Magical trick to finally invest time in japanese learning?

Hi there!

I’m not entirely new, I would even say I’m an old one, seeing my days count here!
But the thing is, I’ve never advanced my study of japanese, be it generally or with Wanikani (never ever finished the first three levels). Each time I start learning, I find myself stopping a few days/weeks later.
Even with this erratic learning I’ve memorized quite a few vocabulary, and a japanese friend said I’m really good (at my level - I can’t really make sentences out of nowhere for now).
That being said, I don’t really know why I can’t hold to learning japanese. I’ve always be a procrastinator and kind of a lazy person, but still I’m really interested in all-things Japan, so why? I always convince myself that I do not have time to study it, which is not true I reckon!

I wonder if you guys (and girls!) have tricks or tips to help me? I had in mind to check out the holiday sale to try to commit in my learning (maybe will be easier if money is involved after all! ahah).



For real though, when it comes to something like language learning, it’s all about making it a habit — even if it’s just 15 minutes, bring yourself back here every single day

I tend to procrastinate too, but eventually WK became a part of my daily routine, and now I’m here! I know you can do it, you know you can do it, so just do it :durtle_vin:

がんばってね :crabigator:


What MissMisc said is true! It becomes far easier to stick to something once it’s ingrained as a daily habit, and learning a language is something that absolutely comes with daily studying. Try to figure out what type of routine you need to advance in your Japanese first. This may consist of WaniKani for kanji, a textbook or online resource for grammar + vocab, and many other things depending on how much time you have. There are loads of resources, both free and paid, and some work better for certain types of learners than others.

Once you’ve decided how you want to tackle your studies, take a couple weeks and make 100% sure that you do those things on a daily basis. Really commit to it. Make it as formal as you want - make a thread here and make daily posts so we hold you accountable. Post a checklist on the wall in an obvious spot in your room. Just make sure you do that daily routine for those couple weeks.

Now, maybe that routine is doing your WK reviews + 10-20 lessons, and learning a few grammar points. Maybe it’s a little bit of reading or listening practice in addition to that. Whatever it is, do it. That’s the most important part. Because once you’ve done it for those couple weeks, you’ve started a routine for yourself - a habit, something you absolutely need to learn Japanese. And don’t stop after those two weeks, either. Keep going. And from there it should get easier, because now you’re in the habit of doing it, and your days will be more adequately planned to incorporate your studies. The longer you continue to do it daily, the more your day will feel “off” or otherwise incomplete if you don’t do it.

As you progress, sometimes your routine may need to evolve, or sometimes you’ll require more or less time depending on where you are in your language journey. But the most important thing is to keep going.



I know someone who tries to diet. And after two weeks, tries another diet. She must be on her tenth dieting method now, and of course none works because she never follows through. But there’s always the magical new method around the corner…

It never is, though. Magical, that is. They all probably work fine. Do something that works for you (ie. is not too tiring or boring or taxing, that fits your situation in life), and just continue doing it. That’s all there is. No magic, I’m afraid.


f o r c e y o u r s e l f e v e r y d a y


I have managed to study Japanese every single day for about 1,5 years now and sorry for being repetitive but just do it every single day.

I make sure that I revise my Japanese anki flash cards every morning so that even if my day is extremely busy and I absolutely can not find a second to study, I know that I got some studying done at least. Japanese morning revising has become such a strong habit that if I don’t do it I almost panic and feel a sense of “incompleteness” until I finish that morning review.
You can also make it a habit to listen to anything Japanese in the morning while commuting to school/work.
Now this is already more than 1 hour of Japanese studying for me and my day is just about to begin so…

Either way, just be prepared for the fact that studying Japanese takes a lot of effort and hard work. If you are more interested in “Japanese things” rather than the actual language, if your motivation to stick to everyday learning is not strong enough, it will be even harder and you will probably not go through with it. I’d encourage you to take some time to think about why you want to learn Japanese so that when you doubt whether to continue or not you can look back at that concrete reason and regain motivation.

Sorry if this sounded harsh, just speaking from experience :coffee::blush:


My dad always said that if you don’t know where you want to go, you’ll get nowhere.

So number 1 (the why?) to motivate yourself is to create a goal. What do I want to be able to do with this language that I’m learning? Is it watch shows? Is it to study/work in japan? Pass the JLPTs? To be able to read Yukio Mishima in its original language? It can be an exam or a more personal goal. It’s your choice! But the important is to have a goal and even better to set a date to achieve that goal. If it seems too far off you can divide it into multiple sub-goals so you can motivate yourself!

Number 2 (the how?) is to create a schedule and follow through with it every day or almost every day. This will vary according to your personal preferences, available time and methodology, but there are many suggestions into how to achieve this in the FAQs and forums. It doesn’t have to be overly complex, if you feel like there’s something missing you can always suplement it later.

Make a habit out of it. Don’t do it when you have a free time here and there, create a slot in your schedule and do it every day!

The time is going to pass either way so you can either invest into this goal or don’t.

Anyways I’m only level 3 but this is my pep talk!


Though note that not everyone has a why, or at least not one that can be put in words. I don’t, for example. I really have no idea why I’m doing this, japanese has no advantage for my future, I don’t want to move there, I’m marginally interested in anime, I have no friends from Japan or japanese relatives. I enjoy learnig japanese, that is all. I’m still at it, five years and counting.


I can’t be sure what your experience is, I can only speak on behalf of myself as a world class procrastinator/lazy person. But in my experience, 90% of the reason I put off Japanese is because I get overwhelmed by how much there is to do. I start feeling like I’m never going to get to the place I want to be at. I get in this headspace of, “What does it matter if I put in the effort, it’s not even going to matter anyway.”
The only way I get past that is by literally forcing myself into positions where I have to do it. I majored in Japanese in university because I knew if I didn’t, I’d never progress anyway. I made friends with Japanese people who don’t speak English so that, with them at least, I have to use what I have.
The only other thing that’s worked for me is having literally nothing else to do. At work, I get hours upon hours of time where I have nothing to work on. Of my 35 hour work week, I spend about 10 hours actually doing a job and 25 trying to find something to do that doesn’t make it look like I’m slacking off. So what do I do when netflix, facebook, and youtube are off the table? Wanikani. Quizlet flashcards. Tobira.
I don’t know if that tip helps at all. I have no idea how to recreate those sort of conditions for someone else. But all I know is it has worked for me.

I’m practically in the same position actually. I agree that it might be hard to put into words but you kind of just did it. If your reason for learning Japanese is “I enjoy learning Japanese” then that can be enough for some people.


get good at it

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Depending on where you are, you might want to look into joining an actual class. Instant accountability. There are actual people, besides yourself, expecting you to show up and make an effort. Added bonus of having like-minded people around to talk/complain about your studies and passions with.

I personally don’t think I would have got anywhere with Japanese without the class I go to every week. (I have been going once, twice, thrice a week, every week (with the exception of Christmas vacation and a personal vacation to Costa Rica in March, four weeks missed in total) since I started last November.


Second this. I have so much admiration for people who are able to self-study from the very beginning, because I definitely would not be capable. Classes get a lot of flak for being slower than self-study, but they do give you a structure and that expectation that you will actually show up, do the homework, etc.


I agree that 1. making it a routine and 2. having someone to hold you accountable can be really helpful. I think I might already have started slacking if I wasn’t attending a university class, too.

But if this is not an option, having a study buddy or someone who’s interested in Japan/Japanese can also be a good motivation. It doesn’t have to be a person you meet regularly in real life, just someone you can talk (or chat) to about your studies - which, incidentally, is also a great way to study and retain information in general, as one of my professors recently told us.

Or maybe there is someone you know who’s like “Oh, once you’ve learned some Japanese, can you teach it to me?” In my case, that’s my brother :smiley: He doesn’t want to attend any actual classes currently, but he’s interested in picking up the basics, so I have to get good for his sake. It’s also a great feeling if one is able to explain something new and fascinating to another person :wink:

In any case, best of luck to you!


Also an excellent way of learning. If you need to know something well enough to teach it to someone else, you have to know it damn well. It’s a good test too - you might think you know something but then be unable to articulate it.


100% this. Crucial to have tangible goals or objectives - be it at work, in your personal life with hobbies, whatever. Not only helps keep focus and motivation, but it’s critical to assess to know how you should go about whatever it is you’re doing.

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For me the magical trick was actually WaniKani. By pacing the reviews, WK kinda forces me to invest a little bit of time every day so the pile doesn’t get too high. And if I keep this up for days, my reward is the level-ups.

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I’ll just reiterate the schedule point. Making a habit of something is one of the best ways to stay on track.

However, what finally got me over the hump to making real progress instead of just barely maintaining my current level was actually using Japanese for what I wanted. Granted, the basically requires a certain level of proficiency as a starting point, but for me, picking up manga that didn’t have English translations that I wanted to read and forcing myself to read through them a bit every day was much more effective for motivation than just studying.

I got to enjoy content I’d been wanting to read, and the more skilled I became the more I enjoyed reading creating a great positive feedback loop. It was moving into games that didn’t have Furigana to help that motivated me to find WaniKani.

Now, I’m easily spending over 20 hours a week on Japanese games, manga, and web novels and enjoying the time spent learning. If you can find a way to enjoy yourself while learning, I’d recommend doing that, even if it’s not the most efficient way to learn. You’ll be more motivated to spend time and less likely to burn out or get lazy and stop doing it.


Woah, what tremendous answers I got! I wasn’t expecting that much and with so much tips!

You’re all so right and it gives me great motivation. I’d like to answer to everyone of you but it’d take me 3 or 4 days :slight_smile: Thank you everyone, I think everytime I feel down about learning japanese, I’ll just have to re-read your answers and BOOM instant productivity increase :+1:

So let’s officially announce my first goal : finish the free WK levels by the end of the year.


try to attach it to another routine that you do every day. Maybe if you have a cup of tea in the morning and read the paper then skip the paper and do your wanikani reviews and lessons for 2 weeks instead. On week three you will associate your morning cup with your WK.

Or if it is time to do nightly reviews attach it to your bedtime routine. So do your WK then brush your teeth then get in bed. Once you do it for awhile you will get comfy in bed and remember doh! I forgot to WK! Then get up and do it right then to help reinforce the habit. If you keep forgetting, try to set an alarm about an hour before bedtime to remind you.

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