Sometimes when you’ve been studying Japanese for a while you just stop. Often for seemingly no reason. A day goes by, then a week, then a month, then 6 months without learning anything. Even I’ve been guilty of this!
It can be really difficult to pick up learning a language after you’ve stopped studying for a while. Often this is because it starts to feel like a chore… but you know you need to keep studying… but studying is boring…
So what’s the best way to study Japanese after you’ve stopped?
Here are 10 ways to study Japanese after you’ve stopped.
Break down what you want to learn
Sometimes it’s hard to focus on studying when you don’t know what you should be focusing on. I find it helps to write down my goals. Then break down those goals into what I need to know to achieve them. Then prioritize said goals. – Now you have a list of things to study!
Re-organize Your Study Materials
Don’t have EVERYTHING on your desk. After you’ve broken down what you want to learn you can move all the study materials you don’t need right away.
I find having a pile of things I feel I “need” to work on makes me not want to do anything. Keeping your study materials small and easy to get out of the way helps with motivation.
Do Something Fun with the Language
Sometimes you’ve studied to the point where it’s become a chore. Time to do something fun! Don’t “study” per-se, instead pick up and manga, novel, anime, movie, find a Japanese friend to talk to. Cut out all English and just see how far you get with the Japanese you know.
Write Down Why You Started in the First Place
I find it something helps to re-evaluate my goals. Why did I want to start learning Japanese in the first place? What do I want to learn Japanese now?
Write down your goals (keeping them positive) and put them somewhere you can see them. As a reminder, a way of keeping yourself accountable, and as inspiration.
Go Over From the Beginning
Sometimes it’s a frustrating struggle to try to learn something new after you’ve spent so long not studying. So why not start from the beginning.
Find a book, app, quiz, what ever you think you’d enjoy more and go over earlier Japanese. Often you’ll find you know 90% of it and will work through the materials quickly.
Try Something Different
If you’re bored with your previous routine then try something new.
Have you ever recorded yourself speaking Japanese? Then listening back to it?
Have you tried reading a blog on something you’re interested in?
Have you tried going outside or somewhere new to study?
Sometimes you need to make things more interesting for yourself to re-motivate yourself and make things fun again.
Book a Teacher
One other thing you could do differently is book a teacher. If you already have (or had) a teacher, try someone new!
Sometimes we need someone else to hold us accountable. A structured time every week to kick up back into gear.
If you can’t find a local teacher I suggest italki for reasonably priced teachers online.
Find a Club/Group
Could be a group with Japanese people in it or a Japanese language group. Meeting others who are passionate about Japanese is a great way to get you passionate again.
And it encourages you to practice speaking more (which is a good way to dust off previously learnt Japanese).
You can find local groups through MeetUp.
Find a Study Partner
Speaking of finding others, why not find a speaking partner or someone else who’s learning Japanese?
You can actually learn a lot from someone else who’s learning Japanese. You can bounce things you’ve learnt off of each other.
A native Japanese speaking partner is also fantastic. You can learn a lot about culture and contexts phrases are used in. But you will have to speak English back to them.
You can find speaking partners through italki and/or MeetUp!
Book The JLPT
This isn’t for everyone, but I find a great motivator for studying is registering my spot in the next JLPT.
The exam has set materials you need to learn by a specified date. Having a goal is a great way to keep up regular study, and the exam format forces you to remember what you’re learning.
I understand very well the frustration of stopping studying for a while and then not knowing how to get back into it again. I often keep thinking “I could have learnt ___ by now!” or “why didn’t I just do this before?!” – It’s hard but better to not worry about that. What’s done is done. Time to pick it up again.