April 21, 2017

A Humble Beginning

I’ve been quite interested in Japanese ever since I started watching subbed Anime back in 2012. But I never really wanted to learn the language then since I was focused on learning Chinese (there seemed to be no point in learning Japanese since I can’t really speak with anyone whilst there are ample of Chinese speakers amongst my friends). However, I failed miserably. I know a few Chinese words, enough to make people think that I can understand Chinese but in reality I can’t even string a few sentences to start a proper conversation.

I took a basic Mandarin class when I began my undergrad in 2013 but I was not discplined enough to give my 100 percent and thus I ended up with an A+ by memorising some characters off the book before the finals but totally forgot everything by the next semester. I suppose the biggest obstacle I had was a lack of motivation. I found Chinese pronounciation very hard and I kept using that as an excuse, thinking I’d never be able to speak properly anyways..

And lo 2 years passed by and I was in my final semester already. By that time, I was already deeply immersed in Anime and Manga. I’ve always strictly watched subbed Anime and thus I felt like I can understand a decent amount of words and the basic gist for the grammar.

Therefore, I forced myself to take a Japanese level 1 course despite the fact that I had a tight schedule, what with my FYP and all. Luckily, this time around, I had a hardworking friend with me. I worked harder for Japanese than I did back in my first year for Chinese. Unfortunately, due to my FYP schedule, I could not attend the last few classes and therefore, unable to take the speaking test. I figured that I would do well since my quiz and test marks were definitely not too bad. However, my lecturer ended up giving both of us a C grade.

This did not dampen my sprits though. I felt the urge to prove to myself that I can do it if I really try. But I was doing my internship when I got the results so there wasn’t much time to spend on Japanese. But that’s definitely not the case now. I’ve finished my internship and am on a short break now.

So, hello Japanese!.

I spent a few days combing through the internet for resources and guidelines and stumbled upon Tofugu’s Ultimate Guide to Learning Japanese. It felt just right for me since it showed reasonable goals instead of ‘Mastering Japanese in a month’ or something similar. I quickly started on the Hiragana. I still remembered around 50% of what I memorised previously so it was quite a breeze. I used the Memrise app for the SRS so that I could skip using Anki (I decided that I don’t have enough self discipline for it yet) and Memrise has prebuilt decks. That was last week. I completed the Hiragana track and moved on to the next one: TextFugu.

TextFugu intro was inspiring! Maybe I should have started with this… but nvm. For now, I have decided to follow through the first season of TextFugu (that’s the free one) while using Memrise to learn Katakana and retain Hiragana in memory. I’m not too sure how lengthy the season will be (based on the time I spend daily of course) but I’m expecting to spend at least two weeks (assuming I work on it daily for at least around 3 hours). I checked out the syllabus and I’m expected to learn Hiragana, some basic grammar, intro to kanji and radicals as well as ample motivational speeches XD! So here I go with the getting-started log.

#1 Why do I want to learn Japanese?

  • I want to find a development job in Japan and move in there
    (Laravel developer hopefully)
  • I would like to read manga as well as watch anime and japanese series
    (Blood Lad ending plz..)

#2 My excuses to quit/reduce effort

  • I’m looking to build my developer portfolio whilst looking for a job
  • I have to learn coding as well
  • I need time for socialising

#3 Learning log

That’s this one. I’ve found a template so it should be live by tomorrow!

I’m planning to loosely follow TextFugu recommendation for the logs:

  • What you learned.
  • How you felt about what you learned (was it frustrating? Easy? etc) so you can figure out what causes you trouble and focus on fixing that.
  • What you need to work on.
  • What you want to learn next.

#4 My schedule/goals

  • Daily Memrise (45 Mins each)

    • Hiragana : Introduction to Japanese (Hiragana and some Japan trivia)
    • Katakana : Basic Katakana 1
    • Japanese 1 : Vocabs, Hiragana and Katakana
  • Daily TextFugu (around 1 Hour)

    I doubt that anything longer will be realistic. Forcing myself too much might be a bad idea I suppose. Might as well balance out with other activities. The most important thing is I’m doing to spend time for Japanese daily from now on. With luck, this log will be updated daily or at least weekly.

    By next year (21 April 2018) I intend to be ready to take JLPT 3.
    Godspeed for me..

I’ve completed TextFugu 1.1 for now and intend to begin the next lesson tomorrow, once I have the weblog online. Let’s get started!

Penned at 06.45 a.m. 21/04/2017