Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sentences (2 months) – Less is more, more or less!

I’m just over 2 months into the sentence stage of learning and I already have the battle scars to prove it…well almost.

It was always going to be a bloody process despite my ‘master plan’ for Japanese sentence domination.

So where did I go wrong and what pitfalls should you look out for if you are following this path…it’s simple…DON’T TRY AND DO TOO MUCH.

Yes, yes, yes, how could I be so stupid?

I had heard all the words of wisdom, the old clich├ęd ‘it’s a marathon not a sprint’, but boy I just couldn’t help myself, within no time I was sprinting like a Japanese sentence mining mad man having just been let off his ‘Remembering the Kanji’ leash…."add more sentences now god damit, just another 100 more, it won’t hurt." Ah! but it did hurt and it has been hurting pretty damn hard for the last 3 weeks as I try and claw myself out of my overenthusiastic start.

As you can see from my sentence counter on the right I have stalled at 1225 sentences for over 3 weeks now. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. With a hefty rate of repetitions per day things appear to be settling down.

In an attempt to avoid a repeat performance, using the useful features in Anki I have now set it up to only introduce new cards after I have finished all of the repetitions for that day. This means that some days new cards will be added and some days they won’t, it all depends if I finish all of my repetitions…which kind of makes more sense in terms of managing your workload.

Less Hare, more Tortoise.

Question: What do you think is the optimum amount of new cards per day? 10, 25, 40…100?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Japanese Immersion - A Typical Day

My Japanese immersion environment has certainly evolved since I embarked on this journey nearly six months ago. Crucially it still continues to change, adapt, and grow, but there surely is more that I could be doing. There is always more…

So let’s put it to the test, what do I actually do on a typical working day?


6.15 Wake up – Always a good start.

6.30 – 7.00 Sentences - Usually try and do 60 reps in 30 minutes

7.00 – 7.20 Make breakfast and lunch

7.20 – 7.40 Shower and change

7.40 – 9.00 Drive to work (yes it’s a loooong drive) - Japanese podcasts/music

9.00 – 13.00 Work (Office)

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch Break

14.00 – 17.00 Work (Office)

17.00 – 18.20 Drive home - Japanese podcasts/music

18.20 – 7.30 Make dinner & initiate small talk with lady friend (poor girl)

7.30 – 8.30 Sentences / Revtk

8.30 – 9.00 Youtube (Mostly vlogs by English speakers, some Japanese)

9.00 – 10.30 Japanese film/TV, Nintendo DS (Japanese games) or read manga

10.30 - Bedtime

So, in total I am doing something in Japanese for a total of 5 hours and 40 minutes…hmmm respectable I suppose, but if I look a bit closer at my list there are areas I could easily improve on. Well, let’s see…

7.00 – 7.20 – Make breakfast and lunch – I could be listening to Japanese audio in the kitchen. Time to dust down that old portable CD player.

7.20 – 7.40 Shower and change – Shower audio device?? (one for google)

13.00 – 14.00 – Lunch break - One from the Ministry of The Bleeding Obvious here. This time could be dedicated to reading or more Anki reps.

18.20 – 19.30 – Make dinner – Again let’s get some audio going on here you frekkin genius.

20.30 – 21.00 – Youtube – only subscribe to Japanese speakers…I must stop watching vlogs of American’s talking about learning Japanese, it’s not going to get me anywhere.

If I incorporated the above I would add a good 3 and a bit hours of Japanesey stuff to my current amount which would give me a grand total of 9 hours of immersion. That’s an extra 15 hours a week with just a little more effort.

Those hours could make the difference.

Question: What is your daily routine? Have you incorporated any ingenious ways of cramming that extra little bit of Japanese into your average day?