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23 April 2010 @ 09:08 pm
New Semester, Same Stuff  
...I suppose it's good to know that (thanks to passable kanji skillz and a guaranteed 20% for just showing up -- and, well, doing the homework, where the corrections are free) I can flunk every single grammar test (and the midterm and the final) and still get a C in this class. Judging by results so far, I will likely be putting this to the test. The real question is... Do I want to?

[According to my grade spreadsheet, more or less copied from last semester with new numbers, given the results I've gotten so far, I'm already on almost exactly a 75% pace.]

It's clear I'm the bottom of the class in terms of grammar and especially communication skills. I'm just not at the level of the other students (case in point -- on the first grammar test, everyone around me got at least 80's and mostly 90's. I worked pretty hard -- obviously not effectively, but hard -- for 55. First quiz? 4 points out of 10 possible, although those have gotten better. Not good, but better). The failure isn't the real pain -- at this point, the grade barely matters, although it's discouraging in and of itself. The real pain is being the obvious class idiot, and by a wide margin. I'm picking up almost exactly right where I left off last semester -- behind everyone else and slowly falling further behind, with grades to match. I don't know if it's because I started behind, or if I'm just too old to keep up, or if I just plain suck at language learning, either by nature or because I started so late to be serious about learning a second language for the first time, or both.

I'm not really sure I can stand an entire semester of this, no matter how much I tell myself I'm there to learn, and the grades don't matter.

...I guess I'm learning something, although I'm not sure I'm not actually learning terribly effectively. But I'm kind of stuck -- I can't easily switch classes (for one, uh, I think it's already too late to do anything but drop classes at Sophia now), and there aren't any good classes to switch into -- regular would just be the same stuff at a slightly slower pace (good, I guess, but I'm already behind, plus, well, it's not enough class hours for a student visa), and dropping back one level in intensive would just be too far -- if they'd even let me to it, which is doubtful, judging by the reaction I got when I asked. Plus, well, switching classes would be painful. One of the biggest barriers to language learning is being embarrassed about poor communication skills, and I'm already comfortable with my classmates so it's less of an issue. New classmates would be painful -- although, on the other hand, if I was at the right level it would be easier -- but I have friends in this class, too.

Augh. I don't feel like I have any good options.

The other -- bigger -- issue is that I really feel like I'm just going nowhere with this. I'm not sure I still even have any good reasons to study Japanese (did I ever, though? Was it ever anything more than a mid-life crisis?) I've started to actively hate the language, at least the spoken version (I still like my kanji). And now I've realized that it will take me years and years to even marginally master it. Years and years I don't really have, doing something I don't seem to have any actual talent for. I still sound like an idiot. I still don't understand the vast majority of what people are saying.

Maybe it's more than just impatience, maybe it's a sense of having no direction.
In the mood: depresseddepressed
quickjamquickjam on April 23rd, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
I felt the same as you when it came to things like tests. Just such a dunce~. But, I later learnt that more people had actually done worse or were on the same page as me than I thought with some things. Even if it was just one person. Made me feel kind of better in a way because previously I felt like anyone in the world would've done better and I was the only one that could ever do so badly.

You can totally do it though, regardless of age. I cannae tell you the amount of adults I know who speak damn fine in their second/various languages of choice despite learning later on. My grandmother, for example, she's Danish. She did absolutely crap in school when it came to languages. 'Cept English, which she thought she was okay with. However, when she came to Britain, she realised her English was incredibly poor. But after not too long her English soon overtook her Danish. =) So take heart!!

Just get some native speakers to hang around and listen to tons of media, if possible, and keep trying! You'll get there. =)

If you feel dropping down a level, suck in your pride! If it'll do you some good and be more beneficual to you... go for it. There's no shame in it really. I did the same thing in school with French, ha ha. I had to FORCE my teachers to let me go to down to the second set. They were disappointed but, no one else cared. They understood why I did it. (Although, okay, I did it partly 'cause I hated the teacher, ha ha).

I am self-studying Japanese and I suck~ at it. Some people say, "Hmm.. no you seem as if you might be able to pass JLPT 3/N4" and natives, of course, say, "Your Japanese is really good!". HOWEVER, I would not even pass JLPT 4/N5 and I am being 100% honest, not even putting myself down. I don't know a thing. I can't even study, so I don't know why I'm trying to do it on my own. Actually I do, 'cause I still happen to enjoy it. =) My only issue is, now I feel I should start writing Japanese again (I can type.. not write) 'cause I want to study it at Uni or some place and if they think I know a lot, they'll put me in the advanced level or something when I have NO IDEA HOW TO WRITE MANY KANJI ANYMORE!! O_O!!

But.. maybe try and find some joy in it. Even if it means, instead of studying what you should keep practicing on, you go and do something else to learn Japanese once in a while. Properly studying it all the time just did not appeal to me (I may've said this before but, I am poor at studying), so I tried to find ways to do something else with it, you know? I like to look up how to say things a lot, I do massive Google searches. Here's an example. I wanted to learn terms related to 'I can't switch off [my brain]'. I'm also learning JSL 'cause it makes it all the more fun for me to learn vocab., I feel. Then I watch a ton of kid's shows. I actually don't mind kid's shows at all - this one is good. Well, it's not a show, it's a song that teaches you 〜る verbs mostly. I watch kid's shows just 'cause they're easier to understand and often teach the kid's Japanese, which works for me!
Douglas Triggs: bee 2doubt72 on April 23rd, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
Well, have to figure out what I'm going to do next.
quickjamquickjam on April 23rd, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
In life?

You could do something non-language related even, just using your skills as an add-on feature. A lot of people do that! Having those extra skills is obviously very desireable to some companies though.
Douglas Triggs: beedoubt72 on April 24th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
That. Also, what I'm doing in the next five days, before I have to decide at the drop deadline.
sf_readersf_reader on April 23rd, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC)
At least it brought you, Februaryfour!

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I am sure you will make the right decision.

Douglas Triggs: taodoubt72 on April 23rd, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't regret coming here.

It's mostly just a question of doing the right thing. Because there is no easy thing to do right now.
Fluffiest Extraodinaresweetestnothing on April 23rd, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
Poor Doug! (This is Angela from Intensive 1 btw)

I know I've been in this boat before....crap I'd still be in that boat if it wasn't for the fact that I returned to the states and JPN is much easier here. You have accomplished a lot....Japanese just happens to be the hardest of the languages we could have picked. As long as you enjoy Japanese just for the sake of learning it, I think it will be okay.

Why don't you try working on a personal Japanese project? Times like this, when I feel Japanese-stupid I'll translate and TV episode or a music video or something that I'm really into just for myself. It always cheers me up.
Douglas Triggs: beetledoubt72 on April 23rd, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
Well, don't really have time. >_< Intensive does that to you. Actually, somehow, Japan does that to you to, not just the intensive classes.
Fluffiest Extraodinaresweetestnothing on April 23rd, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
true that -_-

But it doesn't have to be a BIG project. Just like what the first commenter said, just a little something to get your spirits going
Douglas Triggs: astronomydoubt72 on April 24th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC)
Hmm. Have to think about it.
Dustybigmog on April 23rd, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)
Salt in the wound
They closed Fuddruckers here so that's one less reason to come back.
I never even got to try it! *SOB*
Douglas Triggs: danger death raydoubt72 on April 23rd, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Salt in the wound
hamanosilencehamanosilence on April 23rd, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
The big question here is basically what the motivation for learning japanese for you is (or was). I mean it costs you not only the money and time, it appears to eat your confidence in your ability to learn something or the view of how smart you think of yourself.
I think that much of the learning effort can be go to waste if the learning person thinks he is not capable of learning it.

But I can guarantee that the moment you step outside japan you will be like the superhero in japanese compared to 99,9% of the others around you. That's something right?
Douglas Triggs: hydrangeadoubt72 on April 24th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
I don't want to be a superhero, I want to be competent where it counts.