New Continent, New Job, New Language, New Mission
I am going to become fluent in Japanese in 1 year. Seriously. Hold me to it. That is my goal and I’m sticking to it! No more excuses, no more screwing around.
I have now been in Japan for a total of four and a half months. I can speak some very basic Japanese, and I don’t have trouble getting by, but that is not nearly enough for my liking. I’ve decided to give myself a kick in the butt and start setting goals. The real kick in the butt comes from posting this for the world to see though!
So anyway, before I get into some details, what do I mean by fluent? Well, I would like to be able to have conversations with friends and strangers alike about literally anything I’d like to, without having to pull out a dictionary or phrase book every minute. This does not mean I will necessarily be able to talk about astrophysics, or even have a decent conversation about politics. I can’t really do those things in English either, so why would I be worried about it in Japanese?!
Now, to accomplish this goal I will have to set many many short term goals to keep myself moving forward. Otherwise I will become discouraged almost immediately! I know one year seems like a short time, but in all honesty I know it could be done faster. I think one year is quite generous though (especially considering how fast the inspiring Irish Polyglot Benny forces himself to learn languages), considering I work 9+ hour days speaking exclusively English 5 days per week. Another major challenge is that a majority of my friends speak decent English (including my girlfriend). I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and try harder to speak, and accept embarrassment. Moving along…
So here is a list of my goals for October!
- Review all Learned Kanji (about 200)
- Begin learning 10-20 new Kanji per day
- Upload a video introducing myself, and telling a little about who I am all in Japanese (read from a script) on OCTOBER 15th!
- Prepare and upload a second video touring my apartment in Japanese, using a memorized script on NOVEMBER 1st!
- Post a weekly update here on TMP about my progress, struggles, victories, and general updates
- Monthly videos!
- Skype Lesson once per week
- Side lessons throughout the week
- Speaking whenever possible!
Here is my list of things to do by October 9th to give you a better idea of how I’m moving towards these goals:
Finish by October 9th
- Review learned Kanji
- Learn 5 new phrases/sentences related to the coming video
- Write the English script for the first video
- Create new Anki decks for the above phrases
- Write THIS blog post
- 1-2 Audio lessons, using a program I have access too
- Finish reading One Piece No.1 (English and Japanese)
- Finish reading HunterxHunter No.1 (English and Japanese)
Here is the list of things to do next week (By October 15th/16th)!
Finish by October 15th/16th
- Write the Japanese script for video 1
- Record the video
- 7 new phrases/sentences related to the video
- Weekly blog update
- All previously learned Kanji reviewed/relearned
- Skype lesson
- Other Japanese lesson
Whew! That’s a lot, but all of these things keep me moving forward slowly but surely. It’s overwhelming in a way that I’ve finally made the decision and decided to post this. It feels like I’m standing on the edge of something good though… So here we go!
If you only care about the language mission, you should stop reading here!
For those of you reading to get an update on me, I have been working here in Japan for the last 4+ months at an English school for kids and adults. It is a very challenging job, but generally I enjoy it! I really love it here in Japan, and I have made many friends. I have learned some Japanese, but as you’ve seen above, I want to learn a LOT more! If you want to get a better idea of what I’ve been up to, just head over to my facebook and check out all the pictures!
Finally, I thought about starting up another website for this project, but this really has become the home of a lot of my travel stuff in general, so I’m going to stick with TMP. I figure learning a language is a lot like a pilgrimage anyway, but instead of walking towards a destination I’m working towards the goal of fluency!
For all of you considering learning Japanese, currently learning Japanese, or any other language: 頑張ってね (がんばってね or ganbatte ne)! Please add a comment to this post and tell me about your mission! Other questions and comments are welcome too, of course!
There is more to come, you can be sure!