Here's what my schedule really looks like
Now since I have a baby, if I can accomplish half of that list per day, then I’m pretty lucky. For the most part, I could do a quarter of it, but that’s mostly counting doing the WK reviews and lessons. If nothing else, I’m definitely keeping up on the reviews (constantly doing them every hour if I’m free as well). I also manage to do 10-15 lessons a day too (if I have any available).
I might be able to read two books a day or very many pages a day either, but I definitely make room to read a little bit at least. It helps signing up for the Read Every Day Challenge to help keep yourself accountable, and I haven’t missed a day, so it’s important to keep that streak going! I do have the chance to record new vocab and kanji, and I keep a record in a new post in the thread so I know I’m not just rushing through the text but learning something from it, and I have a reference point to look back on.
The なぜ？どうして？series is really helpful because I’m actually curious about “why this thing is what it is or why it does that, etc.” so I make the extra effort to try to translate everything not only for practice for me, but some of the info might be interesting to other readers keeping track of my reading progress.
When I got back into Wanikani, I decided to ditch the flashcard way and just record all the kanji in notebooks (organized by level). That way, I get writing practice, and it’s easier for me to study from something I’ve written myself than looking at a website or a textbook. I completed two Kanji Drill books for １年生 level last year and ran into some new vocab and got a little tangled up in some of the readings, so now that I’ve learned all of the kanji for that grade, I’d like to get a new copy and see if I’ve made any improvement.
I also joined a Genki 2 study group on Second Life, which was a great way to get a refresher course on the stuff I learned way back in university. I originally joined so I could get more practice on keigo - the polite forms and humble forms - since I don’t use it regularly, and when I’m in the situation when I know I should use it, I don’t know it completely so I feel like I’m insulting someone if I used polite form once for a verb I know the conjugation of but suddenly switch to just plain formal form for a word I can’t quite say in polite form. But last night’s session made me realize how off my pronunciation has gotten and intonation needs a lot of work, so it’s definitely helpful to fine tune what I already know. (It’s like learning Calculus, most of the mistakes you make is simple arithmetic even if you understand the more difficult concepts. So it’s important to revisit the basics.)
I have the advantage of living in Japan and being able to talk to my husband 95% in Japanese every day, so I’m constantly exposed to the language and get plenty of speaking practice. The problem is, we’ll mix some English in our conversations when it’s easier to get a point across or when I don’t know the Japanese equivalent of the word, so I’d like to be able to have more solid Japanese speaking practice with a native speaker where I’m required to use more formal Japanese because I’m used to speaking casually most of the time.
The funny part is, when I first came to Japan, I had a hard time speaking casually because you learn predominantly formal speech from textbooks, so I had to adjust to speaking casually with my husband (because a married couple speaking formally to each other would give people the wrong idea as you can imagine) but now I’m too used to casual speech that I struggle with speaking formally, or worse, I mix up the two in the same conversation.
Also, when I’m watching TV with my husband (especially Friday feature film night), we watch with subtitles for my benefit, so I get practice there. I just wish I could find something online where I could watch movies with Japanese subtitles too (just not Netflix because I don’t have a subscription). One of the fun things is watching American movies with Japanese subtitles to see how they translate certain dialogue that seems untranslatable in Japanese.
If I were overseas and didn’t have the advantage of having a family member to practice with, I’d look on italki (if I had the extra cash) or HelloTalk for a tutor or someone to do a language exchange with. The former is better if your only interest is improving your Japanese without feeling obligated to teach English in exchange. The latter is better if you want to use a free service and maybe connect with someone you share similar hobbies with and have a mutual beneficial relationship with. The only problem with HelloTalk is it’s hard to find someone who’s constantly on there. Many people create an account, go on hiatus when life gets busy, and come back a year later when they’re bored or have a lot of free time and think they want to practice English again.
But the bonus of having a tutor or a friend or a coach is you can report your successes or your troubles with, and if they’re a good match, they’ll cheer you on and/or help you out when you’re struggling with your studies. I always feel more motivated to work harder when I show my husband the new level I’ve finished in WK and proceed to read out all the on’yomi and kun’yomi, and he’s impressed and happy that I’m putting in so much effort to learn his native language that it makes him work hard too. So yeah, if you can find someone like that who can be your cheerleader, that’s an extra amount of motivation than just “I want to learn Japanese to do x amount of things” because it’s easy to give up when you start struggling and no one is there to support your dreams.
Lastly, I try to keep my study log updated because it’s not only motivational for me to know where I started and how I’m progressing, but it’s also a good reference point because I list new words I encounter in the wild and I try to explain the nuances of words with similar meanings (usually by asking my husband). Not only is this helpful for me, but I think it helps others as well, so it makes me even more likely to keep it updated so other people can benefit from it as well.