At this point, you have all the tools and materials to learn Japanese up through a beginner level. Essentially, keep progressing with these tools / strategies for about ‘2 semesters’, or however long it takes you to progress from Genki I, then to Genki II. Once you have finished Genki II, I recommend introducing the following into your regiment:

Genki I > Genki II

Once you finish Genki I, feel free to continue to the next in the series, Genki II

*Goal: Finish Genki I, then start & finish Genki II

Language Engagement & Exchange

I don’t think there is much benefit in language exchanges and events with other native speakers until you have a sufficient ‘base’ that you can use and work off of. That said, once you have completed ‘basic’ Japanese (Genki I & II), I think it is a good time to start trying to speak more with native speakers. Start by trying to have conversations with your tutor – once you feel comfortable with that, find some local Meetup-style events, online or in-person, that you can attend. Speaking with native speakers is ultimately your goal, so starting as early as reasonably possible will help massively with that. Make friends with native speakers who you can practice with (free! haha), which also makes the process as a whole more enjoyable 🙂 I still keep in contact with some of my first language exchange partners!

*Goal: Start speaking w/ native speakers (first your tutor, then Meetup-style events). Make friends!

Start Reading! – Part 1

There are several sites with ‘easy’ Japanese you can start reading at this stage.Continue to look up new words and terms as needed. Some great options include: News Reader App (Manabi on App Store), NHK Easy Japanese, Hiragana Times.

*Goal: Start reading w/ beginner level texts

Final Step: Re-read Tae Kim’s Guide

You will inevitably learn a lot of information in the Beginner stage, and it is all critical, forming the base of your Japanese ability moving forward. Before progressing to the Intermediate stage, re-read Tae Kim’s Guide – it will give you a good general refresher of all the basics you just learned. At this point, before progressing, you should know about 500-1000 Kanji, and feel comfortable with basic levels of reading and conversation.

*Goal: Analyze your level – proceed to Intermediate after re-reading Tae Kim’s Guide

Optional: Take JLPT N4

As the N4 test is pretty close to the level you should have after your first year or so of completing beginner Japanese, the N4 may be a good additional skill check before moving into the next level. I also like the New Kanzen Grammar Book a lot for N4 as (similar to Tae Kim) a good review and refresher of the grammar you come across in Genki I & II

Goal: Take, and pass, JLPT N4