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May 25, 2012

A Typical Day Living Japanese

I always talk about how important it is to stay in contact with Japanese, so you may be wondering what I did in my own journey. Here's an overview of a generic day and how I tried to bring Japanese into contact with all parts of my life.

In the morning before class/work...

After waking up I usually jumped straight into my sentence and kanji reviews. I had managed to get into a mindset where I would complete my reviews every day no matter what, so I generally added new kanji/sentences first. It didn't really matter how many kanji or sentences I added, as long as I kept moving forward and didn't overload myself. In order to find sentences, I would sometimes read manga in the mornings or use lists of words I'd encountered the previous day in my reading. Depending on how ambitious I was feeling, my morning review sessions with Anki could last up to two (highly enjoyable) hours.

After finishing my reviews and adding new material, I'd typically grab some manga and read while eating breakfast and getting ready to leave. Alternatively, putting on Japanese music or a TV show in the background also worked. Once ready, I'd head off for whatever obligations I had for the day.

Along the way...

I'd put on Japanese music in my car. I really enjoy music while driving, so I never used podcasts, but the morning commute would be an amazing time to listen to those. Mindlessly singing along with Japanese music is a great way to work on pronunciation without any effort. After moving to the city and beginning to use public transit instead of my own car, I switched from my music to more manga and novels. I usually brought my Nintendo DS along so that I could look words up if I really needed to do so. I would also keep a list of good words that I encountered.

Once in class or at work...

This was always the hardest time to stay in contact. When possible, I'd put on my music or read a book to pass the time (such as in between classes). I'd also attempt to take notes in Japanese, or at least try to think of the Japanese word that I'd use in a situation. During these periods, bringing along a sheet of paper with new kanji or kana and doing writing practice would also help keep me in contact. Doing some basic quizzing with paper flash cards also works. It doesn't have to be much, just printing out a sheet of the newest material you've learned and using it to quiz yourself is enough.

Heading back home...

I'd do the exact same thing as when I left. Music, manga, TV shows, podcasts, whatever. Anything Japanese that you can put on in the background while you drive or that you can actively enjoy (if you aren't driving or get stuck in traffic).

Once home...

I usually had homework that needed to be done and studying for my tests. Since I couldn't very well read manga while studying, I'd go back to playing music, podcasts, or TV shows in the background. Once finished, I'd return to my TV shows or manga/novels and enjoy them actively. I'd add more words to my list of vocabulary words if I found them. Sometimes I'd return to Anki and add more sentences or do some more reviews if I failed to complete them all in the morning. No matter what, by the end of the day my reviews were completed.

Another thing I made sure to do was set aside an hour before bed for reading. You don't necessarily have to do this, but I felt like reading was the most important thing I could do in my Japanese learning. So if I had been too busy during the day to actually get any reading done, I at least had this hour period at night that I'd get to do some.

And since you may be wondering, I'd also put in a good bit of time searching for new media. I had an amazing appetite for manga, so I was constantly searching online for more series to pick up. I recommend doing the same, as it keeps you stocked on new media to enjoy and gives you something to look forward to experiencing. 

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  1. What Japanese podcast do you listen to? I know some on traveling to Japan, but I didn't really know any all done in Japanese, if you could help, it would be much appreciated.

  2. I just found your blog and <33 it. I've been trying to find a way to incorporate japanese into my studies and this is such a good way without making it *boring*

  3. At what time did you get up in the morning to accomplish a 2 hour review, and have time for breakfast and commuting? I ask because unlike a lot of other blogs on this subject, you seem to have actually had a working person's schedule rather than a world travel's.

    1. I like to take my time getting ready in the morning, so as a general rule I'd wake up 2-3 hours before I had to leave. Studying as you do other things that don't require a lot of thought is best if you're pressed for time. Don't worry too much about having a fixed amount of time or a schedule, just do something Japanese whenever you can.

  4. I like the idea of getting reps done before work, I have a long commute so I'm lucky if I can wake up early enough to open Anki @_@ But my whole car ride is full of Japanese audio. We seem to have a lot in common for methods! If you're interested in checking it out, I'm a writer for the blog Of course you're way more advanced than all of us, sensei! :)

    1. Finding a way to fit in 5 minute blocks of reps during the day is surprisingly effective. I like to use AnkiWeb on my phone (using the website is free).

      I tried to check out the site, but it said that it didn't exist.