I bit of more than I can chew – The German Challenge #2

I suck at German!

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I have done an update for German and I think a few people were wondering how my German was getting along and how I am managing my time with Japanese as well.

I’ll be honest, I freakin’ suck! German is not working out as well as I’d hoped. I thought that as it was supposed to be an “easier” language and that I wouldn’t have to put as much effort into it. I was very wrong.

Of course, I don’t expect to be amazing at German in only 6 months :p

Managing 2 Languages and Life

Due to being incredibly busy with exams I haven’t had much time for “active study”, such as active listening and doing reps in Anki. In general my life has been a lot busier this year compared to the past 2 years. This is due to a number of personal reasons which I won’t go into here and due to the work at university being a lot harder. Despite the large amount of time I put into university this year, I just missed a first class by 3% which is a real shame :/ I will just have to work for that extra 3% on my final year though, so it’s not too bad.

I found that I struggled a lot this year with managing my time. Due to this, my German, Japanese and programming have all been affected. I’m working on this, but trying to balance two languages on-top of other responsibilities is pretty darn hard. I completely admire polyglots, being able to maintain a relatively decent level in multiple languages is a pretty big task in itself if you ask me.

My German Level

My current level is very hard to pin point. I am going to go with a guess and say low A2 or at least high A1 on the European Framework. My main listening resource this time around has been the first series of Yu-Gi-Oh! (遊戯王) which has a superb German dub. I know this show like the back of my hand due to watching it over and over as a kid (I was also obsessed with the card game at the time). I have also watched this show in Japanese too so I thought it would be great for listening material. I have been passively and actively listening to the first 25 episodes non-stop for around 3 months (this is a bit too long for one piece of media by the way, I recommend you switch to something new at least every week). I have picked up quite a lot from listening to this alone. Phrases and words have become clear overtime without needing to study them. This is due to the prior knowledge I have of the show giving me a helping hand and due to situational context. For example, in the very first episode in one of the early scenes, Yugi and Joey are dueling and I remember Yugi saying something like “good, but not good enough!” in the English version. I quickly picked this up in German which is “gut, aber nicht gut genug!”

This is great as I am picking up stuff, but as I am not using Anki as hardcore as I did while studying Japanese, and due to the lack of time I now have, I am not progressing as fast as I would like. I am still very much a beginner and I think it will stay this way until I am chucked into the deep end when I arrive in Germany.

I have only just began the switch over to German only sentence flashcards. I unfortunately put it off for a bit longer than I would have liked but I will gradually change the definitions in the cards coming up to review to German as well to make up for that.


  • German-English Sentence cards: 1000
  • German-German Sentence cards: 73
  • Listening hours (roughly): 3000-3500


Maintaining My Japanese

As my Japanese is at a quite high level now, I don’t need much to maintain it. However, I have noticed that my level has dropped a bit, which kind of sucks. My reading speed has decreased and I often find myself forgetting words in speech which hasn’t really been an issue before. This is a pain as it causes me to stumble during speech. This is also an issue I have in English (my mother tongue) though so maybe it’s just my personality coming out in Japanese? I have no idea, but I don’t like it. I am trying to maintain my level each day with 1-2 hours of input which includes talking to my girlfriend on Skype, listening to music, watching the occasional TV show and reading the occasional book. The rest of the time I’ve been either doing things in German or studying for exams.


I apologise if this wasn’t the most positive post I’ve ever put up but it’s the blunt honest truth. I haven’t made that much progress in German, which is a real shame, but I have made some progress. I don’t think I will be ready for Germany when I head over in September, but that in itself kind of makes the whole thing 10x more exciting. I think I have just bitten off more than I can chew this year. I’ve taken on too much and have been unable to handle it all, so here’s a tip for you guys, don’t try to do too many things at once. You will be better off focusing entirely on one thing at a time, then moving on once you have mastered it. In the long run you will complete everything way faster than having done them all at the same time.

Thanks for reading.

Click here for more information on learning German



By Matthew Hawkins


Here are some of my favorite tools and sites for learning Japanese

Thank you for reading this blog post, which I hope you found useful for learning Japanese. Here are some of the most useful websites that I’ve found for finding Japanese content to use for immersion as well as some really useful learning tools to help you through your Japanese studies. Some of these are affiliate links which just means that if you decide to use these sites by clicking the following links, then I will earn a commission. But honestly speaking, these are the sites that I use and recommend language learners, even my friends, to use anyway.

Anki Tools: To get started, I really like Migaku for Anki. By itself, Anki is already a super useful tool for language learners but Migaku allows for integration with websites like YouTube and Netflix, allowing it’s users to create flashcards from the shows and videos that they are watching, as they are watching them. If you use my link you can get an extra month for free.

Speaking Practice: For this I absolutely love iTalki. There are thousands of Japanese teachers on the platform that are available at all times of the day to have conversations with you, in Japanese. Some teachers take a more traditional approach while others are just there to chat, these are the ones I would recommend if you are looking to improve your conversational Japanese. Lessons start from just $5 and there’s no long term commitment, I highly recommend them.

Immersion: I’ve used a lot of different earphones / headphones over the years but by far the one that has come out on top is the NENRENT S570. This is a singular in-ear earphone that matches your skin tone to keep it discrete, meaning you can listen to the language you are learning while at work, or school. For a full list of tools and gadgets I recommend for maximizing your immersion time, check out this blog post.

One Reply to “I bit of more than I can chew – The German Challenge #2”

  1. It’s funny reading this post I jokingly thought “git gud” sounds German. How relevant lol.

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