Sentences 101

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Sentences are a great way to learn Japanese, especially once you’ve already finished RTK (obviously, you should still be doing your RTK reviews! ;)). But it can be hard to know where to start or even where to continue after you’ve finished whatever sentence pack/book you started with. My method may not be perfect, but it seems to have worked quite well for me, so I’m here to show you what it is. Hopefully it helps some of you! 😀

My First Sentence Pack

My First Sentence Pack (MFSP for short) is simply amazing as an introduction in getting started with sentences. In fact, it’s so easy, that at first you’re practically just learning words that can be used as phrases (such as 「何だ?」, 「あれ、何?」, and 「どう思う?」 ). As you move along, everything is focused on the i+1 concept, so it’s always building your foundation little by little, brick by brick. I can’t speak for others, but for me I never felt as if suddenly too much was thrown at me. I obviously learned new words, grammar points, etc often but always in an easy i+1 fashion.

MFSP earned most of it’s points from me though, from teaching so many useful phrases. Yes, they’re basic and simple. But that’s the point. This sentence pack isn’t for people who already familiar with all of the basics of Japanese. It’s meant as your VERY first sentence pack. And it does an excellent job at teaching you phrases that are very common and worth knowing.

Moe Pack

The Moe pack is a bit controversial among people I’ve spoken to because it’s not really necessary or that helpful in terms of learning so many useful phrases like those that are in MFSP. However, I actually took the time to do this sentence pack next, for a few main reasons. The first being that I knew Khatzumoto made it, so if it was anything like MFSP, then the quality (aka i+1) was going to be up to par.

The second reason being that I wanted to simply learn more about grammar and sentence patterns, without actually studying either of those. Lastly, come on, it’s a Moe pack.. I knew there are bound be a ton of extremely hilarious phrases in there, and there were! (「金玉、揉んじゃう♡」 And no, I’m not going to put the translation. Go figure it out yourself. :P) Everyone should know by now, fun is what keeps you going, and it has kept me going so far! So while I don’t think the Moe pack is a necessity, I do recommend it if you aren’t easily offended and find humor in the example I gave above.


I chose Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication because I figured with a name like that, how could it not be what I was looking for? It actually turned out exactly as I had planned. What’s great about this particular phrase/sentence book is that it’s actually laid out quite i+1 (maybe i+2 at times) for the most part. I didn’t have any issues progressing through it. No stumbles, trips, backpedals, etc.

What’s really nice about the book is that it’s not a textbook. With a textbook, you have all these huge pages of grammar, practice quizzes, games, etc that just get in the way if you all you’re trying to do is get to the sentences. With this book, it’s just one big book of page after page of 80% sentences (the rest being vocab ahead of times sometimes and also simple explanations about the grammar). But while I chose the JSPEC as my book to use, it doesn’t necessarily matter which phrase/sentence book you choose, so long as it isn’t a pain in the ass to get sentences out of (and isn’t sole romanji).

One nice thing is that an ANKI deck already exists for this book : ANKI deck, Excel, and here is who made it.

So what’s next?

For me, I believe this is the right time in the stage to break out into the world of self-made decks. That means I’m going to start making my own decks. Yet, be prepared to rejoice because I’m about to do some work for your lazy ass. You see, I always keep my decks separate. MFSP, Moe, RTK, JSPEC, etc. It’s just the way I like doing things. And so, I will not be making the same old self-made decks that most people make, which is to just make one big deck and throw anything you see fit into it.

Rather, I’ll be making decks off of movies, anime, manga, etc and compiling them as one deck. What this means for you, is that when I’ve made a deck for something, you’ll also receive it. Now, I’ll only be making a new deck every 3-4 months, depending on how much material is put in the previous deck, but that still should wind up with me giving away multiple decks a year!

Soo.. as with all big news, I have to provide you with some of the goods up front! Alright, here it is. I’ve been making a deck of..

You guessed it, Final Fantasy 7 – Advent Children. It’s one of my favorite movies (probably because I enjoyed the original game so much). But be forewarned, I have just started this deck myself, so it is possible that there might be errors because I haven’t gone through each sentence myself yet. I’ll tell you what I did do though. I used this website, combined with English subs and produced this deck. The great thing is that most translations seem to be almost literal, so it’s a perfect choice for this. Also, I used an online site to convert the Kanji sentences into Kana sentences, so you will have both. Here is an example card:





Who were those people who attacked me?

If you want this deck (which I know you do), just go to download Shared Decks in ANKI and look for Final Fantasy or Advent Children.


Yes, I know this is a long post. 😛 But anyway.. I gave the MCD Tae Kim deck a try for a while and really disliked it, so I decided that I wouldn’t limit myself to having only tried MCD’s out via that deck. Instead, I’m going to produce my own deck, which will actually have content solely taken from Japanese Pod 101 podcasts. Since I have access to the PDF’s, I’m just skipping all the content I already know and only adding in things I don’t know (or don’t know well). I don’t want to say much more on this right now because I don’t know how it will turn out. It’s an experiment for me. Hell, I haven’t even started learning any of the content, only adding some. So we’ll see how this goes. Though I doubt I’d release this one since it’s more tailored to me (not a whole movie/anime/etc packaged like the Advent Children one). 😉

2 thoughts on “Sentences 101

  1. I love this post. I have both of those sentence packs but haven’t put them in my SRS. Great idea about using Final Fantasy (or something that you like, as Khatz recommends) for SRS!

  2. Great article. Something I need to focus more on is this:

    “As you move along, everything is focused on the i+1 concept, so it’s always building your foundation little by little, brick by brick.”

    The first language I learned through AJATT-style immersion was Spanish. That was soooo easy that I could easily throw in sentences in my deck that I didn’t know at all. Now that I’ve started with Hungarian this is impossible, so I really need to pay attention to i+1 for the first time in my life :-/

    Anyway, great blog you have here. I’m jealous of you Japanese learners with all the awesome materials you have at your disposal.

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