The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

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kujichagulia
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The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby kujichagulia » Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:22 am

It's been three years and nine days since I started my first log back at the original HTLAL site. "Nine friggin' years" is what I wrote in frustration to begin my log. I was frustrated because I had been in Japan for nine years at that point and I still hadn't gained any kind of basic fluency in Japanese. That was because ever since I migrated to Japan, I had studied Japanese off-again, on-again - never building up any consistency. In addition, my study was limited to some textbooks with CDs and whatever words and phrases I picked up while out and about in Osaka, watching television, hanging around my wife's family, etc. Sure, I went from zero to low intermediate (written) Japanese by the time I started that log... but it took nine friggin' years. I made a decision to try to improve how I learn languages in an effort to consistently study and reach my goal of basic fluency, and the first step was that first log at HTLAL.

So, in those three years and nine days, have I reached basic fluency? Well, no. To be honest, I'm still working on it. I'm still fighting battles against enemies that seemingly have nothing to do with language learning, but upon reflection have everything to do with it - enemies such as lack of discipline, boredom, lack of motivation, burnout, over-structuring, etc. But I have improved both my Japanese and how I study. Well, I certainly have improved my Japanese, solely because I study it more often than I did three or four years ago. I'm still working on how I study, and I think that once I have that down for sure, my Japanese will improve by light years.

Oh, and how can I forget? I've begun another language - Portuguese - in the meantime. I still consider myself a beginner, but it won't be long before I reach intermediate level. You can read my first and second log - if it is still online - for details on why I started Portuguese while learning Japanese, but basically it came down to this: it's easier to see improvement in a language when you are a beginner in it, and seeing the improvement I made in Portuguese encouraged me to keep going at Japanese. And now I'm too lazy to stop studying Portuguese! :)

So yeah, I've gotten better, but I still have a long way to go. That's why the Kuji Khronicles continue with a new log here at HTLAL.org. Stay tuned for more. ありがとうございます! Muito obrigado!
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby iguanamon » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:19 am

Love the title of your new log! ! I think you're perhaps being a little too harsh on yourself with your self-evaluation of your levels, Kuji. Being "too lazy to quit", yep, that's how it happens :). Keep on truckin'.
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby kujichagulia » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:44 pm

iguanamon wrote:Love the title of your new log! ! I think you're perhaps being a little too harsh on yourself with your self-evaluation of your levels, Kuji. Being "too lazy to quit", yep, that's how it happens :). Keep on truckin'.

Hehe, thanks, iguanamon, and always thank you for your support. I'm perhaps a bit harsh, I don't know. I admit I might be closer to an A2 than A1 in Portuguese. I might need to find a way to evaluate myself again. :)
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby kujichagulia » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:59 am

Man, it has been a busier summer than usual, with work, home life, and all. In addition, I had to go and work at an English immersion camp for the high school I work at. It was great, and the students were amazing, but... it was English 24 hours a day. Not exactly good for my personal language goals.

Anyway, this post is a half-month in the making...

In my log at the original HTLAL site, before everything went haywire, I was in a discussion with some of our fine, experienced language learners about the importance of "flow" - that is, keeping up momentum in language learning. You can see where the discussion on flow started if you click here and refer to my original log (it starts from "Message 685 of 702"). But to save you a bit of time, let me try to summarize where I was at before the original site went kaput.

My log is basically one long ramble, often unorganized, and one topic bleeds into another, so it is really difficult - even for me - to figure out exactly how I got onto this topic, but I'm pretty sure I was once again whining about how I was lacking motivation, being bored with the process of studying, yada yada yada. And then Serpent says that she does native materials early to avoid these types of problems, and I said yeah, I'm doing those, too. Then I gave an example of what I do with a Deutsche Welle radionovela targeted at those who want to learn Portuguese:

(PORTUGUESE) Deutsche Welle radionovela series: "Futebol em África: Mais do que um jogo"

iguanamon recommended this to me a couple of years ago, and I'm still working through the ten-part series. I love the story: three young people in Africa, all with an interest in football and dealing with problems in their country. I've made some bilingual texts with these stories, and iguanamon has given me others. Reading it in English, the radionovela is awesome and enjoyable. So the material is not the problem. I find it to be very interesting, and I often can't wait to find out what happens next.

And yet, I'm just on Part Four after two years of this. Each part is not that long - around 10 minutes of audio or so? Obviously I could blow through the whole radionovela in a day in English.

This is what I usually do with a part of this radionovela:
(1) Read the English first.
(2) Listen to the Portuguese while reading the Portuguese. It doesn't matter if I understand it, but I want to get a "feel" for it.
(3) Go through the Portuguese and find all the words and phrases I don't know, and highlight them. (This is surprisingly time-consuming.)
(4) Look up unknown words and phrases - mainly using the English text, but sometimes the Portuguese and English don't really match well, so I'll use a dictionary and make notes on the PDF. (This is also time-consuming.)
(5) Next, I go through the highlighted words/phrases and decide if I want to put any of them into Anki, then I put them into Anki. (Again, time consuming.)
(6) After that, I listen to the Portuguese again while reading the Portuguese (but not the English). I try to see how much I know now. If I'm not satisfied, I'll do it again.
(7) Now I'll try listening to the Portuguese without the text and see how much I can understand.

I give myself perhaps 30-40 minutes a week to work on a radionovela, and that's probably a generous estimate. If I were not working on Japanese, perhaps I could do more a week, but I'm not about to give up either language. Anyway, by the time I do all of the steps above, an enjoyable story has become irritating, and I have to take a break and do some other activities before I return to the radionovela.

But the reason I want to do all of those steps is because I want to make the most of the material. I could quickly go through a part, referring to the English when I don't understand the Portuguese, and just get a quick understanding of the story, and just enjoy the story. But then I feel like I would not have learned the new Portuguese that I came across. I feel like I shouldn't leave any stone unturned. But in the process of uncovering every stone, an enjoyable story becomes hard work.

The thing is, though, I do gain some things from doing all of that. I learn new words and phrases I didn't know before, and that means less time wasted on those words later. But it takes some mental power to push through that sometimes, even if the story is quite enjoyable.


So, after I posted that, basically everyone replied by telling me variations of the same things:

* Don't try to master everything. Enjoy the story, and pick up a few words that way.
* Don't comb through everything and examine it like a microscope. Go through it and move on and build momentum.
* Don't put everything into Anki.
* Keep going even if you don't understand everything.

That totally blew my mind, but at the same time I was very skeptical. But I tried it. First, I changed the way I read and listen to those radionovelas, following iguanamon's suggestion:

iguanamon wrote:Here's what I did when I was starting out:

1) Read the Portuguese with the help of the bilingual text.
2) Listen to the audio while reading.
3) Listen to the audio.
4) Move on to the next episode.
5) 10 episodes = 10 days.
6) Move on to the next radionovela series.


I did that with Episode 4 of the Futebol radionovela, and it was a breath of fresh air! Of course, there was the uneasiness from not thoroughly going through the episode, making sure I understood every single thing, and putting everything I didn't know before into Anki. On the other hand, it was quick, "easy", and fun. I did it all in a couple of days, instead of a couple of weeks or more. And, unlike before, as soon as I finished the episode, I was looking forward to the next!

I still haven't done Episode 5 yet, though. Somehow (don't ask), I ended up doing Lesson 37 of DLI Portuguese Basic Course, because it had been a while since I did a DLI lesson. But I'm applying the same concepts to the way I do that course. I did the same thing to DLI as I did to the radionovelas - comb through it, make sure I understand every little piece of it, Anki it to death, etc. Now my goal is to just go through it, do the drills, the listening, and when I'm done with it, I'm done. If I don't get everything the first time around, so be it.

It's a strange feeling. On the one hand, as I said before, I feel nervous about not making the most of the material before moving on. But on the other hand, I feel as if some kind of weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I have the freedom, if you will, to do something and just toss it, never to be bothered with it again, rather than have it chained to my neck until I've thoroughly analyzed and digested every inch of it.

So since then, I've been obsessed with the concept of keeping flow and momentum in my language learning. This has led to finding ways to simplify my language learning. I think I try to structure my learning too much. I have a document I made that details what I should do for my Japanese and Portuguese studies every day. Here is the Monday section, copied and pasted directly from that document:

MONDAY
AM Train (PT, 10-15 min)

* Do a PortuguesePod101.com podcast.
* If you have extra time, do listening reviews.

Work
* Do Anki reviews first!
* JP WRITING DAY B3 – Check Lang-8 for corrections on this week's writing.
Put it all together into a PDF for review.
* Any Portuguese articles/DLI/radionovela PDFs you're going through and
you made notes of new words/phrases? Input those into Anki. Put “A”
words in right away. Put unsure words into a “B” list on Simplenote for
input later.
* If you get any extra time, continue train activities, or look at your Work
List of Activities for ideas.

PM Train (JP, 20-25 min)
* JP WRITING DAY A1 - Write something (up to 10 min). If you do not
finish it in 10 minutes, continue working on it at home.
* When finished writing, do some reading.

Home
* JP WRITING DAY A1 – If you didn't finish your writing on the train, finish it
now. Otherwise...
* Listen to and read one article of NHK Easy News up to 10 minutes. If you can
do this every night, increase the minutes or the number of articles.
* If you have alone time, spend 10 minutes doing some speaking practice for JP.


This is just too much. And Monday is not even as detailed as some of the other days.

Now, I'm not saying that this system is bad. If you are looking at this and wondering what the problem is, then it's probably not a problem for you. I think this system, on its own, is very nice, and I would like to be able to continue it. But for me personally and my circumstances, I'm beginning to think that this system is a hindrance, especially in terms of maintaining flow and building momentum.

For example, I'm doing a PortuguesePod101.com podcast for my Portuguese study on the train on Mondays, as you can see above, but on Tuesdays it's a Deutsche Welle radionovela, on Wednesdays nothing for Portuguese, on Thursdays a DLI lesson, and on Fridays some writing. So, in that system, I'm doing 10 or 20 minutes of a radionovela on Tuesdays on the train, more minutes at home if I have the time, and then I put the radionovela away until the next Tuesday. Talk about a momentum killer! I'm not going to post my entire language-learning "walkthrough" here, so that I don't bore you all. But if you really want to see it, let me know.

I'm now experimenting with a more simplified rotation of activities. The first thing I did was cut down on the number of activities I was trying to shoehorn into a schedule. These are the activities I'm now concentrating on for the time being:

JAPANESE
* Listening to a number of podcasts (freely-released JapanesePod101.com and some podcasts aimed at natives)
* Reading news articles (primarily NHK Easy News, but also others)
* Reading some comics (I have a few at home I haven't gotten around to)
* Writing (although I'm leaning towards putting this on hiatus until I get my new routine going)
* Watching two cartoons on Sunday evenings

PORTUGUESE
* Listening to a number of podcasts (freely-released PortuguesePod101.com and some podcasts aimed at natives, such as Cafe Brasil)
* DLI Portuguese Basic Course lessons
* Portuguese radionovelas from Deutsche Welle
* Writing (although I'm leaning towards putting this on hiatus until I get my new routine going)

I'm going to stick with these until I get a consistent routine going, without going into burnout. Then I'll slowly add more to it.

Basically, what I'm doing is this. All the above activities, except for the listening and the Japanese cartoons, are put into a category called "Long activities", simply because they take a relatively long time (read: multiple days) for me to finish. Then I just run a simple rotation with it. For example, with Japanese, whenever I have "Japanese time", I'll read an article, and each day I'll continue with the same article until I finish it, then I'll start on a writing, and when I finish that, I'll read a few chapters of a comic, and so on. For Portuguese, I'll do an episode (or two, or the whole - haven't quite decided yet) of a Deutsche Welle radionovela, then switch to a DLI lesson, then a writing, then back to the radionovela, and so on.

I could even adjust the rotation a bit to do something like this:
* do five episodes of a radionovela
* take a break with a short writing
* go back to the radionovela and finish it
* do a few DLI lessons
* etc. etc. etc. yada yada yada

Or I could take iguanamon's suggestion and do 10 episodes of a radionovela in 10 days, etc. Yeah, there are many ways to go about it. I'm going to experiment and see what's best, but whatever I do I'm concentrating on two things at the moment:
(1) doing language activities so as to keep momentum
(2) keeping it simple, stupid (KISS)

Now, my scheduled language time goes as follows (not too drastically changed from before):
JAPANESE - Mondays and Thursdays on the train home and at home, Tuesdays and Fridays on the train to work and at work, all day Wednesday, here and there on weekends
PORTUGUESE- Mondays and Thursdays on the train to work and at work, Tuesdays and Fridays on the train home and at home, here and there on weekends

As for the listening... well, this post is already very long, so I'm going to write about it at a later time. But it will also follow the two above tenets.

* * * * *

NOTE TO MYSELF: What to talk about next time
* My listening routine
* Anki?
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby iguanamon » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:33 am

Wow! Now, you've got what I've been trying to say! Kuji, you (and I) are never going to be perfect in a second language but up til now, you had been letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. The snowball may be lumpy and out of round but it will gather more snow. It will start rolling downhill. More snow will have a chance to fill in the voids and the snowball will roll better and better and look better and better, now that you are giving it a chance to roll. Keep up the good work. :D
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby Expugnator » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:15 pm

Sounds like a nice change of mindset. Just be sure to really take care of longer activities once in a while. When you have more than one hour of time, how about doing a long reading session or a long listening session? Serpent often criticizes me for that, she says my 10' tasks don't allow for 'flow' to happen. What I notice isn't quite that, it's rather that I sometimes don't manage to do both extensive and intensive activities for all my languages. This is critical with listening, where we have some possibilities and all of them are useful somehow. So, you might have decided that going for audio in L2 and subtitles in L2 is your main task. But how about, once in a while, taking that longer hidden session and just for a change trying English audio and Japanese subtitles? (You have no idea how it helps to once in a while just read the subtitles while transparently listening to audio in your L1).

Hope I'm not adding to more confusion, my idea is just not to totally abandon those lesser-priority activities, but take care of them in some extra time or some sessions that turned longer than expected. If you want to seize an opportunity that isn't part of your daily routine for tackling something intensively, it helps not to pick any serial resources. Just pick a random news article - or maybe a few paragraphs that would make up for 1 A4 page - and study it intensively when you are in the mood to. So, if you nailed the week and on Saturday morning there is some time you wouldn't expect to have, you can trying doing things a little differently. Just try not to get a textbook you MUST finish or something like that, or else you will start becoming worried about the fact you're 'neglecting' this activity and you will just start incorporating it into your routine.

I'm really a routine maniac, but I have a threshold from which whatever I do is considered 'extra' and although I am happy when I do these other activities I don't really feel my studies went 'incomplete' if I don't perform these remaining 3...now 4...soon 5 additional tasks.
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby kujichagulia » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:35 pm

iguanamon wrote:Wow! Now, you've got what I've been trying to say! Kuji, you (and I) are never going to be perfect in a second language but up til now, you had been letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. The snowball may be lumpy and out of round but it will gather more snow. It will start rolling downhill. More snow will have a chance to fill in the voids and the snowball will roll better and better and look better and better, now that you are giving it a chance to roll. Keep up the good work. :D

Thank you for that comment, iguanamon. I have to thank you for helping me see the light! :D

Expugnator wrote:Sounds like a nice change of mindset. Just be sure to really take care of longer activities once in a while. When you have more than one hour of time, how about doing a long reading session or a long listening session? Serpent often criticizes me for that, she says my 10' tasks don't allow for 'flow' to happen. What I notice isn't quite that, it's rather that I sometimes don't manage to do both extensive and intensive activities for all my languages. This is critical with listening, where we have some possibilities and all of them are useful somehow. So, you might have decided that going for audio in L2 and subtitles in L2 is your main task. But how about, once in a while, taking that longer hidden session and just for a change trying English audio and Japanese subtitles? (You have no idea how it helps to once in a while just read the subtitles while transparently listening to audio in your L1).

Hope I'm not adding to more confusion, my idea is just not to totally abandon those lesser-priority activities, but take care of them in some extra time or some sessions that turned longer than expected. If you want to seize an opportunity that isn't part of your daily routine for tackling something intensively, it helps not to pick any serial resources. Just pick a random news article - or maybe a few paragraphs that would make up for 1 A4 page - and study it intensively when you are in the mood to. So, if you nailed the week and on Saturday morning there is some time you wouldn't expect to have, you can trying doing things a little differently. Just try not to get a textbook you MUST finish or something like that, or else you will start becoming worried about the fact you're 'neglecting' this activity and you will just start incorporating it into your routine.

I'm really a routine maniac, but I have a threshold from which whatever I do is considered 'extra' and although I am happy when I do these other activities I don't really feel my studies went 'incomplete' if I don't perform these remaining 3...now 4...soon 5 additional tasks.

Thank you for replying, Expugnator, and you make a really good point about not completely neglecting the intensive activities. Sometimes, when I realize I'm doing something all wrong, I tend to over-correct it. I'm extremely doing extensive at the moment, but yeah, I think it would help me to have some time for intensive activities. They do help me, but they don't help me much if I'm doing them all the time. I need to find the right balance.

I really like your idea of taking extra time to dedicate to doing something more intensive, or a long session or something like that. I've been very busy this year at work - more than I was at my old school - so I haven't been able to use much work time for studying languages. But today and tomorrow, I'll virtually have the office to myself (a lot of teachers are taking vacation days this week; I'm taking mine a bit later) and nothing pressing to do. I think I'll be able to squeeze in a couple of hours for language learning. :)

And what you said about Saturdays is good, too. For me, weekends are a time of flux; some weekends are very busy, others are not. So I could do more intensive activities on the weekend when I have unexpected free time.
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby kujichagulia » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:13 am

I planned to write my next post on what listening activities I do, because I was experimenting with ways to change that as well. But I've gone back to the way I've done it for the past two years or so, so there's not much to write now.

For Japanese, my listening activities are centered around podcasts from JapanesePod101.com and podcasts aimed at natives, as well as an "immersion" playlist. (I use "immersion" lightly because, being in Japan, supposedly I'm already immersed.) I collect podcasts from the free JapanesePod101.com feed, and on Tuesday and Friday mornings on the train, I listen to a new lesson. Usually once, but if it's short enough, I'll repeat it during the commute. Then later, at home when I have time, I'll cut the dialogue out of the podcast using Audacity or mp3DirectCut and put it on my Japanese immersion playlist. This is a playlist containing dialogues not only from JP101, but also my intermediate Japanese textbook, An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese, and (a very few) random snippets from TV shows, native podcasts, etc. I listen to this playlist whenever I have a chance: walking to/from the train station, at work when nobody is around, waiting in the lobby at the fitness center, at home when I'm washing dishes or doing other chores, etc. It's a nice way to get comprehensible input when I need it.

On Wednesday mornings, I'll listen to podcasts aimed at native Japanese speakers. This is what's currently in my podcast software:
* HOTCAST - this podcast deals, according to their website, with anything from food and drinks to life in general: hobbies, regional life in Japan, companies, IT stuff, etc. I like this podcast because it is conversational; the hosts - a man and a woman - are discussing a certain theme every episode, while commenting on listeners' emails. I don't quite understand all of what they talk about, but I do highly recommend it.
* ピートのふしぎなガレージ (Pete's Mysterious Garage) - this is a radio show from Tokyo FM also released in podcast form. The premise is simple: each episode has a topic or theme. The first half of the show is a drama in which the main character, Shinichi, travels back in time to discover how something was invented or came about. For example, the latest episode, #122, is about wind chimes (風鈴). Shinichi goes back in time and finds out how wind chimes developed (supposedly - I haven't listened to that episode yet). The last half of the show is an interview of a person or people somehow connected to that episode's theme. So in episode #122, the interviewer is going to talk with people who make wind chimes, or sell wind chimes, or something like that. I like it because, especially with the drama part, it is like a story in audio format, so I can learn some conversational Japanese. But this podcast is currently way over my head. However, it is interesting enough that I'm patient enough to continue to listen to it until I start understanding it on a regular basis.
* Hapa Eikaiwa - this is a podcast by a half-Japanese, half-American guy in Los Angeles aimed at Japanese people to teach them (what looks like at least intermediate) English. I'm using it "in reverse". All of the host's explanations are done, paragraph-by-paragraph, first in English, then in Japanese. So what I do is listen to the English, anticipate how to say that in Japanese, then listen to him say it in Japanese and see how much I got correct (usually not much - again, this is over my level). This podcast is also good for finding out how to say some English slang expressions - such as "hit it off" - in Japanese. I'm thinking of ways to use this podcast more in my studies, for example, cutting the Japanese audio in chunks and putting it on my immersion playlist.
* バイリンガル・ニュース (search iTunes) - two people, a Japanese woman and a North American guy, talk about interesting and sometimes weird news stories. They usually read an article, the woman in Japanese and the man in English, then proceed to discuss it. The interesting thing about that discussion is that the woman is always speaking in Japanese (with the occasional English word or two), and the man in English - despite the fact that they are having a conversation. Apparently they can understand each other, but they only speak in their native language. For me, it's interesting and annoying at the same time, because I'm still not sure how I can use this podcast, other than just listen to it.

With the native podcasts, I just listen to them, then I'm done with them. But ideally, if I hear something interesting, I should put it onto my immersion playlist, but I never get around to it.

I do the same thing with Portuguese, except I obviously use PortuguesePod101.com instead of JapanesePod101.com. I listen to PortuguesePod101 on Monday mornings, and on Thursday mornings I listen to native podcasts:
* Radio France Internationale - Brazil service - just news and information in Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes with a focus on France. Way over my head, but I am sometimes surprised at how much I can understand. But this podcast is mainly for me to get some Portuguese in my ear.
* Cafe Brasil - What's not to like about this podcast? The host, Luciano Pires, has something interesting to talk about each time. Although the podcast is a monologue, he talks in a conversational way, as if he is talking with the listener and not just to the listener. This is above my Portuguese level, but he speaks clearly, and there is a complete transcript for each episode on the website! I don't use this podcast nearly as much as I should; I'm usually just listening to it on the train without the transcript. What I should do is just hold off on listening to an episode until I can make a PDF of the transcript and put it on my iPad, then I can study with it somewhere. Or just listen to it at home on the computer with the transcript in front of me.
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby kujichagulia » Tue Aug 18, 2015 1:17 am

Long holidays are often bad for my language learning. I just had a long, five-day holiday from work, and I did a lot of things during that time, but one thing I hardly did was study languages. Well, I did read a couple of articles I saved from NHK Web Easy, and I caught a few minutes of TV here and there, and of course I hear and see Japanese around here. But I notice that long holidays make me lazy when it comes to language learning, when in theory it should have the opposite effect, since I don't have work and my usual routine. But that is perhaps precisely why I become lazy at those times: because my daily routine has been put on hold. I guess I'm a creature of routine.

Outside of my long holiday, I'm happy to say that my simplified rotation is going well. I'm still doing the multi-track thing, but concentrating on only a few activities. I've put writing on hold for now, just to get a good routine going. I'm still struggling to do any significant study at home - mainly because my wife and I have been spending a lot of time watching Hawaii Five-0 DVDs. We've burned through two seasons in the last three weeks. We watch it in English with Japanese subtitles. I suppose it's not a big loss for me, as I can always read the subtitles while watching, and I often do. I've picked up a handful of expressions that way.

Anyway, keeping things simple has been working for me. For example, I start reading a Japanese article saved to Pocket on my iPad while I'm riding the train home. At home, when I have time, I just continue reading the article. The next morning commute is for listening, but if I have a bit of free time at work, I'll read more of the article, etc. And when I finish the article, I'll start on a new activity. Yeah, it's not really multi-track, because I'm concentrating on one activity at a time, but with my circumstances, it allows me to keep focused and keep momentum going.

That can be a problem when I do my Portuguese DLI lessons, though. I'll do it on the train, but on mornings "designated" for Portuguese, if I have free time at work, I really don't feel like doing DLI lessons because I feel uneasy and unprofessional putting on headphones in the office. So I have to do something that doesn't require headphones, or maybe just save it for lunch time. That can be difficult, too, because the other Americans in the office like for all of us to eat lunch together, and I don't want to seem anti-social.

But you know what? Those challenges just add spice to life. Life would be pretty boring without challenges to tackle. So I'll figure it all out. It can be a long process sometimes for me, but I'll get there.
3 x
: 53 / 80 DLI Portuguese Basic Course: currently Volume Six

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kujichagulia
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:26 pm
Location: Japan via the U.S.
Languages: English (N), Japanese (intermediate), Portuguese (high beginner)
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Re: The Kuji Khronicles - JA, PT

Postby kujichagulia » Tue Aug 18, 2015 11:58 pm

For some reason, I was thinking about the problem with DLI I mentioned in the last post while I was waiting for my wife in the lobby at the fitness club last night. I thought about something that Barry Farber wrote in his book How to Learn Any Language:

...moments...utilised either for reading (flash cards) or listening (cassettes). Let's call them eye-ear moments. When you're walking through town or through the park, jogging, riding in a bus or train too crowded for reading... obviously you can't play with flash cards... Let's call them ear only moments.

...when you can listen or read, read. Save your listening for when you can only listen.


This is a great tip, and I actually already use this during my morning commutes, when the train is so packed that reading anything is quite difficult. During those times, I listen to podcasts or my review playlist. But it got me to thinking about DLI. DLI is listening and reading. I need to save it for a time when I can both listen and read. The commute home is good for this, as well as at home, but except for the odd and rare times when I'm by myself in the office, I shouldn't do that at work.

So my simple concept of "doing what you were doing last time you were doing something" needs a bit of adapting. I need to divide my activities into "eye", "ear", and "eye and ear" activities, then do them at the appropriate times.

I know... obvious stuff, right? I'm really good at making more stress for myself. I do DLI on the train, then I want to do it some more at work, but I can't. Then I get really stressed about it (I just want to do DLI right now. Why is it that it's so bad to use headphones in the office? Stupid etiquette...). I really hate it that I let things like that - things that shouldn't be a big deal - cause so much stress. The thing is, later on, I realize that it wasn't a big deal and everything is OK, but at that moment it's really hard to control the frustration.

* * * * *
This morning on the train, I was listening to an episode of the ピートのふしぎなガレージ (Pete's Mysterious Garage) podcast. It was the wind chime (風鈴) episode that I talked about earlier. I was only able to listen to the "drama" part before I got to work, but I was surprised at how much I was able to follow the story. When I had full concentration and made an effort not to let myself translate in my head, I found that I could understand a lot. However, my mind kept wandering off at times, so I missed parts of the story. But I was happy with today's listening. It would be really awesome if there was a full transcript, but that's okay.
2 x
: 53 / 80 DLI Portuguese Basic Course: currently Volume Six


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