Okay, well, I do see real progress sometimes. Too slow for me to be happy about, but it's there. I might even be finally reaching a real tipping point. On the other hand, there are times I feel like I'm backsliding. However. I suspect the reality is actually a matter of perception -- that is, it used to be I couldn't really say much in Japanese, but I could say it fairly easily; now that I can say a lot more, it feels like I stumble over everything. And that's just a plateau. So, check, good. Moving on.
[Although it is deeply weird to go from being able to talk -- minus issues with insufficient vocabulary -- but really not understanding anything at all to the opposite: feeling like you more or less understand most of the time -- more or less -- but can't say anything.]
Clearly more spoken practice is critical. I've known this for some time, but honestly part of the problem was that I was so awful that I got very little out of unstructured conversation practice -- or more accurately, very little progress and a lot of exhaustion. That's changed, I've got something of a framework now and I need to re-focus.
Of course, I've said I need to focus before, with indifferent results. But, well. This time, staying in Japan. I really need to see if I can find new conversation partners and/or Japanese lessons specifically for conversation (already lost most of my conversation partners now that the semester is effectively over, and I need a lot of practice for it to be effective). Need to spend more time doing various things like writing random stuff, reading Manga, watching Japanese TV, etc. And need to pound the vocabulary (got too far behind there). I just don't have much time, only two months before falling back into the (not-exactly-helpful) cycle of surviving class and getting stressed about it, which has gotten very counterproductive. I just haven't been able to shake grades as a measure of well, anything, and given that I'm just plain stuck behind the performance curve, it's twice as frustrating and depressing.
Of course, on that note, I pretty much crashed and burned on the grammar final today. There's probably about a 50-50 chance I've blown my safe B and given myself a C there. Massive choking at the end of this semester again, although this time... Well, can't rationalize this one, I'm just kind of a lousy language student.
Bleargh. I'm exhausted and incoherent. I'll deal with this more this weekend after I finish finals.
Also starting to build a real hatred of this language.