先日 Meaning Question, and Other Leeches

Hello everyone! Quick question about 先日, and leeches in general. I’m struggling to burn this one because once I get far enough with it, I start writing it’s meaning as “recently” over and over again, when its actually “the other day”. These two meanings are fairly close, but not exactly. It’s starting to make me angry. The question applies to other leeches, as well, but at what point do I say “okay, that’s close enough, I get the gist of it, move on.”? I really need to maintain my moral and momentum, which has been slow but steady lately, and I feel like letting small things like this trip me up is silly. But I also don’t want to let myself learn false meanings.

Does that make sense? Anyone have advice for me?

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I am the same with this exact vocabulary, I kept doing it as the day before.

The way I tried to crack it is by looking and saying previous day (as this is the main translation of each kanji) is not today therefore it’s the other day… I hope that makes sense.

I honestly hate leeches, and I have no trick for getting past them, so interested to hear what other people recommend.

Good luck x

The best thing to unclock these is to encounter them in lots and lots of contexts while reading. Other than that I don’t know. So maybe your “good enough it will sort itself out later when reading” is the way to go here.

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Would it help if you remembered that 最近 is “lately/recently” so since you already have that, then 先日 would be “the other day/a few days ago”? That’s kinda how I do it. Or maybe that since it has “day” in it, it’s talking about a certain day, whereas “lately/recently” is more general. But yeah as you read more and encounter it more, it should start to sort itself out

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You are the only judge on how strict you want to be with yourself. “Recently” and “the other day” are not exact synonyms, but as you say, they are close enough, and really understanding the nuance, as @downtimes points out, will only come from encountering the word in the wild, not from learning it on its own.
I have been lenient with myself with some meanings that were only close enough, but I took other factors into consideration too - was the word a common one, was my close-enough interpretation likely to lead to misunderstanding, was the word one that I didn’t very accurately use even in my own language? There are about 6000 words in Wanikani - there’s no way you will accurately remember each one of them from Wanikani alone - not after a while has passed. Only encountering them in context will take care of that.

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“Previous day” normally sounds like yesterday, but why would you say it in such a roundabout way when you can say yesterday? So that means we must go deeper, therefore, the other day

Not exactly sure if it is a good advice, but I usually look up Explanation, Synonyms / Comparable words, and Collocations, as well. I used to make this [Userscript] WaniKani External Definition from Weblio (JP) and Kanjipedia, but I guess this one works too. [userscript]: Additional resource links + Stroke Order

About getting the examples, it is always to best if you both encounter and appreciate the context, (which is usually the case if you find it in the wild). You can use this one, [Userscript]: Anime Context Sentences if you like it. You can also use Youglish Japanese as an alternative. (Apparently, Youglish has rewindable-and-continuous audio and video, but no UserScript. The written part / subtitle might be of lower quality as well.)

I see that seeing in the wild is something different from picking up explanation from a dictionary. They just complement each other, like making up for alternative meanings and expanding the view beyond the usage in current wild context.

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Thanks everyone, that helps a lot. It’s given me some to think about.

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I’m not sure if this is a derail or not, but i have exactly the same problem with この前. I always, every time, answer “before now”. But it is, and let me check again to be sure, “the other day”. Arghhhhh so frustrating. It is now back in apprentice after getting it wrong two reviews in a row.

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Me too! I haven’t figured out how to reliably remember that one yet

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I always answer this as “Recently” and also often get it confused with 先日.