Japanese learning background
1985-7 - Our family hosted a pair of Japanese high school girls for a fortnight during each of my last 3 summers at home - this got me interested in Japanese culture and language.
1995-7 - Studied Japanese at uni for the last two years of my degree in Applied Linguistics.
1998 - moved to Japan and worked for an English language academy in the Fujigoko area for 3 1/2 years. The expectation that I speak English all the time at work, along with the fact that local Japanese classes were at the same time as my work hours stunted my learning Passed the JPLT N4 in 2001, back when there were only 4 levels.
2002 - Started working at a local Buddhist high school, where I was required to speak Japanese at all times except in the classroom
2003 - Left Japan and slowly began to forget a lot of what I’d learned
2017 - Discovered Wanikani ! Had a bumpy, stop-start thing going for the first 20 months (I had anxiety issues), including a reset from lvl 17 to 2 (don’t reset!) , but now seem to be settled into a sustainable pace finally.
[Public Service Announcement: “New Wanikiani users - please, please read the WK guide”]
I am enhancing my WK user experience greatly by using the following 3rd party sites/scripts:
WK Stats Page:
- an excellent configurable website by rfindley that lets you see your accuracy, progress, and all the study items at their various SRS stages. Access it here.
This is what my dashboard currently looks like:
…and these are the scripts I am using:
To supplement/augment lessons and reviews:
The most important filtre for me is the Wanikani Lesson Filtre which allows you to set exactly how many of each item type you want in each lesson, as well as overriding WKs batch size limit of 10.
Jitai (字体): The font randomizer that fits
During reviews, this script cycles through various kanji fonts, helping you become accustomed to seeing the same kanji in different scripts.
WaniKani Similar Kanji
Shows similar kanji on the item’s page so you can study the small differences
To help me visualise my progress and workload:
This script also celebrates other milestones regarding numbers of burned or enlightened items.
To deal with leeches:
This isn’t actually a script, but a great little webpage to give extra practice on new items and older items that haven’t yet stuck i.e. leeches.
I am also sometimes using the BishBashBosh+ script which adds a couple of useful extra features to the original page, but can be a bit buggy.
Other online resources
Jisho - an online En/Jp dictionary: https://jisho.org/
ichi.moe - a webpage that helps parse Japanese sentences: https://ichi.moe/
DeepL Translator - when I’m not sure if I’ve got the gist of something I’m reading with the bookclub (much better than Google translate), https://www.deepl.com/translator
Yeah, I’m old, I still do most of my studies with those rectangular, layered, dead-tree things…
On a more serious note, studies show that the physicality of putting pen to paper is a better aide to memory than typing.
Basic Kanji Book II
A writing practice book for learning strokes, readings and usage.
Shin Nihongo no Kiso II
This text is unlike many language texts in that it is aimed at overseas workers in Japan, so deals with business situations and is focused on polite adult Japanese grammar.
Additional book resources
I use Henshall’s A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters which is both an etymological dictionary and a mnemonics guide, though I use it largely for the former.
I find I often better remember the meaning of a radical or kanji when I can understand how it came to be.
I use A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar and sometimes Intermediate which the Tofugu team highly recommends - detailed review, including photos, here.
I joined the Graded Readers and Parallel Texts “Book Club” and have been making my way through level 1 books when I’m not reading with the わんにゃん探偵団 Bookclub.
All available Graded Readers
There are 5 different publishers of the graded readers, which can make things a little confusing, but the Tadoku Supporters website has a page of cover images for all books with audio, in order of level here - all have links to sample pages.
There is also a list of free Tadoku books here with links
Native Reading Material
N/A - next book to start in 2021/01
I use OneNote to keep most of my electronic resources (PDFs, MP3s, links, e-notes) in one place; the most used pages are my weekly and quarterly study plans.