Ideas for weekend study

Hi all!

During a normal week, I normally WaniKani and study grammar a bit every day. However, sometimes I can eek out a couple extra hours of free time on the weekends.

What do you guys study when you have a bit of extra time? I just try and study grammar more but honestly I don’t think it sticks as well as when I do my normal daily periods. I was thinking about maybe practicing speaking and listening on the weekends.


You could also do some kanji writing practice? Study stroke order if you hsven’t already, or just try to write down longer sentences, perfect your kana writing skills.

But speaking and listening are very important skills to practice. More important than handwriting, in any case


Sometimes when I have extra time and/or feel like doing something different, I look at a text that’s way above my skill level just to see how many bits and pieces of it I can understand. By coming back to the same text occasionally, I can make out more and more each time.

It’s definitely not the most efficient form of “study”, but it is a weird way of measuring your improvement that I find kind of fun and motivating.


I was going to suggest speaking and listening before I even got to the end of your post where you suggested it. I’d recommend going through some of the Japanese Pod 101 material. You can listen, read along on the PDF, and then try and imitate the speakers. Another option would be to spend some time using The Cut-Tongue Sparrow on Spotify. It is good for beginner listening and repeating/shadowing practice.

I’m finally at the level where I can read light novels and short stories in Japanese, so that is how I tend to spend my “extra time” in studying Japanese.


Whenever I have extra time, I go over the Japanese Sentences deck in Anki. It also has audio clips, so I’m not only integrating grammar and vocab (hopefully) by translating sentences, but also improving my listening skills! I also sometimes read/translate NHK Easy, which also has a recording you can listen to, of every article!


I’d suggest listening practice. Anything from subbed anime (slice of life only) or jdramas to shadowing practice would really help you get a feel for sentence structure and the way people actually talk. Heres a great resource for practicing daily conversations:


What about Skype calls? There’s this guy called Benny Lewis who proposes speaking and immersion from day 1 (or from way earlier than you’d think anyway) as the best way to learn (supplemented with traditional study of course), using just your wits and a dictionary…lololol I don’t really know how it works but he’s got a cool blog. And you can get Skype teachers for not too much money per hour, I think.

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I have just recently subscribed to TV Japan and use it for listening practice. It’s motivating to hear and understand words and sentences I have learned. They also have loads of Japanese subtitles which I use for reading practice. They move fast, though, so I seldom (so far) get through the entire subtitle. But I keep working on it.

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If you’re into games, I’ve always found Let’s Play (実況プレイ in japanese) videos to be really nice and relaxing listening practice.

Since you don’t need to understand anything you can do it at any level, and the sentences spoken are often pretty short and simple as well.


My rotation is Wanikani, grammar study with my textbook which I turn into sentence and vocab flashcards on Anki, 1-2 Skype or in-person lessons per week, Shadowing, and writing practice. I also have a couple graded readers lying around for some casual reading.
For writing, I tried keeping a journal, but everyday is mostly the same during the week so I googled some random writing prompts and those are more interesting to write about. It stretches me to use different grammar and vocabulary. Then I post it on italki to get it corrected.

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A lot of great options. What I do: workbook exercises that weren’t assigned to me, review older vocabulary and grammar, get ahead on studying vocab, study for JLPT, listening and speaking practice. I think it’s best to work on whatever you feel will benefit you the most.

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I’d watch Japanese Ammo


Thanks everyone for the great ideas!

@Saida I do love writing kanji for fun so that’d be a nice routine to do on the weekends. It also helps learning kanji that haven’t stuck as well or only have slight differences between other ones.

@CheeseSwiftly I’ve done this before too! Being able to understand entire sentences on occasion is the best feeling ever.

@pgoonghang Thanks for the reassurance! Also I realised I made a JapanesePod101 account ages ago and didn’t realise how good all the free content is. Thank you so much! I am definitely going to make a habit of checking it out every weekend and maybe even a few times throughout the week.

@Nenad I love reading NHK Easy! When I can understand one of the articles, I feel so happy. Rarely happens without me looking things up, but I can’t wait for that to be a more common feeling.

@pensei Ohh I’ve heard about shadowing before and wanted to try it! Thanks for the resource! Will for sure check it out.

@spurofthemoment Oh man I occasionally text chat with this really sweet Japanese girl I know who barely knows English…I feel like doing Skype calls would be too much. I have considered getting a Japanese tutor. I already know a great local tutor but can’t afford her yet with all the other things I need to save up for, however it’s definitely going to be a part of my journey. She’s great! I may look up cheaper tutor online in the meantime.

@dunlewy Ooh, sounds interesting! How do you subscribe to TV Japan? Or do you live in Japan? In any case, I like watching shows on Netflix subtitled in Japanese sometimes.

@crihak I love this idea! Not Let’s Plays I suppose but I have accidentally done this - was looking for a stream of a game I played and they happened to be Japanese. It was really fun! I didn’t think to try doing this more. I do enjoy an occasional Kizuna AI video…Do you have any Let’s Players you recommend?

@plantron Ooh, I watched and it’s really interesting! She’s really good at explaining things too! Will definitely watch lots of her videos.


Weekends, if I’m free, are when I do more reading. Either graded readers or books from the WK bookclubs, or sometimes Tae Kim. I also have started to use that time to watch the Japanese Ammo with Misa youtube videos as she explains things well.


I certainly do! :slight_smile:

:warning: Long list incoming! :warning: Hopefully you (or someone else reading) will find something you like! Most or all of these should speak pretty clearly.

Probably the most famous one is 弟者 (a word he made up) from the 2bro channel. He’s got a really cool voice, a pretty endearing personality and will sometimes bust out some funny anime-esque phrases like 我が力を見せる時が!:slight_smile: Mostly into shooters, which aren’t really my thing, but I have watched and enjoyed his playthroughs of Machinarium, Abe’s Oddysee, Inside, Little Nightmares and Crypt of the Necrodancer (where he even speaks in sync with the music for extra smooth grooves) among others.

Another sort of big-ish one is LayerQ. He plays a lot of indie games, and I’ve watched among other things his playthroughs of Ori and the Blind Forest, Hollow Knight and Inside.

ToiletPaper Gaming is an oddly named older dude, and I find his ojisan style voice quite endearing. I’ve watched among others his Ori and the Blind Forest videos, but he’s played quite a lot of games, including both the Portal games.

Gongen is another older dude I recently found. His focus is mainly NES and SNES era games, and I find his voice to be particularly calm and easy to understand. I enjoyed his playthroughs of the original Zelda, Metal Gear for the NES among others.

Yumegaki no misogi plays a bunch of RPGs and reads the lines of every character, sometimes quite dramatically! Nice if you want some listening and reading practice combined! I’ve watched her playthrough of the first Suikoden game a few times.

R-Games does kind of the same thing. Has a tendency to mix his voice way down though, which makes him hard to hear… I’ve watched him play FF7.

Some one-off video series I’d also recommend if you’re into these games:

Metroid Zero Mission by Blaze: this was one of the first ones I watched. He speaks in a kind of overly dramatic manner at times which makes him more easy to understand I feel. He also tends to explain things with a bit longer sentences which is good once you’re more comfortable listening!

World of Warcraft by Maelstrom: He’s got a super relaxed voice which makes it easy to chill out to this series I find.

Super Metroid by Honda01.

Cities Skylines by Kiriya. I found this recently and learned a ton of new words for traffic and otherwise city related things! He’s got a bunch of other Cities Skylines series as well, but this is the first. His voice is very similar to that of LayerQ I think.


I live in the U.S. and have direct tv. I just called them and asked to subscribe. I had it on my TV in five minutes. It costs an extra $25 a month, but I think it is well worth it. The kids’ programs are right on my level!

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So I’m coming back once again with more advice. I know you already study grammar, but do you use anything like Duolingo? I’ve been doing a few lessons a day during lunch (bc I am a busy university student, I cri), and with my current knowledge of grammar and kanji, it’s actually been really helpful to see how the bits and pieces of knowledge I have can come together to form everyday sentences. It also reinforces WaniKani kanji when they come up, and I believe my Duolingo retention is WAAAAY higher than it would be without WaniKani and the other studying I’ve done.

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