The Impact of Burnout





Somewhat continuing from my previous post , the feeling of burnout from these past few weeks has been strong. As expected, the burnout has been causing a lot of exhaustion and loss of motivation to complete many tasks. Honestly, I am placing less amount of effort into my studies, and have generally been in favor of resting in my bed over going out. Out of all the inconveniences my burnout has caused, however, is the feeling of being unmotivated to speak Japanese. You would think that, because I’ve been speaking it since January, that I would be used to speaking Japanese, right? This is true to an extent, as in I’ve become used to using daily expressions in Japanese, such as talking about a weekend or making plans. However, being on the constant cycle of speaking Japanese, as well as learning new vocabulary and grammar almost every day, is what I think has caused my brain to shut down at times. It isn’t speaking Japanese that has necessarily caused the exhaustion, but rather the constant intake of new information, as well as digesting all of that information.

Having to cope with this has made speaking and thinking Japanese pretty difficult for me, to the point where I have been speaking to friends in English more often than ever before within the duration of the program (our program allows us to speak in English to others in private spaces, as well as write in English, but other than that, we are required to speak Japanese at all times). Despite this, continuing to engage with others in Japanese, I think, is essential at times like these. Shutting yourself away from Japanese because you’re sick and tired of it is okay to do for one or two nights, but not for a week. In broader terms, it isn’t the best option to run away from what’s bothering you. This is something I want to avoid, especially during my time abroad.

In order to work around this feeling, I’ve tried engaging with my interests in anime (Japanese animation) and Japanese dramas and movies. Even if I won’t want to speak Japanese outside of class, hearing it through these media sources allows me to practice my Japanese comprehension while also, in a sense, take a break from studying the language. In addition to this, I follow a fair amount of Japanese artists online, who tend to post comics that are entirely Japanese. Rather than scroll past them, I’ll to my best to read through the comic and get a sense of what’s going on in the story.

Artists at a manga (Japanese comic) museum in Kyoto. Along with anime, I also have an interest in manga. Visiting this museum allowed me to practice reading Japanese while also having a great time learning about manga’s history and international impact.

I plan to continue using these methods until the end of the program so I can still enjoy being surrounded by Japanese without associating it with my academics. By that point, hopefully my motivation will come back to me to push me through the last few tasks my program has to offer.