Splatted - 2017-05-11, 3:30 am: Old thread intro
TLDR: Studying for the December JLPT N1 and trying to build good routines into my life. This journal will contain discussion of study methods, what I’m studying, habit formation and the Japanese media I’m working my way through.
I’ve decided to start studying for the December JLPT N1 and thought a study blog would be a good idea. Although improving my Japanese and getting a qualification are things I want they are not the main reasons for doing this. What I really want is to learn self discipline, good habits and create a work routine that I can use as a basis for achieving other goals moving forward.
I’ve deliberately chosen a goal that I can comfortably fail because this will allow me to start slow and build things up in a manageable way. It seems to be a common trend with me that I pick important ambitious goals requiring difficult schedules I can’t stick to. I don’t think the problem is burnout so much as the insidious feeling that doing just one or two hours of work is equivalent to doing none. Any day on which I doubt my will to complete the whole routine I suddenly finding myself lacking the will to even start. Hopefully putting the routine first and the result second will help solve this.
I only do comprehension and can’t speak or write well at all.
In terms of hard numbers I took the J-cat in may 2015 and got these scores:
Though this was a long time ago I doubt things have changed all that much since I haven’t really been making an effort to improve. I’m going to retake soon but I wanted to post what I think my level is beforehand.
Speaking more practically I find my Japanese is very usable. I watch quite a lot of anime and never really expect to have any issues understanding them. Problem scenes are common but problem shows are rare. Reading is slightly harder but similar. In general I like to have a dictionary handy, and will look up quite a lot of words if given the chance, but most of what I consume is enjoyable without additional study.
Although I said problem shows are rare I think it’s fair to say I’m not very adventurous with what I consume. Most of it is fiction designed to be fun and unchallenging (e.g. shonen jump manga) and my comprehension drops significantly if I try to step outside this comfort zone.
10 min housework
1 hr breakfast/recreation
30 min reading a Japanese novel
n/a Anki until completion
I’m starting slowly with a morning routine designed to be basically as easy as possible. Anki is the only thing here because it needs to get done. I put something before breakfast to get the ball rolling before I have a chance to mull over how lazy I’m feeling. The reason it’s short and easy is obvious but the choice of housework is also important because it has an immediate and visible effect on my environment meaning I will know I’ll benefit from it even if I fail the routine as a whole.
The reading is just there because it’s enjoyable. The point is to get myself in the habit of thinking "Breakfast is over. I have to do stop this and do [x]. I think it will be easier to substitute less appealing tasks once the timeblock is established.
I’m honestly unsure what materials I should be studying. Since I’ve not previously followed a syllabus it’s likely that my knowledge is a patchwork of things from all levels of the JLPT and beyond, with gaps at all levels as well. It doesn’t seem like going through the lower grades would be efficient but I also can’t be confident that just the N1 materials will be enough. Perhaps start with N1 and work my way back?
What I am certain of is that I need to branch out in to reading news sites, do as many practice papers as possible and consume as much native material as possible
Current study materials
No textbooks currently, just native media. I discovered that Amazon.jp has astoundingly low shipping prices and recently went on a manga buying binge, so I have a tbr consisting of Claymore, Akira, Tokyo Ghoul and volume 1 of Pluto.
The things I’m going through now are as follows:
[Novel] 死神の浮力 (Buoyancy of death)
This is the sequel to one of my favourite Japanese books, 死神の精度, however it’s not really living up to that hype. It’s enjoyable and I am still quite near the beginning, but I had such high expectations that I’m still disappointed. The main draw for me is the weird POV character (the titular 死神), however he feels like less of a focus this time.
[Anime] My hero academia
I’m rewatching season 1 for some reason. I don’t find myself hugely invested in it but it is relaxing and fun. It’s probably the perfect show for anyone who dreams of a marvel anime crossover.
[anime] Darker than black
I remember loving this when it first came out but somehow never ended up watching the second season.
Starting again from scratch I’m enjoying it quite a lot.
[Manga] One Piece
I got sick of the poor anime adaptation and decided to read the manga from the beginning. Currently on volume twenty three and loving it more and more with each chapter. I would never have guessed from the anime that the art is so good!