Jumping Increasingly Difficult Hurdles

Jumping Increasingly Difficult HurdlesRegardless of whether you believe Japanese is easy, or difficult, or you have no opinion on the matter at all, a definite remains. It starts off easy, and gets more complex the further you go. Learning こんにちは (hello) is easier than learning 俺を殺さんでくれ! (Don’t kill me!)

If Japanese was a game, what would the end of it be? Becoming fluent? Is this really an end? Do you want an end?

There is a really popular cram-school teacher in Japan teaching the important mentality of treating studying like a fun game. Miyamoto-Sensei was featured on the motivational/educational variety show 全力教室 and provided a few important quotes that I feel are highly relevant to Japanese learners.

1. ハードルを超えたご褒美はもっと高いハードル。

The reward for completing a hurdle is a higher hurdle.

2. 人生は終わりのないトーナメント。

Life is a never ending tournament.

3. 勝ち抜けば勝ち抜くほど敵は手強くなる。

The more you win and push forward, the stronger the enemies become.

4. 勝つことを目的にするのではなくてハードルを超えることを喜びとする。

Don’t make the final win your goal. Enjoy overcoming the hurdles.

Japanese will get more difficult, and will continue to throw you new and more powerful enemies. 

You need to enjoy this every step of the way.

You enjoy a video game because of the difficulty. You don’t play a video game just to finish it. You play it to have fun and take satisfaction of every hurdle you go through till your final victory.

Regular console video games have the issue of having a firm ending, which can feel kind of anti-satisfying. You travelled so far, worked so hard, and you are done. Then what? You are left with emptiness.

That’s why endless MMORPGs are so addictive.

We crave an endless game. We always want the next more difficult challenge. And that’s what Japanese is. An endless MMORPG with a never ending supply of new and increasingly difficult challenges.

Fluency? Native Level? Is that an end?

Even native speakers are always looking for ways to make themselves better writers. Better speakers. Always learning new words and concepts. Old words and concepts they never knew.

So you need to enjoy every hurdle. Finished Jalup Beginner Stage 1? Bask in the feeling of reward of completing this. But quickly get ready for the more difficult stage 2. Were you reading only manga with furigana? Get ready to read manga without it. Used to watching only simple romantic comedy dramas? Time to try a detective story.

Keep raising the hurdles, one difficulty level at a time.

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.


Jumping Increasingly Difficult Hurdles — 12 Comments

  1. I love this, especially the part about native speakers continuing to improve their own work. In a conversation with a native Japanese speaker, I mentioned that my English wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

    He responded, “But you’re a native, aren’t you?”

    “Yes, but just because I was born speaking English doesn’t mean I know everything about the language. Sadly, not even close.”

    • Yeah a lot of people seem to overlook the fact of improving your own language. As though every native adult will be a good writer and speaker just through their nationality.

  2. Aah, I tend to focus too much on the end game… Yes! We must all stop and enjoy the scenery every once in a while!

  3. Not sure why everyone says there isn’t, there is absolutely an “end” goal. The end comes when you no longer need an aid chained to your life (SRS, dictionary) to manage within the area of the language you wish to manage.

    It’s not some unattainable thing… For example… I’m completely satisfied with my English comprehension… How is that possible if language end-goals are unattainable?

    • I don’t think they’re trying to say that you can’t ever achieve your goal and become satisfied. They’re just saying that if you want to keep raising the bar, there will always be opportunities to do so. Always bigger challenges to conquer, if you’re up for them.

    • Just to chime in with what Matt is saying, you can definitely achieve your goals and be satisfied. It’s not that it is unattainable, but language, like life, is often about striving towards newer and bigger challenges.

      I’m a native speaker of English. Been going at it for quite a while now. But I still find new words, concepts, ideas and subjects all the time. Am I satisfied with my English comprehension? Yes. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to continuously expand my knowledge. True, I don’t sit there with an SRS. But ask yourself how many times you’ve put into Google for your own language “What does ____ mean” or “What is ____”

  4. This is exactly what I needed to hear right now.

    I’ve always been the kind to plan out everything. I’ve always had a goal to strive for until recently when I had hit a kind of plateau: finished school, got a good job, living pretty comfortably, so I found myself without a next hurdle to strive for.

    “The reward for completing a hurdle is a higher hurdle.”

    You always have to keep trying to move upwards in life, so I need to find my next hurdle and start a new journey to clear it.

    A very bad experience with a different online based Japanese learning program steered me away from continuing to learn for about a year, but my curiosity was revitalized during my search for my next hurdle. I’m still not sure how, but righ now I know that I want Japanese to be a big part of my professional and personal life.

    I know I’m rambling quite a bit, but I just want to say that I am so glad a stumbled upon this website. I can’t quite stop reading more and more of this awesome content.
    Doumo arigatou gozaimasu! Gambarimashou, minna-san!

    • Welcome!

      I definitely get the hurdle thing. Japanese replaced a less healthy competitive obsession for me. It’s been great to tackle a more cooperative challenge for a change, and very rewarding.

      Anyway, good luck on your adventure (^_^)


    • Well welcome to the site! I hope it helps you find the challenge and hurdles you need to make Japanese an amazing part of your life. よろしくお願いします!

  5. I really understand this article a lot more now. Just when I (naively) feel that I’m getting the hang of one grammar concept or something, I become all too aware of the next hurtle. That’s what I find really interesting about learning a language. There are so many hurtles, but right now all your focus is on the one in front of you. You may not even be able comprehend the hurdles after it.
    “If I could just read hiragana … If I could just remember verb conjugations … If I could just remember these other conjugations … If I could just remember these OTHER conjugations that I had no idea about this whole time”
    But then eventually you look back at all those previous hurtles that seemed impossible and think “Easy.”

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