I think the truth is that it’s best to pick things that you’ll actually finish in a reasonable amount of time. If you’re more likely to finish something because you’re familiar with it and you like it, then yes. The idea is to read extensively, so it doesn’t matter what you’re reading as long as you’re reading a lot (once you reach a certain level (i.e. native), it may matter, but it really doesn’t now). If it’s challenging, that’s fine, as long as you finish it. If it’s not challenging, ironically, that might be even better, because you’ll move through it more quickly and you’re more likely to pick up the few words and patterns that you don’t know naturally.
but you’re doing nothing wrong. you’re right on track
just do one story intensively, then one extensively, and so on. short stories work fine for that. the chapters in a book could be used, too. you could play a VN and do it intensively on day 1, extensively on day 2, just vary it enough.
your memory is not weird at all, we’re all like that. there’s just always the fear of failure that makes us think thoughts like “i should get x% right before i start something new” or “i should learn in a more balanced way” or “production is just as important as recognition”.
that’s one of the reasons i don’t bother with tools like kaniwani or kamesame. they don’t improve your skills.
what will land in your active vocabulary will organically grow and adapt to your needs. i’m a teacher, so i remember all the office utensils or vocabulary like 動詞、名詞、形容詞、and can use them when i need them. i don’t need to try to make bird vocab active if i will never use it, or try to name every muscle if i don’t work as massage therapist.
I think we’re on the same page here. For some reason, when I imagine “intensive” reading, I think of picking up something that I have no business trying to read in Japanese at my level, like a book on intelligent-system engineering, and looking up every other word. But that’s not what you actually mean.
To me, extensive reading is just reading extensively (it can include your idea of intensive, I think). It doesn’t matter if someone stops to look things up as long as looking that stuff up doesn’t get so ridiculous that it infers with reading a lot (e.g. picking something so difficult that one can only read 10 words a day and even after that the understanding is foggy).
the goals are different ones between the systems:
- extensive provides you with as much content in as little time as possible
- intensive leaves as few questions open as possible
you want extensive because you want repetition, and grammar patterns, vocabulary, manners of speech, idioms and the like repeat. if you see 一石二鳥 and can’t read it, but stumble over it many times, you’ll eventually know what it means when you stumble over it during a session of intensive reading, but it’s no problem to look it up real quick, if you keep the pace up during the session. and then you’ve seen it all the time and wondered what it means, so now you’ll remember it more easily.
the whole thing isn’t really strict anyway, there’s no mandatory time or number of pages to reach. you learn best when your affective filter is down, because you feel at ease. stress and unease hamper your learning, because your brain feels it has to prepare for danger and can’t concentrate on something silly like funny looking characters right now.
that’s the primitive part of our brain we have to deal with, but understanding why certain things happen makes it easy going.
I’m sorry to keep going back and forth, but I feel like I’m not conveying my meaning properly. I’m not distinguishing things in the same way that you are because when I read without obsessing with the aim of reading a lot (what I’ve called “extensive”), I generally don’t have open questions, because by the time I’ve gotten to my stopping point, the context has filled me in, and for the few things where the context didn’t, I look them up if they’re things I think looking up will help me understand better. It’s all pretty effortless, but I’m still learning a lot.
I don’t stop along the way because more often than not, I’ll figure it out on my own and the stopping just ruins the pace/suspense in the story.
Honestly, I can’t tolerate seeing something “all the time” and not knowing what it is, so I never have that kind of situation. I will have looked it up by then, but I try to “chill” at least the first time I see something I don’t know. So maybe all my reading is what you consider “intensive” but I just try to do a ton of it.
A better question would be, “On a scale of 1-10, How well do you cope with pressure and stress? Please explain why you scored your self as such.”
I tend to stack my lessons until i get to the next level so that i don’t get overwhelmed with new things. Kinda like concrete it in my brain
but to answer your question, no it is not important to keep lessons at zero, however, it is vital that you keep your reviews at 0