I'm Learning Japanese

I really think so

One Year Update

Posted by drivers99 on April 1, 2010

I’ve been at this Japanese language learning thing for about one year. I created my account on Reviewing the Kanji on March 31, 2009. I think I started reading AJATT a week or so before that, and then I really started learning the Kanji on that site shortly after I created my account, using the free sample PDF of the beginning of the book, and I ordered my copy of Remembering the Kanji on April 8th.

The first 9 months or so were spent on just doing RTK, getting to number 2042. After that, there was still a lot of reviewing to do. I have done 21367 reviews at RevTK. I am 2666 reviews away from having all the cards in pile 8. There are currently 675 cards in pile 8, 516 in 7, 489 in 6, 319 in 5, and just a few in the rest of the piles. Most of my effort has gone into keeping up with the reviews on that, although it is not very many (20-30 become due) per day. Sometimes I fall behind, like I have now. I have about 350 due now, which is not a huge amount but more than it should be. I was on vacation for about 3 and a half weeks and I actually had less spare time than I normally do. Maybe that is a lame excuse, but I mention it as an example of how I work on this. I don’t put a lot of time or effort into learning Japanese, which makes me wonder how long it will actually take.

I have not been as consistent on moving on to the sentence phase. I have not gotten very far at all in learning how to read kanji, nor in learning very much vocab. To fix this, just before vacation I created a deck based on something called “kore” which is the “core 2000” and “core 6000” lists from smart.fm with the sentences sorted in a way that introduces the kanji gradually, and in the order given by Kanji Odyssey (KO) 2001. I didn’t review it very much during the vacation. In fact, I didn’t really get anki working on the laptop and iPod I took until near the end of the trip. My kore6000 deck has 5919 new out of 5998 (there were 2 duplicate sentences in the 6000 sentences of kore.) So, I have a long way to go on that one. It’s showing me a lot of vocab which isn’t written using kanji, so it’s a little difficult too. (The kanji gives me clues about the meaning of the word, so it actually helps.) On the iPod, there isn’t enough space to show the dictionary entries, so that might be making it worse too. So, I think I will do reviews on the computer. That might help.

Which brings me to the topic I was thinking about today. It’s been a year and although I have a lot to show for it, it seems like it’s going pretty slowly if I compare myself to others. Khatzumoto (the AJATT guy) pretty much learned Japanese in 1.5 years, and the guy from spanish-only.com learned Spanish in a year. But I know they put a lot more effort into it. I need to shift my effort from RTK over to the vocab/reading, as well as do more input from other places such as audio and video. I do some, but it’s not that much. Not like spanish-only’s 10 hours, or AJATT’s 20 hours per day. Mine’s more like 0-1 hours.

I wonder what the correlation is between effort and success is on this. It seems like 1 hour per day consistently will get you there eventually, but how many years are we talking about? Or do you really have to be able to pour yourself into studying constantly? I was thinking about that last night after I came home from my vacation. I was feeling stressed because part of me was wanting to go do some studying, but at the same time I had to watch the kids, go through the pile of mail, and so on. So I thought of it as a “context.” A context is a time and place that you are able to do something. How much time was I going to be in a context where I could study? Sometimes I can listen to Japanese with the kids around and kind of watch a DVD or something. I can kind of multitask doing reviews on the iPod, although it’s not ideal. I have a job and other responsibilities. I think I can still do this still, but I wonder if we’re talking 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 years to learn Japanese.


3 Responses to “One Year Update”

  1. kanjiwarrior said

    I’d trade a lot of what I have in the way of free time for being happily married and having kids. That’s something I want, but didn’t have much success at. One of the things that Khatz tweets about a lot is not worrying about how much time you have, or how long it will take, simply do what you can do right now. I took a long time with RTK too, could have done it in like 3-4months the first time around, but when I finish it finally, it will have been 1.25 years (-_-). I also wasted a great deal of time doing sentences inefficiently.

    I started doing Kore too after you talked about it on twitter. I like the progression and I think it’s a good way to approach vocab! I was writing a post on motivation, but I never got around (ironically) to finishing it, one of the things I was gonna talk about was how a lot of artists say “don’t compare yourself to others” at least in the beginning because it can bring you down. I hope you keep at it! I think even if you are limited on what you can do, you’ll get there eventually.

    • drivers99 said

      Thanks for your reply, it’s really thoughtful. Yeah, I think that the fact that I’m marking the time period of a year makes me think about comparing myself in those terms.

  2. wes said

    Learning Japanese takes years but if you gotta learn instantly, there are some (fun) shortcuts

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