Learning Japanese 18 Months Update – Am I Fluent?

This blog post accompanies the video I put up on Youtube for my 18 months update video. If you haven’t already seen it then you can via the link below↓

Summary

The video discusses what level I am in Japanese at this current stage and what I still need to improve on. Here is a summary of the video.

Most of my success has been come from AJATT so definitely go and check the site out for more information!

My reading and listening are at a fluent level. I can understand the language with ease and I do not bump into many new words per day.

My reading is very strong. I can read over 3200 Kanji and know the meanings of many more. I can read any general purpose documents mainly focusing on news articles, books, websites etc. I can also read Software Engineering and Computer Science related material.

My listening is also very strong. I can understand the news, TV, movies, Youtube, music etc. with very few issues. Very rarely does a new word I don’t know pop up, and daily conversation is absolutely no issue for me.

My speaking is still getting there and probably needs more time to be perfected. This is to be expected as it is still early days when it comes to speaking. My speech flows and comes naturally but there are occasional mistakes. When I do make a mistake I often realize as it sounds “off”. I would like for this to not happen at all, however I realize that this is a common thing even in our native languages and I still have very few hours of Japanese when compared to a native speaker. The issue of making mistakes should occur less frequently with more input. I have 2 years left before I leave University. By this time I expect to speak like a native speaker.

My writing is perfectly fine on computers and phones as I have the help of an IME to choose the Kanji I want to type. Writing from hand though is much harder as I struggle to remember the Kanji for words in my head. Apparently this is also an issue that natives have as well but obviously not as often as me. This is something I am fixing and I hope to be able to naturally write by hand within the next year.

I don’t think I am at the same level that Khatz was at, but overall I am incredibly happy with the stage that I am at. 🙂

Anki Statistics

RTK Deck Total of Mature Notes

Sentence Deck Total of Mature and Learning

Sentence Deck Review Count History Over the Past 17 Months

Sentence Deck Review Time History Over the Past 17 Months

Kanji and Vocabulary Writing Deck Total Mature + Learning + Unseen Notes

 

  • Jeff Bernstein

    Very impressive stuff. Keep up the hard work — it’s inspiring for the rest of us! 😛

    • Matt Hawkins

      Thanks Jeff! 🙂

  • Streetsweeper12

    Informative video. I’d say at your level getting better is merely a matter of just coasting. Understand but not having active vocabulary that matches it is quite normal and impressive given that you’re only about 18 months into it.

    I also took a look at the math that I should be aiming for to reach 10,000 sentences. I have 5380 so far and my math says it should take me roughly 6 months to hit 10,000 sentences by adding about 25 sentences a day. Listening I don’t count the hours but all day I’m listening. I gotta rev up my reading and I feel like I can get there. I feel like by the end of the year I should be at the level I desire comprehension wise. Writing I’m the same as you, I can recognize Kanji easily but sometimes I forget certain kanji strokes which I think is just merely a matter of repetition and coming across it via words. I can write something like 鬱 or 喩 easily from off the top but sometimes something simple like 発 or 実 and I’m pulling out the phone to see the stroke order.

    Thanks!

    • Matt Hawkins

      I agree with you there. If I want to get a large amount of vocab a day I am going to have to read into other topics of interest, other whys its just a case of keep plodding along, getting input and adding those few extra words.

      That’s awesome man! If you aim for that target I expect you will probably reach it sooner as well. If you reach your sentence goal and get your reading up I am sure you will reach a really good level by the end of the year.

      Definitely agree! この方法は、本当に無駄のない効率的な勉強方法だと思う。

      Yeah, I know others with similar issues as well. A native speaker actually asked me what the Kanji was for 怠る the other day, when she was writing. Its quite a natural thing apparently. Obviously we will struggle with it more than natives but we can fix it with more practice. Haha! I know exactly what you mean! We will get there in the end though! 🙂

  • Sho

    凄すぎです。一日22時間も日本語を聞いているとは…
    ビデオを見て、自分は圧倒的にインプット量が足りないんだなと思いました。
    今日からマットさんを見習って、可能な限りイヤホンを身につけてもっとインプットを増やそうと思います!

    • Matt Hawkins

      It’s not that amazing, aha :p It definitely has helped my listening skills though. I don’t think I would be at this level if I didn’t do that many hours per day. I’m glad you’re going to give it a go! 😀 Let me know how it works out! 🙂

  • jakku

    I’ve watched your first progress video since you started AJATT. At that time, I was already doing AJATT but I can say my progress has been extremely stagnant. With a little 自己分析, my slow progress stems from not measuring my progress at all… I’ve been in a deep slump for quite a while but seeing this gives me a little motivation boost! Thanks for the informative video, Matt!

    • Matt Hawkins

      I think having fun, keeping track of your progress and focusing slightly on efficiency is the key to quicker results, but in the end it still takes a long time. I’m glad that the video has helped though!

  • jufabeck2202

    Hey Matt,
    I recently started the Ajatt Method but I have a few problems when doing sentence cards. How did you learn word extensions, for example: I know what 帰る means but when I see 帰れるといいです, I don’t know what it means. How did you looked this up and what did you put in your srs? The base word or the word+ extension?

    • Matt Hawkins

      You can look up an explanation in English if you wish but try, if you can, to look explanations up in Japanese. Then just add the explanations to your cards as if it was a normal word 🙂 Treat grammar like vocab, either let it sink in, or add it to Anki with explanations 🙂