Achieving Your Japanese Goals – December 2019 — 39 Comments

  1. My December goal is to make it through at least one of the intermediate level Anki decks as well as 465 more kanji cards using the Anki Modified RTK deck. I’m planning on getting 1-2 volumes of the Yotuba series to start reading immersion and I’ll continue active and passive immersion using video and audio files from my video library.

    It will be really nice when that RTK deck is over with :).

    I’m pretty busy with family and work, so part of my strategy includes waking up at 4:30am daily (even weekends) to spend at least an hour studying Japanese while I load up on coffee for the day.

  2. I am going to commit to a few modest goals for my first official JALUP “Achieving Your Japanese Goals” post.
    I am going to complete the final 100 cards for Intermediate, and as per Jim I want to get back to RTK (currently at 612)
    I have recently upped my passive listening, but my plan for Dec is to commit to an increase in active listening.
    Finally, since my delivery arrived today, I will start reading Death Note!

    1. Complete final 100 cards of intermediate
    2. Complete 88 RTK cards
    3. Active listen to a 20-25min Anime/Drama 3 times a week
    4. Read Death Note #1

      • My aim was to get through them in 3 months (to do that I would need to do 100 cards in the next two days : )
        I have been quite casual in moving past cards that I can’t fully grasp, with an aim to doing the bulk of the content rather than spending too long on individual cards for now.
        I “star” each card that I don’t quite get, so on a day when I have less time for reviews I can consciously “complete”an unknown card and send it off for a few days.
        Once I complete the 1000 I am gong to set aside a few hours and re-review all starred cards.

        My assessment:
        Some cards I just don’t get (yet ; ), some just clicked and some inbetween!

        The beginning was really tough!! I completely agree with others that is does get easier. Particularly that you just get used to how words are described in Japanese and the language feels less intimidating as you go through the deck.

        Also, I read a post on this site somewhere, that pointed out that once you complete the deck you have learnt 2000 sentences, as you have read 1000 cards and 1000 explanations. That was a real boost to my confidence, when I realise I had achieved double :)

        How are you finding it?

        • I actually haven’t gotten started on it yet. I’m planning on getting it up and running in the next week or so.

          I’ve been trying to do the same thing with cards I don’t completely understand. Just mark it as correct but hard and move along. Usually it mostly makes sense within a few reviews. The cards do seem to reinforce each other pretty well.

    • I’m gonna make a change to my goals here as I realise that in my rush to get the end of intermediate I have begun to drown in reviews and it’s become counter productive.

      I also noticed when reading Death Note, I recognised words/phrases from the Intermediate deck, but could not say what they meant.

      This morning, I manually reset my deck back to 800 Intermediate

      My revised goal for Intermediate is now:
      1. To gain a solid understanding of the first 800 cards intermediate

      • Update on my progress:

        1. To gain a solid understanding of the first 800 cards intermediate
        – I have started intermediate (on a different device – up to 200 now – definitely noticed improvement in my comprehension)
        – I’ve allowed myself to look up the English for some early cards that I’ve not grasped in three months, partly to then work out the JP definition, partly out of frustration (being honest!)
        2. Complete 88 RTK cards
        – Completed Lesson 22, 64 cards to go, next step hand kanji :)
        3. Active listen to a 20-25min Anime/Drama 3 times a week
        – I’m on track with this
        4. Read Death Note #1
        – This is tough going (漢字が大変!), might have bitten off more than I can chew, might switch back to Yotsuba Chan :)

        How’s everyone else doing at (nearly) the mid-point?

      • Hi all,

        Quick update as I’m really proud of myself :}

        I am currently at I727, I’ve gone through every single card in Intermediate from 1 and I estimate around 45 cards are still in the not-comprehend/fuzzy bucket. I’m on target to 800 today!

        I have 20 more RTK cards to get to 700

        Still keeping up with active listening an episode of Anime 3 times a week (currently Little Witch Academia) which I’ve liked more than I expected to!

        Death Note has fallen by the wayside, I’ve settled back with Yotsubato :)

        Merry Christmas all!

        • Final update.

          I completed the target on RTK, reached card 700.

          JALUP Intermediate is now at 875 in rotation as of today.

          Roll on 2020!

  3. Also using my first comment here to leave my first “official” goals :-)

    1) Add 10 cards per day from Jalup Advanced – just started that deck after finishing Immediate a couple days ago, so I should end up at 380. I feel like I finally managed to slay that beast which is called “Japanese only” so this should be pretty easy.

    2) Finish volume 3 of Hunter X Hunter – I am somewhere in the 2nd volume so this means a couple of chapters/week. If time is left try a novel.

    3) Finish watching GTO. Have watched 5 episodes, should be easygoing because I am hooked ;-) Biggest challenge will actually be to find a way to watch them, right now I used some youtube channel with crappy quality but it is missing some episodes

    • If you watch GTO through VRV instead of Crunchyroll then you can actually turn off the subtitles and get it in good quality.

      • Thanks for the suggestion, unfortunately neither option works for me (Crunchyroll has like no shows here in Germany (unless I am mistaken), VRV is completely unavailable). So I have to stick to crappy youtube version, but at least the one which I mentioned has no subs :-)

    • Answering to Gareths request for a mid-term update:

      1) I am going at a way faster pace then I originally anticipated. Something has changed in my perception/understanding of those cards which allows me to process them faster than in the previous months. Most glaring example for this: There are a lot of cards which I can grasp, even before reading the definition just by seeing the sentences (favorite example 笑い顔/笑顔).
      Another thing which has definitely improved is that I am starting to differentiate Kanji individual readings from memorizing the reading of compounds (e.g.
      not only remembering 経験 as けいけん but also 経 as けい and 験 as けん) which of course helps tremendously if the kanji are used in a different compound. Still far from perfect and certainly not for all kanji but way up. This kind of was something which was bothering me quite a bit in the previous months (I actually seriously considered redoing some sort of RTK but just with readings) so I am quite happy with this as well.

      2) Already somewhere in volume 4. Mostly because the novels I ordered arrived but some neighbor picked them up for me but we apparently are never at home at the same time D:
      I definitely need to more reading though. I almost feel like I understand more by listening than by reading (even in the anki) so this will become a new focus for me in the future.

      3) Not done quite yet. Managed to watch up to episode 8, but I am almost loosing interest. The episodes I watched since my enthusiastic earlier post weren’t quite as funny/interesting as the ones before. I still plan on finishing it.
      I have however watched quite a bit of other things (all of Sword Art Online S1, a couple of episodes of 光のお父さん, a couple of random other stuff here and there from the things which Netflix allows me to watch in my country).

      In general I feel like my understanding of basically everything is much stronger. Anything I happen to read or listen to is much more accessible (even though I still miss a lot of it), and sometimes I even get an intuitive understanding of a sentence from a JALUP card (which kind of freaked me out the first couple of times because I couldn’t understand where this was coming from, but so far it has been right more than wrong after puzzling it together so yay?).
      This all more or less came out of nowhere which is really encouraging and made the struggle of the previous months (September-November) absolutely worth it. So everyone keep fighting hopefully this will happen to you soon as well! :-)

      Rest of the month I plan on keeping a pace of 15-20 new cards per day which I have been doing basically all month but also increase reading immersion, don’t want to put anything specific here because of the upcoming holidays, except that I will take something to read with me for the travels.

      • Yass,

        “really encouraging and made the struggle of the previous months (September-November)”
        – This is such a motivating sentiment.

        This year, I have been very strict with myself to do my JALUP cards (since I started it in the summer), if I do nothing else on a given day. I’ve seen a definite improvement in my overall comprehension (reading, and some listening) and I have felt the same. It’s such a motivating feeling to know that days of struggle have a positive side in the long run :)

        • Happy to hear that :-) Keep pushing and I am sure you will make it through as well.

          Reflecting on your struggles with the intermediate deck – I also felt that I do/did not have a very good grasp on much of it after completing the deck. Now as they keep showing up normally through the reviews a lot of them are much more clear. This makes me wonder whether this feeling is more or less “normal” or “expected”, so you might also want to consider adding new cards, to not keep looking at the same things again and again (anki already makes enough of this on its own :| ). But its your choice of course

          • Thanks for the encouragement.

            It hit me just after 900, I found more and more cards that wouldn’t stick and the reviews seemed to be stacking up as well. That’s when I remembered it’s a marathon not a sprint, and I decided to slow down and take stock.

            I also found that starting again and taking a bit more time with each card, there were some subtleties I’d missed.
            I can’t remember the exact card, but the concept of “without doing x, doing y” suddenly leapt out at me and I realised I’d misinterpreted quite a few later cards.

            I’ve also been looking up English translations for some early cards and then reverse engineering Dictionary/Adam’s explanations, as I feel part of the battle is understanding the way a word can be described to really accelerate through the later decks.

            Here’s hoping anyway :)

            • I’ve had quite a few of those “sudden leaps” lately so this probably means you are doing something right (or we are both doing something terribly wrong :D)

              If you get too many reviews I agree, then its probably better to pause adding new cards. I am currently carefully monitoring the number of reviews after increasing the number of new cards for exact the same reason.

            • Yass,

              I’m still working out how many is too many! I am able to do a few here and there during work days (Mon-Fri) so I can actually handle a good number without eating into other study time.

              That said, I am currently juggling a number of intermediate cards between 1-10 days as I don’t want them to come in every day but don’t want to throw them out into the ether either! The struggle is real ; )

              I’m currently averaging 90 reviews in Intermediate alone atm, so I don’t want it to get too much higher, as most Intermediate cards are at least 20-30 seconds with my current comprehension.

              Great to hear you’ve been having a lot of “sudden leaps” hope that continues for you :)

    • Ok, technically a day late, but as I hinted I was travelling.

      1) As I wrote during my mid-december update I made a huge breakthrough early december. It has since then flattened a bit again but I still way overfulfilled this one. As of yesterday I reached 560 cards.

      2+3) Answering them together. Did them, did a lot more, couldve done a lot more (especially during my travel days). Main lesson learned here is that specific content goals for immersion do not work for me – I hate feeling obligated to read/watch something very specific. Will try something else in January.

  4. Goals

    1. Make it through at least the first 100 cards of JALUP Expert (200 if possible)

    2. Finish RTK Lite (JLPT N2 Kanji), 358 more Kanji

    3. Catch up on the 約束のネバーランド manga. 3.5 more books.

    • Ganbatte yo!

      I’ve not heard of RTK Lite before. I just did a quick google but I’m curious, which path have you been following (for reference I am at 612 on RTK full fat currently).


      • I never heard of RTK Lite, either. Seems like a pretty great idea if you’re trying to follow the concept of getting to fluency as fast as possibly. I wish I knew about that in the beginning, but I’m already at about 1,150 kanji with the modified RTK deck.

      • I got about 550 or so through regular RTK and then heard of RTK Lite and liked the idea enough to switch. I had to do some finicking with Anki to copy my regular RTK deck and turn it into an RTK Lite deck but I think it was worth it. Overall I know about 1000 Kanji with regular RTK and RTK Lite combined.

    • UPDATE: I have finished the 1st 100 JALUP Expert cards. I will focus on finishing RTK Lite for the remainder of the month and any other JALUP cards I do will be a bonus (aiming for an extra 100). I only have about 2.5 manga volumes left to catch up on in 約束のネバーランド so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    • Happy New Decade 40 minutes from now in the EST time zone as of writing this!

      Final Update

      I didnt make my goals of finishing RTK Lite or catching up on the Promised Neverland manga. I hit a very bad burnout in the middle of December where I was finishing all of my daily reviews but couldn’t tolerate studying much more than that. I have 2 volume left to catch up on Promised Neverland and 293 Kanji left in RTK Lite so I didnt get a whole lot done on those since my previous update. However, I hit a new surge of motivation in this last week of the year and managed to add a whopping 300 extra JALUP Expert cards to my study cycle over a few days while I was back at my family’s home for the holidays. This brings me to a total of 400 JALUP expert cards completed for the month of December.

  5. As I detailed in some other posts November was a super bumpy month for me as I feel like I am plateauing my listening skills big time. Combine that with a November trip and Thanksgiving I had a bad month in everything except I kept up with SRS at least. Unfortunately December is going to be crazy with the holidays so I am going to scale back my December goals and plan on a big January to get things moving again.

    For December in order of priority:
    1) Finish Jalup Master (250 cards left) I am going to do it at 15 cards a day pace so I can finish mid month and settle down reviews before the holidays.
    2) Keep reading Jalup Master Manga, finish all the first chapters
    3) Terrace House, watch last 6 episodes of part 1 of the new 2019-2020 season. New plan though to make it easier for this month. I will watch it with subs once and then in the car instead of watching it twice before the car.
    4) Try to keep up with Food Wars and SAO.

    I will see what I can get done this month before revamping my plan a bit in January.

    • As planned I was able to finish up my month goals early. I feel more confident than my low last month but not to full strength. Planning on some medium sized changes in January to try to really focus on my listening. I’m going to spend the rest of the time this month getting reviews in control and planning my January strategy better.

      1) Finished all 1000 of Jalup Master! Just champion left then I’m all on my own.

      2) Keep reading Jalup Master Manga

      3) Terrace House, watch last 6 episodes of part 1 of the new 2019-2020 season. New plan though to make it easier for this month. I will watch it with subs once and then in the car instead of watching it twice before the car.

      4) Try to keep up with Food Wars and SAO.
      Mostly done, maybe a couple episodes behind but I’ll catch up before end of month.

  6. i feel like i’ve been doing really well lately! if not in skills then least mentally in terms of motivation and enjoyment of studying. i got a chance to speak in Japanese with a missionary from Japan who was at my church on a visit. we had about a 10 minute conversation at natural speed and not just talking about the weather and stuff. i understood all that he said perfectly, and even though my speaking skills are pretty bad he understood me!!! it was super validating, it being the first time i’ve actually talked to anyone in Japanese ever.

    anyway my goals are:

    * continue working through learning kanji, just doing as many cards a day as i feel i can handle
    * shadow 15-20 minutes of Xenoblade Chronicles cutscenes a day
    * continue learning grammar and stuff through Tae Kim and 日本語の森
    * learn to write 1 or 2 new kanji a day
    * 1 mango languages lesson a day

    that’s all :)

      • They are also available in some countries outside Japan, but obviously much harder to come by. However, this series of official books from them contain 10+ tests each that you can test yourself with this

  7. My target in Jan 2020:
    1. Learn 40 Kanji and 300 new words
    2. Resources I will use:
    – Of course notebook, pen and flashcard
    – Online app to learn Japanese: Janki (learn Kanji), Mazii (learn new words), Easy Japanese (practice Japanese with news)
    – Learn from my friend who has N2
    3. Game plan/strategy
    uhm learn by heart and write all them down

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