The joy of making mistakes

Hi guys, just thought I would ask a question today about the mistakes that people have made in their study journey that they originally were annoyed about, but actually worked to their benefit in the long run. I think an important part in the (long) journey of learning Japanese is being able to identify our weak areas, and then have fun fixing them.

For me, I used to get really demotivated when I forgot kanji that I had previously learned, pushing it back into more frequent reviews on Anki. Then the longer I studied, the more I noticed that the kanji that I initially regularly forgot actually started to become the ones I remembered 100% of the time as time progressed. I think this is probably due to my brain forming some kind of connection (probably negative haha) with that kanji, thus giving it a reason to hold on to the information. These days when I forget kanji, I actually get a bit of joy out of it, because I know that it will eventually make it’s way into my brains list of ‘remember this sneakey bugger’ kanji.

Do you guys have times like this with any of your areas of study, and have you learned to actually enjoy it to some degree?


I would not say that i like making mistakes, but clearing items i have gotten wrong more than a hundred times brings me a sense of accomplishment that i could never get if i had not faced that hardship. :sweat_smile:


Hahaha yessss, I know that feeling all too well.

I am working increadibly hard re-wiring my initial negative response to making mistakes by trying to feel appreciation for SRS systems working as intended and helping me learn but it sure sometimes is difficult.

Glad to hear that you guys are managing to do so as that gives me hope :slight_smile:


If making mistakes is fun then I’m having the time of my life here with daily doses of humility. I tend to do better when grinding the early SRS stages, just letting it recirculate over and over (and over :unamused:) no matter how humuliating. Eventually, there is always a breakthrough and that is fun. But I’ve found it’s better to get your patience tested early, temper that sword if you will and not just push it forward as ‘good enough’ towards new content for best learning experience. Sometimes that too is not enough since I’ve had to recirculate items I thought I knew because I fulfilled the SRS, just because there was a lapse in exposure or grasp hinged on a particular nuance or context…usually it’s in my brain somewhere and it’s fun to be able to be reminded (‘oh yeah, I remember that but it’s been a while’ :blush:…but if I should have known with a recent correct SRS but missed in the wild, [email protected]#$ :rage:). Recognition versus production are different animals too so unless I can understand in realtime and express it myself accurately, I consider it work in progress no matter how good comprehension until I can say ‘I unequivocally know this’.


Yeah not getting angry at yourself for forgetting things when that is the whole point of SRS is a very difficult thing to learn how to do. I also have times that I don’t notice something in the wild that I do actually already know. Usually it isn’t cause I don’t recognize it, but because my brain is just completely switched off to understanding anything even remotely difficult at that specific moment haha.


I’m sometimes happy with the useful realisations that come from making mistakes. For example ぴちぴち wouldn’t settle in my memory and so I would often check to make sure I remembered it correctly whenever I’d hear it. Then I came across it in the context of fishing “(fish) jumping around energetically (e.g. when caught in a net)​” and the broader meaning also became easy to remember. And so I realised that focusing on the first or most common meaning I’d heard for a word , in this case “Energetic”, sometimes makes memorisation harder and that I’d be better off picking a more memorable ideally visual meaning.

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When I can’t remember, I get frustrated. What can I say? I’m a pretty base human.

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I think the best lessons for me are the ones when I’ve made mistakes when speaking. It’s even more embarrassing when they didn’t correct me, because I walk away all smug thinking I had an impressive conversation. Then a couple weeks later I realize I didn’t say something correctly.

It makes it likely that I won’t make that mistake again. So I don’t know if it’s actually a joyous experience for me. But I am thankful I can get something out of it.

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オノマトペ is something I really struggle with. I don’t know if your choice is just a random example, but for me unless I hear those words mannnny times they just go in one ear and out the other haha.

Edit: Actually I usually remember them when I hear them, but I find them one of the most difficult words to actually ‘use’ naturally myself.


I have this same issue. What compounds it further is that when I read (light novels, etc.), I tend to skip over the オノマトペ I’m not familiar with as most of the time you can easily interpret the sentence without them. It’s a bad habit that I need to curb. :pensive:

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