For a while now I’ve been wanting to create one of these, as motivation definitely fluctuates and I really want to commit to this quest of learning japanese
I’m what you would call a language nerd and I’ve learned five languages in the past, some were mandatory, due to moving to different countries, and some were just for pure fun.
I decided to learn Japanese because I was interested in learning a non-European language next, just for fun. I considered other languages, like Korean and Chinese, but I ended up deciding on Japanese because out of those, I have most affinity with japanese art and also because it seemed like the easiest to pronounce, not going to lie.
when did I start?
So I started learning January 2022 and I remember the burst of excitement I felt when I started learning the syllabaries. That excitement is definitely still there, but the inherent bumps in the road and inevitable mistakes that come with self study can challenge that motivation and excitement sometimes.
I remember that after learning the syllabaries in March 2022, I had no idea how to continue, and decided to start learning kanji. I did so by watching videos made by the same youtube channel I learned the syllabaries from. They also made 5-10 min videos of similar looking kanji and gave general meaning, on and kun reading. So I hit a dead end, because learning kanji with that little structure and no mnemonics was impossible for me.
It took a lot of navigating the waters of forums and websites of people with all sorts of backgrounds and experiences, to figure out how learn kanji in a more structured and effective way, that’s how I found wanikani in April 2022, and here I am.
where do I stand as of now, August 22?
As of now, I am on level 9 on wanikani, and I’m very happy with it. I love the structure it provides, I know for a fact I wouldn’t be able to learn kanji if not with this predefined structure. Maybe one flaw is the naive illusion it can give you that you’re more advanced at Japanese that you actually are, but you can cure that by interacting with the language in different ways.
As for other aspects of learning, I am still very very behind, compared to my kanji knowledge, because it has been much harder for me to find resources that work for me.
Learning grammar requires me to be more hands on and decide a structure for myself, and then have the discipline to revise material and do exercises to burn grammatical structures into my brain. This has been much easier to bypass with the European languages I’ve studied because they did not differ that much from my mother language, so I knew most concepts already and I only had to learn slight variations of the structures of my own language.
what is my current routine?
Right now I’m a bit unsatisfied with my routine, as the only consistent thing I’m doing is wanikani. I dabble here and there in Tae Kim’s grammar guide and Cure Dolly videos for grammar and I watch Misa’s videos for general knowledge (and because her content is so good).
For reading practice I read the “Japanese short stories for beginners” book, but I’m under the impression that I don’t do it often enough to truly absorb things, it’s more that I spend a long time trying to decipher structures and guess the meaning of things, then either get very excited when I do understand, or google things when I don’t, but then I don’t revise them often enough for them to stick.
Lots of things to improve.
- continue wanikani just as I’m doing now
- study grammar in a more structured pace (from Tae Kim and Cure Dolly)
- continue reading the short stories book, but in a structured pace
- incorporate NHK easy Japanese into my reading rotation
- incorporate grammar and reading notes revision into my routine
- watch the ひぐらしのなく頃に anime with bilingual subtitles and study the “text” like I do the short stories (I chose this one because I’ve watched it before and I love it)
- refresh my katakana, I can read it but I realise I can’t write off the top of my head like I can hiragana
- learn songs!! for startes, I’ve been listening to 青葉市子 for like 10 years and I still don’t know the lyrics to any of her songs.
I would like to hire a private tutor to improve my speaking skills (which are so far almost non-existent) but only once I’ve accomplished the goals mentioned above and I have a working grammar knowledge.
If you read this feel free to comment if your experience tells you I’m making mistakes here, or if you have advice in general