivered in the friendly, down-to-earth voice you know from Human Japanese. Featuring more than 42 chapters, 2600 example sentences, and 3900 audio recordings, Human Japanese Intermediate will greatly expand your understanding of Japanese.
Making Sense of Japanese
In this gem-of-a-book, author Jay Rubin breaks down perennially puzzling aspects of Japanese with a humor and clarity that will make you giddy with the sheer joy of finally getting it. Our own lead annotator stumbled upon this book as a high school student in Japan, and it both honed his understanding immeasurably, as well as formed the basis of his approach to teaching Japanese. Extremely highly recommended.
Kanshudo is a truly vast website that is centered around learning and drilling your kanji. Each character is presented along with a unique, cascading breakdown of the character into constituent parts, which is very useful for building a mnemonic to help to latch the character into your memory. The site also offers a "most useful word" for each character, which is an extremely practical way to remember both the meaning of the character and a representative reading. (Our personal recommendation is to learn each character along with "ambassador words" that showcase each of the character's readings, so Kanshudo is very much on the same page in that respect.)
It also offers an impressive variety of mini-games and reviews, such as picking compounds from lists, selecting the correct readings for kanji that appear in sentences, actually writing characters on the screen, typing the readings for compounds, and more.
Best of all, if you use Kanshudo along with Satori Reader, you can configure your account to automatically synchronize your known characters so that articles in Satori Reader appear according to your actual, current knowledge.
The people at Kanshudo were kind enough to supply a code for Satori Reader users that's good for a discount of 20% off your first 3 months, or 15% off your first year. Just use code SR18-YE-METN at checkout.
Learn to Read in Japanese
This book, by Roger Lake and Noriko Ura, takes a simple but effective approach to learning kanji. It presents 10 new characters in each chapter and provides example sentences showcasing the readings of those characters. Each sentence uses only characters that have been previously introduced, so if you start at the beginning and work through the whole book, you'll gradually encounter more and more kanji-laden sentences.
The author tells us that the 608 characters introduced in the first volume of the book (a second volume is underway) are enough to read a substantial portion of the material on Satori Reader, so if you like this approach, you should find it very satisfying to use in conjunction with Satori Reader.
NativShark aims to be your one-stop-shop for Japanese, starting at zero and introducing hiragana, katakana, grammar, culture, and kanji in an interwoven way that is similar to our approach in Human Japanese. Although we haven't spent a great deal of time going through their content, we agree philosophically with this approach, and you might find that their style clicks with you. They also have an active Discord community where you can meet like-minded learners, get help with your Japanese, and take part in various events regardless of whether or not you are subscribed to their service.
If you use NativShark, you can set up synchronization between NativShark and Satori Reader so that kanji you learn there are automatically imported into your known kanji list here.
For a somewhat—there's just no other word—zanier approach to learning kanji, many of our users enjoy WaniKani, a site whose name means "alligator-crab" and which aims to make kanji memorable via absurd imagery and mnemonics.
One thing to be aware of is that quizzes expect you to give WaniKani's proprietary names for radicals, rejecting as incorrect the actual names that a Japanese person would know. For example, to the best of our knowledge 八 has nothing to do with "fins," nor does 文 have anything to do with a "doll" (these are simply called hachi and bun, and mean "eight" and "writing," respectively). However, if you're willing to give yourself over and accept the WaniKani worldview for the stated purpose of remembering the characters (accepting that some liberties have been taken), you might find that the approach works for you.
If you find that the WaniKani approach clicks for you, be sure to set up synchronization between WaniKani and Satori Reader. This will allow Satori Reader to automatically bring in the kanji you have learned and adjust the display of articles to match your knowledge.
Anki is the quintessential study app, not just for Japanese but for committing things to memory in general. Make your own flashcards, designed just the way you like them, or use a set someone else has created on AnkiWeb.
Satori Reader Sync-Enabled Apps
One of Satori Reader's most powerful features is the ability to adjust Japanese text to reflect your actual knowledge of kanji. For example, you can choose to see only words that contain kanji you know in kanji. Or you can show everything as written, but show furigana over words that contain kanji you don't know.
To do this, Satori Reader needs to know which characters you know. You can configure your kanji knowldege in Preferences by choosing a predefined set or manually setting the exact characters you know. But if you're using a sync-enabled app to study kanji, we can automatically import your kanji knowledge at regular intervals so that as you learn more kanji, articles you read here adjust themselves to your current knowledge.
The following apps are enabled for import into Satori Reader:
Developers: If you have a kanji-learning app that you'd like us to import from, please drop us a line at email@example.com and let's talk!
Don't overlook the humble dictionary as a resource in your studies. Whether you still primarily use a Japanese-English dictionary or are beginning the switch to a native Japanese one, both varieties are absolute treasure troves of information, and we on the writing and editorial teams at Satori Reader make daily use of them. The following are some of our recommendations.
Our lead editor recommends two dictionaries in particular. The first is 新明解国語辞典, which is appropriate for high school students and general audiences. It is especially helpful in understanding nuance and tone. This is a very popular dictionary that almost any bookstore will carry.
If you've never used a pure Japanese dictionary before, another recommendation is 例解新国語辞典, which is intended for Japanese middle school students. It is guaranteed to cover all vocabulary words used in the standard middle school curriculum, making it the number one choice for middle schools in Japan. Since it is aimed at a younger audience, its definitions are easier, and it has some useful illustrated sections as well. This dictionary should also be available at any bookstore in Japan.
Our lead annotator uses a Casio Ex-Word and loves it to pieces. Though at about 30,000 yen, it is significantly more expensive than paper dictionaries, if you have the budget, it is a worthy addition to your arsenal.
The primary advantage to an electronic dictionary, of course, is lookup speed. But in actual practice, this translates into less reluctance to take the time to look something up. You can also very quickly compare the same entries in several different dictionaries, which is often illuminating.
The two 国語 (pure Japanese dictionaries) in the Ex-Word are the authoritative (and gargantuan) 広辞苑, and the more modern (and normal-sized) 明鏡国語辞典. The are also English-Japanese and and Japanese-English dictionaries. The Japanese-English ジーニアス和英辞典 is a super resource for example sentences—nearly every entry has a handful of usage examples. (And to the purists out there, don't feel that you should avoid the 和英 dictionary just because you have "graduated" to a pure Japanese dictionary. It's worth using all the tools available to you.)
The Ex-Word allows you to input words by typing them in Roman letters on a keyboard, or by writing them using a stylus. The latter is very useful in two cases. The first and most obvious is to look up kanji you don't know, where the traditional alternative was to count the number of strokes and look the character up by radical.
Perhaps a less-obvious benefit of being able to input via writing is when you encounter a word whose reading you don't know and can't seem to guess correctly. For example, imagine that you did not know that the reading of 明日 was あした. There's really no way you could guess that looking at the characters, so without the ability to input words by writing them, your only traditional recourse could be to find your nearest Japanese friend and ask. This is a feature you'll use only once in a while, but you'll be grateful for it when you do.