Actually, I’ve never done a progress report before, just felt like it after visiting the AJATT site and reading (yet again) that Khatz claims to have reached fluency in 18 months.

First a random rant

So, recently I really haven’t felt like studying Japanese much at all. Have been spending time working on my thesis, chatting with non-Japanese friends, and talking in English to some of my good friends over here. Doesn’t sound very AJATTian (for the non-initiated; All Japanese, All The Time,) does it?

Meet Teitei, my best friend here in Shiga. Great for fun; bad for studying. ^_^

Yeah, I’ve been feeling slightly guilty about it. Haven’t been good enough to write whatever needs to be written in Japanese, get Japanese versions of software, make more Japanese friends etc. It’s just that the goal isn’t as appealing as it used to be. I really don’t imagine myself living over here (note: this statement does not take into account the possibility of hot girlfriend!) Moreover, it was never about learning Japanese, that was just a mean to the goal. And no, you perverted bastard, the “ultimate goal” is not that! Sigh, why do I bother being friends with you..? :p

Listening Comprehension

I understand the general outline of pretty much everything, even four-way conversations in the cafeteria or scientific presentations. One-on-one I understand like 95% of the words, which gives some 99% of the meaning. Movies and TV are always without subtitles, no problem.

Speaking ability

Not so good. I am intelligible, but hardly fluent. As any person that has ever studied language knows; there is a difference between knowing the stuff and being able to use it. Grammar is a problem. When I get a moment to think before speaking, I can do like 90% perfect, but in a conversation we are probably down to 50%. That being said, I do okay. Today, when buying shinkansen tickets, the route I had laid out beforehand was apparently not the cheapest alternative within the given timeframe. I was able to comprehend and explain everything to the station employ, and got the cheaper tickets. Also, recently I had to explain the contents of a scientific paper in Japanese. I was nervous, yet made very few mistakes.

Reading Ability

Finally filled up my bookshelf! What will I do when I go home..? xD

First, let’s talk kanji. I can write and know the meaning of some 2200 characters. In your average book, every kanji I do not know will have furigana. As for the readings, according to my flash card program, I know at least one reading of at least 1300 kanji, and would guess that for some 80% of those, both the common on-youmi and kun-youmi are covered. Manga is no problem – with or without furigana – not too difficult light novels are fine too (like Kino no Tabi or Zero no Tsukaima.) I can read stuff like T

he Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruki with a dictionary, and even normal literature that doesn’t embellish too much.

Writing Ability

Well, there gotta be one weak point, right? Like most gaijin, I get by just fine on the computer, but by hand… Well, recently I forgot the kanji of “onegai”! Working on it though. Started to take notes in Japanese, and to keep my (very infrequent) diary in Japanese too. When reviewing flash cards, I will write out any word where the kanji don’t immediately jump to mind.


Obvious, fluency is still far off, but hell, look at what I can do already – I’m talking rather freely to my friends and reading books in Japanese dammit! This is a 9 month progress report, and considering I spent four of those studying nothing but kanji, well… Somehow, I have trouble seeing myself as fluent in 9 months like Khatz, but maybe that is merely because the ocean of unknown words seems endless for a beginner/intermediate student? Certainly I can be fluent in reading comprehension by that time; and a total of two years to fluent speaking ability doesn’t seem farfetched at all to be honest.

So, like, back to the AJATT site to see what Japanese websites are recommended for shizzles… xD