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So Should We Track and Log Every Second of Japanese?

きのこ on September 19, 2011 at 11:20

“Come on, Khatz — who really keeps track of every single second?”

No one does. And I would never suggest you do 1. What I mean is that we need to be aware of “real time” — the time we actually spend in physical contact with Japanese, and not “project time” — the amount of time we’ve been verbally claiming to be committed to getting used to Japanese. The only reason the 18 months of AJATT seem so magical is because, if time is money, then my bills were in larger denominations — more of my real time was in Japanese than most people thought possible or sane. I didn’t get used to Japanese in a short time, but it in a focused time, a concentrated time, a dense time.

When people come a-talkin’ about “years” of language X, what they’re really talking about is project time: they did not actually spend tens or hundreds of millions of seconds in contact with Japanese.  And often, so am I. It just so happens that my project time for Japanese was closer to real time than practically anyone else who bothers to write about these things.

There are about 31.6 million seconds in a year; that’s about 8770 hours. I sincerely doubt that most people who’ve been on a multi-year Japanese project have had even that much real time exposure. Do you know what that means? It means that most people who’ve been “studying Japanese for years” have, in truth, not even been exposed to it for a single year. So they have a heavy wallet full of pennies and they’re angry and bitter and going about saying that big money doesn’t exist coz look how effing heavy my wallet is and it still hasn’t bought me the ability to so much as read normal Japanese.

That’s all I’m saying. Keep real time straight. Not necessarily directly or quantitatively (through tracking and logging), but indirectly and qualitatively become aware of and exploit all those spare moments, all that dead time. Recruit your time, resources and electronics in the pursuit of getting used to Japanese. Ask yourself every moment what you’re doing and how you can Japanize it.

That’s all 🙂 .

  • It’s Not Time, It’s Choice | AJATT | All Japanese All The Time
  • It’s Not Choice, It’s Environment | AJATT | All Japanese All The Time
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  1. Not manually, anyway:

  13 comments for “So Should We Track and Log Every Second of Japanese?

  1. Caren
    September 28, 2011 at 03:56

    So true. I was studying Japanese for “8 years”. However, after tallying up my actual estimated time studying, it was only about 850 hours. Absolutely pathetic. I then realized that if I’d been studying even somewhere around 1-2 hours for just 2 years, I’d have over 5000 hours! Now imagine the hours if I’d spent ALL (or even nearly all) of my free time learning just for 2 years….

    Procrastination sucks, and I know from when I learned English that immersion works best (I was fluent in roughly a month). So why is it so hard for me to commit to immersing myself in Japanese? Must be that Adult literacy problem…(or sheer laziness). I’m trying to immerse myself as much as I can but I feel I’m not doing enough. 🙁 Those seconds just aren’t adding up fast enough!

    Well time for me to do more kanji and sentence SRS drills, and go read the children’s book I’m lugging around. *mutters* immersion…immersion…immeerrrrrsion

  2. Josh Mills
    September 28, 2011 at 04:32

    hmm never thought about it like that,its posts like this that keep me coming back <3 ( not really i’d come back anyway >.< ) 

  3. 李便神
    September 28, 2011 at 07:06

    Hell yeah.
    This post really gets out the indignation I feel when someone asks or says “how many years/months have you been studying X language?”
    That 2 years of language study could amount to a low frequency 500 hours in total! These time spans don’t tell anything remotely accurate in proportion to language kung-fu ability.

  4. Eri
    September 28, 2011 at 07:38

    I think counting things in hours at least is more sensible; seconds can give an impression of more than it actually is (“I’ve studied for a million seconds!” “But that’s only like, 228 hours…”) But years is definitely too big a thing to count your Japanese exposure in. It also give a sense of it being a lot, even if it really isn’t.
    So that means, if I limit myself to say, 16 hours of Japanese input a day on average (I’m sure it’s more if I account for weekends and holidays, but I’m too lazy to try and figure out what it might actually be; besides, the less I think the have the better because I’ll work harder to get more hurrhurrhurr), and say I started this hard-core AJATT in April (again, I’m sure it was before then, but that’s the farthest bad I can remember doing this…) Today I have around 2800 hours of Japanese input. By the end of December I’ll have 4320 hours of Japanese input, give or take…
    Also, I’ve finally figured out how to make sure I do everything in Japanese that I would in a normal day in English: have a check list. It makes things so much easier.

  5. ライトニング
    September 28, 2011 at 12:37

    Quick question ^-^
    Does anybody know how to type the old versions of some kanji? Such as 學 instead of 学? It’s not even in the list of the IME after you hit space, and I don’t want to have to draw it on the IME pad 🙂

  6. Veren
    October 27, 2011 at 09:26

    Actually, do that.
    Track your time, seriously. Perhaps not every second, but definitely every chunk of ten minutes.
    There are internet applications which makes it easier; if you don’t want to use them, track time spent in your most important activities. I started doing it at the beginning of 2011, and it has been eye opening.

  7. November 18, 2011 at 09:28

    Reminds me of tracking calorie intake lol. Now I feel even guiltier for having eaten chocolate yesterday. :<
    But yeah, keeping track of seconds isn’t that useful 🙂

  8. Kanjiboy
    February 6, 2012 at 12:34

    Dude you are my clone, I though I was the only person who put studying Japanese into that perspective, Most people never even think about that dude, you rock!!!

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