2023 - The Year I Make Myself Proud
I usually have themes to my year. Something I feel passionate about improving or focusing more on. While I won’t really talk about most of it here. My motto is about making myself proud.
I’ve tried several different ways of encouraging myself to do the things I really want to do, while being thwarted by the fact that I care so much about succeeding that the critical voice in my head convinces me that it is better to wait… Because I’ll be better, smarter, less tired, whatever, later, and therefore success will be guaranteed.
Of course, all of this is just smoke and mirrors. I can’t get better unless I practice, and if I don’t practice/do stuff because I will do it better later… well, then I never do the thing at all.
Now, obviously, I have been working on Japanese for the past year, so for Japanese this isn’t a reboot or restart or anything.
But since it might be relevant to how I choose my goals for Japanese study and reading, I thought I’d mention it here.
Basically, I have no personal negative connotations with making myself proud. Instead, it is a feeling I get when I eventually manage to get on the horse and do the things I most want to do. The things I most care about doing. Such as reading, cleaning my house (so boring, but I do like the result), keeping up with other household chores, taking care of myself really well (for example: I should take more baths, baths are nice), exercise and many more things.
Somehow I often put off a lot of the things I really want to do, for things that are kinda fun or enjoyable but not all the time. So this year, I want to focus on making myself proud of myself every day. With a focus on 1% more, so as not to overwhelm myself and feel like I have to do it all suddenly.
Now on to specific Japanese things.
Japanese Grammar Study
As my recent post of grammar videos in Japanese and podcasts can attest (plus @rikaiwisdom’s additional resources!), I’m thinking of grammar studies and listening comprehension for 2023.
The other main pain point in my studies right now is my vocabulary. But I am not interested in digging back into SRS again after finally finishing off WK. (Still have months of reviews left, but today might have been the last day with more than 100 reviews.) And I don’t know any other good way to learn vocabulary, except to keep reading. But that, I will get to under the next heading.
My hope for 2023 is to solidify nuances of grammar I already know, as well as starting to peek at N2 and N1 grammar. I already know I have met some grammar from those levels. Perhaps I’ve even brushed past it without knowing it to be “grammar”*.
*This only happens because what is often taught as grammar for Japanese, could also be phrases, common ways of saying things, random single words, etc. And I find this is more and more common the higher up the JLPT scale one gets. To be fair, I’m not sure what the actual definition of grammar is, but if I go by what school taught me for Swedish and English, then what is commonly included for Japanese grammar contains far far far more than schools in Sweden ever thought of as grammar.
To this end, I plan to watch youtube videos on grammar in Japanese. I feel like it is time to do that again (since the language school I went to in Japan also taught with Japanese, although our textbooks tended to have English definitions too). I am not sure I will enjoy this activity though, so I will try it, and might drop it.
Another kinda silly thing I mentioned in passing was to read the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar volumes from cover to cover. But there are at least two people vaguely interested in that, so this might become a book club in May this year. I am however not entirely sold on the idea yet.
Otherwise I will try to have the dictionaries beside me while reading things that I find easy. That way I can dig in, and try and understand the nuance of a grammar point when they come up. But this only really works when I understand the sentence well in general.
While I can’t make a list of the grammar points that I don’t know the nuance for, I do recognize them when I see them.
Grammar goal? I don’t have a concrete goal right now. I would like to eventually take JLPT N2/N1 (perhaps both), to be able to show I know a quantifiable amount of Japanese. But I don’t have any plans to do that in 2023 currently. Do realize that these kind of things can change. And if I notice that I know a lot of N2 already through my doings, then maybe I’ll go for it. Unlikely though.
I’d much rather take the exams when I know a lot of the stuff through my other studies/pursuits, rather than studying specifically for the JLPT.
Japanese Listening Comprehension Study
Right, so listening comprehension…
I hadn’t expected to write so much about grammar.
My listening have always been terrible when it comes to Japanese. During language school in Japan, I was alternating between just barely keeping up with listening comprehension and being behind on it. And since I’ve never been a massive anime fan, and I don’t listen to podcasts much, and I don’t listen to any music in Japanese… Well, you can see how that part of input have been severely neglected.
But the thing is… I do want to be able to talk to people, and for that I need to understand when people speak. While talking have never been my focus (and also why it is way behind my other abilities), it is something I want to do.
I also know that while it won’t spontaneously start happening by itself (practice of speaking need to happen), a good grasp of the language, even if only in written form (aka through reading), is beneficial. And even more beneficial is good listening comprehension.
So I want to work on that this year. But because I don’t naturally gravitate to listening to podcasts or watching anime, I do need to make a concentrated effort to do those things.
Beyond the podcasts (and grammar videos) in the posts I linked above, I also do play visual novels which often have spoken audio. And beyond that I did last year play a game with Japanese audio while having the English text. And for every line I’d be looking away from the textbooks and listen to the audio, trying to figure out what they said before I read the English. This was a good compromise since I got practice while also not needing to look up a ton of fantasy and alchemy words I didn’t feel ready to tackle. This specific series have 2 more games (or maybe 3) in this arc/subset of the larger game series. And I do own those games.
So once I have some room in my gaming, I will probably tackle the next one in the series (and right now the name of them escapes me which is why I’m not writing it out).
I would love to say that I’ll keep watching some fun anime too, but I’m a very occasional watcher of it. And I can’t really make myself watch it, so it’ll happen when it happens. And maybe I’ll do it with English subtitles although I know myself to get a bit too fixed on subtitles when I have them on, so maybe not.
Once again, I won’t really set a goal. I’m not sure I could even if I wanted to. A loose aim will be to be able to follow the harder podcasts I have listed in the post linked above. I don’t know how easily I’d follow them now, but I’m guessing not very much. Might have to listen to one to see, and thereby have a benchmark to work towards, but
Japanese Reading and Reading in General
And now we’ve come the section that is the whole reason for this post.
Watch this section become the shortest one yet. Or not (as it turned out).
So I want to set an overall goal, one that might mirror my goal last year. But before I get there, I want to figure out what I already have slated for 2023 and what I would like to have slated. To be clear to: I am not beholden to anything I say here. If I later change my mind, so be it. ^^
ルーパーズ: I definitely want to finish this VN. I’m gonna call it that I’m 40% through it, because I can’t be bothered to go and check exactly, but I might be inflating the number a bit. I know I’ve been calling it 50% in my yearly review, but eeeeeh… Okay fine, geez, I’ll go figure it out… If I go by the character counts per chapter posted in the club, and ignoring the little bit of chapter 9 I’ve read (because I don’t know how much), I’m exactly at the 40% mark… I didn’t expect that. xD So yeah, I definitely wanna read the other 60%.
BU$TAFELLOWS: This VN club just started mid-December 2022, and I hope to finish this one next year. It will depend a bit on the speed we read it as a club, if I can keep up, and whether we read the whole thing together or not and probably other factors.
9-nine: Only the first route is currently planned with the club for this one, so I hope to read at least that much. However, if I and the other club members like it, we’ll probably read more of it. We also hope to bring the VN club back together into one pick, but… there is a possibility that WK might have two VN clubs (one focused on otome) some time in 2023!
I think my overall goal for the year will be to finish 2 VNs, which would be Loopers and one of the other two. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if I read more like 3-4. I will most definitely read on at least 3 different ones and almost certainly finish Loopers.
My plan is to get back to reading Loopers in February since January is a bit busy. And I have a companion to read it along with! ^^ (Read the posts above this to figure out who xD)
And I also own several other VNs, all of which I want to read, but you’ll notice that is the theme of every category of reading material I have…
Well here we have a few different ones currently slated and ones I hope to finish:
Orange: volume 6 and 7 will be read with club, and probably finish in March or so
古見さんは、コミュ症です。: Was picked by the BBC (beginner book club) and I did vote for it and I own the first three volumes. It should start mid/late February, and I currently plan to read along with the club if I can. However the VN clubs I’ll be in the middle of will take precedence
ホテル・メッツァペウラへようこそ３: I picked this up in my last book/VN haul and I will read this soon I really hope I can get to it before winter ends since I’m pretty sure it is still winter/holiday season in the story.
美少女戦士セーラームーン５−１０: I wouldn’t mind finishing off this series in 2023, but I honestly have no idea if that will happen.
Ouran High School Host Club: Mid 2022 I talked about reading this in 2023, and I know there are two people a bit interested in reading it with me. But I will have to see how it fits now with all the VN stuff.
Astrologican or whatever it is called: There are 5 chapters of an extra story across the first 5 volumes of Orange, that I kinda ignored and said I finished the volume, except I didn’t actually read that in any of them. So technically my page count for 2022 is a little inflated by those chapters. I do plan to read them sometime in 2023 to make up for it though.
I could name drop many more, but honestly, I want to read all the ones I own, so that would be kinda silly. xD Only the first three (of the five) are more or less guaranteed reads. The hotel manga (despite not having a club) because I found volume 1 and 2 so easy to read, it will be my relaxing/break read when I need something easy to fall back on. Although… Once I start it I’ll probably read only that until it ends. So good!
On that note, one honorable mention would be the short story collection from the same mangaka as the hotel one. Also the second and third options in the latest BBC vote are also manga I own and want to read, so if they win in the next round (or any time in 2023) I’ll probably read those.
As for a yearly goal on number of manga… Hmmm… I wouldn’t know where to put that. I’m planing to read more VNs and they are LONG. On the other hand, depending on what manga I choose, I can read them fairly easily, so reading more volumes than last year shouldn’t be a problem. Although I might this year count 完全版 (kanzenban) editions as two volumes.
Last year, I put one per month, so maybe I’ll do one per month plus one extra per quarter. Knowing that they will be competing with my VN reading (and book reading). So that would make it 16. Which is more than the 13 I finished (although with the kanzenban rule, I read 14 volumes last year).
I would like to set a higher goal, but since I’m planing to set a separate book goal and have the VN goal above… well, I can’t guess how much my speed will increase (which will basically be less look ups, not actually faster reading of characters) or not, so I’m not gonna set a goal dependent on that.
Instead I hope to get to a point with the VNs that they don’t take my whole weekly allotment of reading time, and thereby I can squeeze in more manga reading. And/or the VNs will end, and I’ll take a break for manga/book reading.
Well, so far I’ve never had a book goal for Japanese. For one I’ve been more interested in manga in the past. And considering my level of Japanese, I didn’t want to try and force myself into something I wasn’t ready for. I’m not one of those that can struggle too much with reading. (A reason I read through so many levels of graded readers was to slowly up the grammar difficulty.)
But I have a few books I want to read.
おおかみこどもの雨と雪: @NicoleIsEnough recommended this book (and the next one) specifically for me. I really want to get around to reading this in 2023.
狐笛のかなた: Same as above. Although depending on if my reading schedule keep being this full with book clubs, I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to get to both (or even one for that matter ), but I want to try.
ふしぎ駄菓子屋 銭天堂: I started reading the first volume last year and read the first story. I don’t know if I was just struggling with the writing style, or I just had trouble reading it overall. But I found myself dropping this partly because it felt so hard. I do want to give it another try though, because I did enjoy the first story. I also own the first 6 volumes I believe.
京都寺町三条のホームズ: This I picked up when I lived in Kyoto. In fact, I accidentally picked up the manga first, not knowing it was a novel series first. I’ve since then watched the anime with English subtitles. I am a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock Homes inspired spin-offs (or whatever they are called). I would like to read this, but I’m not sure 2023 will be the year. I have a feeling it won’t. Maybe I’ll get to the manga, to ease the way into the novels. xD
三毛猫ホームズの推理: Last year when I joined the spring read every day challenge, I saw a bunch of people reading this in the thread together. They didn’t even set up a separate book club thread, just posted right in the challenge thread, and they got me super intrigued… plus did you spot something else that would draw me in? Well actually two some things? (Cat plus Holmes) For some reason, I feel it is more likely that I’ll get to this one in 2023. Maybe because I don’t know the difficulty for it. While for the Holmes above I know it’ll have a lot of antiquities terms, plus historical stuff, and such. I’d struggle with some of that in English and Swedish because I’m not very connected to that world… so… Japanese is another hurdle all together. xD
There are certainly a few other books on my radar. (Just look at my 読みたい list on bookmeter. ) But I feel like those 4-5 (京都寺町三条のホームズ doesn’t feel like 2023 at all honestly) are the most likely candidates, and I already own 4 out of 5 (plus extra volumes of Zenitendou).
Last year I read 4 books, being a bit generous in my definition by included two Ask Graded Readers, each one a bundle of 5 booklets with stories/non-fiction pieces. The amount of reading in the Ask Graded Readers vs the two 夜カフェ I read is not equal. Night Café should have a lot more text. So lets call it 2-3 novels/LNs. (I guess LNs are on the shorter side of novel length, but I’m not about to divide things that much.)
I don’t know if I want to aim for the same amount I did last year (2), or if I want to aim for one per quarter (4). I know the VNs will take a ton of my reading time, and I want to get back into reading more English fiction too, so where does that leave me?
I think I’ll set a goal of 2 books. Hoping to read at least one of the two Nicole recommended that I mentioned above (more where recommended to me, and I plan to try those eventually too). And the other one I don’t know which I’ll pick.
I guess I have my reading goals then:
Yes, this is the second SUPER LONG post today, as well as many replies. If you haven’t figured out I write too much by now… you’re new to my log so: