My Secrets To Failure

All aboard the USS Fail—Warp 9!

I’ve been studying Japanese for a bit longer than I care to admit. There are many times where I feel like I should be an expert by now. There’s a reason for this though. I spent a lot of time, especially in the earlier days, doing many things the wrong way. Here is some advice that I wish I could give my past self on what not to do!

  • Focusing on too many elements at once. This is also known as not having focus! I’ve been there—wanting to learn kana, kanji, vocabulary, and grammar all at once. I ended up feeling like I was spinning my tires and getting nowhere. Only by focusing my studies on a particular element (for example, I’m doing vocabulary building now) did I experience the rush of progress that spurs me forward.
  • Using things that take way more time to prepare than to use. Thanks to modern technology, this isn’t too big of an issue. What I’m talking about is stuff like typing things manually from a print book, or searching for hours for a particular set of Japanese subtitles, ignoring what is more readily and easily available for your use. There are also tools such as Learning With Texts or Read The Kanji that take out a massive amount of preparation, letting you spend your valuable time on exactly what you need.
  • Doing everything way above your level. Don’t be ashamed to use children’s materials, or to take things in small sizes. You can’t expect to understand step 3 if you’re still on step 1.
  • Doing everything that is too easy. Then there’s the other side of this coin! If you just keep going over the same level of material without taking the next step, you won’t make any progress either.
  • Not making it a lifestyle. This was the biggest reason I never got anywhere for literally years after my initial interest in Japanese. I would study from a textbook about once a week… sometimes. Even worse is I was using only romaji for the longest time too. Beyond that I was playing games in English, sometimes watching anime with English subs back when any anime was hard to come by, had no Japanese text in my environment… you get the idea! Now, I fully consider learning Japanese to be a part of my lifestyle and not just a hobby. It’s on my devices, my media choices, on my walls, everywhere in my life.

Media recommendation: Grooveshark

Groove to the move~!

If you’re looking for a way to discover and listen to new Japanese bands at an alarming rate, then buddy, have I got a website for you! Grooveshark is a streaming music service that will actually learn what kind of songs you like, and make suggestions for more. You can create online playlists and listen in wherever you have an Internet connection. It has a surprising amount of Japanese bands, I’ve only seen it come up short on 1 or 2 bands that I had searched for. I’ve also discovered more bands in one week than I have in the last six months, easily! Listen in, and rock on!

Reader Poll!

J-Rock band: Stereopony

An extra special bonus section I want to try out, the reader poll! In light of the media recommendation being music related, feel free to leave a comment with your top Japanese bands!

6 Responses to “My Secrets To Failure”
  1. Daniru says:

    Two bands I’ve been a massive fan of for years are 東京事変 (Tokyo Jihen) and Asian Kung-Fu Generation.

    Was always a big Shiina Ringo fan growing up as a teenager, so for her to abandon her solo career to form this crazy jazz-rock-pop fusion band with some of Japan’s best musicians blew my mind. They disbanded this year but I have all their albums mixed into my immersion loop everyday and they never fail to make my day.

    And Ajikan just have an awesome sound. I think ‘Blue Train’ was the song that got me hooked to them originally (there’s just something about the drumbeat/rhythm to that song that gets me fired up) and the rest is history.

    Sorry for my splurge but hopefully you’ll check these guys out sometime if you haven’t already.

    ALSO as a side note…. only just realised I’d read quite a few of your posts from your other blog in between my first and current attempts learning Japanese. Good to know you’re still fighting the good fight, and it definitely was a great help on getting me on the right track this time around.

  2. Delenir says:

    Thanks for your comment! Asian Kung-Fu Generation I know well, I’ll be sure to check out the other bands. One can never have enough recommendations!

    Interesting to hear you were a reader of my old blog. I figured it was better to join the winning team of Mikotoneko rathan than try to compete in any way 🙂 I’ll be posting my last 3rd month update later on, I’ve got quite a good chain of Japanese activity going on now!

  3. Daniru says:

    Looking forward to the update. Currently in the midst of fine tuning my learning process and chain of activities on the run up to setting myself a three month challenge of my own.

    I think I fixate on my daily progression too much and don’t feel like I make much progress as a result. So will be nice to take a step back and see my progression on a larger scale.

    And it’s great you joined with mikotoneko as I get all my best learner blog posts from a couple of sources now and have more time for native blogs 🙂

  4. Delenir says:

    You’r right, day to day it looks like there’s been no movement. I even used to judge my weekends on whether or not I made leaps and bounds of Japanese progress. But it doesn’t work quite that way. At least not for us saps that need to have jobs 🙂 I’m looking to make some noticeable progress over the holidays though!

  5. Delenir says:

    Heya I was wondering if you used any social networks like Facebook or Twitter?

  6. Daniru says:

    I’m on facebook but I’ve only recently had twitter explained to me so haven’t quite made the jump yet (lame, I know).

    Can find me through the email address tagged in the log-in for this comment, although if you can’t see it for whatever reason just post here again and I’ll sling you my email address.

    Would def be cool to be able to regularly bounce ideas back and forth although you’re above my level 🙂

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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

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

    March 2-Week:
    Goal: 125

    Goal: 250
    Total: 314

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