A Signpost After All

Just yesterday I was writing that one of the disadvantages of learning on your own was the lack of tests or signposts along the way to mark your progress, and then I had something to mark my progress.

My wife came home with a copy of Studio Ghibli’s latest movie 思い出のマーニー or, in English, When Marnie Was There.  We watched it in English.  My wife and daughter were moved.  Me, not so much.  My wife liked the movie so much that she wanted to watch it again the next day!  I agreed, if, this time, we could watch it subbed instead of dubbed.

That was my signpost.  I was really amazed by how much I understood.  Now, let’s be clear:  I could not have watched the movie in Japanese and known what was going on.  That’s now what I’m saying.

But…I understood a lot.  Most of the sentences, instead of being a flowing stream of gibberish, were made of actual words, and I recognized a surprising number of those words, and there were times when I understood whole sentences, and, gloriously, I even got the gist of one entire conversation!

This was so much fun and so darned satisfying.  It was really motivating.  Yes, I still have a very long way to go, but I have come a long way in a surprisingly short amount of time.

This is probably the place for a nice paragraph about the importance of consistent effort, but, I still have some vocabulary to review, and that’s probably a better use of my time right now.



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