Achieving Your Japanese Goals – June 2018 — 23 Comments

  1. Reaching a major milestone on June 1 with the completion of RTK vol 1. Close to finishing Jalup Intermediate too.

    1) Finish RTK Vol 3. Should be done introducing new kanji from it by the 27th. Continue reviewing indefinitely.
    2) Finish Jalup Intermediate on the 3rd. Continue Jalup Advanced at 25 new cards/day.
    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 1. That’s roughly 3-4 chapters a week, starting at chapter 4. This will be my first manga to start and complete, so it’s a milestone I guess.
    5) (kind of) unrelated to Japanese, but start taking TEFL certification courses. I had planned on starting to introduce this when I completed RTK.

    • It got a little rough this month, but I did it.
      I’m done with introducing new kanji from RTK 3. Now I just need to keep up on reviews.
      I’m about halfway into Jalup Advanced. 25 cards/day is still hard, and I didn’t finish all my new/reviews on some nights, but I caught up on other nights.
      I did it down to the wire, but I finished the first volume of となりの関くん. It’s enjoyable to read for sure, but I do need to spend some time looking at a dictionary for pronunciation or meaning of new words.

  2. 7月1日は日本語能力試験なので準備は第一だ
    1. 総まとめN1文法を仕上げる
    2. 総まとめN1聴解を仕上げる
    3. 毎日単語帳15枚を加える
    4. NISJのシャドーイングを続ける
    5. 上記を完成したら、涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱を読み続ける

    • Managed to finish the preparation books but it didn’t help much in the test….
      Anki went out of control pretty quickly so I stopped adding cards halfway through. It still hasn’t come back to a doable workload.
      I’m 3 articles behind in shadowing and haven’t even touched the book.

      Overall it was a month of failures and I’m running low on motivation.

  3. 1: continue adding cards to my vocabulary deck at a rate of 25 per day. Having finished expert this will be my first foray into mining sentences independently, which should be fun.

    2: maintain a constant immersion environment. I have a stand-alone MP3 player I am throwing active immersion audio into for when I need it, but as a teacher on summer vacation I’m getting a lot of active hours in, at least 8-10 per day. I’m gonna go full AJATT here having used JALUP as a launch point.

    3: continue with kanji using RTK3, albeit at a slower pace of 10/day. I’m alright with these cards taking about a hundred days given their supposed smaller frequency.

    4: add more reading into my immersion. I’m not going to lie, I really want to read more novels and STILL don’t feel prepared having expert under my belt. I can follow most anime with little issue, dramas are easier than that. But books? Swiss cheese doesn’t begin to describe my current reading.

    • Lol at the swiss cheese comment.

      But I suppose this is surprising, and yet not surprising. On one hand I feel after finishing Expert I should be equipped to ready anything – but after thinking about it, I suppose your swiss cheese comment is spot on.

      Do you feel this way about vocabulary and grammar, or just vocabulary?

  4. 1. Your specific goal(s)

    a. Do enough study/revision to pass JLPT N2 at the start of July 2018.

    b. Finish either a Haruki Murakami short story collection or Tobira.

    2. Resources you will use

    Anki for all N3-N1 vocabulary (N1 included because I started learning them after taking the N2 test last December, and I might as well continue those as well as the deck of vocab that I pulled in with Rikai)

    The 新完全マスター文法、読解、聴解 books and 総まとめ聴解 book


    Various books written by Haruki Murakami

    NHK News website (

    NHK News podcasts

    Japanese Pod 101 (mainly upper intermediate lessons)

    Quizzes on the japanesetest4you site

    A Dictionary of {BIA} Japanese Grammar (along with lists of N2-specific stuff I compiled)


    3. Game plan/strategy

    For 1.a, finish reading the Sou Matome listening book and re-reading the Kanzen books by the middle of the month, then use the last two weeks before the test for:

    1. shoring up any deficiencies that I’ve noticed in the run-up to the test;
    2. taking a timed mock grammar test;
    3. going back over audio with a view to picking up nearly everything and practising taking notes in real time; and
    4. basically taking a tadoku approach to reading, aiming to keep reading around 20 pages of Japanese text a day

    Besides that, I shouldn’t have that much to do in the final couple of weeks, so I could be doing anything, really, such as writing programs, making revision databases/spreadsheets, chatting with people in Japanese, etc.

    Goal 1.b is mostly just for fun. Tobira is probably a little bit below my level, but it’s interesting as far as textbooks go and if I don’t finish by the time I pass N2, it probably won’t be of much use later. Well, OK. Finishing Tobira is more about getting value for money than “fun”, per se.

    I find Murakami’s books surprisingly easy to read without a dictionary (provided I can pick up unknown words from the context) thanks to having already read them in English some time ago and having decided to study N1 vocab right after the December 2017 JLPT. I’ve already finished one Murakami short story collection, so I know that I should be able to get through another in the available time.

    Finally, I suppose, take it fairly easy on the last few days before the exam and make sure that I have some revision (or just reading) material prepared for those final few days.

    • 1. Which goals were you able to accomplish

      I was happy with my main goal to do enough revision to pass the JLPT. I think that I did well enough in the test to pass. At least, I was able to answer almost all the questions that I had planned to (guessing only one “jumble” question) and I felt confident enough about my comprehension of the texts/options. I also finished Tobira (satisfying my bonus goal) before the end of the month, and a Murakami short story collection a bit later (today, 4 July).

      2. Which goals did you fail (how far did you get)?

      I failed none.

      3. Your experience (issues, struggles, discoveries)

      I could have done with a bit more structure in my revision in the last two weeks before the exam. Doing more quiz-like exercises and more sample papers might have been a good thing.

  5. I’m home all month so this should be easier…

    Complete Expert (100 cards)
    Get 2 steps into Immersion (500 cards)
    Read 2 novels OR a manga series

    So excited to pass the Expert finish line!! I’ve been working on the JALUP decks on and off for 2 years so this is awesome :)

  6. 1. 1 card per day from Intermediate Situations.
    2. 2 new kanji per day (should put me around 1420 kanji by end of month).
    3. Learn all J-J sentence cards produced through the other goals.
    4. Lots of immersion, especially listening.

    • 1. Done.
      2. I had to stop this goal halfway through the month due to vacation, but I’m back on track now.
      3. Done.
      4. Done.

  7. Let’s see…

    1. Finish JALUP Intermediate Stage 2 and start on Stage 3.
    2. Prioritize listening practice.
    3. Finish game plan for JLPT 3, to be taken in December.
    4. Continue studying for JLPT

  8. I’m in Japan all month, and I am making Japanese a high priority. I will start working on cards from Genki II, with the hope of doing at least 250 new cards. I imagine that would take me through more than half of the book.

  9. I’ve known that the summer will be slower progress due to travel. I want to ideally

    1) Continue 2200 rtk review cards to stay fresh on my kanji

    2) Continue pimselur in the car

    3) 3+ chapters of yotsuba and continue passive immersion

    4) I want to get through jalup intermediate by the end of August but it may not be realistic. I am 30 cards in and definitely feel hazy doing j-j. If I do 300 in June I would be very happy.

    Anyone have some j-j tips? I have cheated already a couple times but have been right or mostly right so I gained some confidence.

    But unlike j-e I am struggling to make a mnemonic in my head to remember meaning and pronunciation. It is hard to link when I only have a hazy or even wrong meaning. Any tips on memorizing vocab during this hazy time? This is my main struggle right now and it’s slowing me down.

    How long will it feel this hazy?!lol

    • I can’t really help with mnemonics, but I do have experience with the “hazy” feeling you have.

      I also felt the hazy feeling. For me, it went away about 3/4 through Stage 1 of the Intermediate deck. But it was so hard to get there.

      I kept quitting and coming back to it. After a long break (2-3 weeks) when I was 60 cards away from finishing, I finally reset the entire deck, then began again. And this time it “clicked” really easily and I actually finished the entire Stage 1 within 1 week.

      I also “cheated” a lot – sometimes I had my dictionary open right next to me. BUT, even though I cheated, now I no longer feel I need to. Even for new cards. So I don’t regret that, because it worked out for me. It helped make the transition a little easier from J-E to J-J.

      Even the older cards that I cheated on – I no longer remember the dictionary definition, I remember the J definition instead because I have seen it so many times.

      It was definitely frustrating – but you can do it!

    • I did pretty good on this. I got 250 cards in on intermediate (or close to). Haziness is much less! Getting used to the way the definitions are worded. July is a list month for me but I’ll sprint in August and try to do the rest of intermediate or at least s much as I can.

      I did better on passive immersion. I read manga. And kept up on rtk. Over half in bucket 6 so reviews are down to 40ish a day.

  10. 1. 100 cards from advanced
    2. Finish 宇宙兄弟 volume 1 (only about 50 pages left) and read volumes 2 and 3.

  11. 1. Weekly lesson with tutor (focusing on speaking)
    2. Clear Jalup Intermediate Cards every evening
    3. 30 mins of listening and shadowing everyday
    4. Read at least 2 pages per day of one of my Japanese books/ Read some of a Manga everyday

  12. I’m back! I’m motivated! I’m not mysteriously getting sicker and sicker as my liver pitches a fit and my blood goes weird! It’s good to be alive and learning japanese!

    Uh, anyway. I’m really, really impressed how much japanese I remembered from the intermediate deck. I only had 400 reviews – despite months and months off somehow? – and remembered a good 65% of them. Often the rest of the time I remembered the meaning but not the pronounciation, say, and only about 5% of cards were mysteries.

    My plan is to now do 6-8 new cards per day, which will have me finishing Intermediate part 3 by the end of the month.

    Otherwise, I’m not going to make too much of a plan because I never stick to it. I’m going to immerse in -whatever-, currently liking 探偵の探偵 which is a great drama available on crunchyroll. I put on japanesepod101 lessons at work, mostly for exposure to new everyday vocabulary, and I’m really liking their intermediate series right now.

    I should read some as well but I’m trying not to be too ambitious in my plans this month, especially since I’m leaving dedicated kanji study to the side for now. This is partially because I’ve figured out that there’s no point in me staying too far ahead in RTK, since I just don’t remember kanji too well until I’ve learned a word that has it in it. Ack, English. So it’s almost a better idea for me to finish intermediate and then return to RTK.

    One thing I am doing every day that’s really helping is keeping a journal at It’s not just about japanese, but I’m finding it motivating (and helpful for organisation) to just log all the stuff I’m doing that’s progress toward my goals. Stuff like Bullet Journaling and charts and whatnot just doesn’t work too well for me because I always lose the darn notebook or whatever.

    • I’m pretty pleased about this month! I kept up with my reviews, learned a bunch of new cards (though not enough to get me to the end of intermediate 3) and – despite my long break – generally felt more comfortable with the Intermediate deck and my Japanese level than I did before. Weird how my brain works like that.

      I have read some Japanese as well, though not much – just a few chapters of Bleach, but I’ve been understanding and enjoying them. It helps that I’ve seen the series.

      Still no RTK, but I think I’ll add that back in when I’ve finished intermediate, keep the cards on maintenance for a few weeks while I get back into kanji, then soldier on with advanced. I’ve also been keeping my blog updated, which is great for my productivity.

      The really HUGE thing that happened this month was I finally found an anime I can watch without subtitles!! In fact, I feel like something really clicked this month in a way it hasn’t before, because I’ve also been able to watch a ton of Japanese youtube videos without subs, and ひいきびいき podcast episodes have suddenly started making more sense. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve definitely heard others speak about things feeling like they came together all of a sudden towards the end of the Intermediate deck, and it’s super odd to feel it happening to me but I can confirm that it exists!

      A big, important thing I learned is – look, I know advice has to be prescriptive; otherwise, people wouldn’t know what to do. It’s good to encourage people to not watch subtitles or stick to japanese definitions or do their reviews every day, because most people will follow what you say maybe 80% and wing the rest. I am not most people; I’m one of those people who reads the goddamn instruction manual for every item I own cover to cover. I’m one of those people who tries to follow all instructions to the *letter*, and sometimes I get frustrated or give up when they don’t work, instead of trying to maybe modify them a bit to suit me better, because I feel like I “failed” somehow.

      Now, all of that is silly. Obviously. But giving myself permission to watch anime again *with* subtitles is what got me into watching anime without, and it definitely helped since I was listening to more japanese than before. Giving myself permission to *occasionally* look up the odd word in English is what made Intermediate settle into my head better, I think. I need to take things slowly and let myself acclimatise, that’s just the kind of person I am, so reading J-J cards and sticking to them 95% of the time and *mostly* reading books without looking things up in english is what got me back into reading.

      I don’t need to do things perfectly, I just need to do them consistently, and do them a little better and with a little more Japanese than I did yesterday. Now let me go away and get that tattooed somewhere obvious XD

  13. I came back to Japanese yet again about mid last month. I got to the end of beginner, and about 750 kanji into RTK before stopping. I went through beginner again, and finished that in about 2 weeks. Now I’m back into RTK, at a rate of 25 to 30 a day. I’m slowly inching into the intermediate deck, but feel very held back by my lack of Kanji knowledge, so focusing on that first.

    1. 25 to 30 kanji a day. Should bring me to about 1200.
    2. Learn at least a couple of cards from intermediate a day so I can make some progress while I’m focusing on kanji.
    3. Active listening daily.

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