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While I'm here I might as well describe where I am with learning Japanese. I'll put in links some other time--it's probably better to get it all down for now.

During the Summit weekend, Adam gave me his old Sansa Clip+, which has spacious built-in memory (compared to my jury-rigged "Sansa Binder-Clip") and is also expanable via SD card. Sadly, the Clip+ seems to freeze up sometimes when playing things in built-in memory, so I've loaded everything onto SD card for now. And just checking right now, it looks like some roomier SD cards I ordered a while ago should have arrived yesterday. Maybe I'll ask around the house.

I've been listening to a lot of audio from the series of Durarara!. It was recommended to me by both Adam and Ruchi's friend Chris earlier in the summer, and I'm glad I started watching it. Sadly, I haven't had a lot of time where I felt I could watch much anime at all, but the audio is interesting enough. I'm farther ahead into the series with the audio than I am with series!

Meanwhile, I've also been listening to a lot of Nitro Microphone Underground. It's really taken off, especially after I brought it into the concepts for [super secret project] and told Marlon about it.

My long commute actually helps me round out my listening time. I regularly log an extra 80 minutes in music or speech listening time.

I had a nice experience a couple days ago with respect to my Japanese learning:

Marlon wanted to listen to a particular song by Sakanaction, but was having trouble finding Sakanaction in general, because I have the name spelled in katakana (『サカナクション』--that's how the band spells it officially.) I was driving, so still tried to find it himself, but kept picking the wrong groups. First he selected Suneohair, then played something by Shiina Ringo 椎名林檎, when I incorrectly told him that Sakanaction would be at the bottom of the artists' list. I kept thinking, impatiently, that he should be able to recognize the Artist name because it begins with an S. Except, that it doesn't begin with an S. It begins with katakana "sa" (サ) which looks nothing like an S to normal, non-Japanese people.

At that point I realized that all of さしすせそサシスセソ [hiragana/katakana for sa/shi/su/se/so] have looked like they begin with an "S" for quite a long while. I have trouble seeing them as not beginning with an "S". This is a good thing!

Another strange experience I had was playing this Japanese RPG/Action game I "acquired" called Ys: the Oath in Felghana. It's a bit of a struggle, because I'm barely literate in Japanese, and here are all these kanji in dialogue that I would normally breeze through. And I haven't really learned any readings! But, when I slow down and try to read these sentences, I find that I can guess at the readings of the Kanji based on how the rest of the sentence, in kana, "sounds".

It's like, when did I learn this specific sentence? NEVER! And yet, I have heard a turn of phrase like it, without really understanding what it meant, some time, somewhere, probably in some anime, and my brain matches the pattern like a freaking regex. Language is magic, dudes.

Thinking about these things are really enheartening, because I mostly think about how "behind" on my Kanji SRS studies. And sometimes I worry that most of my progress is due to my long, sparse exposure to Japanese since 2002 instead of what I'm doing right now.

But why does that matter? It's mostly a surface reason, to impress other people, that I want to claim that I became fluent in a language in 30 months. As senpai says, it's really the actual exposure time that counts, not the time you were "in school" or "trying to learn". It's more important to keep learning and improving than trying to learn than being as efficient as Tim Ferriss. I'm playing a very different game, with different objectives.

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