I study about 1 hour a day, even that is quite hard for me to doz but I’ve hear people studying 3 or 4 a day, how do you manage this? Is it necessary or overkill?
It depends on your goal, but I’d say 3 or 4 hours a day is defintiely not necessary, nor is it feasible for many people.
Just think about it - 24 hours in a day and you’re supposed to spend 8 of those sleeping. That leaves 16. Take off 9 hours for a job (8 working hours + 1hr break time) and 1 hour for your commute, you’ve got 6 left. Subtract 2 more hours for stuff like personal hygiene and general stuff you just need to do from day to day like cooking and what not, you’ve got 4 hours left - and you’d be expected to spend all those studying Japanese? That’s a quick one-way ticket to Burnoutville. If you can spare the time and have the energy to do so, by all means, but don’t beat yourself up for not being able to spend 4 hours a day on Japanese.
1 hour a day is good enough if you’re in no particular rush, and honestly even 5 minutes a day is better than no minutes a day. Neither will get you to fluency in a year or two, but who cares, really? It’s not about speed, it’s about sticking with it - and not overextending yourself is probably the most important thing that lets you do that.
I have days where I spend 2 or 3 hours on Japanese because I have the time and energy. I have days where I spend 10 minutes on Japanese because that’s all the time and energy I have. I even have days where I spend no time on Japanese because I have no time or energy for it. Life doesn’t stop just because you’re learning Japanese.
I manage it because I love doing it. Its not a chore, its a hobby. Its not really any harder to study japanese for 4 hours than it is to watch tv or play games for 4 hours.
Its necessary to reach certain goals in certain timeframes, but I mean its not necessary as a whole. The people who reallllly study a lot though usually don’t do it because they have to and its usually not hard. They do it because they want to and have fun.
Actually, thats what I do. Except I work 11 hours and do my japanese during breaks as well. After 4 years of studying for hours a day, I don’t think burnout is really an issue and I actually love studying more than ever. Its just very important to realize that everyone has different goals, reasons, and relationships with their studies. Its hard to compare yourself to others. People putting in 4+ hours a day may be having the time of their life and have lofty goals so its easy and natural. Some people don’t like learning japanese and just need to pass a certain jlpt level for work or something so its more of a chore.
Take a step back and ask yourself why you’re learning. Shape your studies and goals around that and only that. Its fun to talk and get different perspectives, but I wouldnt compare yourself to others, yknow.
EDIT: To answer the question I usually with all of my freetime. Right now its 2-3 hours when I work 11 hour days and like 8-13 hours on the weekend.
It’s like love, you just voluntarily spend as much of your time on it. Or, like a habit that you just automatically do.
I think it helps if you have a goal in mind. For example, for now I’m just happy to read lots of Japanese so I didn’t focus much on writing when I started studying grammar. I studied just enough that I could recognize and understand them in a sentence and though continuous reading, I will make my brain recognize sentence patterns. Even when I studied English I didn’t took grammar seriously.
To put it plainly, I somewhat rushed the grind and just focused on the fun stuff. Make your study as enjoyable as possible and focus on maintaining consistency.
It’s totally depend on your goals.
I’m studying 5-6 hours a day and doing Japanese immersion from reading manga, watching TV shows, or playing Japanese videogames 2 hours a day.
…I would say I miss my friends and families.
I do probably about 1.5-2.5 hours of active studying a day (SRS reviews, textbook study, reading articles about the language, practicing writing kanji, etc.), then an immeasurable amount of passive immersion (I often watch 20 hours of Japanese content a week) mixed with some active immersion on top of that.
A large portion of my twitter feed is in Japanese, and most of the media I watch these days is in Japanese, usually with no subtitles. For most of it, I just take in what I can understand, and let the rest go. Even just in the past year since I first decided to learn hiragana and katakana, my understanding has massively improved. I also have started reading manga, and sometimes take the time to actually properly translate lines from tweets instead of just skimming the Japanese and matching it to machine translation, but at my current level of skill, active immersion takes a lot of time and energy, so it’s not my primary focus at the moment.
I don’t really have general advice for this, though, because Japanese and Japanese pro wrestling are both hyperfixations for me currently . This means I can pour countless hours into studying the language and immersing myself in it and it’s genuinely extremely enjoyable for me and doesn’t feel like work. Studying Japanese right now is one of my main hobbies.
Is it necessary to do this? Probably not, unless you have a goal of reaching a high level of proficiency within just a few years. I currently have quite a bit of free time, so I don’t have to fit studying around a long work or school schedule, and I feel really good about using a lot of my time to work on language learning. I’m happy with my progression currently because I can constantly see how much I’m improving, and I’m getting more and more out of my immersion. I don’t have any real need to achieve fluency because I’m just learning the language as a hobby, so speed doesn’t really matter to me as long as I’m able to make progress and not burn out.
1 hr a day sounds perfectly reasonable. I just found some of my old school schedules, and it looks like we used to have 4-5 lessons of English as a foreign language per week at the start. 1 lesson being 45 minutes. Plus homework and vocab revisions at home… can’t really gauge those anymore, since it’s been so long, but I think I did about 10 mins of vocab a day? Homework probably varied wildly, but presumably back in middleschool not more than 30 mins? So all that adds up to 1.5hrs max of English study on a weekday. (I might have done vocab revisions on weekends too, not sure.) After 3-4 years of that I could watch movies and read books aimed at natives without constantly needing to look stuff up. (Might have been able to do so earlier, but I never tried haha.)
However when we started French as a foreign language we only had like 3 lessons a week (and I stopped doing regular vocab revisions at home, cause I was a rebellious teen lol). So probably less than 1 hour of study per weekday. And I still managed to get to a point of being able to converse with people without too much issue.
And then forgot all of it cause I didn’t use it at all. Being consistent is important, doesn’t mean never skipping a day, but certainly not letting everything rot for several years.
But yeah, as others have said, whatever works for you. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Japanese is currently my #1 escapism, specifically because it actually requires all of my brain, plus gives me the illusion of having done something productive lol. But what with work and chores it’s also maybe 1-2hrs of active study, plus whatever amount of time I have for immersive/passive study. Active study absolutely is exhausting (but that’s the point, for me lol), but watching videos or listening to podcasts doesn’t feel like study anymore at this point. (Reading would be a whole different kettle of fish… xD)
Assuming you are studying Japanese for personal reasons (not professional): I think it depends… in my opinion the best course of action is spending as much time as possible (all your free time basically) learning grammar + a core of vocabulary and kanji for some months so that you can start reading/watching native material you are interested in as soon as possible, starting from the less difficult stuff.
A grammar point/vocab that would take months of SRS will need just a couple of “encounters in the wild” to be learned, as long as you are interested in what you are reading or watching. Therefore this is the most time efficient study plan in my opinion. It can be hard spending all you free time on SRS and grammar but it really pays out, or at least it did for me.
Well I dont study 3-4 hours anymore, I usually do kanji for 1h and then game/ watch contents / music / radio for 3-5 hours. Not everyday. Today I actually done 0!!! Usually I do daily
Bonus when I am at work I usually put only japanese music/ radio / podcasts so that an extra 4 hours. I usually dont listen for the full shift (8h) because I need to talk with my coworkers
I can imitate the hosts of sbs japanese. I think I know all the radio ads by heart now lol. They usually do ads for their radio in the radio diffusion
That. I try to at least do my WaniKani reviews every day.
After that, if i have free time, rather than play games or do crossword puzzles or whatnot, in order I:
-Do 20 Wanikani lessons (almost every day I can do this)
-Do my bunpro reviews
-Do 3 bunpro lessons
-Do kaniwani reviews, writing the answer in kanji on paper from memory before answering. If I can’t write it AND say the reading, I mark it as a fail.
-Very occasionally, I listen to a JLPT N5 listening practice exam. I know this is where my biggest weakness is, but there isn’t much I can do about it until I convince myself to do italki with a real person. My only hesitation is it costs money.
-Screw around on the forum for a while
It’s my hobby; it’s what I enjoy. Some people play video games, I do this.
I find it rather easy to study 3-4 hours a day, but this is just due to the nature of my work. I am a PhD student, so I basically don’t have a specific work schedule. I don’t have any classes, I just do research. I can usually finish my daily work in a couple of hours (except when I am getting close to strict deadlines which is quite rare). So, I find lots of time to study Japanese during the morning and afternoon in addition to getting the evening completely off from work and studying.
I’m one of those people who studies for around 3-4 hours on a weekday, and around 5-6 hours on a weekend day. I’ve seen the best results in terms of studying time once I found a routine that I both liked doing and that was more of less fixed.
I try to do most of my reviews and lessons on WK and Kitsun early in the morning or during launch break. After work, I immediately start reading for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Clean up the rest of the reviews if I feel like it, and then later at night I might watch a show or play a game in Japanese.
I can tell you that studying gets exponentially more fun the more you know the language, and start consuming native material. However, I also think you should ease into studying for longer periods of time. Even though now I read for 2 hours+, I couldn’t do this 10 months ago when I started setting up my routine. After an hour I would be tired, and would stop reading. I really like reading, and definitely see it as my main study method as of late. I wouldn’t be able to do 6-7 hours of SRS or textbook study, but I would gladly read for that long ( assuming the book is good ).
I can recommend Satori Reader for absolute beginners ( or N5-N4 levels ) - https://www.satorireader.com/
And JPDB for people above those levels - https://jpdb.io/ - Just sort whatever form of media you want to consume by difficulty level and find something you might enjoy ( or by Known Words % but that requires a few things being tweaked and some words being marked as known )
See what works, what doesn’t, what’s fun, and what’s not. Always make sure you enjoy studying
" Its not really any harder to study japanese for 4 hours than it is to watch tv or play games for 4 hours".
I’m glad that’s the case for you! You’re lucky. But for a lot of people it would be a lot more exhausting to study and use their brains, than to do something relatively mindless and gentle like watch tv or play games. Don’t you think?! Especially if they were mentally or physically exhausted from work or school.
Anyway I am pleased for you. But good luck too to all the people who haven’t got the energy for that (which I think would be quite a few). I think your experience is towards one end of the spectrum, but your answer seems to suggest 13 hours of study every weekend is within everyone’s grasp if they made more effort… but that’s setting the op up for potential disappointment, guilt and burnout, is it not?
Everyday is different for me. But in my one hour break at work I do at least my Wanikani reviews and some more Anki vocabulary reviews. If I have enough time after work or on weekends I study all the other things. But it doesn’t feel like work for me doing so. Actually it’s quite enjoyable! So I’m suprised that when I look at the clock again I was already studying for 4 hours.
But there are also days where I don’t study at all. So don’t put yourself under pressure. Everyone has their own speed.
Also some people are able to learn more in one hour than other people learn in four hours. So how many hours you learn doesn’t necessarily represent how much you actually have learned.
Also being in a course or even in Japan can make a big difference too, compared to only self-studying.
Well one thing that OP need to keep in mind is; oftenly the people that actively answering on this forum are dedicated Japanese learners. So they are willingly and happily put most (if not all) of their free time into learning Japanese.
However, I think they (including myself) are not even represent 1% of Japanese learners. So don’t feel bad if you don’t put your time as much as them and pushing yourself off your own limit. It’s not about how much you could study a day. It’s about can you consistently study everyday, even 1/2 hours a day is still good enough.
That’s true if you fear a burnout, or if you feel like your learning efficiency drops if you study too much in a day. But if you take into account only the overall time spent studying to get to a certain point, I feel like investing a lot of time initially on a core set of knowledge that you can put into practice is the best way to go. I don’t know in which situation OP is, but if I was a total beginner (as his level leads to believe he is) I would strive to spend more than 1 hour a day.
Very much this. I love studying Japanese, but I don’t have the willingness to dedicate more than an hour a day, maybe two on the weekend. And it’s not because of work or playing games etc, but my family come first for me, and always will. Japanese is a beloved second, but spending time with my family comes absolutely first and foremost.
At the end of the day, how much you give to Japanese is incredibly individual, as are the reasons surrounding each and every decision, in Japanese and every day life!
I don’t think I’m any more lucky than a person who likes sports is lucky to like sports. They enjoy something I don’t. I enjoy something they don’t.
It still takes brain power and I mentally exhaust myself, but I’m free from the additional drain that people who don’t want to study might suffer. I did this through work and school, too. When I started my summer job back up and was working 60+ hour weeks of manual labor, I was outta shape and would come home too tired and fall right asleep. So I started waking up at 2am to do my japanese. I just wanted to, so I did, y’know.
Technically speaking, it might be, but you severely misinterpreted my reply if you think it was just about making more of an effort.
The entire point of my reply was that it doesn’t take effort for some people. We just do it. There is still the mental load associated with learning, but studying for 4 hours is just what we want to do. So if we can, then we do it.
The entire last part of my post basically said to not compare yourself to others. if you think hearing about how much other people love the language and how much time/effort other people are willing to put in will make you feel guilty or burnt out …then I mean that’s kinda a you problem, no? If someone who plays baseball on their weekends for fun gets disappointed and burnt out because he finds out how much pro athletes practice, that’s just ridiculous.
I don’t think op will have that issue though, so let’s keep a positive outlook.
I average about 3-4 hours a day. I gave up crushing candy and study Nihongo instead! It’s been a couple of months, and I’m happy with my progress
I’m not good as a model. I’ve had an “intervention” by my loved ones to let me know that I’m suffering from addiction… Addiction to studying Japanese too much!!
I have a rare life situation
I’m retired, a housewife with no kids at home, only grandpa and the dog to care for. I’m planning to go to Japan as soon as the pandemic permits. So I’m studying “all-out” as if it’s my job… I’m trying to get fluent as quickly as humanly possible.
I quit my other time-wastera. LOL @Danni515 “quit candy crushing”. You go!!! (High five) AWESOME!!
I certainly noticed that binge-watching “Terrace House” (still with English subtitles; need to rewatch without) and playing “Ni No Kuni” (just finished in English, plan to try it in Japanese, but got sidetracked translating the “Ni No Kuni” movie) or trying to do ANY other SRS or grammar or chat really cuts into my ability to advance or even maintain my “daily basic” Japanese study.
My opinion: it seems as if it takes a non-Chinese person more than 3 years to get fluent in Japanese if you go 'all-out',
I see a lot of people who have been studying 10 years at a lesser pace who are upper intermediates.
I act as if I was a college student majoring in Japanese, but who never has to take exams it do college work-study. I act as if I was a middle school student on summer vacation who is obsessed with Japanese.
I just used to do Duolingo whenever I had a break (0.5 to 3 hours a day). But after a year (1/4 of the way through Duolingo) I got differently frustrated that my language learning was barely functional, so I started “reading” (3 sentences a day, looking up words and grammar; this took an hour! So only 3-5 days or week). After 6 months of that, I started reading a book and listening to the audiobook during lunch (intensive, the section I had translated; looking at the written) and falling asleep/waking up (extensive listening). (About halfway through Duolingo)
After 2 years (total, 6 months of book/audiobook “crazy” plan), something “clicked” in my brain, and when I woke up, I noticed my brain was taking the audiobook as “words” and that it was listening and I could make out syllables. This “supercharged” my studies, because I thought “listening comprehension” was within reach. But 7 more months of that plus adding WaniKani to Duolingo (at about 75% done with Duolingo)…
Watching Lauren on the Aloha State season of Terrace House at 18 years old, who started studying Japanese at 15… Who studied texting on Line mostly (?!) Blew my mind to see her functionally conversational
I tried to add iTalkie or HelloTalk, but it didn't seem worth the money to pay for a tutor at my low level where there so many free lessons and videos.
I’m too “cheap” and still don’t want to pay for lessons when I really don’t have more time for study. I ended up using Hello Talk for “writing something every day in Japanese” (maybe only 3-5 days a week, because it takes an hour). I’m still usually cheating with Google translate before I post what I wrote (to save time). I have 150 Japanese followers who give good comments (who I then have to respond to). Forcing myself to record me saying what I write in Japanese (and hearing their feedback on pronunciation/vocab) is like a personal lesson, but I can get to it when I get around to it.
6 months of this (now at 2.6 years of study, much of that “like a madman”) and I’m FINALLY able to just go and read/listen to Satori Reader or NHK Easy. Chapters of the audiobook that I haven’t read (but it’s Harry Potter, so I am know the plot and character names) I’m starting to understand (50%) by listening although I haven’t read/translated. (Exciting!)
It’s FINALLY becoming “less work” to study. It’s in an “exponential” phase where each thing reinforces another (like WaniKani words in Duolingo sentences; and Duolingo stuff in comments from my Japanese language partners). I’m starting to “think” in Japanese (my internal commentary describing people/things/feelings).
I think it’s important to spend time every day reviewing what I had learned previously, to completely “cement it in” (to read/write kanji/speak), and that is more important than “advancement”.
That is my primary daily study goal. But just doing “my daily minimum study” of 50 XP on Duolingo and my WaniKani reviews takes 2 hours and doesn’t leave time for my Hello Talk writing and certainly not any reading!
I don't limit my WK lessons to 10 new a day like many people who seem to NOT need 'an intervention', and maintain a reasonable work-life balance.
Instead, I am “off-balance”, at “full tilt towards fluency”. That seems to be the most reasonable approach to WK that I see on the boards.
I love to read what way to study Japanese works for “normal” people.
One of my Japanese followers is here in the US with his family. He suffers great fear of having to handle a phone call and has difficulty comprehending the rapid English in meetings. He is starting the book/audiobook plan to improve his listening comprehension. I worry for him, because it still is A LOT of work. He needs the “full-tilt” approach, too.
IMHO Listening comprehension is like super-fast instantaneous recognition of flash cards,
where each sentence is 10 vocabulary flash cards and then you have to parse and interpret AS you go. The speed needed requires skipping the translation step as much as possible, going directly to “understanding”. Also: making speech is best if the thought is in Japanese and doesn’t go through a clumsy process of grabbing Japanese words for the English words and rearranging them into Japanese word order, putting the right verb form, and sprinkling in necessary particles.
I’m not there, yet, but getting closer. For some reason, I find it reassuring when I see statistics that say basic fluency requires functional knowledge of around 10,000 words. And taking like a college student is upwards of 30,000 words. I dunno how many words I know, but with numbers like that, I see why I still can’t “just read” NHK Web Easy or “Reading Master Takagisan”. Even if I know 90%, I would still have to look up something for every sentence. But it’s easy to see why studying “as much as one can”, it still takes a danged long time.
EDIT: But I've had another Japanese study-addiction Intervention; so I'm switching to 'No New WK lessons/reviews only
Until I get some of my backlog of tasks in my “real life” accomplished. And then…I will have to try this ‘no more than 20 new lessons a day’ pace/‘Keep Under 100 Apprentice-level’ strategy for a while. I’m curious to see how much time that approach takes each day.