Following Satogaeru, I’ll just copy a little bit of my first post from the old Koohii forum thread, but will otherwise start my study log fresh.
How I Started
I’ve been interested in Japanese since I was in middle school and saw my first undubbed anime (it was 科学忍者隊ガッチャマン). I didn’t do much with this passion until a mid-life crisis moment in 2012 when I realized I was playing too much Halo and needed some sort of larger purpose. I decided to re-invest my efforts into studying Japanese…which brought me to this forum and its abundance of resources.
I believe in the comprehensible input hypothesis. So I started out with some beginner and intermediate textbooks, found simple texts that I was motivated to read (mainly 昔話), and used those to start creating my own vocab decks. At the same time, I used RtK near the beginning to develop stories and make the kanji stick in my head better. Once I developed more of a foundation in the language, I kept using the same strategy: pick up something from native language, study the vocab and grammar in it, and bring it to the point where it became “comprehensible”.
Where I’m At
Last year, I passed JLPT N1 after about six years of exposure to and daily study of Japanese. Currently, I’m aiming to take on the 漢字検定. I’m initially aiming for Level 3, but will likely try for 2 eventually.
What I’m Doing
I’m using Anki to drill practice test questions at ３級 level - vocab, synonyms/antonyms, 四字熟語, 送り仮名, etc.
It’s somewhat slow going, as the deck is all production and handwriting, and thus takes about 60/minutes a day to get through. However, I find it extremely valuable. As I’ve said before, I find this practice is raising what I call my “kanji competency”. It’s a lot easier now to read kanji quickly, to write them, and to visualize the kanji for words when I hear them spoken. In short, I think it’s made my Japanese better by making everything more concrete and available to me.
I plan to finish this ３級 practice book in the next three months, after which I’ll see when the next ３級 exam is in Vancouver.
Reading has always been a cornerstone of my practice. While I love to read novels, I find I just don’t have the time for them. Most of the reading I do now is reading Japanese news for material for UnseenJapan.com. I loosely estimate this is getting me at least 10 pages/day, sometimes more.
My mainstays these days are the NHK News Journal podcast, and morning news shows - primarily Ohayon! and Sukkiri! on Ni-tere. My wife and I are also working our way through US shows on Netflix with Japanese dubs. We’re currently about halfway through her current fave, THE BLACKLIST.
Honestly, I feel my production is waaaay down. I do a lot of speaking with my wife as usual, but haven’t been explicitly practicing writing or other speaking due primarily to time constraints. This is something I really want to work on, especially as I’m focusing on speaking primarily in Japanese for the site’s fledgling YouTube channel.