You are struggling. You are having problems enjoying your studying. Your fun is limited. You feel like you have been going at it for long enough, but aren’t happy. When is your Japanese ability gonna get better? When are you going to be satisfied that you decided to start studying in the first place?
Will you ever reach your Japanese Payoff Point?
It can be hard to visualize. Because you aren’t good at Japanese and can’t enjoy everything you want to, what the feeling will be like when you do get good and can enjoy everything is hard to imagine.
So I want you think to anime (c’mon you probably were going to anyway).
Think to a series that got great reviews and a friend recommended to you.
1. You start watching it.
However you soon realize that it just feels “okay.” Nothing special. No real excitement. You give it a few more episodes hoping it gets better, but it still doesn’t provide any additional entertainment. You temporarily stop watching it.
You ask your friend: “Why did you like this? It’s boring. Nothing happens. I don’t really care about the characters.”
Your friend replies: “You gotta give it more time. The beginning and development are really slow. But once you get to X saga, it will all be worth it. Trust me! You will absolutely love it.”
2. You go back to whatever episode you left off of and continue.
Still feels the same. You’ve given it a bunch more episodes. There was a small interesting point here and there, and maybe a slightly good fight scene. But really? This is what everyone loves? You are already a few dozen episodes into the series. Your friend must be wrong or the anime just isn’t your type. You stop again and go back to your friend.
You: “I have no idea why you liked the series so much, but I couldn’t get into it. I tried, and watched up to episode 25. It’s not worth it to keep going.”
Your friend: “Just give it a little longer! You are about to get up to Y part. Once you get there, you will never look back. Trust me!”
3. Now you have two options at this point:
A. Stop watching the anime. Your friend is wrong. It is overrated. Or it just isn’t for you. It’s better you move onto something else.
B. Give it just a little bit longer, hoping for the best.
You continue with a few more episodes. Your faith is fading fast. You “know” it’ll get better. That’s what everyone tells you. But that doesn’t help your feeling towards it now. Ugh. Time to find a new friend.
And then it hits. The payoff moment.
The moment where all that character introduction and plot development come together. That moment where your jaw drops and you get a chill down your spine. That moment where you realize this is freaking awesome and one of the most amazing things you’ve ever seen.
The anime has finally paid off.
From this point on you absolutely love the series. You can’t wait for the next episode and have many multi-episode binges. This is one of the best series you’ve ever laid your eyes on. What were you thinking almost giving it up?!
You start telling other people how great this anime is and why they must try it. You even start repeating the advice your friend once gave you.
This is studying Japanese.
You will reach your payoff point. While my words may feel meaningless now, they won’t be when you get that first “oh my god” moment.
Work towards the payoff. Don’t give up before than. Otherwise you’ll never know what you missed.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.