One thing’s certain – I’m not the best at keeping the deadlines.
When did I become so forgetful? Honestly, without my calendar, I would forget about so many other duties I have to do. It didn’t use to be so. I could recite my schedule, tests or assignments from memory. Does this mean I am getting older? God forbid!
Anyway, let’s see how my studies in April went.
April was a very good month in terms of my road towards passing JLPT N2. I have actually done more than I had assigned myself at the beginning of the month! It might not be much more at first glance, but I am glad to be back on the right track. Also, I am enjoying my studies so much!
What surprised me most is the fact that my ‘stamina’ has grown. By ‘stamina’ I mean my brain muscle. My memory has improved – I guess it is thanks to using Anki again. I don’t get tired of sitting at my desk so fast anymore – I can study several books in one sitting, in contrast to, say, January, when I was able to focus on one book and then had to take a break.
As a result, I managed to wrap up my grammar journey with Try! N2. Now all that’s left is transferring all the grammar points I had learned to Anki flashcards so that I can memorise them. It’s gonna take a lot of time and effort – as my grammar flashcards usually contain the structure, its description of use, its Polish equivalent (well, more or less – but I do like to find whichever Polish phrasing expresses the same idea best. For me, grammar is more of a vibe than a strict rule), and sample sentences. All that includes colour coding – one of the reasons why Anki is perfect for the job, as I can choose from a variety of fonts and highlight colours.
As for Somatome resources, I assigned myself 7 chapters each and I did complete them. Thanks to that, I am halfway done with the vocabulary necessary for N2 and made significant progress with acquiring new kanji. Now I can see that having started learning kanji earlier was a good choice: until now, some of the kanji I have learned were repeated from the N3 level, so I could just quickly revise them, but the more I dig into the N2 Somatome book, the more chapters including all brand new kanji I stumble upon. Consequently, they require more time (and revision) to be mastered and I am not able to breeze through the kanji chapters as fast. Thank God Somatome divides each kanji chapter into 2 parts, so in the worst-case scenario, I can do one part of a chapter – that’s equal to around 8 kanji per study session. Perfect!
This month was a real bummer when it came to authentic materials. I basically ‘forgot’ to use them! As I mostly focused on textbook and flashcard progress, I spend half of the month not even touching any mangas, novels or games. I did watch a few movies, though!
Kimi no Na wa probably doesn’t need an introduction. I watched it a few years ago, when it first came out, but with English subtitles. This time, however, I put on the Japanese ones to practice. The funny thing is, I enjoyed this movie much more than I had the first time! Back then it was very meh to me (although the animation is stunningly beautiful) and, as I watched it again, I got so much more into the story. Its language level and overall story pace were also tremendously helpful since the characters speak clearly and usually one of them at a time, so it was easier to understand. It was also fun to read all the background signs, TV footage and billboards, looking for those hidden Easter eggs.
Another movie I played was Kimi no Koe wo Todoketai. It’s a heartwarming story of high school girls who decide to start a local radio broadcast during their summer break, in hope of reaching (and awaking) one of the girl’s mother who’s remained in a comma for the past decade, having been a radio host herself. The animation might not be as amazing as Makoto Shinkai’s, yet it added a cute vibe to the whole experience. It was definitely a delightful screening I had one evening.
The last very enjoyable movie I had the pleasure to watch was Asagao to Kase-san. What surprised me most about this film was its length – it’s barely 1 hour long. Yet, I believe this highly benefits the story which would feel unnecessarily prolonged if the creators tried to reach that standard 1.5-hour mark. Asagao to Kase-san tells a story of a lesbian romance between the titular, vivacious Kase-san and her timid girlfriend, Yamato. It begins when Kase has already asked Yamato out and they slowly discover both each other and the relationship between them. The story was so cute and moving that I found myself crying at the very end (which happens rarely, I’m not really a movie crier). Surely one of the better LGBTQ+ anime romances out there!
Later that month, I got into Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare: a shojo manga by Io Sakisaka (the author of Ao Haru Ride and Strobe Edge). To tell the truth, I read the first 4 volumes in Polish because I bought them on a whim. However, the story sucked me in so deep that I NEEDED further volumes right there and then – so I went for the Japanese ebook copies and read the entire series (12 vols) over a few days. Honestly, my fav title of Sakisaka still remains Ao Haru Ride, yet Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare was an enjoyable ride (with a few faults). Although I liked the overall story, I found myself feeling bored and impatient in-between arcs, in certain volumes. There were also instances when the characters seemed to forget their personality and act differently for plot convenience. However, that was fully repaid with Yuna’s (one of the two female protagonists) transformation she undergoes throughout the entire story as well as the lovey-dovey scenes (the confessions, especially!). Level-wise, Sakisaka’s mangas are a smooth read; the amount of text per page is just right. I did notice N2 structures here and there as well as how much vocabulary that I had already learned for N2 was present in the manga. Such moments only raised my motivation to push myself further, so I recommend this series to make yourself feel in higher spirits.
What I can say about April is that I learned my lesson and started including listening practice in my studies. However, there’s one more skill I need to re-include: reading novels. Mangas and games are great and all, but made easier with the visual components they include. Bare novels are a real challenge. I stopped reading ホームレス中学生 back in February and I hope to get back to it. It had a not-so-challenging level and short chapters made it an encouraging read, even when I didn’t have much free time. I guess May is the month I finally finish it and then, hopefully, jump right into another book.