Back on Track
It’s probably no secret by now that my progress over the past some months has been… a slow trickle. A drizzle, even.
My performance in the last tadoku was dismal, a scant few pieces of media or literature appealed to me in the slightest, nor the prospect of sitting down and cramming’ kanji, vocabulary and grammar, et al. I’d go so far to say that this period was probably the darkest of my entire 3+ years of studying, and trust me when I say it wasn’t a whole lot of fun.
I’m not one to discuss private issues in a public space such as this, but suffice to say, it’s incredibly difficult for me to dedicate much time or effort to something like learning another language when I’m sick (I’ve lost track of how many colds I’ve caught), super stressed out and/or depressed, and otherwise have many other things to worry about. To all the language Übermensch out there who can transcend these distractions of life and carry on with studying as usual: I envy the heck out of you, and I have quite a ways to go.
The good news? That wall is comin’ down, baby. With each day, for a few weeks now, I’ve been consistent with my Anki reviews (grammar – still a weak point, unsurprisingly), and my drive to read, watch and play has returned something fierce. I’d almost completely lost sight of the reasons why I began studying in the first place, and they’re all coming back to me like a flash flood. I have animu to marathon, books to read, music to listen to, visual novels and RPGs to play, things to translate and people to communicate with, dammit.
Still, I have some issues to work out. I have a serious “three-day monk” problem where I’m totally pumped and ready to undertake any number of tasks – a new, shiny SRS deck; a book or visual novel or game; even something as “simple” as an anime series to watch – only to fizzle out a day or two later and never get back to it. This has been a problem from the very beginning, but clearly remains as one of my most troublesome. I’ve had success in the past with cutting down my number of tasks and focusing only on one or two (albeit risking burnout), but ideally, I’d like to work on multiple tasks at once; perhaps sticking to a more strict schedule and logging my progress would be a good place to start.
I’d also like to tweak my study (as in study-study) habits a little bit, though I’m not sure how, quite yet. I kinda suck at reading (as in reading-readings) kanji lately, my grammar always needs work and I can never get enough vocabulary. I’ve had moderate success with MCD cards and may experiment further in the near future, but would rather stick to what I’m comfortable with (mostly sentences) for the time being. For now, I’m going heavily at a grammar deck made up of the many, many example sentences of the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar books, because that mutha is hella thorough and I need roughly half a billion examples before anything makes sense to my ‘tard organ (brain). So far, so good.
Also, Ankidroid is pretty much the best addition to my study tools, ever, and I can’t believe I didn’t get a smartphone sooner for stuff just like this. (I only wish Android had half as many quality Japanese games as iOS, but they’re comin’… slowly)