Japanese Language Study Log: gaiaslastlaugh

Weekly update from the virtual hikikomori basement. 

This was a good week in which I feel like I made all of my goals without killing myself. I feel like I was reading *so* much in Tokyo, during Tadoku, and during the hangover week afterwards that I was starting to feel the effects of hunkering over a book for eight weeks straight in my back and shoulders. This week felt a lot more restrained and even. 

Reading: I vowed to step off the gas pedal this week and back down to 200-250 pages/week. I clocked in at 294.8. I don't think it's because I spent an abnormal amount of time on reading; rather, I think my reading speed is getting faster as I plow through more material. I'm able to read about 30 pages of my current book in less than two hours every am. 

By my calculations, I've read 5,862 pages so far this year, so I'm glad I finally feel like it's having a positive effect. 

I didn't finish a full book this week, which I think is the first time this has happened since Tadoku. I'm about 180+ pages into 君の膵臓を食べたい、and should finish this week. Next up is 三日間の幸福

I'd really like to feel I can get back soon to the 掟上今日子  books, but I feel I need a little more exposure to the type of book I'm reading now before 西尾維新's style starts to feel more comfortable for me.

日本語の森: Keeping up my commitment to at least one ep/day. I'm now up to lesson 22/40. At this point, I feel like I owe Hina-chan a 年賀状 or something at year's end. All example sentences are going into The World's Tiniest Anki Deck (see below) for eventual drilling. 

Writing: Well over 1,000 characters, including an Ameblo post and a steady stream of Instagram posts. I'm trying to keep up a rhythm of getting one long blog post a week posted. 

I also just discovered today that there's a Japanese-English bilingual Toastmasters club (乾杯トーストマスターズ) in my area. I plan to check it out the weekend of the 22nd, which is their next meeting.

World's Tiniest Anki Deck: As documented earlier, I have a small Anki deck with cloze sentences containing phrases or words or colocations I want to be able to use in my own speech and writing. So far I've been able to keep my use of this deck to <15 min./day. I'm reviewing past unknown vocab by going back to Kindle books I've read and reviewing sentences w/ highlighted words. Some of these sentences may eventually make their way into the deck. 

Listening: My wife and a few variety. Also got my wife into the first season of K-On!, so we've been watching that on Animelon. The summer dramas have started kicking in and are trickling in to Zhuixinfan, so I think we may take a swing tonight at watching うちの夫は仕事ができない.
Edited: 2017-07-09, 5:29 pm
Weekly update from a galaxy far, far away...

日本語の森- Eh. I missed a few days, and am at episode 28. It's gotten less interesting, as they abandoned the traditional teacher format in exchange for a cheesy green screen, and are no longer offering full example sentences that are easy to plop into Anki. I'm soldiering on in the hopes they revert format by the end.

Reading - 274.6 pages; 6,132.5 pages for the year. I finished 君の膵臓をたべたい in a huge burst this week, reading 84 pages in a single day (!). I then switched back to 不祥事 by Ikeido Jun, which I stopped reading in March, and finished the last 40% of that.

I'd definitely recommend 君の膵臓 to anyone who likes slice of life relationship stories; this is a well told one with distinct characters and deep relationships.

不祥事 is a collection of short stories focused on the character Hanasaki Mai, and formed the basis of the drama 花咲舞が黙っていない! starring An. I like Hanasaki as a character, but the short story format in this one left me feeling flat; some of the stories were somewhat loosely connected to each other, but in the end the common thread among them didn't amount to much. I liked 俺たち花のバブル組 and its protagonist, Hansawa, a lot more.

We have Ikeido Jun's latest, あきらとアキラ, in the house, but it's intimidating with its financial language (which I'm getting accustomed to) and its 800+ page run-length (dear God). While Ikeido's work is getting easier for me, I think I want to hold off on that particular challenge for a couple of months. Instead, I'm reading また、同じ夢を見ていた by Sumino Yoru, the author of 君の膵臓. I'm thinking after that I'll finally get X容疑者の献身 by Higashino Keigo out of the way.

Writing - Really weak this week (weak week - HAAAAA!).  I had a busy week at work and home, so only got out a few Instagram posts and a single Bookmeter review. I'm going to work today on a blog post for posting by EOD in order to help catch up. I also have the outline of a very short story in my head that I want to try and start writing as practice in writing fiction in Japanese. We'll see how far I get with that.

Listening - lots of listening to my 身近の先生 (my wife); less news and TV than usual. We're slated to watch a few hours of variety later today, and I'll try and getting into the swing more this week by downloading some shows from for the work commutes.

World's Smallest Anki Deck - 185 clozed sentences; 42 not active. Still proceeding at a light pace here to keep reviews sane.

Once I get to a good point with my current reading level, I'm considering using Anki for slightly different purposes going forward as well. I think up until now the most progress I've made has been through what I call a Read-Study-Read model. To wit, I read an article or story intensively to get the major flow of it, and to find and record unknowns; I study the unknowns (using pen and paper, or Anki, or Midori, or whatever); and, finally, I re-read the original work one or two more times to help reinforce the new words in context. There are some Wikipedia articles on history and other subjects I want to tackle, and I think using Anki for this purpose would be very productive. So the work would be:
  • Intensively read an article on, e.g., 坂本龍馬, using Yomichan to look up words and add them to an Anki deck. 
  • Study the words in the Anki deck for a few days. 
  • Come back to the article and re-read it extensively. 
  • Reset the Anki deck completely, and start with another article or set of related articles. 
I'll try out this method for these more advanced materials when I feel like I have time/energy for intensive study. Right now, I feel like I've made the correct decision to focus on the basics. I feel like my extensive reading has started to solidify a lot of words and grammar that I knew, but only at a light, superficial, "gimme a few seconds to think about what that means" level.

That's all for now. Back to work!
(2017-07-16, 4:03 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: [*]Reset the Anki deck completely, and start with another article or set of related articles. 
You might want to consider re-reading the article again weeks or months later.  If the words you studied aren't very frequent, they may fall out of your long term memory after a while with no reinforcement.  Re-reading the article at a later date will help with retention and it'll take a lot less time reading the 2nd and 3rd times

I've been doing something similar with my jpod101 dialogs.  I have a separate deck with one learning step and a 14 day graduating interval and I always press "good". All told, I end up reading the same dialog about 4-5 times in a year and I really think the subsequent readings are very effective at cementing vocabulary.
Edited: 2017-07-19, 8:04 pm