How long do you study a day and what do you accomplish in that time?

Thanks for your answers!

Whoops, didn’t notice that :joy:
Yes, my native language is German :wink:

Of course it takes longer to start because you have to learn a new writing system and everything. But I am past this point. I already know Hiragana and Katakana. Now I want to learn grammar and vocabulary (along with Kanji through Wanikani of course). From now on it should be similar to learning English - shouldn’t it? Or s it natural that I need longer because I’m learning all by myself and don’t have a teacher that tells me what exactly to do this day?

I know that learning another language is a marathon and not a sprint. And I like to think about it that way. But I am concerned that I will lose my motivation to keep going when I can’t see any real progress. At least, that’s what it feels like right now.

Hence my question - I feel like I “study a lot” meaning I take a lot of time to study, but I don’t make progress.


Well I have pretty important exams for medical school coming up, so right now im studying probably 1 or 2 hours a day? The rest of the day I study Japanese :slight_smile:

What’s your routine?

I’m still in school, so I’m making slow progress. I do about half an hour each day (not counting WaniKani reviews, which I do throughout the day). Basically fill the 5 minute daily goals on 4 memrise courses for vocabulary, and try to listen to some Japanese videos on YouTube. On weekends I take notes on one section of Tae Kim’s grammar guide.

I don’t know how much time I spend on Japanese, but there are certain things I do everyday:

  1. WaniKani - I level up every 7 days or so so I’m going at full speed. I’ve also recently started using KaniWani
  2. One page in my text book (Japanese for Everyone). I feel like I should be doing more but I’ve always hated text books so I can’t bring myself to do more!
  3. I read at least a couple of things every day. A daily haiku (from this website, I love it), articles on NHK Easy, Satorireader, or from this book I got a couple of weeks ago, etc. Basically I try to get as comfortable with reading as I can.
  4. Lately I’ve been skipping this but it’s the easiest one. I’ll watch an episode of a Japanese show on Netflix, I was obsessed with Terrace House for a while. It’s good to just listen. Sometimes I’ll put on a podcast too if I’m on the train or something.

I think I have noticed a lot of progress? I started studying for real in July this year after a 7 year study break from Japanese (lol, not a good idea). By far the biggest success is that I can now actually read things, even if I have to use the dictionary a lot. My improvement is enormous there. As for grammar and speaking, I should work some more on it…

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I think I probably need at least an hour every day which for my standards is already a lot when I’m trying to keep it up long term with my day job and other stuff. Daily goals and my schedule help me to feel accomplished though. Like clearing reviews and doing X lessons per day.

Well, I’m german as well and learning english is a completely different story. The grammar structures are quite similar, if you can say so, whereas Japanese works in completely different ways. I’ve spent half a year in Japan recently at a language school and I went through Genki I and II and another book in that time and still feel I don’t know much.

When I watch japanese shows and read news online, I notice though, that I understand way more that before. So I definitely get you feeling of no progress. It’s not very motivating, if you don’t see immediate results. But I noticed suddenly, I could understand some words in a show, and then a full sentence here and there, and later on more complex grammar points and that made me very happy.

At the moment I don’t have (make) the time for much grammar, but I should. But I do roughly 20 minutes here and 20 on iknow every day. Kanjistudy (for android) when I can squeeze it in. Also watching japanese shows doesn’t really feel like studying.


Well, I have none at the moment. My only routine is doing my reviews on Wanikani twice a day (mornings and evenings - sometimes more often) and 5-10 new lessons (depending on how I can concentrate on that day).
Whenever I have/make some time, I want to work through the next Genki or Japanese the Manga Way chapter. But I wanted to do that for the last six months and then life gets in the way nd I have to start over from the beginning. That’s why I wanted to create a routine that I can work through on a regular basis and see some progress. But going through a chapter of Genki does take me quite some time (If I do a whole chapter + workbook exercises on one day I forget what I learned quite fast. So I try to stretch that over a few days.).

Hm, maybe I look at it the wrong way… :thinking: it sounds as if I just have to keep working my way forward and not worrying too much about my slow progress.

Is WK allowing you to see the type of progress that you’re looking for?

In the way that I do recognize the Kanji that I learned with Wanikani, yes.
But I can’t learn Japanese with Wanikani only :wink:

Yes, I know. I asked the question to see what would be better to recommend you. Are you aware of Bunpro? It’s a SRS system just like WK but for Grammar. Even if you’re studying from a textbook already, you would be able to review the grammar with Bunpro. This tool also shows you your progress in JLPT levels which might trigger your interest for grammar much like WK levels do :slight_smile:


Your routine and current goals are very similar to mine, so here’s some ideas.

First of all, I recommend Japanese the Manga Way over Genki. I personally dislike Genki’s teaching style- it’s great for practice, terrible at explaining concepts. I’m working through JtMW right now and it’s just so much better. So what I recommend is to do JtMW first and then focus on Genki to review what you’ve learned. That’s what I plan to use it for, at least.

I do my wanikani reviews in the morning or at lunch (sometimes both, but often one or the other), and I used to do them in the evening too. I found my accuracy was terrible though, because my brain was just burnt out by the end of the day. However, it’s still functioning well enough to read a grammar textbook, so that’s what I do instead now. Because of this I’ve got slower wanikani progress than I theoretically could have (but still consistent!), but my evenings are more productive. So what I’d suggest is actually to shoot for one wanikani review session a day, even if it slows down your progress, and use the time you’d spend on that other wanikani review session to try to read a chapter of Japanese the Manga Way. The grammar is absolutely as useful as the wanikani progress.

Then, about halfway through JtMW, I suddenly found I had enough grammar to start deconstructing basic sentences. So the next addition to my routine that I am in the process of adding to my routine is to start analyzing the wanikani example sentences using JtMW as a guide (specifically, I’m analyzing the ones for my leeches because more practice on those is always good). I’m still using the same block of time, just going a little slower on the textbook now. But that’s ok, because I’m getting close to the end of the textbook anyway!

I hope these thoughts help in some way.


Japanese the Manga Way is not an adequate substitute for an actual textbook. It in fact says this itself in the beginning of the book. I also can’t quite see in any way how it explains anything on a deeper level than Genki because it really doesn’t. And many basic things are left out of it.

Sounds like we’re on the same track!! Instead of TH I watch old episodes of “Tokyo Encounter” I’ve got backed up on my computer. Not a particularly useful show for practical Japanese but if you wanna pick up some dirty slang, it’s the show for you.

Obviously you shouldn’t only use Japanese the Manga Way, just as you shouldn’t use any single source. That’s why I recommend following up JtMW with Genki’s massive amount of practice exercises (which is where Genki shines)- if you encounter anything that JtMW doesn’t cover, you’ll have Genki on hand. But when you are a beginner in grammar, and have limited time, you have to pick and choose, and my post was about picking, choosing, and dividing up your time.

As far as the scope, I’ve learned far more from JtMW than Genki, as far as grammar goes. Admittedly, this is only Genki I I’m comparing it to- I never made it to Genki II.

A good example is が,は、and を. I don’t have Genki on hand at the moment but I remember it’s coverage of these particles being pretty basic and to the point- like, maybe a page each. The JtMW chapters on them covered around 20 pages (admittedly, these pages are less efficiently laid out than Genki, but still). I came out of them with a much better understanding of their use than I did with all my time using Genki. I was always fuzzy about the difference between はand が in particular, and I came out of JtMW with a better understanding of how they differ, when to use them, and how to pick them out in complex sentences.

Part of the reason I like JtMW is because it is organized based on sentence structure, building up to more and more complex sentences. It starts with the basic types of sentences and works up. While Genki… I’ll be honest. I have no idea what it’s organization is going for. It feels like random pieces of knowledge thrown here and there.

Sorry for the overly long post just barely related to the main topic, it’s just that I spent years trying to use Genki as a primary resource and hitting my head against a wall (It was my school textbook- I didn’t do terribly well in school.). I’m finally making progress in grammar because, to be blunt, I stopped using it.

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A while back, I measured how long I studied and what I used during my study sessions:

It was pretty eye-opening for me. I highly suggest taking maybe a week to examine your actual study habits and decide whether they’re helpful or not. Sometimes, we get into a routine and stick with it, even if it may not be as useful to our progression as it used to be. I currently don’t have a set routine, but I’m in the middle of planning a new one out.

Like others have said, though, it all comes down to what you do with your time more than how long you have. I’d try and allot more time to my weaknesses and less time to my strengths. For example, if you think reading is your biggest problem, maybe do more reading activities: make time challenges for material you’re mostly familiar with (practice sentences, short paragraphs, etc.), maybe pick an easy-ish manga or book and try reading a few pages each week, things like that. Keep reevaluating your weaknesses, too, since they may change as you progress!

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Yes, I have seen that thread in the forum and visited the website. But until now I didn’t register because I thought it would get too much. With Wanikani, Genki and JtMW plus sometime Lingodeer, I don’t know how to fit bunpro in. Maybe I’ll give it a try and drop Lingodeer :wink:
I’m really interested in learning grammar, so that’s not the problem. I need to figure out which resource helps me the most right now :blush:

Yes! I will try your method. I worked through the first lesson of JtMW yesterday and really enjoyed it. I think I will stick with JtMW at the moment and if I need a change I can still do the next Genki chapter.

It was interesting to read. Maybe I will measure my study habits, too.

Thanks everyone! I do feel much more comfortable now :grinning:

Bunpro doesn’t take that much time per day simply because you have a lot less items to review per day compared to WaniKani. I get around 20 items/day and I study grammar pretty much every day. Sometimes I get less than 10. What will need more time will be grammar itself, but you’re already doing it through textbooks. Even so, Bunpro would allow you to review your grammar through the SRS system leading to better long-term results :slight_smile:

I do at least half an hour of reading (or at the very least two pages, when I really don’t feel like it)

Most of my time is spent in anki, mostly studying words I’ve looked up and added to my custom deck (I aim for around 110-120 items a day, counting both reviews and new words). The bulk of this is done during time spent waiting during the day though.

Another deck contains all the non-WK kanji I encounter. I add about 10 each week.

I also have a deck of grammar points where I aim to do about 10 items a day, making up my own mnemonics.

Apart from that I have a listening practice webapp I cobbled together, that I use to practice 35-50 words each day.

In total, I would estimate about 1 hour 45 minutes of study.

Apart from this, I try to get one hour of japanese conversation in each week using italki. And I watch Japanese let’s plays (実況プレイ) from time to time.

EDIT: forgot my kanji deck in anki.

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