Back to the Grind Stone with FluentU

Back to the Grind Stone with FluentU post image

I have been making some tentative steps back into a regular study routine. I had to drop absolutely everything (including blogging for a moment) to do some very rewarding translation work. I don’t regret doing that at all of course. The experience taught me a lot about having to keep deadlines and how having and keeping deadlines can make you do some amazing things.

But, after all the dust cleared. I had blown through 2 months with little to no studying, other than feeding my SRS beast named Memrise. This might lead some people to just plum giving up and doing something else. And I contemplated that for a little bit.

However, I live in Japan. I’ll be living here for quite some time and I love doing translation. All of these things require that I have a pretty good knowledge of Japanese. And I just can’t give it up, I love the challenge too much. So, I’ve moved back to regular study.

It was actually refreshing to step back into it. I thought I would have to push myself hard to get back into the rhythm, but it was pretty easy and fun. I’m back listening to podcasts and reading books when I can. I’m still trying to catch up with everything, but I’m able to fill in the cracks here and there to get my studying on.

Translating all those sentences proved a little helpful to my studies. There were a few structures that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with. I’m still having issues about how to translated ‘used to’ into Japanese. There doesn’t seem to be any real clear rules on how to do that. If anybody can point me to a clear explanation I would really appreciate it because I had a devil of a time with that structure.

FluentU is back

I’ve been practicing off and on with FluentU. I still like the interface and theory behind it. It is very difficult to get back into after a long break though. I think I might have to drop a few of the videos I had been studying and start fresh. The advanced videos, which cover a lot of news stories, can be quite challenging because they have enormous sentences to unscramble.

I’m still disappointed in the lack of an Android app. This year I moved away from iPhone for a variety of reasons, and love Android, but I still feel the pain when I find that some apps are only available on iOS. I hope that cross-platform development software improves in the near future, because it is really annoying to find that an app only exists on a certain platform.

Anyway, FluentU offers up good natural practice with native speakers instead of the usual scripted content you will find in other places. I think it is good to have both to be honest. I find JapanesePod101 to be really useful because they will focus on a particular grammar point and go over it in the lesson. However, hearing real Japanese is more useful for the real world. You kind of need both in your studies.

Concentrated listening

I’ve been sitting down and trying to listen to longer passages. I don’t really have a strong ability to focus on something for a long period of time. I’m starting to succumb to ADD induced by the information rich Internet. I even have a hard time concentrating for a full-length film these days, much less a TV show.

And I should say that this is a problem in English as well as Japanese, so I need to spend a little more time practicing my focus. I’d like to take more time meditating, but I’m not sure if I can work that into my schedule or not. It seems like almost anyone successful uses some kind of meditation.

All of this is in preparation for some very long meetings I have to go to that all in Japanese. I can listen and have a conversation for an hour or two, but sitting there just absorbing information for long periods of time is incredibly difficult for me, even in English.

Now, one could argue that I have no business in a business that has extremely long meetings, which I’m highly allergic too. And they would probably have a good case. But, I’d like to see if I can survive a few just a challenge. Anyway, it gives me a goal to strive for.

How are your studies?

Have you been keeping up through the holiday season? Can you predict what sections you need to improve for the test?

Most of you should have received your JLPT results if you took the test, so now is the time to think about your goals for next test. What is a weak point you want to work on? What is a strong point you don’t need to focus on so much? Let us all know in the comments.

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