It's been a wonderful month. I got a promotion at work, which has kept me busy. I fell in love. (Well, I was already in love, but...never mind, long story.) I've been doing various fun things with my children. I bombed the JLPT N2.
Okay, that last bit wasn't wonderful. But it didn't scar me for life either. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. Unless you're Nietzsche and contract syphilis, in which case you just go mad and die. But, hey, there's always an exception to the rule.
Point is, I have a lot of changes going on in my life, and I've had to do some hard thinking about how I make room for all these wonderful things. It's left me scrambling to figure out where my Japanese studies fit into it all. I love reading and listening to Japanese, and hope to use the language in my work within the next year or two. Plus, I have several great Japanese friends now. It's not something I want to fall by the wayside.
Post-JLPT, I found myself extremely unmotivated to study. Part of it was that my attentions have been required elsewhere. The other part? Probably burnout. I've studied hours a day for seven months. I've made tremendous progress. But if I'm going to become proficient at this language, I need a study approach that's more slow and sustainable in the long haul. I need my language studies to become a long-term habit, not a short-term obsession.
(Aside: This, in my mind, is one of the big dangers with the "All Japanese, All The Time" approach. That, and the fact that this method of studying is really only practical for college students with no job, no partner, no kids, and few friends. More on that later.)
I decided what I really needed to do was do something dramatic to re-start my studies. I needed to change up my study routine.
About a month ago, I stopped using my self-made Anki deck. It had ceased to be fun. It was loaded with old terms I wasn't really using and didn't need just yet in my long-term memory. I like Anki; but I'd come to hate my deck.
Hence, Step 1 in the Shake It Up routine: I deleted my old Anki deck and
Step 2 is to start focusing on handwriting, so that I can produce kanji from memory. I haven't ignored writing, but it's definitely waaaay behind my reading. I haven't decided on the approach I'm using for this yet; it's between subscribing to Skritter, or simply listening to NHKジャーナル and アニメ and attempting to transcribe what I hear. I'll likely go with the later option, because Skritter, at $10/month, costs more than my monthly Netflix subscription (egads).
How have you shaken up your language learning recently? Inquiring minds want to know!