My goal of reading one book a week for a year would mean that I would need 52 books. At around $10 each that would mean that I am looking at needing over $500 to fund this goal. This is a lot of money for me! Since I plan on moving to Japan in the future, I can’t even keep these books with me long term! It would be too expensive to bring them back to Japan with me. But the more I think about this goal, the more it makes sense.
I just feel extremely passionate about this blog and my reading goals. I have no idea why, but I just feel like if I keep this up good things will happen. I just have nothing but positive feelings about reading Japanese novels right now! This is such a change from the past when I would feel overwhelmed by the idea of reading in Japanese. That feeling caused me to stop reading for pleasure in general as I felt too guilty to read books in English when I could be reading books in Japanese.
Just jumping into reading is how I was able to overcome those feelings. Taking the first step is overwhelming, but everything comes with time and anyone can get used to reading novels in Japanese.
Is there any other way to spend $500 that would improve my Japanese at the same level?
Before I left Japan, I was in between jobs and was looking at attending language school. I found that one average, the schools near me costs about $500 dollar a month for those who did not need a school sponsored student visa. I am very interested in grammar in general, so I would love to hear about the different topics discussed in school. But the reality of the situation is that I could not even move to Japan right now if I wanted to.
I am also researching language schools that have specific courses geared towards my profession with the aim of passing the nation professional exam. I am still considering this, but due to the fact that COVID has set things back, I can only focus on the things that I can do right now.
Is a year worth of reading more worth while then a month in Japanese Language School?
Most likely yes! To me it is anyways.
But I am biased. I love books enough to have a blog about reading! I like books enough to spend my free time writing reviews. But there are people out there like Stephen Krashen who think that reading is one of the best ways to increase language ability.
Reading is for sure puts me on the path to literacy. I find that my grammar when speaking has been improving too! Sadly my word choice is becoming a bit literary, but I am hoping that will settle down the more I get used to reading. I think that if I am able to continue on this path that my Japanese level will increase faster then it ever has before.
Reading is something that anyone can do regardless of location. There are lots of places online where you can purchased Japanese novels even if you do not live near a physical store. While books may seem expensive, if you compare it to the cost of other ways to learn the language its not too bad.
Even if you are only able to get one novel, you can get a lot of value out of it by re-reading it. I re-read about 3 novels this month and feel like I got so much out of reading the stories again for a second time. I noticed small details that I didn’t pay attention to the first time. I was able to see all of the words again that I learned previously.
My Japanese Goals
At this point, my main goal is to be literate in Japanese and be able to continue my with my chosen profession in Japan. This means I really really have to level up my Japanese to a level that I had never planned on getting to previously. Its an exam that has an insanely low pass rate for non-Japanese test takers. I do not plan on learning any other languages at this point and would prefer to put all of my energy into either Japanese or non-language based skills.
I need to pass JLPT N1 in order to continue with my career in Japan. Based off of the description of the N1 exam on the official website and from what I have heard, N1 is basically just a speed reading exam. You need to be able to read passages in a timely matter, retain information, and answer comprehension questions. All of these are skills that one can develop while reading novels.
This fuels my passion even more! The fact that my favorite hobby at the moment will help my career and my language skills at the same time is almost too good to be true. Super excited to be actively working towards my goals everyday.
Things that will effect the budget
I do have some books that are waiting to be read on my shelf. The university library will hopefully be open at some point this year and I will have some access to free novels. Maybe I will branch off from paper based books and read some of the free classics that are free online.
There are a lot of books that I am interested in that costs around $20 each. I am trying to avoid buying these books for now, but if it ends up being impossible for me to move to Japan next year, I’ll probably go crazy and buy all of them. But for now I am going try to buy books that are around $10 to try to keep my budget.
There are a few novels that I have that are a few volumes long and in order to keep up with my plan of posting 1 book review per week, I need a few extra books to keep up with reviews while I read longer stories. But I do have books waiting to be read on my book shelf so I am hoping that will help to ensure that I stay around $500 total.
How will I get this money?
I am going to pick up extra hours at work so that I can still reach my savings goals. (P.S. already made this goal and more!)
How many books have a bought so far?
I am not sure how much I spent in the beginning of the year. I brought some books from Book-Off when I was in LA. I received a few novels as gifts. And I randomly would buy a novel once in a while from Kinokuniya in Chicago. But I am not going to count those in my $500.
Since creating this goal in August 2020, I have so far spent just under $100 on purchasing 10 books online. I made orders at both Amazon JP and Kinokuniya USA online store.
愛がなんだ by 角田 光代
妊娠カレンダ− by 小川洋子
朝が来る by 辻村 深月
夜のピクニック by 恩田陸
天国はまだ遠く by 瀬尾まいこ
星の子 by 今村夏子
生きるぼくら by 原田 マハ
ツバキ文具店 by 小川 糸
スーパーマーケットでは人生を考えさせられる by 銀色 夏生
AX アックス by 伊坂 幸太郎
What do I plan on doing with the books?
When I am finished with them I am planning on donating them to the local university before I move. I haven’t decided how to do this yet, but it might happen little by little so my apartment doesn’t get completely overwhelmed with books. I would rather send money on books then a book shelf, so I don’t really have many places to keep books right now.