Well, I’m getting plenty of reading practice.
First, although I haven’t mentioned it in a while, I am still making my way (ever so slowly) through Spirited Away.
Today I ran across this one: 暗いトンネルに, 三人の足だけが, 響きます.
In the gloomy tunnel, only the sound of the three people’s footsteps resounds.
Isn’t that a cool sentence? (Okay, I admit that I had to look up 響きます, and I certainly could have translated 暗い as dark, but isn’t gloomy a better word in the circumstances?)
Also, I ran across 置いて, which is something along the lines of “to leave someone behind”. The reason I was pleased to see this was because I had already run across it on Satori Reader, so it was already a friend. That’s a good feeling, believe me.
And, I’m also checking out NHK News Web Easy (which has a never ending supply of new content (and furigana) but which, despite the name, isn’t always easy). The fun thing about this is that I’m doing it in conjunction with a Japanese friend. I tell her which article I have read, and she writes up an English translation of the article, which I then read, correcting her grammar as I go. This lets me check my understanding of the article while helping her with her English. Perfect, eh?
So, I’m in a much better place for learning Japanese now than I was six months ago. I have several people to converse with, I have several things to read, and I’m continuing to move forward.
I think back to the time a friend walked into my office, saw some Japanese on my computer and said, very seriously, “Ah, you’re wasting your time! It’s impossible to learn that!”
Well, guess what? It isn’t impossible after all.
Now, imagine how I would feel at this point if I had given up six months ago or a year ago and then I met someone who hadn’t given up. I would think, “Oh, if only I had stuck with it, I could be where that person is in my studies! Oh, woe is me, why was I such a fool!”
Instead, I’m looking back and thinking, “Well, I still have a long way to go, but, wow, I sure have come far! And if I’ve come this far, what’s to stop me from going all the way? Hooray and huzzah!”
See? Don’t you want to be the second guy (whether you’re the type of person to say “huzzah” or not)? Of course you do!
You can learn Japanese. Just stick with it and make a little progress every day. All it takes is consistent daily effort.
Oh, and if someone is learning (or has learned) faster than you, ignore it. It doesn’t matter. This is not a competition to see who can do it the fastest. Learn at your own pace, If you learn five new words or 1 new grammar form today, then you know more Japanese today than you did yesterday. Do it again tomorrow, and you’ll know more Japanese tomorrow than you do today. Do it again the day after tomorrow…well, you see where this is going.
Oh, and I should probably tell you that it gets progressively more fun as you learn, because you can read/say/understood cooler stuff.