I’m writing this post, sipping apple tea at 5:30 a.m. Not because i like getting up early, but since I’m up I might as well write a post.
At present, i’m rapidly approaching what people would consider an “intermediate” Japanese phase. I say this because reading through beginner’s guides in the bookstores, browsing through “learn Japanese survival phrases” pages on the internet and so on, I find that I know most, if not all of what I see.
So I am speicifically trying to work on my grammar skills and build vocabulary while doing my Kanji studies.
But i’m not finding this easy. Studying Kanji using Heisig requires a lot of visual mental power, and some days I can’t do that many (I’m only at 620 after a week) and studying grammar and vocabulary requires regular practice and repetition.
I worke in a Japanese office, so I have the opportunity for regular immersion. But Japanese people are horribly busy, and I can squeeze in a few questions a day to the teacher sitting beside me, but just a few. Practicing the vocab, i’m seeing at this point, requires some speaking practice.
in the AJATT system, from what I remember, the founder emphasizes your exposure level to Japanese. Maximize your input, and your output will increase. I am starting to see the truth in this now. Truth is there simply because if you are listening to songs, watching movies and listening to podcasts in Japanese, as your learn certain grammatical structures will start to leak into your consciousness… now if you are ACTIVELY learning while you are inundating yourself, hopefully the dots will connect and you’ll have a few eureka moments. So my plan is to mix things up by:
Trying to boost vocabulary by listening to podcasts and picking out sentences I don’t know.
Reading little comics like Sazae san to practice remembering words through situational inferences.
Incorporate my “Let’s learn Japanese Videos” to give me a more functional plan of operation.
Studying Japanese isn’t difficult I’m seeing… its just technical. When we study spanish or French, we don’t have to learn how to rewrite the language. We just learn the vocabulary, pronounciations, and all the other grammatical stuff. It’s not easy by any means, but we already passed the hurdle of writing.
I think the Japanese language is similar, and the writing aspect is the greatest hurdle before things can start to take off, so its definitely good to try and balance how your learn with either 100% of your attention on Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana, or you try and mix it up so you can learn vocab at the same time.
Either way, I will make any notes on what i’m doing or if i don’t like it.