I know this is a bit basic but I started doing my Genki I exercises again and found that my hiragana and katakana looked like crap. I figured it was time for me to start writing these nicely and found these pages that have a little animated GIF of how every character should be drawn:
Yesterday at Asian-Ya I learned about a way to say "them" which uses the same distance rules as kore (this thing), sore (that thing) and are (that thing over there). You simply substitute the re part with itsu and you are now referring to persons instead of things:
Koitsu: this person Soitsu: that person Aitsu: that person over there (person in sight but relatively far, or someone not in sight but familiar to both the speaker and listener)
This is supposed to be crude vocabulary according to my dictionary.
Hiragana and Katakana mnemonic from Can You Chopstick? These two guides are a great way to learn the two Japanese kana alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana. The drawings are not always very representative but they did stick for me. Enjoy!
Here are some random little rules that might be useful as you learn Japanese. These were never properly explained in my main book or by my teacher, I found them in other references:
. RU/U verbs: is there a way to determine which is which when a verb ends with RU. I have learned that: -ARU, -ORU, -URU endings: ALWAYS "U" verb. -IRU, -ERU: OFTEN (greater %) "RU" verb. Not necessarily a perfect answer, but it helps with figuring out "U" verbs "on the fly".
. "I" adjectives can usually be converted to adverbs by replacing the last I with KU: OSOI (late) becomes OSOKU. ex: Osoi desu (it's late) vs. osoku nomimasu (drinking late)