Are You Spending Your Japanese Time Effectively? — 9 Comments

  1. Interesting post! I sort of did the reverse (but in a lame way) for 1,6 years lasting until April this year. Only Anki & audio, with NONE whatsoever input about techniques and so on…just drudging away day after day.
    Now that I’m back the in-about-ratio has become a foe I’m constantly aware of(thought about it today), but for now it’s in balance.

    “Miyagi: You remember lesson about balance?
    Daniel: Yeah.
    Miyagi: Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better. Understand?”

    And my answer to the one hour dilemma: Read some 楳図 かずお horror-manga and watch クレイモア! :D

  2. I spend most of my time doing just Japanese stuff.
    Even though I am pretty much an Anki主義者 who follows the Anki religion, I wouldn’t say I spend more than 30 minutes a day with it. I do my Kanji reps in the morning, and I’ve finished RTK so long ago I only get like 2-10 cards due a day. I love doing Kanji reps though, so I sort of miss it :P

    I get between 100-200 sentence cards due a day, which I can knock out in less than 10 minutes usually. Lately I’ve been adding 25-35 cards a day, sort of as a last minute sprint to the finish line of the arbitrary level 65 fluency. If I were to gauge myself I probably will be there by the end of the year. I currently have 7251 cards in my sentences deck, so at my current rate I should be around 9000 cards.

    That’s beside the point though. Adding 25-35 cards takes me around 25-30 minutes. My cards are pretty simple though. Just Sentence on front, with manually input readings on the back and a definition for the word. No fancy colors or pictures or anything, and it’s as Pokemon would say 「効果は抜群だ!」

    So adding cards is 30 minutes a day and reviewing everything is at max 15 minutes, so even on my worst day, doing all my stuff with Anki wouldn’t take more than an hour, at max.

    Therefore, I have a whole bunch of time to just immerse in Japanese. I usually listen to Japanese as close to 24/7 as I can afford (well that’s stretching it a little), I always have books in hands reach (except in the bathroom) and I have tons of movies and games, so I guess my Japanese effectiveness is pretty good.

    • Sounds pretty effective to me! You must be a Japanese-learning machine. One question, though – why no Japanese in the bathroom?

      • I was going to ask the same thing, ha. Though, I used to leave anything in the bathroom, my husband told me the humidity ruins the materials. So now I just put materials that don’t have much value in there, like free papers or travel magazines.

      • Well, my problem with putting stuff in the bathroom is that I’ll probably end up taking forever. I can imagine myself sitting down on the toilet, opening a manga and sitting with my pants down for the next 30 minutes as I blaze through the entire Manga lol.

        It’s sort of like the Angry birds effect with toilets. You spend too much time, lol.

  3. Hmm… One hour to study. I think I’d prefer to grab a really good manga and really good novel and shuffle between the two (using both intensive and extensive reading), while leaving Japanese TV on in the background.

    Edit: Actually, since it’s one hour every day, I’d probably alternate days, a day for reading and a day for watching/listening. So that I can focus more on the materials.

  4. Woah.. Seriously it is as if I have leaped through time, made an alias called Eric and wrote this article to warn my self in the past.

    Everything you say that you used to do, is pretty much exactly what I am finding my self doing now. I am awesome at studying Japanese. But my Japanese isn’t that crash hot… Great article, it has given me a lot to think about.

    • Glad to hear it helped. What are you planning on spending less time on now that you’re feeling inspired?

  5. Although it takes me a while to create cards I think I’ve got the process pretty well streamlined. And it’s not like that time is unpleasant or wasted, I’m usually listening to some podcasts or streaming radio while I make them, and probably most of the actual minutes are spent reading definitions and and trying to understand them.

    Reviewing, on the other hand…

    Reviews don’t take all that much of my day, but increasingly it doesn’t feel like effective or efficient use of time. I’ve got the leech limit on my J-J deck set at 50, which should be impossibly large, but a significant fraction of my cards are leeching out. Khatzumoto would say these cards should have been deleted long before they reached that point, but I’ve been reluctant at this stage to delete monolingual cards, since one dropped word could mean no longer understanding a definition, leading to another lost word, and so on until the entire tree had rotted away. Of course I’m losing those cards anyway, so maybe that’s a moot point. In any case, it hit me the other day that of the 450 words in my deck I’ve encountered, maybe, 10 in any other context. Which means I’ve put a lot of time and effort and repeated reviews into words that just aren’t that immediately useful. Which is sort of the antithesis of effectiveness.

    I’d been planning to go through the end of the year and 1000 cards before experimenting with lookup-as-needed alternatives to Anki, but now I’m thinking maybe I’ll push through the end of this week, just on principle, and start the experiment on the holiday weekend.

    For what it’s worth though, for a while I had a method that felt very efficient, at least for vocabulary. I’d browse sites with Rikaichan and hit ‘S’ on any word that grabbed my fancy, saving into a file on Dropbox so I could easily move between computers. Then in the evening I’d just import the file into deck with one click. I set my leech count to 5, which meant I lost a lot of words, but I was adding so many so easily that it didn’t matter. I stopped doing this because (1) there’s more to learning Japanese than learning vocabulary and (2) I’ve found the arguments in favor of going monolingual to be compelling.

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