Reading, listening, speaking and writing, are the four main fields you have to master in any language. But to master something, you not only have to learn first, but also do basic training once in a while. The more you practice the basics the better it is for your progress. Think of it, it might be boring to hear sentences like 写真に写っている寺は浅草にある浅草寺。 Alright, this sentence is not very basic, but how about a dialogue like the following?
Misa asks Taro if he likes Japan, what kind of food he likes, and so on. Typically you can find this type of conversation in your beginners textbook. But think back how excited you must have felt when you were first listening to it, and the time when you were able to understand the lines spoken to you! Now that you already know what it means, it gets boring all of a sudden. But there is a reason why you should listen to it, speak along, or write about those very basic things. It is because you will always have weaknesses in one of the four fields. And the best way to work on them is not to hope that they will vanish, unless you are taking the time to go over the basics again.
The good thing is that you don’t have to learn something new. You can fully concentrate on speaking, reading, writing or listening, whatever you have difficulties with. I do it all the time. I choose some basic material, listen to it, speak along, and write as much about as I am able to. For a long time I have been watching the Erins Challenge videos, but I don’t gain anything from watching them anymore. Now I have gathered all the material I could get from Japanesepod-101. Listening to the basic podcasts really feels awkward, because they are talking about a word, they say it in Japanese at normal speed, and then again pronouncing it す・み・ま・せ・ん. Every time they are doing it I feel like being dumb, getting the word pronounced in this way. But they are not only doing this to single words, but to whole articles, and conversations. But it is not all that bad. After talking at length about some topic, they are reading it slowly once, and a third time. The third time the speakers are repeating everything line per line, without breaks in between. The sentence is spoken at natural speed in Japanese, next comes the sentence in English, and after that the next sentence in Japanese again. It allows me to say the sentence in Japanese, while the speaker says it in English. And that is great!
I even do some basic training while working with my JLPT 2 books. How so? By not leaving out words I have seen a thousand times when creating cards in Anki. Another thing I do to improve and do some basic training is working with the Japanese Core-Plus deck. The important thing is to keep progressing. If you do some basic training every day, your problems will be gone in no time, and things that might be hard to grasp will become clear. You just have to do it, and it mustn’t be boring, if you make the most of it.