Learning Japanese takes time. Developing your abilities takes time. You start off puny, with little control over anything, and slowly work your way towards being a Japanese powerhouse. Skills are acquired and leveled up one at a time. It’s all a slow evolution… or is it? Is progress ever sudden and instantaneous?
Pull out a Japanese novel and all of a sudden you can read it like magic?
But Japanese ability often reaches fruition suddenly.
For example: You are studying with Anki for months on end, way into J-J, and are trying to attempt manga. You are struggling, but after a little more time passes, all of sudden things are clear and you can now enjoy and move forward with manga. The same happens with watching TV, or writing, or even conversations.
This isn’t necessarily the payoff point, where everything becomes worthwhile. This is where all your studying starts to form together quickly, your brain finally figures out the proper way to arrange everything you’ve been feeding it for the past months, and then spits it back out all at once.
While technically you don’t suddenly gain a new ability out of nowhere, that brain rearrangement makes it sure feel that way. And it’s a pretty empowering.
The other end of the spectrum is when you are doing so much of one thing that you never tried another new thing. When you finally get around to that new thing, you can do it. You’ve read out loud flash cards for months, and then you have your first conversation. Surprisingly the words come out of your mouth, and you can actually talk to another human being.
These are great. They are even better than the small breakthrough moments where you have those fun “aha” moments. While those are enjoyable, and are a motivation boost, the sudden Japanese ability is permanent and completely changes the direction of your journey. Now you are reading manga, or watching Japanese movies, or reading the newspaper. As though you almost cheated.
Your sudden Japanese ability moments?
Have any of you suddenly been able to do something that you didn’t realize was slowly building over time and then appeared out of nowhere?
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.