7,000 sentence cards. You’ve done it. You made it to the finish line. First – you rock. This is not an easy task. If you made it this far, not only are you super dedicated, but your Japanese skill should be on fire.
But what’s next?
1. Decide how you want to continue
There is no must-do from here on out. By this time you should know how you like to study and what you want. But this is a great place to reflect.
Some people are happy with their high skill, and don’t want to continue with flash cards and the “learning” route. Instead, they focus more on continuing immersion, and just an upkeep of reviews. They go for a more natural style. They look up words when they feel like it, but the focus is 100% on just enjoying real Japanese.
Other people want to continue the flash card route that was set up for them in Jalup, and do everything they have been doing all along.
Whichever you choose, remember: even if you stop adding new flash cards, please continue reviewing them at least for the near future. The time commitment will grow increasingly lower as the rewards go increasingly higher.
2. Continuing flash cards
If you’ve made it to 7,000, there is a good chance you want to go to 10,000+. This is a magic number people love. But since everything has been pre-made up until now, going off on your own can be confusing.
Luckily, starting your own J-J cards from 7,000 means you already have a ton of experience points, and is much easier than what a beginner would have to do. Jalup has had guides since the beginning on how to create your own J-J cards. There is an entire page of dozens of articles dedicated to solo learning. And the structure really hasn’t changed. You might need to find a new, more recent dictionary or useful app, but all the basics are there.
Since Jalup Master and Champion were all about going through manga and finding new words and grammar, you might want to continue that. Or maybe try something like novels on Kindle Japan, making use of its super convenient built in J-J dictionary. This allows for near instant creation of flash cards from the sentences and definitions found within.
If you are dying for more pre-made J-J cards, you could technically use “The One Deck.” This was the deck I made for myself from 2007-2012 and contains 12,000 cards. While I don’t necessarily recommend this one way or the other, it is important to note that this is not a continuation of the Jalup decks. The One Deck is raw and wild, has duplicate content from Jalup, and is not i+1. People that use it post-Jalup have to filter out the parts they want.
Keep this going. Keep your passive immersion. Keep your active immersion. This is so important for growing your Japanese over time with minimal effort. And it is natural growth.
4. Enjoy Japanese
Remember, you studied Japanese to enjoy it. Not just to reach fluency. Whatever you love, make sure you keep doing. If you can’t get enough anime and manga, then keep doing that.
A lot of people still don’t do shadowing because it can be a combination of hard, boring, and tiring. But make it a habit, and you’ll find it much easier. It becomes second-nature and can even be meditative (taking you away from the rest of the busy world). It is what will continually improve your Japanese for years to come.
Trust me, shadowing is not to be underestimated.
6. Real Conversations
No matter how much immersion and shadowing you do, if you want to be a conversation master, you need to talk to real people. There are skills you develop from real conversations that can only be gained from actually talking to another human being in a non-classroom setting.
Go out and make Japanese friends. Make friends with other non-Japanese that speak Japanese. Travel to Japan. Join local Japanese groups. Get out there and talk, no matter how shy you are.
7. Make it an irreplaceable part of your life
If you’ve come this far, Jalup and studying Japanese has been a daily part of your life. But when you officially stop or change your studying, the most important thing is that Japanese is always a part of you. People get busy. People change dreams. People develop new passions. But always leave room for something Japanese, and it will never leave you.
For those of you have finished Jalup – what did you do after it?
Motivate some soon-to-finish graduates with your sagely advice in the comments section :) I guarantee that a few words of wisdom will mean a lot to them!