Monthly review: September 2018

Monthly review: September

I have tried a new thing this month, which is to define some monthly goals and publish them on my homepage. The goals I have chosen for September were:

September goals 2018

And now, it is time to see how far I went!

First of all Anki! My usual practice is to save in my electronic dictionary all the words that I look up and want to add to my Anki deck later. The problem is that I tend to never add these words to Anki and end up with a hundred or more words to add at a time.

I got down to adding these words right at the beginning of the month. It doesn’t take too long with a cup of tea and some good music. So I managed this task very soon, but what did I do for the rest of the month? I looked up a lot of words while reading books and the news, saved them in my dictionary and didn’t add them to Anki gradually as I should have done. So today, I have more than hundred words saved in my electronic dictionary. All in all, I don’t know if I succeeded in this task! 😅

The task of starting a book might look like a strange challenge (I mean, the challenge is usually to finish a book, not to start it), but I read very little in August, and I wanted to get back on tracks. Keigo HIGASHINO is one of my favourite authors, and I know that I can read his books without problems, this is why chose to read one of his novels. The one I chose is 『流星の絆』. I certainly could have finished it in September if it were not so long (617 pages). So I would consider this task as a success.

I am reading a History book called 「それでも、日本人は戦争を選んだ」. I don’t expect to finish it soon, but I don’t want to leave it untouched for too long. This month, I only read 20 pages of it, but it is better than nothing. My initial goal of 40 pages may have been too high. Anyway, I am glad that I did read this book in September. Even if I haven’t reached the 40 pages, I still feel satisfied with what I have done.

Lastly, I followed and read a lot of articles about the election of the Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, so that was a complete success. It also allowed me to pass a milestone, I think. I feel much more confident and at ease now when it comes to reading the political news in Japanese.

What about October?

As you might know, if you have taken a look at my last Wednesday posts, I am reading several books right now (in order of difficulty, starting with the easiest):

  • 『流星の絆』by Keigo HIGASHINO. The easiest of the 5 books, I will finish it in October.
  • 『未来のミライ』by Mamoru HOSODA. Another easy book that I will finish in October.
  • 『日本語びいき』 by Yumi SHIMIZU. This one is an essay. It is not difficult to read, but it does require more concentration from me than the two preceding titles.
  • 『こころ』by Soseki. I still haven’t mentioned it on my blog (I will certainly write about it on Wednesday this week), but I have started 『こころ』. It is challenging of course, but not as much as I thought. Still, I am reading it very slowly and don’t expect to finish it this year.
  • 『それでも、日本人は「戦争」を選んだ』by Yoko KATO. This is by far the most difficult book of the list. As I said previously, I read 20 pages this month and to be honest with you, it was a lot of pages… If I were to read 20 pages a month every month, I would not be able to finish this book by the end of 2019. And it is more probable that I will read less than that, so…

My monthly goals for October are related to these books. I want to finish the three easiest ones:

October goals 2018


I said in my last review that I was training myself to be ambidextrous. I haven’t practised every day, but I can still feel some progress. I can now write in an acceptable way but very slowly (slower than you think). I thought it would be cool to have two different handwritings, but my handwriting with my left hand (the new one) is more and more resembling my handwriting with my right hand. I don’t know how this all works, but it looks like my brain prefers to reproduce familiar patterns that trying new things. 😞

I still haven’t finished reading Atonement by Ian McEwan, mainly because I devoted all my reading time to Japanese books this month.

As for fountain pens, I think that my favourite brand is Sailor. There are still a lot of brands that I never tried, but from the ones I know, Sailor is the best to me. It seems that they make a lot of limited editions and looking at some of these opened me a new gate into the Japanese culture: the 京野菜 (きょうやさい), or vegetables originating in Kyoto prefecture (Wikipedia).

It is strange to discover vegetables through fountain pens, but this is what happened. Sailor, together with the Japanese retailer Kingdom Note, releases fountain pens that match a particular Kyoto vegetable.

This is the release date of the fountain pens.

At first, I was very frustrated to see these kanji because I had absolutely no clue what they meant and how to pronounce them. I later realised there were the names of Kyoto vegetables and I didn’t need to add them to my Anki, haha!

I am not particularly interested in vegetables, but I was happy to have learned something new in this way!


I would say that September was a success to me. Setting monthly goals allows me to feel a sense of achievement at the end of the month, even if I didn’t complete all my tasks. I think that I will continue doing it for the months to come.

I hope you are all doing well with your language studies!