Achieving Your Japanese Goals – September 2018 — 28 Comments

  1. Some of this I already mentioned in my August post. I just finished jalup intermediate and I feel like my reading vocabulary is miles ahead of my listening and production (normal I know). I am going to be in Japan for a month next summer and I want my listening and speech to be much better by then. So…

    I am going to go fairly slow on advanced. Add about ten cards a day and finish by the end of this year.

    I am going to up my immersion and listening. Current plan is to keep watching food wars anime, no subs. Maybe ten episodes this month.

    Continue pimsular Japanese 2 in the car. Try and finish it in September. About twenty lessons.

    Increase my background audio loop usage.

    Starting to play octopath traveler and Yakuza 0 in japanese only. I only get a bit here and there but so far enough to get by.

    Oh and of course keep up with my rtk kanji reviews. (Easy at this point)

    Very open to tips and suggestions on if I am doing the right things to improve my listening and speech. I want to be able to handle restaurants, shopping, Airbnb, etc all in Japanese next year. So anything to help that will be welcome!

    • Great goals. One thing I’ve learned from tons of research is, its apparently a bad idea to practice speak until you have a ton of immersion under your belt. Apparently it can affect your accent and ingrain mistakes into your mind. But, you are going to Japan….

      The increase on listening is exactly what you should do. FILL your life with listening..until your ears feel like exploding :D Also, it looks like you’re not going overboard on new cards, which I think is a wise idea unless you’re a power leveler with tons of free time. Also, it might be a good idea to take frequent words from those games and make your own deck with words from your immersion. It’s easy to capture the kanji with the google translate app usually, or draw them in an app to find them. Just ignore any English. Keep up the great work.

      • Thanks good advice. I hadn’t heard that about speaking. I’ll focus on listening for now.

        I need to find some more basic vocab and sources for everyday more formal situations. Like a few ways to ask and order something for instance. Maybe how to make reservations, ask about ingredients, various greetings, paying for things, etc. I still don’t know what people are saying when they greet me coming into a restaurant…

        • How about Terrace House for watching and using as passive/semi active immersion, it’s completely natural every day speach. Maybe take the episodes and subs2srs it so you have the subtitles for sentences and the audio for reinforcement. Then you are immersing ehat you are studying which will reinforce that. Just my own opinion on the matter.

          • Great suggestions. I started terrace House once, I may try to mix more in. I need to look at jalup situations for sure. I was wondering if there was an existing product like that. Thanks Andrew!

    • This month went well. It felt very different too. My immersion is WAY up. Like 40% of my study time. For my goals:

      1) Yes I added 10 cards a day, everyday. I am right on track. Advanced so far feels great. Much easier than Intermediate so far now that I am used to j-j.

      2) I finished season 1 of food wars (24 episodes) no subtitles at all. I enjoy it but I don’t understand all that much from listening, mostly from just context. Part of it is it has so many specific culinary words. But I think part is that anime can just be hard. I will keep at it. If someone thinks I should try something different let me know, otherwise I will go onto season 2.

      3) I Started watching Terrace House with japanese subtitles. I Understand much more of it than the anime! I don’t like it as much but I do enjoy it. It is fun.

      4)I finished Pimsular Japanese 2 in the car this month!

      5) I upped my background loop usage quite a bit. Still not to where I want, but probably at least double what I was. I either listen to japanese music or else I listen to my jalup sentences or stories/situations.

      6) I didn’t play much of Octopath or Yakuza but that is okay. Both are less of a priority than my other listening immersion. I did a few hours maybe total.

      7) Yes did my RTK kanji reviews.

      I wish I could say I saw huge listening improvement. But I probably only feel like I got a little better at most. I will keep at it though.

  2. Long time no see! Been a while since I’ve posted here. I kind of fell off back in the spring. I had hoped to be done with Expert by this point, but here I am at only 100/1000…

    I want to hit Expert 500/1000 by the month’s end. Once school starts, I’ll have to slow down. I’ll spend the rest of the fall slowly working through the rest of Expert. Then, it’s in to… whatever Expert II has been renamed. Master? I fell behind on following all of the sites’ updates.

    Also, I only have 124 cards left in RTK! Finish that by the end of the month and I’ll feel comfortable ramping up my progress on Kanji Kingdom.

    I’ve also starting easing myself into shadowing with シャドーイング:日本語を話そう! (Shadowing: Let’s Learn Japanese!). I’ve found trying to break into shadowing difficult, but this book is helpful at gradually acclimating you to shadowing.

    I’m thinking of tackling the first season of 夏目友人帳 (Natsume Yūjin-chō) this month.

  3. 1. Finish advanced deck (About 350 cards)
    2. Read next 2 volumes of 宇宙兄弟
    3. Watch 5 TV shows (maybe variety shows if I can find online

    • 1. No, a little short.
      2. Yes, finished.
      3. Ended up watching about 13, as I got into watching リッチマン、プアウーマン and watched the entire season.

  4. My goal this month is to get through two chapters of Genki, which should put me to the end of chapter 21. I really need get this done in the first two weeks of the month, though, as I have to go on a work trip to the US for the last third of a month, and I might have limited time to practice then.

  5. 1. 2 new kanji per day. I should be around 1550 at the end of the month.
    2. Learn all J-J sentence cards produced through the other goals.
    3. Lots of immersion, especially listening.

    • This was not a good month. About half way through my reviews starting getting too high and burn out started setting in. I made a quick decision to stop adding cards to get things back under control and I’m still in that state while letting the reviews and burn out come back down a bit. I’m still doing all my reviews every single day to zero, however.

      1. Stopped about half way.
      2. Done
      3. Did OK, but not as much as I had intended.

  6. This month is a test of my perseverance. 5 hours of Anki a day is killing my motivation to do it, but I feel like I have to before I get into more fun and useful methods of study for the day.

    1) Continue reviews of kanji and JALUP sentences, with 20 new sentences a day. I’m almost halfway through Expert at this pace, and expect to finish it around October 20th.
    2) Finish となりの関くん第三巻. I’m tempted to read some of my linear algebra textbook or the next part of the series after I finish the current volume.
    3) Keep listening to at least 80 minutes of new content a week.

    • I have some advice for you. Take it or leave it of course. I feel 5 hours of anki a day is way too much. It could be because of how many new cards per day you are doing, or because of how often you are hitting the hard button.(The hard button permentant drops your ease increase, meaning eventually you will see every card you use it on a lot more often)
      Either way, especially if its sapping motivation, I do not believe it’s worth it. Your love for Japanese is probably what got you studying. If you lose that love, you may give up. Also, humans only have so much of a willpower reserve. I’d highly recommend taking any action you can to reduce your review load and enjoy more immersion. Anki cards just prime your mind, immersion is the truth learning. Are you attempting to power level? If so, I can understand. Just don’t burn yourself out!

      • I think it’s due to my steady-state stream of new cards being as high as it is. I was aware of how long things were taking when I was finishing up Advanced, so for expert I reduced my new cards/day by 20%. It’s helped for sure in that aspect, but going back through my kanji cards to add yomi put that time right back in.

        I think I knew that eventually at this rate I’d hit some sort of burnout, but I’ve been wanting to prepare myself for the tough times ahead and finish in 50 days because I do notice the gains I get in comprehending other material, and because I want to get to a point where I can let my daily reviews down for a while before I introduce new sentences with concepts not covered by the JALUP series, at a much slower rate that I am currently. That will allow me to do much more immersion without feeling guilty about eating my veggies, even if I know it’s just a tool. I’ve definitely tried doing listening and kanji reviews together, and I’m just not able to multitask like that.

        I do appreciate your advice though, even if I’m a little stubborn. I think I can weather this out for a little more, and maybe weaving in more fun material between some of my content will help keep my morale up. I still love the language and learning it, and I’m glad I haven’t reached a point where I absolutely hate what I’m doing. Sometimes little reminders of how far I’ve come along help with my motivation.

        • Keep up the great work. Sorry, my comment came across as a bit bossy lol. Do what makes you happy with your studies!

    • I made it out of this month alive and on top. I finished my reading around the 22nd or so, so I’ve had some time to do extra stuff. My reviews are also getting in a more manageable state, and will continue to do so.

  7. Anki: What I did last month worked great so I’ll keep up with that. That is, increase daily new cards if the reviews go below 50 and stop adding cards if it goes above 65.

    Shadowing: Catch up on NISJ than do any new items as they come out.

    Reading: Optional. I get a fair amount of reading from playing BOTW and there’s no need to make it a goal, I play everyday anyway.

    Anime: Watch at least one episode of anything per week. I have Anohana, but from the synopsis I get the feeling it’s not my cup of tea. There’s also Attack on Titan running now.

  8. I fell short of both of my August goals mostly due to work and home life obligations really ramping up. Not too terribly short though; I reached 219 in Jalup Beginner, and have been spending more effort on RTK progress than Kanji Kingdom. I’ve found that with RTK building up using common structures, I retain better than Kanji Kingdom’s “# of strokes” sorting. Not sure why that is for me, but it is. So I use KK to review and maintain what I’ve learned here and an Anki RTK deck to actually progress my kanji learning.

    I also sadly got very little immersion time with Neko Samurai, but I did quite enjoy what time I spent with it. :)

    For September, I’m basically echoing my August goals with personal stretch goals:

    1) Progress to card 350 in Jalup Beginner
    2) Continue with RTK progress, hopefully adding another 100 kanji by month’s end
    3) Strive to carve out more immersion time with Neko Samurai, “reading” Yotsuba and Chi’s Sweet Home, and find some audio source of some kind that I can use as background noise.

    • Wow… I completely failed my goals this month. Just utterly.

      On the plus side, I coincidentally got a pretty significant promotion at work and had a lot less free time while working through the transition. ;)

      Here’s hoping I can get back on track in October!

      Oh, I did receive my first White Rabbit series reader and started in on that, so that’s something. And while I’ve made very little progress into new RTK/Beginner cards, I’ve at least been catching up on reviews each week. So it’s not like I’ve completely fallen off the wagon. :D I just couldn’t keep up with adding new cards!

  9. Hi everyone, I don’t really have a lot of goals to share but instead wanted to ask a question.
    I felt like in the last few weeks or month maybe I didn’t really make a lot of progress so I wanted to ask you what you think about my learning method…
    I’d say I’m beginner to intermediate level, I started reading a few months ago with NHK easy news. They were very difficult in the beginning but once I started to create a vocabulary deck on my own in Anki it got much better quickly. At this point I can read NHK easy news with maybe 90% or 95% understanding, so I started reading the regular NHK news two or three months ago. My vocabulary deck after NHK easy news was maybe 200 or 300 cards and I barely encountered any new ones anymore, but the regular NHK news brought a lot of new vocabulary and my Anki deck is now just short of a thousand cards. Right now I’m adding basically all new N5 to N3 words I encounter and sometimes N2s, N1s I usually skip as well as anything that isn’t ranked through the JLPT too. This way I’m adding an average of 5 to 10 cards a day, a pace which suits me. My studying at the moment consists of about half an hour of reading per day, all my vocabulary reviews which is ~100 per day, and some listening to Anime mp3s on my phone whenever it fits for me, which can be anywhere between 0 and 5 hours a day.
    My listening comprehension is still not very good, but I don’t mind that right now as I’d be fine with being good at reading first. The problem is that I still don’t understand most of the slightly more complex sentences, even when I know all the words or at least looked them up already. So I guess what I’m missing is grammar, but there’s nothing specific that I could just google, it’s more like a bit of general confusion… sometimes I even put the sentence into Google translator, but even with the solution at hand I still can’t make sense of the sentence.
    Just yesterday I did these kind of mock questions for the JLPT N5 on their website, tht’s like 14 questions for four different areas (reading comprehension, listening, grammar and Kanji I think) and I even got all the listening questions right, although I believe I’m pretty bad at it, but all three grammar questions were wrong. Of course three questions might not be a sufficient sample size, but it still shows I think…
    Also, I recently bought a light novel for one of the anime I watched. It’s KonoSuba which shouldn’t be the most complicated I think. In any case though, I tried reading it but after about ten pages I gave up. I wasn’t having fun and I felt like I didn’t understand much. There was a lot of new vocabulary, but almost exclusively N1 or unranked which I didn’t feel like adding anyway. Also, looking up the vocabulary was difficult since I couldn’t just copy and paste into a dictionary from the book as I could with NHK news in my browser. Additionally, even after painstakingly entering every unknown word’s kanji through radical input on the dictionary and finally having all words at hand, I still couldn’t understand about a third of the sentences, partly I think because of how different the language in this kind of literature is compared to the formal and strictly informative news that I read so far.
    In any case, what would you recommend to me? Should I just keep on reading, listening and learning vocabulary like I do right now and my comprehension will improve if I just stick with it? Or do you think I need to change my study methods?
    And do you just add all the vocabulary that you come across, or only the lower ranks like N3-N5 as I do? Is it even reasonable to look at the JLPT level to decide whether to add vocabulary or skip it? How do you guys decide that?
    And finally, do you think I should have stuck with the light novel instead of giving up? Maybe I just needed to get used to the different kind of language used?
    Thanks in advance, any help, tips and your thoughts on this are greatly appreciated!

    • About grammar, there are some good sources online for explanations, but explanations alone just don’t do the job. You need to learn it in an order that makes sense and do drills (not Anki reviews) for it to stick. For me oldschool textbooks where the most effective. This should also make reading less frustrating.
      If reading this specific book is too hard to be fun just try another one. Bear in mind that the label “light novel” does not imply it’s easy language-wise. Manga is great as the characters tend to say what you can see them doing, saving you time on dictionary look ups and making a visual connection that makes the vocab easier to remember. There’s also children books, but I personally find them hard to enjoy as an adult. The easiest non children book I read was 時をかける少女, a collection of 3 short sci-fi stories.
      If you learn Japanese to know Japanese, as opposed to just to pass JLPT, there’s no reason to skip learning a word just because it’s above N3 level. You already seen it in context and looked it up, why not make just one extra step to remember it in the long term? if you want to avoid adding obscure vocab, one way to do it is to add the card only after seeing the word for the second or third time.
      The trick to looking up words without radical selection is remembering the kun yomi or another word with that kanji for each kanji. It comes naturally as your vocab expands.
      Lastly, you didn’t mention whether you did RTK, so if you didn’t, it’s highly recommended.

    • First thing’s first, do you want to have a native accent much more easily when the time comes? From what I’ve researched and heard, doing a ton of reading and getting better at that faster than listening can really affect your speaking ability for the worse in the future. The reason is subvocalizing and reading out loud before you have a ton of listening input to rewire your brain for better speach. Basically, building bad habits. I just thought I’d share that!

      Second, only add i+1 sentences into your anki…and spend a ton of time listening to what you are sentence mining to reinforce the words you are learning. My personal opinion is that subs2srs is awesome for this because then you quickly get the sentences from the show with audio to go along with it and a picture. Of course, this is only if you are making your own cards which…you are it seems. Comprehensible input for the win!

      Third, Adam wrote an article on understanding words but not the sentence. If you enter those keywords you should find it.

  10. Hey guys, long-time lurker. I finally made my way to Japan and am currently bumbling around without knowing much Japanese >_< so I've been using the Jalup App semi-religiously. My goal this month is to finish Jalup Beginner (413/1000 currently), which means 28 cards per day. I also want to do 28 cards of Kanji Kingdom per day as well which I am only 84/2300 right now. I'll be here another 2 months so the immersion is pretty much non-stop, but I feel like I'm wasting a lot of it since my level is so low (~13)

    • Welcome to the comments!

      Congrats on making it to Japan! The immersion you are getting there will help in a lot of indirect (and direct) ways.

      Incredible pace with 28 new cards/day on each! Just keep in mind you may have adjustments with these numbers as your reviews grow bigger.

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