There is something missing from my learning experience, and it is completely my own fault. Sure I am practicing daily, reading, writing, listening and talking (to myself that is) but all this is somewhat separated from my daily life. I still do my groceries, work on projects, do the dishes, cook some food, clean up in German or English.
What if I did all this in a Japanese mindset? Now now, I don’t mean that I act like someone born in Japan. This is not about deluding myself. Rather, why not make the effort to immerse me as much as possible into the Japanese language. What exactly does that mean though?
Well, for starters I need to watch way more stuff in Japanese. The goal here is to listen to the language as much as possible, through movies, tv shows, podcast, radio, news, you name it. I have to experience the language first hand, hearing native speaks talk as much as possible. This in turn should help me get a better feel it, how sentences are structured, how people have small talk and how to get the pronunciation right.
Next up, change all devices to a Japanese language profile. Sadly, I cannot do this with my phone, nor my laptop (not without major work at least), however, since I love to play video games, I found with great delight, that many of my steam games can be turned into Japanese. I may not be able to read much now, but hey.. this is all about immersion. Also, I have played many of these games before and roughly know what they are saying or what is being said on the screen, so that should make things easier. The most troubling aspect will be the Kanji symbols, as I have not started learning those. Should not take long though before I start.
One of the biggest steps I can take, however, is to start thinking in Japanse. This will surely be very difficult at first, but given enough practice on a day to day basis, I should be able to make the change. The more I associate my daily surroundings with Japanese words, the quicker they will just stick because they have to. The same has worked for me in the past with the English language. Being a native German speaker, I still often think in English, and aim for the same level in Japanese. Some ideas or concepts can be much better expressed in a different language and I am sure Japanese is no different.
While all this could sound like overkill, necessity is the mother of invention, and by forcing myself into the language that much, I have to come up with ways to quickly assimilated the needed vocabularies in order to function.
With all this said, however, I should point out that I will not implement this all at once. Step by step, most likely using one “item” per week, I will move into a full immersion. If anyone of you has experience with such a way of going about language learning, feel free to share yourself with me as I’d love to hear about it.