I don’t know if it’s because of how crushingly disappointed I was in Big or how much I’m loving Rich Man, Poor Woman, or how mind-blown I was with 告白 (Confessions) – but somehow or another I’ve gotten back into the swing of studying Japanese.
I had a revelation a few days ago, when I suddenly realized I could understand more than four consecutive lines of drama dialogue at a time, that I should give Japanese a second (third? fourth? nth?) try. After all, it was sort of my 첫사랑 of languages!
My interest was rejuvenated not only because my listening skills are (finally) starting to improve, but also because of Korean. A couple months ago, I started rewatching Nobuta wo Produce with Korean subtitles and since then I’ve moved on to rewatching Hana Yori Dango, Ouran High School Host Club (the anime’s better), Lucky 7, and Fruits Basket with Korean subs as well. And it’s working wonders.
First of all, since I’m getting better and understanding grammar nuances in Korean, the subs help me pick up on those nuances in Japanese as well. The drama-watching itself is a bit slow going (I have to pause the video a lot, though my reading speed is improving) but it’s helping both my Korean vocabulary and Japanese vocabulary tremendously. Also, it helps if it’s a drama I’ve seen before. Then I don’t have to focus too much on missing the plot and just pick up whatever I pick up. It sounds weird, but Korean has kind of drawn me back to Japanese dramas and anime and that’s all I’ve been watching these days.
My Korean’s not good enough to use Japanese language books in Korean but I do try to look up Japanese grammar explanations in Korean as much as possible, along with English. The English explanations always seem kind of intangible? to me because it’s just plain difficult to explain when to use which sentence structure, when there’s no real English equivalent. Luckily, when I’m looking up a particular grammar point, the Daum and Naver Korean-Japanese dictionaries provide me with a good place to start. For example, I wanted to know how to say ~게 되다 in Japanese and learned about ～ようになる from the Daum dictionary.
Instead of thinking in English, I try to think in Korean and then translate into Japanese, and that’s helping my Japanese writing sound a bit more natural than it used to. (Of course, the goal is to think in Japanese when I’m writing/speaking in Japanese but I’m not quite there yet.) Kanji is still a frustration, especially when it comes to writing, but I’m learning to deal with it as it comes instead of getting immediately discouraged.
This is crazy. I’m more resolved and excited now than when I was taking Japanese in college. よっし～！