For the past two days I’ve been making good use of the HelloTalk app. My past attempts at having a long lasting relationship with a language exchange partner have failed miserably. Most of the conversations end up being in English partly because “chatting” is far easier in English than in Japanese. A conversation in Japanese generally lose steam after a while. I would take too long to form a coherent reply while my language partner goes off only to come back the next day or several days later.
But this time I was determined to make it work for me. This meant I would speak in Japanese and actively seek corrections and suggestions from my partners. In order to find a good partner I followed the following criteria. One, they should at least have an intermediate level knowledge of English. This was to ensure they could understand my explanations for what I was trying to say in Japanese and also provide me with some advice. Second, they should be as dedicated to learning English as I am Japanese. This meant they would have to be regulars on HelloTalk or willing to have regular conversations and avoid disappearing off for days at a time.
Of course, there was another problem I had faced in the past and that was coming up with topics to talk about. This might seem silly but most of the times in the past my conversations with different people were of a very similar pattern that never really went beyond asking “What are you hobbies?” I realised I needed to be more active and put in more effort to keep things interesting.
I have learnt a lot of things in the past few days thanks to the app. I had been too lazy to take out my books and this was a good way to stay in touch with the language. HelloTalk is definitely a valuable tool but one cannot wholly depend on it to learn Japanese. This is because daily conversations do not give the opportunity to use everything that has been learnt.
Another thing that I have been doing recently is taking note of everything new that I come across, be it in conversations on HelloTalk or texts I come across on Twitter and Tumblr. This is a very random process and I mostly do it when I feel like reading something new. I have been maintaining a book for this purpose. I write down quotes, phrases, verbs, grammar points etc.
The notes is a little boring to look at. I’ve never been one to use different coloured pens and make pretty notes, but I really want to do that now. LOL. I’ve seen what people do wonders with their notes.It seems like an art in itself. Those notes look so pretty I wouldn’t mind even studying from them!
Do you guys have trouble going back to your notes? What do you do to make them attractive? If you have any tips, please do let me know.