[JAPANESE | RAMBLES] Making a Crumb into Bread

Did you know that shortly after writing my 2015 goal post, I got sick? I mean like, within a few minutes/hours of posting it, I got sick. I caught my boyfriend’s cold. Some people think it’s because of my lack of jacket outside, but no — I’m 100% certain I caught it from my boyfriend. I was all over him, despite that he was sick. Since I got sick, I couldn’t start my goals for this year!

…which I honestly wouldn’t have started right away anyway, so that’s a-okay!

In fact, I think I started a lot sooner than I would have if I hadn’t gotten sick. Yay for blessings in disguise!

The first thing for myself to work on is Japanese. A large portion of my mind is also begging for me to work on Kelly’s Journey and commissions, so I have to fit those in too. Especially commissions…

I was working on Japanese today and I realized that “just doing it” isn’t enough in this case. Just doing my tasks isn’t enough — I need a plan. And by “a plan”, I mean I need to flesh out my plans more than what I currently have because I feel like I am just not doing enough for Japanese.

What I Am Currently Doing

The plan I do have right now is review & learn.

I aim to spend this first month (and perhaps a bit into month numbah two) just simply reviewing ~EVERYTHING~ I should know from my textbook. I am aiming to review all the vocabulary, grammar, kanji, and expression notes. This mostly means typing up lists of vocabulary, grammar, kanji, and expression notes because I have been wanting a portable list for SO long. So, so, SO long. I expect everything to take about a month to do, although I think I need to speed up my process just a bit (and by a bit, I mean a lot). I’m still in debate if I want to type up the entire Genki series like this or only do up to what I should know.

Once my heavy review is done,  I am to move onto the next lovely portion: learning! I will be starting out on lesson 16, as that’s where I left off in 2012 and plan on steadily working my way through the other lessons during the first two weeks of each month.

If I end up finishing the textbook this year and before December (which I am SOOOO hoping will happen — here’s aiming for October at the latest!), I plan on doing another review. The review this time though may focus on areas I’m personally weak in.

Overall, I have a pretty solid idea of my goals.

So, what’s the problem?

I know I am starting with a review of everything. I know after that review is done, hopefully after a month, I will be starting with lesson 16 and working my way to the end of the textbook over the next several months. I know if I end up finishing the textbook early enough, I am going to do a heavy review of Japanese.

Seems like I got everything worked out, right?

Except I don’t.

Through figuring out the big portions of my Japanese language learning journey, I forgot the tiny details. Tiny details that aren’t tiny!

I forgot about my down times, when I’m not reviewing my textbook or learning a new lesson! I forgot about the in-between portions where I have other tasks to do, but have spaces, but not enough to do a new lesson!

I know, I know. For some, it may seem silly to plan out all those little in-between times, but for someone like myself…I need to. I don’t have to know every finite detail (such as “I will listen to ‘Kakurenbo’, ‘V (Volt)’, and ‘Pika Pika Massai Chuu’ while going to work”), but I need to have a detailed enough plan (“I will listen to my Japanese playlist on my way to work”) to follow.

I’m sure some people reading this, if anyone is reading this, is curious as to why I need to plan this. Like, why can’t I just do it? Why do I need to tell myself that I need to listen to a Japanese-language music playlist on my way to work? Why isn’t that just something I just do?

I am the type of person who ends up a train wreck if I don’t have a detailed enough plan. I end up off rail rather quickly, which I can feel myself starting to do. I am just strong enough to do the bare minimum of work for Japanese, but I know I need to do more…for myself. I want to do more.

I need to ask myself: how and where can I fit Japanese into my life when I’m not actively working on a new lesson or working on my review documents?

How can I immerse myself in it on my way to work? At work? At home after studying? At home in-between other projects? While travelling somewhere? Anywhere?

In addition to those questions, what can I use to immerse myself while on my way to work? At work? At home after studying? etc.

I need to have a detailed enough plan to guide me, but a loose enough plan to let me breath and achieve. I need my plans to be flexible, but detailed. I know that sounds weird, but it’s completely possible.

Figuring Out the What, How, and When

I feel like first, I must look at the resources available to me. Many of my physical resources (books, books, books, and some DVDs) are packed away right now, so I can only use what I actually have on me. I also have my computer, the Internet, my phone, and my tablet at my disposal. Hopefully with a combination of these, I’ll succeed in moving up in learning Japanese.

The books I have available to me are:
Genki I & II
Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar
Japanese Pronunciation Activities
Fundamentals of Japanese Grammar
Basic Japanese N4
N5 Reading
Nihongo Notes 1 & 2
Nihongo Tango Speed Master
All About Particles

All of these books are useful to me in some sort of way, which is why I kept them out. I could use them all at different times. I think the only book I may not use during my down times will be All About Particles…but, hey, I may be wrong. I may end up using it anyway.

The resources I currently have on my computer include Anki, which is a SRS program that has been recommended by many, many, MANY language learners…and for good reason! I also have Evernote, which I use for more than just Japanese (but Japanese is an important Notebook in the program for me).

For my phone and my tablet, hoooo man, I have SOOOOO many different apps I can use. For right now though, I have Anki, iKanji, and Kanji Blaster. My phone, my tablet, as well as my computer, can all play music and podcasts too, which is always a good thing!

And last, but not least, the INTERNET! Oh man, the Internet has a STUPID amount of resources I can use, ranging from English-speaking websites to Japanese only! I particularly like to hunt through resource lists and see what I like from them. There seems to be so many great websites to use as supplementary sources.

With that, I next need to figure out how, when, and where am I going to use my resources…which is where my mind is going flat.

I know the most obvious one is that going to work, I can immerse myself in Japanese music. Actually, this can really work anywhere if I have to drive. If I’m going to go see my dad, I can listen to Japanese music. If I’m going to go to the grocery store, I can listen to Japanese music. That’s probably easy enough…I just gotta make a playlist.

Then comes the harder part of everything else. What can I do at work? What can I do at home? I can’t just listen to music all the time. Sometimes I want to do something different. Plus I want to get in some writing, reading, and speaking practice too.

I feel like work might not be too hard to figure out. I always aim to bring nothing extra along. If it doesn’t fit into my pockets, it doesn’t come with me. Everything would have to be restricted to my phone, most likely. What exactly can I do on my phone though?

Japanese language apps, the Internet.

I feel like I can get more detailed than that though. What apps? What sites on the Internet while at work? What…


…Perhaps I am over thinking. Or perhaps I’m under thinking.

I pretty much just realized I need to really look at all my resources, make a list, and tackle them, most likely based off of what feels right. Am I in a “breathing Japanese” mood or am I in a “passive Japanese” mood?

I think the best way to tackle this “issue” of mine is to figure out the resources — the exact resources I have available to me — and work off of there.

Hopefully I’ll end up with a “Part 2” to this entry.

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