Feel Like Your Progress Is Pretty Bad? — 13 Comments

  1. The longer I study Japanese the more pressure I feel because it feels like I am not progressing fast enough. I have spent too much time trying/changing between different study methods and not enough time just studying (having said that I do study anki everyday, but I need to ramp up my watching of native materials).

    Did Genki 1-2 for 1000 cards, did all the key sentences cloze deleted in “A grammar dictionary of basic Japanese” (about 500 cards), did Adshaps J-E 1000, now I’m about 300 cards through my own deck based on 5000 most frequently used words.

    So if I ever need to read my self out of basic Japanese situation I’m set. But my speaking ability sucks, surely by now I should be able to regurgitate all of that input?

    I am going to really start focusing a lot more on conversation and out put, because I think even being able to weave some intermediate level sentences would super boost my confidence.

    I am only learning 10 new sentences a day at the moment because I have been finding it is taking me longer to remember some of the more complex words.

    I’m not sure how to prioritise my time. If I have a choice between learning an additional 10 anki sentences, or watching and extra hour of native material what should I choose?

    • I saw that you commented in the Advanced Deck Stage 2 post, but it got deleted, so here was my response… To be honest, in the beginning that was exactly like me. For the first 100 sentences I barely understood what they were saying at all, but I kept going. Eventually, you will come across a sentence where you understand it perfectly along with the J-J definition. You gain some confidence and tell yourself that if you are capable of understanding this one sentence then I’m capable of understanding every other one. Since Anki is spaced repetition, you will see the old cards again and you will get them. I’m sure that if you are still doing the Beginner reps (of course, I still am, about 10 a day) then those reps are absolute cake and give no trouble at all. The same goes for the J-J sentences with enough time.

      • Thanks for your comment Daisetsu, I really would like to have another go at the J-J decks. I definatly will, just not sure when… Another thing that would be really, helpful is if there was furigana on the J-J definition… I found I had to flick back through cards alot of remeber how to say a word.

    • Don’t be too hard on yourself. I think it’s normal for output to lag behind comprehension. Have you tried online chat? I’ve found it’s a good “soft” form of conversation practice, as you get time to think about your output, and have the chance to look up words when someone says something you don’t understand.


      • Thanks Matt, I haven’t tried online chatting, but it does sound like a good way to practise conversations.

        I just got a sudden surge of motivation.

        I’m going to ramp up my new cards from 10 to 25, pump out the rest of my 5000 card deck in record time and then obliterate Adshaps J-J decks!!

  2. It’s a funny thing how this feeling never dies.. Unfortunately I’ve recently gotten into a pretty bad “I SUCK at Japanese” mentality. I think it often happens when you face difficult material and/or compare yourself to others. I rate myself at level 35-40, with some major gaps in the speaking department.
    I started RTK in early 2010 and finished nine months later. I entered J-E sloooowly for over a year, then finally J-J on my own for another year plus(still at like 2 sentences/week..). I then bought the One Deck(1,5 years ago) which instantly brought my sentences up to 10/day – this led to some leveling up. Recently I bought the intermediate J-J deck series because I felt I had some serious gaps in basics (never used a textbook). This serves two functions: fill in the few basic gaps I had (maybe one every 35 cards is unknown) and it solidifies the base grammar since every card builds on the previous ones.
    So right now I’m going at 15 intermediate sentences/day and I’m only reviewing from the One Deck.
    This unfortunately let’s me focus on how little I actually understood of the One Deck, but on the other hand gives me more time to truly understand those cards.
    Sorry for the long reply!
    @Nayr: I guess what I’m trying to say is, I felt the same way when facing J-J, and the feeling returns every once in a while regardless of level (so far)- you just have to stick it out!
    @Nayr/Daisetsu: The intermediate J-J do feel like cake (at least 99%) eventually!

    • It really does never die, no matter how high level you go. The saying goes the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.

  3. This video is such a motivation booster! I’d say I’m at about Piccolo’s level atm, around 30-35. Really beginning to enjoy manga now, and basic dramas. All these motivational posts and others’ own experiences haven’t let my mental state drop too low.

    I’m guessing around the 5000 sentence mark/level 40 (advanced) I’ll be at Vegeta’s level of enjoyment, minus the cockiness. I’m really looking forward to the day when I can enjoy the deeper part of stories in anime again, I miss it a lot. One of my biggest drivers to push as hard as I am right now.

    • Happy to hear these posts are keeping you boosted. You will get back to the deeper side of stories. Then you will understand them even deeper than you did when you watched with English subtitles, as you will understand the full cultural underpinnings.

  4. I had these problems a lot at the beginning. I’ve struggled a lot with feeling good and some minutes later so bad that I even thought I will never understand this language. I thought I got the basics and then appeared sentences like 「ちょっと、待てよ。お花の手入れ、すぐ終わるから。」… Why is から used in this sentence!? It doesn’t make any sense! Sure, now I read sentences like this without a problem but earlier it was just pain for me… and things haven’t gotten better because words or constructions like って、ってば、んだ、けど、なら、わけ etc. made it even worse and don’t forget the bunch of colloquial words that appear often in manga/anime…

    But now it’s begun a new era. I can read through a manga and can understand the main plot easily, my listening comprehension also improved a lot. When I search sentences for anki I have to search the sentences now because a big part of them are just too easy. I’m not the prey anymore, now I’ve become the hunter!
    Since I reached this level I started enjoying Japanese. This pressure of being lost in this language and struggling with the simplest sentences is over. Now I can at least enjoy mangas even I don’t understand anything. But I understand SOMETHING and that makes the difference. It may be that it could get worse again and sure I want to reach the next level as fast as possible. But even if I make little progress and don’t reach the level as fast as I wish, I can still rely on my mangas/anime/games and understand them enough to get a grasp of it (Sure it depends on the topic of the material). So I can look back and see how I got to understanding rate 〜50% from understanding rate 〜0% (Yep, I knew nothing but ありがとう、こんにちは)

    つまり the beginning was for me like a mine. I saw everytime the same thing and it was very hard work. But now I stepped out in the wide and interesting overworld and I’m ready to explore it!

  5. Thanks for posting this video. I totally felt lost this week. I’m preparing for the N2 but I think my vocab and reading is still just a little better than N3 level. I was getting super discouraged because I’ve gotten very far with learning vocab without exclusively learning Kanji from RTK. This helped me learn a lot of common vocab but there’s no substitute for learning Kanji, and that made me feel really lost when reading. My listening and speaking are much better then my reading skills and I really want to be able to read more.

    This video kinda made me feel happy that these swings aren’t just my problem.

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