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Japanese Language Study Log: gaiaslastlaugh

#51
Update

I'm in Sydney for the week, and really need to get some work-work done as well as study-work done. So, naturally, I'm here updating my diary instead. #時間を潰す

Nothing confirmed yet, but it looks like I may be going to Japan one or two additional times this year for work. One of the managers in the Tokyo office resigned, and I've been asked to drop in and pinch-hit a few times until they find a replacement. I'm both excited and terrified. Confused   It's definitely motivating me to keep up with my studies. And I'm hoping the experience leads me to a job more intimately related to the Japanese side of our business down the road.

On to the stats...

Vocab: Up to 2,147 active cards in my deck, with about 14 left in today's Unseen queue. I did a big spate of reading of 天声人語 this week, leading to a mini-spike in new cards, but reviews are still incredibly balanced at around 100-140/day. 

I added the sentence for my cards to the front of the card last week. I find it comes in really useful when I don't necessarily know a word off of the top of my head, but know it well enough to recall it from context. If I do know a word off the top of my head, I skip reading the sentence; otherwise, it will take double/triple the time it usually takes to complete my deck. 

Reading: 277 pages. Not a record, but a good showing nonetheless! I read (and finished) 150 pages of 嫌われる勇気 on the plane ride back from Haneda, and tore through three volumes of 東京タラレバ娘, plus a bunch of 天声人語 and 社説 as well. Hoping I can keep up the pace during my down time in AU.

Listening: Took a little bit of a dip this week as the winter TV season came to an end. I'm trying to practice ub-subbed listening a little more atm. My listening diet is mostly the hour-long daily news broadcast on TV Japan, episodes of スッキリ! when I have the time to tune in, and the most recent episodes of 月曜から夜ふかし on DailyMotion.

Production: I had an AWESOME week of production while in Japan, including business conversations, discussions with my wife's family, and an almost 2 hour long convo with the waiter at a horse meat sake bar in Ebisu (definitely my most interesting experience while in Tokyo).

This week, I managed to post two new reviews to Bookmeter (https://bookmeter.com/users/388077). (As a small point of pride, my best-rated review currently is my review of ラブゴンドラ by 東野圭吾, which has received 28 likes.) I only did a few Facebook updates; however, I also managed to write about 600 characters of an essay that I'm hoping to finish up and give to my wife for proofreading this week. I'm eventually hoping to produce something good enough that I feel confident in submitting it to Storys.jp or a similar site.

Also, because I'll be called on to use my conversational skills a little more this year, I've also decided to add in some iTalki sessions again, this time with a community tutor. Community tutor lessons are cheap, and it gives me an hour of dedicated discussion on the topics of my choice. I'm hoping I can spend the time discussing op eds and current events, which my wife (Kannon-sama bless her) has little interest in.
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#52
A really quick update, just so people don't think I've died/giving up Japanese/been pressed into Witness Relocation, etc.

I've had a busy two weeks. My Sydney trip was great, but was largely work + hanging with my team. I made the most progress on the plane rides to and from Australia.

On the plus side, I had to change my plans to go to Japan for to weeks in May. I.e., I'm now going for THREE weeks! The manger of our Japanese training team quit, and as the only Japanese-speaking US technical person, I was asked to go over and assist with a major product launch. So I'll be arriving in Tokyo May 13th, working a week, taking a week of vacation as discussed in a previous thread, and then working a major technical conference in Tokyo the week after that. I'll be back stateside June 4th.

Given this, I've made a shift in my studies: I've decided to drop down my weekly reading goal to around 150 pages, and increase my listening time to about 10 hours/week. I feel like my listening has not kept stride with my reading, and I want to ensure I can process everything that's going on around me, especially in a fast paced business environment.

So, with that recalibration, a short summary:

Vocab: Up t,o 2,263 words in my deck. I'm throwing in a lot from the history book that I picked up at the Gotanda Book-Off (早わかり日本史), as well as a ton of proper and place names, which are still my reading Achilles' Heel. I've added about 120 cards or so in two weeks. I'm fine with that.

Reading: Still knocked off 186 pages last week despite my shift to listening. I slammed through all eight volumes of 東京タラレバ娘. I'm dedicating myself to reading 10-12 pages of 朝日新聞 daily, including four articles, 天声人語, and a 社説. I'm not sure how busy I'll be in the next few weeks, but hoping I can get through at least one more of the books on my stack before month's end.

Listening: Ramping this up with daily NHK News recorded off of TV Japan, which I can watch on my Xfinity app on the shuttle ride to and from work. The spring TV season has started, and I've dived into a few shows:

人は見た目が100% - I really don't understand the appeal of ブルゾンちえみ's comedy, but I like her and the rest of the cast here, even though 桐谷美玲 is playing the same mousy character she always plays in these things. Wait...WHY do I like this again? Eh...it has some funny moments, and it's 50 minutes of immersion.
僕、運命の人です - This one's actually good. Story about a character who's told by God that he's destined to marry the woman who works in the next door office, and who then proceeds to hit on her in the creepiest way possible.
母になる and リバース - Haven't really started on these yet.
真昼の悪魔 - From last season; wrapping this up now. It's *weird*, man. If you're into sometimes creepy and predictable Japanese soft-core TV horror, this might be for you. I can't decide if it's actually good, or if I'm just fascinated with the main character and the campiness of it all.

I've also been inspired by America's disastrous remake to spend some study time on the original 攻殻機動隊. Not very far into this yet, but hope to make some headway on a day off this week.

Production: Lesson once a week with my iTalki teacher. Usual discussions with the wife, including some heavy family stuff that's forcing me to stretch my speaking skills. A few random posts on FB, but not enough IMO.

That's all. Like I said, lightning-quick. More next time.
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#53
The obligatory "so no one thinks I'm dead" update. I have a lot going on, so I'll likely be streamlining down to an update every two weeks. I might do more later in May, as I'll be in Japan for over three weeks and will likely have a lot to share. The wife and I are planning to score a pair of Japan Rail Passes during my week off, and we plan to travel around to Hakone, Kanazawa, Kyouto and Ousaka, at a minimum. 

Vocab: Over 2,400 cards. I've found that reading names is now getting a LOT easier because I've entered so many name and place cards into my deck. 

Reading: Staying around the 150 page mark, including subs from Zhuixinfan., I'm reading almost exclusively news and blogs at the moment in order to keep up with news and trends in Japanese culture. I imagine this will serve me very well when it comes time to take the JLPT, but I'm mainly doing it because I enjoy it. 

I've managed to reduce my extracurricular English reading to almost nothing; it's almost all Japanese outside of work (and even some Japanese *inside* of work when it's relevant to my job). Sadly, my "extracurricular English reading" also includes this forum. I hope to get back to participating more regularly in the future, but for now I'm devoting myself to leveling up prior to December's N1. 

Listening: The spring TV season is in full swing, and I have a large backlog of shows I want to watch. I watched around 6-7 hours of TV last week, plus watched the hour-long NHK news segment every day. I'm loading some of the more interesting dramas onto my iPhone for repeated listening practice. I'm WAY behind on 月曜から夜ふかし, and am aiming to watch some this weekend.

For those who are interested, I'm posting mini-reviews of good dramas to my Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/jptranslated), but the ones we're watching regularly atm are: 

緊急取調室
人は見た目が100%
小さな巨人
ボク、運命の人です
女囚7

I also enjoyed the two-part movie 女の勲章, a fashion-oriented drama based in the post-war period. I still have to watch LEADERS, but the little I've seen so far is intriguing.

Ones I've passed on as too depressing or dumb were 母になる, あなたのこと、それほど (depressing), and 貴族探偵 (dumb). I still have yet to see リバース and 犯罪症候群.

Production: I tried iTalki again, but I'm getting really bored of teacher/student sessions, and I'm not really interested in language exchange. (I'm a selfish bastard, I guess - I'd rather be speaking to people with minimal English skills.) Instead I'm trying to talk more with my wife and friends. I've also re-activated my Twitter account, and created a separate Japanese-only account that I'm aiming to write a little to every day. I've found just replying to people who I already follow, or engaging some of the people they follow in conversation, has resulted in some really cool exchanges.
Edited: 2017-05-03, 11:56 pm
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#54
Did you just make your own names/places Anki deck? I'm struggling to improve my recognition in that area when reading.
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#55
(2017-04-30, 7:09 pm)TheVinster Wrote: Did you just make your own names/places Anki deck? I'm struggling to improve my recognition in that area when reading.

Yes - I just add it to my primary deck so it becomes part of my normal study. Yomichan can pick up place names and many famous and semi-famous people's names, so it's been rare I've had to create a card completely by hand. When I first study the card, I add key details to it (a picture of the person or the place location on a map, plus the first line of its wikipedia entry) to aid in memorization.
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#56
Update

I just landed in Japan for a three-week stint - two weeks of work and an interspersed week of vacation and fun. This will be the last update I do until I'm stateside again. 

I'm taking this trip to reset a few things. I've been fooling around with some other projects, which has distracted me from my stated purpose when I started this thread - i.e., to write stories in Japanese. Reflecting on it, I think I shirked from the immensity of this task, and started focusing on things I thought might be easier. I hope to take some time next week and this week during evenings to do a little writing. I'm also going to put my focus back on reading books, using dramas and movies to help with my listening. I saw an ad in the paper this morning for a book that looks really intriguing (かがみの孤城 by 辻村深月); I'm going to pick it up as soon as the bookstore at the Meguro Atre opens and see how it goes.

The other thing I'm resetting is my health. I've been doing well lately with meditation, but I've completely let my health go - too much eating and drinking, and too little exercise. I'm aiming for a long walk every day that I'm here, and am going to stick to a nice, healthy Japanese diet. (I'll be damned if I'm limiting my consumption of 日本酒, however; those calories will just have to be compensated for somewhere else.)

Vocab - Up to 2,673 words in my deck. This is almost 300 more than I reported two weeks ago. I'm adding a little more than usual as I've been diving into harder material, such as Wikipedia articles on Japanese history. I also took some time on the trip here to dive into a history book I bought on my last trip (早わかり日本史), which devotes a few pages toward each era, and have been intensive reading it in order to mine names and historic terms that have so far been a mystery to me.

Unfortunately, it seems like I'm also marked Missed lately on a lot more mature cards. My recall rate yesterday on mature words was 67%. Ouch. As a result, my # of pending reviews is creeping up hard. I may be forcd to suspend adding new cards soon until things settle back down.

Reading - I decided a few weeks ago to drop down to about 150 pages/week. I may ramp back up to 200, given my stated goals above; it depends how much time I have to balance writing with reading this week.

JLPT - I'm on a grammar kick recently, revisiting some things I studied over a year ago. I'm doing a little grammar practice - particularly, I'm reviewing some grammar questions in the Shinkanzen Master and Drill & Drill books, and using it to reference points I may have forgotten. Beyond that, I'm honestly not directly studying for the thing. I'm instead focusing on total immersion, and letting that take care of the rest.

Listening - Going well, though I'm still looking to make some sort of dramatic leap in my listening abilities. I'm watching four or five shows with J-subs thanks to the absolute gods who run Zhuixinfan. (I posted a review of some of the shows I'm watching on a separate thread.) As I watch a show, when I find an interesting one with "hard" spots that I want to listen to again, I load it onto OPlayer on my phone. OPlayer has the ability to set A/B stops for repeat listening, and then save the clip you've created in a playlist. So I have this growing playlist of dialogue with J-subs that I can listen to again and again. I find this a little more engaging than something like Subs2SRS, as it keeps more context of what I'm watching. It's also a lot faster to create clips, and it doesn't require hard subs (hard subs and soft subs both work equally well with this method).

Writing - I've been doing at least a little every day on Instagram and Facebook. As noted above, I hope to get some writing in next week while on vacation. That may seem like a waste of a trip to Japan, but honestly, having a week with just my wife and no other outside distractions is a perfect time to focus on this.

Welp, that's enough English for three weeks. Peace out, 諸君!
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#57
Okay, I'm a liar - want to post a short update due to changes in my routine.

I've decided for at least the next month to abandon my Anki deck and focus more on comprehensible input. I feel it's sucking up too much time now, and I'd rather work on reinforcing what I know. I'm still keeping track of unknowns using Midori, and am using Midori's flashcard function to run through a few words once or twice a day when I'm bored or in transit to somewhere. That feels less...penalizing? demoralizing? than using Anki can feel on some days.

The last time I tried this I felt like my Japanese didn't progress as much as it could have. However, I also wasn't tracking my reading at the time, so I want to take another shot at it now that I have a reading log.

Last week was pretty amazing. I spent a lot of time at work both reading and producing Japanese, helping our US and Japan teams deal together with issues that arose in one of our new products. A lot of my free time was spent eating out with Japanese friends, or overcoming my fear of the unknown and going by myself to some of the izakaya around Meguro-eki. (Ping me if you need recs; I feel like I've eaten at about every izakaya here by this point.)

Reading was 288 pages. And I think that's conservative, as I didn't count work reading. I returned to novels and ripped through 220 pages of かがみの孤城, which I bought on impulse after seeing an ad in 読売新聞. It's an interesting middle school tale about kids who don't go to school who are offered a gateway into a magic castle. The story's less about fantasy and more about how the characters' own internal struggles, which is my cup of team. I also bought the latest 東野圭吾 novels, as well as the original novel of リバース.

I'll post an update next Sunday if time permits.
Edited: 2017-05-20, 5:46 pm
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#58
(2017-05-20, 5:45 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: A lot of my free time was spent eating out with Japanese friends, or overcoming my fear of the unknown and going by myself to some of the izakaya around Meguro-eki. (Ping me if you need recs; I feel like I've eaten at about every izakaya here by this point.)
I suppose you go alone to izakayas to meet people and have conversations? If so, is there any places you find are better for this than others? I`m not terribly confident about going out alone and moreover don`t find Tokyo to be the easiest place to get to talk to strangers - but I would like to meet a lot of different people and get out and use my Japanese more!
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#59
(2017-05-21, 7:31 pm)Hinsudesu Wrote:
(2017-05-20, 5:45 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: A lot of my free time was spent eating out with Japanese friends, or overcoming my fear of the unknown and going by myself to some of the izakaya around Meguro-eki. (Ping me if you need recs; I feel like I've eaten at about every izakaya here by this point.)
I suppose you go alone to izakayas to meet people and have conversations? If so, is there any places you find are better for this than others? I`m not terribly confident about going out alone and moreover don`t find Tokyo to be the easiest place to get to talk to strangers - but I would like to meet a lot of different people and get out and use my Japanese more!

Partly for that and partly just because I love Nihonshu :Smile Between existing friends, work, and my wife, I'm not starved for good convo. 

It took me a while to get it of my own head and overcome that fear of diving into an unknown environment. While I do talk to other customers occasionally, I find myself more often talking to the employees. There's almost always someone working the counter who's intrigued that a Japanese speaking american has shown up, and that leads to a lot of interesting convos.

I've also been considering attending other semi social events such a short meditation circles, book clubs, etc. Haven't talked tried that yet though.
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