A Girl in Cebu

A Japanese girl in Cebu talks about her travels and school life.

4 Reasons Why Your Japanese Doesn't Improve

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Are you struggling to learn Japanese? I know how hard it is to improve your skill by yourself. Studying hard is too difficult and boring. No matter how hard you work, you don’t see any improvement. I doubt that your method of studying Japanese might be wrong.

I had taught Japanese to people from Europe, Asia, America and Australia, and I found out why their Japanese skill was bad. Here are some reasons that I discovered.

Text on Shelf4 Reasons Why Your Japanese Is Bad

①You don't review

Grammar rules and words in casual and formal conversations are the same.

Common mistakes are

  • 私の家に猫がある。--->私の家に猫がいる。 Iru --->Aru
  • 違いです。--->違います。 Desu-Masu
  • 私は日本に働きます。--->私は日本で働きます。 Nihon Ni -Nihon De


It was my part-time job to teach Japanese, so I kindly corrected their mistakes. Honestly, I had gotten annoyed at their mistakes because students repeated them. After I had explained them a few times, I stopped correcting it.

I suggested easier and natural expressions, but students didn’t review them and they don’t remember anything in our previous lesson. How can we learn something new?


②Students don't know their level

This is a student who overestimates her Japanese level. She used to be fluent in Japanese, but she hasn’t spoken it for over decades and she cannot remember words quickly. I want her to learn easy words, but she requires much higher level than she is.


Since she doesn’t know the basics, she cannot understand an advanced level. She doesn’t even try to understand the meaning of the word, and just tries to memorize words. Therefore, she cannot come up with the word even when she comes across the situation in which she should use the word.


My job is just to meet students’ needs, and I don't dare to tell her about her weak points. Only when I was asked, I would tell.


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③Unwilling to learn kanji

This applies to students who don’t know their level.

Japanese has

  • Hiraganaひらがな
  • Katakanaカタカナ
  • Kanji漢字


Some students barely know Katakana, and they don’t know Kanji. I understand that kanji is difficult. Even I feel that kanji is hard to learn. Once you learn kanji, it will help you learn Japanese more deeply. If you plan to travel to Japan in a year, you should learn Hiragana and Katakana, and then you learn ten kanji words.



Woman Showing Her Hand

I mainly taught a daily conversation. I had a student who is shy and taciturn. I asked many questions, but his answers were always short, or he didn’t say anything. Conversation is like a game. Students need to take part in it, and sometimes even take the initiative.

If you want to improve speaking Japanese, at least please prepare yourself before the lesson.

  • What you did today
  • What you want to talk about
  • What you are interested in


I know I was a beginner to teach Japanese. I didn’t feel that students were enthusiastic about learning Japanese, and that made me annoyed. I don’t teach Japanese anymore. Teachers are partial to studious students.


Baby Steps

You cannot expect that you will immediately become fluent in Japanese. Don’t give up even if you cannot see any improvement. Baby steps are the key of your success. Try to study for five minutes every day. Many a little makes a mickle. I will also continue to study English.