The Two Year Japanese Challenge

Current version:  2.0.1
Last updated:  5/26/14

Current status:  Green


Challenge:


Kanji Phase:
10 cards per day for 3000 cards. Estimated 300 days total.
Current Status:  510 cards.

J-E Beginner Sentence Phase:
10 cards per day for 1000 cards. Estimated 100 days total.
Begin after completion of 1000 cards from Kanji Phase.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun

J-E Intermediate Sentence Phase:
10 cards per day for 1000 cards. Estimated 100 days total.
Begin after completion of entire J-E Beginner Sentence Phase.
Don’t know if this entire deck will be available. Currently have access to 250 days, for 25 days of work.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun

J-J Sentence Phase:
10 cards a day for 10,000 cards. Estimated 1000 days total.
Work through first 5000 cards as part of Challenge, for a new total of 500 days.
Begin after completion of entire J-E Intermediate Sentence Phase.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun

Personal Vocab/Sentence Deck Phase:
Maximum of 10 cards a day.
Begin after starting Reading Phase.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun

IMABI Phase:
1 lesson per two days for 250 lessons. Estimated 500 days total.
Begin after completion of 1000 cards from Kanji Phase.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun

JP101 Phase:
I podcast per day for an unknown number of podcasts. Continuous.
Begin any time.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun

Lang-8 Phase:
1 post per day. Continuous.
Begin after completion of 25 lessons of IMABI Phase.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun

Reading Phase:
Continuous.
Begin after completion of 25 lessons of IMABI Phase.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun

Speaking Phase:
Post video or audio of me speaking Japanese. Continuous.
Begin after completion of 25 lessons of IMABI Phase.
Current Status:  Not Yet Begun


Rules:


1. Do all Anki reviews every day, no matter what.  Skipping a single day later one will give you 600+ reviews the next day. Skip more than one and you could end up so overwhelmed that you never recover. Do not skip reviews. Skipping new cards is fine for a day, but no more.  There is now a 100 review cap on days when there is limited time.

2. Add any unrecognized word to my personal deck. It will be learned after the first misunderstanding.  If you don't know a word, learn it. Add it to your personal Anki deck.

3. An activity must be complete in order to check it off. Work to get all check marks each and every day.  This is linked to the productivity method that I'll be using. Every day that I complete one of the steps, I will cross out that date on the calendar.

4. There are 15 vacation days per year (for weekends visiting family and such) and six sick days.  No one is perfect, myself least of all. I will take trips to visit family. I will get sick and sleep the day away. Thankfully Anki is available via the web and smartphone, but it's kinda hard to find the time to do 300+ reviews when surrounded by family on Christmas day.

5. In WaniKani, keep Apprenticeship item number to 50 or less before adding reviews. This keeps the daily review count down. These reviews come secondary to Anki.  This is WaniKani specific, which means you need to know how the system works. It'll take too long to explain here, but they offer a free trial for the first two lessons. I highly recommend trying them out. It's worth it for the active community, if nothing else.

6.  Give a weekly occasional updates on this blog on my progress.  This is to keep myself accountable.  I hope that people will post a congratulations when I complete a phase and encouragement throughout.  I've been a solo learner for a while, and it's not the best thing.  Hard to find a fellow Japanese learner in central Michigan, though.


Lessons Learned:


Lesson 1:  I can count on my WaniKani senpai to keep my motivated.  They're a great bunch to be around, especially for a solo learner like me.

Lesson 2:  Keep track of progress in multiple ways.  I have a chart where I can cross off 700 days of learning, another where I can check off the number of kanji I've covered, and a third where I can mark off each step (kanji, J-E, IMABI, etc) every day.

Lesson 3:  Learning kanji helps you to learn more kanji.  The more you learn, the easier it is for the radicals to help you with others.

Lesson 4:  Version 1.3.1 is unsustainable while working full time plus some overtime.  With expected upcoming work days of 12-14 hours, I would have been stressed beyond belief.

Lesson 5:  Doing all reviews is too much while working full time.  There will now be a 100 review limit, unless there is extra free time in the day, such as during the weekend.

Lesson 6:  Learning the kanji means learning the radicals/primitives at the same time.  I found an Anki deck that deals with only those primitives that are not also kanji.  I'm working through them as quickly as possible, to make it easier to pick up the kanji.  I would recommend others do this before working through a RTK deck, perhaps at the same time as learning the kana.


Old Version (1.3.1):


Phase 0: (continuous):
WaniKani

Phase 1: 50 days
Anki – kanji (first 1000) – 20 cards a day

Phase 2: 50 days
Anki – kanji (second 1000) – 20 cards a day
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences (first 500) – 10 cards a day
IMABI – first 25 lessons (read lesson over two days, or reread lesson second day)

Phase 3: 50 days
Anki – kanji (final 1000) – 20 cards a day
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences (final 500) – 10 cards a day
IMABI –lessons 26-50 (read lesson over two days, or reread lesson second day)
JP101 – 10 podcasts each week
Lang-8 – write one post each day
Read one chapter of Yotsuba! each day.

Phase 4: 100 days
Anki – kanji – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Intermediate sentences – 10 cards a day
Anki – personal deck – add cards as needed as J-J card
IMABI –lessons 56-100 (read lesson over two days, or reread lesson second day)
JP101 – 10 podcasts each week
Lang-8 – write one post each day
Read one chapter of a Japanese book each week.

Phase 5: 100 days
Anki – kanji – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Intermediate sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-J sentences (first 2000) – 20 cards a day
Anki – personal deck – add cards as needed as J-J card
IMABI –lessons 101-150 (read lesson over two days, or reread lesson second day)
JP101 – 10 podcasts each week
Lang-8 – write one post each day
Read one chapter of a Japanese book each week.

Phase 6: 100 days
Anki – kanji – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Intermediate sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-J sentences (second 2000) – 20 cards a day
Anki – personal deck – add cards as needed as J-J card
IMABI –lessons 151-200 (read lesson over two days, or reread lesson second day)
JP101 – 10 podcasts each week
Lang-8 – write one post each day
Read one chapter of a Japanese book each week.

Phase 7: 100 days
Anki – kanji – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Intermediate sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-J sentences (third 2000) – 20 cards a day
Anki – personal deck – add cards as needed as J-J card
IMABI –lessons 200-250 (read lesson over two days, or reread lesson second day)
JP101 – 10 podcasts each week
Lang-8 – write one post each day
Read one chapter of a Japanese book each week.

Phase 8: 100 days
Anki – kanji – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Intermediate sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-J sentences (fourth 2000) – 20 cards a day
Anki – personal deck – add cards as needed as J-J card
JP101 – 10 podcasts each week
Lang-8 – write one post each day
Read one chapter of a Japanese book each week.

Phase 9: 100 days
Anki – kanji – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Intermediate sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-J sentences (last 2000) – 20 cards a day
Anki – personal deck – add cards as needed as J-J card
JP101 – 10 podcasts each week
Lang-8 – write one post each day
Read one Wikipedia article (in Japanese) each day
Read one chapter of a Japanese book each week.

Phase 10: 50 days
Anki – kanji – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Beginner sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-E Intermediate sentences – continue reviews
Anki – J-J sentences – continue reviews
Anki – personal deck – add cards as needed as J-J card
JP101 – 10 podcasts each week
Lang-8 – write one post each day
Read one chapter of a Japanese book each week.


Original Post found here.

5 comments:

  1. Saw your post on WaniKani and decided to take a look :)
    I have found myself in very similar position - similar age, similar job, similar experience with Japanese learning... It always helps to find new ideas for learning tactics and methods, works as inspiration for not giving up on learning the language.
    Thank you very much for the link to productivity method article, I am now considering how to put together my own plan.

    About your plan - have you considered listening/reading easy news - http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/index.html ? Especially after doing all those Anki cards, reading some actual Japanese seems interesting, and as a bonus you will learn some words about current topics.

    How many days have you already been carrying out this plan? Aren't those Anki cards taking huge amount of time already?

    Also, the article in the comments of your WaniKani post (http://shinpaideshou.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/the-realities-and-benefits-of-translation-as-a-full-time-job-an-introduction/) recommends to read magazines and newspapers about the subjects you are going to translate about. Maybe taking a look at a mechanical/car/software magazine once in a while would be more useful than focusing on manga-ish literture?
    Also, if you find any such Japanese magazines, please, let me know, I want to try reading them too :)
    Good luck with your challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello, Agnese. Thanks for commenting and I'm glad my Challenge has been some help.

    Listening/Reading NHK Easy News - I've heard of this before and will likely start reading through it around the beginning of Phase 3. By then, I'll have the first 2k kanji and very basic grammar down. I'm not sure if I'll formally add it to my plan.

    As you can see at the top of the page, as of 5/12, I'm in Phase 1, Day 15. I'll update that about once a week and occasionally post something on my blog.

    As for the Anki cards, yes, even with just the kanji deck active, I'm spending a fair amount of time doing reviews. I expect it to get a lot worse, especially when I have the J-J deck active. My kanji recall has been better in the last day or two, and I'm trying to do them earlier in the evening, after work. Finding motivation can be difficult, but then I think about the end result: leaving a job about making rich people richer that is slowly eating away at my soul and entering a job to help spread science and technology information between cultures.

    I currently read Time and just let my Science News subscription lapse. I need to renew Science News and switch from Time to The Economist. I really don't have time to read The New York Times every day yet, but will probably get a Sunday subscription soon. After I get through several phases, I'll see about ordering science and technology magazines from Japan.

    Year 3 (it's really a four/six year plan in the long run) sees me focusing on reading through and translating undergraduate textbooks in the subjects most relevant to what I want to do. I know that sounds like overkill, but my philosophy on this can be found here: http://zenpencils.com/comic/3-unknown-always-be-prepared/ The Yotsuba! translation is only because it's a general slice of life manga featuring a five year old girl and therefore simple language. It's a place to start.

    I'll be creating a new page about the media I use later on, including magazines and books. But that won't be for a while.

    Good luck on creating a Challenge that fits you. It's the first step if you really want to make that push. Let me know how you set it up, and I'll be cheering for you. Just imagine the guy in the photo up top waving around pom poms. Not a pretty sight, but funny enough to drive away the stress and help you keep going. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. :)))) That pom poms image is a great motivation, thanks! :)
    Just found a site where you can listen to simple dialogs - http://jplang.tufs.ac.jp/en/ka/1/1.html , in case you want to take a break from Anki. Or to review some sentence patterns/grammar applications later :)

    Thanks for the idea about translating text-books. That should be a great start for translating practice... *getting lost in ideas from which subject to start*

    Looking forward to seeing your progress :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Matt, (Coming over from WaniKani)

    As a language professional, I think you have a well thought out system, and that is a great start to the process. That being said, there are a few places you can improve on.

    First, PURCHASE a textbook (ala Genki) and start using it day one. You've already done quite a bit of wanikani so the vocabulary should be relatively simple, but really mastering the core content in the Genki series gives you a major leg up. There is no reason to wait until you have mastered all the kanji (visually) to start laying the ground work for sentence processing. (I'm not bashing imabi, I've looked at it and used it myself, however you need the actual production/verification practice, not just the straight knowledge that imabi provides)

    Two, as functionally useless to actually learning the language as this is, start immersing yourself in Japanese discourse media. Have an anime/podcast/news playing in the background. The reason isn't to actually acquire fluency/vocabulary from this, but to begin ear training for patterns, intonation, pausing, and pronunciation which will be more useful later. You will also find that having studied genki and listening will start getting you used to hearing the particles in actual practice so you can start determining where and when Japanese spoken thought groups occur.

    Three, I didn't see it listed, but are you writing out your kanji for the heisig reviews or not? If you aren't, do it. Seriously, it genuinely helps reinforce the visual element of it and generates a procedural memory to coordinate with the declarative content. You might not instantly recognize a kanji some days, but when you see it you know how it's written and simply hand tracing will jog your memory (this is a technique that MANY Japanese people do, but few foreigners actually see)

    Fourth, toss the pimsleur. Unnecessary given the wealth of Japanese language resources online, and all it does is train you in full sentences which while handy, isn't particularly productive from a language learning perspective.

    Finally, I mentioned it before but I will make it it's own point. Production and verification are FAR more useful for translation/interpretation than you might initially think. They are a way of verifying and solidifying ideas in your mind, and the meanings that Japanese actually mean when producing them. For instance, certain Japanese particle like word structures, such as うちに, are rather difficult to figure out purely from a grammar book, and you might not accurately understand their function. When using it in some example sentences on Lang8 for instance, you can get verification and feedback of your understanding through your production.

    Good luck

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello, Gizmotech. Thanks for the reply. I'm going to go ahead and reply to your comments one by one.

    1. I have several textbooks (including Genki). I haven't found one that I care for all that much. Looking at phases 1-3, you'll see that I'll start working through sentences (they begin with Hello,Goodbye, etc and build up) as well as IMABI after the first 1000 sentences. I was going to stretch it out more, but want to move forward so that I can start to produce Japanese. I'll hit the 500 mark for kanji tomorrow, and post an update here on the blog.

    2. I listen to Japanese music in my car every time I drive somewhere. I also watch anime and occasionally have something Japanese playing while I study. However, I find it alternatively useful and annoying. Trust me, I have a lot of media to listen to.

    3. I was actually going to mention this in tomorrow's update, but, yes, I am writing them out. I didn't for the first week or so, then decided that it was a good idea. I have a stack of the booklets that Japanese students use to help me better form the kanji. Even though most people don't write them out in real life, I still want to have good handwriting. I definitely agree that it helps.

    4. Thanks for the update on Pimsleur. No one had said anything about that yet, and I was I was already hesitant to pay for any more. My current thoughts are to find an actor who's voice I admire and shadow him.

    5. Lang-8 is already on the list. I just want to have something to say, first. I'm also thinking about posting videos up on YouTube once I get further on, perhaps around phase 6 or 7. I should start earlier than that, but there's already a lot on my list.

    Again, thanks for the comments. Replies give me a lot of motivation, which is very nice to have and useful with how busy I am. Off to work on more kanji. Have a nice week.

    ReplyDelete