Keep Going

I think that these last two weeks have been about the most difficult that I have had since I made the decision to learn Japanese.  I hit a chapter that just didn’t click with me at first.  On top of that (or, more likely, because of that) I really got stuck on some of the homework problems.  There were times I couldn’t even figure out what I was supposed to do, much less how to do it.

(This is an inherent risk with Minna No Nihongo, since all of the instructions are in Japanese, but this chapter was particularly frustrating.)

I can already tell that I need to review something from two chapters back – hopefully I can get that done today – before leap in to the current chapter.  I am, however, greatly hoping that the current chapter will be easier on my brain than the last one!

I’m not even tempted to give up.  I’ve gotten to a point where I can read some things (Satori Reader is fantastic though still in beta) and can carry on conversation at some level or other, and that success is enough to keep me pushing against a whole lot of frustration, but these last two weeks have been about the hardest two weeks I’ve had since I started learning the language.

This makes me appreciate the wisdom of Niko over at NihongosharkThe Hacking Japanese Supercourse starts you off with learning 2,000 or so Kanji.  Niko’s rationale is that (a) it will be a good foundation that will help you learn Japanese and (b) having done all that work, you will be less likely to give up later.

Not giving up is really the big thing.  One of my favorite sayings:  Learning Japanese is not hard.  Staying motivated to work at it every single day, that’s hard.  But, if you do that, you’ll learn.

Yeah, it’s not really a very pithy saying, but it’s still true.  The thing is, the more success you have, the more you learn, the easier it is to stick with it, because you see where you are.  You don’t want all the effort that you’ve put in to be wasted (which it will be if you give up) and you don’t want to lose what you’ve already learned (which you will if you give up).

So, I’m well into learning the vocabulary for Chapter 31.  I intend to finish my first run-through of it (with Memrise) today.  Also, I want to review the potential form of verbs today.  Tomorrow, I start doing the homework for the Chapter.  My lesson with Makisan (on Cafetalk) is Saturday.

And, because someone wanted to know, I don’t make any kind of profit off of the blog whatsoever.  No advertising, no payment of any kind if you click on a link.  Despite what happened last week, I really enjoy learning Japanese.  I’ve found a few things that help me out, so I pass them on in case they help someone else out.  Now, I have gotten one thing out of the blog – some suggestions that have helped me learn!  I’m a big fan of learners helping each other.

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3 thoughts on “Keep Going

  1. I’m now at chapter 21 in Minna and I also identified the same issue with this book. There is often no question in the exercices or when there is actually a question I don’t understand it (many unknown kanji, no furigana). Another complaint I have about this book is the audio… It is so fast that even the teacher (native speaker) sometimes has to listen a second time. I often listen to the audio exercises at half the speed and I still need to replay each one often.
    Now, if I compare my level to where I was 4 months ago I can see a huuuge difference, so let’s continue learning ! 🙂
    I’m going to Kyoto/Osaka for one week now, I hope I’ll understand the Kansai dialect at least a little bit !

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    • The thing is I love about Minna No Nihongo is also the thing I hate about Minna No Nihongo! It really does suit my learning style well, but it all frustrates the mess out of me sometimes. Let me know how your trip to Kyoto/Osaka goes!

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    • BTW, if, when you get back, you want write something about your experience with the Kansai dialect, we can put it up on the blog.

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