recurve boy wrote:I know how you feel. I have been just looking at the grammar and deconstructing sentences. And I am starting to get it and recognising the parts of the sentence. So I am getting better at remembering the characters, some of the kanji and and starting to be able to read complete sentences more. But I can't write it for shit and my vocabulary is bad.
I'm not sure if I should take classes or what ...
Studying is good and all, but it all comes to nothing if you don't actively use the language. And by "use" I mean, without your notebooks, dictionaries, etc. You have to make an active attempt to use the language with your mind alone (no one has successful conversations when they have to consult a dictionary every other word).
The only way to pick up more vocabulary is by listening, reading, and trying to use it. A pocket notebook is handy to keep up with things. A pocket electronic dictionary is nice, but for the same price (or maybe less, depending), an old B&W PalmOS compatible device (like a Palm Pilot or a Handspring Visor) with Dokusha loaded on it (a free dictionary program) is much better. If you don't live in Japan, find Japanese people living near you and express your interest in learning the language and having someone to speak with. Chat with people online. Load a couple of Japanese news feeds into your GoogleNews (though reading at that level is extremely difficult, there are things to help you read, like Rikai-chan for FireFox).
If writing is your problem, start keeping a blog or some kind of journal in Japanese (on the increasingly rarer occasions that I post to my blog, I try to keep it bilingual).
One good way to practice reading and writing in context is Mixi.jp, a Japanese social networking site that is entirely in Japanese (though it has some English communities). Send me a private message if you want an invitation. However, it can be difficult to get through the sign-up process if your reading level is extremely low. Use FireFox with the Rikai-chan plugin to help.
On a slightly different note, how about some Japanese riddles to help us with our studies? Riddles can be a good way to learn about how people think in a different language, as well as increase vocabulary and have some fun. Does anyone know any good ones? Here is one of my favorites: