It has been a pretty good Japanese morning. After my doldrums of the day before, I have been diving into the Japanese head first. I was up early, so I opened up Memrise and started working on vocabulary:
Minna No Nihongo 1 – Review
Minna No Nihongo 2 – Review
中級へ行こう – Review
And, the new one:
JLPT N3 Standard 2400 Part 1 – Learn
Yep. I’ve started seriously preparing for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test which, lest we forget, is December 3, 2017. Of course, the material in 中級へ行こう is basically N3 level material, so studying that is learning vocabulary and grammar that could be on the N3, but there is a lot of potential vocabulary, so I wanted to focus on it.
(The fact there is no official list of vocabulary, kanji and grammar is kind of frustrating, but a lot of people who have taken the tests have made some pretty good guesses, so I’m going with that.)
The reviews don’t take long. When I hit a new chapter in 中級へ行こう, I get a flood of vocabulary, so the JLPT N3 course will take a backseat for a couple of days then.
The great thing about tools like Memrise and Anki is that they generally seem more like a game than like work to me.
After that, I was supposed to have a Skype conversation with someone in Japan, but Skype wasn’t working this morning, so, after giving up on it, I went to Satori Reader and made my way through an article. (I did mention that was up early today, right?)
While I was reading, I came across this sentence:
私は – I (followed by our old friend the topic particle)
昔 – once upon a time – okay, so that’s kind of a flippant translation. It really means something like “long ago” but it is the standard opening for folk talks. In this case, it really just means “in the past”
コンビニ – convenience store (thought, apparently, a Japanese コンビニ is rather different than an American convenience store)
の – particle showing possession
レジ – cash register
で – particle meaning “using” in this case
働いた – worked (notice the informal – or as some books like to say “nonpolite” past tense)
ことがある – there are times when
So I am going to put this all together as something like, “In the past, I sometimes worked the register at a convenience store.”
[I love corrections – I want to get it right, after all – and here is one from nahcirn: In this case I think it makes more sense for ことがある to mean “there is this fact of this happening,” roughly. So, “There is the fact of me once working the register at a convenience store.”]
The reason this sentence caught my attention, though, is because it uses ことがある, which I just learned a day or two ago in Chapter 8 of 中級へ行こう.
[And, after looking at nahcirn’s correction, I wanted to know out why I got it wrong. I just happened to have my Cafetalk lesson this morning, so I asked my teacher about it, and she pointed out something so obvious it is embarrassing to me that I didn’t notice it. The sentence I quoted above has the た form of the verb, while the grammar structure I learned uses the dictionary form of the verb. Details matter! But I’ve learned something, and that’s the point.]
I still have a few weeks to go in this book, but the next one, 中級へ学ぼう just arrived in the mail yesterday! When I ordered it, the projected arrival date was somewhere between the middle of May to the middle of June, so it arrived early. Nice.
I have those days from time to time when I just don’t feel like studying Japanese, and, every once in awhile, I take a day off. This is not one of those days! Later on, during lunch, I intend to review the grammar from the last Chapter 7 and 8 of 中級へ行こう (which basically reading over a few pages of material).
Tomorrow is my Cafetalk lesson on the first half of Chapter 8. Right after that, I have a language exchange with a friend in Japan. (It’s Saturday, and everyone in my house sleeps late except for me, so I have plenty of quiet time.)
Later on today, I will have to sit in someone’s waiting room for awhile. I’m thinking I can find something to do to occupy my time!
Recently, someone commented favorably on my work ethic when it comes to learning Japanese. The thing is, that’s the whole trick. As has been said before, Learning Japanese isn’t really that hard. What’s hard is making yourself work at it every day. If there is a secret to learning Japanese (or anything else, for that matter) that’s it. Consistent daily effort.
Satori Reader put a “usage heat map” on your dashboard page. It’s just a calendar, but, everyday that you use Satori Reader, they put a blue square on it. The square gets darker the more you use the program on that day. If you miss a day, you don’t get the blue square. Wanting to see as many blue squares as possible becomes motivating. (This is basically just like the calendar trick from the Hacking Japanese Supercourse from Nihongoshark which I made use of when learning the Kanji. Check out the learn the Kanji posts if you’re interested.)
So, find what motivates you and use it to motivate yourself to put in that consistent effort. If you do that, you’ll learn Japanese. Simple. Not always easy, but simple and definitely doable.