What to do when you want to add some inconsistent studying to your routine?

Hey everybody, been here for awhile but I believe this is my first time making a thread.

This may be a bit of a strange question, but I’ll give a bit of context. I’m currently a grad student who is also working. I have been studying Japanese on and off for a while and I’d say I’m squarely in the amorphous gulf between beginner and intermediate. I have plans to move to Japan to do full-time language study for 6-12 months after I graduate because I am determined to become fully fluent.

That said, currently I only really have time to fully include WaniKani as a consistent study tool at this stage in my life. I flirted with BunPro and KameSame as well, but couldn’t keep up with multiple SRSs.

This leads to the focus of this topic. Being grad school and all, my free time fluctuates pretty heavily such that there are periods where I find myself with more free time than usual, but it’s inconsistent. I’m wondering what people would recommend to do if I feel like upping my Japanese study for these periods, when it may only be a single day or couple of days that I can add extra material. I’m always hesitant about opening up a textbook or something like BunPro if I know I’m not going to be able to keep up with it in the long run. I do know that grammar is one of my weak points right now.

Currently what I do sometimes is try to make it through a Level 1 Graded Reader or go through a couple phrases in ‘Japanese Sentence Patterns For Effective Communication’. This works well enough, but I’m wondering if people have any better recommendations, or perhaps tips for what you do yourself in this kind of situation? Would people recommend any other kinds of resources in this situation, such as Duolingo or some kind of listening material?

Thanks for the help!

I put this in details because long

My recommendation is keep using BunPro with lower loads. I once been level 33 or 35, but then I realised I went too fast than what I could load, because life called. My head felt like explode when I was faced with too many grammar points. So I resetted my BP account from some of N4 to zero N4 at all, then I readded my N4 lessons more slowly. My favourite indication is BunPro SRS stats. I add lessons only if SRS 1-5 is zero.

When I don’t add lessons on BP, I may read my favourite Grammar book references. WK Bookclub also helps a lot.

I personally don’t trust Duolingo. But it’s probably just my personal preference. I’m Indonesian. But when I tried using Duolingo English - Indonesian. They often marked me wrong although I was always right. I’m a Native. So an app that marks a Native wrong is no no for me. I still prioritize WaniKani above any other SRS I use. And I don’t use WK as fast as WK runners because my point in using WK is not to level up but to learn Japanese.

I don’t use Graded Reader because I’m afraid those readings are too easy for me. I use what Kristen recommends. But again, when I use words “I use” think “@Oshin uses this slowly”. It’s a book “Learn to Read in Japanese.” But its philosophy may be against to what Graded Reader users are used to, because Graded Reader users may think context is everything. While I also do think context is everything, especially because I come from low context language as well, I mean, I’m used to no subject from my own culture, unlike English speaker, for example. No watashi, no anata, because it’s clear fron the context. But “Learn to Read Japanese” approach might be different than Graded Readers use. Why I like Learn to Read Japanese approach is especially because it’s short but it’s also an offline SRS. Kristen may have moved on from Tofugu, but I can always see her recommendation on the back of this book. One of my favourite books. I also enjoy literal translation more than everything. So if the reader is annoyed by literal translation (see? because I, non native English speaker, use English differently than native Speaker), Learn to Read in Japanese may not be their favourite book. This book also has audio files. So I can practise my listening using this book. But maybe Graded Readers also have Listening practice in their book? Idk. I don’t use this. I only enjoy what Graded Readers users share their passion in learning Japanese using it.

Other than this book audio, I may listen to NHK Web Easy while trying to read it. But I’m exposed to Japanese a lot. J Drama, Manga, News in Japanese.

It’s better to eat one boiled tuber for real, instead of eating three loaves of bread in my dream. <~~ One of my principles.

I want to do WK, Kitsun, I even also used Anki before switching to Kitsun completely, FloFlo, KameSame, BunPro, and others. But in the end, WK is my priority. For me, it’s really important not to burn out. For me, it’s better to level up slowly but strongly, or I can endure being in higher level, instead of I level up quickly, but then when I’m faced with lots of visually similar kanji for example, or leeches, then I got burnt out, then I quit, for good.

I know there’s a someone who’s really helped by BunPro. She’s been in Japan to study Japanese. She also uses Graded Reader. She’s @MissDagger. I always enjoy her journey in her updates and her silence. Only from looking/reflecting at avatars and levels from this kind of user motivate me a lot. And when I mention I enjoy reflecting from avatars’ level even when the user didn’t post anything, I mean, I refer to @Omun’s avatar, and @MissMisc, and @Naphthalene, and @Whologist too . You know, my feeling when I saw their leveling up at their time when they did it? It’s like watching my Indonesian friend who’s got a job in one of Banks in Singapore, but he always goes back to Bali once a week (his family is in Bali and also in West Java, Indonesia). So despite of Indonesian traffic, he said on his tweets: “ZOOM! ZOOM! ZOOOM! Back to Bali!” Another day he tweeted: “ZOOM! ZOOM! ZOOM! Back to S’pore.” Just like that. Over and over. :sunglasses:


I’m on the same boat here. My free time runs amok and cannot be predicted! I only do Wanikani and slowly work on Genki. That will change within two weeks, though. But anyways, I’m also open to suggestions.

I’ve been struggling with this for the last 3 years and would also love to know other people’s thoughts. Honestly I think listening is well worth my time, so I use JapanesePod101 or Pimsleur. However, I find with everything other than WK I get to a saturation point so I need to jump to something else for a while. For example, I’ll feel with listening or reading that I can’t continue without more grammar so I have to go back to that for a while. It’s incredibly inefficient I’m sure, but there are days where I literally only have the 30 mins I allocate for breakfast to spend on my Japanese study so WK is my only choice, other days I have all day. There are a lot of language learning sources that are trying to offer shortcuts but in reality you’ll end up learning it through exposure to the language so don’t be afraid to go over something you think you should know.

I use RocketLanguages.com. It is a paid site, but they are having a sale right now, I think, and they always have one at Valentine’s Day. They have listening, grammar, speaking, writing, culture, etc. I love it as it is fun and has lots of reinforcement activities.

Hey there! I know you must be extremely busy with grad school, but I am going to assume that you can manage to carve out about 30 minutes a day (in addition to your current WaniKani time) for this answer. Obviously, if you can’t do that, you can’t, and if the actual time you can allot to Japanese every day varies, it varies.

WaniKani is a good resource, but as you noted, there isn’t much grammar that is taught here. The book you mentioned, ‘Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication’, is a good book. Something you can do with it to strengthen your skills is this:

Every day, read a couple of pages of Effective Communication. Then, spend 15 or so minutes composing sentences with similar grammar structure, but with vocabulary that you learned on WaniKani. Then check to make sure the sentences make sense. As you become more comfortable with the grammar, start trying to combine sentences into longer chuncks, or try to use conjunctions to build longer sentences.

Another thing that would be worth trying is Duolingo. I will warn you, Duolingo’s Japanese course is a little bit frustrating because of 1) the audio not always matching up with the answer you are expected to type in and 2) the answer you are expected to produce during translation exercises is not always a consistent sentence pattern.

Nonetheless, Duolingo is not a bad resource. If you want, you can also give Lingodeer a whirl.

Another good resource, if you want to get listening in, which can be done passively, is JapanesePod101. I recommend you try finding some sort of listening resource outside of Duolingo to keep your ears up to speed. This will not only help you in the long run, but will also give you a big sense of progress overall.

As a final note, don’t worry too much if you are going from resource to resource for a while as you try to establish a routine. What you should worry about is finding what is right for you.

I hope you are able to find a routine that works.


P.S.: These are just suggestions. :slight_smile:


So I’m currently doing full-time Japanese language study in Japan, meaning 3 hours of class every day, and regular homework and regular small tests (plus bigger tests every couple of weeks or so). And I have an arubaito. So my own Japanese self-study, such as WK (because Japanese language school doesn’t have a system for actually learning the kanji except mindless repetition on your own time) have to happen outside that. And generally on any given day I mostly just have time for WK too.

So what do I do when I have more time:

  • I’m slowly working through BunPro, so when I have more time I add grammar points, otherwise I only review daily. My reviews tend to be 5-10 a day max on BP, and it literally only adds 5 mins a day so I do do BP reviews every day along with my WK reviews (and WK lessons).
  • I read NHK Easy news through the Tangoristo app (easy look up of vocab, being most of the way through N4 means the grammar is stuff I mostly know)
  • I read Graded readers (there is a graded readers “book club” too but we don’t read them together, more of tracking and talking a bit from time to time), and with the easiest book clubs here on WK (Absolute Beginners Book Club and Beginners Book Club (well I meant to start reading with it for the current manga, but I haven’t had much extra time recently so no reading))
  • I’ll sometimes watch anime, concentrating on listening (the current one I’m watching have Eng subs that I can’t hide, but otherwise I’d do with Japanese subs or no subs for practice, at this stage I’d only watch anime I know because of my current Japanese level)

So basically when I have more time that is when I study new grammar and that I consume media (I prefer reading over everything else, so reading is what I do). If I was more interested in talking, listening (anime is not that important to me currently), and writing, I would also do those things. Perhaps schedule iTalki talking practice lessons when I knew I have more time. Find ways to practice writing (such as the write a sentence a day forum thread in the Bunpro forums). Etc.


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