That awkward moment when you can say stuff like “global warming, political reform, hospitalization” and about 5 different ways to say “observation”, yet you can’t form a proper sentence because you don’t know how to say “to show around”.



I guess it was inevitable. I finally got around to making daily study a serious habit, and BAM. Sudden Burnout.

Quirk with Iknow

Let’s say I have 15 minutes to spare, and spend them all on (continuous) study in IKnow. At best, 13 of them will be actual study, with as little as 10-11 sometimes.

Why? because of the loading time. And I’m always on max items/course(20) at once, and there are definitely others who stick to 5items/rep, or the traditional 10. It does sound a bit silly to complaining about one lost minute out of 10, but multiply it and you get about 10 hours for every 100 lost. And that’s ignoring the fact that the course division makes it oh so easy to space out and distract yourself with internet in between reps.


Kanjibox text & the consequences of isolated drilling

So I got my elite status on Kanjibox a few days ago, and it proved my worst fears come true. Ok, I’m exaggerating. I was expecting it.

I’m bad at context.

I’m so used to drilling every single word and kanji separately that when it comes to actually using it I have no idea where to start. I noticed this when I couldn’t properly link stuff during my lang8 posts, but I thought it was an output problem.

So let’s see an average (N3 level) drill on Kanjibox.

Kanjis: around 80% accuracy, and that’s because the quiz has kanjis I haven’t studied yet.

Reading: say 80% accuracy, with most mistakes due to not paying attention to some tentens.

Vocab: 80%+ accuracy, again with most mistakes due to lack of attention.

Text:…well, if I hit one out of 10 then I’m good. Let’s see why.

Now, I think the text drills are still in the works. Unlike the other drills which try to avoid the eternal “picking 1 out of x” mistakes by having all the options similar and putting together common mistakes to avoid educated guessing, you can have a go at educated guesses. Oh, I wonder if this text which needs something in a sentence about crossing the street requires the words actress, ingredients, jelliyfish or intersection.I’m sure this will be refined in time, though. Occasionally you do get sentences which are nigh impossible to guess or have two of the options could work. But I’m sure this will get fixed in time.

Let’s have a look see at a random text drill

I’m a big sucker for these kinds of quizzes since I’m very bad at words like すっかり、さっぱり、ぴったり,etc. I think it’s because they need context to get if you want to just remember them, and since most of my vocab drills don’t have that, well…you see the issue. This is a case where the word is pretty easy to guess without much trouble since the words don’t(contextually) go well with it.Still, I did have that moment of panic because I’m never sure if I remember things right.

Anyway, so you have a nice little sentence which tests your vocab but does challenge it slightly. Good for a drill.

But then you have.

…which is what I wanted to get at. I know 生徒、大きな、影響、与える、是席、教師、衛星 and the grammar points. At first I didn’t recognize 恨み, but I knew that one too. An educated guess would directly point to 教師, but I don’t want an educated guess, I want to understand what I’m talking about. I don’t see it as a sentence, but rather as a string of words.

A first glance offers me “The student is greatly influenced by X also”. Queue thinking that this is a post about alien kids influenced by sattelites. Still, I opt for the teacher because that makes sense. In my head that sounds like “Students are greatly influenced by their teachers.”

Wait what. Well, I’m going to have a blast spending time to analyze that. Which is good in a way, but it made me think abou this.

Maybe this is the disadvantage of the vocab drills. I’m so focused on learning words and kanjis and grammar points that I never bothered learning how to string them together. I’ll recognize a から。。。まで form but if I see a stand-alone then I’ll have to think a bit before realizing what it’s about. Sure, I will recognize them in a given sentence, I might even understand it, but make one out of the blue or complete it with a missing word? It’s extremely hard for me. I’ve been doing the sentence deck lately and I noticed that though I may be facing a sentence in which I know all the words and grammar points, I could still mess up the translation. Slight mistakes sometimes. Other times, what I think is “You don’t have any work tonight, right?” is actually “shouldn’t you be working?”. You would think that after so much exposure to negative verbs actually denoting positive course of action I’d get used to it, but nope.

So yeah. More sentence decks for me.

An annoying blank.

So yesterday I started doing Iknow a bit later than usual and, to my dissapointment, missed a day because of it. Aside from the fact that this will be the first week in 3 months in which I’m not going to make my weekly target…

Now, a day missed ain’t so big, right? Especially since I did get around to it, just at 1 am instead of a more decent hour. But look at it.

It looks like a void in the soul of the poor little month’s calendar, doesn’t it?


It’s kind of weird how when I started out with Japanese I knew lots of people who had been studying intensively for a decade and were still studying.

And then I got to Uni where the teachers would make it seem like after 3 years we would actually know anything, but then realize that the school system does not allow for enough time to get past the basic level. Here you find people are are at a below basic level but who think that they are advanced.

And then you have the Internet where if you’re not fluent in 2 years you’re doing something wrong.