I’ve been studying on and off since 2010. How much of that I’ve been seriously and/or consistently studying would be difficult to add up. Plus breaks = forgotten things.
My studies initially focused on books (Henshall’s A Guide to Remembering the Kanji - where I learned 300 Kanji) + Anki, Human Japanese 1 (there was only 1 at the time anyway), a pocket grammar handbook, a few phrasebooks, some random Japanese forums/sites… it wasn’t all that effective.
It started being more effective in 2014 when around the same time/season I discovered the TK Guide to Grammar app and a local group that was split into beginner and intermediate, had a JLPT 1 JET alumni teacher, native speakers, translations of things like Momotaro in groups, questions about Japanese answered in English or Japanese, short grammar and vocab lessons, some culture/art/games stuff (like origami and calligraphy), etc. That super increased my motivation, as well as leading me to new resources.
Shortly after that I discovered WaniKani (January 2015), and from there things like Lang-8, Yotsuba&, looking for children’s books in Japanese. Also as the years progressed, the amount of anime I watched per day/week increased drastically, and when watching a series, I’d pick up their patterns of speech, show-specific vocab and phrases, even a tiny bit of grammar (usually requiring look up) and that with manga reading very much helped and also increased motivation. Fell in love with Jisho and Rikaikun. Eventually came across Hi Native.
Recently have been trying out random Google Play apps, some more effective than others. Oh and Memrise! I started using that a buttload in 2015, finishing several courses in a short time alongside WaniKani. I found Memrise really effective at the time but have kinda dropped it since resubscribing to WK after a year-long break, this March.
I bought Shin Kanzen Master Grammar N4, but still feel that my kanji and vocabulary is a little below where it needs to be for me to go through it. I’d like to not have to spend a large amount of time looking up words, as I feel that would impede my progress.
What I’ve had near zero experience with is speaking, but at the same time it’s currently not a high priority for me. My highest priority is reading, with listening being second, and writing and translation? being a third.
I’m definitely behind where I feel I ought to be, but nevertheless I intend to take the N3 this year, barring another transportation disaster like December 2015… that left me depressed and demotivated, finding out the day before that I couldn’t go (and then in the following days that there were in fact ways for me to go, thanks a lot, y’all… sigh).