Note: I am still doing the old Silverspoon where you get a list of daily activities and links to do. Neutrino is a little different and I haven’t played around with it. I am kind of old school and like to see my “day” laid out for me. Today I am going to write in bullets.
Why I Signed Up
- I like Khatz and his writing. I do business with people and support writing that I like. Shop loco.
- I was turning into an Anki and iKnow zombie and not looking at real Japanese.
- I didn’t have time to strategically think about how to shake up my Japanese learning. I am a teacher and a father of two children. Nuff said.
How I Veered from the Silverspoon Path
- I didn’t do every activity. The bulk of my available time is in the morning. Luckily most of the heavy lifting of Silverspoon came in the morning “sprints” when I have the most time to invest.
- I still held on to doing iKnow (30 minutes a week), Anki, and Japanesepod101.com (sporadically at first–lately every day).
- I didn’t do a lot of independent media watching, though we have TV Japan at home and my wife and children speak Japanese.
- Um, well, I didn’t study every card that I made. Thanks to Silverspoon, I got really comfortable with making monolingual flashcards. However, I didn’t study those cards a lot because I was busy with other systems (iKnow and Anki) or just plain busy. I also could have purged more cards (again thru Khatz’s tutelage) so I would have less of a やや attitude towards my decks.
- I have a rich, fun tank of Japanese websites on my Surusu web shuffler. Every time Khatz sent a link via email or through the sprints, I added it to my shuffler. It’s like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get. If I could do anything over again I would do more of the web shuffling that Khatz recommends. Real Japanese all the Time. Real Japanese is the real rep. Reinforce what you know through fun. Get exposure to new material through fun. Not fun? Shuffle again.
- Motivational emails. In Japanese and English. Corny, but after a while you start to believe you can learn Japanese and more. Combined with timeboxing, I also started to write more, using small moments to gain momentum. The emails are also a daily reminder that I get to play around with Japanese.
- Going monolingual. Learning to make monolingual cards has been great. Even if I don’t study every card I make, I get several minutes of deliberate practice of being monolingual in Japanese.
- Different “hacks” for learning kanji, “speed reading”, and many more.
Am I fluent? No? Did I do all of Silverspoon the way I was “supposed to”? No. So what’s different? Well, the big difference I can tell is that these days I just read Japanese for fun. After the day’s work and studying is done or waiting for the train, I pull out my Japanese book of the day and read and learn and laugh, think, or just use the information for my life. I understand more or just guess the context through my deeper knowledge of kanji.
The other big difference is that I am learning to hack time. Small moments pile up like drops, carving out mountains. Playing around with Khatz’s different timeboxing strategies, I’ve learned to take advantage of small moments. “Don’t get it right. Get it started. Don’t get it good. Get it going. Don’t get it finished. Touch it. Don’t do it. Do three minutes of it.” I’ve started writing (if you could call this writing 🙂 ) again, and more recently started playing and thinking about guitar and music theory. Little pockets. Little cracks in time. Big difference.
Was Silverspoon worth it? Yes, yes, yes. Should you get it? Who the heck knows? Enjoy your life. Enjoy your year.
If reviewers got awards for being honest, about both the product and their use of it, this post deserves one.
I especially liked the ending and how you said it was well worth it for you but left it up to the reader to predict whether SilverSpoon (now Neutrino) will be worth it to them.
People all too often say something is the best for everyone or, even worse, that it is good for no one, but you judged it according to your own standards, made them explicit, and didn't make a dogmatic judgment for everyone else with different standards.
Anyway, congrats on finishing SilverSpoon and for reviewing the program. I'm going to subscribe to AJATT+ at some point in 2013.
Happy New Year!