Minimal Posters – Six Women Who Changed Science. And The World.

I really want these as actual posters to hang in my room. Or office. Or both.

Had an unplanned mini-hiatus/break due to personal life scheduling conflicts, but I’m getting back into the swing of things again. Finished iKnow’s Step 5, and I’m in that awkward last “week” of review for 6 and 7, nearing the end with 8 and something like a fifth into 9, so probably won’t be able to start 10 until October, but I should be finished with Core 1000 sometime next month, then, finally?

I’d been thinking I need to work on my writing again and ended up taking the kanji placement test in the Intermediate Kanji Book 1, with… amusing results. This was how it turned out after I finished. My writing is terrible! I was realizing while taking it that my method in college for taking tests made it seem like I had a greater kanji writing ability than I actually did. On the one hand I definitely did know more offhand then than I do now, but I supplemented kanji I couldn’t remember in their entirety by finding them written in other parts of tests and copying the characters from there, or typing it out on the computer first if I was at home. Which sort of explains why it’s deteriorated to almost nothing, since it probably was pretty weak to begin with, even if my understanding/recognition of individual characters and radicals was okay. I may have to step down and start with Basic Kanji 2 for some review first, but I haven’t decided what exactly I want to do yet.

Some time back, I was nearing the end of CCS and speed-read through most of the last four volumes, ahah. Which I didn’t really count pages for the Super Challenge, because there was a lot of skimming and extrapolating based on past knowledge/pictures, so I think my actual reading amounted to much less than usual. Then I kind of stopped entirely and haven’t picked up reading at all due to the break. Need to get back into reading, but right now I just haven’t been feeling into it.

And then yesterday I started a trial account with lingualift to see what they had. I haven’t entirely made a decision on which parts of the service is worth the price. I’m finding myself half-tempted if only because there is also access to Russian learning materials, but I’m trying not to get too distracted by the prospect of something new and really weigh whether their Japanese offerings are useful. I am almost certainly going to take advantage of the games, as Frenzy, at least, is kind of a fun way to improve my reading/typing speed in hiragana and katakana (the latter being more my concern). But I’m still evaluating the textbook and vocab/kanji. I have five days before the 6-month free offer expires, at least, so I’m going to try to play with it over this week and see how well it works for me.

Current progress:

Nearly done with Steps 5 & 6 in iKnow’s Core 1000 (96% and 92%, respectively). I should be finished with those this week. Pretty close with Step 7, too (76%), but that might take until next week (it says 1~2 weeks for me right now). Step 8 is going pretty quickly; a lot of the words in it I already knew (I thought we’d already studied all the numbers, but then 九 and 七 came up again and things like that), so it’s already starting to tell me I can start on Step 9. If I can continue at this rate it should be pretty easy to finish Core 1000 by the end of the month, or maybe even by mid-month, depending on how 9 and 10 go.

I’m nearly done with CCS 8, which means I actually already caught up with my Twitterbot for the Super Challenge now. Lately I’m much faster at reading, which is nice. It only takes about 30 minutes to get through a about a fourth of a 単行本. Little longer when there are sections where I don’t know/can’t guess words well enough I have to pull out my dictionary and look up some things. I stopped reading out loud as much, though, to gain the speed, and I think my pronunciation’s starting to suffer for it. I do read in my head, but the mouth doesn’t always follow along properly without practice. Not sure if I want to start reading aloud again, though, since it’s more enjoyable to just read things at the moment.

Outside of those things and Pimsleur, I’m really not very regular with studies, I think? I have a couple textbooks I’m sort of using, but I never seem to actually do a lesson a day or a week or anything, just whenever I feel like it I pull out one and do some exercises. Using J301 (which is review for me; I can’t remember if I kept my old homework and keep meaning to look because if I had the correct answers, that would be nice), Unicom’s old 3級 grammar book, and Complete Masters (also old) 3級 book. The Unicom book seems to be the best so far, since it has the answers to the practice questions, but also forces me to read and understand the concepts in Japanese, since there are no English example sentences or explanations. Which is also a bit difficult sometimes, but the grammar is review for me, so I seem to be okay at understanding the explanations so far.

My tutorial yesterday was kind of blah. I was really tired and sluggish and kept reading things wrong and not remembering words or grammar to say what I wanted (though I was also trying to say some things I wasn’t really sure how to express anyway). I have 小さい宿題 due for next week, I guess, just making up three sentences, since we ran out of time. Though as we got sidetracked, we also didn’t really spend a lot of time on ~とのことです, so I’m kind of confused how it differed from ~ということだ (someone said that~) and ~ということですね (so you meant~). She said ~とのことです is basically the same as ~ということです though more like written language, but the examples we went through were still spoken language examples, so…

Since I’m going to be finishing up Pimsleur relatively soon, I started looking for other things I could do in the car to not waste that potential study time, and ended up figuring my best bet would be just to listen to some podcasts, since I’m not finding other good options really, and I don’t think I’m quite up to dedicating all my car time to something like self-talk, though I may try to do that instead of a podcast once a week.

But it’s kind of difficult to find podcasts that are things I can understand enough that I’m not just completely confused and bored. I don’t expect to find any that I actually understand all of yet, but I’m trying to find enough that I can get at least something out of, to add up to about 5 hours of new material a week since… repetition is not a strong suit of mine, and I really just want to be able to set things playing and not fiddle while I’m driving.

Anyway, so I figured I’d post some of the ones I found as maybe someone else will find them useful too.

Let’s Read THE NIKKEI WEEKLY– Business news is not generally my thing, but the interesting thing about this podcast is that it’s meant for Japanese people to understand the English articles, so even though it reads out the article in English, they read it paragraph by paragraph and stop to note vocabulary and seem to sometimes explain some English concepts/sentences in Japanese. Ideally for me, it’s a half-hour program, too. The website also gives a vocab list and some sentence examples in English/Japanese, which is nice. iTunes link

おそらく役立つ四字熟語講座– Yojijukugo teaching aid. It seems the setup is to use a conversation to help introduce the 四字熟語 of the lesson and talk about it. The conversations seem to tend to be … odd from what I can tell. Honestly I can’t understand most of this one, but the speaking is slow enough for me to at least hear individual words and the conversations sound entertaining enough that it’s worth subscribing to me since they’re only 5 minutes long. iTunes link

スマスマE-KIDS Short (~10 minute) introductions of elementary/middle school kids, particularly kids who are full of endless energy, I think, according to their blurb. Probably the one I actually understand the most out of in all the podcasts I’ve found so far, because it’s geared toward/talking to children/children talking, so. iTunes link

Still looking for others, since all of these are weekly, so I will definitely need more to fill the time, ahah.