How Do You Learn Japanese?

There is, in fact, a secret, but I am going to make that secret public.  Are you ready?  Here it is:  Consistent daily effort.  Work at it.

I once asked a friend, “How did you learn the Kanji?”  His answer was “Brute force memorization.”  There you go.

Seriously, here’s what I do:


Minna no Nihongo I and II – Vocabulary Review

Chuukyuu e ikou – Vocabulary Review (once every two weeks I get a new chapter full of vocabulary to learn

JLPT N3 Standard 2400 – Vocabulary Review and learn new vocabulary daily

Satori Reader – Read at least part of an article


Chhukyuu e ikou – Study Grammar and do homework (This is pretty much scattered over most of the week as time permits)

Japanese Lesson with my Cafetalk tutor – usually Saturday morning

Language Exchange – I have 4 people I meet with regularly to chat in Japanese and English via Skype

As the mood strikes me:

Review vocabulary on Satori Reader

Chat or exchange message with people

Watch some video in Japanese (streaming, YouTube or DVD)

So, how much time do I spend every day on Japanese?  It varies.  On average, I would say 1-2 hours, but there are days when I spend longer than that.  For example, if my wife is watching a movie I’m not really interested in, I’ll sit with her but grab my tablet and do some extra studying.

Some people would be appalled at that amount of time.  1-2 hours every day?!  What are you, nuts?!

Other people would wonder why I was such a slacker.

I’m not saying that the way I do is the best.  I’m just saying it works for me.  I can carve out that much time and I choose to spend it studying.  You have to do what you can do and what you’re inclined to do.

It’s a question that interests me, though.  How much time do you spend daily studying Japanese?



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