Enjoy Japanese Now, Not Later — 11 Comments

  1. I’ve been told that if you become content with your Japanese you’ll never improve, but I don’t personally believe this. Perhaps it’s because people motivate themselves in different ways. To me, I don’t want to bash myself and say my Japanese is bad all my life, I choose to be content. The desire to be able to understand more of what I love is what drives me. So I definitely go the route of enjoyment as a way of motivating myself while being content. I love what I can do in Japanese. And what I can’t do, or can only partially do, motivates me even more. If I had waited until my kanji ability was equivelant to a native reader’s before attempting reading Kino no Tabi, I’d be missing out on what is now my favorite novel series right now.

    • I agree. I think there is a difference in between being “content” with your level, and being “content enough to appreciate it, but not so much as to not want to progress” if that makes sense haha. The best is obviously the 2nd choice, because that way you enjoy the process, and you use that enjoyment to want to learn even more!

    • Agreed! Being content with where you’re at now is a great skill to have, for learning languages as well as life. Thanks for the comment! :)

  2. I enjoy my studies a lot. I study animation full-time and spend pretty much all day in school. Studying languages (Danish and Japanese, currently) by myself is a way to use other parts of my brain and it relaxes me a lot. It’s a lot less about putting out creative work and I can focus on just absorbing things. (Although I try to practice my writing too.)
    Sometimes I’m too tired to work on grammar after a long day – well, then I’ll just do my WaniKani reviews! Or maybe look through a page in a children’s book or manga and see if I understand a word or two more than last time. I see a lot of people being super ambitious with their Japanese studies and I think it’s cool, I also want to be able to read, say, light novels, but I never try to stress because it’s a fun thing I do, not an obligation. If I ever lose my passion for Japanese completely or lack the time to do it, well, I can just quit. I can pick it up later too. A lot of people say that’s going to doom your studies – I find it liberating. It ensures that I will always enjoy Japanese because no one will ever force me to do or not do it.

    • Right on. I used to be more of a high-stress Japanese learner until I got burned out. I don’t always do my “obligations” either, but I always try to have a bit of fun every day. :) Thanks for your comment!

  3. When I get frustrated (which is not infrequently!) rather than focus on what I can or can’t do I tend to focus on things I wouldn’t need any Japanese in order to enjoy. Things like music (or music videos), rewatching a series raw that I’d previously watched subbed, flipping through manga for the art, playing a rhythm game like Project Mirai or so on. Then when I do understand a word or sentence or recognize some kanji it comes as a nice bonus, rather than being something I have to look for. And if I happen to come across a new word that piques my interest enough to look up then, hey, why not!

    Once or twice, when I was thinking of giving up, this mindset helped me realize that in an important sense there is nothing to give up. It’s not like I’m going to stop enjoying the things I enjoy just because I don’t understand them.

    • Haha, I like that. :) I’ve always been someone who can enjoy something without understanding it completely, too. It’s a good mindset to have.

  4. This reminds me a lot of a similar kind of post that Khatzumoto from AJATT made… and yet this always seems to slip my mind in ALL facets of my life! Gotta focus on and ENJOY the journey/process.

  5. 10 months to Remember the Kanji?! Pah! Took me two years, and I still have a pretty poor retention :p That’s what a full time job will do to you.

    Staying positive definitely helps. Anki is a tool, not the sole repository of your Japanese knowledge.

    • Same. I also have a full time job. I did kanji damage on Anki with 5 new cards per day. averaged 25 minutes a day over the last two years. I have 850 mature kanji now. In US, I liked that I could read some signs in china town from the kanji. Now that I am in Japan “漢字勉強している。でも単語勉強していない。書いてください。” and then they tell me in english beacuse their english is better then my Japanese. But I can read signs! and all of the buttons on my washing machine! and microwave!

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