How to Learn Japanese, Speak Japanese, and Become Fluent in 2017

Did you know that Japanese is considered one of the HARDEST languages to learn? If your native language is English, it’s estimated that it will take you over 2,000 hours of studying to master Japanese!

But what if there was a way to shorten that time? What if you could study the language in such a way as to accelerate your results? Well the good news is that there IS a way, and today I’m going to show it to you!

Let me show you how to learn Japanese, speak Japanese, and become fluent in 2017!

So who the heck is this Nick Hoyt guy?

Nick Hoyt Picture
This is me!

Hey everyone, my name is Nick Hoyt. That’s a picture of me on the right –>

I started studying Japanese over five years ago with a phrase book called “Passport to Japanese.” At the time, all I had was that book and a desire to learn the language.

I would memorize a few phrases from the book each day and try to imagine myself having actual conversations with Japanese people using what I had learned.

Passport to Japanese
My first book on Japanese

As I got a little more money, I started buying other Japanese learning books, CDs, and a computer course. But I kept running into a problem. Well… two problems actually:

(1) No matter what material I bought, it never had enough material in it!

It would be really good with phrases, but have nothing on the grammar. It would have a lot of vocabulary, but not teach you how to hold a conversation. Or it would be good for learning how to talk in Japanese, but have nothing on how to read it.

(2) The other problem I had was that it was really, really, really, REALLY hard to learn! I would go over the same words two, three, five, TEN TIMES just to remember it!

You see, I was learning it all on my own. I thought that the way you learned a language was just to go over it again, and again, and again and hope it stuck! But as it turns out, that’s not a great way to learn Japanese…

Have YOU run into any of these problems before?

Can anyone here relate to this? Do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • You know some Japanese, but can’t hold a conversation.
  • You can speak it, but you can’t read it.
  • You’re learning on your own, but don’t have someone to correct your mistakes.
  • You’re picking up a word here, a grammar rule there, or a phrase over there, but there’s no structure to it.

Well, here’s the thing: as I started reaching out to other people who had already learned Japanese, I found that they had run into these EXACT same problems that I had!

So I started doing some investigating, asking some questions, and started trying out some suggestions… and I made a pretty cool discovery!

It’s called “Accelerated Learning.”

Here’s what it comes down to: there are certain ways that we as humans naturally learn information. When you tap into these methods and apply them to learning Japanese your results skyrocket!

Using these techniques, it actually becomes easier to learn Japanese as you learn more and more. Mostly because it helps your brain to grow and build more neural connections as you learn Japanese!

So what’s the best way to learn Japanese?

I’ve used a lot of books, audio programs, and computer courses to learn Japanese. And what I discovered was that there is actually a company out there that also uses accelerated learning techniques to teach languages. They are called Libros Media and they are the inventors of “Rocket Languages” or to be more specific, Rocket Japanese!

Rocket Japanese is a comprehensive course that you can use on your computer (or smart phone!). It’s broken down into daily lessons that last 20-30 minutes where Sayaka (the Japanese teacher) and Kenny (the English teacher) teach YOU Japanese words and phrases within the context of an actual dialog. This is very useful since you can use what you’ve learned right away in the real world.

Also, there are several testing methods after each lesson that help you to lock in the new information. It’s been shown that when you test information right after learning it, your retention rates increase dramatically.

What are some of these accelerated learning techniques that are in Rocket Japanese? There’s not enough time to go over ALL of them, but let’s take a look at a few of them so that you can understand how they work:

(1) Multi-Sensory Learning: It turns out that you actually have a separate memory for the things you see, the things you hear, and the things you feel (or do). So Rocket Japanese created several different ways to test you on the same material for each lesson.

-There is a section where you read and listen to Japanese words and then have to repeat them (things you see and hear).
-There is a section where you have to type out the words you hear (things you feel or do).
-And there are several other testing methods for things like conversation and role playing.

(2) Make it a Game: It turns out that one of the quickest ways to learn new things is in the format of a game. The primary reason is because of a “three letter word” that you already know well: FUN!

Each time you listen to a phrase, or use a flash card, or complete a test you are awarded points. These points add up and then you get awarded badges and ranks. Also, there are 24-hour ranks for both “Japanese” and “all languages” so that you can see where you rank on the leader boards after you’re done studying.

It’s really a lot fun when you get promoted and are at the top of the score board! I have to admit that this friendly scoreboard is one of the main reasons I am able to study Japanese everyday. Part is a desire to learn the language, and another part is to level up!

Did I mention you get awarded badges? Seriously, it rocks!

So who are the people behind Rocket Languages?

Rocket Languages is one of the premiere language learning companies that people can learn Japanese from. It’s been around for over a decade – since 2004!

Using scientific and practical strategies for language learning, they have taught over a dozen different languages to over 1 million people!

That’s a lot of people who have used Rocket Languages! Obviously it wouldn’t be so popular unless it really worked.

And as for me personally, this the best way to learn Japanese that I’ve been able to find so far. As an American, my first language was English. So that’s was my starting point when I took on learning Japanese.

As I mentioned before, I struggled to learn Japanese the “normal way” that a lot of people do, so I spent some time studying what’s known as “Accelerated Learning Techniques” and I now use them in combination with my regular Japanese studies.

Here’s the thing: I know where you’re coming from. I’ve been in your shoes and had the same difficulties that you have. That’s why I’d like to show you what’s worked so well for me. I truly believe it will work for you too!

The reason I do this is…

I had to go through a lot, I mean A LOT to learn accelerated learning techniques. I read books, went to seminars, and took home based courses to learn it. Then had to figure out how I could combined those methods with learning the Japanese language!

What I found out when I talked to other people who had mastered Japanese, was that they had all used one or several of the same advanced methods I had learned, but none of them we out there showing it to others in a big way.

That’s why I started this blog and why I partnered with Rocket Languages: to help as many people as possible to learn Japanese in a way that is fun and fast!

Rocket Japanese has all the materials for the learning Japanese and they combine it with several advanced techniques. But I add a few MORE advanced techniques to the mix and have increase learning results even further!

Here’s the way I see it: I want to bring Japanese people and English-Speaking people closer together. And the best way I can do that, is to help other people like you and me (English as a first language) to master the Japanese language! I consider it my personal mission.

What do you get with Rocket Japanese?

First of all, all of the courses and materials are accessible to you on your computer and on your phone. So you can use it in the comfort and convenience of your own home, or on the go in your car with your phone.

Secondly, there are over 120 hours of material per level (3 levels total)! Enough to take you from a complete beginner to somewhere in between the B1 and B2 level of the “Common Reference Levels.” In case you’re not sure what that is, B2 is considered fluency in a language for all intents and purposes.

What else? Honestly there is a lot, I mean A LOT! So let me just go over a few of them:

Rocket Record: A pronunciation-perfecting voice recognition tool of over 3,000 words and phrases! This is the missing tool that books and audio programs don’t have: the ability to check your pronunciation immediately.

Flash cards: both customizable ones to suit your individual needs, and also flash cards based on each and every lesson. This is perfect for when you only have five or ten minutes in a day to practice your Japanese. You can use the flash cards (on your phone too!) to review the material you’ve previously learned and lock it in!

Help from other people: Full access to the all the forms (not just the Japanese ones) where you can communicate with and get help from:

  • The Rocket Japanese tutors
  • Other people who are learning Japanese
  • Me! I’m on there almost every day

But nothing is perfect…

Look I have to be honest, Rocket Japanese has it’s flaws and it’s certainly not perfect. I want to be transparent first and foremost, so let me tell you what the problems are that I’ve run into and how I deal with them myself.

#1 – The recording software is not perfect. I would say that the voice recognition software is great 90% of the time, but doesn’t work the remaining 10%. How do I know it doesn’t work that 10% of the time? Well, it has to do with the “reason” it gives you…

Sometimes you will say the phrase, and the software will spit out a blank; It thinks you didn’t say anything. Other times you will say it perfectly and it will show you what you said in “Hiragana” which matches the word, but since the phrase was presents to you in “Kanji” you get dinged for it.

So that’s unfortunate, but lucky there is a super, SUPER easy fix for it! When you receive your rating for how well you did, the program suggests a ranking of 1-5 (5 being the best), but you are always allowed to override their suggestion and put in how well you believe you did. So if you believe that you nailed it (a 5 out of 5!), but it says, “no you only get a 2” you can decide to ignore it and give yourself that 5!

#2 – The “write it” testing section is Hiragana and Katakana ONLY! So, if you are brand new to Japanese then there is no problem for you. No problem!

But if you are like I was when I started Rocket Japanese, and already know some Japanese, then it is really, REALLY annoying when you type in the correct sentence in full Kanji+Hiragana, and then have to edit it so that it is only hiragana.

Now there is a special section that is considered “extra work” where you can use the full Kanji in written Japanese, but you don’t get the points credit for it 🙁

So, personally, I just deal with it and type in Hiragana, but if you already know Hiragana and Katakana, then you can either type full Kanji in the “extra” section, or you can skip it entirely. Your choice.

Okay, it sounds great. So how much is it?

First of all let’s do some comparisons to the alternatives so that you know if it’s a good deal or not. I can tell you right now it’s more than any book on Japanese. That’s because it has way, WAY more information than a normal book! And also, you can actually hear native Japanese speakers!

As I mentioned before, it has over 120 hours of Japanese per level. Most Japanese tutors will run you $10-$15 per hour, so this course is the equivalent of $1,200-$1,800 worth of lessons!

But, since Rocket Japanese is a learning course, it probably makes the most sense to compare it to other learning courses.

I compared it to Rosetta Stone and Pimsluer, and Rocket Japanese it actually the best priced course! Pimsluer is very, very expensive! And Rosetta Stone is close to Rocket Japanese, but still a little higher. You can check out their actual prices on their respective websites. I didn’t want to give them here since they sometimes change and I don’t want to provide outdated info.

And what’s great is that you only have to purchase Rocket Japanese one time and then it’s yours forever – updates included! The other two companies want to sell subscriptions so that you pay every year to access the information. Personally, I don’t like that but some people don’t mind it.

There are a total of three levels of Rocket Japanese, depending on how far you’d like to take your education. You can get just one level, or all three at a reduced price. But in order to get as many people as possible speaking Japanese, Rocket Languages has agreed to give you several bonuses to help you out!

First off, who doesn’t like to save a buck, am I right? The first bonus you get is a coupon for $50 per level! Simply use coupon ROCKETDEAL at the time of check out – Limited time only!

The second bonus is the Rocket Japanese Survival Kit! This can be purchased separately from Rocket Languages for $49.95 and involves 10 lessons specifically designed to focus on vocabulary. There’s a total of 4 hours worth of material that includes 300 words and phrases.



So that right there is $100 worth of bonuses from Rocket Languages per level!

AND I’m going to give you bonuses too! I’ve going to give you three things that I have created myself to help accelerate your Japanese!

#1 is my special report Secrets of Learning Japanese: 10 Tricks to Dramatically Boost Your Japanese Skills. This report will give you 10 techniques that you can use immediately in order to learn Japanese quickly.

#2 is my Accelerated Learning Plan. This one page document shows you the 8 steps that you need to take, and in the right order, to fully utilize the accelerated learning techniques with Japanese.

#3 and finally, you get the first chapter of my upcoming book Japanese Scripts: Use pre-written scripts to double or TRIPLE your conversational Japanese. 



To claim your bonuses from Rocket Language, simply click on the links below, and be sure to get your copy of Rocket Japanese so that you can apply what you learn in these bonuses to actually learning Japanese!

LINKS: Secrets of Learning Japanese | Japanese Accelerated Learning Plan | Japanese Scripts

As I mentioned before, there are several different levels of Rocket Japanese. So if you’re interested in learning more about them, then you can do so by clicking on the button below:



Take a full 60 days to go through the entire Rocket Japanese program. Check out all the bonuses. Use the program and apply the lessons you learn.

If you don’t 100% agree that Rocket Japanese delivers strategies that would enable you to learn and use Japanese… simply contact Rocket Languages Customer Service.

They’ll refund every penny of your investment – no questions asked.

But, I want you to keep the three bonuses from me. Consider them my gift to you to help you along your journey to fluency.

Here’s what some other students of Rocket Japanese are saying:

1 Japanese Rocket Reviews

2 Japanese Rocket Reviews

Included in Rocket Japanese

With every level of a Rocket Languages course you get:

  • Over 120 hours of lessons per level — The most “bang for buck” of any language course available
  • The pronunciation-perfecting voice recognition tool, Rocket Record. Perfect your pronunciation of over 3,000 words and phrases
  • Full interactive audio courses — perfect for learning during your morning commute
  • A huge range of tools to boost your reading, writing, comprehension, and retention. You’ll never “go blank” again!
  • Customizable FlashCard sets to really help things “stick”
  • The ability to use it on your computer, iOS or Android device, so you can learn whichever way suits you best
  • Loads of motivation and a friendly community to help you stick with it
  • Free updates for life, and no monthly fees
  • 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out, with all the risk on us!

Plus you will also get these special bonuses:

  • A Survival Kit with essential words, phrases and vocabulary — normally $49.95, yours free!
  • A $50 off coupon — limited time only!
  • Secrets of Learning Japanese: 10 Tricks to Dramatically Boost Your Japanese Skills
  • The Accelerated Learning Plan: a one page document
  • Japanese Scripts: Use pre-written scripts to double or TRIPLE your conversational Japanese

If you think Rocket Japanese can help you to learn Japanese, then you might want to check it out by clicking the button below:



Do you have any questions or concerns? Have you used Rocket Japanese before? What was your experience? Let me know with a comment below!



  • Collins

    Hey Nick, interesting article. It is good to be a bilingual and it broadens your mind and gives you confidence anytime you engage others.

    In fact, I did not know that Japanese language is difficult to learn. So if it will take 2000 hours to be perfect, then I think it will take years to learn.

    Can I use less than a 5 month time frame to speak Japanese?

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Collins, thanks for complement!

      Learning a new language is more about the amount of time you put in, rather than for “how many years” you study it. A few other factors come in such as which language is you native one (Japanese is easier for Koreans than Americans for example), which words you choose to learn, and how you go about learning.

      All that being said, you can become fluent in conversational Japanese in less than six months for sure. The word “fluent” has a lot of different meanings to different people, but when I use it I mean “having the ability to speak and understand easily, without slowing the conversation down.”

      You might not be able to discuss high level topics like politics or the medical industry, but most people aren’t interested in those kinds of things for other countries anyway.

      I hope that helps! Thanks!

  • Sharon

    Hi Nick,

    You have an interesting article here, with all your learning experience. That’s exactly what others went through or rather going through. Learning languages by our self is pretty hard when there isn’t anyone to practice with.
    I took a few Japanese language classes in my teens before I had to stop due to relocation. Wish I had continue. Perhaps in the near future. Knowing now that Rocket Japanese helps tremendously.


    • Nick Hoyt

      Yeah one of the key elements to learning Japanese is speaking it a lot. Unfortunately books and apps on the phone don’t naturally prompt you to speak out loud when you use them. So people get good at reading and listening, but they can’t hold a conversation with someone in the language.

      Having a course that is specifically designed to have you speaking and using the language right away is a pretty significant thing!

  • Kurtis Quick

    Nick, how long do you think it would take to become fluent in Japanese with this program? I follow a world traveler named Benny Lewis who sells language learning advice. One of the main things he recommends is to forget your native tongue. Only speak in Japanese and it will force you to learn quicker. That is if you are in Japan.

    But what about if I was studying it at home?

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Kurtis, yeah I’ve actually read Benny Lewis’ book Fluent in 3 Months and thought it was pretty good!

      How long it takes to become fluent is a pretty good question. Most people tend to think of days, as in “become fluent in a month or a year” but it’s actually the time that matters. You can become fluent after several hundred hours of learning and practicing a language.

      So if you were willing to practice for 4 or more hours a day like Benny does, you could actually become fluent in about 3-6 months depending on your study schedule.

      But if you only study for 10 minutes a day like a lot of people say, then it will probably take several years to learn it all.

  • Angieina

    Hi Nick,
    You have a very interesting website and if ever I get to Japan I will come back and study! At the moment I am trying to get to grips with Italian. As one of your previous commentators said, you have to completely immerse yourself and it’s like being thrown in the deep end, you learn much faster.

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Angieina, thanks for the complements on my site. It’s still considered pretty new for a website, so I am always looking for ways to improve it and to “get the word out” about it.

      Yeah, Immersion is a great (although tough!) way learn any new language. The great thing about learning a language in 2017 is that with all the technology we have access to, you don’t even really need to leave you own room to be fully immersed!

  • Kevin Bulmer

    Hey Nick!

    This looks cool! Nice job with your review – very comprehensive. I love to learn new languages, and my oldest son is really interested in a number of things related to the Japanese culture. I like that. I like that he has a curiosity about a culture completely removed from the one we’re in. Learning Japanese, or any other language, would be a great thing to do, I think.

    Rocket Japanese looks like a solid program!

    Keep up your great work!


    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey thanks Kevin! I also think it’s great for people to learn about cultures that are a lot different from their own. It opens you up to a lot of new things that you might never have come across otherwise. And international travailing is awesome too!

  • Ally

    HI! This is a great review. I like that this program offers pronunciation verification. I also like that you can complete the program on your phone.

    Do you know if there is a recommended schedule for using the course? I know that some programs suggest that you practice a few times a day in order to really put the material to work.


    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Ally, yeah I also think that the pronunciation verification tool is a super great way to start actually speaking the language and make sure you’re doing it correctly.

      The founder of the company actually talked about his recommended schedule one time. He said that the most important thing is to be consistent. Just spend 20-30 each day in the program and follow the order that it’s laid out in.

      So you’d start with lesson one, then move on to the different kinds of tests for it, and then move on to lesson two and so forth. Having this kind of structure really helps with learning since the things in latter lessons refer back to what’s been learned in earlier ones.


  • Juba HADJAL

    Hi Nick,

    I Loved your article, well written and give me the motivation to speak this beautiful language.

    When I was younger I tried to learn Japanese but I couldn’t even start learning because it was very difficult.

    Way too many words used to express the same thing and it can be confusing and time-consuming.

    I am a huge fan of mangas, mainly One Piece, Food Wars, One Punch Man, DBZ and others. So I really wanted to learn it.

    Do you really believe I could master this language if I really tried your method?

    Arigato nakama!

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey man, I also love, love, LOVE One Punch Man! That manga makes me crack up so hard every time! And it’s funny that you mention how it’s hard because there are lots of ways to express the same thing, because I also feel that way. Since there are several different forms of the language (casual, neutral, formal) it can get really confusing at times.

      Yeah, I absolutely believe that Rocket Japanese can help you master Japanese. It’s already worked for thousands of people for Japanese, and over a million people for all the Rocket Languages combined.

      I understand being a little hesitant when it comes to trying something new. If you would like, you can use the FREE TRIAL version of Rocket Japanese. You just need an email to get started. I’ll put the link below. Thanks!

  • Egon Sarv

    Hi Nick,

    Thank you for the very interesting article. I am not a native English speaker and I have never studied Japanese but I have had to learn foreign languages in my life. Therefore, I completely understand your struggles (and frustration from time to time).

    Learning language is a long process and it requires a lot of determination and persistence.

    Before my family and I moved to Indonesia (we were missionaries) we memorized about 700 words and studied some grammar. However, after arriving we quickly discovered that we could not really communicate with the locals (a little bit, yes, but not much).

    Here’s how we learned the language (in fact, in one year). We went to live in slum (it was our mission, we wanted to do that). And there – in that slum – our language skills skyrocketed. Why? Because 1) We had tons of people around as 24/7/365. 2) None of them could speak English.

    One year later we could speak bahasa. Our 3 year old kid could spoke bahasa Indonesia fluently.

    However, there were American missionaries in Jakarta who lived in nice apartments and private houses. They had other white (american) friends always around to communicate with. They went to English worship Services. And to study the language, the took different English courses.

    Yet their language skills were worse than ours.

    The bottom line is this – if you really want to learn the language (and fast), go live among the locals. Cut yourself completely off from people who talk your mother language.

    Just my two cents, sir 🙂 (my experience of learning languages).

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Egon, you are totally right! The best way to learn a language is to use it ALL THE TIME! And putting yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to learn the language as quickly as possible is probably the single best way to motivate yourself. Thanks for the tip!

  • Chez

    I may give this a try, its always worth broadening your languages. I did do Japanese in school a long time ago and I really enjoyed it, but its a shame I cant remember anything of it other than the usual phrases everybody knows. Maybe if I recap it will come flooding back?

    • Nick Hoyt

      Yeah you’d be surprised what you remember once you start practicing it again. I read once that people never completely forgot what they’ve learned, it’s just that they can’t always recall it when they need to.

      If you’re not sure, try checking out their free trial. You just need an email address and then you can check out the system for free! Here’s a link to it if you’re interested:

  • Paulo

    Konnichiwa Nikku San!

    That’s about my level of Japanese right there. I studied it for several semesters in college (I have a degree in foreign relations) and I just managed to scrape by. Nihongo isn’t that easy to pick up especially if your native tongue shares similarities to western languages (the Philippines was a Spanish Colony)

    Anyway, all of that being said, I’m definitely interested in taking on a Rocket Language course pretty soon.

    Thanks for this man!

    • Nick Hoyt

      Konnichiwa Paulo San!

      Hey man having a degree in foreign relations is pretty awesome! It seems like the world gets smaller and smaller each year with all the new apps and social media sites that keep coming out. Knowing more than one language may soon become a necessity!

      I’m glad I could be of help!

  • Nikola

    Hey Nick. A very thorough review of Rocket Japanese. I am impressed but also with the course itself. I have been leanring Japanese for two years now only by watching a ot lof anime. And it works as now I understand about 70% of what they say. But it is not enough and I am starting to seriousl consder buying some official course. I wanted the one From Rosetta Stone but When I saw your comparisn chart, thanks but no thanks.

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Nikola, learning Japanese through anime is pretty awesome! I actually just got the premium subscription to Crunchyroll recently and I am loving it!

      Yeah, there are a lot of advantages to learning with a course. They provide a lot of structure to the whole learning process which can greatly enhance your results. I’ve used Rosetta Stone before, and it is a good program for sure, but Rocket Japanese is better AND costs less!

      But that’s just my opinion 🙂


  • gemma

    Very interesting! I’ve actually never learned another language before other than English and German which I got taught at school. I didn’t realize that Japanese is considered to be the hardest language either. You’ve got a great website and I wish you all the success in the future! It will be interesting to find out how well I can do at learning this language.

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey Gemma, thank you for the complements on my site! ^_^

      It’s pretty awesome that you are already bilingual! Once you’ve learned a second language, it becomes easier to learn another one since you’re brain is already used to it.

      Check out the “For Beginners” tab to get started with Japanese and then come back any time for new stuff!


  • Jonelle S

    Ok, wish me luck.
    I was invited to go on a business trip with a friend. They didn’t want to make the entire trip solo. I don’t know any Japanese!! That teriffies me a bit…but I’ve begun to take a few different offerings to get myself mildly prepped. I don’t feel confident in what I know now, but I hope this course will put me where I’d like to be. So far, it seems to be the most promising.
    Thanks!! Excited!!

    • Nick Hoyt

      Hey going on a trip to Japan (even for business) sounds like a lot of fun! If you’re just going for a short while, learning some basics like “please” and “thank you” will go a long way. Let me know if you have any questions about anything, I’m here to help!

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