My spectacular Japanese failure

七転び八起き。Nana-korobu, ya-oki. Fall down seven times, get up eight. -- 日本のことわざ

A failure establishes only this, that our determination to succeed was not strong enough. -- Bovee

I’m not really learning Japanese in just three months

It’s more like six years and three months. After six years of pretending to study and learn and practice Japanese, I've decided it’s time to take real action, now. Thus, the three month goal to push

Why three months? What’s my motivation?

  1. Because I am best motivated by pressure (pain).
  2. I’m exhausted of fooling around with the language and not having any significant, recent progress (more pain).
  3. I chose not to spend much time on my existing languages—Spanish, Portuguese, and ASL—and now I’m really rusty at those. So I want to brush up on those again (just a little more pain). Thankfully, they’ll come back quickly.
  4. I want to move on and learn a new language, something easier next: I’m hoping it’s German (pleasure).
Aside: I know I'm not the only person who is more motivated by pain than pleasure. That will be my next blog: Transformational Motivation. I jest.

The path to success, L. Cromwell

That's not to say that I haven't learned a thing or two over the years. I can read and write kana, and I read smoothly as long as the text contains yomigana, or furigana.

Having practiced aloud with two different audio programs, I can also understand very basic Japanese and speak (and write) in simple  sentences. Sadly, I've lacked the diligence and self-discipline necessary to complete them.

In the six four years, I've probably averaged only 72 hours/year of actual learning. So, I’ve been lax to say the least. It pains me to think that I could already be at a felicitous level of mastery had I only applied myself more. Such a spectacular failure!

At this point, I'm tired of this torturous methodology I've subjected myself to, and I'm ready to break through some barriers. So here we go.

がんばって、ね。I will persevere, won't I.

Current Japanese Levels

This is how I rate myself. I understand there are vastly superior methods, but I like to keep it simple.
  • Conversational understanding: 30% of what I hear
  • Reading understanding: 30%
  • Practiced Reading smoothness: 70% (furigana — and practice — required)
  • Sight Reading smoothness: 60%
  • Vocabulary: Small (1000 words)
  • Conversational Speaking: Simple
  • Public Speaking: Medium (with a Japanese proofreader and some practice)
  • Grammar: Simple sentences
  • Kanji: Less than 100

Boosting my language learning

Here’s the subject-to-change plan I’m implementing (each of these is a minimum; likely I’ll do more):
  1. Read aloud 10 minutes/day
  2. Audio 15 minutes/day - UPDATE: Change to 10 minutes/day (changed 3/16/2015)
  3. TV/Movie 20 minutes/day (I’m desperate to improve comprehension)
  4. Flashcards 10 minutes/day
  5. Speaking 10 minutes/day
  6. Translating printed material 10 minutes/day
  7. Writing 10 minutes/day
  8. Culture/History 10 minutes/day
  9. Blogging the results 10 minutes/day
  10. UPDATE: Kanji study 10 minutes/day (added 3/16/2015)

Reporting Japanese progress and learning

I’ll update daily, but probably not point-by-point. In fact, in some cases, I may only post one sentence about my learning progress. Instead, perhaps we’ll explore some other aspects of the learning Japanese.

Today is Day 0. Tomorrow starts Day 1 of 90. Cheers.