I got the idea of writing this from this post on the Learn Japanese with Tae Kim facebook group. I started learning this language when I was back in Brazil on May 2014. Almost two years now and I am still a beginner (even though I didn't really take this seriously back home).
I first started by subscribing to the www.japanesepod101.com website. The content is ok, the method isn't that great, but it was more than enough to get me started.
Now I am Living in Japan and, even though I learn a lot from my daily life, I felt like I needed a system to make my learning progress more effective. I wanna be fluent in less than 1 year from now so I can enjoy the most of the experiences I am having here and I figured out that every time I decided to work like "2 ours of Japanese study every day" I got bored really quickly or just gave up altogether. Because you know, "I only have 10 minutes before going to bed... so it is not the 2 hours I set myself to do".
So, the system I came up with is to get myself into situations where I have to use Japanese. Whenever I receive a letter I try to read it (but usually I have a friend confirm the contents because I don't wanna get in trouble with the bank lol), I decided to avoid spending time with English speakers by not making new English speaker friends (I am not going to avoid my current friends, so I just try to meet Japanese people with no interest in English instead). I found out this system is making a huge difference on how fast I learn and how confident I am with using the little I know. So here it goes:
- Like most people here, I commute to work by train. When going to work I go trough Anki flash cards. The collection of cards changes from now and then, but at the moment I am focusing on phrases taken from the Human Japanese app - I really want to buy the app now, btw - and kanji from the weirdly good Kanji Damage site. I usually study from 100 to 200 cards every day and always in my way to work. If I leave it for when I am coming back, tired, I know I will not study.
- I usually go to lunch by myself and try to get into situations where I need to get by with the little I know
- I go out with my Japanese friends and get into some activities that are 100% in Japanese. I think I really understand about 10% of that is said, but I usually can get the gist of what is going on. And whenever I realize some word I don't know is being used over and over again I go to jisho.org using my phone to look it up. I am glad my Japanese friends are so patient and understanding with me.
- I listen to www.japanesepod101.com about 3 times a week. I usually do this before going to bed, while cooking or doing other boring task that keep my hands busy. And as soon as I can understand the conversation, even if I don't really know every single word to the heart, I move on to the next lesson because I know they will keep reusing most of those words anyway.