It’s Okay to be Obsessed with Mastering Japanese
Are you obsessed with learning Japanese? Do you think about it all the time? Does your schedule, regardless of your day, manage to fit it in wherever you can? When you aren’t studying Japanese do you sometimes wish you could be? Are you envisioning yourself soaring through Japanese skies on your samurai flying horse?
Being obsessed, from the outside, looks like something that should be avoided. The image of the word “obsessed” is bad and looked upon with negativity. You are spending too much time with something, sacrificing too many other things, and losing sight of the rest of the world.
But if you want to be great at anything in life that is difficult and hard to achieve, you need a fiery obsession. A rage. That’s what makes you succeed. It needs to be one of your top desires.
Obsession is power
Harness it. Wake up in the morning and go to bed thinking about Japanese. Make it so you can’t escape a day without some form of Japanese bombarding your life. It may feel like overdoing it, but there is no overdoing it. If you want it that bad enough, Japanese needs to know.
Eventually obsession will just turn into a fact of life. And with Japanese, study time eventually just turns into “enjoy Japanese things time,” so your “obsession” just becomes another part of you, allowing you to find your next obsession.
There are “casual learners,” as well, and if that’s your priority that’s completely fine. But let the obsessed obsess in obsession. Only you can decide how bad you want something and how quickly you get it.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.
I think of myself as obsessed. I always think, “When am I gonna do my anki?” “Oh my earbuds aren’t in!” and every day basically I calculate how many days I have left until I finish a stage. I’ve been going pretty strong so far and I’m liking it and I hope I can keep up the pace. I’ve decided since my obsession isn’t level 9000, to have a break of 2 weeks at the beginning of every month just doing reviews and not doing new cards in order to make them manageable so I don’t drown myself in anki reviews (happened too many times and made me skip anki reviews a bit last month *face of shame* )
I think I am obsessed too, or at least that’s what my uncle says every time he sees me doing my reviews on my tablet, or listening my jdramas with one earbud (as I’m doing right now n_n). I too calculate the remaining days till I finish my current stage (4 days and I will reach intermediate! so proud n_n). But I can’t, under no circumstances, let myself have more than 2 days without new cards, I consider that a lost day and I would feel awful, even after doing 100 reviews.
Yeah, it’s completely fine to go up and down with adding new cards (going hardcore, and then easing up).
Any idle moment is an Anki moment!
i always have 300+ rewviews everyday its a bit too much actually
i know nto adding cards will reduce my reviews
but what can i do? i want to get gud real fast so i have to keep pushing mysefl.
i think i might take a break when i hit 5k cards…. like a week or 2
Everyone who adds a lot, and wants to go fast usually ends up with 300-400 reviews a day.
What you said is the solution, and doing it like Suliman above mentioned, is completely fine. Go at heavy adding pace for a few weeks, then focus more on reviews the following few weeks.
Remember, if you want to get good real fast, the worst thing you can do is burn yourself and cause an “angry at Anki” relapse.
Good article. I love japanese language and I was thinking if this obsession was somehow bad for me. But now I am encouraged to continue with my japanese routine and enjoying every minute of it.
Yes. Obsess away. And watch as it leads to language domination and all your goals being achieved.
First off, it’s great to see that you keep posting consistently. I’ve been studying Korean for the last 5 years and have been following several language learning blogs, but many of them fall by the wayside.
I think that it is okay to be obsessed with learning a language, depending on your goal(s). For me, even though I am pursuing a career path in accounting, I am definitely making room in my daily routine to continuously practice Korean. Even though I’ve gone down from 5 hours a day study sessions to 1 hour, I am making my continued studies a priority.
My goal is to be the most consistent Japanese language learning blog of all time…
Good luck with your Korean language blog.
Honestly, with me since with my 日本語 journey is quite complicated so here is a bit of background of myself:
The first time I went to Japan with my father (3 years of studying), I was scared of using it because I felt (since it was first time being there) that the Japanese people wouldn’t understand me and I wouldn’t understand them back. When I left; I cried because I felt I had accomplished something;. Realizing that they understood me and I understood them back, I felt the urge of studying more and more. Another note if I may add even my dad commented when talking to a Japanese person that ” for a young 外人 (foreigner) and even in his perspective he was impressed. Thanks to my friend who I look up to as a model and influence in my life, based on his recommendation of 日本語勉強 (Japanese studies) , I studied everyday for 30 minutes then suddenly I started to study everyday for a hour and still continue to do so. The second time I went there it was a similar effect however unlike last time in which I was there for 3 weeks; I was there for a little over a month.
The second time (4 years of studying) was absolutely significant in my journey. The reasoning for staying little over a month was to further my proficiency. I distinctively remember my father telling me that I would stay almost weeks by myself (because I upon graduation from college, I will live and teach English in Japan) and I accepted the challenge. When I first got on the plane, immediately started to use Japanese. Various people throughout the trip commented on my ability (from the Japanese perspective) ranging from fluent to sounding like a native. Japanese people tend to overpraise one ability’s in Japanese in such that it’s a Category IV language (according the U.S. Department of State statically speaking). However, their comments regardless of what they said, have made me continue to push forward. My dad’s business partner at the time, when I met him, said to my father ” Your son has made remarkable gains in Japanese and I can’t believe he made this far.” Even my dad’s business partner’s partner simply said if I remember correctly “Yeah, he is proficient”. Later after talking to him, he accepted becoming my Japanese godfather. I undertook many situations that people haven’t done in a foreign language before such as being in Japan 10 days by myself. A couple days before I left, I cried again not because I was sad not leaving but happy that I experienced and I finally have full confidence in Japanese. I like to mention my father and my friend (as well as everyone else) in particular for helping to achieve the level I have today!!
Now, with a greater amount of proficiency with these two trips and studying abroad 3 and a half months this summer with a commitment to no English whatsoever, having a Japanese girlfriend soon, and with family/friends that support me: I’ll surely become a 日本語王 (Japanese master) soon enough :)
Oh, I will add that upon graduation I’ll be studying 8-9 months at language institute in Japan followed by teaching English.
Even becoming a Japanese master, the journey never ends :)
So my short question is this: When thinking of Japanese, should I think of how to become a Japanese master in my own terms yes like in your post about the JLPT? My end goal is overall global proficiency. The reason I choose not to take the JLPT (like you mentioned in your post) is for personal reasons.
Thank you for reading my post!!
Thanks for sharing your interesting story.
To answer your question:
Yes, always become a Japanese master on your own terms. What other terms would there be? There is no one else to please. You study Japanese for yourself. You reach what level of Japanese you want yourself.
The only footnote I would add about the JLPT, since you brought it up, is that it will help if you are looking for a job in Japan (overseas, not so much). This doesn’t mean you are studying Japanese for the sake of the JLPT, but that it is a minor challenge you have to beat in order to get to whatever you want to be doing.