1 Listen, listen, listen
1:1 Listen at every opportunity
1:2 Trust your ears over your eyes
2 Always remember the other language is different
2:1 Forget about notes and dictionaries
2:2 Take note of your mistakes
3 Personality and language
3:1 Learn all you can about the language
3:2 Find yourself a rôle model
That is the reason learning the “easy way”, aka “slowly” will kill you sooner or later.
If you don’t work every day, you won’t see results fast enough and in a couple of years you will lose your motivation and give up.
This is why you need to have fun while learning the language. Who can’t stand doing boring stuff for a couple of hours a day for years?
This is why learning the 2000 heisig kanji in 100 days is great. You really feel that you have moved forward when you can finally make sense of signs in the street or newspaper headline that you couldn’t start to understand just of a few months back.
This is why I am adding more than 25 new words a day on my Anki decks. This is why I should even push it more.
You have to increase your learning velocity and then you’ll see and feel results.
Seeing results will increase your motivation.
Your increased motivation will, in turn, make you want to immerse more in the language and learn faster.
Basic positive feedback loop.
So, what are you waiting to crush it?
Starting everything is hard.
And getting into new daily habits, like reviewing your anki deck, starting a daily meditation or working you kanji, is even harder.
That is why, at the beginning, the goal should not be “doing it”, but just ”getting into the habits of doing it”. That is why you should only think about getting to the point where you are ready to do it. Just show up at the starting line.
You will see that it can already be hard enough. You might need things ready that you don’t have (running gears if you wanted to do jogging for exemple). There are tons of details to choose. When do I do it ? how to do it? etc… That is why that, at first, just try to figure out what it takes to go to the starting line.
I decided to try meditating everyday. My only goal for this first week is to get me in meditation posture once a day and just focus on getting that done. After that, even if I meditate for 1 min, I call it a success.
Whenever you start anything, start small. So small that you can’t fail. Then grow it slowly.
When you find an article in Japanese that you want to read, capture it in Evernote. Maybe you don’t understand it yet, but you can come back to it later. Go through it quickly, put the new vocabulary in Anki, then spend more time reading and re-reading it from time to time.
This is the gas heater for the shower in my wife’s parents home. You have to follow a precise and choreographed series of actions in order to get hot water. I am pretty sure that any mistakes will result in a gas explosion that might destroy most of the building. My step mother, who speak only Japanese, patiently showed me how to use it.
This is when you are really happy to know enough kanji to make some sense of what is written ;-)
Recently I subscribed to http://googleappsupdates-ja.blogspot.jp/ in order to receive email every time they post a new article. The is super useful because now I receive interesting Japanese contents directly to my email instead than having to search for it.
Automatize your “feeding” of the language your want to learn.
If you have an effort to do, you will not do it.
If you have to choose, you will not choose.
If it is automatic, you can’t avoid it.
Interesting story of somebody learning Japanese in “record” time… Always take this with a grain a salt, but it worth watch to get some ideas and inspiration.