Monday, November 14, 2011

My Japanese Learning Plan

This upcoming December will mark the 12th anniversary of my beginning studying the Japanese language. I started learning Japanese back in December 1999. It's been nearly twelve years later, and I am unfortunately still not fluent in the language. To make a long story short, I actively studied the language between 1999 and 2005 and even attended a Japanese language school named Sakura Gakuen from 2003 to 2005. However, I took a sort of break during my undergraduate career at Cal Poly due to the demands of my coursework. But, upon getting an offer to do an internship at Fujitsu Labs in Japan, I started to take Japanese much more seriously. My Japanese skills improved dramatically during my time in Japan in 2010, and since I've returned to America I have spent a good chunk of my spare time studying Japanese vocabulary and kanji, as well as watching Japanese dramas and movies and also browsing Japanese websites (with the help of Rikaikun).

My goal is to become fluent in Japanese in 2014, which is around the time I should be finished with my PhD program. I am interested in working in Japan after I graduate, either in an industrial research lab or perhaps at a Japanese university (although I have a lot to learn about how academia works in Japan). Of course, I would need to be fluent in Japanese in order to qualify for a full-time research position out there. Suppose I become a professor at a Japanese university, for example. I would need to be fluent in Japanese in order to convey the course material effectively to my students.

Below is my study plan for the foreseeable future (not in any particular order):
  • Finish Remembering the Kanji I, which is a book that covers the basic 1,945 kanji taught in Japanese public schools, as well as some additional characters.
  • Study the "Core 6000" deck, which is a deck that consists of the 6,000 most commonly used Japanese words. I am almost done with studying the Core 2000 deck, which is the top 2,000 of these words (I only have about ~250 words remaining in my deck; I should be finished studying it next week).
  • Study All About Particles, The Handbook of Japanese Verbs, and A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar. After I pass JLPT Level N2, I plan on purchasing A Dictionary of Advanced Japanese Grammar and studying it.
  • Read the stack of manga, magazines, novels, and other Japanese books that I bought while I lived in Japan.
  • Continue watching more Japanese movies and dramas.
  • Study for the JLPT. I plan to take Level N2 of the JLPT in December 2012, and Level N1 of the JLPT in December 2013.
  • Take a trip to Japan on vacation sometime in 2013 (okay, so this isn't exactly "studying" per se, but I will get a chance to use my Japanese again).
Hopefully this works out!