Today I was reviewing my new grammar cards for the first time. After I sat down with my notebook and a delicious cuppa coffee, the first thing I did was to open my deck to review it. When the first card was shown I became doubts. This can’t work, there is something missing, I have to change the layout of my cards or else I fail with my grammar cards a fourth time. Instead of simply reviewing it, and check my answers against the marked green parts of my card, I opened the deck browser to create so called cloze-delete cards. This is a sort of fill in the blank cards, with one part in the sentence missing, that you are going to test. It hasn’t taken very long, and the new cloze-delete deck was finished, and ready to review. I opened the deck, reviewed the first couple of cards, and saw that this was not going to work for me.

Maybe I am too quick to judge about the effectiveness of a method, but I didn’t see any gains versus recognizing and thinking about why there is ことになる and not ことにする or ようになる in this sentence, and what it means. I came to the conclusion that it is not worth keeping it, so I flushed this deck, and started reviewing the grammar cards. It went better than I thought it would. I got 54 of 57 cards correct the first time! That of course means nothing, its just a proof that the cards seem to be working for me. The real important thing is, that I was able to create my own sentences, and actually apply what I learned! This was not actually part of my review program, but I was trying to come up with one sentence or two, and it worked!

This made me confident enough to open the workbook, and do all the exercises for chapter one, which took some time. I really had to think about my answers, but it wasn’t very difficult. Here is an example question from the workbook.

「日本人留学生青山の日記」 を読んで、次の質問に答えなさい。

1. 青山さんは八月二十六日に日本を出て、何月何日にアメリカに着きましたか、なぜですか。
答える: 8月26日に着きました。日本とアメリカの間に日付変更線というものがあるので、彼は同じ日同じ時間着きました。

I know now that I am actually able to come up with answers, but I cannot tell if the answers are correct, because I have no one to check them. This is the reason why I will create my lang.8 account and start writing there. This will be the most fun and exciting part of the journey for me, and nerve wrecking for those poor Japanese people signed up there, that might find it worth their time to help and correct my every mistake. I think it will be fun, because this is the most important thing that is missing right now, the opportunity to not only tie some knots between me and Japanese people, but also to learn from my mistakes. And, if anything, I tend to laugh away my mistakes, and I try to avoid them which is not always possible.

My goal will be, to be able to write some lines, about something. Maybe 5? This will take quite some time, because from one line or sentence to a consistent text that makes sense, it is a huge step. At least it seems to be for at this moment. My ultimate goal as far as producing actual text or sentences is 50 lines about a random topic that I hold an interest in and want to talk or write about. I don’t know if a deadline makes much sense, but if I can reach this ultimate goal by maybe the summer or autumn of next year, then this is my set deadline. And to put it in numbers, 5th October.

Today I am going to work on the grammar points in Lesson 2 of An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese. Or maybe chapter 13, or 11 instead of chapter 2 … If you ask why I consider to work on other chapters first, it is because the book is introducing grammar points used in sentences from early chapters, in later ones. A really wise decision from the authors, and it doesn’t make it that much harder to comprehend the dialogues or reading sections. Now its time for some fun first, grammar and Anki next, and then some more fun.

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