Making Time for Japanese When you don’t Feel like Studying

You have probably realized by now that having fun while you study Japanese is essential.  This means that you will ultimately face your worst enemy: boredom.   Usually you fight this enemy by avoiding it.  For the most part this works, since you can find a large range of entertaining study materials through books, movies, music, TV, video games, etc.

But there is one area where you can not avoid the enemy:  going through all the kanji in Anki.  Using Anki to master kanji is absolutely vital.  Usually you get through the first 300-400 kanji with no problem, and may even be having fun doing it.  But then all of a sudden you are directly facing your enemy.  He will laugh at all your attempts to avoid him this time.

Unfortunately many people lose the battle, and stop learning Japanese at this point.  But not you.

Fight boredom with boredom

You need a powerful weapon.  That weapon is turning the enemy against itself.  You need to find something else that is boring in your life, and do the kanji then.  You have probably noticed that some boring things are more boring than others.  While reviewing kanji in Anki may be boring on its own, it may not be in comparison with something even more boring.

When and where you can do this

You can’t just do kanji whenever you are in a boring situation.  Or can you?

You can use this method in any situation that involves a boring:

1.  Lecture
2.  Class
3.  Meeting
4.  Conversation
5.  Waiting period

This may already cover 80-90% of the boring elements of your life.   Doing kanji does not take a lot of mental focus away from you, so you can easily do kanji and still be somewhat engaged in the above.

How do you practice kanji in the above situations?

Depending on where you are, your ability to do the kanji will vary with what tools you have at your disposal.  Start at the top of the list and work your way down to what you can do.

1.  Laptop: directly do the kanji in Anki
2.  Cell Phone: directly do the kanji in Anki.
3.  Pen and Paper:  bring a list of the new kanji you want to learn for the day and practice writing them out.  When you get home, check them off in anki quickly as though you have done them.
4.  Pen only: with the cap on, write the kanji out on any surface (or your leg)
5.  Nothing: use your finger and write it out on any surface (or your leg)
6.  Nothing and someone is paying attention to what you are doing: write them out in your head.


Now while this method won’t make them fun, you will get them done.

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Making Time for Japanese When you don’t Feel like Studying — 3 Comments

  1. I think this is good advice so long as you don’t let your kanji practice interfere with something more important. For example, work activities may be boring but should take precedence over Japanese study (as you’re being paid for one and not the other).

  2. Great advice, this is about what I started doing! I had stopped doing reviews for a long time because it was too boring, and other reasons of course, but now starting to get back to it, I got the ipod app, and doing them while in the bus going to work, I can usually get a lot done! The only problem with that is I don’T get to practice writting them which I will need to be able to do if I go to school in japan… but it’s still better than not doing them at all haha.

  3. That is exactly the reason why I started doing Anki when I’m sitting on the toilet or when I’m waiting in the waiting room for the doctor. Even when I get weird looks dragging my mobile to the toilet (I use AnkiDroid for this.) or drawing kanji with my finger either in the air or on my right leg. XD

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