🌦️ Sundrop's Refreshed Study Log 🌦️

This is a continuation from my old study log, which I started in 2021. I questioned starting a whole new thread, but I feel like this is a new era >:). Also I have a different username.

My Background
Much can be found in my old log. To keep it concise: started studying Japanese at age 18 in college. Studied abroad in Japan in 2016. Accepted to the JET Program in the Cursed Year of 2020, lived and worked in southern Japan from 2021-2023. Diagnosed with ADHD in 2023. Decided to return to my home country after developing various health issues :(. Health issues are now improving :). I love and miss my friends and time in Japan. I do pole dance, teach ballet, worked in the film industry for 6 weeks, and have wanted to own a goldfish for years but shy away from that level of responsibility.

Intentions for This Log
It is very funny, and also encouraging, to go back through my old log and see the progress I’ve made despite startling inconsistency. I love the Wanikani community, and am oft inspired to study by lurking. I do not expect this log to be regular or maintain consistent formatting, but will likely be consistent sometimes, and certainly will be returning every now and again with progress posts. I don’t expect folks to be as interested in reading in this blog as I am, but feel free to comment, I’d love to chat, however slow I may occasionally be at replying ;-;.

Current Goals

  • Take the JLPT in December of 2024.
  • I will likely take N3, but would be delighted to take N2.
  • Improve my pronunciation and speaking ability.
  • Make steady progress in Wanikani over the course of this year.
  • Create consistent extrinsic motivation to keep on task.

Study Practices

Wanikani

Did level 1 in 2018, and restarted in 2020. Made most of my progress in 2020, but have returned at least every month, if not more often, since restarting. This is by far my favorite kanji-learning method, and I saw definite payoff while living in Japan.

I am not going to speedrun, however zealous I may become -_-. Currently committing to 15 lessons a day, and trying to keep apprentice items under 100.

Italki

I’ve completed 124 lessons since 2020. I have met with my tutor every single week, excepting a few months when I first moved to Japan, and she’s fantastic. I’ll take lessons with her as long as she’ll let me. In a couple weeks I’m going to try out lessons with a second tutor, to focus on speaking and pronunciation, and start getting in two conversation hours per week.

Textbook

I have used many over the years -__-. I completed Genki 1 + 2, the intermediate online course they offer for JETs, and used the 完全 series to prepare for the N4.

I’m currently finishing up Quartet 1, which I have enjoyed, and will likely give Quartet 2 a try.

Satori Reader

I really love this app! Reading native books has always been so frustrating for me, given how many kanji and vocab I need to look up. I’m hoping that by leveling up on Wanikani and studying Satori stories, I can progress to “Japanese Stories for Language Learners” and later these Japanese novels I’ve had sitting around for years.

Listening Practice

I’ve been casually listening to native content with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes I’ll watch a YouTube video, an episode of a show, or listen to a podcast. Recently I’ve been vibing to my Japan playlist (I miss karaoke :,( ). I have a reminder to listen to something at least once per week, but other than that I’m not going too hard on this one yet because I feel most confident about my listening ability.

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月・2月9日

Level 17

I stopped doing lessons for a week while I drove across the country, but kept up with my reviews :). My review accuracy has shot way up, as I’ve been regularly completing them multiple times a day for about 26 days now. I keep no schedule, I simply do them when I’m free and remember they exist. I also have a virtual pet bird which reminds me to do literally everything, and is the sole reason my life is somewhat together atm.

Completed 15 new lessons this morning. Folks… I’ve completed the level 16 vocab. I’m sooo close to leveling up. ~Hallelujah~.

Now that I’ve emerged from the wilderness, it’s back to regular programming. At this rate, by March I’ll have completed my first uninterrupted month of Wanikani in years. :durtle_hello:

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日・2月25日

Beep beep
I’m here to announce that what seemed like an impending level-up was not quite so–but in two days, if I get these kanji right, I will actually be on level 18.

Feeling cool about that honestly, as my aim is a slow, consistent, and effective pace. I actually took a break from lessons this weekend and focused on reviews only, because (1) I felt shaky with a fair amount of the new vocab, (2) my routine is off on my お休み days and figuring out how to fit in a lesson sesh does not agree with my ADHD. Didn’t want to push it!

The result is that I have managed to attend to reviews every day of this month so far, I feel more confident about my latest vocab, and next week I’ll be starting out with a beautiful 49 apprentices to manage.

On an unrelated note, now that I’ve finally managed to keep my kanji in check, much of the rest of my life is a jumbled mess–such is the sacrifice. :durtle_love:

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水・2月28日

SOMETHING IS HAPPENING.

A Japanese recruiting company contacted me out of the blue. Yesterday, I had an interview with said company entirely in Japanese. Somehow, I could understand the recruiter. Somehow, they understood me.

I told them I feel like my Japanese is intermediate, I’m studying for the N3, and I’m only up to about 600 kanji. But they asked for my resume. And sent it to a Japanese 会社 in my area who is hiring for a translator/interpreter position.

The company set up an in-person interview with me almost immediately. It’s on Friday. The recruiter called today to convey all the details and answer a few of my questions–somehow, again, we understood each other…

So um in two days I’ll have an interview with the head of a company, entirely in Japanese lol. Can you tell I’m freaking out a bit. Ya girl has very little practice with interviews in English, let alone Nihongo. eep.

In complete honesty, I am fairly sure that my level of Japanese is not ready for such a position, so I don’t imagine I’ll walk away from this experience with a new job. I always imagined I’d have fun being an interpreter, but that goal has seemed so far. Perhaps this particular position would suit a learner like me (about an N2 in listening? an N3 everywhere else?), and it would be so cool to dedicate 8 hours of my day to this language. I just hope that my level was communicated accurately to the company.

I’m encouraged by the fact that I could understand everything the recruiter was saying, and that she could understand me back. So, I’ll give it a shot, and this will be a funny little experiment in my language journey.

O also I made it to Level 18. And completed my reviews every day in February. But lessons are on hold again for now–I have to dedicate my attention to remembering words like 組織、礼儀作法、and 国際関係.

:durtle_officer: halp

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Former JET checking in! That sounds amazing, wow. Is the position in your field or is it back to the land of ALTs?

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Congratulations on the interview offer! Sounds like you’re underestimating yourself, the fact that they could understand you is amazing!

If you’re interested, we have a Quartet study group. We’re finishing Quartet 1 right now and we’ll start Quartet 2 in April.

Satori Reader was what got me from single-sentence textbook Japanese to Japanese novels. It was really helpful with reading speed and stamina.

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Thank you! It’s nice to hear from another former JET. It’s a position in my area, but I feel very open to returning and working in Japan for a few years in the future.

Thank you so much! I’m excited to have come so far in a second language, this is the first time I’ve been able to communicate in something other than English. My strength is that I can generally understand when people are speaking to me, but my downfall is that I understand a lot more than I can say myself. It’s easy for my speaking to become very discombobulated…

Thank you for this! I’m going to check it out when I’m done stressing over this interview :D. I’m just about done with Quartet 1 as well, perfect timing. That’s also very encouraging to hear about Satori Reader, your recommendation inspires me to make more time for it.

UPDATE
I reviewed one review, lol, bc the rest of my brain power has gone into interview preparation. Now I’ve reviewed every day of February.

I’ve done a ton of interview prep. My friend in Japan and I already had plans to call, which was perfect timing. She very kindly spoke to me in Japanese all night, told me about her experience job-hunting, and helped me practice my 自己紹介 and some of my talking points.

Feeling a little too aware of how ~cluNKy~ my speech is, oof. Going to try to ignore that during the interview.

The good news:

  • If they want to hire me: great! Amazing! I get to dedicate my days to Japanese! And my skill level is suitable for the position!
  • If they don’t want to hire me: the job is above my skill level and I won’t have to live each day supremely stressed about performing to a standard for which I am not ready. Yay!

I’m so sleepy. It will be cool and fun to get this over with. :durtle:

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Wheee welcome back to chaos :).

I have returned to do reviews every day, so my heatmap is lovely and colorful for all of March so far. But lessons? And progress? They have stalled… I’ve been distracted:

  • with the interview,
  • with a second interview

And now,

  • !!! I have a new job??? As a Japanese translator/interpreter???

I start this week. Cue terror.

Both interviews were entirely in Japanese, and I must have performed all right, because they gave me the position. I am honored, excited, and very surprised. I have been interested for quite a while in becoming an interpreter, but that dream seemed far away. Looks like I’m jumping in head first.

Here are my thoughts:

Benefits:

  • I will have at least 8 hours a day to focus on Japanese listening, reading, writing, and speaking. My abilities are going to increase rapidly!
  • I will be forming relationships with Japanese residents and visitors in my area.
  • I’m excited to challenge my brain.
  • I’m excited to use Japanese more often.
  • I’m excited to work in a Japanese office again.

Fears:

  • My speaking is so clunky. I will not be the smoothest communicator.
  • My reading ability is limited to textbook Japanese and mini articles. I need to focus heavily on improving my reading, which is my least favorite skill to practice at the moment :(.
  • Listening is my highest skill, but even so, it only takes a few words I haven’t heard before and I’m lost. There are many words I haven’t heard before. I will have to be the voice of many people, that’s a huge responsibility, and I don’t want to hinder communications with my intermediate ability.

Alas, I will 頑張ります。I expressed my level as clearly as I could during the interviews, so hopefully they will be patient with my training arc.

I have a new, more elaborate study plan designed and ready to go so I can acquire the knowledge to perform this job as efficiently as possible. I’m not sure what my day-to-day is going to look like, so the plan is fluid, but I’d like to solidify and detail my practices here in the near future.

For now, I will get through today’s review stack. Peace!

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Wow, that’s incredible!

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congrats111!!

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うああああ
Hello again from the void. And thank u guys! <3

I’m two weeks into my new job. My brain is well and truly exhausted at the end of each day, but I’m still alive. I have days that make me feel confident, and days that make me feel like a brick.

On the bright side, I can do it! Some of it. I have the easiest time with 2 person conversations. Meetings are a monster. Alongside having to learn an ocean of new Japanese terms, I’m unfamiliar with the technical and industry-specific English… and trying to interpret something when I don’t understand it? Nearly impossible. It is not often that I can repeat word for word what someone says in English/Japanese and have the other party understand.

Most importantly for this update–I’m having a good time :). It’s cool and crazy to do what was once my side-hobby-passion-project as a full time job. Even if I don’t study at all outside of work, I’ll at least have practiced Japanese for 8 hours every day!

My brain is well exhausted when work is over. Hence I procrastinate my reviews by writing this post.

Brief check-in regarding my current study state, and then I’m off to complete them:


Anki
Many times I have started a 日本語 Anki deck, many times it has fallen by the wayside. I started fresh two weeks ago. The heatmap add-on is really helping with my motivation to complete reviews. I aim to add about 30 new cards (15 words) to my deck per day.

When I hear a word I don’t know or a useful phrase, I write it down and add it to my deck. There are lots of industry-specific cards in my deck already, but I tag all the ones I’ve actually heard so that they have priority in my new card queue. Sometimes I notice an English word that might be useful in Japanese, so I write them down and add those too.

Listening
Constant input every weekday. I get this without trying, now. On top of what I have to do at work, I’ve been listening to the ‘Bite Size Japanese Podcast’ by nihongo_layla on at least 1 leg of my commute. It’s great! Light + cute topics, and the perfect level for me to feel better about my listening skills when I’m listening to a bunch of experts discuss wires.

I primarily use Japanese at work. 90% of things have been explained to me in Japanese, which is Very Cool! On top of that constant input, I have one meeting a day that is entirely in Japanese. I can’t lie, I don’t understand much at this meeting. But it’s nice when I can pick out words and phrases from my studies.

Speaking
I also have to speak literally every day at work. I say many silly things but seem to be able to get points across. I found that the Bite Size Japanese Podcast is slow and easy enough for me to actually be able to shadow, so maybe I will incorporate this practice in the future.

Writing
When I’m pressed for time at work, I rely on machine translation. But I’m trying to send out emails and memos myself when I have the time. Sometimes I have AI check my grammar afterwards. I’m slow! But it’s practice.

Reading
Ouf this has gone on the back-burner. Because sticking to my new Anki deck has been my primary focus, I have been sporadic with completing Wanikani reviews and lessons. As I settle in I’d like to be more dedicated to this practice. I’d also like to pick up Satori reader again. Reading hurts my brain!


I’m tired -.-. But I’m so excited to have such an unexpected opportunity to improve my Japanese by leaps and bounds. Recently I learned the words 極性、歩留まり、and 従業員便覧。That is all.

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