I made my wife smile yesterday by accident. She and our daughter went off to a movie, leaving me home alone. When they got back, she asked me what I had been doing, and I replied that I had been doing my homework. That was what made her smile. She knew that I meant Japanese. “Homework!” she said. “You aren’t taking a class.”

Well, now, hold on. Let’s consider that, shall we?

For a few months I was working on my own, but, a month ago, I started taking weekly lessons on Cafetalk. I have a teacher, I have a textbook, I have chapter assignments…that sounds a lot like a class to me! What I don’t have is tests or anxiety about grades.

Today I am back at work after a few days off. During that few days off we had family visiting and a whirl of activity, so I just managed to keep my head above water as far as Japanese goes, but the schedule is back to normal today.

I have already reviewed a bunch of vocabulary on Memrise.

Later, I will review Kanji and more vocabulary on with Anki.

(The Anki deck, which I got courtesy of Niko over at Nihongoshark.com, alternates words and sentences, and it’s some tough stuff, but the vocabulary that I am learning from みんなの日本語 actually overlaps the anki vocabulary enough to be very helpful.)

(And, by the way, how come I keep writing the textbook title as みんなの日本語 instead of Minna No Nihongo? Well, because the entire book is in Japanese, so it seems like I should write the title in Japanese as well.)

(Also, why are there so many paragraphs here set off by parentheses? No idea, really. That’s just a bonus, I guess.)

(Where was I before all of these digressions? Oh, right. I remember.)

And I need to do that last bit of my Chapter 7 homework. Chapter seven is largely about particles, especially に and で and when to use which. There’s a lot there. The homework is the longest of any chapter so far. Chapter 8, which I will start tomorrow, is all about our friends the adjectives.

This last week has really brought home to me how much darned work learning a language is. Don’t get me wrong. I’m really enjoying it, especially because I can see progress happening, but don’t ever doubt that it takes work. The task is manageable. Pretty much anybody can do it if they are willing to invest the time and effort, but I think you have to be serious about it.

I really started this blog as a way of keeping myself motivated when the going gets boring or difficult, both of which happen from time to time, but I sometimes wonder if anybody is reading this stuff on any kind of regular basis. If you are, have you started learning Japanese? If so, how’s it going? If not, what’s holding you back? You can do it if you really want it.



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