Ever have one of those bad Japanese days? You wake up and are all excited to use some Japanese. You watch an episode of Death Note. You meet up with your Japanese friend Takeshi for some coffee. You are reviewing some anki cards on the subway. You’re reading the new novel 悪夢のクロゼット (nightmare closet) which you can’t seem to put down. But something is wrong.
You’re having trouble understanding things that you normally have no problem with. You can’t say what you want to say, and when you do say something, it feels full of errors that you should be way past making. While your Japanese isn’t perfect, and you are only in the mid to high levels, you’ve come to expect a certain level of understanding and what abilities you have. This isn’t the mid-level blues; it is a new enemy to confront.
Welcome to the Random Japanese Level Down (RJLD).
Your Japanese suddenly drops a number of levels for an unspecified period of time. You didn’t change anything. You’ve been following the same robust pace as always. So what happened?
What causes RJLD?
Good question. I’m no expert on the brain, but I can assume a number of elements that are completely unrelated to your Japanese.
– Lack of sleep (you know how much I am against this already)
– Being overworked
– Being overstimulated
– Strong emotions
Then again, it may be something completely unrelated to your actions. Your brain might just be compensating for all the new pathways and circuits that are required to configure your new Japanese ability, and decides on its own when it needs to temporarily put this area under construction.
How long does RJLD last for?
An undetermined amount of time, but on average anywhere from a day to a week.
How do you know if you are experiencing RJLD?
You’ll know. Out of nowhere you will have trouble doing things that were easy before.
Is there a cure?
Not that I know of. It is just something that will pass. Your previous level will recover and then will rise. I suppose the best thing you can do to prevent the inevitable frustration is remember that RJLDs are natural. Maybe you can pass through this time with a few good IMD powerups?
What are your thoughts on what causes RJLDs? Any special way you cope with them?