I’m rather old school, so other than WK my learning is largely book-based (I already had a number of them collecting dust on the bookshelf). I have Genki and Shin Nihongo no Kiso and use each one on alternate weeks - here are my study schedules:
m currently living in Japan and here is my routine (although its more of a mixture of habits):
- Check wanikani 2 or 3 times a day. I don`t strictly keep track of when the next lesson or review is available.
- I have two language partners that I try to meet with once a week for casual conversation practice.
- I read (using a dictionary of course) Japanese short stories and manga (occasionally the newspaper if I`m feeling saucy).
- I review vocabulary, grammar and kanji from my textbook (tobira)
- I watch Japanese shows with useful everyday contexts.
- Lastly, I have a list of useful words saved on my Japanese-English dictionary app that I try and study every day.
The biggest thing for me is to find the balance of taking study seriously and enjoying it at the same time. Living in Japan is what makes learning Japanese truly enjoyable because I always have the opportunity to use what I learn.
I don’t really have a routine in the sense of there being any order to this, but these are things I do every day or almost every day.
- WaniKani whenever necessary
- An app called 語彙力診断, which has kanji writing drills and multiple choice questions for vocab. It’s particularly good for exposing me to lots of idioms (see pic below)
- Watch at least one grammar video on Nihongonomori
- Watch some Japanese TV at night, usually quiz shows if any are on, though this is just for entertainment more than studying
- Speaking Japanese with my girlfriend in the evenings, again just a part of life, not studying
Here are things I do sporadically
- Read Japanese news articles
- Read Japanese non-fiction books
- Read golf magazines in Japanese
- Play shiritori or some other word games
Here’s an example of 語彙力診断
I didn’t know that one and just guessed randomly, but now I can look up the words and idioms I didn’t know.
LOL! Me too! I’m very good at carrying unread books around! If only it could all be absorbed somehow through the bag and into my brain!
Do you have any VN recs?
For serious 勉強 time:
WaniKani - This is my primary tool. I have both the Ultimate Timeline and Dashboard Progress Plus installed so I can schedule new items and see big review stacks coming up. I visit multiple times a day to keep each review stack low, and I make sure not to learn new items at certain times if it’ll result in a big review stack. Sometimes I’ll learn things earlier or later to break up stacks, but I always make sure to learn Kanji or Radicals only if I’ll be able to make the 4-hour review within that same day.
KaniWani - I do this all the time alongside WK. Sometimes the reverse recall can be super brutal but it really helps cement the kanji, order, and reading. Just overall very useful for reviewing vocab, as well as identifying and smoothing out struggling items. I feel like I know things much better after I’ve put them through the Kaniwani wringer.
Bunpro - I simply adore this site. I started off slow but have ramped things up recently to try to keep my grammar somewhat at pace with my kanji knowledge. I feel like my grammar comprehension has improved considerably from all the tricky questions that involve multiple grammar concepts at once. I do reviews daily and add new grammar points 2 - 3 times a week.
Human Japanese - I read a chapter or two every week. This is one of my favorite resources to just read and relax while learning about Japan and its language. I really enjoy the laid-back pace, gentle-yet-thorough grammar explanations, audio examples, and friendly quizzes.
When I’m done studying for the day or just want to chill with something in Japanese, I’ve been cruising through the following sites on rotation:
Weblio - A Japanese-to-English dictionary. I’ve been looking up all sorts of stuff here recently. I like the example sentences and related vocab. There are so many parts of this site I have yet to explore, but this place feels like a playground.
Blogmura - The holy grail (at least for me) for links to enthusiast blogs. This is like the lost library of Alexandria for Japanese sites, blogs, practice, etc. You can’t pull me out of this place.
YouTube - I love the Japanese side of YouTube. I get to learn about birds, fox parks, and things I haven’t even thought to look up yet. Look up something in Japanese and away you go~~
Additionally, I’ll follow various Twitters, check out free manga samples on official sites like Pixiv, kick back and watch some anime (English subs for now), and play games with Japanese audio (though I just ordered my very first Japanese import game recently). Plus, I joined the beginner book club, so I’m really looking forward to that as well!
If you want something easy and chill I recommend Hanahira!. I’m still not finished with it myself but I decide to play it whenever I just want to sit back and not worry about comprehension or looking up too many words.
Here’s one that I’ve been really enjoying recently, if you’re into the sci-fi genre. Lucy - The Eternity She Wished For. It’s a Nakige, basically one that is very emotional and can possibly make you cry. It’s also a translation from Korean so possibly not the most natural Japanese, but it’s seemed fine to me so far.
Here’s one if you just want craziness Corona Blossom. I can’t really say too much about this one, you’ll just have to try it out for yourself. There’s a free demo available on Steam.
step 1) wanikani
step 2) iknow
step 3) ???
step 4) profit
i’m living in japan, so just living is studying already
Thank you so much! I’ll give these a try
What’s this font. It’s on the tip of my tongue.
Ah, yes. Thank you. Still can’t place where I’ve seen it.
- Wanikani as soon as I get up, and except for when I’m at work in the afternoon, I do my reviews as they come up.
- Rocket Languages Japanese for about an hour a day. This includes writing, vocabulary, grammar, speaking.
- Talking in Japanese with my aide at work.
- Various other things, such as reading graded readers, listening to NHK Radio News, watching videos on NHK for Schools and You Tube, watching Japanese TV, studying Genki.
I study at least 2-3 hours a day minimal. Being semi-retired lets me have more time to do this for fun.
I do it on again, off again. I do noticeably better at remembering kanji on WaniKani when I make myself learn to write them. However, when I get too busy for all that work, writing is the first thing to go.
I’ve written it elsewhere, but I’ve done it two different ways.
- Answer the KaniWani prompt with handwriting recognition turned on, then say out loud the reading before pressing enter. Advantage: doesn’t need a paper or pencil or flat writing surface, so less friction = more likely to do it. Disadvantage: essentially turns it into multiple-choice once you get close enough because of the IME suggestion feature, can’t focus on handwriting appearance (especially trying to do it with a mouse - do not recommend)
- Write the kanji on a piece of paper, then input the answer in KW normally. Advantage - improves your handwriting. Disadvantage - more stuff, easy to decide not to do it
Either way you have to go on the honor system to fail yourself if you get one of the parts wrong.
My routine constantly changes, depending on what I want to focus on. I’m currently mainly focusing on grammar, reading, and listening, in preparation for the JLPT N4 in about a month. I have WaniKani on vacation mode.
On weekdays, I do the following during the train ride to and from work:
- Read over grammar topics in the next section of the Kanzen Master N4 grammar book.
- If there are any grammar topics I am not very confident or familiar with, I flip to the corresponding entry for that grammar point in A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners and then read the entire entry, as well as any other entries it points to.
- I also make sure to read all the grammar entries for topics that are very similar, but different – i.e. the topics I’ve seen practice JLPT tests or the J-CAT test try to trick learners on (e.g. the subtle differences between なら、と、たら、ば).
After work, I’ll watch an episode or two of whatever is interesting on anime sites that have simultaneous dual language subtitles, and track my viewing progress at MyAnimeList. Or I’ll watch whatever is interesting on Netflix US, also with both the English and Japanese subtitle tracks simultaneously loaded using the Subtitles for netflix Chrome Extension, and track my viewing progress at MyDramaList.
On weekends, I’ll do more of the same and maybe spend some time reading some articles on Satori Reader.
This leaves me with very little speaking or writing practice at the moment, but I think it’s an acceptable compromise since the test is coming up soon.
Here’s what I’ve been doing lately:
- Anki for non-WK vocab when I wake up
- 20-30 minutes of Supernative “Listen and Recall” exercises to improve listening comprehension
- BunPro reviews
- Put on a Mango Languages lesson while I’m making food / cleaning up / getting ready for work and practice speaking with the prompts
- Listen to a podcast on the way to work – for a while I’d listen to NHK Journal every day, lately been trying this one instead
- Read Japanese Twitter / news articles / spooky stories in spare moments at work
- Podcast on the way home from work
- Wanikani reviews after work (though this has become a lower priority for me while preparing for the JLPT and lately I tend to skip days)
- Read some of a Japanese book before bed
Plus once a week or so:
Right now (facing a first attempt at the N2 in December), this is my daily routine:
- At least one section of the So-Matome Reading and Listening Comprehension books
- Plugging away at a few more handmade flashcards for N2 kanji I won’t have hit in Wanikani yet (thankfully not too many)
- Clear out Wanikani
- Clear out iKnow and aim for doing ten new items unless I’m exhausted
- Almost always some other kind of listening or reading for pleasure (manga or a few pages of a novel; at least watcing a Japanese YouTuber if not a show; sometimes a Nihongo no Mori video to reinforce a grammar lesson too)
- “Daily” Japanese journaling (actually more like a couple times a week)
As I move closer to the test, those first two books will be swapped out for more practice tests or just more dedicated reading/listening time. I also work and live in Japan and wind up doing reading and listening throughout the day just by virtue of that–talking with other teachers at my schools, reading paperwork I’m handed, etc.
Total dedicated “I am trying to make sure I get to all these things specifically for study” time tends to be about 2 hours a day; sometimes more, sometimes less. Not counting all the “not for study; just because I’m around it” exposure to Japanese. I also have my phone set to Japanese and browse Japanese Twitter quite a bit, without considering either one active study. I basically just try to put myself around the language as much as is reasonable.
Since I finished WaniKani, I resurrected most of the items, because I still didn’t feel competent enough reading - and some of the Kanji (also words) from earlier levels are very similar to those from later ones, so I thought it would be great to get them together and trying better to differentiate them. I guess another way would be to write them down from memory, but I haven’t found a stringent method for that yet.
Also, I recently started with the Pimsleur courses (I’m in the last level there, now). They’re rather expensive, but they worked wonders with listening comprehension for me. When I go back now to the listening part of JLPT, it seems really slow and strange. If you don’t know Pimsleur, google it, it’s basically shadowing on your phone. I’ve also bought Rocket Languages Japanese and I will start with that once I’ve finished Pimsleur. It’s really strange how good and fast this works, I have a lot less problems now even reading and understanding long and complicated sentences.
From reading what people above do…clearly not enough!
I try to keep on top of Wanikani. I almost always watch some anime/TV. If I have time or energy then I will also do some grammar and/or reading practice. I have a conversation session once or twice a week too.