How much time do you spend on Japanese?

So title basically. I find I’m spending too much time and I burn out after a month or two, thus upsetting all my progress. Any advice on moderation? My typical schedule included wanikani reviews and TokiniAndy videos and working my way through one Genki chapter a week. This took me several hours each day and it’s really frustrating to keep losing motivation for something I really do care about. Any advice appreciated.


What scares you about spending less time on Japanese? Or, what do you think you would lose by spending less time on Japanese?


We have a discord for Genki, and we usually do 2 weeks a chapter (1 week textbook, 1 week workbook)


Currently I do wanikani, one Cure Dolly video, and one grammar point in Tae Kim per day. This doesn’t take much time and while I make sure I follow what is said/written I don’t worry about memorizing it. I’m doing this over a couple months so that I’ll have a rough overview and some familiarity with most grammar once I start Genki this summer. Also so that when I start immersing I’ll have an idea of where to look up the explanation of whatever I don’t get. This feels like a sustainable routine for now, and hopefully it will lay the foundation for the ability to sustain more ambitious studying in the future:)


I have a tendency to do waaaaay too much of something when it’s new and brain-stimulating. That’s when I spend too much time on Japanese and burn myself out.
To answer your question tho I’m afraid I’ll never get anywhere with it if I spend too little time. And im not even sure what spending less time would look like


Wouldn’t the answer depend on what else you have on? I work full time, and while Japanese is a hobby, it needs to fit around the rest of my life. I attend a 2 hr Japanese class once a week. I then try to do 2 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday, focusing on grammar and vocabulary building. Then, mid week, if I can I will watch an episode in Japanese (currently watching Agretsuko on Netflix which is 15min an episode and allows me to watch it once with Japanese subtitles and once with English). Sometimes I’ll listen to a Japanese podcast as I walk to the shops. Then I spend about 1.5 hr on WK every day, broken up into 30min slots at every meal (so 30 min before breakfast/lunch/dinner). I couldn’t do a chapter of Genki a week with that schedule - before I started my class, I was managing a chapter every 3 weeks.


If you can’t find a routine or a schedule that works for you, you can try doing without one. I can’t say I’m too happy with my japanese progress, but I can’t complain either, so I guess you could say that having no schedule seems to work for me. I’ll choose natural flow over regularity any time. And if that doesn’t work out for you, you can always come back to looking for a better learning routine.

When you go through the genki chapter: Do you mostly pick parts by hand like the grammar section or do you complete the whole dang chapter (vocab/kanji included)? Because if it´s the latter i feel like there are much better usages of your time.

(And to answer the title: I spend about 2 hours a day)

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I can spend a few hours a day watching videos and shows in Japanese, but that’s because I enjoy it. I won’t say I’m studying.

Then, I’ll do at least three 1-hour long lessons with an iTalki tutor per week plus a few hours on doing homework. I am learning N1 grammar with a tutor who provides her own materials, thus I don’t use a textbook.

Last year I’d be also spending 1.5 hours on WK every day. WK was exhausting but I’m glad I forced myself through it and now kanji isn’t a big deal for me. Of course I forgot a lot already but it’s easier to relearn something I already knew.

Overal, now I am enjoying Japanese and learning more naturally through consuming the content I like.


So maybe this is a pretty terrible way of approaching it but I’m mainly interested in reading Japanese over everything else and I personally find that learning by association and by just diving in is the best way for me to learn. So at the moment I’m only doing WaniKani daily (10-30 mins a day), getting some Kanji in but I’ll soon start reading stuff and using MTL to decipher sentences and learn like that as I personally find that just diving into the deep end might be the better way for me to learn since I find the traditional studying methods to be dull.

Not enough time is my answer.


I’ve found that this quote helped me to put things in perspective:


From my learning experience, diving into Japanese materials as early as possible or have something fun related to the language (i.e. writing sentences, haiku’s etc) has helped prevent any burn outs as I can easily track my own progress depending on what kind of materials I can read, write, and understand. It feels like a miracle that seven months ago I can’t understand anything to reading graded books, NHK Easy articles, and now learning grammar from a mostly pure Japanese grammar book like Tobira. Nothing boosts confidence like being able to do something and seeing how much you’ve achieved.

During hectic or bad days, just doing my Wanikani and Anki reviews or reading a single Japanese article is enough for me to feel that at least I did some progress. No matter how small it’s better to have some progress than none. Eventually it had become a habit wherein discipline just kicks in and made me push through. To be frank, having motivation is good but discipline is what really counts in the end.

To answer OP’s question, I guess I study 2-3 hours a day but time flies so fast that at times it doesn’t feel like studying. I’m just so enamored by Japanese traditional culture, pop culture, and history that it seems that I don’t run out of things to be interested in.

TLDR: Find something fun that is related to the language.

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Thanks for answering! I totally get the excitement around newness. Brains like novel things!

Where would you like to go, conceptually, with Japanese? In other words, when you say you’re afraid you’ll never get anywhere, how will you know? What would you like to be able to do having learned Japanese?


Probably more than I should, but I really like learning it and there are many occasions throughout the day that remind me why I’m doing this. I can’t see myself burning out any time soon.

The only kind of advice I can give you is:

  • Don’t over do it, not so much in terms of actual time spent on learning, but in terms of how many different things you are doing at once. Otherwise it becomes a chore going through all the different things you have to do (WK, Genki, youtube videos, podcasts, Anki, etc…), and you’ll start to think that learning japanese is just going through 10 different routines, instead of enjoying the process of learning for whatever purpose you have in mind. I use WK + Genki + Anki (for vocabs that are not on WK) and I enjoy every moment of it.

  • As soon as you start to feel you want to take a break or do something else, do it. Even if you have 5 reviews left on WK, or if you have just one exercise left on Genki to conclude the chapter; just stop and do something else. Japanese isn’t going anywhere, but if you burn out every 2 months you’ll never get anywhere.

Finally, I think it’s really important to always have under your eyes why you are doing this. This way every bit of progress you make becomes meaniful as you realize that each minute spent on japanese got you closer to where you want to be.


I feel you. I tend to do the same: get really invested in an activity, take a whole bunch of commitments, and then lose steam after a few months.

Other people mentioned discipline, and it has helped me quite a bit this time around. This is my third time tackling the language, and I’m managing my bad habits through a consistent schedule. At the same time, for me discipline isn’t “do x amount of lessons and x amount of active listening every day”, but rather “be in Japanese”. Whenever I find I lose the motivation with what I currently have, I switch it up and find other things to pique my interest, though always in Japanese.

If after two months you’re bored of doing grammar, maybe take walks outside with your MP3 playing Konnichiwa podcast. If you get bored of anime, try listening to vTubers or let’s players. If you’re reading beginner mangas and don’t feel invested in the story, try a franchise you love, even if it’s a bit harder. And if you find it’s lonely, try book clubs, online language exchange groups, or get involved with some pixiv artists. It’s just a matter of making the journey enjoyable every step of the way.


I try (when I’m on my game) to do reviews as and when they come in, which is the easiest way I’ve found to reduce the pressure of a large review load hanging over my head. Doesn’t matter if I’ll have enough time to clear the entire amount, just doing 10 or 20 while I’m making a cup of tea, waiting between calls, etc. can be a great way to keep active. If I’ve not got reviews, I’ll do some LingoDeer+ games or check my BunPro reviews.

Maintaining a 7-ish day level up time with a routine means that typically I’ll level up at 10am, do my kanji and radical lessons, and then have them come back at 2pm and 10pm. This means that level up time flips from early morning to mid-evening every time. It’s the most efficient way I’ve found to level up on a tight schedule without doing crazy stuff like setting alarms.

I typically split my vocab lessons over the three days between level up and unlocking the next set of kanji, knowing that upon guruing the first set of kanji, new vocab lessons will be unlocked.

All this considered, it probably means that, in total, I spend an hour or two a day on Japanese.


i spend a lot of time on japanese. is it too much? i don’t know. but i do have a lot of free time, and it gives me something to do.

so how much is a lot? in the last couple of weeks it’s been about 3 hours a day studying. plus an hour or two reading (for fun, but i’m pretty sure i’m learning stuff as i go along), and a variable amount of anime. plus a few random bits of youtube and stuff.

sometimes i feel like the inside of my head is undergoing a very thorough massage. it’s not unpleasant, but my attention is certainly focused.

usually i do a lot of outdoor activities (skiing, hiking), but it’s currently between season, and my primary hiking partner is still recovering from an injury, so i’m not doing a lot. once activities pick up i’m sure i’ll spend less time on japanese ^^

I don’t think there is such thing as too little time, unless you need to learn Japanese because you accepted a position in a company that you will be required to take over in like 8 months then yeah okay maybe give it more time.

But if you’re like the majority of people here, who are pursuing language learning for the knowledge and fun of it… there really is no such thing as too little time. Even just 30 minutes a day will produce results over time, because in 365 days… that’s 182 hours of language learning!!! Crazy, right?? That’s what a friend of mine was doing on his language learning journey, and that was enough for him.

So take your time if you can, explore resources available to you, and find a routine that is enjoyable AND sustainable. And it’s okay if you don’t find a routine right away. Lots of people here explore different options and find stuff that work for them/don’t work for them. Best of luck!

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and also also: if you spend 4 hours, but it’s not focussed, I think you’ll learn less, than really focussed learning for an hour or so?