It’s interesting that as I try to learn Japanese and hunt for books to read, it seems like I am attracted to the same book in different packages. Basically I seem to be reading the same brain book but with different emphases. This time I am reading 脳の時間割り (Brain’s Time Table) . This book explores how to better use knowledge about circadian rhythms in order to use your brain better. Hey, some one should start a website called Samurai Mind Online!
If one of your life goals is to learn a foreign language, I think it is fine to read material where you know or think you know, what the text is saying. And, I think it helps that it should feel addictive. These days I am attracted to Japanese language books that also have pictures. I was attracted to the book’s bright yellow cover and the fact that it had pictures. Plus, it offered me the promise of being able to use my brain better. But I thought to myself, “Hey, I have oodles of Japanese brain books at home that I’ve only half way read. Do I need another Japanese brain book?” I left the section to scan for more books but the harpy of a book kept calling me.
One of the greatest pieces of advice I’ve gotten from All Japanese All the Time is to go for the guilty pleasures in the language that you want to learn:
Your language-learning method should make you feel guilty. It should make you feel bad. It should make you feel a little dirty. Like learning English by watching Jersey Shore.
Do I really need yet another Japanese brain book? Yes, I do. While it helps do study words and do flashcards, etc, I need a steady diet of brain candy in Japanese to just keep getting exposed to the language. When I read a Japanese book, I don’t look up words. I skip over sections when I start getting tired. I re-read. I read the table of contents. I look at the pictures.
Along the way, I meet a lot of unfamiliar kanji, vocabulary, and unfamiliar grammatical structures. But I let myself float over this because I also devote time to consciously pushing up on the language with flashcards, sentence study, Jpod 101, surusu, etc.
What’s nice is when these two approaches meet and reinforce each other. That’s what it is all about.