I’ve often heard, “I want to learn Japanese now!” and believe me, I’ve been feeling that way for a while now. However, no matter what you do, you’re not going to just get it. While it’s true that there are some who pick up on things faster than others there is still some work behind it.
One of the things I do to study are I write my notes several times over because I hate my handwriting and it is impossible to read! Doing this not only improves my Japanese and English writing style but it also makes me go over it again and helps me remember it. I usually have to rewrite things two or three times before I think it’s at least legible! If you’re in a formal Japanese class I think this might be a good way to help you grasp something that perhaps you’re struggling with.
Another thing I love to use to help me with Japanese is a website known as http://www.lang-8.com
Lang-8 is a blogging website where you blog in a language that you’re learning, and native speakers come in and they correct your errors. They’re really quick about it too! I usually get an answer much faster from them then I do waiting for an email from my Sensei, and you usually get a couple different ways to say things. Good news is that there is also a huge Japanese populous on this site making it easy to find a penpal or something of the like. The only thing I’ve noticed is you might want to go in and correct their English entries to make everything fair. I’ve noticed that when my “Been Corrected” ratio is higher than my “Have Corrected” ratio I tend to not get answers as fast.
Lang-8 is excellent for practicing that new grammar by applying it to sentences for practice. It’s also good to use for just everyday use like talking about your day so that you don’t forget things that you previously learned!
I do this as well as study with classmates to help me work on my Japanese and because I am particularly bad at grammar I focus on that more and doing these two things really helps me out. Though it is hard to sometimes find time, if you really value Japanese you’ll do you’re best to try and set aside time.