So it took about a year and a half, a year longer than what I had expected, but I’ve finally completed the second installment of the Genki series! There were a lot of breaks in between and times when I went back to redo a chapter, but it feels like such a great accomplishment regardless. I have a long history with Genki, having completed the first book twice and now the second, not to mention both workbooks as well. Rather than focusing on my setbacks, I’d like to take a moment and celebrate where I am now. I’m an upper beginner looking to move into intermediate, can hold basic conversations with native speakers, and have built quite a substantial vocabulary thanks to the magic of SRS. I’m satisfied with my progress so far and especially pleased at how comfortable I am with small talk in Japanese. I could barely give a self-introduction in the past, so it’s great progress for me.
Now where do I go from here? This is the question I’ve been asking myself for the past few months. Do I start a new textbook? Which one should I pick? Should I just go bookless and keep using easier native materials like NHK Easy News and chatting with Japanese people? It’s a lot less clear from here on out what path to take. I’ve done lots of searching and it’s tough finding other people who are at or near the same level as me. There are usually either beginners or upper intermediate/advanced, but not as many upper beginners. I’ve decided that for now, I would like the guidance of a textbook to continue to lead me into the intermediate stage. After lots of searching, I decided to just go with Tobira: Gateway to Advanced Japanese. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about it difficulty-wise, so I sought out a tutor who I can work with in person to serve as my “answer key”, since there isn’t one out for this textbook as far as I know.
So what are my goals from here on out? I don’t like to set goals such as “fluency” anymore because it’s just not that motivating to aim for something that’s not concrete. Instead, I would like to focus on making progress in my textbook and working on having longer conversations with native speakers and just being more comfortable with the language overall. I’m a little freaked out about hitting the “intermediate plateau” I hear so much about, only because I fear I’d be extremely unmotivated during those times. But for now, I feel like my brain is absorbing more and more with the effort that I’ve been putting in. I’m excited for the times to come!
So does anyone else find themselves in that strange in between stage I’m in right now? I need your advice!