Keep Your Feet on the Ground!
I have to stop every once in a while and remind myself that learning a language, especially Japanese, is not something I’m going to complete sometime soon. In fact, it will never technically be complete. Ever. I realize this, but sometimes I still need a reminder. It’s like telling your significant other that you love them. They know this (or they should), but it’s really nice to be reminded of it. However, it’s also nice to have a reminder every once in a while that you cannot set unrealistically high goals for yourself and expect to meet them. Aim for failure instead, and success becomes that much sweeter when it happens. For instance, I got a question the other day: “You’ve been doing Japanese for almost a year now, why aren’t you fluent yet?” Really? I’d like to see anyone […]
Podcasts + Text = Podcastle
Part of immersion is listening to audio, such as podcasts. However, most Japanese podcasts do not come with written transcripts. This represents an issue when studying because it can be difficult to correctly understand what you hear. This is where Podcastle comes in. Podcastle is a project funded by the Japanese government for foreign Japanese language learners. It provides a speech recognition system to automagically convert the audio into text. While you play the audio, it tries to keep up but can sometimes become “desynchronized”. It helps if you know enough Japanese to be able to tell when it’s messed up, as it can sometimes be off by a few words. Knowing kana at a minimum may be enough to be able to tell this. While its speech recognition is not all that accurate (let’s face it, though – none […]
ノンストップチューブ：ランダム日本語のビデオ (NonstopTUBE: Random Japanese Video)
NonstopTUBE is a great resource for immersion that I’ve been wanting to share for some time. It’s a site that plays from a collection of Japanese videos, ranging from clips or full length music videos to news clips and more. There are new lists that come out daily, always with fresh content. Occasionally, there is some 英語 (えいご/English) mixed in, but those can easily be skipped over. Check out ノンストップチューブ. Technically, it’s not *really* random, it’s a bunch of playlists. See Also: Overview of Immersion Links Tools I’m currently using Secrets to a Successful Immersion Environment
Practice Makes… Better
Have you ever heard the ages-old expression, “Practice makes perfect”? This can apply on some level to anything in life. For Japanese, however, there is no perfect. Practice will never make you perfect in Japanese because perfect Japanese doesn’t exist. Aiming for perfect is the same as aiming for nothing. Aiming for perfect is aiming for failure. Practice will, on the other hand, make you better. This especially applies to kanji. Specifically, writing the kanji. I’ve emphasized this before, but when doing kanji reviews, time should be taken to physically write out the kanji on paper. Not only does this make it stick better in your mind, but it also improves your Japanese handwriting. The photos in this post include some of my kanji practice, both in sentences and individual. My practice sessions also include hiragana and katakana, as these […]
Do. Or do not. There is no try.
I don’t typically take quotes from movies, but in this case Yoda certainly nailed this one on the head. When it comes down to accomplishing goals, there is no gray area. It’s very black and white; you either meet your goal or you don’t. Trying to meet a goal is not the same as actually meeting it. If you’ve only tried, you haven’t achieved. You aren’t there. Trying to meet a goal won’t get you there. Doing things to get you closer to that goal will. Let’s put this into perspective for a moment. Say, for example, you have a college project due that is responsible for a large percentage of your overall grade in that class. When it comes time to turn it in, you don’t have it done. But you tried right? Maybe you did. But is trying […]
MCDs vs. Sentences
Alright, so I’ve had some time to look into these MCDs posts on AJATT to see what they are all about. It seems each MCD is meant to focus on a single kanji, rather than a whole word. This makes a lot of sense, but also can (and likely will) mean that you can have multiple cards for the same sentence. However, it also seems that this might be better once you have more kanji/readings under your belt, since they are so context dependent. To that end, I’m going to use a combination of both going forward. I’m going to continue adding sentences to my original deck primarily, until I can go monolingual. From there, I think it would be best to ease into MCDs a little at a time until I’ve got a solid enough grasp on things to […]
10,000 Sentences = Dead?
Interesting times over at AJATT. I just read this article on a new method of learning Japanese. Before I dive into that, I’d like to bring something up. As I’ve mentioned in the past, AJATT is the foundation for my studies in Japanese. In fact, much of this site is based on or inspired by All Japanese All The Time. A big portion of this site that I’ve been working on lately is the ‘sentences’ series. For those of you who haven’t read the series, it basically outlines things I’ve taken from the AJATT method, as well as my own modifications to that method. That being said, Khatz writes an article declaring the 10,000 sentences method as dead. If ya don’t know, now ya know… Just what does this mean, anyway? Having read the article over at AJATT, it basically […]
Sentences Series 4: How to Set Up Your SRS Decks
Setting up your SRS decks for sentences can make or break progress. While there’s really no “wrong” way to set up a deck, there are plenty of “right” ways to. Let’s begin with an example of how my sentence decks (yes, as in multiple – I’ll get to that later) are set up, starting with a card sample. Front of the card: 日本は初めてですか。 Back of the card: にほん は（わ） はじめて です か。 Japan (topic) first time it is ? Is this your first time in Japan? Basically, the front of the card contains the sentence in Kanji while the back contains a few elements to aid in learning it. First, the sentence is re-written in hiragana (sometimes containing katakana if necessary). Second, each word’s “definition” (in this case, in English) is listed out in the same order as the hiragana sentence above […]
One is Better Than None
I just read this awesome post at AJATT. It basically discusses the idea of doing one of anything versus doing none of it. Essentially, even though 0 and 1 are “next” to each other on the “real” number line, they are far from close to each other. What I got from it was that no matter how many zeroes you string together, you still get nothing. Adding ones together, however, moves you forward. Just one more gets you closer to that next goal. I’ll let the post speak for itself, though. Go and have a read.
Throwing Away Cards
This is a topic I’ve been meaning to write on for a while. I was reviewing my Kanji deck and noticed that a few came up that were really *really* easy for me to answer. In fact, they have been for the past few times I had reviewed them. I then thought to myself, “Why am I keeping cards like this?”. Unable to come up with an answer, I did the only other thing I could think of – I deleted it. I also deleted several others that were in the same boat. I mean, how many times do you really need to review “一”? After deletion, I felt better. I felt lighter, cleaner, and less bogged down. Refreshed, even. I no longer have to worry about wasting time reviewing stuff I already knew. I should also mention that this […]