First of all, how did you get into all of the Japanese stuff???
I actually can’t really remember how it all started…it’s a big blur of Cardcaptor Sakura, a school presentation on kimonos, and an intrest in the Youth For Understanding programs.
I’d have to say that what really cemented my intrest (read ♥, but that’s a little intense to put on a blog ;)) was studying abroad in Japan the summer before my senior year of high school…at 16-,17-years-old.
So you’ve already been to Japan? I’ve wanted to go for like, forever…
Well, yes, three times now actually. The first time I mentioned above, on a scholarship with Youth for Understanding for a month and a half. The second time I got an Internship through my college to work with the Hikone City government for a month and a half again. The third time I went with a group of 12-14 other students from my college for a 3 1/2 week tour around Japan. It was great!
So…you’re in college? Doing what?
Haha, yes. I’m in the Secondary Education Program with two majors: English and Japanese Langauge and one minor: English as a Second Langauge (more commonly known as ESL :)). All of this my friends commonly sum up as a degree in OVERACHIEVEMENT…and sometimes I think they’re right 😉
It’s all for a good purpose though. I’m on my last year–and if being an RA, taking 17 credits, student teaching, and Japanese 301 doesn’t kill me…I’ll hopefully be a JET teacher sometime soon :D.
Woah, let’s focus on the important things here before we talk about the future. When did you start studying Japanese? Are you good??
I don’t think you could call just watching Cardcaptor Sakura and listening to Japanese music “studying Japanese” (which was what I did at ages 15-16). I took a summer class with a homeschooling group for a couple of weeks before I left for Japan the first time. I took one random Japanese class my senior year in high school. And I’ve taken two years of Japanese in college so far (2 1/2 soon, since I’m taking 301 in the fall).
However, I wouldn’t really call this studying Japanese. Why? Because I didn’t decide to really learn it, or even think to become really fluent, until about a month ago. I tried the AJATT method and RTK for a while last year, but I didn’t keep up with it…so I lost it. Now, I’m re-motivated, and re-ready to give this thing a shot, and I’m NOT giving up.
So, honestly? I’m not very good right now. I know around 100 or so vocab words, I know most of the hiragana and katakana. I know around 125-130 kanji (but only because I’ve restarted RTK). However, I’d like to be good. And not just good, but really good. The oh-my-gosh-you-must-have-grown-up-in-Japan-and-spent-your-childhood-with-every-Japanese-toy-available or the wow-you-must-eat-sleep-and-breathe-Japanese-for-breakfast, cause that’s the only way you’d be that good. THAT type of good ^-^
I know I can do this. Other people have done it. I’ve followed their progress, been inspired by their achievements, and I’ve got a plan. (read girl’s got a plan!) Not one set in stone by any means, but one that I know I can follow and I know where I want it to take me. So here’s to the journey. Here’s to the goal. Here’s to re-wiping that white board one more time so I can practice the stroke order difference between 左 and 右. Here’s to those early mornings and sleepy-eyed nights of Anki reviews with a mug of green tea by my side. And here’s to those oh so rare, but really treasured, moments when I realize that I can read a sentence I’d never seen before, understood a conversation that I didn’t expect to, or can do things in Japanese I’ve never done before (see read a book!). That’s what makes this all worth it. And hey, if I get to have some fun and share some things along the way, then I’m all the better for it 😀
 Now this is the original man with a plan, (as opposed to girl with a plan, but whatever!) and a deadline. 18 months to Japanese fluency. And the original inspiration for all of my Japanese Language fluency dreams. The author goes by the name Khatzumoto, and often turn to his blog for motivation, ideas, tips, and for re-look at his overall strategy. I’ll write a post dedicated to his amazingness sometime soon! http://www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/
 RTK stands for Remembering the Kanji, a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant book by Dr. James Heisig that I (and many other Japanese Language learners around the world) am using to learn all 1,945 (now 2,136 as of 2010) jōyō kanji. I’ll write a post about this book and it’s brilliance sometime soon as well! http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Kanji-Complete-Japanese-Characters/dp/4889960759