Remember way back when where I said I’d hold myself accountable for my mistakes? That I’d admit them, and post them so maybe you’d be able to avoid them (towards the bottom of this page)? That’s what I’m doing here. This is a bit of a post of shame, although all is not lost. Allow me to explain.
So in a previous post I’d mentioned that I had some career moves, and that I’d “soon” describe how they’d affect my Japanese learning, this site and my other activities. I guess “soon” is now – sort of. Right.
So, the short version of it is that I got a new position at the company I am with. Actually, I’ve been in this position for over a year now. Specifically, it’s a software development position, and it’s one that (initially) took a lot of brain power to handle. I had to learn a completely new framework (actually, a few) and a new (rubbish) programming language which I’d never used in a matter of weeks, then become fully proficient in them in a period two to six months.
It took about that time, which was what I expected. Great. However, to accomplish this I’d stepped back from my learning Japanese because I needed to focus. This was a legitimate reason – to begin with. Then complacency set in. That evil, awful complacency. The problem was that I never stepped back up to the plate with my Japanese learning. And my Japanese has suffered immensely.
How bad is it?
It’s just short of catastrophic, if I’m honest. My listening comprehension is rubbish, as is my ability to speak more than 3 words at once (though, to be fair, I never had much practice at speaking, so it was probably always rubbish). My kanji recognition is deplorable.
I do remember a lot of the basics of the writing system, though. I remember the kana, the sounds they all make and even the stroke order that should be followed when writing in Japanese. I remember some of the grammar points, and can pick up on the meaning of some sentences in Japanese, even if I can’t pronounce or read them aloud.
So now what?
Well, to be honest I’m going to give myself some positive motivation here instead of beating myself up further. At the time of writing, I am still (barely) 29, and have achieved many goals on my list. I’m married to a wonderful woman, got a good job writing computer code (which I like doing – this confuses many people), I’ve got a house, learned to play guitar, I’ve even recently bought a car (it’s a Subaru, so it’s Japanese! ^^ ) with a manual gearbox and learned to drive it before 30! I know that last one might not seem like much to some, but in the United States almost all vehicles come with an automatic gearbox, so learning a manual not only isn’t seen as necessary to many, but can be a challenge to learn because even finding one can be hard.
Anyway, all this to say that if I’ve accomplished these things, why can’t I accomplish learning Japanese, too? Granted, it won’t happen before I’m 30 (right around the corner), but it can happen. After all, I’m not in a rush. All I have to do is keep at it.
So here’s to getting back on the wagon. It’s an honest effort this time. And I’m going to start now by emptying my SRS decks and building new ones.
Wish me luck!