Gamification Week 1 Challenge: And the Winner is……!

Gaming Challenge Week 1 Prize

A cheese calzone and an apple filled calzone. Yum!

Jessica’s Report: Starting Strong-ish! (we do so love our –ish here)

Krystal is definitely the more put together person of the two of us. I am more prone to flights of fancy and distractions, so I was so thrilled that I was able to make a good go of the beginning of this. I was in all my glory that I was able to get an early win in because I expect Krystal to school me. She is not only more put together but way more advanced in Japanese than I am. But I managed to win! MWAHAH!!

An overview of my point system:

  • 5 points: Conversational practice (10 minutes of real discussion)
  • 4 points: Genki I book (one section of grammar lesson)
  • 3 points: translating comics (a page or two depending on how dialogue heavy) & lyrics
  • 2 points: Vocab building (Memrise, Anki, or Influent)
  • 1 point: Playing video games in Japanese (10 minutes)

Total Points: 17

What worked:

I teach English as well as attend university, and one perk of my job is that I am able to spend time with my native Japanese students practicing my Japanese a bit before and after class. One of my students is actually my mother-in-law, and our friendly dynamic is super conducive to chatting away in her limited English and my limited Japanese.

What didn’t work:

Well, between my recent move and school, it has been a bit of a challenge to even find my Genki book. Fortunately, The Japan Times has some great little mini articles that explain grammar to help act as a stop gap.

Translating is incredibly time consuming and something I do because I like a comic that has no scanlation group… so maybe I will up that to a higher point level if I keep avoiding it.


I am completely echoing Krystal: “This has definitely made me more aware of how little and inconsistently I’ve been studying lately.” I have never been particularly good at consistently studying if I am not taking a class, so hopefully this competition will light a fire under my ass to study and study well. My desk is still a mess, and the last month of school is proving to be draining, but somehow I will keep trucking!

Krystal’s Report: No Free Baked Goodies for Me! 

I got my butt kicked this week. Which Jessica kindly pointed out the moment I saw her. No “How are you?” or “How was your weekend?” Just an “I kicked your butt.” Mmmhmm, I’ll remember that.

This week I had a couple of big projects due so I wanted to keep it simple and focus on the listening/vocab decks I already had set up in Anki. My point system was as follows:

  • 5 points: N1 Grammar Book (1 grammar point)
  • 4 points: Harry Potter Anki cards, book 2 (5 new cards + 30 reviews)
  • 3 points: Kanji Damage (10 new cards + all reviews)
  • 2 points: Lyrics Anki deck (5 new cards + 30 reviews)
  • 1 point: iKnow’s Core 6000 Anki deck (40 new cards + all reviews)

Total Points: …..2.

What worked: The Core 6000 deck Rachel was kind enough to share with me is easy to do on the train, and there’s no deck maintenance involved. I usually use the deck to shadow with, but when I’m on the train I try and at least move my lips along with the words. Which might be why I get such weird looks, but at least people don’t sit next to me. Bonus! The gaming challenge was great for helping me remember I was supposed to be studying, though it was really hit or miss on whether or not I followed through. While I didn’t make a lot of progress with my Japanese this week, I am more aware that I’m not using my spare moments throughout the day effectively.

What didn’t work: I kind of forgot we started the challenge (because who starts things on Tuesdays??), so I ended up two days behind. Oops. Since I was trying to focus on listening, I picked tasks that mostly relied on audio – but I forgot my headphones a few times and couldn’t use them on the train, which is my main block of study time. I also decided to restart my lyrics deck, but when I tried using it, I realized I built it after reading Khatz’s MCD article. Though I like the idea of MCDs in theory, it’s something that absolutely hasn’t worked for me. I’m going to have go back and rebuild this deck using my new system, so this deck was a bust.

I also found myself making excuses a few times about how busy I was, and I totally let myself slide a couple of days. Part of this was because I don’t think I had enough interesting material prepared – the Core 6000 deck can only keep me interested for so long. Also, my motivation has dipped since I missed the JLPT registration deadline (again). Rex is grumbling, “You have a whole year until the next test, go watch Sons of Anarchy instead.” And that’s a tempting argument, especially since it was the week with that glorious butt shot….

What needs to change: I spend about an hour a day on the train, so there’s a huge amount of room for improvement during this block of time. I also need to have at least 1 deck that doesn’t rely on audio that I can play with when I forget my headphones. As for my skipping days, we’ll be instituting a -5 point penalty in Week 3 for the days we don’t earn a single point – that should help force me to at least put aside 10 minutes a day.

Takeaways: This has definitely made me more aware of how little and how inconsistently I’ve been studying lately. I feel like after another couple of weeks I should be back on track with daily studying. I also bought a new Kindle Paperwhite so I could take advantage of the J-E dictionary and get some more reading in. I love my Kindle Fire, but the J-J dictionary drives me a little nuts, because unlike Rachel, I’m not a fan of going monolingual. I also need to find a solution for carving out time to make new cards.

Week 1 Point Total:
Jessica: 17
Krystal: 2

Visit Week 2’s report to see if the humiliation I suffered this week fired me up or drained my will to study.

Wondering what the heck is going on? Check out our Intro to the Gaming Challenge post!

Note: Affiliate links are used on this page. Why? Because I hate ads.  And I like buying new Japanese books to review for you guys! 

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