Jalup Intermediate frees you from your English shackles and gives you a nonstop dose of Japanese. But doing so is no easy task, and one of the longest running complaints I get here is that Jalup Intermediate is too damn hard.
“I don’t understand anything.”
“As I go through the cards I understand less and less.”
“My lack of comprehension snowballs me into frustration and eventual madness.”
What’s the deal? Did I make a fatal error in its creation? Is Jalup Intermediate near impossible outside of a few outliers? Adam – What were you thinking?!
Too hard? – Reason 1: It makes you feel like a beginner again
Despite being “intermediate,” it turns back the clock on your ability. Regardless if you had trouble with Jalup Beginner, you probably got into a nice groove and things started going your way. You saw and measured your progress. You were ecstatic once you graduated from Beginner.
Then Jalup Intermediate comes in and childishly teases you “LOL, JK, you’re still a beginner.”
No one likes to feel like their progress was reset. No one likes to be back again at the starting line that they left behind long ago.
Too hard? – Reason 2: The difficulty level is reversed from Jalup Beginner
In Jalup Beginner, the first half is easy and the second half is hard. In Jalup Intermediate, the first half is hard and the second half is easy (well… easier). Your expectations are completely mixed up and confuse your “difficulty senses.”
Too hard? – Reason 3: Way out of your comfort zone
Who wants to feel uncomfortable once you finally get comfortable? Jalup Intermediate throws your world upside down, taking you out of your long term comfort zone.
Everyone has experienced learning a foreign language through English (or whatever your native language is), most likely during your schooling years. Much fewer people have ever learned a foreign language in that foreign language.
Too hard? – Reason 4: Learning how to think in Japanese
One of the most requested abilities ever is the super power to think in Japanese.
Listen. Think. Speak. No English involved.
It’s so sought after that until it happens people claim to be unsatisfied. It’s as though it’s a requirement for learner happiness. Highly demanded – hardly achieved. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the path to attaining this is going to be a long one.
Too hard? – Reason 5: Learning how to use a Japanese dictionary
People seem to overlook the added challenge of using a Japanese-only dictionary. It’s not just about switching out the English for Japanese. It’s about learning and getting used to the unique way the Japanese language defines itself.
Too hard? – Reason 6: Every single card is multiple times the work of one Jalup Beginner card
Distraught at how much more time it takes to do one single Jalup Intermediate card? It’s no longer just learning one sentence on the front and reading a quick definition on the back in English.
You are now also learning multiple Japanese sentences on the back of every card. Regardless of the Japanese difficulty level, increasing each card’s work load makes 250 JI cards the equivalent of 500+ JB cards.
Too hard? – Reason 7: You don’t know whether you actually understand a card
With Jalup Beginner, you intuitively know whether you understand a card, since you understand English. You put together the pieces of the comprehension puzzle and you are whole.
With Jalup Intermediate, you never really are fully sure you understand a card. You have no guarantee (English) to check your answer with. You have only yourself to decide, and that’s a huge responsibility.
Too hard? – Reason 8: You naturally look for the English answer when there isn’t one
Not knowing whether you actually understand produces a nasty side effect. You try to fight it, and internally put an English answer to a Jalup Intermediate card.
This creates a false reality and isn’t actually an answer. The blurred Japanese answer in your head is technically just as accurate as the English equivalent you find, but you still crave its existence.
Too hard? – Reason 9: The doubt is uncontrollable
If life were a sure thing, with known outcomes, you could probably get through most tough experiences. Knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel gives you the drive to make it through the darkness.
Jalup Intermediate blasts you with a doubt cannon:
- I know Jalup Beginner worked for me. But how do I know Jalup Intermediate will as well?
- Do I really understand this word/sentence?
- If I don’t understand this sentence what’s going to happen when the next sentence comes that relies on this sentence?
- Will it get easier? When? Are you sure?
If all this wasn’t bad enough, greater doubt comes with an online search, which everyone will eventually feel like doing.
There are people out there that really hate the concept of J-J and will tell you why it is absolutely wrong, and why you are wasting your time. When you are in the midst of struggling with J-J, and you tell people about this, they will be happy to give you a big “I told you so!” And console you with the “right” way to study using a normal dictionary.
If you are fully invested in Jalup Intermediate, then don’t ask general Japanese learners about J-J. Ask people who have successfully done it and believe in it. This isn’t to say J-J is for everyone or every single person that does J-J will be successful. But you won’t gain confidence from people who haven’t been in your shoes.
Too hard? – Reason 10: Leaving yourself an escape
“I’m trying to go J-J with Jalup Intermediate, but if it doesn’t work out I will jump back to J-E (with one of the hundred other J-E resources out there), like I have been doing all along.”– Learner with an escape route already planned
There is nothing inherently wrong with this thought, but it makes commitment so much more difficult. When things don’t go your way, this allows you to give in and decide “it just wasn’t for me.”
When is the appropriate time to make this decision or have these thoughts?
- When you face a little struggle?
- When you face a lot of struggle?
- When you absolutely cannot go forward?
The unfortunate outcome is that people tend to make the decision at the first sign of trouble.
Too hard? – Reason 11: Delayed gratification
Results bring happiness. Delayed results delay happiness.
Jalup Intermediate takes much longer than Jalup Beginner to reach that “happy place” you desire. The first 500 cards (which usually takes people at least a few months) brings little gratification. It’s only after passing this point that things just get better. That’s a long time to wait, especially when other methods promise results much faster.
Too hard? – Reason 12: This is how it’s going to be forever
This is a combination of all other 11 reasons. Everything discussed here feels like it is going to continue on and on, and you are going to struggle forever. No one could go through the above for years without breaking.
Too hard? The verdict
Listen, Jalup Intermediate is hard and is the biggest challenge of your Japanese adventure. If I said otherwise, it would be dishonest of me. The above reasons are all real and put a ton of pressure on you.
But too hard?
No. Many have made it across and are edging towards or have reached fluency.
And remember, people were making their own J-J sentences successfully on Jalup, way before I simplified the process and created Jalup Intermediate or even Jalup Beginner. Imagine having to add on full creation of your own cards to the reasons above.
This isn’t all gloom and doom though. There are some important things to keep in mind:
- Japanese studying is going to get hard somewhere – might as well get it over with now.
- Once you get to 500, life gets easier. Once you get to 750, easier. Once you get to 1,000 and move on to Jalup Advanced, even easier.
- You will start to wonder why in the world you found it so difficult in the beginning (just like you felt when you finished Jalup Beginner).
- This is the one and only time you have to go through this. Once you do, you are set for life.
- This will change your Japanese forever.
- You can join the others and be proud that you are on your way or have achieved fluency
- Do you want to achieve your dreams? Then let’s get to work.
How about all of you?
For those of you who have finished Jalup Intermediate. Did you find it too hard?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.