Last night I got a bit frustrated trying to optimize my system for using Anki to start attacking sentences using one deck. Anki is relatively technical to use, but not impossible to setup. As I fiddled more and more with different Anki decks with different content, I began to get more and more edgy with myself because I felt i couldn’t “understand everything” and began to wonder if I would be using the “best Anki deck possible” and so on. long story short, I ended up downloading a bunch of different decks that people had modified to make certain things easier, but made the contents of each deck drastically different. (note these were all Anki decks for the Core2000 Japanese learning system)
Everyone is saying that a person needs to hit at least 1000 sentences of Japanese reading comprehension to gain a relative comfort operating mostly monolingual without the need for reference materials. This I completely understand, but then got frustrated because I had no idea where to get 1000 sentences from. I searched blog after blog, and it seems that some people would sit down and enter 30-50 sentences a day in their anki from ‘somewhere’ and eventually get up to 1000 sentences. I had no idea ‘where’ I could get ‘ good sentences’ sentences that I felt could show me measurable progress (in terms of structurally learning new verbs, nouns and expressions). So for a long time I didn’t know what was going on, until I started hanging around the RVTK (Reviewing the Kanji) forums where people posted questions on this very topic.
Then it seemed I found a solution. (This also has to do with Transitioning from Heisig to reading, which I have made some simple vidoes about. )
So everyone either did Kanji Chains, Kanji Odyessy 2001 or Smart.Fm’s Core 2000 Japanese program as a way to get their sentence weight up. But then I also realized that most people through their own devices started fiddling with the system that already existed, making “better decks” with stuff like “optimal learning environments” and what have you. For me I just got confused, because I seemed to prefer the original Smart.fm style with pictures and audio that could help me make a stronger word/meaning association.
BUT I realized that in getting too concerned with “which deck is the best deck” and all this stuff, I was getting caught up completely in Process. By process I simply mean I was spending so much time researching what people were doing with their decks, how people were tweaking the decks to get the “best results” and all this stuff, that I because way more interested in finding the “perfect system” than using a system that already exists. I mean there is nothing really wrong with this becuase people want to work faster and better right? Well for someone like me, I started becoming frustrated because I wanted the “ultimate” approach that I liked.
But after last night I just said that it’s easier for me to just pick a system, do it to completion and then move on. Because if I obsess over percentages and anki stats that people post and the supposed “retention level you will have after completing said course” then I won’t be thinking of my progress but only the process.
Because my current progress isn’t so bad. I haven’t been serious about Japanese study for a long time, I was lucky to live in Japan and maintain a good level of immersion without studying. but where am I? My Japanese comprehension is “okay” but I haven’t been doing loads of immersion or watching anime, or all the cool things that everyone “needs” to do. I just finished the 2,042 Kanji beast that was the Heisig method, so why am I getting frustrated with myself only three days later?
Again, I am too concerned with process vs progress.
This is actually the worst aspect of my student behavior, and I even started reading up some of Stephen Krashen’s book on second language acquisition to try and understand more things about why I have such a bizarre and stressful reaction to certain ways of learning. Despite the fact that there are all these systems out there, Kanji Odyessy, Core 2000 & 6000 and so on, that ALL get you further ahead, what’s my boggle? What’s my deal? I already started the core2000, and I know when I’m finished i’ll be able to read a lot more and say a lot more, which is the point yeah?
In Krashen’s book in chapter one he speaks of something called “lacophonic aphasia” which is a fear to speak for fear of saying the wrong thing. This was DEFINITELY me in Japan, where I would never speak (and be extension fueled this blog since I was learning without speaking,etc)
He also mentions the process behind language acquisition and the things people do with themselves to either hinder or further their progress. Basically I realized again, that it’s a matter of how much you foucs on the process and then how much you appreciat eyour progress.
hopefully i’ll be able to just relax one day and 100% enjoy learning Japanese without feeling like a loser, or like I am so far behind I will never reach anywhere. All silly, unfounded things.