Hi everyone! Welcome to my corner!
Not the first time I make a thread for my studying. See previous
attempts threads here (my one year in Japan at a Japanese school) and here (my failed attempt at motivating myself to get to 60, ending with me in basically the same place I started ).
Today (June 1, 2022) I just leveled up to level 35 which I think is the highest I’ve ever been, and due to my recent activity on the forum, I thought it might be nice to have a place where I can endlessly ponder about what I am doing in Japanese, and also a place where I can gather together some different resources and organize some information for my own use (and maybe it would be useful to others, who knows?!?!).
Some obligatory topics:
Why I'm learning Japanese
My first interest in Japanese things, like so many others came from anime and manga. Although at the time, I didn’t watch or read a lot of it, because it was expensive. Importing from the UK and USA, to get English translated manga and subtitles. '00s was not a kind place to want to indulge in those things.
I imagine it is a bit better now. There should also be more Swedish translated stuff that should be cheaper to get a hold off.
We’re talking my mid teens here.
Then as I was at uni/college, I had the opportunity to take a course called Japanese art, architecture and visual media. I thought to learn the history of manga/anime, but it turned out that the part that actually interested me was the art and architecture part. (It probably didn’t help that the literature on manga/anime that was chosen was so dry, I’ve found watching paint dry more interesting. It was a study in how to take an entertainment field and make it the opposite (aka unentertaining).)
Basically, I fell in love with wabi-sabi, how traditional and modern culture and aesthetics where being mixed, and just in general Japanese thoughts on architecture (as presented by the literature we read, don’t know how accurate it is since I haven’t read about these topics in Japanese yet).
I also fell in love with Japanese gardens and their design. The stillness and tranquility they create. And after visiting some, I’ve also fallen in love with having a cup of matcha with a traditional sweet while visiting those. (If you visit Tokyo, definitely go to Hama-rikyuu garden (浜離宮恩賜庭園).) I’m more about the wandering gardens, the create a miniature version of landscapes gardens, then zen gardens. Although I do like zen gardens too.
It was from this place, the desire to learn Japanese grew from. I wanted to be able to read what Japanese architectures say about the topic in their native language. I want to read further about the history of Japan, and its art. Not to mention learn about Japanese gardens from original sources!
And I want to be able to read manga. Because I’m a bookworm, books and light novels will also happen (but I didn’t decide to learn Japanese for those). And anime will probably be watched, but once again, not an intrinsic motivation for learning the language.
If anyone who’s just read that have any recommendations on books (in Japanese) about Japanese gardens, architecture, or history, please tell me.
Since then, other reasons for Japanese have come about. Like reading books and light novels. As an author, reading fiction from other cultures broadens my views on story and storytelling. And is more inspiration which there can never be too much of.
In the same vein, I would love to read Genji, since it is supposed to be the first novel ever written. But maybe in a modernized version. I don’t think I’ll ever feel compelled to learn how to read Japanese that old.
I’ve also fallen in love with a lot of Japanese food. More so with the parts of the food culture that haven’t been become popular outside Japan yet (well, I love ramen, but beyond that), such as okonomiyaki, katsu and tonkatsu, donburi of different varieties, and more. (Risky admission: I’ve never been a sushi fan, the texture of raw fish just isn’t my thing, and shellfish’s texture bothers me whether cooked or raw. )
My history up until now in learning Japanese
This comes in a few different parts.
In my early twenties I did two consecutive courses on Japanese. And I felt like I barely managed a pass (more so on the second course), although I’m pretty sure I got more than a passing grade both times.
However, I can honestly say I came away from those courses not really feeling like I knew anything.
When the second course ended, I stopped studying and basically forgot everything, even how to read hiragana.
I went to Japan for language school for one month in 2014; was it that long ago? Time flies…
September, Fukuoka. If I could give advice, September is still too hot and humid in 九州, go somewhere further north if that is the month you want to spend in Japan. GenkiJACS was great though.
I lived with a host family and if I could give advice there too, you’ll probably get more out of it if you already know some Japanese (so maybe do it towards the end of your Japanese language stay, not at the start) also having some social anxiety/anxiety in general makes this part very hard to enjoy. Emotionally I’m in such a better place now, I’d get so much more out of it. What can you do?
Since it was just a month, we didn’t get very far language-wise. And once I came home again, I forgot almost everything except hiragana. I still remembered hiragana pretty well when I came back to Japanese so when the inevitable learn hiragana/katakana first period came, I could focus on katakana and finally pick it up.
Also, I’d love to visit Fukuoka again. Both to revisit some places, and to explore some more.
Not entirely sure how to divide the next bits, so might just become one veeeeeeeery long part.
In 2018, late October, I found Wanikani!
And I think I knew from the beginning that this was my real chance to learn Japanese. I was never very interested in speaking, almost solely on reading. And without kanji, that would never happen. Which I think is the reason I always dropped Japanese again after my first couple of attempts because I just couldn’t see it working out long term.
At that time I was also in the process of applying for a 1-year student visa to study at a Japanese language school (again).
I had hoped to speed through a lot of levels before I got to Japan, but my predictable non-consistency reared its head and I got to level 10 in April 2019 (I believe it was then or possibly May) when I’d already moved to Japan, which I did at the beginning of the school year (aka early April or possibly end of March). (It was 3-4 years ago, but feels like a lot more, 2020… 2021…)
If you want to read about my experiences during that year, this thread of mine I linked before covers it to some degree, I can’t remember how much.
Throughout my year in Japan, I slowly leveled WK to 20 (if memory serves). Also certain 2020 things made me cut my touristing at the end of the year.
I guess this is a good place to break. So up until the end of part 3 I had hit about level 20 of WK, maybe a bit more. I’d also read 結婚しても愛してる with the ABBC. I’d probably poked at some other reading things. I 多読 read Alice 19th, my favorite manga from my teens which I’d only read in English before, but I bought in Japanese. I really love that manga because I love the art style, the story, and the magic system is based on words. What more could a writer ask for?
I’ve read a few other of Yuu Watase’s manga series, but haven’t liked any others as much. I never did read her most famous and longest works.
Anyway, I got back from Japan rather abruptly, and then I didn’t do much with Japanese in a consistent way. I dipped in for a while, and somehow got to level 33ish, then last year I got back into WK for a couple of months, but bounced off again. Playing an MMORPG takes so much time…
Then I stopped playing the MMO about Oct/Nov last year and as 2022 rolled around, the desire to get back into Japanese rose. I started chipping away at the review monster I had (I’ve never used vacation mode) and reset my level to get rid of all levels were the kanji/vocab were barely into guru (or lower) when I paused last.
Spent a few months slowly reducing the pile, and towards the end of March, I was starting to see the end of the pile. (I wasn’t super consistent to be honest.) At the same time, I was like, I need to remember why I want to learn Japanese. It isn’t to learn kanji, but to read.
So I joined the Read Every Day Spring 2022 Challenge, beginning in April. Getting back into reading, also for real renewed my desire to study Japanese. So I kept reducing the review pile and also cleaned up some lessons from previous levels that had been added since I did lessons last.
And somewhere in the middle of that challenge I started to work on level 33, and leveled up twice, finished reading all the graded readers I owned and finished Yotsuba& 1, and then here we are at level 35 and 4/7 chapters of Yotsuba& 2 read.
Hopefully I will never have to fill this in separately, instead this thread will serve as the record of this. And on into the future…
My hatred of the extra empty lines that selecting "Hide Details" makes as if I don't know how to press 'enter'
No, but seriously, it is annoying as hell as someone who ruthlessly formats even the parts of posts that no one sees but me.
At least this little thing made me learn I can put < hr > tags inside detail tags. Noice.
Also just accidentally hit cmd+s, I do that a lot when writing long posts to make sure I don't lose anything. Doesn't work as intended. :joy:
Also, it is super annoying that detail tags close in the preview when you edit the text in them. Sometimes I think I should write the stuff and read through it before I put it under a detail tag, but then when the text gets really long it is as annoying to highlight it all.
The reason I’m writing this is because I participated in the Read Every Day Spring 2022 Challenge; here is my home post. And as I participated fully, I started to get to know people here. I do know some people since before, especially @RoseWagsBlue (obligatory tag to welcome you to my new thread! ).
(Here is my Bookmeter for those curious about my Japanese reading.)
I think this is the first time I feel like I’m finding my place in this community. I’ve been active before, even was a regular for a while , so yes, at one point I occasionally participated in the poll thread. *cough* Sorry, don’t want to accidentally invoke the madness.
I’ve even dared venturing into the small language questions and grammar questions threads. The nerve of me.
Sometimes I amaze myself.
(This gif so perfectly describes my feeling of well-done-but-also-what-do-I-think-I’m-doing-?!?!)
I think I’ll reserve the first two posts for the useful links and stuff, otherwise I will forever be scaning this first post for the info I’m looking for.
PS. If you caught the fact that I’m a writer, you might be able to figure out what kind from the length of this post. I don’t do short. (Well, I do in my career, but rarely with posts. )