The first theme for my Summer Goals is “Brain”. The two main goals under this theme are “Study Japanese” and “Read every day”. These goals are generally vague for the reason that they’re not intended to be accomplished and finished by the end of summer, but rather I want to form the habits that will be carried on continuously even as I finish university and move onto a career.
One of my main goals for the summer is to boost my Japanese proficiency. I started at the lowest level in my freshmen year, and have made my way up through all the available courses in my university. As proud of this accomplishment as I am, I’m aware of the fact that without the accountability of a structured class, I may lack the habits required for effective self-studying. In order to continue my journey toward mastery of the Japanese language it is necessary to gather up the right tools and methods. Since I’ve spent several years already studying Japanese, I’m certainly not a beginner, so the methods I will be using are geared more for someone at the intermediate level. Please keep this in mind if you’re looking for pointers for your own studying.
- Translate Tofugu sentences- At first, my goal was to translate all of Tofugu’s 4500 Japanese Sentences , but then I realized that would entail translating 1500 sentences a month, and roughly 50 sentences a day. As much as I want to challenge myself this summer, such a goal might be too overwhelming, so I’ve settled for a total of 1500 sentences for the summer, 500 a month, and between 10-20 sentences a day. Far more manageable.
- The textbook I’ve used in the last year of Japanese classes is “上級へのとびら – コンテンツとマルチメディアで学ぶ日本語 TOBIRA Gateway to Advanced Japanese Learning Through Content and Multimedia“. (For those of you interested in using this textbook, I have linked to the Japanese Amazon website. Due to the current weakness of the yen, this is definitely the cheapest purchasing option.) There are several chapters that were not covered in my classes, as well as the fact that we went through a lot of the material rather quickly, so in order to more solidly ingrain the material into my knowledge, I want to do a more in-depth study of the textbook and accompanying grammar and kanji workbooks. There are 15 chapters, so I’ll try to cover a chapter a week.
- Dictation- Through dictation, I find that I’m able to recognize the grammar that I’ve already studied, and by putting them in context, I become more confident in their usage. My specific goal for dictation is to dictate all of my favorite Japanese drama, Nodame Cantabile. If you are studying Japanese, or any other language, I would definitely recommend this for your own study. Not only is it fun, but it can really improve your listening skills as well as your ability to recognize grammar and vocabulary that you’ve already learned. There are 11 episodes, excluding the special episodes so that’s about an episode a week, 7~10 minute chunks a day.
- Produce, produce, produce. My greatest weakness is in my actual production of Japanese. I really wish to overcome my lack of confidence when it comes to speaking Japanese. I have the great fortune of having a Japanese boyfriend with whom to practice, so it’s time I take advantage of his fluency. Although I want to work to use Japanese every day, I specifically want to use one day a week where it is a rule to use only Japanese.
When it comes to reading, I used to see myself as a bookworm. I always was reading-on the bus, while eating alone, during recess, on the couch in my free time- I didn’t watch much tv or spend a lot of time on the computer as a child. But once I got my own laptop, it all changed. Now I spend more time on Youtube, 9gag, and the like. I miss who I was when I read everyday. I was more imaginative, more curious, more creative when I read. I’m looking to limit my time with those brainless activities, and spend more time with my nose in a book. My goal is to read every day for no specific set amount of time, and complete at least one book a week. I like to keep track of the books that I have already read and would like to read through Goodreads. I’m trying to keep a balance of fiction and non-fiction, but ultimately I hope to reawaken the thirst I used to have for a good book.
“The person who doesn’t read is no better off than the person who can’t read”
I plan to cover even more specifics and my progress on these goals throughout the summer, so if you’re interested in hearing more, please stay tuned!