My Japanese Study Plan! (with some questions ^^)

Hi everyone! This is my first post to the community so I’m pretty excited and nervous at the same time. After stalking this community for the past week, everyone seems so lovely that I can’t wait to be involved! My main goal for Japanese is to learn how to read-- for all those Japanese games that will never be localized haha. I love the RPG aspect of WaniKani and it really makes learning kanji enjoyable for me, which is a big surprise. Grammar on the other hand… T_T

I want to be efficient in my learning while at the same time not burning myself out. I like creating goals for myself so that I feel more motivated to pull through and finish whatever I was working on. I created a plan for my learning but I’d like to run it through some of you guys before I fully commit myself to a new routine! Here’s the gist of it:

1). Familiarizing myself with Japanese (3-4 months)

  • Do at least 10 lessons every day (20 if possible!)
  • Complete at least 20 reviews
  • A Genki lesson every week
  • Consume a lot of Japanese media

2). … Jisho is the Best (2 months?)

  • Finish Genki 1?
  • Be around level 10-15 on WaniKani
    (note: this is probably the stage where I will attempt to read NHK news and if it gets too hard for me I will most likely stop trying to read and just practice more. if i can get through it somewhat-- and by that i mean understand at least half-- then ill just try to do my best and search up unknown kanji and scrape through with the grammar)

3). Maybe This Isn’t So Bad After All? (5 months?)

  • Work on Genki 2 (again, a lesson a week. if it gets too hard for me as i heard that it gets a little more confusing to understand as time goes on then ill push for a week and a half to two weeks)
  • Read Tae Kim’s Guide to Grammar
  • Try reading NHK news again! By this point, I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume I’ll be able to read it somewhat. Or at least be able to read it to the point where I don’t feel like crap whenever I try to read Japanese haha!
  • By the time the fourth stage starts, maybe I’ll be level 30 on WaniKani! That would be pretty cool huh?

4). Kanji is HELL (… who knows how long this stage would take)

  • This is the point where I’d probably feel really stuck, I’d realize that even though I thought I knew a lot of Japanese I actually don’t (and now kanji is starting to pose as a problem)
  • To fix this, I’ll buy my first Japanese video game! Probably a simple VN, but it’s worth something :slight_smile:
  • Maybe join a book club on WaniKani?
  • Try reading manga!
    (or in other words: do anything to make me not lose my motivation and give up midway ^^)

5). I’m… Getting… Closer… (no set date)

  • Start Tobira
  • Core 10k deck
  • More WaniKani of course :wink:

After that-- who knows? I’ll probably think of some, but I’ll get to that point when I get to that point haha. I think you guys basically got the gist of it anyway. Do you guys think these are all realistic? I’m pretty unsure about the reading part… when did you guys start reading stuff like NHK news and stuff? Assuming I have all the n5 grammar points down, at what level was the kanji at least somewhat enough for you to be able to read NHK? To add, when should I start the core 10k deck? I just added it at the end because I didn’t know where else it would go. I have tried using it, but I just couldn’t get into it. Learning vocabulary without knowing the kanji beforehand seems to be really difficult for me lol.

Anyway, thanks for reading this long mess of a post. Once my free trial ends, I’m going to buy a subscription to WaniKani! ^^ I can’t wait to start my new adventure with the crabigator and all of you! :smiley:

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You’re going to want to complete all your reviews every day, if possible. If you find yourself consistently unable to finish all your reviews, you’ll want to consider doing fewer lessons. That’s because the number of lessons you do directly affects the number of reviews you get each day.

Anyway, welcome to the community! :wave:

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Thanks for the welcome! ^^
Yeah, I’ll definitely keep that in mind. At the moment I’ve been keeping up with my reviews and lessons every day, but I’ve seen so many people on here with thousands of reviews that it’s a bit scary to think about. I’ll be sure to keep track of how many lessons I do per day!

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Welcome, welcome, welcome!

Rightly so.

Rightly so you needn’t be.

With 10 lessons per day, your daily reviews will exceed those 20 really fast. Prepare for around 100 daily. And while lesson count does affect review count, it is not instant. It does affect the current day directly, but the next days and weeks would still bring in the bigger chunks from previous lesson batches. So it does need to be planned for.
As a rule of thumb, assuming a steady lesson count of X and 100% accuracy, your review count will slowly ramp up to 7 * X in the daily big batch. Any failed review adds 2 on top.

The initial goal timings are good though. It takes about 9 lessons per day to reach level 10 within 6 months. For level 15, you’d need to bump that to about 14 lessons per day.

I’ll also shamelessly self-plug, in case you’re not yet sure about day-to-day schedule building.
And of course the obligatory The Ultimate Guide for WK, just in case.

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Thank you for those helpful resources!! Making a day-to-day schedule makes a lot more sense now ^^

\textcolor{pink}{\huge \textsf{WELCOME! ^-^}}

welcome gif - crabigator

Take the time to check out the FAQ and GUIDE if you haven’t already.

There’s also a lot of good stuff on the forum to help you, like:

The Ultimate Guide for WK
The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!
The New And Improved List Of API and Third Party Apps

I hope your Japanese learning journey goes well and that you enjoy your time with us on the forums.

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Thanks for the warm welcome! :))

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Hello! I’m pretty much on the same road as you, content-wise. However, I’m taking a lot longer (due to me setting my priorities differently). I hope to give some advice too. :slight_smile:

The road I suggest:
Part 1 (N5):

  • Complete Genki I (do all the exercises, the group activities can be done by yourself (roleplaying) or ask a friend
  • reach level 10 in WaniKani (This will make you learn about 99% of the N5 Kanji in the first Genki book, so you can skip the Kanji lessons in Genki I, if you prefer. I’d still do them though.)
  • Get a feel for the language by watching anime with subtitles or similar, with this level you are too far away from understanding anything even with japanese subtitles

Part 2 (N4):

  • Complete Genki II
  • reach level 16 in WaniKani (which will put at you at about 99% of N4 JLPT knowledge)
  • Read a manga in the absolute beginners book club or buy the japanese graded readers level 1 or 2 to start reading easy stuff
  • Start reading NHK easy news
  • Start listening to japanese podcasts for beginners, like nihongo con teppei or on japanesepod to train listening comprehension

Part 3 (N3):

  • Complete Tobira
  • reach level ~30 in WaniKani (which should be about what you need/work through in Tobira?)
  • Watch anime with japanese subtitles
  • you should now slowly progress into native materials

Part 4 (N2+/etc):

  • Do your 10k Core deck
  • Reach level 60 in WaniKani
  • Do studies for the N2/N1 if you want to take it, maybe Kanzen Master or Somatome
  • read native materials

Great accompanying study materials:

  • Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar (It will make you understand EVERY grammar point in great detail, very recommended!!)
  • If you prep for one of the JLPT tests, and want to exercise more than the textbooks to really hammer it down, the Somatome books are really great addition imho
  • Starting with Genki II, I felt to progress slower and needed longer to learn the grammar points & vocabulary. I bought the workbook for Genki II and am very happy with it!

Why?
You see this road is very similar to yours, I just structured it a bit differently. Reason is, it won’t help you much knowing 2.000 Kanji if you don’t know any grammar and so on. I believe everything should be on a similar “level” so you can understand & communicate the most for your given time investment. It’s not set in stone, of course, and only from my personal experience. I’m currently on the Part 2 so to speak, but since I’ve found out about WK very late, I “catch up” with WK at the moment.
I also didn’t put an end date to any of these. The second part will take longer than the first etc. Tobira will take a lot longer than Genki, most likely. So it’s difficult to put these into a time schedule. I believe you learn a language for life, so why hurry? Your brain needs time to retain all the vocabulary and grammar. It’s time well spent if you retain the things learned. Otherwise it will be wasted. WaniKani uses this approach very well.
However, here’s what I suggest:
A lesson of Genki a week sounds good, if you have enough free time (1-2 hours every day). The first lessons on Genki I are really easy to understand, but don’t be fooled into thinking you just need to read the grammar section and be done. I really recommend doing ALL the activities in the book. This will keep you from going too fast and helps retaining the grammar. :slight_smile: Maybe buy the workbook and do the exercises there too.
You will also need to exercise the vocabulary in the textbook, so I suggest using an Anki deck for it. You should try to review all the Anki cards and WaniKani reviews every day so it becomes 0. If you feel this is becoming too much, slow down. Don’t do a lesson on Genki each week. Don’t do all the available WK lessons. Maybe a skip a week of new stuff and just review that week.

Genki II becomes a little more complex, but not too much. You could probably keep the pace. I’d roughly suggest half a year for “part 1” and another half year for “part 2”, if you really want to go full throttle. This will still mean that you need to almost go at max-speed on WaniKani. Which will mean you’ll have lots of reviews each day. Don’t underestimate the build-up!

Tobira is a lot more complex than Genki, or so I heard. I haven’t started with Tobira yet myself, so it’s hearsay. I think with N3 you can also consume a lot more japanese media and you should totally do that! I’m sure you can slow down your schedule by then. But I’m sure you can decide if you reach that point. :slight_smile:

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Wow! This was super helpful, thanks for taking the time to write this! I’ll be sure to use this as a basic roadmap for my Japanese studies. The Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar seems to be very popular amongst Japanese learners, so I’ll definitely look into investing in one.

Thanks again, really appreciate it! :slight_smile:

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Feel free to adapt to your personal needs, experiences and likes!
I felt this is the road that gives me good milestones to reach, to keep myself motivated and to keep every aspect of learning japanese in balance.
I, personally, do a Genki lesson every two months, aim to level up on WaniKani about once a month (so I space out my lessons accordingly), a lot slower than you intend to progress, but I follow the same path. I still do my reviews EVERY DAY, and at least once a week if real life hits hard. But due to progressing slowly, I don’t need to invest a lot of time each week (having more time for work etc.)

The most important part is that you do not forget what you have learned. The biggest mistake I see people do is they try to do too much too fast and eventually burn out due to their overwhelming schedule, stop reviewing and end up forgetting. Good luck!