Many people responded with encouragement—my favorite was “A year later, you speak more Japanese than me!”
As with many things in life, push past the wall and things change. It’s been only a couple of weeks since my lament, and suddenly Japanese is starting to feel more natural. (I’m using Pimsleur, by the way.)
I see everyday occurrences and the Japanese phrases for them are readily available. In spare moments here and there, other Japanese words and phrases pop up spontaneously—sometimes I have to look them up to remind myself what they mean. It’s as if a Japanese person is waking up inside me and trying to communicate.
That’s pretty cool—like I’m some sort of Japanese butterfly.