As I am building family with a Japanese partner, I believe this is one of those lifelong learning and endless pursuit. It is both exciting and daunting. I also realized it gives me this humbling and privilege feeling — knowing there are these aspects of learning in my life.
NativShark (Unit 22 – Unit 35)
So right now I am feeling like going through turbulence time where there‘s minimal to no progress but I do my flashcards daily still.
At first I don‘t really mind it but after at it for quite awhile now (since the last unit I shared about my progress) it started to dawn on me. Then, two days ago something encouraging happened.
Somehow the unit started to go through the days of the week. NativShark showed me the kanji once and I revised once. Then quiz time, I managed to recall every single one of them. I don‘t even remember how to pronounce each one (only few during the quiz) but I know what day it is showing in kanji!!!
I feel like I have a superpower!!! My partner was also around when I did this, so she was listening and watching with anticipation and each time I got it right we get more and more excited. I finally finish all with flying colors, and we high fived.
What a moment. Moments like these are good reminders why consistency is key, especially in learning. Never give up, never settle.
NativShark (Unit 10 – Unit 22)
So hiragana was manageable since I kind of learned it many times through out my life. Starting from these units I am finding myself blanking a lot when I am doing the daily reviews.
However, instead of pretending if I remembered them, I kept myself honest and mark them as 🙁 so that I keep seeing the words or sentences in my next review.
So each day I had more words or sentences to review and I kind of like learning this way. It‘s like its more time to commit daily yes but seeing the same sentences and words every day I can‘t help but to remember some of them!
Also, I am starting some units with kanji in it! Probably the first time I ever learn kanji ever in my life. Exciting!
NativShark (Unit 1 – Unit 9)
I‘ve been a subscriber for god‘s know how long, but only recently I manage to get myself build a mini-habit to do one unit per day!
Since I kinda have the basic ひらがな from previous learning, these early units were a breeze. Blitz through them right before midnight haha (that‘s my trick). And it‘s also cool in NativShark you can set its “Daily Reset Time” so it can calculate your streaks properly. I thought that‘s quite a neat and thoughtful feature (very Japanese-like too).
I am now on Unit 12 so dealing with katakana it‘s a more new and foreign concept, which is exciting. Hoping to keep this momentum going!
Bunka School Elementary 1
I was introduced and recommended to Bunka by a friend, Xinni, over a dinner we had at a mutual‘s. It‘s been years since I am learning in a class room setting, let alone learning language! So I was quite excited.
The class is held over Zoom, every Saturday for 3 hours with a break in-between. There was a physical textbook given to all of us. The structure was going through core concepts in the first half/quarter of the session then our sensei will start quizzing and makes us practice for the rest of the session.
The format is that she would pick one person and that person chooses the next (in Japanese of course), which I thought is a smart way rather than waiting for volunteers.
There are couple of time where sensei opened up Q&As before diving into quiz or new core concepts, we ended up diving deep unpacking these questions. I thought that was also necessary so we don‘t make false assumptions early-on and let it influenced our understanding. Rather than let it stuck and percolate I think it was crucial to fix it while our minds are fresh to these new concept. One of my favorite explanation that I can recall was how the perception of time influences the language. My sensei was quite animated with awesome sense of humor, so she even acted out as she was explaining these concepts.
Overall I think learning in groups with a dedicated teacher has its pros. I do feel like it‘s a bit draggy at times (committing 3 hours every Saturday 🥲) but I glad I took it!
Share your learnings
I'd love to hear more and learn from your perspective. Are any of these notes factually wrong or outdated? What else should I be exploring in the future? Let me know more below.