Learning Japanese Part 4: Genki Chapter 1 Explained

You’ve finished Chapter 1, you’ve done the workbook exercises….

What am I doing?

Why am I learning this?


You got this.

Remember you’re learning for certain reasons. As such, it’s perfectly fine to skip over things you don’t believe will aid you in that mission. Of course, learning all you can is beneficial, but do you.

That said, I’m still going to cover everything in each review so feel free to skip what you want.

I can’t go on and list things straight out of the text. (Which is why you gotta get it if you don’t have it yet. The book will be much more helpful than I ever can be.)


Is where you realize Takeshi might be a dirty little liar.

Mary is the がいじん=foreigner-star of this text, and you’ll follow each stupid, frustrating, and HOW?! mistake she makes.


メアリーhas the excuse of being a がいじん and actually she’s not too bad. A lot of the characters take advantage of the poor girl. 

たけし straight out lies to メアリーabout what time it is, as you can see on the clock tower behind them. Asshat.

On page 42, we’re going to learn the most amazing thing ever.

How to create a sentence!

I know, it’s amazing. We won’t be able to create complex sentences for some time, which is a good thing because Japanese is unfortunately context heavy. And like any language, we have to build up from the basics to create a solid base.


Chapter 1 is simple:

X は Y です:

です=to be, it is, am, etc.                       =topic of sentence

Later on we’ll tackle the infamous issue of  は vs が so please don’t worry about this right now. If you can get this down now, it’ll become easier to grasp the differences later on.

がくせい です           (I) am a student

ねこ   です                                                   (It) is a cat

The subject of a sentence is usually dropped because it’s implied through context.

わたし  です       (I) am _____(your name)

tells us what the subject is when it’s not clear what we’re talking about. Thank God rofl.

X は Y です is also used to show that X is Y:

メアリーさん は がくせい です                  Mary is a student

せんこう は れきし です                                (Mary’s) major is history.

is a lovely thing called a particle. This basically marks parts of the sentence as a subject, possession, or a direct object. There are several, but this lesson focuses on 3.

I’m spacing out the Japanese words right now because it’s a lot to take in. Eventually, you’ll reach a point where you can read a whole string of them comfortably.


There are no words for “a” or plurals in Japanese, so everything is based on context. Which is why we can say

がくせい です                   (Mary is a) student.

in response to a question. Japanese is about simplicity and context.

How do we make a question? Just put  at the end of a sentence!

がくせい です か    

It literally takes the form of a question mark.


The last particle of this chapter is oddly explained in the text.

の marks possession:

メアリーさん の ねこ です。  (It’s) Mary’s cat.

We could assume “The cat is Mary’s” but that’s a different sentence structure we’ll learn later on.

What the book was trying to point out with is that the main idea of a sentence comes at the end.

is placed between Noun 1 and Noun 2

メアリーさん (1) の ねこ (2) です

The main idea is the cat. We know that something’s up with メアリー but what? That she owns a cat, of course!

Genki tries this with someone’s phone number. The idea was weirdly explained here on page 44 so I hope this clears up the confusion.

Basically, the main idea almost always comes at the end of a sentence in Japanese. 

の  also acts as a noun. In a weird way that English doesn’t have a counterpart for.

メアリーさん  おかさん は こうこう の せんせい です

Noun 1                      Noun 2               Noun 1                Noun 2


Mary’s mother is a high school teacher.


こうこう の せんせい           high school teacher

This is what I mean by a noun. Noun 1 and 2 are possessed by the   and become one big noun.


I can’t post anything from the book on here, but there are several exercises to be completed through a CD in the text. And the workbook.

The last part of the lesson is learning numbers and time.

Like with learning ひらがな and カタカナ, these must be memorized on your own. They have a general formula for learning and is to your benefit because learning time and numbers will always be essential.

And that is Chapter 1!!!


Remember to practice and LEARN YOUR PRONUNCIATION. Seriously, don’t think you instantly sound like a native. Thankfully Japanese is very “flat” but you do need to be conscious of how you sound.

Don’t sound like white weeby trash 😛 (though that’s fine to be a weeb. Just don’t sound like one rofl)


  • Learn numbers
  • Learn time
  • Do Exercises
  • Space out homework in workbook chapter 1
  • Record yourself speaking and compare it to the CDs.
  • Sing Japanese songs. Get better at pronunciation.
  • Review material.
  • Get the texts if you haven’t.

Have any questions?

If you like what you see please follow or share. Thank you!

7 thoughts on “Learning Japanese Part 4: Genki Chapter 1 Explained

    • Leafさんの夢が。。。 says:

      Awww thank you! I believe either is fine, though I am using the second edition. this is the up to date text and the most improved. If you don’t have the 2nd currently, buy it and then in the mean time work on the kana and you should be alright with the few lessons I’ve posted.
      However, if you don’t have the text you WILL unfortunately see some hurdles in your learning. Make sure it’s new because the CD is essential. And the workbook is honestly worth it. What is not is the answer key. That is not worth your money.
      I’ll be covering supplemental materials to help with your learning along with the Genki series so I hope that will help you along the way. Good luck and thanks so much for enjoying this! I hope I’ve made stuff clear during these lessons. If you ever are confused about anything, please let me know! ^^

      Liked by 1 person

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