Back to study!!

After two weeks away from Japanese, I now feel the urge to study again!

The last two weeks, I was more interested in other hobbies, and I have left my Japanese studies almost untouched. This break has been a good thing since I now feel a new motivation to learn Japanese. 

So I will start with a one-week challenge to get back on track. I will transcribe a short Japanese text into French every day for seven days. I already started yesterday, and as I was both idle and motivated, I made two transcriptions: 

  • First I worked on an article from Mainichi. It had been weeks and weeks since I opened the Mainichi website…The article I chose was an easy one, about the idol industry in Japan and the lack of regulations, even when minors are involved. 
  • Then I worked on the novel 『こころ』by Soseki that I had also left untouched for a very long period of time. One chapter is only 2-3 pages long, so I transcribed a whole chapter.  Except for one or two (or three) occurrences, I can transcribe it in French with confidence.

I am not exactly translating the text, I am just rewriting it in French, but I don’t care if I am far from the original version or if the result in French sounds strange. The point is only to show that I understood what I read and can explain it in my mother tongue. So I don’t spend time in the translation process and focus on understanding the text and looking up words. 

I know that I will have a lot of time this week so I can complete this challenge. I will either pick a news article or work on two pages of a novel. I might also use Shigesato ITOI’s daily column on ほぼ日刊イトイ新聞. The idea is to use as different materials as possible to work on different writing styles.

I will also work more seriously on my Anki. Yesterday, I revised hundreds of cards using the custom study. I feel that, during these past two weeks, I have hit the “good” or “hard” button even if I didn’t quite recognise the words… just to get rid of it! This is why I wanted to go back to these cards and really try to remember them.

I’m all set for the week! I will be studying Anki seriously and do in-depth work on one text in Japanese per day! 

6 thoughts on “Back to study!!

  1. is your retention rate for anki bad ?? ( You can check your retention rate by clicking on the graph icon and set duration to life of deck or 1 year. I hear 80% is good though it depends on the individual’s goals etc). If your retention rate is 80% or above it’s probably not worth fixing up those cards since you’ve been benefited enough from anki. I’ve decided earlier this year that I will minimize time spent fixing cards since it’s time-consuming and the benefits aren’t that significant compared to making new cards. So I try my best to not tweak cards because the time really adds up.

    have you looked into adding words into anki efficiently a la plugins or programs? I use rikai-sama, wordquery, sanseido plugin (japnaese definitions). Recently I looked into a way to efficiently add cloze Korean cards using online translators (so-net, naver),, libreoffice calc, wordquery, hanseido and I’m so glad I did.

    1. Fixing/tweaking cards is satisfying but I realized it’s a never-ending process and takes up way too much time.

  2. I think I misunderstood what you wrote. By revise do you mean doing your reviews ? I took it to mean that you were editing the cards

    1. Haha yes, I meant review! It’s because we use the word ”revise” in French to say review, but I realise now that this usage is not common in English (might even be British English only). But I see what you mean with fixing cards because it’s something that I did a lot before. I was adding hints, context, explanations even, and as you say it took a lot of time. At the end, I think that instead of associating a Japanese word to an English equivalent, I was remembering it only via the panoply of hints I had added. In other words, I was associating the word with its Anki card instead of an English equivalent. Since I started a new deck, I keep it very simple. If I cannot remember a word I suspend the note. I even deleted some. Maybe I’ll come across the word later in a context that will help me to remember it!

  3. omg i’m finally checking out natsum souseki. i was never interested in his books since it’s old so i assume it’s hard and i just have a long list of books to read anyway. i finally took the plunge and got a couple of his books?stories? from aozora bunko and loaded them on my kindle. I started with the cat book wagahai wa something something. i’m definitely glad i never bothered trying to read it when i started reading japanese novels. i do notice peope pushing themselves to read hard stuff like his stuff even though they struggling with novels as it is. i just don’t think that’s a good use of their time since theyre better off reading easier novels then going back to his novel. i feel like some people are just trying to to brag i read natsume souseki x months into japanese or it’s my 10th japanese novel… which is strange. maybe kokoro easier than the cat book.

    i thought the cat book was a short story but it turns out it’s a huge book lol. I’m reading like 2 other books in Japanese so it will be a while until i finish it.

    1. I tried to read Kokoro some time ago, and found it easier than expected, but it is also literary fiction and as a language learner, I really needed the story to makes me want to continue reading in spite of the language difficulty (like solving a good murder mystery). In the end, I gave up the book about one third through, and I don’t really feel like starting it again now.

      People might wrongly think that the cat book is easy because it is told from the perspective of a cat? I agree that Soseki might be one of the worst authors to start with for language learners. I am pretty sure that a lot of people think that they cannot read in Japanese because they tried to read literary fiction instead of going for genre fiction and easier novels. I also think that most learners just don’t realise how easy authors like Keigo Higashino are to read in Japanese 🤷‍♀️

      I don’t think that I could read the cat book to be honest, and I am sure that it would feel more like studying than reading…

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