Study Plan to visit Japan in a year - what do you think?

Hello WaniKani Community!

I will study a semester abroad in a Japanese University in about a year. I have just started learning Japanese and I know the time is actually too short. However, I hope to raise my level enough to be able to take a language course there without the Teacher knowing English. (I think this is an important step in learning a language).
Of course every bit more is better.

Unfortunatly, I will not be able to take a language course at my University till May. Maybe I will be able to take a two week course at a local language school in April, but thats about it.

So I came to the conclusion that I will have to self study for half a year. I already learned Hiragana and Katakana and bought the Book and Workbook for Genki I. Moreover, I plan to listen to some Podcasts and Youtube Videos.
I think at this point using WaniKani is not the top priority and I should focus on learning grammar and getting listening skills. I plan to finish the three free chapters though.

However, depending on how it goes I am thinking about asking to get WaniKani for some months as a Chrismas present. However, I am not shure whether this is appropriate.

tl;dr: My Study plan:

  • Use Genki and some Youtube Videos to study japanese & finish the first three chapters on WaniKani
  • maybe get a WaniKani subscription in January
  • visit a two week course in April & a University course from May till August

Some questions I have:

  • Do you think this will be enough to reach my goal? Do you have any suggestions?
  • Is using WaniKani reasonable in my situation?
  • If yes, which level do you recommend I should aim for?

Thank you for your answers :slight_smile:

Depending on how much you can afford, they often have a discount on the lifetime subscription in December.

To get to a point to where your instructor only speaks japanese in a year…How much free time do you have exactly? Of all the courses I know that do this, none of them start at below n2 material. To get to n2 in a year is going to be verrrry hard without living in japan and having to use the language everyday. Its pretty reasonable to get to get low 40s if you are making 8 day level up times, and that puts you at knowing like ~90% of n2 kanji. Despite that, I would recommend you reconsider.

In a course where the only language being used is japanese, your lack of understanding of the language is just another roadblock to learning it in the first place. Its good to use the language as much as possible, yes, but you would be better off taking the class in english and practicing by interacting with natives.

There’s a lot of things wrong with your study plan that I don’t think you realize. FIrstly you seem to have ignored kanji. If you are taking a class where they expect you to understand japanese enough to get the lesson, they will expect you to be able to read at that same level and have vocab at that level. Secondly, do you know what exactly you’re trying to achieve? What level are you trying to get to exactly. Thirdly, are you sure its your choice in the first place? I am going to be studying at Tohoku uni and they make me take an actual placement test and I get put in the proper class.

Im not saying to give up, but just focus on learning as much as you can in a year. No reason to rush yourself. I get that you think its an important step in learning a language, but you have no idea how easy this stuff will come to you. There’s a chance that step may come 2 or 3 years down the road.


My intro teacher at University in the US used no English from day one except to give us our homework the last few minutes of each class. I think it really depends on the method. I’m not even sure if the teachers I eventually had in Japan even understood English - and most of the students were Chinese and Korean and didn’t speak English anyway.

It’s very popular for people to want English explanations for their Japanese. I find it unnecessarily complicates things.

Thank you for your long answer ^^

I think I did not explain the program I will be visiting enough. It is through a cooperation with my University and a Japanese one, however, depending on my level I will only visit language classes and maybe one actual University course. They actually only want a certificate for English (I am not a native speaker) and language knowledge is not obligatory.
So special vocabulary and Kanji for classes might not that big of a problem.

I wrote that I would like to be able to visit a language course without the Teacher knowing English, because of an anecdote of mine.
A friend of a friend had a work experience in Japan, but did not know any Japanese before, and her language teachers did not really speak English, so in fact she did not learn a lot.
So I would like to learn enough to not make the same mistake.
Is N2 really the level you need to paraphrase in Japanese? That really seems too hard.
Maybe I am lucky, and language teachers at universities know more English.

How much Kanji I need is kind of the point of my question. I think there is Kanji Practise in Genki, but its not the main focus. So does your answer mean, you would recomment getting Wanikani?

I’ve been living here for almost two years and still couldn’t take a course in Japanese if I wanted to (taking N3 next July).

It’s really common to underestimate in the beginning just how much you need to study to be even somewhat proficient at Japanese.

My friend who’s passed N1 told me when I first started out: “the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. It often feels like you’re reading a book that has more pages secretly added whenever you look away”

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I did an exchange for ten months while I was in high school. I had zero Japanese when I first arrived, and I mean ZERO! I come from a small northern BC city so there is very little diversity there, and even fewer decent instruction books to be found. I think that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Keep in mind that was over ten years ago, and there are far more resources available now.

With that in mind I highly recommend Human Japanese, and Human Japanese Intermediate, its the most thorough introduction to Japanese grammar that I have ever come across, and I have a full shelf of books dedicated to basic grammar. They even go into the little nuances of common phases, and how they are used, like thinking you’ve said “yes, please.” to a coffee, but you’ve actually said “no thanks.” Also try to get the tablet version of the course as it is interactive, and has recordings of all the sentences through the course. Best of all it’s easy to understand without a teacher.

I think once you’ve finished HJ Intermediate; that puts you at about the level of N4-3, and is easily doable in under a year.

I hope that helps. Have amazing fun!

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There are a lot of unknowns (to us) that it would probably best to ask the person in charge of the program you are entering into what type of preparations you should be making. For example, “what are the class sizes?”, “how many levels of classes are offered and what should I know to be prepared for them?”, etc. We could tell all kinds of things but we have very little understanding about the classes you would be taking. Like other’s have mentioned, you should be studying every day. Depending on the kinds of classes (e.g., speaking/listing, reading/writing, or all skills) you intend on taking, your approach should vary. Again, I would suggest you ask the person in charge about what would set you up best for success. I wish you the best! I hope that this time of preparation is productive for your to meet your goals.

The N2 is just the base requirement for the lowest level “Only japanese speaking” language class I have come across. Your’s may be lower, I just find that unlikely. But just to make sure I understand, they say that prior knowledge of Japanese is not required for the class? I feel like I may have misinterpreted something.

Like Lucas said, the more you tell us about the class, the more we can tell you. Mine, personally, has a class syllabus and schedule already posted so you can look at the material you will be covering. If you can get something like that we will be able to offer better input on what to learn to prepare you for those topics.

But overall…yeah there really is a lot to learn. Maybe it’ll go like tel003 said, but that’s out of my range of knowledge. I have never even heard of a program like that so I can’t comment on its effectiveness or anything like that. Right now, if you are working through Genki and at least making an effort to remember the more common words, you’re doing fine. So long as you’re learning something, it will get you in the habit of learning japanese…and trust me that habit will come in handy. There’s a reason Japanese has a high dropout rate and Ourtangledbones kinda described why. People underestimate how much there is to learn and get discouraged when their poor study habits cant keep up with it. Learning japanese is a marathon, brother, slow and steady wins the race.

what does that mean?

I am finding the kaniWani companion site great for vocabulary. If can, I highly recommend Pimsleur. It preps the brain to hear and pronounce. I have used it for Italian, Turkish, French and of course Japanese. LEARN songs and watch movies. Lucky you, good luck.

When your at a friends house lets say and they ask you if you would like to have coffee, and you reply. いいです。As its most common meaning of ‘that sounds good.’ or ‘Yes, please.’ However, in this situation would mean more along the lines of ‘I’m good, thanks.’ or ‘No, thank-you.’

It’s a really common mistake, one I made a number of times.

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