While reading the latest 文化ノート in the chapter I’m currently working on in An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese, i have noticed a feeling that told me, that i could translate them into Japanese. I feel ready for doing it, be it for no other reason, than to work on my writing and production. But I’m not quite there yet. I can translate some parts, but not all of it, due to the lack of feeling for the words in Japanese. I have also noticed some improvements in free writing on paper, and expressing my own ideas, is not much of a problem right now. Although the things i try to come up with are not complex. And there are more and more words, written in Kanji, that i can write from memory without a problem. Due to noticing all this, and it took quite a while until i was ready to notice it, i get more and more confident. Another thing are my Anki reps, 289 cards in 20 minutes, no problem at all! And my average retention rate is around 94%! I really feel the improvements, and that things are coming together, making more and more sense. So it can very well be, that I’m close to get to another level, which will surely boost my motivation even more.
As far as working with An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese goes, i put the learning on a halt for the time being, and focus on translating and understanding the sentences in the dialogues and reading sections. What I have not decided yet is, if i should start learning new vocabulary, from later chapters. But since the vocabulary is so deeply linked with the reading and dialogue sections, i doubt that it would do much good. But i play with this thought anyway, since it wouldn’t interfere with what I’m doing right now. And it would make sense to do it, since i get to know more words and expressions, and I will have focus less on learning them, once i keep moving forward. But this is not that important to me right now. What matters is that i get a better understanding of the sentences, with the method introduced in my article called i have called “Sentence Chaining” and in the article “For the Beginner” So instead of moving forward, and going back to re-do everything once I’m done with this book other than simple reviewing, i put the learning on halt. Everything else would not make much sense, just because i knew that I don’t understand long sentences, and sentence structures very well, and i kept moving on, i would only waste precious time.
Sometimes i just need to focus on the things i have trouble with, find an appropriate solution, and take my time to solve them. By simply moving on, i would only drag the problems with me, and this is not very funny. What it comes down to is, that i have fun, and I do something for my understanding. This is no race after all, so i don’t feel the need to cross the finish line first, at the cost of eventually burning out on the way, and exhausting myself beyond my own limits. It has taken me many years, until i started learning, and it’s over a year since i started with it, what are ten days more, i ask you? The time it takes to learn, is not important, but what you are learning, and more important is the way how you do it.
My advice to anyone who wants to hear it is this. If you notice problems, stop, and solve them. Don’t drag them along, until they start piling up and becoming a burden. If you do, you will come to the point sooner or later, where you are ready to give up. And I guess that this is one of the reasons, why some people just give up, even though they were once interested in learning the language, and others are reaching their goal, just because they are pursuing it no matter what. It is usually those people, who claim that Japanese is impossibly hard, and that no one will ever going to be able to reach fluency, unless he or she is Japanese. Those are just excuses for giving up, plain and simple, and nobody should listen to those naysayers. Japanese might not be easy to learn sometimes, but it is rewarding to learn, oftentimes. So keep going, keep your motivation, and never give up, or else …!