I am convinced it is better to spend 15 minutes a day studying a language than cramming in 2 hours once a week. Spending a set amount of time a day encourages a regular and consistent study habit.
For most people, myself included, finding even 15 minutes to devote to studying is very difficult. But should it be? We all have daily activities we spend 5, 10 or 15 minutes doing every single day. For example, you may spend 5 minutes brushing your teeth or 15 minutes in the shower. Whether you spend 1 minute choosing your daily clothing (me) or 30 minutes (my wife), we never think, “I don’t have time to pick a shirt out today, so I’m going out shirtless!”
But let’s just say for the sake of argument, you really don’t have ANY time. The good news is, you can empower your Japanese WHILE doing your everyday activities you would be doing anyway.
While you are brushing your teeth, washing your hands (at least 30 seconds!) or cooking your dinner, try to commit something to memory. For me, I like to memorize famous Japanese sayings or haiku. This comes in handy when I meet with Japanese friends I would like to impress. I memorized a rakugo story called Jugemu while washing my hands over a week or so. Yes, that’s right while washing my hands . I had a printout of the script that I kept near the sink. When I needed to wash my hands, I would continue scrubbing until I had successfully recited it once through. (I had very clean hands at the beginning)
I know this sounds like a strange bit of advice, but I have always loved the saying 一石二鳥 (isseki nichou To kill two birds with one stone). Not only am I doing something healthy for my hygiene (washing my hands), but I am also learning some neat Japanese!
Give it a try when no one is looking!
Next, Yumi read a blog of a Japanese man who suggested repeating any English heard as a good way to remember common phrases and to help with pronunciation. Try repeating Japanese you hear on TV or your computer. Even if you don’t understand it fully, it could possibly help with pronunciation and even train your ears and mouth.