Every Japanese learner starts with similar beginner materials and uses them in a similar way. Textbooks, flash cards, learner videos/podcasts, apps, etc. to teach you beginner level Japanese. What most people don’t realize is that all of this type of material will play only the tiniest of roles on your path to fluency. It’s immersion and native material that will blow up your language ability, not Anki and textbooks.
Everything up till immersion are just the tools that allow you access that immersion.
Immersion changes everything
There is nothing more powerful than using the material you already love and is the actual reason behind you wanting to learn Japanese in the first place. The secret then to Japanese success is really about how fast you can get to, and enjoy immersion. You want to spend all your time efficiently in the beginning to get to this phase in as little time as possible.
It’s a race against time.
This one-two step from “study material” to “immersion material” isn’t simple and has one big thing standing in your way. You need to reach immersion before you burn out on the Japanese learner study materials. I don’t care how much motivation you think you have, if you only worked with textbooks you would perish. Native material is the ultimate fountain of motivation, and you need to get there before you run out of energy.
It can feel a little conflicting since Anki and textbooks play the major (and mostly only) role from the start. But there is a percentage shift where it becomes the complete opposite.
If you want to win the race, then remember this:
Get to immersion and you will get to fluency.