We've Made It!
I can’t believe that it’s already been 6 whole months that I’ve been learning Japanese and I gotta say, what a ride.
This will be one of a few posts surrounding this landmark of my language journey as I look back to see the pitfalls, overall success, and a plan forward.
Kanji Kingdom: 1600/2300
Remaining Cards: 5500
Well, to address the elephant in the room, I did not get fluent in 6 months, but there are several learning experiences I was able to gain outside of Japanese specifically and have a great hope of continuing forward.
- Learning to Learn a Language
- Hope (Looking Ahead)
Learning to Learn a Language
After this experience, I don't think language learning is hard. The only hard part is showing up daily, which is where I struggled most 😅
Why do I say that? Because it's training your brain to see the patterns in the language and use them, interact with them, and make it so they become the default (aka, not translating). But that recognition takes time.
Over the last few weeks, I realized during my transition why I struggled with the showing up daily and hope this explains pitfalls, and helps you decide whether you want to learn a language or not :)
A Reason to Learn
Even though it's easy to learn, it becomes harder to show up daily when you don't have a reason to learn. Are you trying to watch a specific show? Go to the country? Talk to a friend in that language? Change careers?
Without a reason, it's easy to fall back on English and call it a day. After all, you already know a language, why learn another?
There are no bad reasons, but some are easier to justify being a higher priority in life.
This one's a question of what's most important to you? Learning Japanese takes time daily, and takes a lot when speed running it (like 4+ hours). That means less time for friends in English, and less time for family.
When you start learning the language, most people are understanding and you're able to say "hey, I'm studying" and they get it. After 2 months though, they start to question if it's really worth it and pull you away from it.
It becomes hard to justify skipping out on an afternoon of fun over learning a language when your reason is "I want to watch a show". So you go out, but come home to the reality of you didn't study.
In a personal way, as my reason was a challenge, I was able to hold out for several months before being questioned as much since I had a deadline. However, they were still present and it's hard to say no.
Perhaps saying "it's for my job" is a little easier to convince them, or you get new friends.
I think there is a lot of hope moving forward over these coming months. I've learned that my main priority is learning to read Japanese. By being able to read it, I'll be able to read more and then be able to understand and grow in my pattern recognition.
I plan to continue what I've been doing with Jalup until I've completed all 5500 remaining cards.
To help myself out though, I'm also working to set up smaller but more rigid studies times. This will address the issue of saying no to people as it's a commitment to myself that I'm keeping, not just "me learning a language."
I can see 9-12 months being very possible given all the front end work and experiments I've done. I know there's a lot left for me to do, but I also know now that it really is me just showing up daily.
I don't think I will update as frequently for the challenge (maybe 2 weeks or every month), so let me know if you like the weekly!
Aside for that, it's time to just keep pluggin and chuggin to get to fluency.
As a final wrap up for this 6 months challenge, I want to thank you. The comments you've made, encouraging statements, and even the "yeah I read it's" are a huge help and kept me going at times when I didn't want to.
Thank you so much for joining me and I can't wait to get fluent so I can blow y'all away :P And as always,
Thanks for Reading!