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Japanese Language Study Log: gaiaslastlaugh

#1
Hoping to keep this thread updated once every week or two weeks with current progress, study materials, alteration in methods, etc. Feel free to start your own!

私の日本語の生活 (External Links)

Bookmeter - what I've read, what I'm reading
Reading Log (Google Spreadsheet; open to public viewing)
Facebook (Japanese posts)

How I Started 

I've been interested in Japanese since I was in middle school and saw my first undubbed anime (it was 科学忍者隊ガッチャマン). I didn't do much with this passion until a mid-life crisis moment in 2012 when I realized I was playing too much Halo and needed some sort of larger purpose. I decided to re-invest my efforts into studying Japanese...which brought me to this forum and its abundance of resources.

I believe in the comprehensible input hypothesis. So I started out with some beginner and intermediate textbooks, found simple texts that I was motivated to read (mainly 昔話), and used those to start creating my own vocab decks. At the same time, I used RtK near the beginning to develop stories and make the kanji stick in my head better. Once I developed more of a foundation in the language, I kept using the same strategy: pick up something from native language, study the vocab and grammar in it, and bring it to the point where it became "comprehensible".

Where I'm At

Using this approach, I passed JLPT N2 in December 2014, and am now at the level where I can read light novels and a good number of adult novels without too much difficulty. I watch shows like 相棒 and 結婚できない男, and can always follow the story. I read at least three news articles each day, including 天声人語 and the occasional 社説.

Goals

My goal is to be able to write fiction and nonfiction in Japanese. Pretty lofty, and it will likely consume the rest of my lifespan reaching it. I've made peace with this decision. At least I have something to do that keeps me busy and off the streets.

Currently (03/06/2017), my goals are:
  • Reading: 200 pages/week. 
  • Listening: 6 hours/week. 
  • Writing: 1,000 characters/week, split between Facebook and offline writing. 
  • Grammar: One Advanced topic from imabi.net each week. 
Life goals that I strive to complete in order to support my Japanese goals: 
  • Diet: Eat healthy (salads, lean meat, few bread-y carbs) 
  • Exercise: At least meet my Fitbit goals (10k steps/day, 13 flights of stairs); also aim to make it to the gym twice/week. 
  • Coffee: Cut down to two cups/daily. 
  • Meditation: At least five minutes/day, either sitting or while walking.

Updates on methods, progress, etc. to follow...
Edited: 2017-03-06, 8:46 pm
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#2
I didn't know about Bookmeter, that site is great! I created an account and will try to keep it updated.

Good luck with your studies, it sounds like what you're doing is working really well for you.
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#3
(2017-01-07, 7:46 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
  • MAYBE take the N1 in December. Still iffy on this.

I don't know why you're iffy. If you're regularly reading 天声人語 and various 社説, then you're regularly reading exactly the material that will be on future JLPT tests (of course, you never know which articles will be turned into test material, or how much editing they'll undergo to be .... testified. Objection, Your Honor! That's not how that word is used!)

Ahem. Anyway. If you have any interest in getting the certificate, then you might as well take the test. If you keep your existing study plan throughout the year, you'll very likely pass. The level that N1 tests for is basically 'can you understand a straightforward conversation in a drama if you aren't looking at the screen?' and 'can you read an average 社説 without opening the dictionary?'. If this is how you've been practicing for two years since passing N2, then I'd be surprised if aren't already at the level needed to pass.
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#4
(2017-01-07, 10:30 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote:
(2017-01-07, 7:46 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
  • MAYBE take the N1 in December. Still iffy on this.

I don't know why you're iffy. If you're regularly reading 天声人語 and various 社説, then you're regularly reading exactly the material that will be on future JLPT tests (of course, you never know which articles will be turned into test material, or how much editing they'll undergo to be .... testified. Objection, Your Honor! That's not how that word is used!)

Now now, don't get test-y. (Sorry, couldn't resist...)

I guess I fear listening. There are still times when a whole chunk of conversation will fly past me. I had that experience even on the N2, and felt sometimes like I was reduced to making my "best guess". OTOH, I also scored a 51/60 on the N2 聴解, so maybe it's just all in my head.

At any rate, I'd like to focus on input and increasing my production this year, and just not worry about the test. It's not important for either personal objectives or work at the moment.
Edited: 2017-01-07, 10:52 pm
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#5
(2017-01-07, 7:46 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: I've been interested in Japanese since I was in middRe school and saw my first undubbed anime (it was 科学忍者隊ガッチャマン).

I've had 科学忍者隊ガッチャマン on my to-watch list for a while. I've heard it's great though Smile (I have a particular interest in anime from the 70s/80s).
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#6
(2017-01-07, 10:52 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2017-01-07, 10:30 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote:
(2017-01-07, 7:46 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
  • MAYBE take the N1 in December. Still iffy on this.

I don't know why you're iffy. If you're regularly reading 天声人語 and various 社説, then you're regularly reading exactly the material that will be on future JLPT tests (of course, you never know which articles will be turned into test material, or how much editing they'll undergo to be .... testified. Objection, Your Honor! That's not how that word is used!)

Now now, don't get test-y. (Sorry, couldn't resist...)

I guess I fear listening. There are still times when a whole chunk of conversation will fly past me. I had that experience even on the N2, and felt sometimes like I was reduced to making my "best guess". OTOH, I also scored a 51/60 on the N2 聴解, so maybe it's just all in my head.

At any rate, I'd like to focus on input and increasing my production this year, and just not worry about the test. It's not important for either personal objectives or work at the moment.

FWIW, I have taken N1 multiple times (1kyuu in 2009, N1 in 2014 and again in 2016) and I passed the first two times even though my listening was just barely passable. In 2014, I think my percentage for listening was something like 43% while minimum passing for the section is 40%. :-) If I fail N1 this time around (no results yet) it will most likely be because I failed listening. My listening skills are abysmal, and all my efforts to improve them without living in the country have failed. Someday it will click, maybe, but that is not the hill I want to die on today.

All of which is to say, don't be too scared of listening if your reading is strong. It sounds like your listening skills are far better than mine. But I get what you say about not wanting to worry about the test. Might as well forget about it until September rolls around (assuming your first chance at the test is Dec). Good luck with your studies!
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#7
Diary Update

Someone in PM asked how I structured/used Anki, so I thought I'd lay out my current Anki philosophy. 

Some basic points, all culled from the wonderful advice on this forum: 
  • Anki should be a supplement to my vocab learning, not the sole source of it. The primary way I learn vocab is through mass exposure; Anki is there to help fill in the gaps for less frequently encountered words. 
  • If I ever feel like Anki's controlling me instead of vice versa (e.g., I feel overwhelmed by reviews), then there's something wrong with my Anki settings/usage, and I need to recalibrate.
  • Self-made decks are best. They let me focus in on the words that are important to me, and to elaborate on them with supplementary detail. 
I've come to these principles through many cycles of using, discarding, and returning to Anki. I've tried to make it without Anki in the past, but ultimately I don't feel I learn vocab as fast as when I'm supplementing my immersion with it. As a result, my current deck is small - started just in November and with only 1017 words currently (but growing rapidly). 

Cards are simple: 

Front: Term
Back: Term, reading, J-def, E-def, picture, sentence, source

I've used Epwing2Anki in the past to source cards, but lately I've been adding them all using Yomichan. If I find a word in a book or other offline resource, I look it up on http://yourei.jp, and use Yomichan from there to grab the word along with a good example sentence. (For Tadoku reading, I highlight words in my Kindle app, and Yomichan them after I'm done with the book.) 

I don't add any new cards automatically; new cards are added through custom study only. When I add a new card, I take the time to find a picture to accompany it (when possible), and if time permits, look up the J-def or E-def, depending on which one I sourced from Yomichan. When time permits, I can add 20 or 25 words a day, but if I'm busy with something else (like Tadoku), I drop it to 10. If I get over 100 reviews or so, I don't add any new cards; I wait for some of my current cards to "settle" back into a mature state.

Learning steps: 0.5 15 60 180 600 1440. These are based off of suggestions from yogert909, but slightly modified (I believe his original suggestion was 0.5 3 15 60 180 540 1440). These steps plus the research I put into new cards means I gain some familiarity and depth with new words, rather than just regarding them as one new card on the pile. 

My current Anki stats (will post once a month or so): 

[Image: thumb?viewBox=1305]
Edited: 2017-01-08, 11:16 am
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#8
Thank you for this helpful information about Anki. It's a challenge for many of us so this kind of advice is key.
Edited: 2017-01-08, 4:00 pm by ファブリス
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#9
(2017-01-07, 7:46 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: ...

Goals

My goal is to be able to write fiction and nonfiction in Japanese. Pretty lofty, and it will likely consume the rest of my lifespan reaching it. I've made peace with this decision. At least I have something to do that keeps me busy and off the streets.

...

I just wanted to say that this goal is awesome. I for one really look forward to following along with this.

There's a large industry of "people writing about Japan in English". Some of it by Japanese, some of it by non-Japanese.

I've always been curious to read the stuff about Japan written in Japanese (both by Japanese and non-Japanese).

I'm pretty far from being able to do that. But it's a nice long-term goal for me.
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#10
(2017-01-08, 3:52 pm)ariariari Wrote:
(2017-01-07, 7:46 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: ...

Goals

My goal is to be able to write fiction and nonfiction in Japanese. Pretty lofty, and it will likely consume the rest of my lifespan reaching it. I've made peace with this decision. At least I have something to do that keeps me busy and off the streets.

...

I just wanted to say that this goal is awesome. I for one really look forward to following along with this.

There's a large industry of "people writing about Japan in English". Some of it by Japanese, some of it by non-Japanese.

I've always been curious to read the stuff about Japan written in Japanese (both by Japanese and non-Japanese).

I'm pretty far from being able to do that. But it's a nice long-term goal for me.

Agreed.  At least from what I can tell, this is a pretty untouched area (most likely with a few notable exceptions I'm unaware of), but I'd say it's more than possible.  And in a lot of ways, having some remnant of the "foreign" in a work, translated or not, can bring about all sorts of interesting changes in a language.  

This is a pretty huge endeavor (the final boss of language learning, I suppose), but I think it's definitely possible.  What with things like Lang-8 at your fingertips, it's a lot more viable now than it was 20 years ago, to say the very least.
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#11
Raulsen and ariari, thanks so much for the support! It sounded like a crazy idea when I first started considering it, but seems less and less crazy as I keep exploring it. I started down the "talk about Japan in English" route, but it's been done before and a lot more skillfully than I could do it. Plus, it keeps me writing in English, when what I really want to do is continue to explore the Japanese language.

Even if I'm ultimately not "successful" in a commercial sense, I'm sure it's going to be fun and rewarding in other ways. 頑張ります!

Also, Raulsen's comment about the "last boss" made me think of this:



Edited: 2017-01-08, 8:40 pm
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#12
(2017-01-08, 3:52 pm)ariariari Wrote:
(2017-01-07, 7:46 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote: ...

Goals

My goal is to be able to write fiction and nonfiction in Japanese. Pretty lofty, and it will likely consume the rest of my lifespan reaching it. I've made peace with this decision. At least I have something to do that keeps me busy and off the streets.

...

I just wanted to say that this goal is awesome. I for one really look forward to following along with this.

There's a large industry of "people writing about Japan in English". Some of it by Japanese, some of it by non-Japanese.

I've always been curious to read the stuff about Japan written in Japanese (both by Japanese and non-Japanese).

I'm pretty far from being able to do that. But it's a nice long-term goal for me.

It seems like a daunting goal, but think of non-native speakers of the past who have become famous writers, like Joseph Conrad. Plus you can write Japanese in your own style without being wrong. Murakami's style is noted for being Westernized, but it is a legitimate style of writing in Japanese.
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#13
Update - 1/14/2017

Reading - In the midst of Tadoku, and have racked up 470 pages as of today. While I am about halfway through 偽物語(下), I'm going to take a break from it until Tadoku is done. There's something about the way Nishio writes in this series - wordplay + tons of vocab + high school slang - that forces me to really concentrate and wears out my brain. (Oddly, his style is slightly different - and, I think, more easily digestable - in the 掟上今日子 series.)

The wife and I went to 紀伊国屋 today and I impulse-bought the new 東野圭吾 novel (恋のゴンドラ), plus I also bought コンビニ人間 for my Kindle. Both seem like very comfortable reads. I'm going to run through those for the remainder of Tadoku.

Made decent use of my 朝日新聞 subscription this week and read most of a week's worth of 天声人語 plus a number of articles. Want to step it up next week. I still have a tendency to check into American news when I'm feeling bored; I want to replace that habit entirely with my Japanese habit. I'm considering also subscribing to 日経 again for some of their more in-depth analysis and opinion pieces.

Listening - 10+ hours total this week. Five episodes of 結婚できない男 (finished), and watched first two episodes of コピーフェース. Listened to ひいきびいき Star Wars: Rogue One podcast (was pretty jazzed that they gave a shout-out to their 謎の外国人 listeners at the end of the ep!). Watched new 相棒 and some Japanese variety with my wife on various channels through LiveCA (https://liveca.net). (Also installed LiveCA on my Surface so I can watch during business trips.) Listened to an hour or so of political podcasts and たまむすび on TBS Radio Cloud.

LiveCA is hella-expensive, but is reliable and has great broadcast quality. Definitely an investment, but so far one well worth making. The wife enjoys just turning in to Japanese TV whenever she feels the urge as well.

Writing - Wrote a Lang-8 post (http://lang-8.com/gaiaslastlaugh/journal...6103676876), which was well received and got great corrections. On track still to write 1/xweek on lang-8 this month. Wrote to a pen pal in Japanese once. Wrote three business emails to Japanese colleagues. Chatted a bit in Japanese with several LINE friends. Still getting requests for new LINE friends from Japan-Guide, and am trying to keep up contact with them.

This week, I plan to take some time to try a new Lang-8 strategy, in which I download the PDF for my corrected posting and then re-type it out using some of the corrections that people supplied. Hoping this helps me study and take to heart some of the advice I'm receiving.

Speaking - Somewhere between 4 and 6 hours of daily convo w/ the wife. I tried scheduling a iTalki session, but...meeeeeh. I'm just not into it at the moment. I'd rather spend the time focusing on reading, as well as on production via Lang-8. Also, I'll get a lot of speaking practice at our work conference next month, and during my Tokyo business trip in March.

Vocab - God, vocabulary. If there's anything reading 偽物語 proved to me, it's that I need to ratchet up my vocab to the next level, and hard. I'm still adding only about 10 words/day to keep my reviews sane, so I'll need to keep the pedal on extensive reading to help ratchet up my vocab knowledge. I have 1,145 items in Anki, of which around 900+ are active ATM.

Back to the grind. 頑張ります!
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#14
Ive been thinking about the best way to use Lang-8. http://lang-8.com/6467[/i]

I've submitted entries and I've seen the corrections but I never bothered copying or handwriting the correct sentences or putting corrections into anki. At most I read the corrections out aloud but I usually don't memorize anything by saying it once so I know it doesn't make a difference whether I read it out loud or not. However from my first entry to now I've improved a lot from then and I certain don't contribute that to lang8. the reason I feel fluent in English is because I know if something sounds wrong because I've heard the word or phrase etc being used  so many times. I'm a firm believer in input and I'm going to inputting and see if I reach a point in japanese where I get so familiar with it that my output is damn near flawless. Right now I feel very comfortable with Japanese with reading and listening.  [/i]

Looking at your latest entry none of corrections are major. I think you're better off using the time towards writing out the corrections to wards just outputting more.
Edited: 2017-01-15, 12:08 pm
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#15
(2017-01-15, 12:00 pm)howtwosavealif3 Wrote: Ive been thinking about the best way to use Lang-8. http://lang-8.com/6467[/i]

I've submitted entries and I've seen the corrections but I never bothered copying or handwriting the correct sentences or putting corrections into anki. At most I read the corrections out aloud but I usually don't memorize anything by saying it once so I know it doesn't make a difference whether I read it out loud or not. However from my first entry to now I've improved a lot from then and I certain don't contribute that to lang8. the reason I feel fluent in English is because I know if something sounds wrong because I've heard the word or phrase etc being used  so many times. I'm a firm believer in input and I'm going to inputting and see if I reach a point in japanese where I get so familiar with it that my output is damn near flawless. Right now I feel very comfortable with Japanese with reading and listening.  [/i]

Looking at your latest entry none of corrections are major. I think you're better off using the time towards writing out the corrections to wards just outputting more.

Thanks - I might take your advice to heart. I've been fooling around with working on a short story in Japanese; I might invest time in that instead, even if it's something I don't immediately put out for public review.
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#16
@gaia are you living in Japan now? For some reason I thought you lived in the US. But from your post it sounds like either you moved to Japan, or you're just living there temporarily now.
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#17
(2017-01-15, 2:54 pm)ariariari Wrote: @gaia are you living in Japan now? For some reason I thought you lived in the US. But from your post it sounds like either you moved to Japan, or you're just living there temporarily now.

Nope, I live in the US - Seattle, WA. I married a Japanese woman (Aya) early last year, and we live here together w/ my kids.  However, I work for the technical training arm of a cloud hosting company, and we have a sizable Japanese team; I work with them on various projects related to training. I have at least two business trips planned to Tokyo this year, with hopefully a third personal visit by year's end.
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#18
(2017-01-15, 3:12 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2017-01-15, 2:54 pm)ariariari Wrote: @gaia are you living in Japan now? For some reason I thought you lived in the US. But from your post it sounds like either you moved to Japan, or you're just living there temporarily now.

Nope, I live in the US - Seattle, WA. I married a Japanese woman (Aya) early last year, and we live here together w/ my kids.  However, I work for the technical training arm of a cloud hosting company, and we have a sizable Japanese team; I work with them on various projects related to training. I have at least two business trips planned to Tokyo this year, with hopefully a third personal visit by year's end.

Cool! As someone who burnt out on living in Japan, I personally this that this is the ideal situation Smile
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#19
(2017-01-15, 3:23 pm)ariariari Wrote: Cool! As someone who burnt out on living in Japan, I personally this that this is the ideal situation Smile

I had entertained the idea of moving to Japan when my kids got older (my youngest is now 13). Then I got married to a Japanese woman who set foot in the states and now doesn't want to go back :-) It's probably for the best; the stories I've heard of the Japanese business world make the hairs on the back of my neck curl. 

Ideally, I'd love to have a job that takes me to Japan enough to justify a small 1LDK near 学芸大学駅, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods to date in Tokyo. Or, hey, make it as a writer in Japanese and fund that sort of late-life adventure myself. We'll see what the future holds.
Edited: 2017-01-15, 8:22 pm
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#20
(2017-01-15, 8:21 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2017-01-15, 3:23 pm)ariariari Wrote: Cool! As someone who burnt out on living in Japan, I personally this that this is the ideal situation Smile

I had entertained the idea of moving to Japan when my kids got older (my youngest is now 13). Then I got married to a Japanese woman who set foot in the states and now doesn't want to go back :-) It's probably for the best; the stories I've heard of the Japanese business world make the hairs on the back of my neck curl. 

Ideally, I'd love to have a job that takes me to Japan enough to justify a small 1LDK near 学芸大学駅, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods to date in Tokyo. Or, hey, make it as a writer in Japanese and fund that sort of late-life adventure myself. We'll see what the future holds.

学芸大学駅

I also like that area. Another favorite not far from there is the old district in front of Meguro Fudo, east of the Rinshi Koen.
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#21
Quick update:

Still doing 多読. I realized (too late - like about halfway in) that I was slogging through materials that were a touch too difficult. I saw a copy of the latest 東野圭吾 novel from Kinokuniya in Seattle, started to read, and realized I was blazing through it. Finished that in five days, and moved on to レイクサイド. Got about 70 pages done this am. Going to stick with Higashino and maybe some 乙一 for a bit to fill up on comprehensive input. Also, I like their simple, direct writing styles - good models for a struggling 外人. 

As I read, I'm also pulling out short expressions and phrases I think might be useful in my own Japanese fiction writing, and am saving them for later reference as I write. Mainly interesting colocations that I hadn't previously known, though also a few examples of adverbs that could add more pop to my writing.

No lang-8 last week, but I did write two book reviews on bookmeter.com. I've been doing some story writing in my head, and plan to commit a page or two to paper sometime today.

Anki: Going fine. This week was a Hell week for work, so I added few new cards. Reviews average around 60-70/day with a deck of about 1,000 active cards.
Edited: 2017-01-23, 12:06 am
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#22
Gaia, have you read Levy Hideo yet? Smile
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#23
(2017-01-25, 3:08 pm)Zgarbas Wrote: Gaia, have you read Levy Hideo yet? Smile

He's the one who has an essay in READ REAL JAPANESE: ESSAYS, correct? I haven't read anything extensively by him, but I should! (And I need to re-visit that book, as I'm probably at the appropriate level for it now.)
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#24
Weekly Update - 1/28/2016

Anniversary Post Alert!! Pretty fitting that this is exactly my 1,000th post on this forum. While I knew I had a passion for Japanese for a number of years, I never realized my pursuit of the language would be this consistent, enduring, and life-changing. Thanks to everyone for all of your support and encouragement over the years - it's been invaluable!

Writing: My review from last week of 恋のゴンドラ (http://bookmeter.com/cmt/61758557) has 25 likes on Bookmeter - woot!

I wrote a long diary entry about work that could be a lang-8 post, if I felt up to posting it there. I also started on a short story; I wrote about a page and a half so far, and have been writing bits of it (in Japanese) and figuring out the plot (in Japanese!) in my head during down times or in long lines at the supermarket.

I'm not posting stuff on lang-8, because I'm not quite sure how effective Lang-8 actually is vs. just writing and reading a lot. I'm concerned that the hesitancy in getting feedback in Lang-8 is actually stopping me from writing more. So I'm experimenting with trying to write mainly for my own benefit for now, perhaps with some occasional feedback from either my wife or a teacher in a one-on-one setting. If my writing's going to get better, I need to write, a lot, and anything that interferes with that is more a hindrance than a help.

I'm toying with the idea of resurrecting my blog on Ameba, just to have a place to post content freely without worrying about critique. We'll see if I actually do it or not.

I'm finding that I'm thinking more consistently in Japanese as well, which is helping with writing, word recall, and filling in the gaps in my knowledge.

Vocab: I've stepped up my Anki vocab game this week, and have gone back to adding 20 cards daily come hell or high water. The main impetus has been that my extensive reading, coupled with the ease of adding vocab to Anki with Yomichan, has caused my unseen backlog to spike. I'm realizing more and more just how wide a gap I still need to fill with vocab.

I'm still taking time with each card, and adding images and other resources to it as new cards pop up. This slows me down, but it also increases my recall rate. Thankfully, with the 1.0.4 release of Yomichan, I can now add both English and Japanese definitions to my cards, so the work involved here has lessened.

Listening: Trying to get to a point where, once a week, I spend a morning before work working on the ドリルとドリル N1 exercises in prep for the test in December. N1 listening is the only thing that concerns me; I'm pretty sure by this December I'll be aces in reading, vocabm and grammar.

Reading: Hit my Tadoku goal of 1,000 (currently standing at 1,150). I've recorded 3 full books read for the month on bookmeter. I've started 百夜行 by 東野圭吾 (I'm on a Keigo-kick recently). However, I didn't realize when I started that it's a whopping 800+ pages (!!). I imagine i'll be working on this one for the next few weeks.

I'm trying to be better about reading Japanese during gaps or boredom moments at work and at home. To help with this, I've made a bookmarks list in Chrome of my daily reads. They are, in no particular order:

http://www.asahi.com/
http://www.asahi.com/paper/editorial.htm...mtop_gnavi - 社説 and 天声人語
http://www.asahi.com/culture/food/?iref=com_gnavi - Food section of Asahi
http://www.j-cast.com/
https://allabout.co.jp/
http://lifehacker.jp/
http://www.huffingtonpost.jp/ - Yeah I know, but it also has really good, JLPT N1-level editorial content; you just have to ignore the click-bait bullshit.
http://tabizine.jp/
http://www.nomooo.jp/
http://www.nippon.com/ja/

Of course I'm not reading each of these every day, but I'm reading a bit from several of them at least three times daily when I need a mental break, but don't want to hunker down with a novel.
Edited: 2017-01-28, 1:59 pm
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#25
Congratulations on 1000 posts. I read parts of an introduction to teaching Japanese as a foreign language the other day (in Japanese), and reading about teaching the basics such as これは本です really threw me back to those early days of Japanese study. It has really been a journey.

It's been a while since I used Lang-8, but I understand what you're saying and I agree. I have also thought about restarting it, but the quality of corrections is unpredictable, and at this level it's not just straight up error correction, but also stylistic word/grammar use that even native speakers could use help with in more advanced texts. I think working with a tutor would be much more effective, as well as just writing and putting things out there. My English output throughout my life has been 90% forum posts, chats and other non-corrected written output. At some point, as a foreign speaker, you'll just have to accept that you've (probably) not made any major mistakes, and that you're getting your point across - which doesn't imply that one should give up improving one's writing skills, just that you can't keep waiting until you reach "perfect writing" to write for yourself or others.
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