JLPT BC 108 | Living a Little

JLPT BC 108 | Living a Little post image
Easy Japanese Study

Why can’t I just be a cat?

Last month, I talked about the need to do some pruning here and there. I put that advice to action and ignored some of the words I had been studying on Memrise that I either knew pretty well, didn’t see really helping me in the future, or I could recognize from context. This has reduced the ‘stack’ of words I need to work through every day, but it is still a little high.

My overall goal is to try to keep my vocabulary and kanji drill time down to just about 30 minutes or less a day. Right now, it is way out of control, I estimate I spend almost an hour and a half drilling and that is way too much.

The main reason for reducing this stack of words is that I find myself being anxious and want to just get through the drills so it is finished. I want to slow it down some and make sure I understand what I am learning not just get it done. I want to spend a little more time with each word and make sure I know it instead of just piling on the vocabulary.

I’d also like to take some time to create some more mems, mnemonics on Memrise, for words that always trip me up like transitive and intransitive verbs. On top of that, I’d like to double-check if I can actually use the words in a sentence, which is obviously the whole point of learning the vocabulary in the first place. And with more free time, I can spend some time course-building which I learn a lot from as well.

Mastering the Kanji

I challenged myself to learn the remaining N1 kanji that I didn’t know (around 550 at the time) by the end of April. I’m happy to report that I’m progressing pretty smoothly on that goal. I now only have about 255 more kanji to learn, which is pretty awesome.

I’ve been struggling a little to keep up with the 40 or so kanji a week schedule though. This is a pretty brisk pace and requires frequent review to keep up, but so far so good. I think I can confidently finish by the end of April. That will be a great feeling to have all the N1 kanji done and gone.

I’ll still need to do regular review to make them automatic though. I’m trying not to get too impatient to move on to the next big thing, but stay focused and over-learn the kanji so that I can recognize them when I’m reading. Over-learning is critical for increasing your speed I think, but a little frustrating.

I especially get a little frustrated on weekends when I need to do kanji practice. I just want to relax and enjoy my free time with the family, but I manage to squeeze it in between all the action. Still, I look forward to the day when it all becomes automatic and smooth for me. Almost there, just 2 months!

Free Time

I’m finding it a little more relaxing though to have just a little more free time. I think we sometimes feel like we aren’t doing enough to study or to improve and so there is a tendency to stack on more and more, but you do need that clarity that only comes from doing absolutely nothing for a little while.

I’d also like to devote some of this free time to making and cleaning up courses at Memrise. Already, I created a beginner course, N5 course, and N4 course, but I think they can be improved on and I will be putting some time into that on a regular basis. I’d also like to squeeze in some time for that deck of N3 words that a lot of people have been asking for recently.

The longer I run this site, the more I’m growing to like teaching Japanese. I learn so much along the way and get a lot of feedback from everyone. My only problem is keeping up with all the requests. But, I’ll keep doing it as long as I can find the time.

Are you Pushing yourself too Hard?

Are you doing a little too much drilling? Is it starting to affect your enthusiasm for Japanese? Let me know in the comments.

Photo by audi_inspiration

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Afoofoo March 6, 2013, 5:13 pm

    “Still, I look forward to the day when it all becomes automatic and smooth for me.” That was so perfect :’C Sometimes I forget about the future, that there is an end to the tunnel. I’ll be adopting this mindset, thank you!

    Nothing works on this laptop, so I can’t do much (like Anki and my DS emulator; I love Tadashii kanji kakitori-kun) but I will be starting the Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar. I’m a bit scared because I put Japanese aside for 2 months (That’s how much I studied for my university entry test…) so I’m going through my old grammar notes and obscure vocabulary haha. I’m having fun again though, fantasizing about becoming a chef in Japan and having conversations with a grumpy old sushi chef who goes “BACK IN MY DAY…” continuously…

    P.S. Hoho, I feel honoured that you mentioned Pakistan in your other blog post! \o/ Your blog focuses more on learning the language and study methods than just Japan, so it’s a lot more interesting to me than others. Looking forward to your next post!

    • Clayton MacKnight March 10, 2013, 8:39 am

      It’s great to hear from so many people across the world. I just remembered your comment about the scheduled black outs in Pakistan, which is quite different than the possible black outs here in Japan (that never happened). Great to hear from you and everybody.

      I hope you can get back on track with your studies. Make it automatic.

  • Isaura March 8, 2013, 5:02 am

    Yes, I am doing a little too much drilling. Because I am studying every new words with Kanji, too. And I often write letters to my Japanese penpals, and I want to write everything with Kanji, so I must memorize every day a lot of Kanji. So I am often very tired, and I must go to sleep early, 8:00 o’clock p.m.

    • Clayton MacKnight March 10, 2013, 8:42 am

      Yeah, that is a lot of writing, but I think if it keeps you interested, you should keep doing it. I feel like lately I do way too much drilling and I just try to race through it, which doesn’t help at all. I think I need to go back to reading fun books or another activity that’s just for fun, not about maximum efficiency.

  • Andrew March 10, 2013, 9:51 am

    Yea, pruning is good. My reward/plan this year will be reading more Japanese, more news, blogging, and doing a little less drilling.

    • Clayton MacKnight March 10, 2013, 3:17 pm

      Yeah, I’ve been getting into Japanese LifeHacker and other mediagene (Roomie, Gizmodo, My Lohas etc…) blogs. Trying to get through some editorials as well, but I just fall asleep. 🙂

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