On one hand I realize I should be very proud of myself. As of today, I’ve learned over 360 RTK Kanji. I’m over 16% finished with the Joyo Kanji, and I’m seeing more and more kanji that I recognize day by day. Learning 10+ characters day by day, week by week doesn’t frighten me anymore. Sure, I have some bad days and some good days (and all of those days in-between:) but I’m definitely inching along…However, I literally feel like a snail on the race to conquer the Japanese Language!
I guess this is what Khatzumoto refers to as the “Are We There Yet?” Syndrome, or the “Eternal Sorrow of the Intermediate Learner”–that’s a catchy phrase too. I should be more excited about my progress, but I’M BORED. [There I said it. I admitted it. Whew! That was tough.] I can see my progress in numeral, graphical, and visual form…yet I just can’t seem to convince myself that I’m getting anywhere.
So what do I do when I reach a road-block in my Japanese language journey? Research, read, go back to the source! (A.K.A. Peruse Khatz’s inspiring articles) When I found this treasure of an article I mentioned above…I completely identified with almost everything he had to say.
It’s not like you can’t read characters, but you still can’t breeze through them effortlessly. It’s not like you can’t say stuff, but you frequently find yourself tongue-tied. When you’re intermediate, it’s almost always like that. That’s what sucks about being intermediate.
And to make things worse, you’ve somewhat forgotten about “having fun” and discovery and the sheer beauty of the sound of Japanese, and become obsessed with “competition,” “progress,” “goals”, sentences, retention rates.
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill for breaking out of this valley. Well, no…there is, but it is simply this: “continue”. Even though you are definitely improving during this stage, it’s normal to feel like you can’t see the results, so there is no need to worry or give up.
You know what? It’s just good to know I’m not alone, that somethings not wrong, and I’m doing ok 🙂 I can definitely keep going (which I knew I was going to do from the beginning (I AM NOT quitting this time!).
So all-in-all, what’s a girl with the “Are We There Yet?” Syndrome or the “Eternal Sorrow of the Intermediate Learner” to do? Apparently…HAVE FUN! Who knew, right?
Well, I’m going to take Khatz’s, and now my own advice, and go enjoy this language that I do really love: watch a drama, or a crazy talk show, or maybe even watch a music video or two that I can update about later 😉