Based on a post on Naruhodo! I picked up a copy of 日本語のカタチとココロ a few weeks ago and threw it in my bag. It lives in the bag and only gets read when I ride the train. This means that although sometimes I don't read it for a day or two it is always with me when I commute and depending on how crowded the train is I can normally extract it from my bag and read a few pages. I don't carry any other books with me (a gripping novel is too great a temptation) and the only other material I read on the train is the content of the ad posters (and occasionally phone emails). After a busy week with lots of train travel I realised I have nearly finished the book. Considering that most of my train journeys were short, that there were times I was nodding off and couldn't concentrate, and that I have been distracted by the more amusing posters, I have probably not read more than two or three pages per journey. Completing a slim (136 pages) volume like this is no big achievement in itself - the point is this - by making this book my train book I defined the time when I would read it, and made progress by nibbling away, rather than trying to devour chunks at a time. Meanwhile my Death Note manga, which sit in my living room, have been neglected for weeks - I haven't set aside time to read them.
Years ago, when I lived in Sydney and before I had ever contemplated studying Japanese, I used to have a hour long commute each way to university. Ideal study time, but often given over to dirty great Stephen King novels. Still, at 2 hours a day, 5 days a week and 36 weeks of term that worked out at 360 hours of reading a year - I got through a lot of books (even factoring in those times I fell asleep and had to be woken at the terminus by the driver). When I started work 36 weeks became 48 weeks (4 weeks holidays per year in Australia - thank you!) and I had 480 hours of reading built in to my schedule.
So Grasshopper, the lesson to be extracted from today's post and applied to J-learning:
1. ALWAYS carry a Japanese book (beginners - use a kindergarten picture book!) when you commute.
2. DON'T carry an English language book - when you are tired you will default to it.
3. LEAVE the book in your bag/jacket - when you get home don't take it into the toilet to read it - you'll forget it.
4. Pick a book you can read easily - you don't want to have to be looking up kanji.
5. Try not to fall asleep on the bus/train.