Share your full routines: How you've worked Japanese learning into your life


#1

Hi all! This is my ~~ first time making a topic, ~~ please be gentle

I’ve been thinking a lot about building good Japanese-learning habits that I’ll actually keep, and I’m curious how the rest of you have managed to integrate the different parts of language learning into your routine. Probably like many of you, there’s the study plan I aim to follow, and then there’s what I actually manage to do (shoutout to my neglected Genki I book).

So I’m making a thread to share our current routines and hopefully get some inspiration from each other about how to work learning Japanese into your life with everything else. (Also, there’s a lot of talk here about how WK shouldn’t be the only thing you do, so hopefully it’s helpful to see a kind of full rundown of one person’s version of ~~all the things~~)

Here’s my work-in-progress routine so far. Also including my particular goals, since I try to gear what I’m doing toward those.

My interests: Japanese pro wrestling (Noah, NJPW and a little AJPW), Japanese food, fashion/design, 1960s Japanese cinema (Ozu, Kurosawa, Shindo, Kobayashi), politics & current events

My goals: Most of all I want to be able to read and consume Japanese media (i.e. interviews with pro wrestlers and wrestling magazines, but also reading general news would be cool). Also want to be able to get to a place with listening comprehension where I can understand wrestling commentary/movies/maybe the news, and to speak some survival Japanese for when I travel there.

The routine:

  • I do WaniKani reviews and BunPro reviews most mornings when I wake up. This is the thing I stick to most consistently (though things happen and I skip a day here and there, or I’ll be overwhelmed with WK reviews and not get to BunPro).

  • If my BunPro reviews went well, I learn 2-5 new lessons (depending on how well I felt things went and how hard the lessons are for me to grasp).

  • I listen to one Mango languages (free w my local library card) lesson in the shower and try to actually say everything they prompt you to say. This gives me some practice listening and speaking, and they talk about some grammar things here and there, which reinforces the BunPro lessons nicely. I manage to do this nearly every day.

  • While I’m commuting I listen to Japanese music on Spotify. I listen to the same songs often enough that I kind of pick out new words each time. (And it’s fun to recognize random WaniKani words, especially ones I didn’t expect I’d use – randomly I’ve come across two songs about summertime that mention かき氷).

  • At work between things I’ll try to read an article in Japanese here and there or read some Japanese wrestlers’ tweets, sometimes with the help of the Japanese IO Chrome extension.

  • When I’m heating up food/waiting for something to load/otherwise idle at work I’ll use the Genki verb conjugation review app. (I find this app really useful and have probably learned more from it than the Genki textbook itself, which for some reason I find very daunting). I’ll alternate between using this or using the Pastel Kana app to drill myself on Katakana and improve how quickly I read it. A time to do this doesn’t always present itself, but I do either app maybe once or twice a week.

  • At home I usually have ambitions of reading a book in Japanese or going through a Genki I chapter, but I tend to end up doing something more fun/passive like watching wrestling with Japanese commentary or some Japanese YouTube videos (PDR with subtitles if I’m not feeling super motivated, his friends who don’t add subtitles if I’m feeling more ambitious/willing to be confused).

  • On weekends, if it’s time for me to level up on WK I’ll write out all the new level’s kanji by hand and do what I think of as “DIY SRS” – I make 3 columns in a notebook, and write all that level’s kanji in each column, randomizing the order. I wait 5 minutes, quiz myself on the first column, wait 15, cover the old answers and do the second column, wait 30, do the third. (Being able to write isn’t a huge priority for me, but I feel like writing them helps me solidify them in my mind and tell visually similar kanji apart more easily). I used to do this every weekend, but WK has been kicking my ass lately so I’ve been leveling up closer to twice a month.

– Also on weekends, I’ll usually do at least one of the following:

  • Read a little of a book in Japanese. The two I’ve got going now are: “Okada’s Room,” basically a bunch of transcripts of Kazuchika Okada interviewing other wrestlers. It’s generally easy conversational Japanese. I highlight all the words I don’t know but don’t stress too much about coming back to them later; A Doraemon manga where he travels back in time to witness the Meiji restoration. I ordered these both online from Kinokuniya.
  • Watch wrestling (Noah or NJPW) and try to pay attention to what the commentators are saying / what the wrestlers say in their backstage comments.
  • Watch a movie or TV show in Japanese with English subtitles. I have vague intentions of going back and rewatching something I’ve seen without subtitles, but haven’t gotten myself to do that yet. (Recent favorites: “Erased” on Netflix, “Kuroneko”)

OK, sorry to write a novel! I’m pleased that I’ve found a couple of things I can keep up with some regularity – but my routine changes all the time and I’m hoping I can improve it with some inspiration from yours.

How do you work learning Japanese into your routine? What resources do you end up actually using & how often? What fun things do you read/watch/listen to? Please share with lots of detail and links and I will eagerly read it allll :slight_smile:


#2

I once heard that you keep that habits that you keep, and while appearing simple, this is actually really deep. If you want to keep a habit, or form one, you just need to actually do, or not do, the action. Like if you want to read one Japanese article a day, then you need to actually read one Japanese article a day, no excuses, no skips days, no nothing. As Shia lebuf would say, “just do it!”


#3

Also, I’m trying to cut the out of my life in general right now to make time for other activities. I’m still using distractions, such as “The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha” book that I am currently reading by Bhikku Bodhi. Darn you Bodhi and the Buddha for producing such an interesting book. However, these are actually my real interests, so perhaps you could give that a try yourself?


#4

WOW ! you are getting a lot in !

One of my classmates has just introduced me to Japanese pro wrestling ! looks amazing !

I’m thinking my routine needs a bit of a beef-up, after reading yours - but it is something like this -

weekdays - clear all my Wanikani reviews when get into work, and then again at lunch.

evenings - again clear up wanikani reviews and do as many lessons as is needed to keep me progressing. I will then try and revise something we did in class (class is once a week on Tuesday) - we are learning from ‘Japanese for Busy People’.

I generally then read through some grammar points in Genki, which at the moment is more of a revision of what we have covered in class. I then write out Kanji which I’ve learnt on wanikani (Maybe 5 or so a night), then test myself on them for a few days afterwards.

For consumption of Japanese material i am a bit behind - i do watch Terrace House and Midnight Diner on Netflix - terrace House is quite useful as there are a lot of really standard conversations.

Weekends - more wanikani, and revision (exam next week !).

Keep up the good work ! you seem to be nailing it :smile:


#5

:exploding_head: :exploding_head:

Sounds like a really complete routine. I’m somewhat amazed on the sheer amount of time your routine should take, it’s basically almost full immersion. :sunglasses:

For me goes like this:
At morning my WK reviews are better digested along with a complete breakfast. Then my 20 lessons follow. They are the most consistent part of my routine by far, it’s like brushing my teeth by now.
If I have to work that morning, usually I’m back by midday or similar, giving myself time to cook while listening some article / posts or anything (in english mostly) by using the text to speech function. After properly eating I do my Anki vocab reviews along with some 20 vocab cards; usually by then also my 2nd batch of WK reviews are ready to be taken care of.
Then I’m back to work until nigh. I will be usualy back home at 9. Last batch of WK reaviews waiting, and then it’s time for a soothing batch of sentence mining reviews (coming from my Subs2SRS decks), and 10 new cards. Most of the time that includes some shadowing with the sentence audio as well.

Given the sentences come from shows, that usually leaves me wanting to watch a show or something else… so then I watch an episode from a show I like, in japanese the first time with jsubs, and then spanish or english subs the 2nd time (I only get to do 1 episode in this way).
If not in the mood for shows, I’ll read a story from the Graded Readers collection.

The most variable part of my routine it’s night time, that according the the workload at my job during that day can just finish with my Anki reviews. and then do whatever not japanese related (though most of the time it end up been related).
At any point during the day (commuting for example) I do 10 minutes of the Kanji Study App and practice writing those kanjis, since it’s becoming more and more often that they like so similar.

Not doing much grammar lately, After Genki 1, I’m on a break from any formal grammar study, though new grammar points come every now and then in the sentence mining cards, and I look then in the Basic Dictionary of Japanese Grammar. Im just depending upon immersion for now.

So far I’m basically aiming more and more to consume media and have fun, hence trying to connect my review/lesson routine with my media consumption. That’s why grammar it’s becoming a bit hard to resume, it simply wasn’t enjoyable enough.

These days I’m having a look at the Japanese Netflix and a whole new horizon of japanese content has come to my attention. Watching “Wakako Zake”… a show about a girl who eats good food and drinks sake (sort of Gourmet Samurai).:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Actually I started a Study Log in the Kanji Koohii forum some days go. Study Logs didn’t seem to be a thing here, and there where a few of those already.

Sorry for the longwall of text :sweat_smile:… Anyway, glad to see your post. Great way to make a first post, sharing all these :+1:


#6

Yesss re: Japanese pro wrestling, I love it so much lol

And “Midnight Diner” looks awesome, I’ll add that to my viewing rotation! Thank you for responding <3


#7

Thank youuu for the kind words – it’s a lot of “5 minutes here, 10 minutes there” small things, I’m not very good at spending long chunks of time at a stretch on it.

Also totally relate on after-work-time being the part of the routine that’s most variable, I feel like that’s when my ambitions least line up with what I end up doing. “Wakako Zake” sounds great, I’ll have to check it out!


#8

Routine is something that I haven’t been good at until fairly recently :pensive:. For contrast, I first started ‘learning’ in 2008 before my first trip to Japan, but that consisted of buying a phrasebook and copying a few bits into a notebook that I learnt how to parrot and then dropped. My next visit was 2010, and at that point I bought the Pimsleur CD set to listen to in my car (I was doing a ton of driving then). There was more parroting of isolated phrases and my vocab did improve but it again tailed off after my holiday.

I only started to consider taking the language more seriously in around 2016, when I bought my first textbook and used Tofugu to learn hiragana and katakana, again prompted by another trip and wanting to be able to read and interact more. However I didn’t build it into my life at all, and so whilst I learnt to read characters, my grammar and vocab were really lacking and hit a wall.

Since then I’ve been back to Japan twice more, both for a decent chunk of time and visiting more out of the way places. I realised that I was never going to progress without any learning structure, and so used both opportunities to really spur me on to making it part of my life. Since then I’ve felt so much more capable, and more excited to formally study.

My routine now is to aim for 45 minutes in the mornings whenever I’m working from home, but I’ve often found myself doing more because I love it so much. I work for myself, so I have some freedom with my schedule which helps. I’m currently in a hotel as I’m working away, and have spent a couple of hours tonight learning :slight_smile: In any day I now typically do a selection of:

  • Run through Anki flashcards on my phone
  • Read a section/chapter of textbook depending on time and speed
  • Read and respond to Japanese friends’ tweets
  • Try to listen to something, whether it’s music, news, or a podcast… plus I’m working my way back through the ancient Pimsleur set when I’m driving
  • Read some よつばと!
  • I’m late to the WaniKani party but I am completely hooked and can’t get enough - I find it so weirdly fun!

For me, fun and structure have been key. Before I saw language as utility, but something switched when I realised that 1) I was really enjoying it and 2) I wanted to get better at learning and progressing rather than staying in the same vocab loop. WaniKani has definitely been playing a part with both elements, and study is the first thing in my day because it’s exciting to me! I never saw the point in JLPT before despite knowing about it, but I’m going to take my first one this summer for motivation, to keep everything structured, and as weird fun.


#9

What I do every day:
Morning - All my WaniKani, KaniWani, Bunpro and Anki reviews (deck of vocab and grammar)
Walking in the morning - Listening to a Japanese podcast
Coming home - All my WaniKani, Kaniwani, Bunrpo reviews + Core 2K reviews
Evening - Make more flashcards with more vocab and grammar in Anki + some activity

Some activity:
I always change between reading news/manga, watching Japanese let’s plays, listening to native speaking etc depending on what I feel like doing on that day.


#10

Ooh I hadn’t heard of よつばと before – how is it?


#11

Your schedule sounds awesome!! :star_struck:

I’ve been in Japan for 2.5 years and (after so much frustration and failing) finally found a routine that works for me over the last two months :sweat_smile: I have a weird situation in that I’m really good at listening comprehension but until recently had next to no reading skills and medium level confidence speaking.

I’ve found that doing things in small increments works well for me too! I’m much more likely to do something for 10-20 minutes multiple times a day than try to cram for 3 hours at a time.

That being said, I think you’re 100% on the right track by trying to incorporate things you actually enjoy and are interested in as study materials!

My days lately consist of:

  • WK every morning when I wake up/get to work/throughout the day to try and keep up with reviews! I try to do them as soon as they’re available, and have been maintaining a decent pace and don’t feel burnt out. (6 levels in 2 months)
    If I’m doing new vocab words I’ve never seen before I also write them in small physical keyring flashcard decks. There’s no SRS here but when I’ve got a few minutes to kill I flip through them and reminisce of my school days~~

  • Complete reviews on KaniWani (for opposite English>Japanese input) If you haven’t used it yet I super recommend! You link your WK account and it really helps reinforce the words you’re learning.

  • always always have jisho.org open in my browser! I’m always looking up things I hear people say at work or words I don’t know when I’m reading

  • On my lunch break (and often after work) I read some easy manga - I’m reading よつばと! as well right now! It’s so fun and really cute. My goal is to keep working on my reading skills until I can finally read genres I’m more interested in, like fantasy/slice of life stuff. I’ve realized that looking up every other word is not only time consuming and not helpful but also pretty discouraging, so starting super easy has been a big confidence booster for me!

  • After dinner if I’m home/have time I try to play StudyQuest for around 20 minutes at least, to change up my vocab and get my deep-seeded gaming fix as well.

  • I’ve always been into watching Japanese shows with English subs (Terrace House is my current fave), but recently I’ve found it super helpful to watch with Japanese subs instead. I try to pick things I watched as a kid or am familiar with the story (I’m suuuuper in love with CLAMP works [a lot of them are above my current reading level tho] so right now I’m re-watching an old childhood favorite on Netflix - Card Captor Sakura). It’s about a girl in elementary school so the conversations are relatively simple and easy to follow.
    There’s talk of magic and supernatural things, and one character who speaks in Osaka-ben which no one understands tbh :joy: but overall I’m able to follow the story and understand most of the conversations.
    Having the Japanese subtitles on helps with both reading and meaning comprehension - especially now that I’m using WK and slowly getting a better grasp on more kanji and more vocab! I’ve tried a few that I’ve never seen before and found it less rewarding at this point. I missed a lot of the nuances and surely some key points, but I’ll keep trying!

I really like Japanese music too, which Spotify has been golden for! Sometimes I work on my Genki II Textbook/Workbook to review things I’ve forgotten, have a pile of JLPT study books and graded readers calling my name, and I have big dreams of delving into all the reading websites I have saved, but honestly right now this is working for me! Making it fun and starting from the basics again has increased my productivity 1000% :sunglasses: It’s a huge confidence booster!

I like your idea of listening to something in the shower! That’s a good way to use time~ I’m gonna try it!

I also have some Japanese friends who often force me to use Japanese (though ironically most of them feel they have a “better/more fun” personality when they use English) so that’s helpful when texting and hanging out. If you don’t have an opportunity to make Japanese friends where you live, I’ve heard good things about HelloTalk which I want to try eventually!
I think it would be beneficial because when chatting with friends they usually don’t correct mistakes if they get the point you’re trying to make. :sweat_smile:

Let’s keep working hard and motivating each other!!! I’m so happy this forum has so many awesome idea exchanges and supportive cool people in it :sparkles: Finally trying WK has been the best thing I’ve done in a long time! :star_struck:


#12

Recently, these have been my goals for a single day’s study:

-Do WK reviews

-Do iKnow reviews

-Do a page/lesson from the Nihongo Soumatome N3 vocabulary and kanji books (the kanji book being used for writing practice and for some Wanikani hasn’t offered yet; each kanji gets written into a notebook ten times, along with corresponding vocab)

-(Earlier I was doing the reading comprehension and grammar books; I’ll switch back to them once I’m done with the two above, as well as go through the listening-comprehension book prior to the test; just trying to pick a couple to focus on based on needs)

-Up until yesterday, try to complete at least one lesson in an intermediate (in terms of JLPT levels) online course JET offers its participants, which I just finished. This took the place of the Soumatome grammar book, which I’ll now finish for review. I’m pretty sure I’ve technically “learned” all the N3 grammar now, so it’s just about reinforcing.

-Since I also currently live in Japan, there’s all kinds of one-off reading/word-look-up/conversation practice as well. I’ll throw notes from real-world learning into the same document as notes from study materials.

Depending on my mood, I might try to watch or read something in Japanese when I get back home (TV, manga; definitely planning on trying a literary prose book before the end of the year), but it’s not a set routine.

If I don’t get to absolutely everything above in a given day, I don’t stress, since I know it really is just one busy day and I’m in no danger of falling off the study wagon. But those are all the things I’m working with/on and try to hit on a mostly daily basis.

I think my biggest problem right now is that my speaking ability continues to lag far behind reading/listening/comprehension. I think that’s probably typical of language-learning in general, but it might also come down to the fact that I have formal practice for all the other categories, and only daily interactions for the former, where communicative is good enough. I try my best to catch my mistakes and apply recently learned grammar and vocabulary, but it’d be nice to have some structured learning, and corrections, there too.

Interests: Far, far back, I probably did start learning Japanese because I really liked Dragon Ball (and that never changed), but while there is a decent chunk of Japanese media I enjoy, it’s not a goal or even a heavy interest. At this point I’m just interested in the culture and want to become proficient in a language I enjoy. I’d love to see where higher Japanese skills can take me, both life and work-wise.

Goals: Six months ago, I would have said N3 or bust and then we’ll see. Now it’s N2 or bust and then we’ll see.


#13

I do WK, read a chapter of a book, watch tv no subs, talk to natives, listen to JP radio, and teach my sister Japanese. I also play my switch in Japanese and my pS4 as well. Stupid 3ds region lock…


#14

Thanks for posting this! I’ve enjoyed reading people’s study routines and getting ideas.

About me: First-year Tokyo JET. I’ve lived/worked in Tokyo since July 2017.

My interests: Japanese culture - language, history, anime, manga, bunraku, Shinto, food/cooking, fashion; travel, exercise, television, movies, reading and writing.

My goals: I want to be able to read Japanese novels some day. For the short-term (i.e., 2018), I hope to pass JLPT N5 & N4. (I know I’m beyond N5 Level at this stage but want to do the exam and get the certificate as a confidence booster.) My Japanese reading/writing skills are pretty good, but I’m really struggling with my speaking and listening.

The routine:

  • Wanikani - I do all of my reviews daily, 2-3 times a day. When lessons are available, I try to do the radicals and kanji ASAP. I write the kanji I learn down in a notebook - I continuously write a single kanji and think of the mnemonic and the on’yomi/kun’yomi readings over and over until a page is filled with it. This has helped my memory. And also I like writing kanji, so I want to remember how to write it, not just recognise/read it.
  • Bunpro - I’m new to this, but don’t make the most of it. I find all the reading for the grammar points a little daunting/I don’t have the time.
  • Japanese tutoring - I meet a Japanese English teacher 2-3 times a week. We focus on speaking and listening. For the first 20-30 minutes we just chat. Then we go through corrections/feedback, and check homework for 10 minutes. Last 20 minutes is learning new grammar/vocab and practicing.
  • Homework - I do my homework the day after a lesson and then read and reread what I write.
  • Japanese friends - To be honest, most of my Japanese friends want practice English with me… But I try to communicate with them in Japanese as much as possible, and reading their LINE Messages, Tweets, etc. helps me to learn a few things. I try to catch up with friends one-two times a week.
  • Rewatching anime - I’m in a process of rewatching favorite animes. I’ll watch an episode in English, then rewatch in Japanese with English subtitles. I try to watch 1-2 episodes on my days off.
  • Japanese music/podcasts - Trying to get into this for when I go jogging. It’s new, so if people have any podcast/music recommendations, I’d be glad to hear them!
  • Manga - Going to start reading よつばと soon and read over the posts/materials from the WaniKani manga club.
  • jisho.org - I’m with @mochipochi - having this open at work at all times is super useful for when I hear something interesting or unfamiliar.
  • Textbook - Hoping to get Genki I in the near future and will aim to do one chapter per week.
  • Online course - JET Program participants get access to an online course. I signed up for the Beginner level… it’s far too easy for me, but it’s been good revision and for boosting my confidence.
  • HelloTalk - I used this a lot when I first got here, but now I’m just too busy… It is a great app though!
  • Nintendo 3DS LL - I bought one in Japan and play/operate it in Japanese.

I think that’s everything… But I think your routine is stellar and I hope you reach your goals quickly and smoothly! ^-^


#15

It is SUPER stupid that you can’t change a US 3DS language to Japanese. I have been looking into importing a 2DS LL or a NEW 3DS for a bit; however, they are a bit more expensive and I would need to rebuy all my games. I mainly want one for LoZ, Animal Crossing NL, and Monster Hunter.


#16

I really like it, and lots of people here seem to be reading it from my stalking! Maybe give it a shot if you can pick one up easily :slight_smile:


#17

MH on switch or PS4 canbe played in Japanese woth Japanese people, and Botw is in Japanese if your switch is.


#18

Besides the obvious time spent on WK. I probably average about 200 reviews every day.


www.supernative.tv

I try to do at least half an hour daily on this. I love active listening exercises.


Anki.

I am slowly working my way through the core 2000 listening sentences. I also language shadow the audio files. Between 30m-1hour daily depending on the review queue.


Lingodeer.

I thought I’d try this out for having a chilled study option. So far it’s really easy. I really like the format though. I wish someone would make a grammar study focused app in the words-are-lego-blocks style. That would really work for me.


www.houhou-srs.com

I use houhou for words I encounter “in the wild”, from genki and things I learn from my Japanese classes. I average about 90 reviews daily on this.


Once a fortnight I have a class with a native Japanese lady. Her name’s Akiko and she’s from Nagoya. This is probably the only part of my learning that follows more old fashioned classroom methods.


About twice a week I do a skype exchange with a Peruvian guy who lived in Japan for many years and now teaches Japanese in Lima. I basically ask him to teach me grammar and correct me on other things when necessary.


Reading practice.

It’s been slow going so far but I maybe spend 15-20mins a day since I got it a few weeks back.


Conjugations. I found this app for conjugation practice. I also use this site

https://wkdonc.github.io/conjugation/drill.html


#19

Whoa, SuperNative looks amazing! Very impressed with your routine haha

Thank you for this :sparkles:


#20

You’re very welcome. I love supernative. I’m the same as you, my main goal is that I want to be able to understand Japanese people when they speak and consume native content without subtitles. That day will come