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Jan 18, 2011

Just Do Something

Having this cold is reminding me of some more important things to remember to do when studying Japanese - or anything long-term for that matter. We'd all like to be able to achieve our goals every day, but life has a way of changing plans and making things more difficult than expected. In such times, just try to keep moving. Many people will make excuses, "I've got a lot of work to do today" or "I've got a cold today" and will completely put off their Japanese studies - but this is FATAL! Never stop! Even if it's only five reviews, do something to keep moving.

I've been studying Japanese on a daily basis for years now and I can count the number of days I haven't studied at all on one hand. When things get tough, just cut back on how much you do - but do NOT stop. During periods where I've been really down due to sickness or a lot of work, I'll typically stop adding new sentences or kanji and focus purely on reviewing. In addition, you can limit the number of reviews you do per day and not worry about completing all reviews.

During my initial kanji learning phase I'd have hundreds of reviews on a daily basis, but it started to really drag me down. I'd feel this enormous dread about starting my reviews - until I changed the situation. Instead of doing all of those hundreds of reviews, I started only doing 50 reviews per day. At first my review numbers were rapidly rising, but after a week or so they leveled off - after another week they began to drop. Eventually I reached the end of my reviews and from then on I only had about 50 reviews per day.Find that number that is good for you and stick with it. It doesn't matter how big or small it is, as long as you're doing something.

I've talked to a lot of people who have an on-and-off relationship with Japanese, and unfortunately they never seem to get anywhere. They'll get fired up for it and work for a week or two, then take three months off and forget it all. Don't do this to yourself! You want to learn Japanese, so just keep in contact with it every day. You don't have to go all out and spend your entire day studying and learning, but at least work in a few minutes here and there throughout the day. Never put yourself in a position to have to relearn. And above all - keep it fun.

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  1. I will do some self studying on Japanese after i'm finish school so I will have less to care about I hope. I have stuff that I would like to read in its characters too but, i'm aiming for manga stuff and try visual novels.

  2. You're right! I'm also the type that doesn't want "relearns" coz time is precious and instead of whining thinking about where you are in 日本語 then you have time to do SRS or add sentences.