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  • Rico Wong

Having difficulties studying


This last week has definitely been a bit harder keeping up the motivation and enthusiasm to study. But I guess that's why they call it the 'intensive' course...

At the beginning, everything was extremely simple so keeping on top of studying was very manageable but as the lessons progress, all the grammar and vocabulary compound on each other.

I think what I'm experiencing is something that every student goes through at some point. There may be a point where there is a wall blocking your progress or your energy is not enough. So I imagine it's where I need to actively change my studying style at home / in my free time.

Changing my study style

There's no big plan honestly. It's just watch Netflix as listening practice and at the same time, do some exercise in order to save some time for myself. I think listening is the most passive skill so I won't need to use my brain too much.

On Netflix, I created a separate account, changed the language to Japanese and watch all my Japanese shows on that. Unfortunately, not all the shows have Japanese subtitles so I'm watching without any subtitles at all. (Although I still can't read kanji...:/)

But ... I don't understand any of it then... I'm actually re-watching some older Japanese anime/shows that I've seen before so I know generally, what is happening. I've noticed I understand bits of vocabulary and can follow some parts of a conversation. What surprised me is I would sometimes hear a word that I recognise (and is fairly common) but forgot the meaning so if it comes up a few times, I'll quickly look it up.

In the future, I might watch some older Disney or Studio Ghibli movies in Japanese as a change of pace.

My issues learning kanji

I've begun doing this in my own way and I'm not sure if this is a good method or not right now. However, here are my thoughts:

The lessons at the moment are testing us on kanji from different chapters but the course is designed for Chinese people who (of course) already know Chinese characters - so it's more of a review for them. As a result, there's no actual study time - unlike at the beginning with hiragana & katakana.

I can't keep up with the 'lesson kanji' testing. It's too much and I don't have time each night to learn/memorise 20-25 kanji...It's not worth the stress in my opinion. All my efforts are already focused on just understanding the content of the lesson.

Soo..I've decided to pick out the kanji which I think are either useful to me or are common.

For example, I chose the common verbs from the ones we learnt at the start. Then, I decided to choose colours (not all of them!). Next, I will go through food.

This should be much more manageable for me personally even though I'm so off-pace with the rest of the class in this area of study. A personal tutor or a joining a small group would be more beneficial for me in this regard.

The (slightly?) embarrassing thing is at the start of each lesson when they give us a kanji test, is that mine is completely blank (but I recognised part of one today!! HA!).

I feel fortunate that I'm older, so I don't (unfairly) blame the teacher and also, I don't mind too much. I can avoid a lot of negative energy there.

As I get more tired, my notes get more messy....


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