皆様、こんにちにゃあ！Welcome to Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online, the only Japanese language and culture blog to be run by
cat-like alien twins and an apparently sentient robot computer. We’re your hosts, your Japanese language and culture guides of this year and the next, Kiki and Koko! We thank you lovely Earthlings for another year of accompanying us on this journey, and we hope that you’ve found yourself at least another step closer this year than last year when it comes to your Japanese language learning goals. And, if anything, we hope that we have been able to provide an enjoyable environment and enlightening content throughout a year that many may not want to look back upon, however it may be one of the most important years to look back upon:
When it comes to life, looking back can be something many avoid. And, it’s understandable not to want to get stuck in the past. However, whether it’s life or learning, it’s important to take a look back. It can help you realise how far you’ve progressed or what you did well, but don’t be afraid of the latter more daunting reason why many avoid recollecting the past, as it can equally help you realise where you may have fallen short or needed to improve. But, that’s not something negative, as that’s what learning is all about! It can be an important skill to be able to critique your past behaviours and methods in order to do better or maintain the pace of learning that you would prefer or can manage. That being said, everything that affects one’s behaviours is not always within their control (as the past year and the general way the universe operates has shown.). And, in that way, we really advise that if you’re going to take a look back at your own progress with a critical eye, then you should also look carefully at the circumstances surrounding said progress. In taking your circumstances into account, you can see what was(or would be) the best methods and practises for your situation. Not everyone has the same general conditions that they operate within or the same needs or even the same goals, so as we try to provide as many options as possible for everyone, the key to learning a language is figuring out what method works the best for you. And, again, that’s something that can only be sussed out with a bit of experience as well as trial and error.
Learning another language is something that is above and beyond, so we’re sure that out of the many that choose to go above and beyond, there are many that find themselves to perhaps be a bit overly critical of themselves. So, while it’s important to look back and accept errors, we wouldn’t want to add any undue stress in an already stressful world. Even though it’s important to constructively critique one’s own methods, one can certainly get buried in the negatives during a time that may have been filled with unexpected hardships or even just inconveniences that can set anyone back. Therefore, we can wholeheartedly recommend taking an even closer look at what worked for you, or what you learned. And, if there’s one thing that many humans (and
cat-like aliens) are prone to, it’s forgetting all of the things they accomplished! It’s easy to overlook the little steps along your journey that got you farther than you were on day one. We’ve mentioned in the past that it’s important to sort of keep a log of what you’ve learnt to keep track of it, but whether you have or haven’t, we recommend taking some time to go back and take a look at the previous lessons to see how much further you may have progressed than you realised. (And, we know that’s quite an undertaking for those who have been with us from the beginning, but we’ll circle back to that.)
But, of course, moving forward in time is a combination of these two ideas. And, we have a bit of a unique perspective that we hope may somehow help you find a way to move forward in 2021 with realistic goals and reachable achievements.
No Alarms and No Surprises, Please
The year of 2020 proved to be a difficult for the majority of the population of Earth, and we certainly weren’t an anomaly in regard of that new norm. But, years are simply markers to help us navigate our way through time; so, it wasn’t much of a surprise that 2021 seems to be more of the same. But, that’s not to say you can’t still achieve your dreams amidst all of this. In fact, it may be quite the opposite.
There’s a Japanese saying that exists similarly in English: 知らぬ仏より馴染みの鬼,「Better the ogre you know than the buddha you don’t.」 This is obviously naively optimistic, (but that’s kind of our entire modus opperandi). So, yeah, things aren’t going so well, and yeah, it seems to be going in the same direction as last year, but at the very least it feels like the new normal. Nobody likes their new normal to be less than ideal, but just remember: this isn’t going to be forever. It used to be uncertain how long the pandemic would last, but now we know the answer is at least….a while. Whilst you’re already certain of the uncomfortable limbo we’re in, and whilst the troubles of the world can easily get any of us down as well as the general existential dread that can be brought on by these sorts of worldwide tragedies, you don’t have to let your achievable goals lie by the wayside.
Even if you’re not motivated to study or you’re just not quite feeling up to it, we obviously understand the importance taking a break. But, it’s more important to never let a break get you into a rut. It’s just about learning at least one new concept, one new character, or one new vocabulary word. Even mindlessly revising and looking through old lessons can be something that can spark your fervour.
And, honestly, we get it, sometimes you want something, but you’re just not feeling it. Our best advice is: just do something. Do anything. It doesn’t have to be a lot. We’ve always said that Japanese language as a whole is a task that’s more than a beginner can fathom, and it can be intimidating. Well, even once you’re in the thick of it, sometimes goals can still be fairly daunting. But, you have to celebrate every victory, and there’s no small feat when it comes to learning something new.
One quick session every day adds up to more than you can imagine over a long amount of time, and it can be very rewarding. And, seeing what you’ve learnt over that span of time can motivate you to do even more.
Of course, we always recommend giving it your all and really mulling over the way you study to make it the most efficient, but we’re also realistic and want to meet everyone at their level and needs. That’s why we designed our lessons to thoroughly cover topics, but that’s also why we provide you with smaller ways just to learn a little bit at a time. It’s about learning at your pace and in a way that’s enjoyable. And, in a time in history where many people, understandably, can’t quite meet our levels of unbridled optimism, we hope that you’ll still continue to invest in yourself with a new skill that can open the door to a world that’s always been there in plain sight. It can expand your horizons and give you a view that should hopefully make even the smallest living space feel just a little bit broader.
Following Our Own Advice
We had so much planned for 2020, things that we don’t want to tease anyone by mentioning because a lot of it will have to wait until after the pandemic. But, even as the ones creating the lessons, we’ve had to follow our own advice that we’ve been saying since the beginning of Kiki+Koko: Let’s NihonGO!! Online. We have huge goals of our own, and we didn’t get to do a lot of what we wanted to do. But, we continued to push along and do the best we could do with what we had. And, honestly, looking back, it’s quite a lot.
Whilst we were reviewing our content in order to do our yearly retrospective, we realised how we’ve actually fulfilled our objective of creating more educational content than ever before even with our lofty goals not quite being met. That’s why we’re doing something a bit different this year. We’re going to try to present to you all of the content we’ve created over the year, broken up into different thirds in order for each of us to do a bit of a proper retrospective.
And, this is where we finally circle back from earlier as this can be very helpful for those that want to look back and make sure they retained what they studied over the year, but it can also help those who are brand new. We do our best to organise our content by topic, but when it comes to chronologically looking through every lesson, it is quite the undertaking.
So, for the next few articles, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the timeless classics of Kiki+Koko; Let’s NihonGO!! Online presented by SpeRaToBo.
In the meantime, we can’t assume that everyone who visits has been with the site since the beginning, and even still, it’s useful to look back to the beginning of your journey to fully appreciate how far you’ve travelled. All of our lessons are generally evergreen, so you’ll get the same experience whether you’re in 2021 or 3031 as long as humanity continues so long. If anyone’s reading this in 3031, we, for one, welcome our alien overlords. And, we hope you’ll have an enjoyable time looking back at the positivity that paved the road for a truly oddly specific notion we continued to mention, that being an appreciation for the pathos of things as well as the transience of the physical world. Y’know, the usual.
Did you know that readers like you can support the content and our mission? We want to continue to ensure that you continue to have the resources you need to make it through your journey towards success in your Japanese language learning goals, whether you want to just learn a bit for fun or become fluent. We’re an independent resource that’s created just for you! Ads don’t keep the lights on, currently, they don’t even keep a fire going with such fluctuations and inconsistencies, but you can ensure that these resources can continue to be created with love and care for not only yourself, but for everyone with access to the internet! And, maybe in future, even those without internet. We have so much we want to create and so much more we want to give, and you can support the creation of new and even better content by leaving a TIP in the TIP♡JAR to keep it going, or for long term contributions in increments, you can join our Patreon where our gracious host, Indigo East, usually posts behind-the-scenes, sneak-peeks, exclusive content, and more. And, we join in as well!
But, we understand, it’s a tough world out there, and there’s other options for everyone. If you’d like to support our survival, your survival in Japanese language, any other prospective learner under the Sun, as well as the creation of more content to be made available to as many people as possible, you can also share the content! You can easily share via Twitter and Pinterest where you can retweet and repin respectively without even having to type! Gestures like that go a long way, and we appreciate it. You can follow us here and Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and of course, YouTube, the links of which are found at the end of this segment as black and white icons. Thanks again for your time!
Thank you for joining us! We hope that you continue with us on this adventure, and we appreciate that you’ve chosen us to assist you on your Japanese learning journey into the coming decade!
Cheers to another year! May you have a happy and rewarding new year!