I was frustrated..
Some amount of time ago, I was sitting in front of my laptop. I had just finished my SRS reps for the day, and I was frustrated.
“I still don’t know anything!”
“I can’t say what I want, when I want.”
“I still freeze and stumble over my words.”
“Will I ever understand all of this?”
Yes, I was being really dramatic. For some reason, I just suddenly lost it. I was ready to give up.
I tried to calm down and took out my PSP.
After playing Monster Hunter Portable 3rd for an hour or so, I decided to surf the web, looking for cool armor sets for my hunter. That’s what players* do when they’re not hunting, or mining, or delivering giant eggs…but I digress.
And then it hit me…
Here I am, playing a Japanese game. On my PSP, which I had switched to Japanese months prior to this.
Again I look at the screen of my laptop, which was switched to Japanese as soon as I started learning** . Every tab is a Japanese website. Most related to Monster Hunter, of course.
I decided to get out of my chair and walk around my room since I hate sitting for a long time. Not an English book in sight. In fact, the only non-Japanese things around me were my Latin dictionary and a book of Latin poems. And Korean snacks.
That’s when it hit me.
I know Japanese!
Why the heck was I complaining about not knowing anything? Obviously I know enough to navigate certain sites, read them, and search for in-game items. I know enough to read all the manga I had in my room. I’m using products made for native speakers of the language. In other words, I do know Japanese. I just don’t know enough of it.
My experience is best summed up by this Oscar Wilde quote I just found online:
You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know.”
The way I see it, if you want to know more, you’re on the right track. That pretty much guarantees that you will know more if you stick with it. Keep listening, reading, reviewing, speaking. Keep watching crap that you would never watch in your native language.*** The next time you’re feeling down about your progress, think about how far you’ve come, and just look at your surroundings. Reflect on where you were 1 year, 1 month, even 1 week ago. You’ll be surprised by how much you know. Don’t worry about learning your target language. You already know it. Now just go learn more.
*I can’t be the only monster hunter player who does this.
**I started studying Japanese in August, but I started learning it in November.
***Yeah, you know exactly what I’m talking about…