Achieving Your Japanese Goals – March 2017 — 46 Comments

  1. 1. Complete Jalup Intermediate on NEXT, begin Jalup Advanced.

    2. Get up to 500 Kanji using Kanji Kingdom on NEXT.

    • 1. Didn’t make it. I decided to stop adding cards for a few days, and those few days turned into a few weeks. I was able to get back on track though (it was actually that new goal setting feature in Jalup NEXT).

      2. Completed.

      A few things I noticed with Kanji Kingdom. Sometimes when I’m tired or rushed I tend to just focus on the new Kanji and not bother to read the entire sentence. It doesn’t seem to hurt much, unless I do this for several days in a row and then I notice I start to forget Kanji more often. I’ve also settled in on only 5 Kanji a day. The routine that works for me so far is, when I learn the first Kanji I write it down a few times. I look away from the page and make sure I can still write it out in my mind. Then I add it to the deck and start on Kanji 2. I do the same thing for Kanji 2, but in the middle of that, I go back to Kanji 1 and make sure I can still write it and visualize it (if I can’t I look at my paper). I do this for all 5 new Kanji I’m adding to my deck for that day. When I’m on Kanji 5 I make sure I can still remember the previous 4. It’s a little tedious, and if I’m rushed or tired sometimes I forget to follow this routine, but man does it help me remember them later on.

    • I totally overbooked myself.
      I did not finish 3 of jalup beginner. I decided to not even start it.
      I felt it was easier to just finish one deck at a time instead of tackle 2 at a time.
      I finished stage 2 beginner. I’m about 40% or 50% of KK stage 2.

  2. Get my reviews down to zero everyday
    Add 20 cards everyday (10 Anki Intermediate, 10 JalupNEXT Beginner)
    Read Some Japanese every morning
    Watch some Jdramas or Anime every night (without subtitles, my new norm)
    Learn Harry Potter Proper Names through Anki, 5 a day.

    I will use Anki, Jalup Next, Yotsuba&, a deck to learn all Proper Names in Harry Potter, as well as Crunchy Roll and Netflix. I will watch GTO, Naruto, DBZSuper, Ajin, and whatever mysteries March has to offer.

    I will either read before even getting out of bed or on the bus on the way to school. I will watch anime as I lay in bed before I fall asleep/while doing dishes. I will do my Reviews and add after I am done with school for the day.

    • There were two days where I didn’t make all my goals 100%. But there was not a single day I didn’t get most of my daily goals done. I am learning that my 20 cards per day is starting to get harder with the reviews. I am staying up later to get them done… I am thinking I need to go back to waking up earlier to get them done instead of staying up late and having a harder time with my anki reviews.

  3. 1. Zero all my reviews every day. In a recent Anki mobile app update, the number of reviews remaining displays as a notification number. It’s motivating to watch the number go down from 100-200 down to 0 as I do flashcards throughout the day.
    At the moment, I can only come up with one Japanese goal, but hopefully I can think of some more tomorrow.

    I’ve been having a bit of trouble coming up with Japanese goals recently. My Japanese is at a level where I have little trouble understanding the native material I enjoy, and doesn’t suffer very much if I leave it on the back burner. I’m at a comfortable level of proficiency. While I still get a rush of exhilaration when I figure out something I didn’t understand before, I feel more like a veteran than a soldier still in combat. Don’t get me wrong—I absolutely love Japanese, and could talk about how cool kanji are for days, but am unsure as to the next step in my learning. I know that I still have a long way to go, and want to avoid stagnacy at all costs, but don’t know where to go next.

    With Korean, on the other hand, I’m a total noob. I know probably less than a hundred words, and the sentences I can form or understand are the Korean equivalent of これはペンです and 学校には図書館があります. I have years and years of learning ahead, but to me, this is awesome—not intimidating! The little steps I’m making right now are really exciting. I can feel my Hangul reading speed get faster every day, and that’s really cool.

    This is, however, Jalup, not Kalup. While I may have tons of Korean goals I can think of, this doesn’t feel like the right place for them if they are not accompanied by Japanese ones as well. I guess I’m looking for a little bit of guidance?

    • I like reading your Korean goals. I also like reading about you learning Korean through Japanese, which is something I plan on doing some day.

    • First, you are welcome to leave Korean goals if you want here as well. There have been other people in the past studying different languages, but following the same “Jalup mindset.”

      And as for getting stuck, have you tried challenging yourself with new material? A lot of people end up reading and watching the same things, so they feel comfortable and lose the need to go further. Sometimes it just takes a new interest to show you your weaknesses, and you can use that as motivation to learn more.

      For example, I recently realized how bad I am with Japanese history, and history related words. So I started reading up on Japanese history, and it has given me new motivation to learn a lot of new stuff.

    • Thank you both for your encouragement and advice. I’m going to make it a goal to read a wider variety of novels in Japanese, as while I do read novels, I tend to stick to the same genres and authors. A while back I bought コンビニ人間, but only read about a fourth of it. This month I’ll make it a goal to finish it, and then buy a new book I’m unfamiliar with.

      • I also like the idea of what Adam said – it brings to mind an article I read somewhere (can’t remember if it was here or not), but basically it discussed how a lot of language learners never get anywhere with conversation because they only know surface level topics and vocabulary. This makes keeping friends hard, because you can only talk about surface topics so much. When you get proficient enough, the article advises to aim for depth in certain topics.

        Maybe discover new words in some other interests you have, or reach a little outside that comfort bubble. I remember watching a fellow exchange student debate the pros and cons of the Japanese political system with her host father. I always thought WOW, I wish I could do THAT!

        • Thanks for your insights! This month I’m going to make an effort to find new and exciting Japanese things to learn about and take a trip outside my comfort zone.

      • 1. I haven’t finished reading コンビニ人間 yet, but I am very close to the end. I’m going to be on a train for a long time tomorrow, so I’ll finish it then.
        2. As for purchasing a new novel, I’m still looking, but I bought and finished reading a few volumes of manga from a new author I like. I also finally read the last couple volumes of ダイヤのA act 2, which feels good.

  4. Well, February’s goals went super well so let’s make more for March!

    -finish JALUP beginner and start intermediate. I have no idea what pace I’m going to manage for intermediate so I won’t set a big goal for that but I’m planning to start at 5 a day and see how I go. I know the transition to J-J can be rough but I’m actually really excited!

    -read more Yotsubato! I love reading this but when I feel sick and tired like I have been it’s really hard to get going. I’m not sure how my health is going to be this month but hopefully I can get through maybe 2 or 3 chapters per week?

    -watch the rest of the LJL Spring Split (league of legends japanese tournament). This should be easy as I’ve enjoyed the games I’ve watched so far.

    – keep going at a steady pace with kanji. I have often got discouraged and quit kanji learning/reviews in the past, but this time I’m trying to just make it a thing I do every day without focusing too much on the end goal. I’d like to slowly edge up from 13 to 15 cards a day, or maye more, but if I’m feeling discouraged I’ll just drop back down. There’s no big rush after all.

    • Not sure if I should even say anything considering I’m on my 3rd attempt at the intermediate deck but, I think the mistake I made the first time was not spending enough time trying to puzzle out the definition. 5 a day sounds like a slow pace, but every now and then you run into these chains of closely related words and if these pile up they will stay in the failed pile for quite a long time. So the common advice of 5 a day initially, is spot on.

      The 2nd time around, I reached a point where I just wanted the deck to be over and I increased the number per day and decreased the amount of time I spent on each card. That didn’t work. I wished I had done the opposite and slowed down when I reached that frustration point.

      Another thing that helped me, every now and then I stopped listening to the audio for the beginner cards. I know it sounds strange, but I realized a lot of the cards I marked correct (in the beginner deck), I did because I could properly speak/hear them, not necessarily because I understood them. When I removed the sound, I was forced to honestly judge the card based on my understanding of it.

      Anyway, have fun with intermediate!

    • Ahh, I’m not going to get much Intermediate done I don’t think – there was a serious uptick in complexity for “beginner” 4 (which seems to cover a good portion of N3 grammar) so I can’t keep going at a 20 cards a day. Dropped down to 10 cards for 2 days and now up to 12 so I’ll definitely get started on intermediate by the end of the month.

      I’ve also started reading Tae Kim’s grammar guide to make sure I really understand what’s in the beginner deck – otherwise I know I’ll struggle with intermediate.

      – Kanji going okay so far. I dropped down to 10 a day , and though I could probably manage a few more I want to focus more on finishing the beginner deck for now.

      – have barely had time to watch anything! It’s always the first thing to go honestly. But I have watched some ljl and some random crunchyroll episodes.

      – reading is going great though. I only got through a few more Yotsubato stories before switching over to Fair Tail which is engaging me a little more, and has more kanji (with furigana). I’ve managed to get through around 40 pages this week which I’m really pleased with.

      Phew. It’s only 11 days in. Gotta keep going.

      • WELL, this month didn’t go how I expected! But I’ve really learned a lot about my own learning process and how I need to do things so it’s been super valuable.

        That “I’ve barely had time to watch anything” is the first thing; when I get busy and overwhelmed, my instinct is to cut back on immersion to make sure I get anki done. Turns out this is the exact worst thing I can do: without immersion new sentences feel more confusing and frustrating, and don’t sink in as fast, and so anki takes longer, and so I have even less time for immersion and everything gets overwhelming.

        All of which ended in a small episode of frustrated burnout. Usually this is the point where I take an ill-advised break from Japanese; this time, I put down anki but picked up more manga. Then, after a few days, I began to tackle my reviews – miraculously, cards which had seemed difficult and confusing now made much more sense.

        So I still haven’t started intermediate. But I’ve read lots of Fairy Tail, I’ve picked up Mysterious Kiss: Love in Tokyo again, I’ve got a bunch of Drama CDs on my phone, and I’ve figured out how to handle burnout. So that’s not too bad :D

  5. Finish Japanese intermediate deck right now I’m on 830. Hopefully I can finish this week. Also start subs to srs with j to j finish 3 episodes. I’m using Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood right now I’ve seen that show about a million times so I don’t think it should be too hard. Also i want to read 3 manga books. I’m reading gash bell. Lastly start advanced deck if it is out this month.

  6. 1. 5 new J-J sentences per day.
    2. Continue with 2 kanji per day. Currently working on grade 6.
    3. Daily immersion. Passive listening and read manga every night.

  7. 1. Finish expert stage 4 and 5 (will be 355 total new cards for the month). Plan on doing 20 per day for the first 18 days of the months and then stopping adding new cards to allow to reviews to reduce before going back to work.
    2. Read the Tae Kim grammar guide.
    3. Read 2 manga
    3. Watch 8 dramas.

    • 1. Finished.
      2. No, unfortunately doing the anki reviews sucked up most of my willpower for somewhat boring topics.
      3. Almost, 1.5.
      4. Not sure. Didn’t add any new episodes to my immersion player but did watch some ドラえもん with my kids so may have gotten in 4 hours of new material at least that month.

  8. 1. Get started on ‘Japanese in Mangaland’ (finish at least 12 lessons).
    2. Listen to Pimsleur Japanese Level III
    3. Complete Tadoku Challenge (mostly by reading news and articles).

    • 1) Done
      2) Failed
      3) Failed
      I need to find something appealing, but I don’t seem to find enough stuff. I keep watching the first 2 minutes of a Jdrama or anime, or reading the first few pages of a manga, getting bored, and moving on. It’s been a while since I found something I really liked, so my immersion is weak at best.
      Next month will definitely be better ! Let’s prepare for a good fight!

      • Sometimes the timing of when you try a lot of new immersion material matters. In a bad moment, no matter what you watch, you won’t find interesting. But in a good moment, you start to get attracted to new material quicker.

  9. 1. Your specific goal(s)
    A. Study a minimum of 22 new Kanji per day with a overachiever goal of 30!
    B. Finish all my Anki reviews each day.
    C. Add 2 new phrase/vocabulary cards each day.
    D. Work on improving my Japanese small talk speaking.

    2. Resources you will use
    A. Anki + Heisig’s RTK + Nihongoshark’s Kanji deck.
    B. Genki I Ch. 1 and 2.
    C. Japanesepod101 beginner talks
    D. Language exchange partner.

    3. Game plan/strategy
    A. Focus on getting to bed early so I can continue to wake up early and study.
    B. Do all my daily studying first thing in the morning each morning. Typically (5:00AM-7:00AM)
    C. Listen to Japanesepod101 talks in the car each day.
    D. Language exchange with my friend on Thursday mornings at 6:00AM.
    E. Check in with two of my friends daily to stay accountable and remind me of my goals.

  10. I’m back!

    -Finish Jalup Beginner
    -Finish Stage 1 of Kanji Kingdom

    Simple attainable goals, I think yes!

      • update March 6:
        -From what it looks like, I should finish all of beginner and a stage of intermediate. so I am ahead of schedule
        -Also I should finish 2 stages of KK so I am ahead of schedule here as well.
        -I downloaded a pokemon names deck to learn the names of first generation pokemon to help me with rewatching pokemon.

        in all good progress in the first week hope to keep it up for the following 80 years.

  11. Hey there!
    I’m pretty new to this website. I’ve been reading the articles here for a while but this is my first comment. This is going to be a bit longer as I want to explain my situation first.
    I’m learning Japanese since a bit more than 3 years now and most of the time I was a rather casual learner as I’m visiting a course and the tempo is rather slow as many of you seem to have experienced. But even if I got into a slump I never stopped because I really like the people in the course and it motivates me to meet up once a week to learn together so I want to continue visiting that course. But I’d like to speed up a bit because I find it rather frustrating to understand so little.
    Generally, I like (weekly or monthly) goals because they really help me to get more things done but I have some problems with goals for learning Japanese somehow.
    I recently noticed that my listening skill is much higher than my reading skill which is rather strange to me because Japanese is my third foreign language and I was always better with reading an writing than with listening and talking. But I guess it’s difficult to better in reading if you have to learn how to read at first and reading material is rather expensive. Another downside of my course is learning kanji. We are working with Marugoto and there are some Kanji in each lesson but we need 2-3 weeks per lesson so we’re progressing rather slow. So I want to focus on learning kanji (and on reading hiragana and katakana faster but I think I’m doing quite ok) but I don’t know how. Until now, we always learned a kanji while learning some word which uses that kanji. So we learned how to write that kanji, one reading and the meaning. Sometimes we encountered another word with the same kanji and a different reading so we added that reading. So now I’m at ~200 kanji while having finished A1 and A2.1 of the books. I’m somehow level 15-20 but nowhere near the ~1000 kanji that are mentioned in the levelguide. So I try to add more kanji and try to soldify those, I already learned (my brain just doesn’t want to remember some of them) but until now, I never added new kanji on a daily base so I don’t know how many I should add each day. Should I start with 20 a day and see if I should reduce the count (I have plenty of time for reviews etc. until april anyways)? What about the reviews? I fear that I’ll just add more and more and more without being able to remember them. Or will it work if I really review them each day (at least those, I can’t remember)?

    The other aspects of level 20 I have to work on are J-J learning and immersion. As I’m not able to change everything at once and we’re starting with the next textbook next week, I’ll postpone immersion to april and try to get into J-J. We are always receiving a vocabularylist for each lesson in our course which I have to learn to understand the conversations and exercises. Those lists are always J-German (my mothertongue) and I’m adding them like that to my SRS program (similar to Anki). I thought about adding the new ones as J-J cards. Should I try the branching with those?
    I’m a bit intimidated by monolingual dictionaries and branching because in my other foreign languages (French and English) I never used that until I was somewhat fluent and already had a huge vocabulary. And at least in English I still prefer to just look up the translation (maybe only because I don’t have a monolingual dictionary on my phone). Should I wait until I know a bit more vocabulary, what do you think? It’s a bit difficult for me to compare myself to those who are learning with the Jalup decks as I don’t own them and I don’t want to buy them just to estimate my level :D

    So a small conclusion:
    1. I completed Marugoto A1 and A2.1
    2. I want to learn more kanji, how many should I add daily/should I switch to only learning the meaning and adding the meaning later?
    3. I’ll postpone building my immersion environment to april
    4. Am I ready to begin with J-J cards?/How do I know when I’m ready?
    5. I’ll try to decide on reasonable goals for the rest of the month based on your advice. If it doesn’t fit, I’ll just adjust accordingly in april :)

    Thank you in advance for your advice! (And I just notice how much my English has improved because of reading so many articles about learning Japanese in the Internet, it became much easier to write such a long text without looking up every third word :D)

    • Hallo!
      I think that for the kanji you should just pick a number, and adjust along the way. For example 20. If it feels like a lot, just do less the next day. And don’t forget to use mnemonics, it will ease the process. Have you tried Heisig, Remember the kanji? It’s not for everyone, but i really liked it. Or the kanji conqueror decks here seem to be pretty good.

      As for J-J, I don’t think you will ever be ready, until you really do it. You just have to take that leap.
      There is also the possibility to download for free the 50 first Jalup intermediate Anki cards. So you can check it for yourself.

      Vielen Glück.

      • I never tried RTK because I don’t like the German keywords as some of them are really strange and the English keywords might be a bit difficult for me as my English vocabulary isn’t that great. But I’m thinking of trying it now. I should learn a bit English anyways :D
        As for the free intermediate cards: I hadn’t thought of that, thanks for the advice :)

        PS: It’s called “Viel Glück” ;)

    • The 2 big methods people suggest are learning Kanji individually and learning them through context. Each method is valid, it depends on the individual. You’ll need to find out what works for you.

      For J-J, you’re never ready for it. You just do it. The game is very different in J-J land. You aren’t trying to memorize a 1 to 1 association between Japanese and English(or whatever). Instead, you are trying to figure out the meaning of a word using the same language. You are trying to understand, and through that process of trying to understand, you end up memorizing. It’s a much slower process, because you have to sit there for a second and try to put together all the pieces into something you can understand. A good rule of thumb is, when you start J-J go VERY slow (like 5 per day).

      When I first started, I tried to translate in my head the definition of the new word. Eventually my brain realized, that sometimes it was just easier to stay in Japanese mode (I say sometimes because I still flip back and forth depending on how well I understand the definition). The goal is to just mentally stay in Japanese mode (this takes a long long time and I’m still struggling).

      Anyway, gotta go do my reps on Jalup NEXT. Good luck with your goals.

      • Is there a way to import Anki progress/decks into Jalup NEXT? That’s the main blocker for me in starting NEXT

        • Not at the moment.

          I was pretty lucky in that I had gotten tired of Anki anyway and had stopped doing my reps a few weeks back. Starting over was natural for me. Towards the middle of the beginner deck on NEXT I was doing like 100 per day so it flew by.

      • Thanks :)
        Well, I already know the struggle of translating automatically, I had this problem as well in my other foreign languages but there always comes the moment when you realize, your inner monologue is in another language while writing or talking in that language. I just fear, my vocabulary is still a bit too weak for writing definitions in japanese but I guess I’ll just give it a try and maybe start with the J-E-J bridge.
        But I just browsed a bit through the first Jalup Intermediate cards and was quite surprised. I didn’t understand every definition (as I’m missing some words and some grammar from the beginner deck) but they weren’t as difficult as I thought they would be. That’s a bit surprising as in French I switched to a monolingual dictionary as I already reached B1 and in Japanese I’d say I didn’t quite reach A2.

    • Update:
      I worked with RTK and I finished with stage 1 and 2 (~450 kanji when using the Jalup mod deck) and I think I’ll stick to RTK and finish it. I already did 25% of it anyways.
      I didn’t begin with J-J until now as doing Kanji regularly was already enough work but I’ll try to start as soon as possible.

  12. I’m currently on a roll, so I’d like to maintain my momentum!

    1. Maintain all Anki reviews each day (Core10K, Kanji Kingdom, JALUP Beginner)
    2. Unsuspend all Genki II vocabulary from Core10K Lesson 18 – 23 in Core10K
    3. After Genki II, begin unsuspending Tobira vocabulary in Core10K

    1. Keep up with all JALUP Beginner reviews
    2. Fix JALUP Intermediate deck, begin reviews again

    1. Continue listening practice 1hr per day (Moving on from Erin’s Challenge to Nihongo no Mori JLPT 3 audio)
    2. Attempt new conversations with Japanese customers – no more weather talk :)

    Wish me luck!

  13. My goal (and what I’m doing now) is to use Jalup Next for 15 minutes after every meal. It’s doable, relaxing and fun. And I always end up doing more and accomplishing quite a lot in that little space of time.

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