Your Way Of Studying Japanese Will Never Be Perfect — 13 Comments

  1. I really needed this article. I’ve ventured pretty far off the beaten path while still trying to keep the original methods in view. I feel like it may have limited the progress I actually make on Japanese (though not stalled it), but it’s taught me a lot about learning itself and why certain methods work the way they do.

    Example: I came to doubt Anki and sentence mining, since other people seemed to find success with a pure reading approach. I did this for a while, but I quickly reached a point where I was encountering words and phrases I liked and wanted to learn, so I began saving them, but then I needed to find a way to review and memorize them…sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    Another example: for the longest time I felt guilty about rereading and relistening to things. “If I always do new material, I’ll learn twice as fast!” Yeah, not exactly.

    I guess the ultimate message to take away is that learning a language will always be a messy process. Not even native adults come out speaking, reading and writing 100% perfectly.

    • So true, I experienced the exact same thing. I can just imagine Anki saying “They’ll be back… They always come back eventually”… Once we realize the hard truth.

    • Yeah I flip flopped so often on how to study. Pure reading worked so well for me with German (This was before smart phones Anki). I don’t think the same approach worked for Japanese for me for the simple reason that if I haven’t mastered the writing system then I need to sweat over it. I’ve been using Anki every day for a while now and I’m (finally) happy with how I’m studying.

    • I’m one of those people who just does immersion. I love it, but everyone has what works for them.

      However, I started using Anki for Aynu because there aren’t a lot of native level sources to compensate for an immersion-only based study being an endagered language. It’s really fun (especially with audio) and now I’m considering using Anki again with my Japanese novel reading!

      I still don’t imagine being obsessive about stats or trying to finish my cards daily. But now that I have a smart phone, it’s nice to have to kill time. So why not?

      • Oh, that’s awesome. Where did you find the resources to learn Ainu? You’re pretty high level, so I’m guessing it’s native Japanese sources, yeah?

        • Mmhm, native Japanese sources. There aren’t too many sources online, Japanese or English, but there’s definitely more in Japanese than English. But I choose to do it in Japanese anyways because of the bridging languages theory concerning learning another language by learning it in your other language.

          I keep my favorite sources in my blog for Aynu here:

          I mostly find them through Google and YouTube searches, as well as Twitter. There’s actually a fair amount of Aynu speakers on Twitter so I follow some. I’ve even been tweeted to in Aynu (^_^) It was such a great moment. My Aynu is no where near ready for conversation, of course. But I’m excited for when it will be!

    • This self discovery is important and it’s not something people can figure out no matter how many places on the Internet they may ask.

      And you said it right. It’s a very messy process.

  2. Failure is part of this game. Adam’s probably failed more times than any of us have even tried, and that’s why he is where he is at. He failed and failed and failed and failed, but he never stopped.

    Each failure is a perfect opportunity to examine ourselves, our methods and to improve them. In the beginning no study method should be static, always experiment, always examine, always change, always throw away. Eventually you’ll settle on something that works for you. You may not learn Japanese as well as someone else, but at least you didn’t quit.

    • The great thing is though everyone will learn something in Japanese better than everyone else. Japanese isn’t one skill, it’s 1000 mini skills mixed in.

  3. Yeah, you can never be perfect, I don’t even know what perfect would look like. Despite all the advice that’s given, you still need to learn how you learn Japanese. The best thing this site can do is point you in a general direction, but you have to keep adjusting that direction or even go another way.
    It’s kind of awesome actually. I keep getting better and better at knowing how to study. I’m a Japanese learning machine now compared to where I started. But even then there’s a lot I need to improve on. Luckily you don’t have to be perfect, just find a good enough method and stick to it.

    • It’s a great cycle that is created. The better you know how to study, the faster you progress, and the more you want to study. Which makes you better at studying…

    • Yup, he’s been through the same trials and self-experimenting. You can’t escape it if you want to go far.

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