The Dos and Donts of learning Japanese

Recently someone asked me for some Japanese study tips so I made this handy list.  It is a work in progress.  So here is my list of Dos and Donts of learning Japanese:


  • Study every day
  • Study as much as possible.
  • Utilize SRS
  • When drilling sentences, only add one unknown word at a time.(n+1)
  • Use comprehensible input
  • Use Japanese mnemonics rather than english mnemonics whenever possible.
  • Ditch as much English as possible.
  • Plan in advance to avoid running out of study material.
  • Study during/after exercise (an excited heart rate increases retention).
  • Immerse yourself in Japanese language (music, tv, movies, podcasts, travel to Japan).
  • Focus on vocab as much as possible (especially when first starting out)
  • Study reading, writing, speaking and listening concurrently (they reinforce each other)
  • Use Native Japanese study materials as soon and as often as possible.
  • “Shadow” native Japanese speakers. (repeat what they say on TV, radio…)
  • Make use of every possible minute of study time. (study while waiting in lines, at the doctor…)
  • Make use of passive study methods(hang japanese texts around the house, use katakana names on your computer folders…)


  • Don’t even think about studying using romaji.
  • Don’t force learning difficult words or kanji (suspend them and come back to them later)
  • Don’t study too long in a row (6 30min sessions are better than a 3 hour session)
  • Don’t study when you are tired(not as effective as being well rested)
  • Don’t Focus on studying grammar (at least at the beginning)
  • Don’t use study materials that use too much English.
  • Don’t use study methods that use only one skill(reading, writing, speaking, listening) to the exclusion of others.
  • Don’t focus on studying on-yomi & kun-yomi (you will learn this by reading and listening)
  • Don’t spend too much time finding the perfect study method.
  • Don’t spend too much time reading blogs and forums.

One thought on “The Dos and Donts of learning Japanese

  1. Pingback: What to Do or Not to Do | Japanese Language Journey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eleven + 18 =