Just got back from Japan, trying to stay motivated!

Hey all. I just had an amazing 10 day vacation in the Kansai region. Absolutely fell in love with the place. Though I’m low-level on Wanikani, I’ve picked up a decent amount of vocab over the years and was able to communicate in Japanese for about 70% of my time there. It was fantastic. Coming home has proven to be pretty difficult, and I’ve been in a total slump since I got back. I feel like reading Japanese is making me feel more depressed for whatever reason. I’m having a really hard time sticking with it, which is unusual for me. I think it’s because I want to be there so badly, and knowing that it will be years before I could make a long-term stay happen is very discouraging. I’m definitely planning on short stays throughout the years. I’ve just never fallen in love with a place like this before.

Has anyone else felt similarly? What did you do that helped you feel excited about learning Japanese again?


I’ve not had a similar situation like that but I have been in a slump before when I just didn’t feel like studying Japanese anymore. One day though I just all of a sudden remembered why I picked up Japanese in the first place, and if I want to complete that goal, I have to keep going. Once I’m motivated to do something, I put my heart and soul into it so after that it wasn’t too difficult for me to get back on track. Of course it’s probably different for many people so you may not be able to have the same experience.


I also felt completely discouraged after returning from Japan 2 years ago. I felt like my level was far too low and I wouldn’t be able to improve at a gratifying pace. I started looking for Japanese pen pals online and I got a few really good friends out of it. So I can definitely recommend that.

I’m going back to Japan in a few weeks and I know I won’t be going back anytime soon… So I’ll be making the most out of it, and aim to take loads of books back with me. Another thing that’s motivating me right now is the JLPT N5 exam. I just signed up for it because I knew it would force me to study. :sweat_smile:

Anyway, I hope you get your groove back real soon! I would also like to suggest looking for interesting forums or media online to tide you over until your next trip. Who knows, it may be sooner than you think!


@Annenjef, this is for you! I hope you won’t feel down after you come back this time!

i’ll stop spamming videos now


Exactly this has happened to me. At first I went INSANE. I don’t have a better advice other than “it will pass”. Meditate, visualize your goal, become in peace with the fact that it might take years. If it’s the journey you need to follow, be strong and just walk it, step by step. There will be times where you get depressed again and then times when you suddenly get a surge of new energy…

By the way: I even went to university just to have an off chance (since you need a degree to work in Japan for most jobs). It’s been more than 2 years since my decision and I will be finishing the bachelor’s next year. In the process I even got promoted at work and finally found a quite nice job. So, stick with it.


Thank you! I just realized this video is exactly what I needed in my life :laughing::muscle:

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For me it was the other way around. I started learning Japanese about 12 years ago as a hobby but quickly lost motivation. Also Kanji overwhelmed me as I tried to memorize every possible reading. Then last year I very spontaneously went for a short trip to Japan (like…got passport, booked flight, hotel, bought suitcase 5 days before departure) and on return I was motivated like never before and luckily found this site.


Ooo, ooo, I just got back from Japan too! On Saturday morning.

And it’s taken me until now, Tuesday night, to switch off vacation mode…

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I don’t have any real advice but I totally understand what you’re going though.
When I got back home after studying abroad, all studying Japanese did was make me miss my host family and friends so I completely quit it for a couple of months.
The thing that changed for me was once again having set plans for coming back, so I had a tangable reason to study again.
Maybe find some kind of goal or clear reason to study? Like the JLPT, language partner or a set time you’re going back? Idk really, but yeah this period sucks ><


@anon6098980 this video, how come I didn’t see it sooner. Asiatic clams must be hard to harvest…

Nevertheless, keep up! The language barrier is always high, no matter what you do, but once you get past the breaking point it will all seem so simple.

When I first started studying Japanese, it’s been ten years now, there were no easy resources, not in my mother tongue, not in English, all there was were difficult books, most of the times in English. Nowadays I’ve got good grammar and can understand and speak my way out of most situations, however I still feel that barrier because I know just a few Kanji.

But hey, every time I feel demotivated about this I remind myself about why I’m doing this, and this is the phrase I use: “I have to go to Japan, no matter the cost”.

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I just got back from Japan on Saturday. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d have the motivation to keep up studying kanji (well, mostly still reviewing at this point, as I studied it years ago but never really got that good at it) but I’ve been trying to use thoughts of going back again more fluent as a motivator.

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I feel you. Every time I come back from a trip to Japan I have a horrible slump. Last time was the worst - landing in grey, miserable, Brexity England in January made me low for a good couple of weeks until I readjusted. In contrast though, learning helps me get over that so no advice on that front I’m afraid!

It will pass though, and you’re not alone :slight_smile:


Hello everybody. First time posting, long time lurking. This exact same thing is happening to me right now and I think I realized how to get a little motivation back. I just came back from Japan and before the trip my main motivation was to be able to communicate with the locals. I manage to survive for 20 days reading basic signs in the subway, train, etc. Asking for food and paying in the supermarket went pretty good as well. Long story short I’m back in my hometown and the main reason to learn Japanese and using Wanikani is gone. As soon I turned off the “vacation mode” in the settings panel, all the reviews started to pile up and its just not the same. But then I remembered what got my attention of Japan in the first place and it was the culture. You don’t need to travel to Japan to enjoy Japanese culture. I want to be able to read japanese books, movies, comics. I want to be able to understand music and this is my main motivation right now. I don’t know if I’m going to have another opportunity to visit Japan but as long as the japanese people keep creating all this great content and exporting their culture I’ll be learning Japanese. I hope this message helps you to renew your motivation. Happy learning.


This really helped me out. Exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing this with me. Congratulations on your advancements, friend. :slight_smile:

Thank you friend. I guess your username is good advice, too. :slight_smile:

Thank you for sharing this. You’re absolutely right about the culture, and somehow this thought escaped me. I want to be able to read, listen to the music, and play Japanese games even more efficiently than I do now (which really isn’t half-bad as of now, all things considered!). But really, thank you. Your message has helped me!

Haha, true! It’s from a song actually…well, sort of two songs as there are two versions of the same thing. Maybe this can distract you a bit :slight_smile:

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That is awesome to hear. Communicating with natives in their language is such a buzz.

Maybe you’re just more into listening/speaking than reading/writing. Reading is a “good thing”. It’s kind of become synonymous with learning itself. However, maybe you just don’t like reading ie staring at squiggles on paper as much as you like listening to vocalised language.

I have a high level of Spanish and I’m capable of reading a novel in the language but I rarely do, I rarely do it in English. I just don’t enjoy reading that much. But I do enjoy learning through documentaries, podcasts etc. I just find speech with images a much more interesting medium than staring at a page.

Since you thought that communicating in Japanese was such a buzz maybe you could recreate at least half of that by doing loads of listening comprehension work? If your listening comprehension is already at a decent level then you could work on transcribing Japanese audios. It’s a really good way to sharpen your ear and learn new words. It’s something I did when learning Italian and Spanish and it’s a lot of fun if the subject matter interests you but is also a real challenge.


I don’t know if it’s any consolation, but my experience of living in Japan was also a rollercoaster of emotions during the first year or so. I love Japan, but it’s just naturally difficult to adjust. You have days where you feel like you’re winning the game, and days where you feel discouraged and humiliated. In the beginning, it can be something silly like realizing you said something incorrectly to the person at the mall, or having someone laugh at your pronunciation of something, that sends you into a tailspin. I’m a pretty thick-skinned person, but adjusting to life in a new world with an unknown language is enough to break anyone. On the other hand, I stuck it out and it has been a very rewarding and character-building experience, and I don’t get discouraged any more.