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October 15, 2005

Time for a study plan

Yesterday's Skype session showed me that my Japanese has not really improved lately and has probably taken steps backward. And it's no wonder. For the last month or 6 weeks I've had no time to study: homework and group projects have taken up all of my free time. My Japanese time has been reduced to Pimsleur once or twice a week, and an occasional episode of Japanese TV shows. No textbooks, no kanji.

Since time is very limited, I'm going to have to squeeze in smaller amounts of work during the week.

Audio: Normally mutt-walking time has been Pimsleur time, but after listening to Pimsleur Japanese for the last 15 months I think I've just about worn it out. Unfortunately there's no Pimsleur Japanese 4, nor does anything similar exist. I've been spending some mornings listening to courses from "The Teaching Company" (you know, those "Great Courses" from those catalogs you get in the mail). However, I think I'm going to revisit the NHK "Basic Japanese" and "Brush Up Your Japanese" lessons (available in mp3 format at http://mp3japan.freenethost.net/). They didn't impress me much at first, but the early lessons are pretty basic (as you'd expect them to be). Maybe if I put more time and attention into them, I'd get something out of them. Mihoko Honda's accent is fun to listen to.

I've also heard good things about podcasts, but haven't found any good candidates for Japanese learners yet.

Video: Those "Let's Learn Basic Japanese" shows from the 1980s aren't too bad, and there are plenty of them to watch. Unfortunately my early morning tea time (when I'd normally watch them) is getting eaten up by work and it's tough to sit down for them. However, I'm going to watch at least one per week, two if possible, and take time to work through the transcripts, memorizing vocab, etc.

Kanji: I love the Heisig method and made it to the 650 mark, but have stalled out again. The two killers are the comprehensive reviews and pushing too hard to make progress. I haven't touched the cards in several weeks, and have forgotten quite a few of them again. I'm going to sort and order my cards, then start working through the book again, giving every kanji enough attention and not pushing too hard. Even 10-15 minutes per day will be far better than what I'm doing now.

Grammar and vocabulary: I really like the "Japanese for Everyone" textbook. During the spring and summer we made it to lesson 7 in Japanese lessons, but since then I haven't made any progress. I've been reviewing the grammar and vocabulary in lessons 1-6 on and off for the last few weeks, but need to wrap that up and start progressing.

Speaking and listening practice: I once read that listening to Japanese regularly will help with listening comprehension, so I've been watching the first series of Trick, a show which really seems like it's trying to be a Japanese "X-Files" but with a very different style: the two cops are good for comic relief, and Ueda (the male lead) has an unfortunate tendency to faint when frightened.

I need to do more Skype sessions with my Japanese friends too. Weekly should be plenty.

The Plan: My study time is limited due to school and homework. However, I should be able to get in some audio time during dog walks 3-4 times per week, so I'll work on the NHK lessons. I should also be able to fit in at least one episode of "Let's Learn Basic Japanese" on the computer every week.

The tricky part is going to be textbook and kanji work. I don't think I can do an hour every day, but I should be able to manage 30 minutes. I think I'll do 10 minutes of kanji and 20 of "Japanese for Everyone", and take flashcards with me to use during otherwise wasted time. Now I just need to figure out when that half hour will be every day.

Permalink | Posted by Joe at October 15, 2005 03:48 PM


i don ' t find anymore the mp3 japan in freenet host, what happen to them?

Posted by: ester at November 6, 2005 08:09 AM

There have been some changes at mp3japan. Try http://www.hickorytech.net/~nic111/

Posted by: Joe at November 7, 2005 04:59 PM

"Mihoko Honda's accent is fun to listen to"

You mean "fun" as in "strange" or "irritating", right? She has that kind of forced American accent that I hear from a lot of Japanese women nowadays.

Posted by: Paul at July 30, 2009 06:45 AM

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