My Japanese Learning Routine for JLPT N4 in December

Hey there,

to keep my motivation high, I am thinking about learning for the JLPT N4 in December - would you say it is a realistic aim with around 2 hours of daily learning?

So here is my journey so far:

First visited Japan in 2015. I was sitting in an onsen under starlight in a place close to Nagano when some women with a little towel on their heads tried to start a conversation with me. All I was able to say was “Arigatou gozaimasu” and “Hai” and I decided in this moment that I definitely need to learn Japanese! (Fun Fact: The women were able to sing “Freude Schöner Götterfunken” which is a famous german song they’ve learned at school. They just knew it by heart - how amazing is this?)

I learned the Kana still during my time in Japan. Back in my job, I started a class once a week which I stopped short time later due to my stressful job - I didn’t take the time to practice.
Two years passed until I started again, this time with a twice a week class which I really liked! I learned for one year with Marugoto, but without practicing outside the lessons - it was ok, but I didn’t learn too much.
Then I started a new job and I worked more than 80 hours during the last year - definitely no time to learn Japanese. I am about to quit this job and really want to continue my Japanese learning journey.

So here is my plan:


  1. All Reviews and Lessons in WaniKani
  2. Repeat everything in KaniWani
  3. Go through ANKI decks


  1. Add three new rules in BunPro
  2. Follow marugoto - minato Online Course / go through one chapter per week (Rikai & Katsudo)
  3. Add new vocabulary to ANKI

What is missing: free writing, conversation

I am going to spend some time in Japan in March and April this year, does anyone have recommendations on how to find language partners in Japan while I am there?

Thank you so much in advance!
enanu :chipmunk:


Where is your listening? Personally I think it’s one of the most important things you can do, which helps you in all areas of Japanese. Try podcasts for beginners.

I also think time can be better spent than using KaniWani. It is not that useful to think English → Japanese and the vocabulary in WK can be pretty obscure, since it’s there to mostly reinforce the kanji. Also having 4 SRS systems is pretty crazy, it will definitely burn you out. Been there done that. I would limit myself to max 2. Nowadays I tend to focus on one SRS system only and spend the rest of the time listening to/reading native material.


You can try to read something?


Thanks morteasd!
The marugoto / minato online class involves some tasks for listening and understanding and also some dictation, but I guess you are right, that it might be helpful to include some podcasts (although I really don’t like listening to other people :see_no_evil:).

I have the feeling that the SRS system really motivates me as I can see my progress, but maybe you are right and it is a bit too much? :thinking:

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Yeah, but what? :smile: I really like japanese cooking, so I have some magazines here, but if I don’t understand something, I don’t know how to look up a word… any suggestions on what to read in the beginning? :slight_smile:

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Check bookclubs in this community, they have one for absolute beginners:

I will be reading the next book in ABBC starting February 1st. There is a discussion thread where you can ask your questions, and more experienced users kindly provide answers.


For now use If the word contains a kanji you don’t know, look the kanji up by part or by drawing it.


Just a word of caution, if you’ll complete all lessons on WK as soon as they will become available, you’ll set up super fast progress that will require huge time commitment later. I quit doing this around lvl 5, limiting myself to 11-14 new lessons per day. I’m paying to this now, when bunch of the first level items come for enlightened reviews, my daily review numbers are in 200 range, which is more that I’d like to have.


Great, thanks for the book club recommendation, will have a closer look on that!
And also thanks for your word of caution. So you would suggest to limit my lessons already? Actually, at the moment I have plenty of time, but as soon as I have a daily working routine again, I will naturally have to limit my WK reviews and new lessons to once or twice per day. Also I already can see how “speedy” WaniKani is. When I have the feeling, I can’t remember anything more, I stop doing my lessons already until I think I my brain is “empty enough” to get some new input. You’d say that this is enough of “caution”?

Oh my god, this is awesome!! :rocket: Thank you so much!!

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Of course everyone’s goals, time available and general learning abilities are different. I cannot say for yourself. You can adjust your speed as needed. There is bunch of topics discussing slow-down/speed up strategies (one need to use userscripts for latter).

Common things people say:
*it’s good to compete all reviews each day
*try to honor the first and second SRS intervals for memory reinforcement (review in 4 hours, and later in 8 hours)
*if you need to take a break, vacation mode will save you a headache later
*the most difficult thing in general is to return after big break, so try not to go on such a break. My personal take is slow and steady.

Here is a good guide, but it’s one from very speedy user, so check other Level 60 topics to have fuller picture:


Great recommendations, ありがとうございます!
Will try to follow!
Oh, and I just ordered my book for joining the Book Club! :smiley:


A quick search of brought up this and others:
Tokyo Spontaneous | Meetup


Read things on the web, where you can look them up very easily.

Here is NHK News Web Easy. It’s simplified versions of real news articles. You can have it add kana to all the kanji. You can have it read out loud to you, a bit slowly. It’s free.

You can use Rikaichan extension in Chrome. It will put definitions and readings on all the japanese words on the page.

In plain old Safari on the Mac, you can easily look up words in dictionaries. Just enable the Japanese dictionaries, and you are good to go.


Shivers up and down my spine!

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Have a nice trip! I use HelloTalk for language partners. Normally language partners are not encouraged for serious learners, but I’ve met many natives on here who I befriended and met during my trip.

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morteasd is right, your routine severely neglects listening. It’s what people have the most trouble with at JLPTs, especially if you learn Kanji on WK. Kanji will not be your problem.
Besides podcasts, you can watch shows. But be careful not to just follow English subtitles passively, you won’t learn a lot that way. (i think if done with a lot of attention you can still learn a lot, but i’m probably in the minority)
Most people recommend regular listening to native material without subtitles or with japanese subtitles.
If you have Netflix, the language learning with netflix extension is really nice, you’ll see the transcript with japanese subtitles (and english on hover), and you can replay each line as much as you want.
ayaya removing reply


Thanks for the recommendations, bolaurent, OceanLeKitty and Saimin! Installed the extensions already. :white_check_mark:

Ok, I will definitely work on my listening skills. Maybe I have to stick to some topics that I like - cooking classes would definitely be my favorite, but I will also give the NHK News Web Easy a chance. (And I just found this :smiley: :see_no_evil: 平野レミさんの「食べればタコ焼き」 - YouTube)

What about JapanesePod 101? I just checked the “German” version of this service - and it was really poor with many mistakes and strange content, so I can’t judge if the Japanese version is better?

enanu :chipmunk:

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Yeah, it is one of the most present moments when I think back of my time in Japan… :heart_eyes:

I highly recommend Nihongo con Teppei. You can find his podcast links here: Nihongo con Teppei (Learn Japanese with me) is creating podcast | Patreon

He has a beginner one and a more advanced one.
I attribute a huge amount of my progress to him and he always cheers me up and motivates :slight_smile: