Achieving Your Japanese Goals – July 2018 — 29 Comments

  1. 1. Your specific goal(s)

    (I am a teacher on summer break.)
    -Maintain 5-6 hours a day of active immersion, with at least 3-4 other hours having passive listening on in the background.
    -Reach 6000 cards in Anki. 7000 is a stretch goal. To reach 6000 I would need to do 25 cards a day, 7000 would require closer to 50. School starts back up in August and I want a nice “bank” of words available because study time is going to decrease.

    2. Resources you will use
    -Netflix along with other sources of anime and live action programs such as Terrace House.
    -Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
    -Youtube Let’s Plays on PockySweets’ channel.
    -Subs2SRS and Kindlemate to mine the above sources of information.
    -PS4 to continue playing Persona 5, Nintendo Switch to nolife Octopath Traveler when it launches in July.

    3. Game plan/strategy
    -Each day has me busting out reviews early on, from 5 AM to 7 AM. There’s usually some downtime every 25-50 cards, average review load per day is about 350.
    -7 AM to 8 AM is a “free time,” English media is allowed, take a shower, get ready for the day.
    -8 to 8 is close to Japanese only, there’s some English to message friends, check some domestic news.
    -Post 8 PM I can play games in English, read books in English.

    • That’s a legit study program. The kind that takes hardcore dedication to study for essentially half the day.

      Being that you are high level, how difficult was it to introduce 25 new cards a day?
      Any insight into how you use Anki?


  2. I’m going to deliberately throw out SMART goals here – knowing that I have huge perfectionist tendencies and being too specific brings them out with a vengeance – and say, I want to keep doing what I’m doing. This is:

    -keep up with my reviews
    -Add new cards from Intermediate 3, around 6, most days. This really will get me to the end of Intermediate 3
    -Read some pages of the BLEACH manga when I have time, or whatever else I have lying around (I have quite a lot of books, honestly)
    -Watch more Hunter x Hunter! Finally, an anime I can enjoy and follow without subtitles!!!! I don’t think it’ll be hard to keep watching this :)

    • Well, as usual, I…did something different.

      -I kept up with my anki reviews, but still have 95 or so cards left which is about 16 days at 6 cards/day. So I’m going to finish intermediate 3 absolutely DEFINITELY by the end of August, barring extreme life circumstances, and surely I’ve had enough of those this year already?

      – I did read quite a lot. Some Bleach, and now I should finish volume 1 of Naruto pretty soon, I’m on the last chapter and super pleased by how much I understand!!!

      – I…didn’t watch any more HxH. I’m really bad at watching TV even in english lol, and I’m not advanced enough to understand audio-only material yet really – at least not without many many many listens – so I just need to make more time for this. Hell, one episode a week would be an improvement at this point! Pressuring myself to watch every day definitely didn’t help.

      – I…started WaniKani. It was just time for me to accept that learning kanji without also learning at least one pronunciation and one bit of vocabulary means it doesn’t stick in my head; without an actual japanese word it’s a meaningless piece of data to my brain. I’m apparently the opposite of everyone else in this regard (I don’t have difficulty with my brain sticking to English – the translation falls away quickly as I see the word in other sentences) so I really do need something that teaches me kanji in context.

      It’s going super great for me so far and I highly recommend WaniKani if your brain is weird like mine and RTK (or any system that works similarly) just does not stick in your head at all. I also like that it limits how much you can learn at once; I’m super guilty of trying to “get them over with” and going more quickly than I can manage, and WaniKani prevents me doing that so I have plenty of time for anki reviews and reading.

  3. Been making enough progress with my Anki decks (an RTK kanji deck and the JALUP Kana Conquerer deck) for the past couple months that I finally said “to heck with it” and snagged the complete Jalup Next package.

    Yes, I’m crazy like that. ;)

    Started it today, and have set myself to complete Kana Conquerer by July 13th (going very aggressively since I was already very far along in Anki and am starting over in Jalup Next, and I’ve learned to read both alphabets fairly well using various quiz apps), Jalup Beginner by the end of 2018 (that means 6 new cards per day; if I can’t keep up with that I’ll push the due date back into early 2019), and Kanji Kingdom by the end of 2019 (very good odds that’ll get pushed back into 2020 though; I was starting to really struggle with the RTK deck at around the 260 mark).

    So, yeah, basically planning to spend July polishing off the Kana Conquerer deck, though I will continue to use it for reviews for a long time, and getting off to a hopefully strong start in the Kanji Kingdom deck, while I start to finally dig into the “real thing”: the Jalup Beginner deck. :D

    • I’m only about 30 cards into Jalup Beginner and good heavens, this is MUCH more difficult for some reason than learning the kana and early kanji have been. Yeesh, I do not know why, but these early words/phrases are just a massive roadblock for me!

      Not sure how this will go, but I am stubborn and won’t give up. :D

      • Keep at it. The srs will make sure you succeed. Eventually you will get faster and faster at parsing everything. It just takes lots of practice.

        As for remembering specific vocabulary for me it really helps to come up with some silly weird mnemonic in my head for each one. Once the mnemonic sticks, it quickly falls away and you just remember the word.

        • You aren’t kidding!

          It’s only been four days, 61 cards into beginner now (with a LOT of reviewing the first 40-50 in particular and a fair bit of writing/reading/pronunciation practice, along with a few supplemental youtube videos I found) and these early cards and some basic grammar are starting to make sense to me. :) What a difference even just four days makes!

          As an extra bit of motivation, I’ve ordered the first volume of Yotsuba. I don’t expect it to make much sense on the first read-through, but I want something that can give me some real tangible sense of personal progress as I continue my beginning Jalup journey!

          I am so very, very happy that I stumbled across this site. I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese but classes aren’t really an option for me (location and demands on my time as a busy adult) and trying to come up with my own self-study method got me nowhere fast. I can’t believe how much progress I’ve made in the last two months!

          • Nice yeah I’ve started yotsuba too. I actually started it after starting intermediate. At the very beginning I understood only a tiny bit. It was hard and frustrating. But a quarter of the way through intermmediate now and I understand more like 40% and most of the rest I can guess. I am even picking up new phrases.

            • Heh, and now I’m struggling again. ;) This initial learning journey is going to be quite the roller-coaster, isn’t it?

              Also, I understand very, very little of Yotsuba (which I expected) but I am delighted to find that I can at least read most of the kana/furigana and pick up a few words here and there. It is surprising how some of the kana fonts are VERY different than what I would expect and I’m having trouble figuring out what they should be.

              On another note, is there some sort of forum/discord/slack/whatever that the Jalup community uses? I would love to follow and join in on more discussions, no doubt that will help me make sense of things as I run into stumbling blocks. :)

              I am so very happy that I finally took the plunge to start learning Japanese! And happy that Adam has built the great learning tools here at Jalup too!

    • July has been a phenomenal step forward in my Japanese journey!

      I completed the Kana Conqueror set a few days ahead of schedule (partly because I’ve been using some online quiz resources to reinforce and learn them alongside Jalup Next), and I’d say at this point I can read half or more of them without stopping to think about it.

      I started Jalup Beginner just a bit before the beginning of July, and while I’m “only” up to 138 cards as of yesterday, I’ve gone a little slow so that I can focus on comprehension and retention. Some of the more recent sentences are a real struggle for me. Getting into multiple levels of grammar with the sequence of Japanese being so different from English and French is a real challenge for me; not sure if it’s due to my age (I’m 41 in just a couple months) making my language comprehension more deeply entrenched, or if it’s a normal struggle for any romance language native trying to learn Japanese.

      That said, what’s really given me a sense of accomplishment is that I’m starting to understand Kana Conqueror cards that aren’t exact matches to Jalup Beginner cards. I just reviewed the Kana card “ここによく来ますか。” and I paused for a moment as I realized “wait a minute, I know this…” I cheated slightly by copy/pasting it into Google Translate just to be sure, and hey, I DID understand it!

      I know, I know; that’s a very small stretch given that all the parts of that card are present in just a couple different Jalup Beginner cards, but the fact that I’m starting to properly internalize some of the words and grammar is a big deal to me. :)

      アダム, ありがとうございます!

      • I am having a very odd experience with this sentence!


        My brain starts to visualize/comprehend it initially with no actual English words (この店のりんご makes me picture an apple in a storefront right in front of me). とても is, for some reason, a word that I’m starting to somewhat internalize in Japanese without initially translating, but then the remainder of the sentence my braing starts to kick me back into “translate this into English” mode and makes me process the sentence from the beginning again in English.

        It’s very weird! It’s also encouraging to experience the beginning hint of something processing in Japanese without defaulting to feeling the need to translate first. From reading a bit on the site yesterday, I saw that this is going to likely be a long-term struggle. I remember having the same problem for a good year or two in my French studies too back in my high school days.

        I’m impatient, even though I know I am probably years away from my brain having an actual Japanese mode where English doesn’t enter the equation at all.

  4. I was introduced to Jalup by a friend who saw me struggling with job hunting in Tokyo, RTK, Anki and this website have saved my life.
    1. Your specific goal(s)
    – Get to the middle of the Intermediate JALUP deck.
    – Get to the 1500 kanjis from RTK.
    – Start community Japanese school to polish the grammar.
    2. Resources you will use
    – Anki
    – Audio immersion 80% of my time. (Abema TV, radio, anime)
    – Finish reading Yotsuba-to! 1 with full understanding
    3. Game plan/strategy
    – Do my Anki before going to work / out home. The earlier the better.
    – Keep doing from 15 to 20 cards per day. RTK deck and Jalup Beginner/Intermediate deck.
    – Don’t miss any class of the community language school.

  5. Almost didn’t post this month. I will do very little. I am traveling almost the whole month. I’ll keep up with my rtk and jalup reviews. Not planning on adding cards. August though will be a different story. Going to hit the ground running hard and try to do 750 intermediate cards to finish it off

    • First half of the month went as expected, I did my reviews and nothing new. It was kind of hard holding back but I was able to age my reviews pretty well. I had more time the last few days than I expected as well. I think I will end this month having done 300 new intermediate cards. Pretty damn happy with that. I will be at 500/1000 entering August and set up well to finish intermediate in August even with a few travel interruptions.

  6. Last month was a little rough, I definitely hit some days where there was burnout. I’m contemplating lowering my number of new cards/day.
    1) Continue reviewing RTK indefinitely.
    2) Finish Jalup Advanced at 25 new cards/day. Continue into Jalup Expert at the same rate.
    3) At least 80 minutes of new active listening a week. Add to library for passive listening later.
    4) Finish となりの関くん 2. I’m hoping I’ll have picked up a little speed from the first volume.
    5) Juggle in TEFL certification courses for job application reasons.

    I’ve found that while doing some cards at night used to work okay for me before, now that I’ve been doing this for a while if I wait I start dreading or get tired and don’t finish everything. Cards still feel like they take the majority of my day, and I can’t wait until the number of reviews starts going down. I’ll probably pause on introducing new cards after I get through jalup just to start reducing my number of daily reviews. I’m wanting to do actual things in Japanese more, especially reading-related activities.

    • This month continued to be rough, but it’s starting to get better.

      I’ve overcome the wall of artificial backlog from limiting my kanji reviews to 90/day. I’ve been sure to add readings to kanji I don’t know as well, using words written in kana highlighting where the kanji to be studied would go. Limiting my new sentences to 20/day also helped with reducing some of the load there. I think things are getting a little easier now into expert.

      I held off a lot of reading となりの関くん at the beginning of the month, but I’ve caught up with the time I’ve gained at the end of the month.

      I still need to concern myself with the TEFL certification and application materials for 英会話 and JET. I put it off because of the pressure of falling behind my goals at the beginning of the month.

  7. Already started the month badly by screwing up on N1 so hard I don’t even need to get the results to know it. I ran out of motivation somewhere along the way. It’s probably a bad idea try pushing it any further, so this month is for resting except for getting Anki to 0 and keeping it there. Immersion is also good as long as it’s not of the strenuous kind. Just have Japanese in the background or watch fun staff without insisting on the no-subs policy.

    • Kept Anki at 0
      Watched one anime 魔法少女まどかマギカ and the new 進撃の巨人S03E01
      Read some 涼宮ハルヒ, don’t know how much since last month but now at pg. 122
      Kept up with shadowing NISJ
      Overall a pretty good month. Only problem is that Anki is still jammed.

  8. I’m going to be going back to work in mid-July after being in Japan the past two months. Due to this, I will have to dial back on the Japanese practice. My deck currently has 837 cards in it, so if I can get over 1000 cards, I think I will be doing pretty good.

    • I got back to Europe, and there has been a massive heat wave since I got back. This is really impacting my health, so I have been basically just in maintenance mode for the past two weeks. I’m up to 915 cards, but hopefully once the heat goes down I can get back at it.

      • I guess one thing I forgot to mention is that I really changed the way I review my kanji deck. At the start of the month, I would estimate that 90% of my cards were set to the lowest possible ease factor (130%). This was a real downer, so I started hitting “easy” on any card I got right. This has really reduced the amount of daily reviews, which has been nice.

        To be perfectly honest, after doing this for over a year, I think the minimum ease of 130, which is hard coded in Anki, is too low and actually detracts from your learning by showing cards too often. When I was learning the kanji, I thought it made sense to set the new cards to this value, as pretty much all of my cards eventually got to that level. But several months after completing the deck, I just kept failing the same cards over and over again, and I started to despise them. Now that they are showing up less often, I think I am remembering them better, which seems counter-intuitive.

        Of course, if I were to do it over, I would suggest to not try to learn all of the kanji in this way, since some kanji may never actually come up for a long time in the real world. I would suggest doing about 300-400 kanji just to get used to their structure, and add new kanji to the deck as you find them in your sentence deck. I think doing that would have helped a lot.

  9. 1. 1 card per day from Intermediate Situations – 8 cards to go, so should be done a week from now :)
    2. 2 new kanji per day.
    3. Learn all J-J sentence cards produced through the other goals.
    4. Lots of immersion, especially listening.

  10. Keep my iPhone in Japanese; if toggle to English for a practical, urgent need, immediately toggle back.

    “NMAD Pledge” honoured. (NMAD = Never Miss A Day) (i.e. don’t let perfectionist tendencies take an all-or-nothing approach to studying. If 10pm and no studying done, review at least ONE card. Like how seasoned meditators say, “one minute counts” (to keep the habit unbroken), one Jalup card counts.

    “Morning pledge” honoured. (i.e. Always consume at least some Japanese digital media (e.g. Japanese news) before English. Even 5 mins of struggling time on BBC Japanese site. Also, native audio content always playing in bathroom mini Bluetooth speaker in the morning.)

    Active native content consumption: watch at least one new episode of 孤独のグルメ per week, and watch My Neighbour Totoro with 9-year old twin kids — with only subtitles on (for them, but me only listening). Side note: By 14 July, my preferred immersion content (孤独のグルメ) converted from DVD to video files on my phone. (Must have portable media.)

    “Shadowing” practice through the “Listen” tab in the Jalup iPhone App at least 5 mins / day.

    730 cards learned in Jalup Beginner. Reviews not manically driven to zero every day (perfectionist risk) but *generally* kept *reasonable*.

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