Japanese Reading Goals vs. Information Overload

This is a case of wanting too much in a very short amount of time.

Here I was staring blankly at a sentence in Japanese, the Kanji bouncing off my head.  I was feeling desperate, again. Why couldn’t I just read the Kanji like a fluent native? How many more words did I need to know before I could read these Tumblr posts without using the dictionary?

I opened up Jisho and looked up the unknown words (which were all of them, btw) and I tried to make sense of the sentence once again. I didn’t get it. The length of the sentence didn’t help either. I looked at it again, this time breaking it into parts. Argh.

My head was about to explode. I finally gave up. It wasn’t worth it. But I had to find a solution to the problem – how do I practice reading Japanese without having too many bumps on the way? The answer was simple. I just had to read shorter sentences.

It made a lot of sense to me. Reading long, convoluted sentences would only interrupt my reading flow, reducing my chances of learning anything of value and destroying my love for reading Japanese. It would be better if the sentences were shorter; Even better if they had only 2-5 Kanji in them. I think Manga are a wonderful source of short sentences. They not only expose you to new Kanji but also new vocabulary.

This still didn’t solve the wanting to be fluent though. I have no clue how to fix it. But I’ll tell you one thing I can do with it. I can let it motivate me to study harder. Nothing will make me more happier than realising one day that I’m getting better. Maybe one day I’ll come across this blasted sentence again to find that I can read it without needing a dictionary. And that’s going to be one helluva day.

P.S. I have started reading Shin-chan to practice reading Japanese. It was a gift from a pen-pal.

He’s such a perv. -_-



9 thoughts on “Japanese Reading Goals vs. Information Overload

  1. All I can say is that “Hang on there! Since I haven’t reached the level of reading you are at, so I can’t offer any solution. But I want to cheer you up! ☺☺☺
    I know you can do it as you’re so paasionate about it!

  2. I know the feeling! I was very overly ambitious about reading in Japanese and bought a bunch of novels that were too hard for me haha :/ Manga and graded readers are definitely simpler! (But I’m still pretty greedy and still gravitate to harder material…) Good luck!

  3. Long convoluted sentences in Japanese are really hard to understand, even if you know the meaning of all the words. But I came across one excellent tip years ago, that really helps. When trying to understand a complex Japanese sentence, start at the end and work backwards!

    Your idea of using manga is a good one. I bought some volumes of a manga called “Hayate no Gotoku” (Hayate the Combat Butler) to practice reading, and they are kind of fun. Having said that, I was too lazy to work my way through them all and some of the books I bought have never been opened. 😦

    1. Wow, I’ve never come across that tip before. It makes sense actually because the structure of a Japanese sentence is kind of opposite to that of English (The verb being at the end). I’m guessing that’s the reason.

      I think Manga can still work for you if you find a good story that engages you. Also, a thing to keep in mind is that slice of life genre has more real life Japanese than most other genres.

      What reading materials do you use for Japanese?

      1. I realised when you asked me the question, that I haven’t been doing any reading practice recently. Just using Anki to study vocab and kanji. But after your comment, I went to the shed and took out a couple of “Hayate no Gotoku” comic books and started reading (with the help of a dictionary, of course).

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