Taking a break from Japanese

Hey everyone,

So I was thinking about my study routine and I noticed that I actually remember more vocab when I step away from Japanese for some time.

I feel like my brain is building new neural connections when I let it rest for a while.

I’m thinking about Implementing this tactic into my routine where I maybe take one or two days off during the week and not consume any Japanese content.

Did you make a similar experience?

I’d love to hear what you think


I think if consuming Japanese content is a chore for you then perhaps you’re not approaching it the right way.

I’d suggest that during breaks like the one you’re proposing, continue enjoying Japanese content but don’t go through the effort of looking up unknown words or trying to translate it in your head. Just treat it as entertainment.

If watching a show, just ignore whatever you don’t understand and enjoy the story as much as possible with your limited understanding. If reading, skip over words that take more than a second or two to recall. You should still be able to enjoy the medium to some degree even if you miss some details.


Maybe step away from studying but consume Japanese series etc, with Japanese subtitles ofc. That’s how I picked up most of my English and German skills in a really passive way

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I agree with the others that not consuming any Japanese content would be ill advised. It seems that language learning is based on immersion and repetition.

Instead of taking one or two days off, why not use those days to consolidate what you have already learnt? Or perhaps take those days off but immerse yourself in easy content.


TL;DR: Definitely follow your intuition, and experiment with taking days off! You might stumble upon a treasure.

I’m actually of the opposite opinion - based on personal experiences - and would encourage you to adhere to your understanding of how things work for you in this context. i.e. if you’re noticing such a pattern, where you seem to remember more, when you let your brain rest between influxes of new related information, you should definitely try it out. By doing so, you might just find a study method, that suits you even better than what you’ve done so far.

Taking an example of two completely separate activities:

  1. Muscle building: muscle tissue is reconstructed bigger and better than before, when and only when you rest after working out. That’s why athletes have rest days in between training! It’s equally as important than active training.
  2. Playing the piano: sometimes, after a long hiatus of not playing a single note, I sit in front of the piano and have a go at a difficult piece I loved to play, I’ve noticed many times that during the inactive period, my playing skills seem to have magically leveled up! I’m breezing through parts where I always used to struggle without any effort.

For Japanese, a recent example would be about reading ability: I haven’t read almost anything in Japanese, if I absolutely didn’t have to and thought of it as one of my weaknesses when it comes to Japanese language. But as I yet again have returned to my Japanese studies and picked up a textbook, I noticed I barely struggled with reading per se. My reading speed was very close to “natural”, and I only struggled, when there were words I was unfamiliar with. → My reading speed had leveled up during inactivity.

edit: Btw as far as my own study routine is set up, I have every Sunday off from textbook-study and I only do a light WK review session to keep my review pile from getting any bigger. If I really really feel like studying even during Sundays, I might do a KW session on top of the WK one, but textbook or any other “new” material has to wait until Monday.


We all learn differently, so if this is what you’ve noticed working for you, then give it a go.

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