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How to learn Japanese quickly!
2020.03.05

I have been in Japan for more than two years and the language still eludes me. To be honest, I have been self-teaching myself for a while as I prefer to move at my own pace and I do not enjoy the commitment of having to attend a class and follow a curriculum. My favourite part about learning Japanese is, by far, grasping the stroke order of the kanji characters. By default, my reading and writing skills are better than my speaking and listening. Today, I read an interesting article which provided some motivation and ideas about improving quickly. The full article can be found at the link below. I have provided some highlights!

https://medium.com/the-mission/how-to-learn-in-2-days-what-normally-takes-6-months-57953ee30da4

First of all, do not focus on your final goal. Instead, be clear about the next step or two ahead of you. Once you bridge those steps things will be clearer and you will be able to figure out what is next because at that stage you will understand and know more. The following can provide enough clarity to get you started:

  • Have a plan

  • Use a timeline

  • Have the tools and systems you need to accomplish the plan

  • Have a support structure


NB* Use these checkpoints for each step you take towards your final goal.

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The fastest way to learn is context-based learning which means to learn while doing. Try to understand the basics and then apply those ideas to many different, relevant, real world scenarios (a teacher should be on stand-by to coach, support and correct when needed).

  • Learn a concept

  • Practise and use the concept in a real world scenario

  • Get coaching and feedback ⇓

  •          ⇑  Practise again


The idea is to immerse yourself and immediately implement what you're learning.

How to apply the concept:

  • Get a physical teacher, book or online course. The benefit of a real person is that you get immediate, relevant feedback and direct answers to your questions. After studying or learning the concepts (and clarifying things you are not sure about with a teacher) immediately apply the learned information to expose gaps in your understanding. Take the feedback and apply it immediately, get feedback, take the feedback and apply it immediately and keep looping these steps.

  • Repeat until what you have learnt becomes subconscious. Struggle to use what you have learnt, do it again and again until it sticks. Getting a skill to an automatic level involves:



  1. Repeated learning of a small set of information

  2. Making your training progressively more difficult

  3. Adding time constraints to force you to work quickly

  4. Practise with distractions so you can purposely function in the midst of distractions



  • Set a specific goal with an achievable, realistic time line.

  • Track yourself as this creates awareness of how you are performing and progressing.

  • Report to someone (maybe a teacher) to create accountability so you make more of an effort and perform better.


Bearing all of this in mind, be sure to make lots of friends at your sharehouse so that you can bounce your newly learnt language skills off of them, get guidance on what is not quite right and develop more natural speech as you move through the stages of perfecting your Japanese speaking ability! My notebook below is filled with phrases that I have learnt from my housemates!

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Date posted :
2020.03.05
Poster :
Hair Monster

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I'm like a chihuahua. Small but fierce and full of energy. I'm generally a positive person and try to make the best of each day.

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