Achieving Your Japanese Goals – April 2020 — 26 Comments

  1. Okay first month ‘in the wild’ post-Jalup. This will take some getting used to as I no longer have a super clear path forward each month but I do have a lot of ideas. As I have said many times I am open to any and all feedback. Here is what I am going to try the first month with plans to adjust what works and what doesn’t each month.

    In order of priority:
    1) Shadowing 15-30 minutes a day. I am going to start over and redo the first Shadowing:Let’s Speak Japanese but I am going to do the entire book again in one month. A few reasons, first there are still a number from unit 4 and 5 that I am far from perfect. Second, there are a TON of great words in here I didn’t know but are very useful so that leads me to my second goal…
    2) Add all new words from Shadowing:Let’s Speak Japanese into a new deck that I will start to take me from the 7000 words of Jalup to eventually 10,000+. I am not sure how many are in here to add but I will add them all this month. My guess is around 100?
    3) Immersion – 20 Terrace House episodes – through episode 55
    4) Daily I want to try speaking Japanese. I am going to do at least one post – speaking into Hello Talk or Discord, I found a few Japanese learning rooms. I am skeptical either one will be ‘good enough’ but I want to try some free options before I try something like italki. Any other ideas especially on this point are very welcome!


    • Idk if you have used it, but sub2srs is insanely powerful and given you have such a large vocab base getting to 98% or higher of shows should be fairly easy. Also, recently I have made a separate youtube channel on the same google account just for japanese immersion and found it to be super helpful and really fun if you would be interested in that. Lastly, if you like reading, I recently figured out how to subs2srs novels. Let me know if you are interested…but you already seem to be busy enough so maybe not. Anyway, good luck!

      • Jared thanks for all the ideas, some good ones. I have subs2srs but I haven’t used it yet to add vocab. I am planning to though now that I am out of jalup cards. I am trying to break from adding too many cards right now as I want to focus on production for awhile and not get bogged down with reviews. That said I think it is a good idea. As I watch Terrace House if a word is calling for me to make a card I should start doing that now as well.

        Yes I would love to know more how you sub2srs novels. Any tips on finding novels you like at your level as well?

        Thanks again!

    • Wow I tried Hello Talk today and it was humbling. I know so many words but have so little practice producing anything. I am so unpracticed at on the fly recalling the right word and conjugation and sentence order, etc. I understand all those things on their own and can read and listen pretty well now. But speaking on the fly is so bad right now lol.

      The nice thing about Hello Talk is it feels fairly safe. I can speak and practice speaking before submitting and start getting the gears turning. When I get corrections back they are all pretty obvious mistakes in hindsight. This should be very helpful even if it is painful.

      Any shortcut ideas on speaking better? Or just keep at it…? If I am this bad I want to do the right things now so in three months I can look back and see all the amazing progress in speaking. Thanks

      • I know the feeling. I’m in Japan right now and have a conversation every so often. The first time was me trying to tell a sushi chef that the food was delicious, and I conjugated wrong ( I said 美味しいでした instead of 美味しかったです) despite having reviewed that conjugation countless times -_-

        I’m at a much lower level than you (just completed Jalup beginner) but it felt like I should have internalized that by now haha

      • From what I’ve seen, if you get enough immersion eventually your brain will have a “complete picture” and will begin to feed you what you want to say. How many ridiculous advertising jingles can you sing by heart? The reason is because you heard them so many times. Same with quoting movie lines you love. If you hear the same patterns in Japanese a massive amount of times and also understand what they mean, you can’t help but remember them.

        So basically, get gigantic amounts of immersion and when your understanding of average difficulty material is very high, you’ll begin to be able to speak and make far fewer mistakes. Of course at that point you’ll still want to practice speaking to get better.

        This is just what I’ve observed in others. Also, it’s the same way children work. They only get input for the first couple years.

        Keep up the great work laddr!

        • Thanks this is great. Yeah I have heard that many times I probably need to up my immersion more. I’ll see how this month goes and adjust. I need to figure out how to fit in more in my life. Maybe podcasts or something.

        • I think I am probably also a bit scared. I’m used to working 2+ hours a day on hardcore flashcards and it’s easy to see and measure progress. If I went crazy now on 80-90% immersion instead of 20%-30% I worry I’ll do the wrong content and level and wake up in six months or a year and realize it’s not progressing me.

          • I can speak from experience that that is 100 percent not how it works or happens. I did hardcore anki for like 1.5 or 2 years and my understanding progressed slowly. In 1 year or so of huge immersion and low anki, my comprehension of written and audio immersion has jumped drastically. I only do 10 new cards a day now and always try to keep anki less than a half hour a day (and I forgot a large portion of the words I learned before in that anki phase). Also, immersion is far more enjoyable than anki studying, so it’s much more motivating.

            It’s easy to believe you are feeling larger gains from anki, but try reading a novel, or a light novel and see if it’s really giving the desired results. Anki basically allows your mind to notice things in your immersion and then the immersion cements knowledge in your mind. One way is how many different ways you see/hear a word used, and also sentence patterns.

            Long story short, I can garuntee you immersion is king and works. All you have to do is pay active attention trying to dissect it as you read or listen (not zoning out or doing anything else) and occasionally looking up words you hear or see that are repeated often or that your mind notices. Plus a bit of anki. Then, Time = Results.

            Of course, if you have a huge amount of hours per day, you could do more anki and more immersion.

            Oh, what do you mean by content and level by the way? As long as you are watching material by natives for natives, you are good. And as for the level, I used to listen to more difficult immersion all the time. Really, that just means there are more opportunities for you to learn new words. Just make sure you make cards based off you’re immersion material.

            As always, I’m just sharing my experience/opinions/observations. Please don’t feel I’m trying to push anything on you. It’s pretty clear to me with the time you spend on anki you have a lot of dedication/determination, so just keep going and you will be surprised one day when you hit the Turning Point.

            • Thanks so much for the detailed response. It really helps me worry a bit less about this. By content/level I specifically worry that if I pick something too challenging that I am not grasping a high enough percent of the word/sentences to be effective.

            • This is meant to reply to laddrs last statement but apparently the maximum number of replies was reached?

              I would not worry too much about picking something too challenging, from my experience it will be effective either way. Especially considering that you – having finished all the 7000 cards – should have a very strong base already.
              Comparatively with you I think I dove into the depths of immersion much earlier (at least that is what I get from your last statements) so there was much more stuff way above my level – and from my feeling it totally worked out in the end (almost to the level where I am questioning what I am still getting from flash cards). So as long as you find something which you can enjoy I would not worry too much about that.

    • This month was great! I was nervous as it started trying to figure out all these new things on my own but I saw steady progress all month on production and I really loved making my own cards (a bit surprised).

      I feel like the month was very productive because I was doing so many new things I was flexing new vary weak muscles like production. But because I had barely used them before I saw huge gains in just once month. I have WAY more confidence now speaking. I have so so so very far to go but comparing day 1 to day 30 I have so much more confidence now.

      I also really fell into a card making groove. It is a bit slow going but I have a system and it is working. Also homemade cards seem like they will have better retention.

      In detail:
      In order of priority:
      1) Shadowing 15-30 minutes a day. I am going to start over and redo the first Shadowing:Let’s Speak Japanese but I am going to do the entire book again in one month. A few reasons, first there are still a number from unit 4 and 5 that I am far from perfect. Second, there are a TON of great words in here I didn’t know but are very useful so that leads me to my second goal…

      DONE – section 1-3 are feeling very easy. 4-5 I have the sounds down but not comprehension all the way because of so many new words.

      2) Add all new words from Shadowing:Let’s Speak Japanese into a new deck that I will start to take me from the 7000 words of Jalup to eventually 10,000+. I am not sure how many are in here to add but I will add them all this month. My guess is around 100?

      DONE – This was amazing and also a lot of work. It started easy for the first few weeks and ramped up as the last two sections had most of the words. I have some cards with N+2, N+3 or so but at this level I feel that is okay. I am still trying to stick to N+1 when I can but if I have a good native sentence to mine I think it is okay to go higher than N+1.

      3) Immersion – 20 Terrace House episodes – through episode 55

      DONE – This took consistent effort to fit in but I enjoyed it. 20 eps is about right for now with lockdown still going on.

      4) Daily I want to try speaking Japanese. I am going to do at least one post – speaking into Hello Talk or Discord, I found a few Japanese learning rooms. I am skeptical either one will be ‘good enough’ but I want to try some free options before I try something like italki. Any other ideas especially on this point are very welcome!

      DONE – This was a huge success. I really got into the groove with HelloTalk. Discord is find but not enough consistency and a lack of natives. HelloTalk I would dictate into my phone to practice speaking and every day I posted a “moments” publicly in Japanese. You get natives correcting you and commenting. I also was gaining followers every day and starting side conversations in Japanese with them. So every day was a Moment post and then continuing any active conversations I had going. I feel like now I can truly understand where I am with Japanese because I am reading, listening, and speaking and I have a better understanding of where I am at with each and what I need to do to improve.

  2. So this month probably will an interesting challenge. I expect to not leave my apartment for pretty much all of it, so slight modifications:

    1) Keep going through the remainder of Jalup-Expert, then start Hero. Do not ever do more than 15 cards per day.
    Now working from home, on a day where I would otherwise would have done more than my baseline of 10 I want to rather use that extra time for creating own cards or immersion.

    2) Integrate passive immersion in my usual work schedule. Now that I have my “office” for myself there is no excuse anymore to at least attempt that. I have not really seen the use in passive immersion that much (except for music, but apparently that doesn’t count as much), but if I do not at least attempt it in this situation I will never seriously do so.

    3) Keep creating and adding self-made cards. Up the goal a little bit because of the extra time and how last month went: At least 5, expect 8, dream of 12.

    Everyone, stay healthy!

    • As expected, not much leaving my home for much this month. Here’s how that translated:

      1) Did 10 cards for most of the days (I think there were a couple days where I did 15). Brought me all the way to Hero 200. Happy with this, I start feeling less and less value from them. The value is still very high, but there is a downward trend.

      2) Somewhat success? Did that maybe on half of the days while working. Still don’t feel its very useful, but it certainly doesn’t hurt too much either. As the goal was to find a way to integrate this into my work schedule this counts as a success, but I couldve done more days.

      3) Did 6 branches. Lot less than expected but there were also a lot of lookups which I did not turn into cards because of “Lets check if it really means what I think – oh yeah it does”. Maybe I should still have added those but when I figure it out either from Kanji or context I guess I will be able the next time as well? Unsure.

      Overall a very good month. Broke through some sort of plateau right in the first couple of days. I did not really notice that there was one, but my listening ability jumped quite a bit). Rest of the month was pretty routine, but I also managed to complete my first completely-japanese video game, yay. :-)

  3. Last month was a big success and I have made a lot of progress. This month I am going to try to continue that progress. Here is my game plan for the month.

    1. Continue Jalup advance at a pace of 50 a day until I finish on the 11th.

    2. Continue to increase how much manga I read working my way up to about 5 chapters a day by the 12th-ish.

    3. Continue to do 2 hours at least of active listening a day.

    4. Starting on the 13th continue to add 50 cards a day but from my subs2srs deck of the 君の名はつばさ文庫 book which is like the kid simplified novel form of kimi no na wa (do this for 6 days with a limit of 10 branches a day)

    5. For the last 3 days of my 300 word sprint from the last point I will read one vol of the kimi no na wa manga a day to help cement the words before going through the manga.

    6. If all is going well at this point start reading the novel at a pace of 50 pages a day no matter how long it takes, this will have me finish in 5 days.

    7. After finishing the first novel I will start reading the wolf children つばさ文庫 book with a goal to finish it in 3 days which will make it the 26th of September

    8. Depending on how I feel while reading the wolf children novel I will try to start adding 33 words a day from the 1st Konosuba novel via subs2srs with a limit of 5-10 branches a day.

    9. After finishing wolf children start adding 50 words a day from Konosuba via subs2srs with a 10 branch a day limit until I finish 500 words total from the book which will be in early may.

    10. Try to survive…

    A few of these points may fluctuate depending on how difficult this will be. Mainly the points on adding cards from novels as I haven’t really left Jalup and don’t know how bad the j-j dictionary will be but I will give it my best go.

    • Update 1:

      I finished advance on the 11th and took the 12th off for reviews since it was Easter.

      I am doing 4 chapters a day of nisekoi a day which will have me finish vol 5 on the 15. After this i will start the kimi no na wa manga as planned.

      I finished my first day of kimi no na wa tsubasa bunko novel subs2srs mining. It went surprisingly well, but i guess i will see how it goes in the next couple days. Almost all my cards have j-j definitions but i did see some english to help with a few. Overall, it went quite well.

      • Update 2:

        I finished the kimi no na wa subs2srs cards on the 18th and started the book on the 19th.

        I read the book over 5 days while adding subs2srs cards from konosuba vol 1 at 50 a day.

        I finished the kimi no na wa tsubasa bunko on the 24th. I also read the prologue on konosuba on the 24th.

        I changed plans and skipped the wolf children novel. I started the beginning of konosuba on the 25th doing half a chapter a day with the first day taking the most frequent words from the book and studying them with…english defintions… i know

        Starting the 26th i started studying words based on the frequency in the chunk of text i would be reading for the day for example: 2nd half of chapter 1 most frequent words that i don’t know. I figured this out using the unnamed japanese text analyzer using my morph man database to give me a list of “known” words. I have been adding about 60-80 words a day this way.

        Also i haven’t mentioned it but i have been reading a html version of konosuba so i can use yomichan to do quick lookups which is fantastic.

        I have been continuing at a half chapter pace and will finish the book on Friday at which i will try to reread part of the book through Saturday and start vol 2 on Sunday moving to a pace of a chapter a day.

        I have also been rereading most of what i read during the day in the evening on kindle and in the physical book.

  4. I’m trying something new this month.

    I’m not going to put any particular pressure on myself to complete a certain amount of cards/reading etc. But I am committing to coming back at the end of April to report on my progress.

    I’m currently feeling motivated in my learning, so I want to see what options I gravitate towards over a month without assigning priorities. This is partly inspired by Adam’s recent post about not making immersion goals, as then the fun becomes work.

    This month is going to be atypical, in that I will be in a lot (as I’m sure we all are), so I’m partly hoping this will build a habit of when I do certain tasks, around my work day.

    Good luck all :)

    • Reflecting back on the last month, I’m pleased with my progress.

      I was aiming for 100 Advanced per week, and at the six week mark, I am at 800.
      Working from home has allowed me so much more Japanese time. I have been able to work through my reviews during the work day allowing me to increase my cards/day. As well as at lunchtime I can sit on the sofa and watch an episode of something. Additionally I can passively listen to podcasts pretty much all day.

      I feel like I have moved past intermediate now, I noticed that the language no longer “feels” foreign. This is in terms of reading and listening, it feels like a real milestone.

      I have increased my immersion as well, but not setting any specific targets to keep it fun, not work :)
      I’ve been playing the original FF7 in full JP (I’m so glad I bought my PS4 just before lockdown!)
      Watching Terrace House (Series 2- up to ep 12 now)
      Bought all of Yotsubato, currently on book 3.

    • so my comment can’t be shown since it contains ones that shall not be named so if you still want to know how to subs2srs a book i could email the info if your interested.

  5. Hope everyone can find something productive to do with the lockdowns. I don’t have much extra time since I have elementary kids off school now and work in health care but still pushing forward. My goals:
    1. 100 new J-J cards (Would finish first 50 cards in stage 7 expert)
    2. Continue immersion with manga and videos. I’m currently enjoying Ainori Love Wagon: Asian Journey on netflix. I already finished the African journey series and was glad there was more to watch.

  6. My Goals for this month

    1. Last month I was aiming to get 100 Intermediate cards done and was able to do 115. This month I’m gonna to set a goal of at least 150 cards. 5 a day should be more than doable .

    2. Active Immersion going to plan to watch スーツ and 少女コマンーいづみ

    3. Try and get in some reading and passive immersion when I can.

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