This is What it’s Like After 2 Years of Studying a Language

As of 2018, it’s been about 2 years since I started learning Japanese. I study for about an hour each day and wrote more about the process of setting goals on autopilot in a prior post.

One of the most common questions I get asked is “How is your Japanese going?”

How is your Japanese going?

I have a hard time answering this question. For one, I still can’t understand a TV show nor could I survive with Japanese only in Japan. If I use these as a guide, I feel like I’ve made no real progress. However, I know I have definitely made progress. It just happens that skill in something like a new language develops over an extended period of time with progress occurring gradually.

In light of this, in order to capture exactly where I’m at in this point of my Japanese study, I shot a short video of me speaking Japanese.

In full transparency, I had typed up a script, practiced it 4-5 times, and followed it for the video. A natural conversation would be much slower. However, I wanted to capture “the best” of what my level is at so I put some thought into what I would want to say and double checked most of my sentences with my tutors.

I wish I could compare to how I looked when first starting, but hey, either way it’ll be fun to visit this video again in the future.


What did it take for me to get to this level?

As of the video recording date in November 2018, I have taken 621 Japanese lessons over the past 2 years and 3 months. That meant I took a lesson on 75% of all the days since I started 2 years-ish ago (!). As I discussed in another post, once I got into an “autopilot” rhythm, it became relatively easy to keep up my lessons.

I have taken 621 Japanese lessons over the past 2 years and 3 months

I used to do 3-4 hrs/week of homework but stopped after the first year. I now continue to do daily (at least I try to do daily) lessons and I’ll listen to Japanese podcasts or watch some Japanese TV shows to get accustomed to listening and how people speak in everyday situations.

I have no idea how progress could be if I studied more or with different methods (as sometimes suggested by various tutors). Given work and other priorities, I allocated the amount of time that I felt comfortable with and felt would still drive progress.

2 responses to “This is What it’s Like After 2 Years of Studying a Language”

  1. […] I noticed today that I passed 500 Japanese lessons on iTalki, the platform I’ve been using to learn Japanese. Combine that with my previous lessons on Verbling, and my total lessons as of today (Jan 2019) comes to exactly 680 lessons over 2.5 years. […]


  2. […] I made a similar video after 2 years of studying. It’ll be fun to watch the videos again as I (hopefully) improve. I included English subtitles in the video so turn those on if not already enabled. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: