Feeling Unmotived

Hey people, I’ve been a fan of japanese since I started watching anime in 2016 (classic), by the beggining of 2017 I’ve started this course and I’ve been LOVING learning this in here, even though some people say I’m learning the wrong way, since I’m more focused on learning the kanji’s and how they work together rather than learning in a more dinamic way… Well I managed to get to the level I am now, 24 I think? But the thing is, my progress has been decaying slowly since end of last year, and this year, I think I am in this level for more than 3 months now (I used to level up in around 10 days each level before), and nowadays I don’t feel like doing my reviews as happily as I would last year, I don’t know what is happening, and how to overcome it, and have fun alone doing it again. From last year to this year I made more friends, and got a girlfriend, but I don’t want to believe the lack of those things were my motivation to learn japanese (and even to watch anime lol, im supposed to be an otaku who watched 200+ animes, but haven’t been watching any this year aswell)…
Well I don’t even know what I should do, just wanted to put what I’m feeling into words and share with you people :slight_smile: maybe I’ll overcome this, but I don’t know how.
Also, I don’t think this is depression, since I’m happy doing other stuff, but I want to continue learning Japanese, since I love(d) it so much.


It’s really common to have periods where you feel unmotivated or generally negative about your learning since it takes so long to make any progress in a language (especially one like Japanese). And that’s okay. Do you do any additional studying for things like grammar or vocab? Both are essential to help you reach fluency. I find that when I’m feeling down about my progress, it helps to take a break and simply read something in Japanese. It allows you to see how much you’ve improved over the course of your studying, and you can think “Wow, this is 100% more than I was able to read when I first began studying Japanese!”

If reading is difficult for you, then I do suggest beginning some form of grammar studies. Seeing tangible bits of progress in reading comprehension (or listening comprehension, if that’s what you’re going for) can be a great motivator.


I started learning some grammar last year aswell (Tae Kim’s Guide), but it was very objective and was kinda hard for me to understand it, since my first language is portuguese, and has some different structures, like in japanese and even english. I had to read it at least 4 times each section to get a grasp of what it was saying, and I never actually read anything in japanese, like a light novel or any other stuff, because I never felt confident about it, all I knew was the kanji and vocabulary by itself, but not how they connected, like the grammar, and I feel this is one of my greatest weaknesses, but whenever I try reading something, if there is no kanji, I don’t understand it, if there is some strange grammar I never seen it, I don’t understand it.

Actually, Ive started learning japanese so that I could read novels and books, that was my goal at first, but I don’t see when i’ll get to do that in a near future :confused:

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I’ve read through a good chunk of Tae Kim’s guide as well, so I could understand it being somewhat challenging if English isn’t your native language. But without a good foundation in grammar, it’s going to be difficult to read anything in Japanese, and I think that could certainly be contributing to your lack of motivation. After all, who wants to keep studying when they don’t feel like they’re getting anything out of it?

Perhaps you could try another source for grammar. People often recommend Genki as a beginner textbook, due to the rather clear grammar explanations and accompanying workbook. Some people have trouble getting through it though, and recommend Japanese From Zero as a much simpler way of learning grammar. I’ve actually used both and can confirm that Japanese From Zero has rather simplified grammar explanations, so it may be what you’re looking for.

If you want an additional book to accompany your grammar studies, Japanese the Manga Way contains very specific explanations on constructs that you’re likely to encounter in reading. I wouldn’t recommend studying it on its own since I don’t think it provides enough of a foundation, but it can be a good supplement.

If you want to do some reading practice, there are beginner level graded readers that only require very basic grammar. They can help you get used to basic sentence structure and help improve your confidence when it comes to reading overall. I think if you can start to read things, you’ll feel a lot better about the progress you’re making, and in turn you’ll want to study more.


You have to PUSH through this feeling. It’s okay to step back a little if you have to (and it sounds like you may have), but I personally feel you just need to keep pushing and doing your daily Japanese routine. You will eventually get through this feeling and you will be extra glad you didn’t stop doing your WK.

Also I think it’s normal to slow down a bit as you level further. Finding a balance is key. Personally I do it every day, once per day at the same time everyday. I always do my reviews but only do lessons when my next day review pile is looking small. That gives me time to do other things in my life that I want to do (like studying grammar haha)

Same here, though my reason is games. Honestly, you’re closer than you think to the level where you can start to read some Japanese material (depending on subject). There are some games I can read fairly well and others I cannot (struggled through Under Night In Birth exe ST Late’s story/chronicle mode). Just keep going and stick with the grammar! You can always try a different grammar source if you are struggling with Tae-Kim. Don’t be afraid to look elsewhere, some other sites might explain it in a way that’s easier for you to understand.

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Do you want the link to Tae Kim in portuguese?

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I think taking a break and coming back to learning Japanese can be refreshing.

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That would be helpful i think, but the English isn’t the problem, but the objective way of teaching i think, but thanks ^^

Join one of the book clubs. Seriously. At level 25, you should be fine vocabulary-wise with anything the beginner club does. If you struggle with grammar, you’ll have a group of people who are reading with you and can support you. If you want a subjective way to understand grammar, diving straight into it is what you need.

Language is, in my opinion, one of the single most complicated things you can attempt to learn, and there’s no way you’ll survive the task if you have nothing motivating or enjoyable to look forward to as a result. You’ve stated clearly that you want to read novels, so go for it!

If joining one of the book clubs isn’t really your cup of tea, or you can’t commit to a time-frame do to life stuff, I recommend finding a light novel series that interests you (especially one that has been adapted to manga or anime or fan-translated on a translation website) and take a wack at it. If you are familiar with the story or have a reference translation, it will be much easier to make sense of the grammar. This approach is going to be more difficult, as you’re less likely to know all of the kanji yet.

You mentioned you haven’t been watching anime this past year? Why is that? I can understand that it was a weaker year for anime for sure (with a few spectacular exceptions). If you aren’t watching anime and aren’t confident enough to try reading, you’ve eliminated two potential souces and influences of Japanese from your life. Other than WaniKani then, what is left?

Perhaps it was not because you lacked friends or a girlfriend that you wanted to learn Japanese, but that making those connections has changed your motivations? Other than watching anime and wanting to read, you have not explicitly mentioned (that I see) any other reasons to learn Japanese. If you’re spending more time with people you know, and anime is no longer a strong hobby of yours, it simply sounds to me that Japanese has simply lost its value as a time sink. Aside from the auxiliary benefits learning a language in general provides, learning Japanese for the sake of learning Japanese just sounds painful to me.

And so, I provide questions you should ask yourself (and answer here, should you want to provide more information for us to help re-motivate you :grinning:). Whether or not you choose to consider them, of course, is for you to decide. :yum:

  1. Why are you currently learning Japanese?
  2. What about Japan do you enjoy and/or are interested in?
  3. How does learning Japanese enable or help you accomplish #2.
  4. In your current life, is #2 worth the investment of learning a vastly different foreign language?

Edit: 200 anime? You are but a fledgling in my ancient eyes! :rofl:


It sounds you’re trying to push it.
Enjoy life. Language learning (specially japanese) it’s time consuming as hell if you want to accomplish some serious understanding.
So If you don’t see clear goals now, are having a nice time, then what’s the point in forcing yourself to like it?
All in all it’s a language spoken by some hundred million people that live on an island, and are somewhat shy… so In the grand scheme of your life could have no real repercussion unless your are planning living there or have japanese relatives :sweat_smile:.

Anyway, learning without motivation it’s a big NO for me. Don’t get into the idea that you must complete this self projected image of yourself knowing japanese just because you spended some time doing it before. Enjoy your daily routine japanese or not.

I enjoy reading those silly graded readers and reading about japanese grammar (oddly enough) and kanji seems to be this cool system that still proves atractive. The day this is no longer true… I’m ditching this stuff :raising_hand_man:

So, comeback if you get feel you might enjoy it again (you know what the routine takes, so there’s no surprise there). If not… there’s life and tons of other things to do :wink:


I sometimes need reminded that humans are seasonal. We have up times and down times for all aspects of our lives, and basically this just sounds like a “down” time for your japanese-iness. I think if you push yourself to do more than just a little bit each day, in your current state, you will burn out, so keep it easy and wait for the motivation to come back to you. You might need to switch from a routine that takes an hour or more per day, to one that takes 10 or 20 mins per day for a while

It also sounds like you need a better resource for grammar, something that is going to be fun/bite-sized/interesting. Tae Kim is not the only free grammar guide out there. Try doing just one lesson on Bunpro.jp each day or something like it?

Also, try graded readers or “easy news”. There are websites like jisho or weblio that will define grammar the same way they define words, so you should be able to look up anything you don’t understand. Confidence-building from reading “in the wild” has been really tough for me, because my grammar knowledge is near 0, so even when I have the words defined, I don’t “get” it. The only way I have been able to bridge that gap is to read sentences that were specifically designed for someone at my level.

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The problem about learning from Tae Kim’s guide, was that sometimes I had to stop and try to understand what was being said in english first, not because I didn’t understand, but because there was many meanings and stuff in a little phrase, then trying to put in japanese, it felt really hard and I wasted so much time just trying to understand what is was saying.

Where can I find those book clubs? I really wanted to read novels in japanese, that is actually, one of my dreams.
Now answering your questions:
1- Because I like the way they make sentences; the way you can understand it in a subjective manner; I’m in love with kanjis, even though they are hard, they are amazing; for watching anime without subtitles haha; for reading novels; I want to be different (I think where I live no one learns japanese); I want japanese to be my 3rd language, after i learn it, i’ll definitely be able to learn anything, and other languages.
2- I’m not really sure, because actually, I started learning japanese because I was liking anime, seems funny right? I don’t have plans of moving there as well, so it all says it is wrong for wasting my time learning it right? But I still want to do it.
3- Not sure
4- This… the same answer for 3. I don’t understand why is that, but learning it so far has been too good, but I can’t find reasons that explain why should I be doing that.

And 200 animes in less than 2 years sure is a lot senpai hahahah

I loved how you put it, I think I was almost thinking in this way, but I couldn’t really put into words. Even though, I feel I should be learning it anyway, since I bought this course again this year, and there is part of me that feels I shouldn’t be wasting this money without using it.

Just by reading all those comments from people trying to help me is a big motivation for me to keep doing it already. Thanks guys!
@SleepyOne @Ncastaneda @EiriMatsu @Akanbe

I was kinda forcing me so hard to keep doing it, but strangely enough, there was times it was just the first push for doing it, and there were times it was doing it for the entire session (talking about reviews and lessons) About grammar and other stuff, I never really found a way to do it in a interesting and easy to learn way, that might have been why I didn’t really learn it, since I’m learning all by myself, I think I got really far already, but I know it is not enough, and I want more (I’m ambicious af).
Lately I’m having less time than last year, and I’m putting most of my effort into my drawings (I chose it to be my future carrer, so I draw everyday and I’m posting daily on Instagram, check it out if interested: instagram.com/willianac_art ) but last year was kinda the opposite, I was putting more effort on learning japanese than drawing. I don’t know where i’m trying to get, maybe just putting my actions so far into words, but just wanted to thank you guys for wasting your time for me <3

No problem. Just thought it would be helpful haha.

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same here :+1:

sometimes just seeing your own thoughts made a post will be more useful than the actual responses you get.

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Beginner Club

Intermediate Book Club

Your goals are similar to what mine were when I first started learning. My first Japanese endeavor was memorizing the Japanese lyrics to an anime series. :grin: I don’t think you’re wasting your time learning Japanese if you don’t plan to move there. I honestly think the majority of users here don’t live in and/or don’t intend to actually move to Japan. There are definitely more useful languages one could learn for general-life, but having otaku-related interests validates it completely. :smiley:

Glad to see your motivation returning! As one who also loves the intricacies of kanji, it would be saddening to see you burn out! :open_mouth:

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There’s beginner manga too. The Yotsuba Reading Club is currently in Volume 3, but we also go back to answer questions from previous volumes when they come up.


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