How Much Money to Spend on Learning Japanese — 6 Comments

  1. I started as somewhere between one and two on here. Basically after years of saying one day I might learn Japanese I finally tried it out and bought RTK for the kana. After slowly going through it thinking it was just okay I finished it. It took me three tries or so to be interested enough. After that I started enjoying it much more. I took the next step and bought RTK for kanji. I plowed through it in about two months and my like of learning Japanese turned into a love.

    After RTK I read a ton of forums. At first planning on the free route and doing CORE6k, tae kims, etc. Right before I really got going though I found Jalup and became convinced it was superior for me. I guess my Jalup purchase moved me up somewhere between 2-3.

    Now after doing beginner, intermediate, and now working through advanced I am glad I spent the money. I am ramping up my immersion and will likely stay around 2-3 for some time since I will continue to buy japanese content (manga, shows, etc).

    How much better is something like Japanese school compared to SRS?

    • I think it depends entirely on the person. Some people do really well at a Japanese school (and without it might not have done as well). Others not so much. So it can produce mixed results :)

    • I completed JALUP Beginner and took a beginner course at a language school in Japan – (progression based, had to start there). I can definitely confirm that all the elements of language were covered in the Beginner 1k and I had a clear understanding of how stuff worked. I didn’t have the minutia of all the grammar down, so the course was useful in helping gain that knowledge. I expect that the same could have reasonably been accomplished alongside a good textbook.

      Language school does give you the advantage of personal feedback and continued speaking and listening practice. Is it worth the cost? I guess that is up to the individual, but even bad language schools can be expensive and the good ones even more so.

      I wouldn’t enter into it with the idea that going to language school in Japan will put you to fully fluent through the coursework alone. Most schools aim to have a student go from nothing to passing J2 or J1, in the space of about two years. I’m guessing by the JALUP scale that would be somewhere around high 40’s / low 50’s – so still a lot of work to do.

      So, yeah, it’s a mixed bag. I’ve found that hand in hand they work well together, but I don’t think that coming to Japan to learn Japanese from a language school is going to be worth it for most people unless they are here for other purposes first.

  2. I think free is the way to go, because well it’s free! I do think think having structure can help a lot though, so I feel if you do pay you want to get something that provides structure. That can help you from just randomly roaming the internet looking at random Japanese stuff when you should be focusing more. Also anything that improves motivation is generally worth it. Lack of motivation, and getting distracted, the two biggest threats to trying to learn or do anything!

  3. I went from a low cost/high cost learner (depended on the month) to a Japanese-Owns-My-Money learner. After 2 years I decided to take a break from work and go to language school in Japan for a year. 0 regrets so far a few weeks in, and I just got permission to work part time on my Visa which will make the whole year much much cheaper.

    Being able to study Japan full time for a year and be completely immersed…. It’s worth it!! So much time for anki now lol

  4. For now, I’m a Free Learner because I’m still studying and living with my parents (which is common for Asians) I can’t really push myself to ask for money from my parents. Though I want to work, they wouldn’t allow me since they want me to prioritize my studies first. Maybe when I finish my studies and started working I can change into a “Low-Cost Learner” or “High-Cost Learner”. I’m also using the Tae Kim’s Guide to Grammar which is actually a great guide for beginners like me! I saw it while browsing on Reddit and found a forum about Japanese Learners.

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