Welcome to Japanese Category!
I’ll post useful tips and lessons, the more you dig in, the more you’ll like Japanese.
You first need to learn Japanese alphabet. There are 3 versions in this beautiful language; Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji.
From Free Japanese Lessons;
There are absolutely no “tones” like in Chinese, Thai, etc. and there are only 2 exceptions within the alphabet which will be explained later. The characters listed below are called Hiragana. It is the main alphabet for Japanese. The Japanese language also consists of Chinese characters (Kanji), which we will get into later, and another alphabet, Katakana, which is mainly used for foreign words. Katakana will be covered in Lesson 2.
There are 5 vowels in the Japanese language. (a), pronounced “ahh”, (i), pronounced like “e” in “eat”, (u), pronounced like “oo” in “soon”, (e), pronounced like “e” in “elk”, and (o), pronounced “oh”. All Hiragana characters end with one of these vowels, with the exception of (n). The only “consonant” that does not resemble that of English is the Japanese “r”. It is slightly “rolled” as if it were a combination of a “d”, “r”, and “l”.
1. は (ha) is pronounced “wa” when it immediately follows the topic of the sentence. It is usually only pronounced “ha” when it is part of a word.
2. へ (he) is pronounced “e” when it immediately follows a place or direction. Both of these are very simple to detect.
Note: You probably noticed that there are 2 “zu” and 2 “ji”. づ (zu) and ぢ (ji) are very rarely used. づ (zu) only occurs when there is a つ (tsu) in front of it like in つづく (tsuzuku – to continue) or when a Kanji (Chinese character) that starts with つ (tsu) is paired at the end with another character changing the つ (tsu) to a づ (zu). The same applies for ぢ (ji). Since they are used so rarely I wouldn’t worry about them too much. I will let you know whenever we come upon a word in which they are used.