Life is a busy place. Responsibilities abound; school, work, clubs, friends, family, and significant others all vie for our precious time. This is a good thing. As I wrote in a paper many years ago, “Happiness is the ability to look around and see smiles of one’s own creation.” But unfortunately life is also an incredibly interesting place that drives us to learn and expand our horizons. Business and an insatiable curiosity don’t always mix so well. Many of us have begun projects with the best of intentions, only to inevitably find that life happened. We’ve all been there. That musical instrument sitting in the corner gathers dust and stares at us with guilt-inducing-puppy-dog-eyes. “I’m sorry violin. It’s not you, it’s me.” As my life becomes busier I’ve examined how easy it is for Japanese to become that sad-eyed-dog. Over the last few weeks it’s felt like I’ve neglected my studies. But the fact is I’ve probably been exposed to more Japanese language than usual. I’d like to list some things I’ve recently been doing to combat “life” from happening to my Japanese studies.
The shelves of the Nonfiction section at any bookstore are crammed full of literature on Time Management, Organization, and Discipline. I’ve utilized many of these, some better than others, but they all require conscious action to not only read, but also implement the knowledge. If we could make conscious action we would have never began neglecting our studies in the first place.. Therefore, I feel these tools should be left for another discussion. I want to focus on when we are at our busiest and have no time, or desire, to impose more work upon ourselves. What then?
In what was pretty much just frustration and annoyance with the business of life, I threw my hands up in the air and said “you know what, forget it.” Letting it go was exactly what my Japanese needed. I basically stopped doing vocab and kanji reviews and instead chose to give myself some much needed entertainment. My SRS electronic flashcards went away and out came the Japanese hip hop playlists and uber-interesting travel shows. When I got home from work I’d know I’d have to study, but not feel like it. Instead I’d flip on an episode of south park with japanese subtitles. I was studying Japanese completely subconsciously. I stopped worrying about if I was even learning anything, all that mattered was that I was enjoying myself. This took zero conscious action. In fact it took extreme laziness; therefore it got done. What I realized was I was seeing all of the vocab words i was supposed to be reviewing any way. The only difference was, they were wrapped in a delicious and easy to consume package. So when the burdens of life weigh heavy on heart and head, “Give Up and enjoy yourself!” The effect was twofold. I learned more while enjoying myself, but I also have a revitalized interest in going back to my more formal SRS studies. Below you will find some links to the stuff I was devouring when inadvertently studying.
Incredible mix of hip-hop and dance type music-
Explore Japanese Groups on Soundcloud, chat and listen to music-
Playlist of Japanese Travel/variety type show –
Trigun movie – Japanese (with Chinese Subs)
Playlist of 世界ウルルン- (Japanese travel/variety show) (Japanese subs but a lot of the spoken parts are in the native language of whatever country they are visiting.)
Get backers – an anime I never got a chance to start watching but this has all 49 episodes
Sight with tvshows/movies from many languages (subs and dubs available)
I have an endless supply of links, check my twitter or ask me on facebook if you want anything specific genre/show/movie. (If any one wants the South Park Specifically I think It’s on my twitter and if not I’ll put it on there.)