#Clearthelist: Language goals & Japanese Movies recommendations

In April I took many planes, a few boats and spent some time away, one week back home in Bologna and 4 days in Visby to visit my boyfriend. It was not always possible to follow a consistent study routine: every second spent with loved ones who live far away has the priority.

How did it go last month?

Using Asana to schedule my studies helped me a lot with keeping track of what I had to do, making it much easier to get things done. Also, I practised a bit of writing in my target languages joining the #IGLC, Instagram language challenge.

I did well with Swedish and accomplished pretty much all of my goals. I noticed a lot of progress, especially with reading. Of course spending some days in Sweden with a Swede, practising conversation and pronunciation, was a big help.

I’m satisfied with French studies too: I read some useful posts on Bonjour Marie and a few articles about the presidential elections – scary times uh.
I watched one movie and got great recommendations in the comments of April’s Clearthelist, so I’m sorted with French flicks for a while!

In Japanese, I wrote a few posts on Instagram and watched some movies. Except for this, I’ve really been struggling and I’ve been looking for a reason why it’s happening. I think I’m close to an answer, but I’ll write about it in a different post.

Language goals for February 2017

Movie recommendations

I watched one sweet animation movie in French, Tout en haut du monde. It follows a strong and determined girl through her adventure towards the North Pole on the traces of her grandfather, a famous explorer. It’s nice to see such an independent female character, who doesn’t need a hero to save her, especially in a movie for a younger audience.

Japanese movies

A Country Doctor (カフカ 田舎医者 Kafuka: Inaka Isha), based on the tale by Franz Kafka, is a short movie by Kōji Yamamura that won him the prestigious Ōfuji Noburō Award. It captures amazingly the atmosphere of Kafka’s writing and you can watch it on YouTube. Recommended for a rainy day.

I looked forward to checking out Shin Gojira シン・ゴジラ and wow: Hideaki Anno (creator of Neon Genesis Evangelion) made the best Godzilla movie since the great original from 1954. An impressive monster, a strong political message and a much-needed reflection on Japan, its society and its relationship with America: EPIC result.

Flavour of green tea over rice (お茶漬けの味 Ochazuke no aji) by Yasujiro Ozu is a classic. It is the delicate portray of marital difficulties in a Japanese couple, an intimate look inside a family and its dynamics and a peek at youth unwilling to follow old traditions. Ozu is one of Japan’s finest directors, so his work is always worth your time.

Finally an old favourite, A Scene at the Sea (あの夏、いちばん静かな海 Ano natsu ichiban shizukana umi) by Takeshi Kitano. It’s the tale about a deaf-mute couple: a boy willing to learn how to surf and his supportive girlfriend. Silence prevails over words here, so not much language to pick up, but nonetheless a beautiful movie. Kitano pays homage to the sea, the real protagonist of this film, with a melancholic declaration of love.

For more recommendations check out my Japanese cinema board on Pinterest.

Goals for May


As things worked well last month I’ll just go in the same way:

  • 100 words on Memrise – Swedish deck 5
  • 1 lesson a week on Babbel (*) and 1 lesson a week on Learningswedish.se
  • 2 hours of music per week, 2 movies per month
  • 30 minutes of reading a week
  • Practice writing, conversation and pronunciation weekly
  • Read and comment one article or blog post per week
  • Watch 2 movies per month

I’m definitely stuck here. This month I’ll concentrate on why this is happening and what I can do to overcome it.

I’ll engage in activities I enjoy: every week I’m going to listen to 5 songs and sing along (yay for songs with subtitles) and watch one movie. Maybe it’s even time to organise a karaoke night with my Japan geek girlfriends?

Hopefully next month I’ll have some good news on my Japanese studies. Fingers crossed!

Disclaimer: some links in this post are affiliates, which means that if you buy something through them I get a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting Hitoritabi. 🙂

I’m Elena Gabrielli, introvert, grammar geek & proud Ravenclaw :)
I’m on a journey to help introverts and other quiet learners make language learning into a tool for self-care (and keep anxiety out of it).


  1. 5th May 2017 / 6:51 pm

    Merci pour la mention Elena! Your goals for the month seems well defined and realistic. What kind of Swedish material do you read? Is it mostly online or do you have good books recommandations? Keep us posted on your May goals!

    • Elena
      6th May 2017 / 10:00 am

      Hi Marie! For now I’m still at beginner level, so I’m reading kids comics like Bamse 🙂 I think I will try and check 8 Sidor soon to see if I can understand enough. Thank you and good luck with your studies!

  2. 6th May 2017 / 12:41 am

    I’m excited about your Japanese movie recommendations and added them to my list! Thanks for making them. Best to you with your goals for this month. Thanks so much for joining us.

    • Elena
      6th May 2017 / 10:01 am

      Hi Shannon, I hope you’ll enjoy some of these movies! Good luck with all of your goals for May.

  3. 8th May 2017 / 9:43 am

    It’s so great that you share your Japanese movie recommendations. I’ll remember to come back here when I finally come around to learning Japanese.

    Good luck with this month’s list. Keep up the good work.

    • Elena
      8th May 2017 / 3:43 pm

      Thank you Angel! As I watch so many Japanese movies I thought to share a bit of knowledge. 🙂
      Good luck with your goals for May!

  4. 12th May 2017 / 6:00 pm

    It’s wonderful to have a true movie lover among us 🙂 I love watching movies but I’m always bad at finding ideas about new movies to watch. Definitely picking up the recommendation and checking out the French film, if I can find it somewhere!
    I hope you can come up with a diagnosis and start working to find the cure for your Japanese problems. Sometimes it can seem like there is no way forward – but there always is; your absolutely right to pause and look for reasons!
    And I’m happy that things are going well with Swedish and French! Best of luck for your May!

    • Elena
      13th May 2017 / 6:45 pm

      Hello Tiia!
      I’m trying to watch more movies as I’ve been neglecting this passion of mine in the past few months. I already watched a few good ones so more recommendations are on the way for the end of the month 🙂
      Thank you for the encouraging words, I hope too I’ll soon find a solution for my crisis with Japanese! Good luck with all of your goals for this month!