Wow, that went so quickly! Its been roughly a year since I seriously started my Japanese language study. I realize now that a single year is only a drop in the ocean, of the what will be a lifetime of study – but it really has been incredibly interesting and rewarding. Looking back over the year, there are a few things I should have done which would have made evaluating my progress easier – but oh well. I think having initially made a recording of my first iTalki lesson would have been embarrassing as hell, but comparing that to my lessons now would have been worlds apart.

Initially, I definitely got into the zone of doing more reading about how best to ‘learn Japanese’ rather than actually doing any practical learning. So nipping that in the bud earliest would probably have made my progress more efficient, but since I was not really working towards a clear and specific target date; a few extra weeks wouldn’t do any damage.

Finding the right material to study from can be a slight challenge, as there is a flood of video, books and free material on the internet. So the real obstacle for learning Japanese these days is to find a way to block out all that ‘this is the best way’ websites and social media ‘noise’ and just focus on your input and output. I’ve spent more time over the last few months by being very conscious of the amount of time I spend with input (listening practice, reading and active learning video content/movies) and then very importantly – output (writing and talking with iTalki teacher). Weekly lessons with my teacher has really been the catalyst for me to progress and feel more confident – even when know I am making mistakes. There is a wealth of material on ネット about this input/output theory. So check it out and see what works for you.

Over the last 3 months I’ve spent more focused time on WaniKani (see my 90 day challenge) to learn kanji. Initially I never really managed to get a solid plan for kanji learning, so I’m really enjoying WaniKani due to its structured and methodical (SRS) approach.

I guess the biggest ‘set-back’ if you can call it that – would be the cancelled JLPT exam in London for 2020. (and likely 2021 too). My revised goal would be to aim for the N4 JLPT exam when this becomes an option again.

Onward and 頑張る for the next year!!