Japanese Goals: March 2021

I haven’t written any study updates recently, so I decided to make a stronger effort to make one each month.  I really think that having well thought out measurable goals helps me to improve at a faster rate then I would otherwise.  I also really like to read about how other people are studying and what they have been doing to improve.  Seeing other people work hard always inspires me to do the same.  Since I haven’t written out any of my study goals and progress yet this year, I want to take a second to review of the past two months.


Just want to give you guys a little context to help understand my lifestyle and the amount of time that I am able to put into my Japanese.  I live with my partner in America and work full time.  While my job has absolutely nothing to do with Japanese, my partner is Japanese and we almost always use Japanese when we are communicating with each other.


I made three overall Japanese goals in 2021. 

1. Take the JLPT
2. Read 1 book each week and post a book review for it
3. Work towards reading 2 books each week

I cannot really control whether or not the will be a JLPT test in America this year, I want to take the time to prep for the test so that I can pass it if available.  I was planning on taking N1, but that’s when I felt like I was in a hurry to reach certain career goals.  I have a different mind set right now and would rather take N2 as I 100% want to have some JLPT certification.  With COVID, moving back to Japan seems father away so I am in less of a hurry to reach my previous goal.

I have been meeting my bottom line goal of one book a week but haven’t really been doing much to work on reaching 2 books per week.  I think this is more of a focus issue as I am not able to sit down and knock out books like I used.  I think its going to take time and practice to manage my time and build up focus.

In January, I experimented by using Tadoku.app to keep track of my pages and as motivation to read more.  I think it worked well!  I ended up in 7th place for last round with 1671 pages and 6 novels read to completion.

Books Read in January(6):

星の王子様 by アントワーヌ・ド・サン=テグジュペリ
僕ら生きる by 原田マハ
神去なあなあ夜話 by 三浦しをん
そして、バトンは渡された by 瀬尾まいこ
おおかみこどもの雨と雪 by 細田守
世界から猫を消えたなら by 川村元気


I didn’t really plan out any solid goals for February and it showed. I think my reading speed has gotten up a bit as I find my overall goal of one book a week very easy at this point. I was more focused on using my time on other personal and profession goals outside of reading and was able to get done.  I read only 4 Japanese novels to completion this month.

One thing I did do in February is return to using anki.  I took a few months break as I felt that it was taking away too much time from reading.  But to be honest, I make more progress when I am using anki.  I made more realistic card goals and have been using anki for a few minutes everyday.  I think this will be a great way for me to get prep for the JLPT in December.  While anki doesn’t really help me to remember the meaning of words, it really helps to drill in the readings.  I continue to use books for repeated exposure to words to get a deeper idea of the meaning and usage for each vocabulary term.

In February I checked up my local library system and discovered that they have a decent amount of Japanese novels!  I was really surprised as I didn’t even think to look at the library when I first moved here. I did look at the local university library to find novels, but due to COVID they were not open to the public. This year I ended up creating a library card to make use of museum passes and was shocked to find over 500 Japanese novels in the online catalog! I have only been using the library for about a month now and have already found a lot of books that I want to read. Now that I have discovered that the public library system system has a good amount of Japanese novels that I can choose from, I feel much more motivated to up my game.  I also feel like this gives me more freedom to buy books that I really want to read.  Some of the newer books that I am interested are as expensive as $30 each!  Reading books from the library will help me offset the price of more expensive books while keeping my $500 yearly budget.

Books Read in February(4):

霧のむこうのふしぎな町 by 柏葉幸子
むらさきのスカートの女 by 今村夏子
あひる by 今村夏子
この嘘がばれないうちに by 川口俊和


My ultimate goal for this year is to push my reading speed up to 2 novels per week. Now that I have access to more novels, I want to start working on this goal more seriously.  I think having a solid place to track my pages will really help me out so I made a shopping trip to Kinokuniya and picked up a few things.  I now have a planner and a note book. 

For the campus planner, I want to track how many days I spend on each novels and the amount of pages that I read per day.  It looks like Tadoku.app will have another round this month and I think that I will join that as well for motivation again.  I like that it is every other month as I get a bit burned out at the end after looking at all those numbers

I got the notebook as a place for me to take notes while reading.  I only take notes for translating parts of the story and writing down different topics that I want to mention in reviews.  I usually use my computer for this but find that having such easy access to the internet is a huge distraction and touching my computer pretty much means that I am going to take a break.  I think a notebook might be a great way to keep me more focused while still keeping track of important information for articles.

I want to continue to work on anki and be mindful of having reasonable goals.  I think using anki long term without breaks will really be useful to me in the long run.  I know I wrote about quitting SRS before as I do think there are many fundamental issues with it… but it is a tool and there are ways to experiment with it and make it work for you.  I really do not want to spend more then a few minutes on it per day.

In order to help train myself to sit for longer periods at a time I plan on using the Pomodoro method.  Basically, its a timer method where you set time for studying and breaks. I used it the last time I was a student and it worked really well for studying.  I find that it helps to really cut down on decision fatigue as everything is already planned out.  I don’t have to think about when to take a break or when to start back up again. I plan on starting off with 30 minutes at a time and increasing it from there.

Anyone else care to share their study goals?  Would love to hear what everyone is up to.

How many Japanese novels do I read at one time?

Reading Multiple Books at a time

If your goal is just picking up a book and reading, then I think reading from random books based off of your mood will help to to reach that goal. But maybe try to think about what is tempting you to read multiple books at the same time.

What makes you want to take a break from a book?

Are you bored of the story?
Is the vocabulary too hard for you?
Too many cultural references that you are unfamiliar with?
Are you just not into the writing style?
Just looking to switch things up?
Do you have more fun reading this way?

Continue reading “How many Japanese novels do I read at one time?”

積ん読 Tsundoku – My reading line up

I was inspired to write this blog by Peregrinja’s post over on her blog, The Blog of a Reiwan Lady, on her own habit of collecting novels but in Japan and back home.

I am sure that for most people reading this blog, Tsundoku(積読) is a word that you have seen before.  Its basically the habit of collection books but not actuality reading them. The word implies that the book collector had originally planned on, or still does plan on reading the vast amount of books that they have managed to collect.

When I was younger, I was an avid reader in my native language and would read non-stop no matter where I was. My parents really supported my hobby and got my as many books as I wanted. While I had an extremely large collection of books, they were all books that I had read cover to cover and I never really got into the habit of letting books sit around unread. That changed when I moved to Japan. I started feeling guilty about reading books in my native language when I felt that I should have been using that time to focus on my Japanese. This lead to me putting a pause on reading for pleasure for quite a long time.

Continue reading “積ん読 Tsundoku – My reading line up”

August and September Goals


In this post I want to reflect on the goals I created last month and make new goals for how I would like to move forward in September. Here is what I had planned for August.

I did not read either of the two books that I picked out for myself.  I guess that style does not work for me and I need to be able to pick each book based on my mood the day I start reading it. I think I may have to officially give up on reading Weathering with You(天気の子).  I saw this movie in theaters and really enjoyed it, but I am just not into the idea of reading another novelization of an anime. I think I am just going to give it to a Japanese Professor I know so that she can re-home it.  Having books around that I do not enjoy is kind of bothering me so hopefully I will be able to do something about it soon.

Continue reading “August and September Goals”