Itching to Finish

I haven’t posted in a little while, because the last few weeks have been pretty fuzzy. One day, I’ll put it in a book…either way, I must say that I’m really starting to “get” Heisig and I’m doing my best not to jump into sentence mining or any other Onyomi/Kunyomi related systems too early.

This blog is really a blog about starts and stops, not a blog where I have consistently done anything. What continues to amaze me is that in my delinquency, or regardless of how “badly” I have implemented AJATT, or other systems, that I keep learning.

After I hit 1200 Kanji, I was recognizing Kanji everywhere. They were leaping out at me in tweets, in text messages, on bus signs, on posters, on magazine covers. I was starting to process the data.

Not only that, but I started reading Kanji by default. When I learned 教 the kanji for “teach”, I immediately knew it as “おしえる“, also several other Kanji I keep seeing pop up in tweets, in the same order. I can read several Japanese tweets now, and I am amazed at this fact.

Most of the time I get stuck because I don’t know several readings for common words yet., but when I started this blog in November 2009, it was this feeling… this idea that I would one day sit and be able to read Japanese that made me start in the first place. For me to be able to read most of a Kanji-heavy tweet and get a basic understanding of it, especially how BADLY I’ve been studying various systems, it is a massive eye-opener.

I keep stopping and starting Heisig, but learn passively through listening and speaking occasionally. Ladies and gentlemen, I have been learning Japanese over the last year without really

a ) Being consistent

b) practicing speaking or writing

c) following a regular routine

I am not saying people should do this. In fact, don’t. I’d be at a seriously high reading level now if I had hit my Heisig finish time, which was projected at April 2010. Imagine me with 7 months of Kanji reading and sentence mining in my system? But as I mentioned in a previous post. I am not judging myself anymore in regards to that. Stress has affected me strangely in Japan, and that’s that.

That said, I am totally itching to finish Heisig like a maniac now. I still have another 700 or so Kanji to go, but now I am “seeing the light”. I can see a complete sentence eand know every Kanji in it, I just don’t know the exact words yet.

A lot of people complain about this, but I’m not worried because if you have ever read Japanese manga, magazines or articles in a certain context you see the same words over and over. I am a big proponent of “learning in context” and I really want to see where I’ll be in the next few months.

So bad habits aside and me moving at a snail’s pace, disappearing and not really doing what I planned to do, I am slowly approaching my goal of being able to read in Japanese. I can read many sentences now, and I see exactly why knowing a large number of “common sentences” say, 5,000-10,000 you can read pretty much anything.

The AJATT site has recently pushed something new, called “Massive Context Cloze Deletion” which sounds a bit like an autobot’s favourite sexual position, but I digress. I’m not ready to mine sentences hardcore yet. Another few weeks and I’ll be done with Heisig and diving into Manga and so on.

I will start posting videos on my thoughts as well. I want to record my progress through video as well, to maybe see how my Japanese speaking improves over time. I will record myself attempting to say things (probably with a Japanese speaker there) and then track it.]

anyhoo, cheers

About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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1 Response to Itching to Finish

  1. Paul Nogas says:

    “regardless of how “badly” I have implemented AJATT, or other systems, that I keep learning.” this is defiantly true! Even if your cutting down a tree with a really dull axe, it’s still better than nothing. (although hopefully we are both learning from our mistakes)

    – avoid the stress. avoid the judgment. there’s enough of those in Japan already.

    – don’t get too caught up in “the list”. I focused on that magic 2042 number since in the back of my head I imagined taking the JLPT some day so having the “joyo” set down appealed to me. however not only has the list changed slightly( but I’ve been finding some kanji every now and then that aren’t on the list at all (although their appearance is quite rare). I’m not saying that you (or anyone else) shouldn’t be aiming for this goal, just be sure not to fool yourself with some illusion of having a new plateau of comprehension once it’s complete.

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