Koffegirl, a new AJATTeer, shares her success story in this email:
So I am in the beginning of my journey towards learning Japanese…and I’m getting so much pure enjoyment out of it that I almost feel guilty.
I am at the kanji learning stage and I’m finding it fun and relaxing. Am I crazy? I thought kanji was supposed to be filled with misery but it is…relaxing to me. While I learn the stories I have fun picturing them in my head; in the background, I normally have Japanese music or anime playing. I downloaded some Japanese music to my iPhone and listen to it when cleaning, driving or studying for school (I am a grad student and work two jobs).
I bought a Japanese game for my PSP — Hagane no Renkinjutsushi/Fullmetal Alchemist: Yakusoku no Hi e (鋼の錬金術師 FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST 約束の日へ). I want to buy some Japanese kids storybooks as well, but for now I just read the game manual when I’m taking a bath. I can’t read in Japanese yet, but it is fun to recognize kanji that I have learned…and kanji don’t look quite so scary anymore.
Every other weekend, I work two 12-hour night shifts as an RN on a critical care floor. I don’t get much downtime, and I can’t listen to headphones because I need to hear ventilator/tele alarms, but I still listen to Japanese music on my way home and when I go to sleep. My concentration isn’t the best on those weekends, so instead of learning new kanji, I make sure I watch anime and relax before work. Occasionally, if I do happen to get some downtime at work, I try to review old (already-learned) kanji.
Besides those 12-hour weekends, I also work as a graduate assistant 20 hours a week. At that job, I listen to Japanese music while working; if I have downtime I visit Japanese websites and review my kanji.
Other than when I’m working at the hospital, I try to learn 25 or more new kanji a day — sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on how I feel. My kanji time is time I take out for myself, so maybe that’s why I enjoy it. It’s also fun because learning Japanese gives me an excuse to play games and watch cartoons.
I still have a long way to go, but this is so much more fun than when I learned Spanish in high school (which I don’t remember at all by the way)! I never thought learning a language could be so much fun…it almost makes me feel like I’m not doing something right…Oh, well…I will keep learning and having fun. Thanks so much for this site and your inspiration. When I finish learning the kanji I’ll email you to let you know how I am doing 🙂 .
So much fun that you feel guilty. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.