Scrolling through my twitter feeds, I noticed a post by AJATT about “why most people forget the action step of AJATT” and in reading it, I came to a revelation. As a person somewhat actively tracking what I am doing using the AJATT method and other systems, I can say that I have done more things wrong than right. But recently in a few long blog posts, I pretty much said I am not putting the same pressure on myself as I was before.
Now the action step, as written about by Mimoko from the AJATT site, talks about interactive learning as a big part of immersion. This struck a chord with me, primarily because I took a different step recently towards interactive learning. About four months ago I switched my Iphone and Operating system to Japanese. This helped me get used to seeing Kanji everyday, and though I didn’t know how to pronounce everything, I could defintely get an idea of what was going on. After all, your brain adjusts etc.
I didn’t realize this was a part of “Interactive learning in immersion”. I simply took the step because I was finally feeling comfortable enough with Kanji to switch my OS and phone. What I learned from Mimoko’s post as it relates to me, gave me some insights into why I was so frustrated and often felt jaded about learning the language.
Interactive immersion is sort of forcing yourself to make mistakes and expose yourself to new situations by actively using, writing, and reading Kanji in lots of common tasks. I wrote a post about how exciting it was for me and a friend to figure out the kanji for 確認 かくにん (confirm) when we got stuck at some point in the game. I also learn the Kanji for 視界 しかい (field of vision ) as well. Now I see 確認 everywhere, particularly at ATMs and offices. When I documented that post, I didn’t realize that was Interactive immersion practice.
I bought a Nintendo DS with the hopes of playing games in Japanese, but the 13 games that came with the DS I bought were all in English! and I didn’t buy any new games yet. Either way, about a week ago I started Skyping with a native Japanese speaker and it’s been interesting. Each time I get stuck, I have to ask “nihongo de sono kotoba wo nan to iimasu ka?”(how to you say, such and such word in Japanese ?). Not only do I speak, but I started type-chatting in Japanees as well, having to constantly check new words and figure out how to say what i am thinking. This Interactive learning feels quite different for me. See, I was stuck in a mode of immersion that I didn’t realize was interactive… and therefore quite monotonous.
I was watching movies occassionally and learning a lot about intonations and expressions, but I wasn’t using them. I would hear people around me saying things, and be able to understand a lot of what was being said, but I wasn’t “interacting” or actively using what I was absorbing. That said, I am quite pleased that I can even type-chat in Japanese and read a good bit of Kanji. The more I type-chat, I can see patterns emerging and I feel a tad more comfortable in my pursuits. Now I want to see if I can find some Japanese chat rooms to fiddle around in and maybe visit a few times a week.
Tweeting in Japanese is a good excercise i’ve found, especially back and forth with native speakers (have your dictionary ready though).
So this observation for me was quite revealing and a very big missing link of my current process (which mostly conists of saying いっぱいベルください。 (one beer please).
I was thinking of buying the new Pokemon game in Japanese as a practice tool, and God of War for Ps3 in Japanese. I currently play Street Fighter 4 only in Japanese, and it’s funny to hear characters like Guile say “いった！”(it hurts!) or Dan say “おかしいじゃない！！！”(it’s not funny!)
As much as I like to write about these posts, I really want to be less delinquent in my goal, but at the very least I can track my progress, and I am getting quite excited by the idea of blogging about sentence mining. I’m currently at 1170 Kanji, hoping to hit 1500 (the 3/4 mark of Heisig) in another two weeks or so. But as I said before, No Pressure!
So after almost a year of blogging on and off, I have JUST started to
1 ) Occasionally practice speaking with a native speaker (I was shy before )
2) Started Immersive action behaviours (Iphone, switched OS, Japanese games, sometime read Manga)
3) Started getting comfortable with the idea of actual Japanese proficiency. (I’m possibly up to 2 or 3 thousand hours of listening exposure by now)
4) Have this blog to really see my progress, my pitfalls,etc.
That said, I’m heading back to my Kanji-isms. Gonna make another post about a “word list system” I have been using to move faster through Heisig.
-good points! I’ll have to try the tweeting in Japanese once I get a keitai (As soon as I get a ARC). I also guess I’ll have to get over my deep resentment of twitter)
-“Occasionally practice speaking with a native speaker (I was shy before)'” I’m in that state now. Whenever I’m at stores buying things I try to speak as little and simply as possible to avoid making mistakes and standing out. But this helped remind me I need to be more adventurous and embrace the gaijin experience and look like a fool or insult people in the name of language learning.