我輩はブリートである。

The chronicles of Burrito's bizarre adventure into Japanese.

Tadoku Log: Days 9 through 15

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Things have been a little quiet around these parts, haven’t I? Obviously as a result of my super-charged reading habits entering the middle of this ultra-competitive Tadoku, right?

Well, not really. While I don’t necessarily feel like I’ve slowed down very much, my momentum has definitely fallen sharply from the level it was at in the first ten days or so. I’ll get to that in just a moment, though.

Average pages read for days 9-15: roughly 26.7 pages, for a current total of 613.81, and an overall daily average of 40.92. Short of my goal of 50 pages per day, yes, but not terribly so.

So what happened? Predictably, as Umineko episode 1 climaxed and carried me through the last few chapters with massive momentum, my pace slowed considerably as I tried to settle into a new medium; would that be one of the many manga I had planned on reading? Perhaps an RPG, or light novel? I knew right away that I wanted to get into Umineko episode 2 as soon as possible, but I also wanted to mix it up a bit.

What I found was that nothing really seems to hold my interest. It seems to take a conscious effort to push through even one manga chapter, let alone trudge through the intro segments of a new RPG or really get into a light novel or book. That is, with the exception of one particular item: Umineko episode 2.

I always dreamed of the day when I’d become hopelessly infatuated (those who follow my Twitter can attest to that fact) with something that could potentially occupy my attention and interest for months on end, and at the same time potentially propel my Japanese to brand new levels. I believe I’ve found it. The one small problem is the fact that this series of visual novels is still above anything I’d consider a comfortable reading level. Pardon my use of JLPT as a metric, but if believe if I were closer to level N1 (as in, damn near ready to take the test and have a chance of passing), I’d get a whole lot more out of this mutha. But alas, I’d place myself somewhere between N2 and N3 presently, and when I encounter entire paragraphs filled with unknown vocabulary and complex, incredibly varied grammar (which is one of the coolest things about Umineko, in my opinion), my head begins to ache as though it were pierced by the Stake of Beelzebub. One scene in particular just yesterday, in which truckloads of legal, business and financial terminology was used, simply forced me to set the VN aside for a few hours in (mild) frustration and… take up Smart.fm’s Core6000 again. Never thought I’d see the day.

This difficulty also results in comparatively slow reading speed – I estimate it takes me about an hour of uninterrupted reading to get through 60 screens, or approximately 10 pages worth of reading. This includes various lookups and note-taking, though I try to keep those to a minimum. With that having been said, I can’t say for sure whether or not my reading speed would be much faster if I were to, say, marathon Berserk. I think the difference is that I’d be making fewer lookups in another medium (mostly due to the lack of the super convenient Translation Aggregator, of course), resulting in theoretically faster reading, most likely at the expense of some comprehension (though that’s technically how the game of Tadoku should be played).

I guess my point in a nutshell is that I’m totally hooked to Umineko above all else, it’s difficult as hell, and with the exception of some rough bits, I’m totally digging it.

My attitude right now isn’t optimistic nor pessimistic, but realistic. I’m seeing my progress in a way I’ve never observed it before, putting my abilities to the test against a very high benchmark. I can’t honestly say that I’m content with my current level, nor my rate of improvement, nor can I say any longer than I believe any meaningful level of fluency is practically attainable in a time span as short as two years – not for me, anyway. But again, this isn’t pessimism, but my realism speaking, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’ve already set up some challenges for myself for the coming month which I really look forward to, and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt this passionate about my studies. There’s only one way to go, and that’s up.

And with that, I believe I have some reading to do…

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Written by ritobito

January 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Posted in status report

Tagged with ,

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