# genmaicha

letters to myself

## getting back into the swing of things

I'm alive!! I think? Is this thing still on? Hello? Does anyone still follow this?

Well whatever time to serve up some fresh content™ for the blog readers at home.

## where the fuck i've been

My last blog post was a Japanese learning update, and good gods did I drop the ball on that. I've taken to doing the bare minimum of Japanese refolding, which involved some content watching and keeping up my Anki streak. Even then, I think I got so burnt out on refolding that some days I couldn't even do Anki right.

I then picked up a comfy slice-of-life show and realized “maybe I should be watching things I enjoy instead of trying to min-max comprehension”. So now I'm watching whatever the fuck anime and youtube vids I wanna watch. Sue me.

At the same time, I'm in my final semester of college! Surreal I've been at this degree program for five years (don't ask why I'm delayed) and I'm still not done. One more sem though. Then I can finally join the corporate world as a codemonkey.

## the key realization

I am going to infodump on the blog.

Seriously, I have a whole second brain full of notes and junk on various things I'm interested in. I wanna keep that second brain up but I also wanna express what I'm collecting, hence this blog becomes my dumping ground. No one asked for this but I'll be damned if I let that stop me.

More posts soon, unless I forget and/or run out of steam. Peace.

## p.s.

Writefreely does not come with image hosting. Shame, as I planned to style my posts with extensive images, in the style of some bloggers I follow. This can be solved by externally hosting my images, but I'm not sure where I can do that with little to no cost that would also respect my privacy. If anyone knows any service like that, I'm all ears.

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## the japanese learning journey, 3 months in

Hey y'all!

So it's been 3 months since i've been learning japanese via the refold method, and here's the updates.

# the daily routine

I've strived to at least do the following two things:

• do my flashcards
• watch some Japanese content

So far, I can still count on one had the times I've missed a day of flashcard reviews. Japanese content, on the other hand, is still a challenge to get through. I find my attention wandering most often, since the content doesn't yet engage me and I'm still trying to make my way out of that cave of “not understanding most of anything”. There are small victories here and there, but so far, I still need more time.

# what to improve next

I need to study grammar more intensively, and clock more hours per day into Japanese content as a whole. Right now, I barely watch content, around 20 minutes per day, but I want to get that up to at least 1 hour of Japanese content immersion daily. As for grammar study, this should be as simple as watching this playlist every day until I finish it, then repeat if necessary.

# conclusion

Lots of stuff to review, still more time I need to clock in. The process is overall, still very simple, I just need to refocus and keep logging those hours into content immersion. See you all 6 months in, roughly 2022-10-20.

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## the beginning of a long journey

A fire has been stoked in me.

A long term project has begun.

This post marks my third day of learning Japanese.

(inb4 filthy weaboo)

## What?

Yeah! I'm learning Japanese. This all started because of a YouTube video I randomly picked to listen to while working out. The video in question was an interview where the interviewee, Matt vs Japan, gave his experience and thoughts on learning the language. The more I listened to it, the more his methods and hypothesis on language acquisition made sense. In particular, the “immersion in content in the target language” bit resonated hard with me, as that's how I learned English.

## The method

So the method is outlined better over at Refold (link to website), but here's the jist of it:

1. Work on vocab through Anki.
2. Casually study basic grammar, enough to recognize the grammar in regular use.
3. Rack up hours upon hours of immersion in the target language.

## Where I'm at

Since it's only been day 3, I've very, very low comprehension. About 2% of stuff I can actually understand, mostly greetings, and some statements about temperature (when a character says “too warm/cold!”). My main immersion comes from rewatching Yuru Camp with Japanese subs only, with some additional immersion coming from various Japanese youtubers that I've subscribed to. I've been consistent in Anki and grammar study, and I intend to keep that consistency up for the long term.

## Next time, on “gen learns Japanese”

I intend to update on the 3 month mark, roughly 2022-07-20. See you then!

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## a blatant disrespect for the time of students

(This is a rant, YMMV.)

There's an ongoing narrative that goes a little something like this:

As a student, if you're burnt out, that's a result of poor planning and lifestyle on your part. You should have planned well the classes you took this semester, and you should have good time management skills so as to balance your school work and your life.

This is the common narrative thrown in the face of countless burnt out, tired students when they begin to complain that “college is too difficult” or “the professors are too demanding”. And while there are those lazy students who simply join in the choir hoping for some easy passes, a majority of these students actually experience overload in their course requirements. Overload that is justified by the ongoing narrative of “students should take responsibility for their workload”. I say, yes indeed, students should take responsibility for their workload. But at what point are students even made aware of their workload? When does a student get to know how much time is required weekly for a specific class? Is this information provided before the sign up period for classes? During the sign up period? Or, as is the case most often, only when the classes begin?

Unfortunately, there is no time metric for classes, or at least not one that's standard across most universities. There exist systems within specific universities that attempt to measure the weight of a class, but they're often unspecific or just plain wrong. Take my university for example. Each class is given a number of “units”. These “units” range from 1 up to 4, and every student must take a minimum number of “units” per semester. The thing is, “units” are inconsistent. There are physical fitness classes that, while being an essential part of the curriculum and are not optional, are given a 1 “unit” score, and aren't even counted towards the total number of units. Meanwhile, there are classes that essentially are two-in-one, theory and practice, lecture and laboratory work classes, that are only given a measly 3 “units”, despite functionally being two different classes. No functional standard exists.

There is an even worse problem perpetuated by the ongoing narrative. The narrative puts all the responsibility on the student, and none on the professors who preside over and teach the classes. Professors are absolved of any responsibility to respect the time of students. They're under no obligation to provide a reasonable amount of time per day or week to spend on their classes. Professors aren't made to make their lectures concise or accessible, instead they are allowed to pad their lecture out with as much fluff and noise as possible. Did you think to ask a professor for their syllabus before signing up to the class? Good luck getting a response, much less a response with any respect. This lack of responsibility makes the job of the student much less about actually learning, and more on navigating and slogging through hours and hours of coursework that the student didn't even know they were signing up for. While time management skills and good planning can help, especially if you ask previous students of class you plan to take, only so much of that can help in the face of professors who blatantly take up more and more time for no real good reason.

(Oh, and I don't even want to hear the classic excuse of “but professors have it hard too!” I don't give a shit about your shitty situation if you insist on passing on your shitty luck to us students in the form of shitty time wasting work.)

Given all of this, what is there to be done? The system certainly won't change, but student behaviors can, and there are a few strategies to be able to cope with professors wasting time. I've listed a few suggestions below, but use these wisely. I ain't about to be blamed if you start harassing the person who grades you.

• When given a task, don't be afraid to ask the professor “how much time should we spend on this?”. You can make the question more specific, by asking how much time per day or per week, or how much time the professor thinks we should take to finish. If they give a non answer, ask for a suggestion. Press this matter as far as you can reasonably get it.
• Ask around for higher level students or alumni that have taken the same class under the same professor. Ask them about their experience, and how much time the class ended up eating from their weeks and days.
• Abuse attendance checking and absence rules. As soon as a class takes your attendance, that's your signal to be able to leave when you feel you're not getting anything more out of being physically there. If a class is online, you don't necessarily have to be paying attention, or even be attending. If accosted by the professor, simply state that you have other matters that need taking care of, or respectfully state that you are needed elsewhere unexpectedly. You don't have to give a reason if you don't want to, unless there's some weird rule that allows professors to be particularly personally invasive.
• Work in parallel with your professor. Instead of complaining about them and asking them to change, team up with your fellow classmates and collect resources that are more time efficient, but cover the same material. Don't be afraid to push the boundaries of collaboration. As long as you know what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, or whatever bullshit offense the university has, you can work with your classmates at a level just below that, and offer a parallel, more time efficient way to learn the same material.

In the end, while the system is broken and professors are still going to be mostly shit at doing the teaching part of their jobs, there are ways to counteract their bullshit.

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## dealing with poor responders

this post was originally found on my fediverse account. it has been reposted here for easier reading and visibility.

we've surely all had people that, when you attempt to talk to them, it takes them a very long time to respond if at all. i've had several people like this in my life. while sometimes it's not quite their fault, differing timezones or life gets busy, it shouldn't also be my problem that they don't contact me when i want them to.

in the past, i'd harbor resentment to these people. “why won't they respond” or “why won't they talk to me”. very unhealthy, but now i've made a way to deal with this.

match priority. if it seems that they don't make any effort to try and keep in touch, just lower their priority in your life. you don't have to be friends with everyone. if i am not enough of a priority to be responded to, i should match that and lower or stop attempting to contact them.

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## i live!

if you're reading this, then you probably know me from my federated microblogging exploits, or came here from my homepage. welcome!

i've always heard from people like Jordan Peterson that writing is a really good skill to have, reading and writing will help me think and make me really good at articulating, etc etc. well, this is my attempt to gain that power, and hopefully think better.

expect a post at least every two weeks.

big thanks to @shibao@writefreely.bubbletea.dev for hosting me. go follow her blog too, she writes very interesting posts.

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