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Let's go to Japan.

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Posted

It should also be noted that even today, humans have a potential for skills and symbolic thought that is probably never, in any of us, fully exploited. We could learn languages, aspects of mathematics, crafts, or sporting skills that we do not in fact learn. We are endowed with considerably more potential than we can use in a mere lifetime.

(Michael Corballis)

I recently made a thread about essentially discipline vs. smartness. If I had to give you one honest thing that defines my character: I want so much, but I'm not willing to do any of the work. It gets even worse though. It's arguable what the cause was (parenting, genetics, countless environmental variables etc.), but my social intelligence is quite low as well. Basically, I'm not very smart, I'm lazy, inconsistent, and socially immature. I'm probably the least successful (so far) in multiple dimensions within my current social circle.

The worst part was my massively insecure need for validation from others. This lead me wildly astray in what I really want to do with myself. What I really want to accomplish in this body, this mind, this planet, this time period, this society, and the other innumerable variables that affect my existence. I got so messed up and lost since I dropped out of college 5 years ago because I had no direction. It was an unprecendented event. I didn't learn from that at all though, I made other grievous errors following that during the next 5 years.

Not going to pretend I have it all figured out now, but I do think I have it mostly "figured out". I do think I have it figured it out to a degree significant enough to manage my behavior in practical way in order to navigate through this society that will lead to an increase in personal satisfaction of myself and those around me. In other words, I want to adopt a very simple value system: I want to do fulfilling work and maintain, and I want to minimize the harm I may cause to others. This is decent and practical I think. I'm not going to waste any more time thinking deeper about that.

So the question is, what do I need to do in order to do that? It starts with getting in touch with my real interests. Considering many factors (my socioeconomic bracket, the global culture I live in, my family, my interests, my character, everything that happened in the past several years, my current financial situation, my shit resume etc.)... Well, I could talk about this quite a lot, but in short...

I want to go to Japan.

Why? Love the language, the culture.

More broadly, I love foreign languages in general and other cultures in general. It's very interesting, because it's another world. It's adventure. Each person in a universe in themselves, that I could never hope to fully understand. Every culture is a universe in itself. Every subculture. Every social circle.

More broadly, I think the concept of communication itself is very, very interesting. I cannot be the only one that finds it utterly mind-blowing that emitting sounds or light signals or physical sensations or neurochemicals leads to changes in the behavior of other self-replicating organisms and infinitely variable manifestations of reality and our experience of it as sentient beings. Just... wat?! WAAAT... I think language is the first technology, and the basis for every other technology. Language is the technology of reality.

What am I going to do when I get there? Be an interpreter, translator, webdev, teach english (privately or at a school), open an arbitrary business, contribute to developing machine translations. Something related to any of the above, or some of the above. That's a ways off, so who knows, but it's likely going to be one of those.

How am I going to get there? Well, quite a lot needs to happen before that. But essentially:

- I need to find work in the meantime and stop being a burden to my sister. Trying to build a portfolio for a web job. I have been given realistic advice to go around to small businesses sell myself freelance for pennies, experience, references, and professional relationships.

- I need to go back to school and get my bachelor's degree so I can legally immigrate to Japan and get a good job. More than likely major in computer science. This requires money (personal savings, scholarship, loan, anything), an application process, and figuring out a living situation. I will probably be doing community college then transferring. Correspodence is realistic right now, initially. I'm sure I cannot complete a legit bachelor's degree without stepping inside a classroom again correct? I want to be inside a classroom again anyway. I want to prove myself and meet other people. I want to make up where I screwed up. I'll talk to academic counselor.

-----

It's unfortunate that self-improvement has become a cliche, over-marketed joke. Eating right, exercise, time management, choosing one relationships, getting in touch with your childhood inspirations and interests, building confidence, sleeping more than 2 hours a night, meditation/self-awareness, following your dreams, learning to not give a fuck about other people... These are very important, fundamental things that DO increase one's well-being and success and happiness, and therefore affects everything and everyone else in your life. Why is that a joke? I guess it's because most people do not follow through, or they spend more time talking about doing X rather than doing it. I'm so bad at that... That needs to stop.

Humans are amazing. Despite how fucked up we are sometimes, we're capable of so much in our personal lives and as a species. Considering everything we've accomplished in a cosmically short amount of time... I think we're capable of anything really. I choose to believe in that, and I don't want to believe in anything else. Despite some people saying it won't / can't happen, I think the future will be so fantastic, we don't even possess the mental capacity to conceptualize it in the year 2013. On an individual level, we can do amazing things in our own lives as well.

My interest in Japanese hasn't faded despite everything that has happened and everything I've been exposed to. I'm about 99.9% sure at this point, that this is what I want to do, while balancing practicality and integrating this broad interest with other things.

I want to believe that if you figure out what you really, really want to do (while balancing some practical factors that make up your individual existence), and you throw yourself at it in an informed fashion, great things will happen.

I'm going to be stubborn and ignore anyone that tries to tell me otherwise. If the truth is something else, I'll see it for myself in time.

Anyway, this is too much typing. It's already 1:35 P.M. and I have plenty to do.

Will be updating this thread regularly. If this site still exists, hopefully this becomes an epic thread as I do this, and finally reach my goal.

And on the topic of going to Japan. I found this mini autobiography from Danny Choo very inspirational. I first found his site back in the day when I really got into anime culture. Even if you don't care about that, it's a really cool story (and his website is epic), and he keeps adding stuff to it.

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Posted

- flashcards, working through the 6000 most common words deck on anki. There's 30,000 cards in total on the deck, because it shuffles between translating the word from jp > eng, eng > jp, audio (the word itself, then the whole sentence), word used in sentence. I usually do 100-200 new cards per day. I don't know how long I've been looking at it, but... do the math. That's how long it takes. Anywhere from 5-10 months in total, then reviewing for a few months after that in order to master them. Even while using space repetition, that's a lot of flashcards.

- browsed the yahoo kids site

- wrote a quick blog

- helped a couple ppl w/ eng

- wrote some css/javascript, played around on codepen

Needa start going to sleep earlier. My best time for work is the morning.

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Posted

I wrote 3 blog entries today. Helping someone move furniture tomorrow, so no time. There was a period when I stopped writing for a long time, not good. It's absolutely essential that I write every single day, without fail. I was finding it difficult to write arasuji (outline/summary) of anime episodes. I tried that a bit... for some reason it's really difficult. If I start writing about whatever comes to mind, it's very easy, and I think I learn more that way. When the words start flowing, I get braver, and try to say more complex things. It's not forced either, I start to lose awareness I'm doing an exercise, and just go. Also abstract topics about w/e teach me a lot of colloquial expressions/set phrases that I need to learn.

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Posted

There is a member on lang-8 who regularly translates business articles. I want to study his posts because (1) his English is very good (2) the articles are short, but challenging (3) he does translations on many, many different subjects (4) he responds to comments and such.

I made a deck on Anki that will contain just vocabulary from his posts.

http://i.imgur.com/rYYoHg7.jpg

Anki let's you put a description, so I can see what articles I've already perused. I guess I'll read the article(s), study the vocabulary, ask someone for help on the grammar, reread the article again later.

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Posted

I think out of everyone that attempts to acquire a second language as an adult, I'd say less than about 3% (if that) will reach the point where they can have a half-decent conversation in arbitrary situations or press the "random article" button on wikipedia and fully comprehend whatever pops up. That percentage is going to be <1% for the difficult languages I think.

I blame school and get-smart-quick schemes (almost all language learning software, especially Rosetta Stone, also lots and lots of terrible websites). I hear from many serious language learners that their classes were useless. I've heard from Japanese people that their English education "kaizen no yochi ga taibu aru", "leaves plenty to be desired."

I want to make a website for English speakers learning Japanese, and Japanese speakers learning English. Content centered around Japanese culture and the English speaking culture. Everything will be bilingual. I also want to go in-depth on what methods I used, and look at what other serious (and successful) language learners did. Additionally, I want to emphasize training one's discipline and willpower. Despite all the nonsense products that promise get-smart-quick, it takes 1000s of hours of hard work to acquire another language.

Exceptional effort + informed decisions making and proper methods + luck = success.

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Posted

I'd like to study the Japanese thinkers of the 20th century such as Nishitani and Nishida, and the others from the Kyoto School. :)

That, and live in Japan for a few years. :mrgreen:

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