CDR's Japanese and Portuguese Language Log

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CDR's Japanese and Portuguese Language Log

Postby CDR » Sat May 07, 2022 1:59 pm

My Long Term Goal:
"""N2""" in Japanese by December 31, 2023 (Complete 1700 hours of study and get 3 passing grades on 3 different N2 practice tests under similar conditions to the exam.)
1700 Hours of Japanese Study : 543 / 1700

Pre-Advanced Level: The ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations, and in a variety of circumstances to a certain degree.

Reading
One is able to read materials written clearly on a variety of topics, such as articles and commentaries in newspapers and magazines as well as simple critiques, and comprehend their contents. One is also able to read written materials on general topics and follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers.

Listening
One is able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations and news reports, spoken at nearly natural speed in everyday situations as well as in a variety of settings, and is able to follow their ideas and comprehend their contents. One is also able to understand the relationships among the people involved and the essential points of the presented materials.

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese-Language_Proficiency_Test?oldformat=true#Test_format


Complete a Double Super Challenge in Japanese by December 31, 2023
2x Super Challenge - Japanese Films : 32 / 200
2x Super Challenge - Japanese Books : 3 / 200

Complete a Regular Super Challenge in Portuguese by December 31, 2023
Super Challenge - Portuguese Films : 36 / 100
Super Challenge - Portuguese Books : 0 / 100

Goal Until January 1, 2023

  • Complete 64 hours of study/month until 2023 (16 hours/week or 2.3 hours/day)

Stats
Test Results:

2022-01-10
  • Duolingo Progress Quiz: 0.6
2022-01-22 (~15 Hours of Study)
  • JLPT N5 Nihongo Master Practice Test: 40% (6/15)
  • JLPT N5 Sample Question: 7.14% (1/14 - lucky guess)

2022-06-21
  • Duolingo Progress Quiz: 1.3

2022-07-4
  • JLPT N5 Nihongo Master Practice Test: 60% (9/15)
  • JLPT N4 Nihongo Master Practice Test: 46% (7/15)
  • JLPT N5 Sample Questions: 57% (8/14)

Hours Studied:
2022
  • Jan: 37h29m04s (Monthly study total not yet set)
  • Feb: 71h39m25s (Completed Goal)
  • Mar: 23h7m7s (Fell Short)
  • Apr: Almost 0 (Fell Short)
  • May: 1h31m35s (Fell Short)
  • Jun: 73h12m31s (Completed Goal)
  • Jul: 90h42m10s (Completed Goal)
  • Aug: 90h08m31s (Completed Goal)
  • Sep: 68h01m20s (Completed Goal)
  • Oct: 88h41m35s (Completed Goal)
  • Nov:
  • Dec:

Notes
I am also in "consume and practice" mode for Brazilian Portuguese. I signed up for the Super Challenge for both languages. I will only be posting detailed stats about Japanese here. I post about my Brazilian Portuguese as well.

Why Japanese?
Back in 2014 it was because I liked Anime/Manga, but was also interested in doing an independent study course on the politics and history of Japan. I never got to do an independent study course, as I was unable to find an advisor.

So now it is a combination of an interest in doing area studies about Japan, independently and on my own time and going to visit Japan in 2024. I've been squirrelling away money for the trip already :lol: . Neither of these things require Japanese, but I think most of the people here already understand why I am going to try this anyway.

Why So Detailed?
Without the detail, I will be aimless, and I will not get to where I want to be. I really enjoy concentrating on one thing and one thing only, but I've spent a long time working against this tendency. Whether it is school that demands we divide our time between 5-6 different subjects, or people around me who say I need to be "balanced".

I am done with being "balanced", being "balanced" doesn't work for me. I am going to put in as much of my free time as I can into Japanese starting June 1 2022.

(All with good humour of course, I am technically suppose to be putting all my concentration into some vocational training right now, so much for being done with balance :lol:)

CDR wrote:Why is your journal titled the way it is?

Will you, dear reader, dislike me forever for using cheesy quotes and admitting this is how I set my goals, and the inspiration for the name of the log?

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
― Les Brown

Additionally, the quantified nature of the goals are because of my adherence to the 4 Disciplines of Execution
https://www.franklincovey.com/the-4-disciplines/

1. Focus on the Wildly Important
2. Act on Lead Measures
3. Keep a Compelling Scoreboard
4. Create a Cadence of Accountability
Last edited by CDR on Mon Jan 01, 2024 7:20 am, edited 13 times in total.
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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby rdearman » Sun May 08, 2022 4:59 pm

If you constantly edit the same post you will never become a full member and you have to have every edit approved.
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: 43 / 150 Read 150 books in 2024

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I post on this forum with mobile devices, so excuse short msgs and typos.

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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby CDR » Sun May 08, 2022 9:33 pm

rdearman wrote:If you constantly edit the same post you will never become a full member and you have to have every edit approved.


Sorry about that!

Portuguese Super Challenge:
In the last few days I watched:

  • Minha Mãe é uma Peça 3
  • An Episode of Avisa lá que eu vou
  • 75% of the latest episode of Fantástico

This is going well so far, my wife is happy to watch things in her native language with me. Out of all three, Fantástico was a combination of the most interesting and the program I understood the best. I've watched it before with her, but not often.

For those not aware - It is a 2 hour news program out of Brazil.

I also started reading a book in Portuguese:

Eu me Chamo Rio by Julio Ludemir, Ecio Salles, et al.

This is a collection of short stories by a variety of authors about being Carioca (from Rio de Janeiro). The preface was a slog to get through, lots of fancy, almost academic language. The first story is much been easier to read. Still, I think it took me at least 1 hour and a half to read 17 pages, reading intensively. It would be faster to look up words if it was an ebook, but this is one of the physical books I picked up during one of our visits to Brazil and I figure I should try to get through those first.
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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby CDR » Wed May 11, 2022 2:18 pm

Portuguese Super Challenge:
I watched the first episode and half of the second episode of Elize Matsunaga with my wife. Netflix has functioning Portuguese subtitles, so that was a nice change of pace.

Eu me chamo rio was giving me a hard time, as I mentioned before. I wanted to stick with it, but I was just procrastinating my reading. That isn't a good idea, considering it is already unlikely I am going to read 100 books in Portuguese. So I decided to spend $7 and get an ebook I am actually interested in reading at the moment.

I got "Hoje eu vou dormir nu rua". It is interviews with homeless people from São Paulo. This is much more "on brand" for me and is easier to read. Kindle isn't showing page numbers, but they seem to be embedded in the book itself. It looks like it is around 150ish pages.

Japanese
Not supposed to be doing Japanese until next month, but of course I have been thinking about what I will be doing.

I found a link on the forum here to a paper from the FSI. Most of it was stuff I've already read about, but the section on automaticity has me reconsidering my Japanese study plans.

While reading a majority of the Hiragana and Katakana are automatic for me, there are definitely a few that I still struggle with. When I return to my studies, I am definitely going to dedicate time to drilling these problematic ones, or maybe all of them, to ensure that I have a very solid base in these writing system.

Another point from the article - Interleaving familiar audio drills with study of new material is helpful because the audio drills can give people a break from new information (when they have 5 hours of class per day), but is still helping them improve their language by sharpening the automaticity of their foundational knowledge.

Since I also aspire to study for many hours per day (when I am not working), I think this is useful information for me, and I will have to figure out how to effectively implement drilling into my learning. This might be one reason I was capping out at 3-4 hours per day (even though I had more time I could have put towards studying on my days off). Another reason was probably an over focus on Anki and an over use of digital tech in general. When going back in June, I will ensure I interleave some physical (text)books and other activities that give me a break from a computer screen.

Putting together a learning schedule might be the most exciting part of this "campaign" :lol:

In related news, I have been working on shedding (or not taking on more) responsibilities in preparation for the resumption of this campaign. This includes winding down volunteer work, and talking myself out of signing up for more volunteer positions, or going down the rabbit hole of another subject/topic.

So far so good, but someone has been trying to rope me into running a festival. I am trying to resist, as there isn't enough people on the team. I already know I will have to carry the majority of the work and it will significantly derail my Japanese goals. I've done it before, it was fun, but isn't my focus right now.
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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby CDR » Thu May 12, 2022 6:56 pm

Portuguese Super Challenge:

Finished the second episode of Elize Matsunaga. I noticed this episode was very understandable, I am able to read the subtitles and understand the audio at the same time. This is the first time I finished watching something in Portuguese and was still fully awake at the end.

Continued reading "Hoje eu vou dormir nu rua" - 2/3 people they have interviewed so far are formerly homeless. The third person actually has a home, but they decided to live on the street because they were getting in fights with their brother. Interesting to read about people's perspectives and stories, and how they got out of the situation.
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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby CDR » Mon May 16, 2022 1:23 pm

Portuguese Super Challenge:
Finished Eliza Mastunaga series, with the two last episodes.

During episode 3, I was somewhat discouraged and thought my comprehension was low. However, in the final episode my comprehension went up. After those shows, we watched a bit of Esquenta! (which I will not bother counting). It was much easier to understand the host of this program, as she spoke loud and clear. Then again, the past 483 minutes of Portuguese might have had an impact.

I'd hate to admit it, but this might be the most (native level) Portuguese I've listened to in one month, outside of when I go to Brazil.

The bot says I've completed 5.4 films.

I continue to read Hoje eu vou dormir nu rua. I've read about two more people at least, both of who are currently homeless. One of them tells the story of a friend, who was desperate to drink some alcohol, so drank pure alcohol from a gas station (Google says that would be at a concentration of 99.2% or higher). In the text, the man emphasizes that his friend didn't even have enough money for cachaça. I was already aware that cachaça is very inexpensive (in Brazil), but it is interesting to see someone explain how poor someone is from their lack of ability to purchase it.
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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby CDR » Mon May 23, 2022 8:49 pm

The Japanese Campaign
Thanks to golyplot posting about it in their own journal, I have started listening to 4989 American Life on my morning walks.

I don't understand much, just a few words here or there, but it gives me something to listen to. Since I don’t really understand, I am unsure of I should count this as listening for the Super Challenge. I am leaning towards counting it.

This is a great pre-amble to the start of the Japanese campaign.

Although, I am not 100% done my work studies. I need to redouble my efforts the next week and a few days to ensure I am done the bulk of the studying. Leaving just flash cards to review would be perfect.

I have started creating a list of things I would like to do before June, or at the beginning of June, to help with the campaign.

  • Update my spreadsheet and Toggl with days I listened to audio courses or podcasts – to get hours studied up-to-date
  • Install Yomichan on my browser
  • Rearrange my bookmarks toolbar to prioritize Japanese related links
  • Create a Study schedule for the different scenarios (days off vs days I work, etc)
  • Schedule dates in my calendar to do certain things, like update this log, tweet progress to the super challenge bot, etc
  • Schedule a time to go to the University library and check out some of the books that interest me

My current thoughts on my approach for June and onward:
Three pillars: Kanji w/ Anki, Writing Hiragana and Katakana, Reading and Listening to Short Stories

First Pillar:
I have reset my i+1 Kanji sentence deck, and will work through that + a recognition focused RTK run through. Since I have worked through both before (The deck from January to March, RTK – first 500 or so back 8 or so years ago), I hope it will help me get back in the groove.

Screen time is mandatory here, so I am thinking that on days I am off I can go for a walk, sit on a bench, or on a hill to do some reviews outside, then walk home.

Second Pillar:
Writing of Hiragana and Katakana mostly focused on improving my ability to automatically read them without thinking. The Hiragana are pretty automatic, but the Katakana continue to be shaky.

This will be done completely off screen, but indoors. I am thinking I could walk to the local library and do the practice at a desk without a computer on it.

Third Pillar:
Probably using Tadoku and YomuJP, I will focus on going through stories with audio first. Reading, Reading and Listening, and then just Listening.

Instead of sentence mining, for now, I will put the URL to the story in an Anki card. Then when the card comes up for review, I will read the story again. I am very bad at repeated readings, which are supposed to be good for building reading speed. This will hopefully simplify that process.

Being on a screen is helpful for being able to use Yomichan, controlling audio, looking up grammar, and etc. Once I’ve built up some skill in reading and listening, with a mix of my eReader and some physical books (graded reader, and two books targeted at kids) I am sure I can figure out a way to get outside the house and/or away from screens to read.

Unrelated to the pillars, I checked the dates for the JLPT. Only one place in Canada is doing both days this year. So my test date will be December 4, 2022. I've decided I will register for the N3. Even if by September I feel like I will fail. Better to shoot for the higher goal and see what happens. There is no reason for me to take the test, so it doesn't matter if I get a certificate at all. But, just $70 to get my ass kicked on the N3 might motivate me to work harder the entire year, and give me some motivation after the exam to keep going.

I am typically quite motivated by testing and certifications, although sometimes that involves strange min-maxing for the sake of an exam. So I will do my best to avoid that rabbit hole in this case.

Portuguese Super Challenge
Watched Diários de Intercâmbio with my wife last night. Not a masterpiece, but it was a laugh out loud good time. The chaotic energy of the film really shines.

Afterword, my wife mentioned that she appreciated how I have always taken an interest in Brazilian culture. She says that while she far from Brazil, it still feels like there is a little Brazil here in our home.

It meant a lot to hear that. I am grateful for my past self, who started studying Portuguese and reading Brazilian history when he first started dating a Brazilian girl. He was quite insistent with himself that if he was going to date someone outside of his country, he should make an effort to learn their language, culture, and history.

Again, very grateful for that attitude. Even when that was a nebulous reason to learn a language. I remember times where I just squeaked by, doing a bit of Duolingo everyday, and some periods where I would study every moment of the day I possibly could. I read history books on lunch break, searched for songs online in the evening, and wake up early the next day to study the language from a textbook.

Still lots to learn, but happy with the journey.

I continue to read the book about people experiencing homelessness. I discovered that I had the wrong Portuguese-English dictionary active on my eReader. It wasn’t using the Porto edition I purchased five years ago. After fixing that setting, the definitions are much better.

Comments on Learning
Earlier in the year, I was starting to sentence mine content in Portuguese. I had never done sentence mining before.

I got sick of it quickly, even though I impressed myself with the ability to use monolingual definitions sometimes. Eventually, I decided I would not mine sentences from content I read in ebooks or anything I watched.

I dusted off my LWT install and had started using it to read news articles. I then used LWT’s built in review function to review words I had to look up. Overall, a much better method that was more enjoyable.

I will have to stand up a new LWT server for myself, as the previous computer is out of commission at the moment. I will attempt to spin up a new LWT sometime soon.
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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby CDR » Fri Jun 24, 2022 7:12 am

The Japanese Campaign
I thought it would be goofy to post more in this log before the Japanese campaign got underway. Nothing worse than over promising and under delivering.

I've clocked in 62:59:26 in Japanese study so far, I use an app to track my time on task :).

I've done a decent job following the first two pillars, but I haven't been reading enough. Something unexpected that has happened is I've had success in meeting Japanese people in person in my city. I have had two language exchanges with someone. I have so far been shocked at how serious they are in helping me study. In the past, the people I have met via language exchange apps online have not been so motivated to help with studying, mostly just interested in chatting.

This has been excellent, because I was woefully unprepared for our first meeting (an unexpected appointment from the landlord, leaving me no time to prepare), and felt humiliated at my lack of preparedness. This meant before our second meeting I spent a lot of time preparing and bringing lots of content to practice.

This is great, it's another way to keep me motivated in the short and long term as I don't want to show up to the next meeting without something to show for it.

In this second half of the month, two things have I've been reminded of a key factor in my success in Portuguese, and many other areas of my life. 1. Commitment devices and 2. Apps

Commitment devices
For me, this is Beeminder. It is a website where you create a goal, and if you fail to reach the goal it charges you money. People used to look at me like I had three heads and a horn when they asked me what I used to keep myself on my goals and I explained this to them.

But you know, nothing gets me back on Anki like the fear of losing $5 :lol:. So I've created a number of goals on there as another way to keep me walking on the right path.

For me, getting goals accomplished has always been a matter of "layers of motivation". Some days, I just need the most brutal one of all.

I can remember the fear of losing over $100 if I didn't complete my Portuguese Duolingo and Clozemaster goals that evening. Hehehe, the good old days.

Apps
Duolingo can be a bit of a drag, but in this second half of the month, while on night shift, I find that Duolingo and Clozemaster are exactly what I can handle, along with Anki. Sure, I'm not following my pillars, but the night shift schedule is a pain in my brain.

Overall feelings for the month so far:
I can see on the app I use to track my time that there are a number of days I could have done better. But, I am also trying to be positive and acknowledge hard work when I do it. It's easier to just flog yourself when your down and be silent when you're doing great.

So now, when I complete my Anki decks or listen to my podcast for the day I tell myself I've put in hard work and I'm proud of myself.

I'm still procrastinating doing my Anki deck this evening, so maybe it isn't working :lol: .

Portuguese Super Challenge
Ah, it looks like we've found our show. We've been watching Pantanal, a new soap opera from Globo that everyone in Brazil seems to be watching and talking about.

A new episode is out everyday, and we are far behind. If it runs for enough episodes, I think it will carry me to completion of the film part of the Super Challenge :lol: . I will also probably start to sound like a cowboy soon.

We are about 12 episodes in, and I will never forgot the meaning of the word "boi" in Portuguese at this point. Also, the Portuguese subtitles are actually CC, so I also will not forget "mugido" now :lol: . I have a feeling if my Portuguese has improved at all by December when we visit Brazil again, it will be because of this show.

How could I forget, the word "Peão" as well :lol:!

Now if only I can run into some farmers at the airport in GRU :lol:

On the reading side, I haven't done any, or very little, since my last post. We just had a chat about our lack of reading today, and we'll see if we can work it back into the time we hang out together!
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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby CDR » Sat Jul 02, 2022 1:50 pm

I've programmed three scripts to make tracking/reporting my progress in Japanese/Portuguese easier. I am trying my best to control myself and not go down the rabbit hole of coding things that would be useful "in theory". We'll see how long that lasts.

The first script checks my Super Challenge profile on Anki-tv and grabs the total number of films and books reported for Portuguese and Japanese. (It checks once a day, near midnight).

Currently, it reports the total number of films watched in PT to a Beeminder goal I setup to ensure I keep on track to watching 100 films in PT. I will use the other numbers for other Beeminder goals in the future.

The second script checks my Toggl account (Toggl is a time tracking app) and sees if I have tracked time related to Japanese listening. If it finds anything related, it will tweet the info to the Super Challenge bot on Twitter. So now, entries will appear on the day I actually listened, instead of in bulk :lol:

The third script looks at my Toggl entries for the week and calculates how much time was spent on Anki each day. I've been calculating this manually for a while to enter into a spreadsheet.
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Re: CDR Shoots for the Moon: N2 Japanese by Spring 2024

Postby CDR » Mon Jul 25, 2022 4:39 am

Japanese Campaign

In July, 69:29:19 studied so far.

22 hours is my projected max for this next week, so I will try to hit that so I can score 84+ hours of study this month, and be on track to complete 1700 hours of study by 2024.

Beeminder has cost me $146 this month, as I lapsed on basically all of my goals more than once, and every time I lapse, the price goes up.

Currently, if I lapse on my sentence deck (I.E, I don't study for a day) it will cost me $270... I haven't lapsed since it became this expensive.

At that price, there is very little that demands my attention more than saving $270.

I've been doing mostly the same as last month:

Anki (Sentence Deck and RRTK)
Listening/Watching (4989 American Life, and YouTube)
Language Exchange once a week
Writing (Not nearly as much as last month)
Clozemaster
Duolingo

For the sentence deck, I was hoping to finish this month, however I missed a few too many days (hence the $270 price tag for a lapse now) and I've decided to extend it into the first week of August so I can ensure a reasonable number of new cards per day. I have configured my matching Beeminder goal to this pace, so the fear of losing $270 should finally get me to the end of this deck.

I have also been tracking progress compared to all three Tango (N5,N4,N3) decks I would like to finish before the JLPT in December, and that is currently at 26 new cards per day. So, it is still quite reasonable.

But really, it is the total # of new words that matters to me. I am planning to start reading after I see all the cards in the N5 deck. So I figure I can pull as many new words as I would like from reading, and just top it up to 26 using the other sentence decks (n4, n3) if I cannot find enough new words. Which seems pretty unlikely given how few words I know.

For RRTK, it is still reasonable to finish by the end of September. The matching Beeminder goal is currently $30 if I lapse.

For the Super Challenge, I entered a double for Japanese. So 200 "books" and 200 "films". I've done almost no reading. So if I start now, I need to read 20 pages per day. At the start of June, basic articles (maybe 3-4 pages) written for an N5 learner were taking me multiple hours to read.

Reading will come into focus in August (once I've seen every card in that goofy sentence deck) regardless, and so I will dedicate as much of my study time as I can towards reading.

It's going to be painfully slow. I haven't a clue at what point I will actually be able to read 20 pages of Japanese text (at any level) in a reasonable amount of time as to be able to finish in one day. I imagine by the time I get to that level, I will have to read many more pages per day to actually complete the Super Challenge Reading goal.

Watching/Listening on the other hand is going well. I need about 32 minutes a day of listening/watching to meet the 200 "films" goal. I take a walk most days and have been listening to the same two epsiodes of a Japanese podcast. I should probably move on to different episodes, but it is quite interesting to grind my Anki deck every day, and then hear new words in the same episode. I also watch news on YouTube.

When doing my Anki decks lately, the thought that has come to mind is "this is the last language I am going to study, 3 is enough." I can definitely feel the extra weight that a new script provides. The amount of time I have poured in so far (274ish hours) compared to my ability to just barely pass an N5 test emphaizes just the sheer number of hours one must put into studying Japanese to get anywhere.

Of course, I was already aware of this. I have completed 16% of the 1700 hours theortically required to pass the N2.

Portuguese Super Challenge
I continue to watch Pantanal with my wife. Not much else to report here. I haven't been reading in Portuguese.
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