Saturday, February 22, 2014

More than a year passed since I started learning Japanese

It's difficult to calculate how much time did I really spent on learning Japanese. I started in October 2012 and and I have been spending ~2-3 hours every day and even more on weekends for several months. Then I began slowing down. I even made a break in July - October. Recently I spend ~1-2 hours every day.

I passed different stages of motivation and success, some of them can be described like this:

  • Learning Japanese is difficult, but I will surely do it and really soon;
  • Learning Japanese is difficult, but I will do it;
  • I don't know whether I can do it, but I'm determined to continue;
  • It seems all my efforts give no result;
  • I won't be able to do it;
  • I stop;
  • ...
  • I'll try again, I still want to learn Japanese;
  • If I use dictionaries, I can really read in Japanese - wonderful! I hope to be able to read without dictionaries one day though

Learning a foreign language, which radically differs from those you know, is really difficult. Also, if you learn by yourself - without teachers or textbooks - you can easily take a wrong path and lose your way.
I had successes and failures, I made a lot of mistakes, I even lost motivation for several months due to encountered problems.
But since August I renew studying German and realized that I should try learning Japanese again.
I should lower my expectations and just practice again and again.

So for a couple of months since last October I did it. Every day I read Japanese news, this really was interesting and helpful.
But with time I realized once again that to do something good, you should be interested in it. But reading news was becoming more and more boring. I had to find something else.

I turned to light novels. In fact I have a list of Japanese light novels which I want to read. I understood that it would be difficult... and it was really so.
I made one more mistake here - the novel, which I chose, wasn't interesting enough. Before I noticed, I began spending less than an hour each day on studying Japanese.

It was sad, so in January I decided to turn to origins.

The last thing which pushed me into studying Japanese in October 2012 was one visual novel.

Eien no Aselia

I played it in English and it really captivated me. I completed it twice and then I found out that the version which I played wasn't the full game. Of course I wanted to play the full game, but I faced a critical problem - the full version wasn't translated from Japanese into English.
With this my desire to learn Japanese prevailed over my laziness and hesitancy, and I began my adventure of acquiring the knowledge of the new language.
And my target was to play this game in Japanese in a year.

I didn't have high enough level of Japanese in October, so I failed this goal

And so in January I decided to try.
This is difficult, but possible. Here is a screenshot of my desktop:

Visual novel is in top-right corner.
When a new text line appears, it is captured and recognized by a program in low-left corner.
The text is copied in clipboard. And from clipboard it captured by a program in top-left corner.
This program shows furigana for kanji and used several dictionaries (i set four) to translate text in English.
And I copy interesting sentences to a notepad to study later.

The quality of this translation varies. Short and simple sentences are translated fine. But complex sentences are to difficult to electronic dictionaries.
But at least I have translation for words. I just have to use my brain to create a normal translation.

It's a pity though that only "normal text" can be captured; this, for example, I have to translate by myself:

But this is fun :)

At last I completed my original target - completing the game in Japanese. But I still have a long way to go.

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