The Importance of Having Things All Over The Place

Most people that use the self-immersion method out there have likely heard about just spreading that language all over the place in your environment. It only makes sense–see it everywhere and you’re likely to catch on. But there’s another, perhaps even better reason to practice this… practice of having things all over the place.

Don’t let things get this bad!

There have been a few days where I was all set to make some real progress in Japanese. I had some free time and I was going to use it to its fullest potential. But something just didn’t pan out and I ended up feeling like time was wasted. Then I realized–9 times out of 10 it was due to some failing technology. I’m sure you’ve run into at least a few of these problems when trying to make the most of your immersion time:
  • System crashing or won’t boot
  • Data loss
  • A site being down or streaming is choppy
  • A podcast you just downloaded is really bad quality (this is a big issue for me oddly enough)
  • Dead batteries
  • A tool not working the way you want it to
  • A file conversion of some kind won’t work properly
  • You forgot your device at home
  • You forgot your device at work
  • (Both of those have happened to me believe it or not.)
  • You picked a certain piece of media, but found it’s not so great/too difficult/not what you expected
  • You get stuck in a video game
Thankfully, there is a solution. It’s all about backups, not just of data, but of methods. This actually plays into the idea of timeboxing (a topic I’ll be talking about in detail in a future post). Having a variety of immersions tools and methods means when one piece of technology pisses you off goes out of commission temporarily, you have something to fall back on.

Oh, you were looking for Japanese media? I think I found some.

The biggest way I handle this is by having various media on different devices from a variety of sources. Here are some examples of how I keep things flowing:
  • Streaming/automated services such as Crunchyroll or podcasts. These live on my laptop. Crunchyroll is often for either background immersion, or turned on with subs so my spouse (who also likes Japanese culture thankfully!) can enjoy it at the same time. You don’t have to think about it, just turn it on and fresh content is brought right to you.
  • Non-streamed videos such as anime, drama and movies–everywhere. These live on my old computer which is connected to my TV, on a network share to my laptop which is attached to a second display, and also converted to my phone. I tend to watch different things on different devices. At my laptop it’s mostly ‘for the background’ type of things, on the TV it’s moreso drama and/or shows with Japanese text and subs watched more attentively, and on my phone is almost entirely for when doing the dishes.
  •  The home screen on my phone alone has 9 different icons related to Japanese. Everything from games to music to Anki.
  • Among many different resources, my computer has a few different games in Japanese. So if I get stuck in one, I can leave it be for a little bit and progress in something else. It also means there’s always a game I’m in the mood to play.
  • The Kindle (e-ink version) is a device I’ve talked about before. This is where I house things like texts from LWT or Japanese children’s stories (some with translations inline). Since I’m also the type of learner that finds it helpful to see the big picture, even materials like lists and charts are very useful to me on this device. The extremely long battery life and the fact that it looks great in the sun (whereas LCD screens tend to be hard to see) makes it a welcome addition to my repertoire.
  • And for when technology really fails, I have printed material. Manga is a huge part of this, as well as things like PDFs that cannot be reflowed on a Kindle.
So basically with a setup like this, if one device/source fails, there’s always another until I fix it. How about you, readers? How much does technology play into your immersion? What different activities do you have in your environment? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Recommendation of the Week: ゼルだの伝説-風のタクト (The Legend of Zelda – Wind Waker)

Sail the seas!

Forgive me for using Zelda so much, but aside from being my favorite video game series, this particular title boasts a lot of usefulness for Japanese. It’s a game I’ve played and enjoyed thoroughly in English when it first came out, so recently I thought I’d track it down in Japanese. It was a bit hard to find, but I got a copy. Aside from being a very colorful and adventurous game, the best part of all for Japanese is that it has furigana all the time. This of course makes reading a way more fluid experience, and if you know some kanji meanings it can help you understand that much more when you come across unknown words. If you’re new to the Zelda series, this is probably the console game I could recommend the most at this point (Minish Cap or Ocarina of Time 3D if you’re looking at handhelds.) Furigana seems to be somewhat of a rarity in video games, so if you know of any others that have it, please tell me in the comments!

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  • Read More or Die! 2011

    _2011 End Results_
    Total read for Tadoku:
    __433.3 pages!__
    Placement: 115/188
    ___________________
    October 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 97/120
    End Tally: 59.2
    ___________________
    July 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 86/142
    End Tally: 195.6
    ___________________
    April 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 62/106
    End Tally: 154.5
    ___________________
    January 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 84/99
    End Tally: 24
    ___________________
    August 2010 Contest:
    Placement: 20/41
    End Tally: 160

  • Read Or Die 2013

    **************
    June:
    Goal: 600
    Total: 906.26
    blew my goal outta the water!

    **************
    March 2-Week:
    Goal: 125
    Total:302.75

    **************
    January:
    Goal: 250
    Total: 314

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