Wanna Learn Japanese?
The word 今日 means "today" and is typically read as "kyō" but may also be pronounced differently in other expressions such as "kon'nichi" in the famous "kon'nichi-wa" meaning "hello/good afternoon." As a kid myself, I wondered why 今日 couldn't be read as "imabi." After, 今日日 is a word read as "kyōbi," and if that isn't strange, then why should "imabi" be strange? That trivial thought came back to the forefront of my mind upon thinking of a name for my own Japanese curriculum.
Today is the day to learn Japanese, and so the name of this resource is also 今日 but with a twist! Love or hate the name, this website has been a place for learners to know more about Japanese from a perspective very much unlike anything else.
It goes without saying that いまび is no Tae Kim's Guide. If that were my goal, I could have just uploaded their pdfs to the Internet as my own, but even then I would be late to the game. Though いまび remains unfinished, my vision for it is to guide people to a far deeper understanding of the language that wouldn't otherwise be possible with a traditional resource.
First and foremost, いまび is a compilation of study material for learners of all levels. Each lesson is meant to properly to teach the topic(s) included, and material is added and revised through the help of user feedback. Lessons are intended to be ordered by importance. What is the most logical progression you should learn each piece to the Japanese puzzle? There is no single right answer to this question, which is why material is continuously revised to better solve this puzzle.
いまび is admittedly not easy in the sense that it was not designed to be alternative to standard beginner resources such as げんき or ようこそ. Then again, those resources alone are not sufficient in capturing all that needs to be said about a language as hard as Japanese to truly grasp it.
いまび will not and should never be the equivalent of telling a class of algebra students that X + Y = Z and leaving it at that. If you want that experience, let me introduce you to www.guidetojapanese.org.
All jokes aside, the world is full of resources designed to hold your hand. Everyone's goal is different. Do you want to learn Japanese just to understand anime? Do you have a Japanese spouse and wish to communicate with them at an even level? Do you aspire to become a translator? Each motive brings about a different level of proficiency required to meet that goal.
When reading through any mainstream textbook, a learner is expected to study a few hundred words here and a few hundred Kanji (Chinese characters) there. At most, a learner may pass N3 if they study really hard with a textbook like Genki. In reality, an educated native speaker will know upwards of 50,000 words and will recognize 3-5,000 Kanji. The gap between learner and native by these numbers is terrifying.
It is also true that of those 50,000 words that only about 2,000 unique words will be used by a speaker on any given day. The amount of Kanji used will also be significantly less than 3,000. What makes the rest so important is that with each new conversation, different words and Kanji will be needed. If you were tasked with devising a way of teaching as much vocab and Kanji as feasibly possible, what would you do?
Mainstream textbooks choose to opt for that 2,000 word benchmark, but in reality, a learner will only be made to learn a few hundred handpicked vocabulary and Kanji, always centered around readings created to achieve that purpose. Mistakes brought about from the simplified explanations are meant to be corrected by the teacher, whose goal is to make sure you're on topic and not so much that you're learning as much Japanese as possible. Your hand is held and there is zero obligation and incentive to steer off course, lest you wish to fail your class.
Here at いまび, you are in control of how much time you devote to Japanese. You have just as much access to what's on the Internet as anyone else. If you're studying Japanese at school, you have all the more resources at your disposal. If you don't bother to read books and find the word choices used in the Advanced lessons out of reach, perhaps you should read a book or two.
It goes without saying that there are many different kinds of learners. Some are much more comfortable with learning through practice with natives, while many adult learners prefer instruction. Here, it's my job to make sure that that topic is explained as best as possible. You are tasked with having that dictionary tab opened. You are the one responsible for reading practice. If a new Kanji is used here and there, take the time to learn them.
The site has remained free throughout its long history, but it does require a lot of time and energy to upkeep. Due to financial hardships, I personally cannot entirely devote myself to this website. Any financial contribution to help keep me afloat will always be greatly appreciated.