After experience a touch of overwhelm a day or so ago, I’ve had time to think about what happened, and I realized something very specific.
THIS ISN’T EASY.
When I say “easy” I don’t mean academically difficult. I am a firm believe in straight forward methods. I’m talking psychologically easy. I’ve already mentioned that making the AJATT method “fun” requires a degree of specificity that you should be aware of. However, in trying to forge headfirst into this, I didn’t realize that I was putting a lot of psychological pressure on myself.
The thing is, I’m living in Japan as I write this, which means in many ways I am immersed. However, I am living in Japan without being able to properly speak the language (or write it yet) and this also creates the occasional cloud over things. As I was listening to my podcasts and jamming to Japanese rock music, the goal of fluency suddenly seemed very, very far away. It’s one thing for me to maybe be living in another country and have familiar locales and people around me to give me that release during my immersive processes, but if there are no familiar psychological cues, it can be a little daunting. That said, this is MY perspective on things, and not meant to be a deterrent to anyone seriously interesting in pursuing this method. I started this blog to document my journey on the language path using this system.
As it stands, I am not giving up, I just have to make sure I don’t put too much pressure on myself. It’s one thing to learn a language, but if it feels stressful, it can never be fun. I’m also not 100% committed to Japanese music. I’ve tried it for the last few weeks and it hasn’t been very stimulating. I’m getting a good education on contemporary Japanese music, but i don’t really like it yet. I cannot listen to Jpop, and I haven’t found music I can “vibe with” yet. On the recommendation of the AJATT website, I got some R.I.P Slyme cds and I liked them at first, but the last few albums sounded annoying and sort of weird. I like Asian Kug Fu generation, and Gazette, but i can’t listen to punk rock all day either. Hopefully I can find some good Japanese reggae or Dancehall to fit the gap in my Jamaican mind. (not to say that Jamaicans don’t like punk rock, or alternative music… its just more palatable in English).
That said the journey still goes on. I’m going to try and find a store with used Japanese movie DVDs so I can start collecting some classics in Japanese to watch. I will say this once more. Being in Japan is a form of immersion, and pushing it can have various effects. Naturally this depends on where you live in Japan, how many friends you have etc. So living alone in a small coastal town might vary from living in an exciting bigger city with more to see and do. But the mental component is pretty big, so I suggest people make sure to find things that are intensely motivating to keep them going more than meeting cute Japanese chicks and reading anime.
I want fluency to experience Japanese life in a more functional way. I want to watch movies and travel freely and conduct business. I have never been a huge manga head, and I haven’t watch a lot of anime recently (thought I’ve watched many a series in the past). I have to rediscover those things I used to like… and use those to propel me forward.
I will soldier on!