Japanese Goals August 2017 – Results


Around mid-August I decided to set monthly goals for my Japanese studies, after seeing this kind of thing on other blogs. I really like the idea because it motivates you to do all the things you want to do in this month and it shows you the progress you make.

I had only around 2 weeks left for August, so I tried not to put in too much into this month. These were my original goals:

  • 300 Kanji [Heisig + Kanji Study App]
  • Duolingo Review 200 XP [5567]
  • Japanesepod101: Lower Intermediate S1 [1-10]
  • Genki II [Lesson 15-16]
  • Genki II vocabulary [Lesson 13-16, Memrise]
  • JLPT N5 vocabulary [Cram stage 3]
  • JLPT N5 vocabulary [Memrise, 200 cards]
  • JLPT N5 old tests

The things I achieved were learning the kanji meanings, listening to the podcasts, learning the Genki II vocabulary, repeating the JLPT N5 vocabulary and doing some old JLPT N5 tests (some of these things I already started doing in the first half of August).

What I did not achieve was reviewing enough lessons on Duolingo, finishing both Genki II lessons and bringing my JLPT N5 vocabulary on stage 3 of the Cram app.

I still like Duolingo and I still use it every day a lot, but at the moment I’m mostly using it for my French studies. I finished the Japanese tree on 7/7/2017 so there’s nothing new I can really learn. The Japanese team does add new sentences sometimes but otherwise it’s mostly the same things again and again. I still like to review some Japanese lessons from time to time because it still helps me a bit. But I decided not to spend too much time on it anymore because the course is on a very basic level and I need to start focussing more on intermediate topics so I can advance my studies.

I did the complete lesson 15 of Genki II and half of lesson 16. I thought I could do a lot more but I find it rather boring to sit over a book and read about grammar then do some exercises. I had the same problem back when I started studying Japanese many years ago and I guess that’s why I didn’t self-study a lot. Now in the age of smartphones and tons of learning apps, things are much easier, at least for me. I don’t really need the gamification stuff but I really like the interactive parts that apps offer. Even more I like that I can take my phone everywhere with me and study whenever I want. It’s less of a pressure to study something spontaneously for 10-15 minutes than trying to make time to sit down and work with a book. Having said this, I will still continue working with Genki II and it won’t be the last book for my Japanese studies. Books do offer great stuff and I guess I’ll just have to get used to working with books again and find a better study routine.

I used Anki when I started studying Japanese but when I tried it now again I didn’t like it that much for several reasons. While I was looking for another flashcard app I found a service called Cram, which also comes with an Android/iOS app. I liked it because I found more useful card decks than on Anki (not Japanese related) and the interface was also more appealing to me. I originally started repeating my N5 vocabulary with Cram, but at one point in August I switched to Memrise. I wanted to finish stage 3 of Cram still, but haven’t done it, mostly because I was busy using Memrise. I still want to continue using Cram in parallel because it has some advantages for me: 1) I can use it completely offline without having to pay for a pro membership, 2) I can review as many cards as I want, there’s no such thing as “daily goals” or “streaks” or forced reviews, so I can just do as much or as less as I want without having to think about it. I want to get a really good basic foundation of Japanese vocabulary because it will be much easier to build on it, so I don’t think it’s a waste of time to repeat N5 words with different services to reinforce them better.

With the next month I will have to adjust these goals a bit, now that I have more experience of how much I can do for my Japanese studies while still doing other things as well.



Reboot of my language learning studies

When I was in university I discovered how great languages are. Luckily my university offered a great variety of language courses for free, so I took the opportunity and went to a lot of courses. Unfortunately the more advanced courses often clashed with the courses of my major so I couldn’t go there anymore and I was always stuck at a rather low level of each language. Except for Japanese but at one point not enough people showed interest in more advanced courses so they stopped offering them. Since I couldn’t go to advanced courses I tried other languages too, which was actually nice because I learned at least basics in many different languages on top of the languages I learned in school.

When I started working I didn’t have a lot of time anymore and I made the mistake and stopped learning languages which resulted in me forgetting a lot of what I learned before. It was only some months ago when I rediscovered my love for languages and decided to try to learn them despite being extremely busy all the time.

My primary focus will stay on Japanese. I love the language, the country, the people, the culture and besides this I’m a huge anime/manga fan so being able to consume these things in their original language would be really nice.

My secondary focus will be Spanish because it’s also a language that I really love. It’s also a widely spoken language so it’s quite useful to know it.

I want to refresh/advance in all the other languages that I started learning in school or university (except for Latin because I don’t think I need it at an advanced level): French, Arabic, Italian, Swedish. I’m also interested in learning Dutch, Irish and maybe Russian some time in the future. I will see how things work out, for now I don’t want to start too many things at the same time but focus on what is most important to me now.