2 months to turbo charge my japanese - what would you do?

This summer I have a significant birthday, so some time ago I arranged with my boss that I would take 2 months off work (unpaid). My plan had been to go to Japan for 3 weeks and then come back, study like crazy and take the N3, hopefully having boosted my knowledge a bit while I was in Japan. Obviously the going-to-Japan bit now isn’t happening and I’m not sure I’d feel happy sitting in a test centre all day this summer even if the JLPT goes ahead.

I have, however, decided to still take the time off work and I’d really like to use it to give my Japanese language skills a real boost, as I’m only really able to just keep things quietly ticking over while I’m working full-time.

At the moment I have weekly classes with a tutor and we’re just about to finish Minna No Nihongo Shokyu 2, and then start on Chukyu 1. Alongside WK, I use Torii and my own flashcards that incorporate the vocabulary from MNN and words that I’ve looked up while watching native content (mostly YouTube and social media). I also try to post on Hello Talk a few times each week.

Obviously the time off will allow me to spend more time on all of these, and go a bit faster on WK than my current tortoise pace. But I was curious what other people would do if they had this opportunity? Or if you’d had a similar period of intensive study, what really worked for you?


I would live in an all Japanese zone for the entirety of my waking hours. Or as much as possible depending on your living situation. Only speak Japanese, listen, read, write (if you’re interested)… basically full on immersion.

In terms of WK, just remember that the review load will come back eventually so I’d keep that manageable, but otherwise have fun!


This maybe is unorthodox but I would suggest also taking some time to just “do nothing”, at least the first couple of weeks. Resting is an important thing, and if you’re telling us you are working full time and still putting the effort into learning japanese, apart from doing everyday’s chores, then you have deserved a very earned rest.

During this time keep up with the WK reviews and continue doing the same schedule regarding Japanese as you did while working full-time, but now use that free full-time to do whatever floats your boat.

Learning how to “waste” your time and be okay with it is a very important part of a healthy life.


Have you created a list of milestones or SMART goals for measuring your improvement? You need to have a way to know when you’re improving or making progress before you’ll really feel a “boost”, as otherwise it could be difficult to make any real noticeable improvement in something as complex as learning a second language in 3 weeks.

For structured improvement, I use Shin Kanzen Master JLPT prep materials along with the Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, and Sambon Juku on YouTube. I practice conversation on iTalki, alternating tutors based on whether I want a structured tutoring session, or if I want casual conversation about fun stuff. In my spare time I immerse using my media of choice and chat on Discord / LINE. This way I always have some measurable progress, but I’m still immersing and having fun with Japanese. :slight_smile:

I also work full time and have been able to make significant progress in my Japanese skills over the last year, even converting to a mostly mono-lingual approach to learning Japanese. I don’t have a spouse or kids, so I know my schedule isn’t as packed as some of the other users on here, but with a well-balanced approach you can make good progress even while working full time.


Just curious, why is the going to Japan part “obviously” not happening now? Doesn’t seem obvious to me…

I assume they don’t want to travel during Covid.


Well Japan has closed their borders to non-Japanese citizens and my government has advised us not to book holidays abroad this summer!


Ha ha, yes I probably want to think about tapering it towards the end as the first few weeks back to work afterwards are going to be hard enough as it is!


Fuck, I might need to put that on a poster or smthg :sob:


As long as you have a plan.

I think whenever we have more time it seems like going mad on WK is the thing to do except that sometimes we forget that “wait, my real life schedule can’t handle this kind of load!”

Reading more- now that’s a good way to get more exposure without a crushing amount of reviews. :sob:


I see, it does seem highly likely Japan will be opening up to tourists for the olympics, an economically minded society such as Japan would likely never give up the billions of dollars of the olympics.

Step 1. Read.
Step 2. Profit.


I would actually just spend more time consuming content in japanese.

The main idea is that i dont believe in cramming, so i would not personally speed up on WK considerably or do more grammar than the steady pace i usually have.
That leaves consuming and enjoying the language for what it is. Best method would obviously be alternating between passive and active consuming (how deep to dive into the workings of it when not fully understanding)
Actual study has to be steady and paced. Immersion appears to be more flexible in the short term and can be turned up high or kept at a minimum on a day to day basis.
Wanikani takes weeks, even months to adjust to pacing changes.
So going batshit on WK would come back to haunt you the weeks following when you dont have as much time anymore.


I would do more immersion like others suggested. That’s what it sounds like you were going for anyway.

WK is the one thing I wouldn’t increase because of this reason.

I stopped WK for a few months and powered through 1200 reviews over 3 days during time off from work: Finally hit that wall

The thing is, that increased workload comes back around again over the next few months as the items progress so you need to stick to a pace that you can keep up when you get back to work.

This is probably the best advice here. :smiley:


I hope they open up, at least partially, for the Olympics, but I wouldn’t put my hand into fire “knowing” how Japanese bureaucracy and politics make decisions. Even if the Japan PM Suga wanted to let people make as much money as they wanted the public opinion turned very much against the holding of the Olympics this summer, 80+% of surveyed recently were against the OG 2021 to be held this summer. It would be a political suicide to make it a big bash, party time, open borders for visitors and all…

Personally, I think they will still hold the Olympics but with “limited” crowds allowed to come. Either from the select few “Covid-safe” countries, or with a proof of being vaccinated, just guessing here… It just won’t be a party as everyone expected pre-Covid.

I am a little hesitant to trust that NPR article especially since it doesn’t cite any sources or give any information whatsoever on how they collected those numbers. I’ve been reading a lot of articles on how many Japanese businesses are not only still open but also operating against pretty much all of the health recommendations, so it would seem hard to believe a number like 80%…

That is not entirely true. So long as you have a current (read; valid) residence card, you can reenter at this time. For those wanting to travel/visit, then at this time you will not be allowed to enter.

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I just quoted you the article so you can find out more about it. This is directly taken over from Japanese sources. If you look for similar surveys, you’ll find plenty of them about Japanese not really liking the idea of the OG this summer. Plus, just read between the lines of their daily reporting on Covid pandemic and you’ll quickly realize that they aren’t opening up any time soon. If you think otherwise, be my guest, but at this point it is nothing but wishful thinking that Japan will open up fully to tourism this summer just because of the upcoming OG.

I’m not disputing that. All the businesses in Japan being open and working, even if against health regulations, means nothing, regarding the opening up for tourist travel. The Japanese government had no trouble to stop all travel to Japan last year. And that happened when the Covid situation there wasn’t as critical, according to their words, as it is now. As it is Japan has been virtually closed for all international tourist travel, since April/May 2020. Officially, it will stay closed at least until end of this month. Given the current Covid situation, it is “expected” to stay “closed” until at least fall of 2021.

Unless, and that is a big unless, the Covid vaccinations in Japan, and around the world, are stunning success stories and will bring the numbers of daily infections down, I really don’t see it re-opening for tourism.

Luckily, they changed it but at one point last summer it wasn’t possible to come back for foreign nationals, even with valid residence cards. You had to be Japanese citizen.

EDIT: On a more positive note, we’ll get to visit Japan eventually, hopefully sooner than later, but here is a link to nice pictures of Japan and the current situation with international tourism in Japan:


I’m out, and sorry for going OT. Won’t happen again. Back to my WK reviews :wink:


Hoping they allow new residents soon. I just got my CoE and am ready to GOOOOO.


So I’m starting to slack off /focus on other stuff than learning Japanese lately but what I used to do everyday was some form of “formal study” with WaniKani, Genki, Japanese the Manga Way and whatever resource I found (not all of them in one day). And later in the day I would watch Higurashi (from the episode that I left it off). The most rewarding thing is that somehow there would always be something in it that I just learnt about that day or maybe the day before. I mean I would recognize something from a grammar topic I studied or even just hear a word that I recently learnt.

So if you don’t already, maybe picking up a show you find interesting can be nice. It should be for fun though! Don’t feel obligated that it must complement your studies. What I do is if I notice something in the English subtitle that I think I should understand I rewind a bit and see if I can make it out by paying extra attention to the Japanese audio. For example when I learnt about numbers/dates etc. or the past tense (noob examples probably :grinning:), any sentence involving those took my attention.

Hope you have a good time.