kenizl86 dot com

September 2022 Update Part 2

19 Sep, 2022

BOOM! Part 2 is rockin' and rollin'! No intro, just more WORDS!!!!

Japanese and Immersion

I had fallen off the wagon again with my immersion, which I am apparently apt to do. It was close to a month when I got back on it again. After considering it for a bit, there was a common thread I think I had failed to grasp when I was starting all this: I needed legitimate minimum goals and set them in such a way that they can be easily completed, and tracked in a way that didn’t feel burdensome. I won’t bore you with the details of how I had been keeping track of my immersion and Japanese study time in the past, but what I will say is it was somewhat tedious and required too much effort on my part to keep it consistent. Honestly, compared to other people what I was doing was basic stuff. But there’s one thing you have to understand about me: I am incredibly lazy.


So I finally settled on something that I knew I could do to keep myself consistent at my immersion, and I also decided that for now immersion would be my focus. I decided to leave Anki alone for now, because I find it far too monotonous and straight-up boring. Even if my reviews were down to 20 min, it was 20 min of sadness and sleepiness. I seriously couldn’t find a time of day that it didn’t make me want to either fall asleep or get so fidgety I could barely focus.

I also adjusted how I managed my immersion. I streamlined my process and set simple rules in place for myself so I wouldn’t get so overwhelmed that I would decide to do something else instead of it. Because aside from just immersing there’s all the management that goes on behind the scenes (at least when you’re trying to do it as close to free as possible). For those of you unaware, let me share my process to, say, watch an anime. Almost all of my immersion material is operating on my unRAID server I built myself and which I manage myself. The names of things here reference either tools or software I use to manage everything. If there’s enough interest, perhaps I’ll write an article all about it:

And after all that I’m ready to immerse. I’ve got the English subs in case I need some help and I’ve got the Jap subs for TOTAL IMMERSION ACTION. However, that’s for one show. I have to do this FOR EVERY SHOW. Now I can hear you asking “but kenizl, why not just use Netflix?” That would be a good question, but here’s the problem with that:

  1. Netflix doesn’t have every anime I’m interested in (like Usagi Drop (at the time of writing))
  2. Netflix shows different content for different regions, and even if they had a Japanese show in the Americas they will only have the English subs and not the Japanese subs
  3. Netflix hated my NordVPN Japan connection and got the point where every 3 minutes it was kicking me off. It would do this with any VPN I tried.
  4. Netflix wants my money for all of eternity

So after fighting with Netflix for like 2 months, I said screw this, you ain’t gettin' my money no mo'. So I went this route since I was already working on my own server anyway. Now to be 100% fair, this whole scheme I have now probably set me back close to $700, which is 100 months of the basic Netflix, and I still have to pay NordVPN to do all of this AHEM finding online. Well, it would have been 100 months but while I was trying to get Netflix to work they were like “hey, we need more money, so congratulations your subscription is $2 more”. Yeah, screw you Netflix. But to also be fair, you could feasibly do all that I’m doing cheaper, I just decided to spend $400 on a server that can probably stream 10 shows simultaneously to 10 houses across the world, which is waaaaaaaaaaay more than what I use it for. So you could do all of this for much cheaper, especially if all you did was had a laptop and kept all of it locally there.

ANYWAYS! All that aside, this is the course I’m going so I might as well keep going. There was an important rule I made to make all of this management easier and less stressful, because the above example was for a relatively benign process. Sometimes shows would misbehave, but here’s the rule I made:

If it takes more than a simple time adjustment, a simple fix in SubtitleEdit or using the Subtitle Match tool, then just don’t attach Japanese subtitles.

Because one thing I discovered was that watching RAW anime was way better for my listening skills anyway. Comprehension plummeted but my ears would perk up to the language easier when I didn’t have subs to rely on. So I utilized this fact to make this rule. This has been a huge boon. Makes things more loosey goosey.

wiggly arms

Speaking of loosey goosey, here’s my minimum rule I set to make it easier to attain my immersion (because often I’d get too intimidated by time measurements or sheer amount of work required):

Two episodes of a show, 5 pages of manga or 1 hour of radio.

The difference between this and something like “50 min of anime” is subtle but important. Previously, I had time measurements for everything and I had reading, listening and watching requirements. Now, they’re all bundled into one. Also, “50 min of anime” was oddly enough too vague. Instead, 2 episodes is far more manageable (it’s a difference in semantics, 50 is a big number while 2 is tiny, even though it’s literally the same thing. That mental hurdle is important). This way, I can also mix and match. Did I watch 1 episode, read 3 pages and listen for 20 min? Sweet. DONE. Did I watch 5 episodes today? SUPER DONE. I am now no longer concerned on exactly how much I’ve consumed and instead am focusing on just the minimum, but if I’m able to and I’m having fun I’ll go A and B the C of D (that’s Above and Beyond the Call of Duty for all of you Redwall fans). This was mostly an adjustment in mindset more-so than anything else.

There’s only one last thing that I’d like to discuss here, and it’s the way in which I watch anime or dramas. Previously I had it in my mind that I could only watch anything new in Japanese for immersion or it was something I had watched a while ago with English subtitles that I could then rewatch. This proved far too stressful. I was rapidly running out of viable shows, especially since this way necessitated I have Jap subs for EVERY SINGLE SHOW which, as you’ve now seen, meant FAR TOO MUCH WORK. Now I don’t worry about that as much. If I were to put it into a rule, it would probably be:

Watch the shows I want to watch in English, then rewatch it later for immersion, unless it’s a show I don’t care to know the story for in which case just watch it for immersion and have fun with the ambiguity.

An important thing to note with all of this is that none of my anime are dubbed. This WILL NOT WORK WHEN TRYING TO IMMERSE, because there is nothing to immerse with. Just wanted to notate that.

So far this system has proven to be good to me. I am not 100% consistent, and I’ve been finding it’s simply because that’s who I am. I’m very wishy-washy with things all too often. I use a little app that lets you keep a visual count of the days you keep “habits”, but here I’m using it to track if I’ve met my 2/5/1 rule or not. It’s not stressful, but it does help keep me on track if I see that it just so happened that a week went by without immersing. Just a gentle reminder, which is more my speed.


Heh, yeah. I started a YouTube channel. I’ve actually had a kenizl86 channel for years, but I only uploaded some piano videos to it about 10 years ago now. But that’s not the channel I’m talking about. I made a different channel. This was a channel I just decided one night I would make and just… do something with. It was very experimental. Let me explain.

So for a while I’ve been wanting to do a channel that focused on reviewing, discussing, showcasing gameplay of and paying homage to dead Trading Card Games (TCG’s) and other lesser-known board games as well. The thing is, I was always too stressed out about everything I needed to do to make it a “good” channel. There’s so much pressure put onto new creators on YouTube these days for it to be well curated, scripted, shot and edited, that it’s difficult for a person like myself who likes to overthink things and agonize over imperfections (even though I know things shouldn’t be perfect and don’t need to be; it’s a real pickle I put myself in). So I was sitting there one day when I thought “I’m tired of waiting around to open this product I have until I have everything figured out to make a ‘perfect’ channel” and then I was like “wait, I can do an unboxing channel!" But then I was like “oh yeah, most of those channels have intros and talking and blah blah blah” but then I thought about it some more and I realized “hey, I actually hate it when I just want to see what’s in the damn box and they won’t shut up and show what’s in the box already”.

And thus Cardboard Cracking was born. I did exactly what I wanted in a simple unboxing video:

It was as barebones as I could make it, and surprisingly it was very freeing and fun. So for the first 15 videos I made a new one every other day (so basically 2 weeks), then for the next 21 I put out 3 videos a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Now I wasn’t spot on with some of those, but it all came together in the end.

Cardboard Cracking Logo

I haven’t posted since video 36 (about a month ago) for a few reasons:

  1. Was starting to run out of product and I’m not made of money
  2. I was getting busy with some other things
  3. It was starting to become not as fun anymore, very formulaic
  4. I put too much pressure on myself with Video 34

These are all true, but it’s the last point that pretty much killed it. Video 34 was a teaser video I made to promote the “new” channel I was going to make, this is the REAL channel I had in mind from the start. It was a teaser showing that the first game I’d be covering in the first series of the new channel was Android Netrunner, a game I hold very dear to my heart. I was fired up to do it, I got a shotlist ready, recorded some B-roll, got some gameplay footage, did some research for it, and even wrote a script.

But then I stopped. I began to think of how I would have to upload to a schedule, about all the metrics and expectations, I began to agonize over all the work it was going to take. So I stopped. I still have all those things I made, but they’re just sitting around, waiting to be made into the “Overview” video which would introduce the game, the history behind it and what it personally meant to me. I planned on making it in the style of Rhystic Studies, a YouTuber I very much enjoy, and whose style I felt matched what my inner-eye’s vision was of my videos.

But alas, there the resources sit on my server, waiting to be birthed. The thing is though, I don’t think I’ll be doing much with either channel now. That does sadden me, but I also realize there’s many things I can’t do, and this is now just one of them (well, two of them I guess). One of my reasons for making Cardboard Cracking though was for archival. I wanted at least someone to have what the contents of a Wyvern pack looked like, what the heck the manual was like for Hyborian Gates, and what a weird printing system Guardians had. And I accomplished that. I am content.

That said, there may be a space for it later, in the future, down the road, around the bend, near other analogies, but for now it’s being shelved. Maybe I’ll bring a more raw, slapdash version of my vision to the kenizl86 channel, one that subverts my own expectations in much the same way Cardboard Cracking did.

The takeaway for this tale? Don’t keep doing something you don’t enjoy anymore. And don’t feel obligated to do things that aren’t coming from a place of interest and fun. Sometimes you have to do these things, yes, but if this is just a side-thing that you’re doing (like the channels), then you are not obligated to keep doing it because “the internet said so”. Phooey on them.

Le Fin

Whew. Man. That was a LOT of words. Thanks for coming with me on my blabbering journey! All two parts of it! It definitely feels good to post again. Hopefully I don’t run out of article ideas. I do have a crazy idea for something very dumb, which involves me creating a Twitter account… so… maybe don’t be surprised I have more ridiculously silly things planned for the future???

Anyways! Peace my broskis and siskis! (that did NOT pan out how I hoped it would)

kenizl86 out!