I’ve been studying Japanese for a couple months and while I feel that I’m at a higher level compared to my friends who have studied for a similar period of time, I sometimes tend to get frusterated that they know simple words I don’t (names of foods, etc).
Anyways, Steve has a good post that addresses this:
TL:DR - Don’t worry about the basics, rather, stick to content that you enjoy. and would use. For example, he states that his wife was better at shopping because she new common foods. Steve on the other hand could speak much better Japanese because he stuck to things he was interested (politics, news, business). The common words end up popping up enough and will eventually stick according to him. I agree.