All posts filed under: learning strategies

My new study method: the One-week challenge/immersion!

I think I got it at last! The method that suits me best to learn a language. Learning Japanese on my own has been a mess of trials and errors, of abandoned study plans and seemingly revolutionary but unrealistic study methods. But somehow, it has been fun trying different things, and designing study plans is definitely one of the reasons why I love learning things on my own. But at last, I think that I have found a method that I can stick to, and that will help me improve my Japanese while being entertaining enough to not feel like hardcore study. One-week challenge/immersion study method My problem is that I regularly come up with things that I want to do on a daily basis, and of course, if these daily tasks pile up, it becomes impossible to do them all every day, and I end up dropping some of them. As a result, I am always a little anxious because I feel that I am not doing what I should be doing. If I …

Back to study mode!

I am back, after a two-week break from writing my blog. Even though I promised myself that I would continue learning Japanese, I almost did nothing to learn or be immersed in Japanese during these two weeks… Some say that taking a break from time to time is not a bad thing and some say that you should not take a complete break and continue to be in contact with your target language. I tend to think that a complete break is not the end of the world in itself and can even have positive effects. However, because it is hard to get started again, it is maybe best to avoid such complete breaks, just to be on the safe side. But as I did a two-week break anyway, I don’t have another choice than to get started again. I gathered some tips that help me get back on track: Look for emulation First of all, I read blogs or watch YouTube videos by people who write/talk about language learning and how to stay motivated …

Read in Japanese: self-improvement books

I am mainly talking about novels on my blog, but I am also reading some non-fiction books. I realised some time ago that self-improvement books were surprisingly easy to read in Japanese and can be a good start for anyone looking for easy reads. Of course, I haven’t read enough books of personal development to state it as a general rule, but I would be prepared to bet that most writings in this domain are relatively non-challenging. Based on the books that I have read or am reading and the ones I have flipped through in bookshops, I found some characteristics that make these books easy to read in Japanese: Easy to read for Japanese too I think that these books want to reach a wide public, including people who don’t particularly like reading novels or complicated writings. Many of these books are designed for people who work a lot and don’t generally have the time or the energy to engross themselves in long reading sessions. As a consequence, the interior layout of the books …

Learning Japan Prefectures

Since I started reading the news in Japanese, I am telling myself that I must learn Japan prefectures. I have finally taken the first step by doing my own map with furigana and English. Why learn Japan prefectures and region? I suppose that Japanese learners who studied Japanese at school or university have gone through Geography classes and have a good overview of the country’s layout. The problem with self-learning is that nobody forces you to learn what you don’t like. And me, I don’t like Geography, so I have never taken the trouble to learn Japan’s regions, prefectures and main cities, though of course, I do know some of them. But then, I was very limited when it comes to reading the news. Every time I saw a prefecture name in an article, I had to copy-paste it in Google to find its pronunciation and see where it was. With all the unknown words I have to struggle with in any political article, it just added an unnecessary difficulty. Worse, I sometimes wasn’t able …

My method for the JLPT reading part

Last week, I got the results of the second session of the JLPT (December 2017), and I was happy and relieved to see that I passed with 156 points! I thought that I would pass because, after the test, I felt that my performance was similar to what I did in July 2017, when I took the N2 for the first time. But precisely because my performance seemed to be the same, I was anxious. I thought that the four months I spent working with the Shin Kanzen Master series between August and November of last year were maybe not worth it… In this post, I am going to see what these 4 months brought me and then give my personal tips to pass the Reading section (the only section where I feel entitled to give advice). A year of JLPT N2 I started studying for the JLPT N2 at the beginning of 2017. I used the So-Matome series, which I really appreciated. I had time (6 months), and I didn’t really stress myself with the JLPT. …

Daily Log and Willpower

Bullet Journal: daily log or how to spare willpower

Even if I have a lot of things I want to do, I often end up spending most of my time wondering what to do next,  overwhelmed by the multitude of materials to study. Every time that I have time to study Japanese, I think that I should make the best of it but I don’t know what to pick. If I read a novel, I feel like I haven’t studied at all, but if I don’t read, I feel that I am not on the main track anymore (my main goal for 2018 being to read one novel in Japanese per month). I end up doing a little of everything without really progressing in any field. At the end of the day, I feel both guilty and frustrated because I had time to study Japanese but didn’t use it properly. This is where the bullet journal helps me, but I understood its real benefit only recently when I associated it with what I learned through the book 「自分を操る超集中力」by メンタリストDaiGo. Having to make choice consumes our …

Collecting collocations: how to take notes to improve one’s writing skills

I am concerned about how to improve my writing skills and I have tried a method that seems to work well. The idea is to thoroughly study an article in order to collect collocations and expressions that we can use for writing. Until now, I have entirely relied on Anki to learn new words. This method works like magic to me, but I realised recently that Anki only helps me recognise the words and mainly allows me to improve my reading skills. Which is fine by the way. But the problem is that I don’t always know how to use the words I learn. I don’t want to enter too much information when I create a new card in Anki. First, it would take a lot of time to do so and second, I don’t want to spend too much time studying Anki and I am sure that I would not even bother reading the complementary information when studying my deck. That is why there are a lot of words that I don’t know how …