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Japanese Language Study Log: gaiaslastlaugh

#26
Update

General: I finally made a move toward the end of this week to break from reading US news and politics (most of which is pure infotainment anyhow), and am using my list of reading resources (see last update) as reading material when I get bored. It's been a struggle, but it really helps me make the most of the space I have during the day. 

Vocab: I've been mainlining 20 new words/day. It's getting intense, but not unmanageable. And I feel like I'm making real progress taking my vocab up to the next level. 

Anki stats: 

[Image: thumb?viewBox=1399]

Reading: Started tracking reading in a spreadsheet this week. Tadoku wrapped up, but I'm finding I love the accountability that comes with tracking. Still have Saturday to get some reading in, but will likely come in around 200 pages for the week. A little shy of where I want to be (I want to read around 250 pages/week), but I'll make up for it week after next when I travel. 

I'm still only about 27% or so through 百夜行. However, given that it's 840+ pages, that's like reading one whole normal Higashino Keigo novel. It's very good so far - a complex story spanning multiple years of the characters' lifetimes. I can't wait to see what it builds into.

Listening: Digging into J-subtitled drama a lot more recently, mainly courtesy of Zhuixinfan. I'm re-watching 相棒 S15 with J-subs, and am also working on 地味にすごい! and 東京タラレバ娘. I'm getting anywhere between 40 and 60 minutes of NHK News every day on the commute into work as well. I *really* want to bump my listening up a level before I take JLPT1 in July in Tokyo.

One goal I haven't met yet: Taking one morning a week to work on ドリルとドリル 聴解 exercises. Will see what headway I make this week.

Writing: I've been primarily posting to my Facebook page, along with an Ameblo post or two. I wrote about half a page more of my short story, but don't like the dark direction I was going, so I'm trying to think of something lighter-hearted and whimsical.

I'm finding that I'm de-emphasizing writing right now, as there are still huge areas in my input I want to work on. Listening and reading are more the priority until I feel like I've "bumped up" to the next level of fluency. (Don't ask me to define that; it's like porn - I'll know it when I see it.)
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#27
Update

Limited time today to finish up some reading, so I'll make this quick. 

General: I was jazzed this week when I went to a Meetup, and saw an American who I had met at another Meetup three years ago. At the time, I thought his Japanese was way better than mine (it was). After a couple of hours of convo, we ran into each other on the way back from the bathroom, and he said, "Your Japanese is really good, man!" I was stoked. I know I've come along way, but it's great to have that independent confirmation occasionally that you're making real progress. 

I was pinged by a recruiter on LinkedIn about a possible job working for the Japanese branch of an American company. Not sure a career move is the right thing for me right now, and I'm pretty sure they'll decline my request to work primarily out of Seattle and commute to Tokyo as needed. But, hey, you don't get what you want if you never ask for it, so I put it out there and will see what happens. 

Vocab: Over 1,300 words active at the moment. It feels very reasonable adding 20 words/day. I find that it still keeps my reviews under 30 minutes, while also feeling like I'm making significant progress in growing my vocab. 

I've started adding full names of famous people to my deck as well to help with reading name kanji.  

Anki stats (uploading this to my public S3 bucket, which should be more stable than the Amazon Drive links): 

[Image: Anki+2+11+2017.png]

Reading: Decent. I should end the week around 180 pages. A bit shy of the 200 pages I wanted to read per week, so I'll need to step it up. Edit: Made it to 200 pages!! Deadlines are very motivating.

I really want to push and get through 百夜行 next week while I'm traveling, but with 400+ pages remaining, that's probably a long shot.

Writing: Sadly, not much, as it's been a very busy week. I have a couple of story ideas, but they're not coming together in my head the way I want them to. (One feels too dark for my writing style, and another one is more attuned with my humor and sense of whimsy, but doesn't have a clear structure yet.) I'm going to try and start just writing the first part of one next week, and see how it goes. I'll also try and make a post to my Ameblo blog when I'm on the road tomorrow. 

While writing is one of my primary goals, I'm fine with my level of output at the moment, as I feel I'm still trying to enhance my reading speed and bone up on vocab and grammar ahead of the N1. If I pass N1 in July, I'll definitely want to increase my written output, assuming my schedule allows it. 

Speaking: Participated in a Japanese Meetup with my wife last night that lasted three hours. My wife made a new friend (one of her first in the area since she moved here!), and we drove her to the bus stop afterwards. That combined with conversations during the week means I probably put in about 5-6 hours of speaking. I have a work conference next week where I'll be able to hang with my Japanese colleagues, so I should get some good convo in there as well.

Overall, I'm still satisfied with the level of spoken exposure I'm getting, and haven't felt tempted to acknowledge iTalki's nag-mails urging me to "not neglect my language studies". OBVIOUSLY they're not reading my journal!

Listening: Crap, almost forgot listening! Also no lack of input here. The wife and I are watching several series actively - 相棒, 東京タラれば娘, 地味にすごい!, and the very fun 嫌われる勇気 - so I'm getting at least four hours of drama a week, plus news on the way to work. I'm going to grab a few more shows for possible watching on the road this week.
Edited: 2017-02-12, 12:38 am
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#28
Useful link - I can't believe I've gone this long without it, but here's a nice link about how to pronounce various mathematical symbols in Japanese.

http://izumi-math.jp/sanae/report/suusiki/suusiki.htm
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#29
(2017-02-15, 9:53 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: Useful link - I can't believe I've gone this long without it, but here's a nice link about how to pronounce various mathematical symbols in Japanese.

http://izumi-math.jp/sanae/report/suusiki/suusiki.htm

Sweet link! I learned the basic ones from my tutor (add, subtract, multiply, divide, fractions), but all of the others were new. Going to shove these into Anki, I think.
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#30
Update 

I've been thinking a lot lately about how glad I am that I've focused on comprehensive input. I have several friends now who are learning Japanese, have Japanese spouses, and in a couple of cases even live in Japan; yet by even their own admission, their Japanese isn't at the same level as mine, although many of them arguably have more opportunity to use it. I definitely attribute that to constant exposure to native input. 

Yes, forcing yourself into conversation at even an early stage of your studies can be useful. But in terms of improving my speaking ability, having solid material to model has felt more valuable than anything else. I frequently run across things I'm reading and think to myself, "THAT'S how you say that!" I usually spend a few minutes pronouncing the sentence myself, and sometimes even capture it in a document window for later recitation. It feels like that does more to enhance my speaking ability than engaging in dozens of repetitive conversations. 

Not a scientific observation by any means - just my personal feeling based on observing my own progress vs. that of others on a similar path. 

Reading: 298 pages (!!). I ended up getting injured while on a business trip to Vegas, and am still stuck here until tomorrow am. On the plus side, it's meant a lot of time reading in bed, hence the massive progress: I read a little over 100 pages yesterday. 

The suck thing is, I'm STILL not finished with motherf-ing 百夜行. Looks like I still have another 170 pages or so to go. And now I'm at the point where I just want to tear through it and see how the damn thing ends. I'm going to see how much I can put down today and tonight, maybe while enjoying a nice Manhattan in the downstairs bar.  (Yeah, life is good.) 

Vocab: Still keeping the Anki faith, much to my own surprise. 20 new/day, and almost 1500 active words in the study hopper atm. Current deck is 107 days old, with a combined 30 hours of study.

This week's status: 

[Image: Anki+2+19+2017.png]

Listening: A dip, I think. My attention for podcasts is pretty short atm. I'm mainly keeping up with the same three shows - 相棒、東京タラレバ娘、and 嫌われる勇気.

Writing: Admittedly not much outside of Facebook posts. I'm still more in the mode of trying to read extensively. I am starting a story right now, but am not sure how much time I'll be able to dump into that this coming week. I'm on vacation next week,  and will see about making some more writing progress then.
Edited: 2017-02-19, 7:40 pm
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#31
(2017-02-19, 7:38 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: Reading: 298 pages (!!). I ended up getting injured while on a business trip to Vegas, and am still stuck here until tomorrow am. On the plus side, it's meant a lot of time reading in bed, hence the massive progress: I read a little over 100 pages yesterday.

That is just amazing.  That's 298 pages of comprehensive input!  I'm so happy for you.  Hopefully for the day when I could knock out that much reading in a week.

As far as reading speed/ease how would you compare to english?  I'm guessing if you can read that much in a week, it feels like you are 'just reading' and you can get enveloped in the story rather than the 'deciphering a foreign code' feeling I get when I read..

btw, thanks for what you wrote about comprehensive input.  That's making even more interested in maximizing comprehensive input into my curriculum.
Edited: Yesterday, 2:47 pm
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#32
(Yesterday, 2:45 pm)yogert909 Wrote:
(2017-02-19, 7:38 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: Reading: 298 pages (!!). I ended up getting injured while on a business trip to Vegas, and am still stuck here until tomorrow am. On the plus side, it's meant a lot of time reading in bed, hence the massive progress: I read a little over 100 pages yesterday.

That is just amazing.  That's 298 pages of comprehensive input!  I'm so happy for you.  Hopefully for the day when I could knock out that much reading in a week.

As far as reading speed/ease how would you compare to english?  I'm guessing if you can read that much in a week, it feels like you are 'just reading' and you can get enveloped in the story rather than the 'deciphering a foreign code' feeling I get when I read..

btw, thanks for what you wrote about comprehensive input.  That's making even more interested in maximizing comprehensive input into my curriculum.

Thanks! And I'm glad this update was useful. I'm glad I can occasionally post something that's of benefit to other learners.

Japanese reading is definitely still slower than English reading. With English, I can let my attention drift a little more and still feel like I'm understanding what's passing by my eyes. If I do that with Japanese, I'm lost after about five sentences. 

That said, my reading has definitely gotten faster, but part of that is that I've been keeping myself at the level of actual, comprehensible input. During the last Tadoku, I realized I was reading something above my level (too many known vocab words, too much teen slang grammar). That was about the same time I went on my current Higashino Keigo kick, as I realized I could read one of his shorter novels in about 3-4 days. (NOT the case with 百夜行, which is about 862 pages and which I've been reading since January 31st. It's like reading four of his books slammed into one monster-book. But I digress.)

Another deciding factor has been Yomichan. I've mostly been reading books in txt format converted to HTML using JNovelFormatter. I don't have the type of personality where I can easily ignore words I don't know, and Yomichan allows me to look up the definition quickly and add it straight to Anki. That, combined with daily study of Anki, combined with extensive reading - which re-exposes me to words I already know - has helped me greatly increase my vocab, which in turn makes reading easier and easier as time goes on.
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#33
I'm really enjoying your posts! I'm barely hanging in there when it comes to reading and adding vocab right now, but I hope to be able to apply more of your tips in future.
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