This past week I celebrated a very important milestone in my Japanese learning journey by completing Lesson 12 of the Genki textbook… for the second time. I have worked my way through Genki once before and completed it about 4 years ago. I’m confident that the second time around has been much more productive and beneficial. Back then, I never actually utilized the textbook the way I should have and as a result my communication skills were not where they could have been. I would quickly read through the grammar passages at the beginning of each chapter, ran through a few of the problems in each chapter with a tutor and spent most of my week either not studying, or studying passively by watching dramas. Through my tutoring sessions, I increased my knowledge and was able to pick up on more of the language than ever before, but was practically mute when it came to having an actual conversation. After I stopped seeing my tutor, I tried to self-study after purchasing Genki II, but without a strong foundation, it felt impossible. Admittedly, I was also lazy to put in the work that’s needed for the grammar concepts and vocabulary to stick.
Since my first unsuccessful attempt at getting through and mastering Genki, I began the second attempt during the summer of 2014. I had a full-time job and a part-time internship going, but still had hours of free time on weeknights to dedicate to studying. I put in more effort into studying, but there was still something missing in my routine. I honestly feel like I had too many conflicting interests going on at that time and wasn’t able to dedicate more to Japanese learning. I also skipped many of the textbook problems after feeling like I had gotten the hang of the concept, and only picked up the workbook when I was in the mood for it. I quickly lost motivation after making it to Chapter 7. I felt like the only way to keep going was to join a class in order to keep my motivation. I was advised by a close friend to wait until after graduation and focus my time and money on getting my tuition and bills paid for the time being. I reluctantly followed the advice, and don’t regret it now. There would be more time for Japanese later on.
In the fall of 2015, I decided to take up the challenge once more. This time, I enlisted the help of a Japanese tutor. After working with a tutor whose schedule would always conflict with mine, I searched for another and in January of 2016, bumped myself BACK to lesson 7 to get a fresh start. My current tutor has given me the tough love I’ve needed and I now study at least 5-6 hours a week, mostly with the Genki book. I am much more confident in my skills than I was years ago, even though I know about the same I did then. Finishing Lesson 12 feels like a new beginning. I had already gotten this far before, but everything from here on out will be brand new to me. I am a lot more motivated and disciplined with studying and I am curious to find out where the older and more mature me will end up in 6 months to a year from now! I am also highly anticipating my planned trip to Japan in 2017. I feel much more liberated now that I don’t have to worry about schoolwork along with my Japanese studies and I can focus on it entirely.
So where do I go from here? The natural assumption would be to move on to Genki II. My tutor has advised that I skip it since she’d like to use her own shortcut methods in order to get me speaking more Japanese sooner. I already own it, so if the workload she gives me is not enough, I think I would feel more comfortable working from a textbook. I have really enjoyed the Genki textbook so far. I guess it’s natural thinking back on how many years we’ve actually been together.
Any beginners interested in Genki? Please read the incredibly thorough review from Tofugu for more information.
Until next time!