The 16 Levels of Japanese Failure — 8 Comments

  1. Emotionally wowing failure: First day in Tokyo on a trip a few years ago, walking around Shinjuku and being absolutely overloaded due to signs.

    One hit away failure: Speaking with the superintendent of the local BoE for two hours at an enkai only to be told my aidzuchi timing is off and makes me come off as a bit impatient or rude.

    Almost won but not really: Finishing the old JALUP 5k decks. Still so much more to go.

    Cheap attack failure: Making a mistake and getting jouzu’d. Also: attempting humor in Japanese and getting “American Joke”’d.

    Distracted failure: Attempting to converse with kids at lunch when everyone is talking and music is also blasting for some reason.

    Unfair failure: Going through three years of college classes only to finish Genki 2. Definitely 6 grand well spent.

    Out of time failure: missing the back half of Anki reps on a given day.

    The good fight failure: Attending a teachers meeting I was invited to because they thought my level was good enough then not understanding any of the feedback given to the teacher in question.

    Sadness failure: Having to communicate a family emergency to a supervisor while emotionally distressed.

    Spread to everything failure: Came after comparing (unfairly I think, given downtime and career path) 6 years of learning with the results seen on Matt vs Japan’s YouTube channel.

    Repetitive frustrating failure: some words just don’t click at a given point in time. I’ve reimplemented leech suspension in Anki.

    Need to stop failure: So many times. I think over the past 10 (?!) years I’ve quit Japanese probably 5-6 times. Oof.

    Need to stop playing longer term failure: all of the above pauses were accompanied by a break of 3-8 months.

    I’m done failure: Thought this was me at various points, but here I am living in Hokkaido sooo…

    Fresh restart: JALUP was the cause of my first fresh restart. AJATT caused my second, getting accepted into the JET program my latest. Here’s to hoping my current level making reading an enjoyable activity causes it to stick around this time.

    The better you: Every day out here in Japan. It’s crazy how much I fail and grow every single day surrounded by Japanese.

    It’s been a long, long journey, but the payoff is at hand. Now I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    • Wow such a quality comment post, thanks for sharing. I’m nearing this one:

      Almost won but not really: Finishing the old JALUP 5k decks. Still so much more to go.

      Any sage advice for someone post jalup 5k and what really worked or didn’t in further moving the needle? (Now that it goes to 7k that is my first plan of attack)

      • As I was nearing the end of the Expert (Master, now? 5k cards in) I was noticing some diminishing returns on certain words because they weren’t coming from my personal immersion material. I’ve still bought the new things as a bank of cards for when I’m too busy to make things myself, but I’ve found the combination of the Chrome add on Language Learning with Netflix and Yomichan to be a great way to easily grab words from Japanese captions on Netflix. Aside from that, whenever I’m reading or playing a game, I have my iPad open with an app called Midori running which let’s me search for words by writing in the kanji by hand. This gives me English definitions, but to be honest I’m pretty far past the point of “translating in my head,” so I’m ok with a potential loss in some efficiency in the name of just getting back to what I want to read/play.

        I also found that as I neared the end of the 5k, I wanted so, so badly to finish up Anki stuff and my immersion plummeted. I try to only let about 25% of my time MAX spent with Japanese each day be with Anki. Most days it’s closer to 10%. That said, it’s a lot easier to reach the right ratio when I’m living in Japan.

        Best of luck to you, friend. I can say that at about that 7k words learned mark that, as long as the immersion time is there to back up that number of words, it’s totally worth it. Conversations, even if sometimes they get a little hiccup-y, are super satisfying. If I can do it with all my stumbles, anyone can.

        • Great info, thank you! I will do much of this. My concern with Language Learning with Netflix is bringing me out of J-J, but it sounds like you were far enough along it wasn’t a big problem for you. I hadn’t heard of this tool though it looks really awesome.

          Yomichan & Subadub using netflix to create cards is my plan for what is after Jalup.

          I really want to find something like Midori but more of an electronic dictionary or ocr reader so I can quickly look up words when doing games or reading but I haven’t seen anything like I am imagining yet. My typing production to look things up is prohibitively slow and it is low priority to improve right now.

          How many cards do you add in the course of a day or week after you finished Jalup? It sounds like that will naturally slow as I up immersion. Right now I am still 50% SRS and 50% immersion.

          Thanks for the advice and encouragement this is a huge help for me right now.

    • Thanks for sharing your failure list. Everyone has their own failure list version, so it is interesting and useful to see all the similarities/differences.

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