2009年3月13日金曜日

Rant: I don't work well with others

Here's the very first "Rant" article. It's about time, too. Basically, I'm not trying to help anybody, give advice, or even be rational. I'm not even going for a central theme. Just a pure, maddox-style, good old fashioned rant.
Before I go any further, I'm just going to put some things out for the world to see:

I tend to think "learning styles" and "personal preferences" are just hippie things to say when you're a wimp.

I don't believe you can motivate or teach anyone anything. The most you can do is give somebody a light and say "walk". They have to get there themselves.

I am a heavy believer in minimalism. In extension I believe that a single consistent, clear pathway with a lot of patience will get you far.

_
So I don't like the "community". I think it's ridiculous how everybody and their mother has a twitter thing. Honestly? I don't give a _damn_ how you need to get you've been slacking off from your reviews.

Why? Why do we need community? It's a waste of time. "Let me update my twitter... Somebody put up a link to a list of top ten Japanese resources... Oh I didn't know about that guy's blog... Those are some pretty pictures of Japan... So Goddess Charie has a new textbook she's into... hehe, let's put up a new twitter about how I'm wasting time reading Japanese blogs..."

How many people go from textbook to textbook, website to website trying to find the perfect resource to jump start them back into their Japanese study? My god, this is an epidemic. When you spend a large amount of time trying to put the Kanji Odyssy book into digital format, complete and ignore it for a year, then decide that iKnow sentences are better and put together a group collaboration for the iKnow sentences, you've gotten a little off point. When you spend more time thinking about how to learn Japanese than you do actually being exposed to said language, you've gotten a little off point.

And you know what really irritates me the most? When people sit around and make excuses. It's just one excuse after another. "It's too hard", "It's above my level", "But iKnow is so convenient". If I hear one more "that's just the way I am..." I am going to vomit.

You want to know the real reason I hate that phrase? The real reason is because I've spent a majority of my life fighting the "way I am" and facing up to my faults rather than sit around making excuses for the "way I am". Without going into details, let me tell you that I would not be able to function as a person today (a very charismatic one, at that) had I not seriously changed "the way I was". Over the course of years I taught myself how to be better. Facing ridicule, humiliation, and discouragement, I trudged the most difficult path and came out better because of it. Whereas others in my position eventually ended up needing mental care for the rest of their life, I came out on top.

So do not sit there and rationalize your pathetic decisions to me. I refuse to talk with anybody who chooses to accept mediocrity because it's easy.

10 件のコメント:

  1. " facing up to my faults rather than sit around making excuses for the "way I am". "

    I heartily agree with your rant; however, it's best to ignore the feeble minded sheep. They can't produce a single thought of their own, let alone find the will to direct any part of their own lives.

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  2. I love rants aren't they great :D but you do make some good points too many people make up excuses to why they cannot do something but in the end the majority of the time its just laziness whether they admit it or not not doing is easier than doing.

    Although I disagree on the community part I belive we need a community of like minded people it helps with motivation and to find resources we other wise may not find there are many things in life that hold us back and people pushing us and helping us along can only help in the long run as long as we keep walking the road to were we want to be.

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  3. Communities are nice.. for wasting time compulsively looking for new comments, posts, etc. That's why most teens spend all their time on MySpace, because it's a great waste of time, and then they wonder how they didn't get the time to do their homework.

    We just need to "do." Get up first thing and start reading that manga, that website, that book. Do your reviews first thing and get them out of the way. In fact, that's best because you remember that stuff first thing in the morning better. I found that the hardest part of laziness is just getting started. But after a little while, you force yourself to just get started and you've gotten into habit and no longer need to force it, you just wake up and start.

    I don't hear those phrases too much, and I've never understood how people could saying something is "too hard" or something. I've never had such thoughts. Most of my worries come from figuring out what I want to do, with so many things to do. It's like, do I read this manga or that one, or maybe watch that anime, but then.. how about that drama.

    Anyways, thanks for the rant. ^^

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  4. Haha, I do understand where you're coming from, Alyks - I'm guilty of having spent far too much time looking for resources and learning methods and wasting time on forums when most of the best methods (simply reading, listening) were always right in front of my face. I also hated Twitter with a vehement Web 2.0 passion.

    However, I've personally found a great deal of merit in tools such as KO2001, iKnow and even Twitter (no, I really don't care to read someone's everyday-life play-by-play, but...). None of them are close to being the end-all-be-all of anything in particular, of course, but any serious language acquisitionist knows that there really isn't such a thing as any end-all-be-all learner's source.

    I also think communities are invaluable, for the reasons Tibul outlined above. Hell, if I hadn't come across AJATT one day, I'd probably be stumbling along aimlessly with only a small fraction of the progress I've made now. They can definitely be time wasters and places of pointless, stagnant discussion and argument, but that's nothing a little discretion can't solve, is it?

    Ultimately - and I hate to say it after the fact of the rant, but - people really DO have their differences in ways of learning, no matter how small. Some learners (me), for example, crave variety. Faced with the same junk for a long stretch of time just gets dull. Whereas some can sit through hours of SRS daily, others (me) would rather spend that time watching dramas or reading manga. And again, others (Steve Kaufmann) don't use SRS at all, instead opting almost entirely for reading and listening, and have made tremendous progress in doing so, and so forth.

    So while I believe that the concepts of personal preference and learning styles are often largely overblown and trivial details, they do exist.
    After all, in the end, doesn't it really come down to the enjoyment of the learner? If I get more enjoyment out of one thing than the other, chances are I'm gonna go with the more fun route.

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  5. Great post. One thing to consider is that resources provide different value to different people at different times. There was a time when reading AJATT totally kicked me in the face and revolutionized how I thought; now it's humdrum and I can predict what he's gonna say based on the article title. Is that because AJATT got worse? No, it's just that I've already "graduated". The main thing is to keep moving forward, and don't get stuck at one level forever.

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  6. You know... I was going write a big rant here countering your rant, but then I realized I could be finishing off making my last few SRS sentences. To be honest, it might have said more about me than you to counter in such a way.

    Soo... I guess.. thanks for the wake up call..

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  7. Alyks, the benefit of that "community" is that with minimal effort on one person, you get resources to get to learn.

    RevTK gathers stories for RTK
    Dramanote gathers scripts that are pseudo-novels
    Mangahelpers gathers raw manga
    iKnow gathered vocabulary with context sentences, photos and audio.
    TaeKim gathered example vocabulary sentences.
    RevTK members gathered spreadsheets of UBJG, KO2001, Making Out in Japanese, etc. I think you even used UBJG via the spreadsheet instead of entering everything yourself, thus saving LOTS of time.

    Can these same things be a waste of time? Damn straight. I waste a lot of time reading over useless stuff that I start backing more and more off. But don't knock the former (resources and advice) due to the latter (community time sucker upper).

    Twitter, well, I tend to delete guys that update minutia. It feels silly to even put that I did such and such number of sentences. I find the links to useful sites are better. So maybe I'll stick to those.

    Anyway, waste time in Japanese as that's better. 2ch and Japanese wikipedia and Fnn-news are great places to waste time.

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  8. Sorry Nukemarine, but I'm really not seeing any value in any of those.

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  9. Dramanote not of value? You mentioned how you had a hard time getting into fiction books, but found non-fiction fun. Myself, I found these drama scripts a perfect gap between manga and novels. You have the TV show as a visual/audio reference, you have the dialogue like manga would give you, and the scripts have the descriptive elements (locations, actions, stresses, events, etc.) that you don't get in Manga outside the introduction page. Mini-novels you can print out and read on a plane, train or automobile.

    It was a source gathered by a community that an individual can take advantage of.

    However, I'm not trying to convince you to take part of a community effort. I never scanned a manga for manga helpers, submitted a script for dramanote, typed in a sentence for "Making out in Japanese", provided content for iKnow, etc. Neither have the dozens or hundreds that end up using those resources for getting fluent at Japanese.

    Anyway, maybe I'm misunderstanding you. When I was entering sentences from KO2001, or UBJG, or trying to get iKnow into a better format (like Anki), I realized I was losing a lot of time that could be watching TV or studying. But I do believe that that group effort helped more than myself. If it was me you were talking about up there, you got me pegged right. I went from Rosetta, to Genki, to Pimsleur, to UBJG, to KO2001, back to UBJG, to Tae Kim, to iKnow, to iKnow into Anki. All the while wasting time reading forums with Japanese in the background (which is useless if you're reading English forums all the time). I've got no deception to my faults over the last 18 months. But it's not the community's fault any more than it would be RTK's fault if a guy wasted (yes, wasted) 500 hours learning 3000 kanji before getting into Japanese. I look at the community and RTK as resources. One can waste time on it or use it efficiently. I happened to fall into the former a lot.

    May I ask: are you an island in this Japanese learning? All your resources you've used thus far have been non-community related (ie Commercial resources only). If so, then that's cool. You surpassed me in Japanese just on how you learned Kanji which was fairly unique in itself. If you entered in all the sentences yourself from UBJG or Tae Kim (prior to you deleting them) then that's cool.

    But I assume you use Anki. Many updates to Anki came about from feedback from the Japanese learning community.

    Again though, it's so easy to get distracted gathering the "materials" that one does not get about to using those materials to learn Japanese. It's an easy trap with a community aspect.

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  10. You know, all of the above would have never even been an issue if learners would first take the time out to ask themselves WHY is it that they're learning their target language.

    I don't see the benefit of reading texts about Japanese Education Standards and watching Japanese Diet Proceedings and heck, even news to a certain extent. Why?

    Because I'm never going to go to Japan. Sure, it'd be fun to visit. But permanant residence and a job-life? No way, atleast not for me.

    But what about comedy shows and manga? Video games (FF fan just like you :D) and Wikipedia? Blogs, light novels and MMORPGs? Right on.

    Because I wanted to learn Japanese in the first place so that I could do all of the above. I was always a great fan of video games, especially Pokemon. I have no need to function as an adult in Japanese society with a 0% language barrier because, well, I'm not going there.

    For so-called language learners, they set out to learn a given language without asking themselves why. And then, when they face burnout, they look for the reason they were working so hard in the first place and find....nothing.

    Completely agree with your rant in general though. Luckily, my New Year's resolution worked out perfectly this year so I no longer fall into that category anymore ;)

    P.S: Perhaps you shouldn't directly attack specific blogs like that. Makes you look bad. IMO.

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