My strategy for learning Japanese is this: little efforts.
My goal when I started was to be able to speak Japanese in situations and places where I need to use the language in order to go around without too much trouble. I gave myself until December to do this.
Nine months studying a language in order to speak simple sentences might seem like a long time, but I know that language isn’t magic. I know that getting a 90-minute lesson in one week isn’t going to make big changes in a little time. I also know that I won’t have enough time to use or practice Japanese outside my lessons because I’m busy with work and most of my friends are English speakers. But I also know that if I don’t make an effort outside my lessons I will never learn so I follow a schedule every week.
- Monday: During the lesson, I encircle new words, phrases, etc. while I’m reading my textbook. If I encounter a new word and I think I will use it in the future, I make as many sentences as I can with it (I don’t wait for my teacher to tell me to do it).
- Tuesday: I copy the new words, phrases, etc. that I learned on a notebook so I can remember them, and try to connect them with other words I already learned.
- Wednesday: I listen to the listening section of the lesson we finished on Monday as many times as I can until I get used to the speed and think I understand it.
- Thursday: Do homework, either grammar or kanji.
- Friday: Do listening homework.
- Saturday and Sunday: Practice kanji or do homework if I didn’t have time on Thursday.
- Monday: Make sentences using words, expressions, etc. I learned last week and use them to communicate or ask questions from my teacher at the beginning of the lesson. I don’t care if they’re perfect and if I don’t know some words I use English. Later I ask my teacher how to say them better.