…as if I have all the right answers from the back of the Book of Life and Japanese.
Most people don’t mess up by doing the wrong thing.
They mess up by doing nothing.
Sure, going to Japanese class seemed like the obvious answer.
And you tried that.
And it didn’t work.
And now here I come telling you that there’s a better way.
It’s natural for you to drop one blind faith for another.
But that’s just the problem.
And the faith in institutions that don’t know you and don’t care who you are.
Sure, I’ve experienced more than you. And tried more stuff than you.
But that’s neither here nor there.
I don’t know you.
And I’d like to care, but I’m not a nice person like that.
But I’ll tell you what you can do.
Open your eyes.
See how you feel. See what you like. See what seems to work and what doesn’t seem to work.
Have faith in common sense.
Common sense, confidence and open eyes.
That’s all you need to succeed at Japanese.
You don’t need me to answer every little question about your SRS card format.
Should I put kanji on the front?
Should I put kanji on the back?
Should I put kanji on the side?
Should I put English here?
Should I write it out?
Stop shoulding all over yourself.
Do whatever. Try whatever. See for yourself. It’s not that hard. You do it for a day, a week, two weeks, one month, three months. Then you check your results. And you’ll know whether it worked by seeing how much less you suck at Japanese. And if you’re bored the whole time, then it’s definitely time to stop. Remember, a method cannot simply be objectively good, it must also be fun to actually do.
- You make separate SRS decks, each containing just one card format.
- You let things take their course for a specified period — 7 days, 30 days, 90 days — “playing” the decks against each other.
- Then you see which deck is “winning” — which is funnest to work with.
- Then you let go of the rest and run with that one.
The point is, you don’t need anyone to tell you anything because the results are telling you everything you need to know. The presence or absence of fun…is everything you need to know. Do you understand more real Japanese today than you did yesterday? If so, you’re winning; keep winning. If not, start winning. It’s that freaking simple.
The last time I checked, reality was the boss of the world. Not Khatzumoto, not the people who run your school, not the Japan Foundation. Reality. If how you feel when you’re doing something and how good you are after you’re done doing it aren’t what counts, then I don’t know what the heck does count.
Surely there can be no better teacher than the reality of your experience and your results.
Listen to that teacher. Not to bossy old people standing at the front of the room, not to some invisible foundation. And definitely not to random Kenyans online.
Reality will teach you. Reality will lead you. Reality will prod and encourage and correct you in a million different ways every day. If you’ll just listen. If you’ll just look. If you’ll just notice. Reality is sitting right there, waiting to help you.
Don’t be loyal to the method. Be loyal to the language. The method’s just there to get you and the language closer to each other — to get you hanging out and spending more time together. If in doubt…screw everybody’s advice and just go straight for the language. The method is just a wrench. If you can screw the tap back on by hand, then do it by hand.
Don’t ask me if the shoes are going to fit or not. Try them on. Take a walk. It’s free. And safe 😉 .
“As humans develop the ability to typify and apprehend formal realities, the loss of truth as emergent disclosure goes unnoticed.” ~ Michael Heim