Take a second and think about what you enjoy most about learning Japanese? Do you like to practice conversation skills? Is grammar a breeze for you? Is learning new vocabulary exciting ? Of course you’re going to like what comes natural to you and what you have to put the least effort in. But if you want to be the best, working on the things that are most difficult is the way to truly excel.
Grrr… who am I kidding? Who really wants to hear that? Learning Japanese is supposed to be an enjoyable experience! You’re supposed to integrate it into your routine, and do the things you love the most. If I’m miserable, where is the motivation? Well, there may be more to this than I want to admit. I won’t lie and say that I sit down and really study grammar, my ultimate Japanese learning weakness. No. I like to watch dramas, flip through vocab, and yes I also enjoy learning to write kanji. Stop looking at me funny! I really do enjoy learning kanji. I put a lot of time into it. When it comes to learning what I hate the most, I put it off. But how can I overcome the hurdle if I never face it?
If you’re wondering where this inspiration came from, it’s because of my recent purchase of Tofugu’s e-book 30 Days of Becoming a Japanese Learner. When I bought it, it was only $10. Worth every penny if you ask me. There are tons of great study tips in it and one of those was found in the chapter “Eliminate Your Weakest Link”.
Remember when you first started Japanese and everything felt simple and easy? That’s only because you were too naive to know if you were bad at something or not, so you assumed everything was good. Now that you’re advanced you actually have the ability to know when you’re bad at something. You ought to be taking advantage of that!
Koichi argues that we only view our weaknesses in a bad light because we suck at them…. for now. If we were to allocate time and dedicate ourselves to getting better in these areas, they might not be so terrible. We will have mastered the latest lesson and it would become something easy. Of course it wouldn’t be smart for me to start forcing myself to learn grammar hardcore for hours at a time. Koichi suggests putting aside maybe 15 minutes a day of study time in an area that you dislike. Ok… doesn’t sound so painful.
I’m ready to give this a shot. It won’t be easy, but I’d like to get rid of this fear I have of grammar. How about you?