Perhaps one of the most difficult things about picking up a language to study is the amount of time you need to put into those languages. There’s a lot of aspects of language learning that need attention: speaking, listening, reading, writing, and all the aspects that come along with that like vocabulary, grammar, and all other skills needed to learn a language. It gives you an appreciation for how much effort it takes to even speak your native language fluently. It makes it all the harder considering Japanese is probably THE hardest language for native English speakers to learn. So, where are we supposed to find the time to master Japanese when there’s so many aspects and elements that need mastering?
The answer is to not study.
When incorporating Japanese into your daily life we need to consider how many things grab our attention on a daily basis, and unless we dedicate an hour of two as a block of study then it seems impossible to gain any ground in your journey of learning Japanese. Not only is it hard to find the time for it but these blocks of studying can be really draining to the mind, and at the end of it will be difficult to remember much of what you learnt in that time. These problems have simple solutions: balance, consistency, and enjoyment – and if you utilise these elements, you can learn Japanese without the need of lengthy, difficult study blocks.
There are a lot of things to study when studying Japanese. And no matter which area you study it feels like there is a never-ending list of things to learn. But you can maximise your knowledge in all areas of Japanese by spending your time equally in each aspect, and to do that is where the balance element enters in. We don’t always have a lot of time in our days for studying, so it’s best to keep any study you do short and spread out amongst the topics. With this, you can arrange a schedule for learning Japanese: 15 minutes in the morning for listening, 15 minutes at lunchtime for writing, and 15 minutes in the afternoon for reading. As long as you keep your time invested in all areas you won’t fall behind in any one of them. And if you have any spare time, you can spend it quickly revising anything you have learnt that day, but always remember to keep your study sessions short and balanced. You should remember though that retaining habits and knowledge learnt requires consistency. Studying Japanese every day, no matter how long you study for, will keep your mind sharp and more efficient. Even if you can only spend 15 minutes a day studying listening, any study is better than none. You should adjust your studying timetable to your own lifestyle if you want to find balance.
The most important element in learning Japanese however is enjoyment. You will find you will learn anything much faster if you enjoy learning it. So, if you apply that idea to Japanese your study can instantly prove more fruitful. For listening you can try a Japanese podcast or watch your favourite Japanese show; for reading you could read a funny Japanese article or blog or even have a go at writing one yourself. Consistent, short, and enjoyable exposure to Japanese will stick far more than long, tiring study sessions. Eventually studying Japanese will not seem like studying at all!
If you’re struggling in studying Japanese and feel like you can’t get a foothold in learning the language, then remember that it doesn’t have to be a difficult experience. Incorporating methods to facilitate balance, consistency, and enjoyment will have you on your way to mastering Japanese fair quicker than you could ever anticipate!