Japan-ize Your Schoolwork

For many people, December signals the end of a semester and that means big projects, final papers, and final examinations.  I’m willing to bet those of us in education (and many others) are pretty busy, and it can often feel difficult to keep Japanese in our daily lives when we’re getting overwhelmed by schoolwork

I recently moved to a new country and started grad school.  “Overwhelmed” would be a good word to describe how I have often felt.

When obligations take over, it’s easy to forget how simple it can be to keep Japanese a part of our lives.  So, here’s a reminder:

Japan-ize your activities in any way practical.

  • Keep it simple, you want to add fun and learning, not more stress.
    (As your stress level increases, your ability to learn decreases!)
  • Get Japanese in on your school-related tasks. Even if you’re not studying Japanese, there are plenty of creative and non-intrusive ways to incorporate it into your school learning.  There are even cases where incorporating Japanese may improve your learning! (ie: If you’re studying anatomical terms, the Japanese words for the same terms may give clues as to their location/structure/function through their kanji. Take the Japanese for “pons”, the part of the brain that connects the medulla oblongata and cerebellum with the midbrain, it’s: 橋(きょう)Look familiar?  It’s the kanji for はし/bridge. Brilliant!)  

I’m studying clinical animal behavior. One of my assignments involves analyzing behavior in videos. No reason I can’t pick out Japanese videos: searching, reading, and listening all in Japanese! How can you mix your subject with Japanese? 

And don’t forget, little things add up!  What if you can’t dedicate hours a day?  Doing a few minutes a day will keep you afloat far better than no minutes!  Use it or lose it, baby. (Going to the grocery store: Why not write up your list in Japanese?  Got a few minutes on the bus?  Challenge yourself to a few short rounds of SRS reps.)

How do you fit Japanese in when you’re busy with school?  Have any habits to share or ideas you want to try?  Tell us in the comments!

PS: Check out this old post for an intro to using YouTube as a way to immerse yourself!


Update from Liz

Most recent immersion obsession...click to read the Jap. Wiki article on HP!

Dear everybody,

I miss you much and I’m sorry I’ve nearly fallen off the face of the planet!  I hope all is well and that your Japanese learning has been fun and fruitful.  How was July’s 多読?!

I’ve been super busy the past few months- moving back home, changing jobs, and … getting ready to go to England for grad school!

I decided to make my nearly lifelong passion my career, so I’ll be going into an MSc program for clinical animal behaviour 🙂

I am still learning Japanese, of course, and it will continue to be a very important part of my life.  Who knows, maybe I’ll even get the opportunity to do dog training or research in Japan!

I leave in early September (my first flight ever, wooh!).  Things are looking to be crazy until then, but you should hear from me soon after!  🙂

Love and wishes for everyone’s fun and success with Japanese,


PS:  Since I’m moving overseas, I can’t take much with me.  I’m selling some of my Japanese textbooks/manga/graded readers/regionless DVD player/my denshi jisho on e-bay.

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