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Beginning of School Struggles and Remotivation

I struggled for the past few days to study Japanese. I haven’t added many new words although I have kept up my reviews. I threw a tantrum last night because I’m a teenager and I’m prone to such things, but in my defense my mother instigated it. I love her anyways.

As a high school student I’m pretty busy but it just makes me more interested in doing my Japanese learning. I’ve set up a calender using Rainlender on my desktop, which adds tasks that I need to complete. It reminds me of my various activities. I had 2 hours a night dedicated to working on Japanese, but I have decided I won’t need to use all 2 if I run out of things to work on.

In my Japanese 4H class, I noticed I understood a whole lot more that the teacher was muttering to herself. The class is quite rowdy so she tends to lose control of us, leading to her quiet muttering of things like “please be quiet” and “loud kids”. Although she’s not a great teacher, I like her anyway.

I’m going to try really hard to learn a lot of Japanese this year. I want to be able to get as good as possible before college starts, so I’ll have a good foundation in the time that I was a bit younger. I think I’ll thank myself later.

The big problem: my parents. I’m half Asian, half Middle Eastern. My parents want me to go to top notch colleges but honestly, I don’t really care as much. I mean sure, I can study, but I am a Junior and I’m taking 2 AP classes, Bio and Stat (well, at least I hope after this schedule muck I’m running into). That seems pretty good but a lot of my peers are taking 3, 4, or even more. It’s pretty ridiculous. I just hope my “Japanese self study” looks good on my college apps…

In reality my dream is to go to college in the USA, learn something useful, then apply that knowledge in Japan. I’m interested in either Business or Medicine… both very difficult fields. I’m not the hardest worker unless it’s something I like, such as video games or Japanese. I know that sounds pretty pitiful, I mean, who isn’t ‘good’ at video games or Japanese? Those aren’t very special things. I hope that I can figure out something I’m great at that is unique to me soon enough. Aside from learning Japanese on my own and enjoying video games :).

1 Week Kanji Progress

I’m up to 249 Kanji (and adding more now, so I’ll be at about 276. That’s a pace of about 40 cards a day. I’ve done more cards some days than others and I skipped a day I think, so this is a great pace. At this rate, I’ll be done in about a month and a half.

Of course I might not be able to keep up the pace but we will see.

For those of you who are multi-taskers like me, I have a couple suggestions.

1) Turn on the Japanese music. It helps focus and improves your immersion environment! Especially good for working on RTK.
2) Make it more difficult to do the things that you multi-task to. Do you constantly check your favorite forums and blogs for updates? Remove them from your bookmarks and speed dial.
3) Uninstall the things that distract you. I am a HUGE gamer. I understand. TF2 is one of my favorites, but it’s just too easy to get distracted and when you take one step down, you fall all the way down the ladder back to the other distractions. Do it. Uninstall.

Those tips will help! Trust me from a forum gaming addict, it’s really increased my productivity.

By the way, the picture above is of  いきものがかり (ikimono-gakari). It’s a really stellar band that I’ve recently taken a liking to. The picture links to their wiki page so take a look! I still am in the search of good Japanese music so please suggest any if you find them. Eventually when I build up a decent playlist I’ll write a post of my favorite music.

Good luck!


Words and music of the traditional Japanese so...

Image via Wikipedia


Scroll through the comments there to find some cool music suggestions. I REALLY NEED NEW JAPANESE MUSIC MY GOD.

Same music over and over hurt ME BAD! I’M FORGETTING ENGLISH AHHH

Alright it’s way too late to be posting.


    I’m a big fan of the RevTK Forums, they’re really helpful for any skill level of Japanese learning (whether doing RTK or beyond).

    I was pondering what to do after I finish RTK (I’m at 104 Kanji by the way, it’s really fun! :D) when I ran into this post.

    Basically, he recommends a game plan to learn Japanese to an advanced level (assuming no previous knowledge, which I do have) at a rapid rate (one year). Not only that, but the game plan seems to be slower than my own game plan (RTK in 4 months rather than 2), etc.

    The gameplan is basically this:

    RTK1 (and RevTK naturally) – 4 months (20 a day)
    Hiragana and Katakana – 1 week
    UBJG – 2 months (20 sentences a day)
    KO2001 pt1 – 3 months (5 kanji a day)
    KO2001 pt2 – 3 months (5 kanji a day)
    RTK3 – N/A (you’ll do it simultaneously with KO2001 at 30 kanji per week)

    UBJG is the book the topic is all about,  “Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar“.

    Yeah, I know, I said “Grammar Doesn’t Exist”. And still, it doesn’t. Not in the formulaic way, “here’s how this is used exactly and perfectly”, at least. This book is different. It packs in sentences, in which you would actually use the language. Basically, you learn the sentences and you learn the grammar. It’s natural and makes sense. It’s how you learn your first language as well.

    You take the sentences, place them in your SRS application, and enjoy results. Of course you also review your Kanji and Kana in your SRS. Forever. 😀

    52 Kanji Down

    I’ve done 52 Kanji. Well, I’m about 2.5% of the way there, but so far it’s been really interesting. I got freaking stuck on one, “Specialty” (専). I discovered it was because the story I pulled from Reviewing the Kanji had a comma in it.

    Phrased something like this:

    “After you have chosen your 10 fields of study, measure how good you are at each to find out your specialty.”

    I would think of 10 fields as seperate from measure, so I kept putting 10 fields on the left and measure on the right, causing me to create some random un-kanji, further confusing/frustrating me. I saw the comma, and changed it to this:

    “Choose 10 fields to study and measure your skills to find specialty.”

    Immediately (well, after 2 reps), it snapped in my mind correctly. Good to know that my mind works logically, haha.

    I’m gonna keep doing as many as I can (I heard bursts of 25 for an hour then taking a break is the best way to do lots a day) before school starts next week.

    Grammar Does Not Exist and Changes to Anki

    I’ve decided to stop reading Grammar books (Tae Kim’s or otherwise) despite them being great resources. I realized that because I learn the grammar, I need to dissect the sentence I heard or read instead of just naturally knowing it! That’s ridiculous and I never did that in English either. I gotta learn the grammar AFTER I learn the language.

    Thanks Khatz.

    In other news, I changed how I’m doing my Kanji on Anki. Basically I read that using the story to recall the kanji is not really a bad thing, but there seems to be some controversy for the whole “story on front of card vs back of card” deal. In the actual book, Heisig put his little mnemonics upside down on his flashcards on the front, but of course that’s on written paper flashcards which is lame and dumb archaic. I’m using a PC, so what I did was put my stories on the front, but in white font so you have to select them to see them. Example below!

    Heisig has Arrived!

    And the first steps to learning Kanji have begun. I have to dedicate some time every day to do this, and I know it’ll be worth it.

    The program shown here is Anki, a Spaced Repetition System (SRS) which is basically a super advanced flashcard set for computers. It does all the math for you, you just say how you felt about that flashcard and it reshuffles it into the deck.

    Another great tool is Reviewing the Kanji, a community where people come together to discuss Japanese, RtK, and post stories and ideas for stories online and rate the best ones. It’s a really nice site.