Saturday, January 2, 2010

Study Resolutions

I'm not really one for New Year's resolutions but this year it behooves me to stay on top of the Japanese studies. How is this year any different from the past five? Because this year I am no longer a college student and don't have things like teachers and tests to keep me in line.

The plan is still to go to Japan this summer to work, so at the very least I would like to not backslide in my knowledge. Best case scenario is I actually learn and retain something between now and then. So that the next eight months are not a total Japanese language vacuum, I have some books I'd like to finally get into. Most of these I've bought over the past few years but never had time to crack.

Japanese Respect Language, P.G. O'Neill
This is the first. With job interviews coming up next month I had better be clear on my keigo (respect language). I'm pretty good with verb conjugation but a brush-up is in order.

Read Real Japanese, edited by Michael Emmerich
An annotated reader of Japanese fiction. I'm at the stage where I feel I can finally tackle fiction, as opposed to expository writing. Comes with a CD too.

Basic Connections: Making Your Japanese Flow, Kakuko Shoji
I've been going through this in my free time the past week and it's extremely helpful. It covers a lot of little grammar points that tend to be forgotten, like the fine differences between kara and node.

Jazz Up Your Japanese With Onomatopoeia, Hiroko Fukuda
Gitaigo and giongo are my weakest areas in Japanese, which sucks because they're so commonly used. Being able not only to understand but use these effectively will be a big jump towards fluency.

Beyond Polite Japanese, Akihiko Yonekawa
Slang is always fun and breaks up the tedium of studying things like kanji. Speaking of...

I've loaded up Anki with the JLPT level 1 kanji. Not that I plan to take that test this year but it's a good level of kanji to study. (I highly recommend Anki as a way to study kanji and build vocabulary. Get it here for free.)

Talking about the books I want to study is all well and good, but actually studying them is a different matter. There are all kinds of other things I want to do with my new-found free time, like get back into making music, something I missed dearly while busy in school. However, maintaining my Japanese is important as well. Perhaps if I can set aside a few hours each day and follow a study schedule, assigning different days to different hours. Hmm, that sounds suspiciously like school.

I'll let you know if I make it happen.


  1. Time management is the ticket. Unfortunately I play videogames way too much and lack motivation to study. I might start blogging in Japanese on Mixi to keep up the studying

  2. Basic Connections: Making Your Japanese Flow

    ^ That one sounds amazing. I need to buy this!!

    Good luck with your studies!