Thursday, January 21, 2010

Japanese Update

I realized that there are a few things I've not really given you guys an update on in a while, starting with my Japanese study. I've been at it for a little over a year now (almost a year & a month ~ is January really zooming by that quickly?!), and it's time to mark my progress.

Burnout ~
I actually ended up taking most of December off from studying, if not longer, and it was purely a lack of motivation that I brought on myself. Over several months, I had been switching around the way I was doing my flash cards in Anki, which meant I was re-typing everything in and then reviewing the same words & sentences over again from scratch (in a different format), giving myself a ton of unnecessary work. We are talking hundreds & hundreds of cards here. Already feeling pretty burnt out, every quiz and reading that I came across seemed so far over my head that I felt like I had learned nothing, and so I started spending my time elsewhere.

Motivation ~
Christmas, however, brought quite a few new books to my Japanese study collection... "Remembering the Kanji" vol. 2 & 3, "Making Sense of Japanese" (help with tricky grammar), and a handful of books my parents found in the clearance bin at a local Japanese bookstore (I can't believe they have one near their house!! So jealous). I decided my book collection had grown enough to warrant its own shelf ~ you can click on the picture for more information on what all is there.

Japanese books

Oh! And we also used some birthday money to grab a copy of Kanji Sonomama Rakubiki Jiten ($35 on eBay!) ~ it is like a handheld electronic dictionary for your DS, but for a fraction of the price.

Back to Work ~
I wasn't too excited about facing Anki after a month of not reviewing. The number of cards due was rather frightening, but it really only took a few days to get caught up. Since then I've added in a little new vocabulary and kanji, filled out some worksheets I found online, translated a few recipes from CookPad, and have really been enjoying it all again. And several times recently, when a blog posted city shots from around Japan, I realized that I could read everything on one of the signs or billboards in the photo. I may not be able to sit down with a book *yet*, but recognizing words like that makes me really want to start cramming more vocabulary.

So ~ after a year I have learned about 1225 words and 2075 kanji.
Another 450 words or so an I will be through the rest of the JLPT3 vocabulary, which I'm not expecting to take long. Now that I've figured out what works for me, I'm hoping to avoid any of the massive time-wasting I fell into last year, and learning new vocab just gets easier with the more I know.

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