So, you want to learn Japanese, eh? Well, good for you! It is a fascinating language, but also a very complex one. Japanese is almost the direct opposite of English. Whereas English has a very simple structure but many exceptions to the rules, Japanese has few exceptions but is very complex in its structure.
This page is not intended to teach you how to speak or write perfect Japanese. You should go take a Japanese course for a few years to do that. There are, however, many people who enjoy playing Japanese video games and reading Japanese magazines and comic books. Some of these people just look at the pictures because they can't read any Japanese. And for those people, it's tough to go into a Japanese store and pick out the title that they want, because they can't make out anything from all those weird characters.
This page is divided into three sections, each one covering one of the three different Japanese alphabets, each one being progressively more difficult to learn. You should start with the Katakana alphabet, and get that one down first. It's easier than you think!
KATAKANA -- Lesson 1.
HIRAGANA -- Lesson 2.
KANJI -- Lesson 3.
I hope this has helped you somewhat. Send me an e-mail if you have any comments or questions. BUT PLEASE, NO INQUIRIES ABOUT GETTING TATTOOS IN JAPANESE!! I will not take any responsibility for anything that can't be reversed in 5 minutes!
Also, if you simply want your name transcribed into Katakana, there are translation websites that can do it for you (a Japanese font is required for your browser). For example, babelfish.altavista.com is a popular one. Also, www.nifty.com/globalgate is pretty good.