所蔵 (しょぞう) Shozo's Study Blog (update on my brain diagnosis....)

Thank you to @Mythic_Bean for suggesting I start a study blog. I hope it is helpful as I do love writing - I did a lot of it in graduate school and as a therapist! For those of you who happened across my introduction yesterday, thank you for your support as well! Below is a link, but I will summarize it up with some added details as well.

My Introduction

I like to describe myself as a “hermit” - and I think that is a fairly accurate description. I chose “Shozo” as my name because it is the name of a character in one of my favorite Japanese video games, Shenmue. He, himself, is a homeless person that lives at a harbor and wishes not to be bothered. I identify with him almost too well. I have a plethora of mental health diagnoses that keep me sidelined from the outside world and wishing not to be bothered, one of which is Agoraphobia. I do not use social media, I do not watch or binge movies or series, and worst of all I have stopped all communication with every wonderful friend I’ve made in my 36 years. It makes little sense to most people aside from my therapist, but it is the reality of my life and brings me the most contentment that life can offer me at this time. Alright, moving on?

I disclosed in my introduction that a recent MRI revealed that my brain is much smaller than that of a 36 year old brain should be. Like, 20 years difference was the description of my Neurologist. I did obtain a graduate degree in Social Work, excelled my way up the ranks as a licensed therapist and it eventually ended when I was a hospital program manager in 2020 as the reality of my life took over and began to set in. I could type on this topic endlessly, but this is not what I am here for!

I want to to study and learn Japanese for many reasons, one of which is to keep my brain sharp as I go through more testing for memory issues. I have always been an experiential learner, so I suspect this will be a very slow and difficult process, but I hope a fun one for a hermit. I did not excel in languages in schooling, nor did I excel in mathematics, which is often linked to language learning in a classroom and from books. I guess I’ll have to wait and see?

WaniKani is my baseline beginner’s exploration of this, and the SRS seems like a good match for my goal of keeping my brain sharp. I also have been introduced to many other resources that my mom’s friend knew of. All things told, I’m on the path.

Japanese culture, its antiques and antiquity, calligraphy, Shintoism, and the desire to read it are why I want to learn it. The reason I had the MRI of my brain to begin with is because I was diagnosed with an “essential tremor,” resulting in my handwriting to become very poor amongst other things. My dreams of writing in Japanese may be over with, but reading basic and novice Manga would be a very satisfying and realistic long term goal, so that is what I am aiming for! To visit Japan as a self described “hermit” and with my plethora of other issues may be a stretch, but hey, it could happen someday!

Just about done with my first set of radicals! I’ve learned NOT to do lessons on my phone unless I’m prepared to do them slowly, as my tremor caused me to misspell “nine” today and I got it wrong. Oh well, my diagnosis of OCD can take that tiny hit without too much fuss :laughing:

Again, if you made it this far, thank you for reading Shozo’s Study Blog “Part One?” :slight_smile:


Best of luck with everything! I really enjoy reading study blogs as they always motivate me!!

If you are looking to do reviews on your phone, and have an iPhone…you can download an app that will sync to your account! I use Tsurukame, and if I misspell a word it still accepts it as correct, which I really (really) aprreciate! You can also override an incorrect answer to be correct, too. There are other apps that work for android (such as Jakeipuu), I’m just not sure if they accept errors. Hope this helps!


You got this Shozo!


That is great to know and definitely something I will look into today, as I do use a rather outdated iPhone! Now that I’m starting some Kanji I’m realizing I need to review my Hiragana and Katakana a bit more before I do the first set of lessons, so that is my goal today. I have a few apps for that, one that I like in particular. Once I am more settled with those I will do the lessons and then prepare for the failures :sweat_smile: Thanks Eli !


Thanks again for the support Mythic_Bean! It definitely means a lot when people are around to cheer you on with their experiences. Especially as a “home body!” :derelict_house:



So, obviously I cheated to say “Hello everyone!” above (not even sure it’s correct?), but I’ve finally found some time to relax and focus on some Japanese learning after an intense day or two.

I made it to my first Kanji lessons! Not “too, too” scary, but knowing that this is just the tip of an enormous iceberg is rather intimidating.

I like books. I have some suggested books for beginners that I think I’ll crack open before bed tonight. For those of you that know of these, what do you all think of:

  • Minna no Nihongo (the red one)

  • Minna no Nihongo “Elementary Japanese - Translation & Grammar Notes” (the yellow one)

  • All About Particles

  • Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication

I’m assuming the red Minna no Nihongo is where I should begin, but I obviously need some suggestions to aid my WaniKani learning as well. I have been using Tae Kim’s Guide and I’m waiting a little bit to begin watching Cure Dolly on YouTube, but I like her way of teaching.

Anyhow, I hope you are all doing well today. As a former therapist I would always suggest my patients try and end their day on a positive note. Tonight mine will be some Japanese! :slight_smile:




How exciting is it to be starting a new language from scratch! You’ll soon be reading and writing, and kanji was a great place to start.

Back when I began, I was stuck between Minna no Nihongo and the Genki series for textbooks because I was unsure which to choose. I wavered back and forth because there were rave reviews about them both, but I eventually settled on Genki for learning because the Japanese-only approach to Minna was a little intimidating for me. If Minna works out well for you, that’s amazing!! But I just wanted to let you know that the Genki texts are a great alternative if you find yourself needing some explanations in English.

Some methods I used when I first started that I still laud to this day:

  1. Handwritten hiragana/katakana flashcards (something about doing it by hand… it sticks faster)
  2. Practice real-world reading by dropping a Google streetview pin anywhere in Japan (I still do this today, it’s so fun!)
  3. Use your phone’s voice memo app (or something similar) to record yourself speaking vocabulary words aloud - this will make you cringe SO HARD!! But post-cringe you’ll be able to say “Okay, that syllable was really nasal” and correct yourself before bad speaking habits set in

Please stick with it! Learning Japanese has been such a fun adventure for me and I’m so excited for your new journey.

ToKini Andy made a pretty good video about learning Japanese from scratch that I think you may enjoy:



First of all, thank you for ALL of that! Super heart :heavy_heart_exclamation:

I have never been a great book learner, nor a great reader (despite the graduate degree). However, experiential I excel at, and I need not to be afraid to ask questions on this forum, as I am in all reality a hermit due to my Agoraphobia. I think I also made an… oops? with my red version of Minna no Nihongo… because I just noticed the entire thing is in Japanese? The second edition is in English. Anyway, that aside, I will take note of all your suggestions that sound very innovative and great! I would find a few things about them “cringeworthy” - 1. If you happened to read my intro or the beginning of this study blog, I have some neurological conditions, one of which is an impairment known as an “essential tremor.” My handwriting has always been poor, and a huge part of my dream of learning Japanese one day was to practice calligraphy, but I must resign to the fact that even writing out flash cards may be an issue as my tremor worsens because my English is bad enough already! 2. Yes, it’s always gross hearing your own voice audio to begin with, I can only imagine what mine would sound like trying to pronounce Japanese! :laughing: Either way, great suggestion! The Google Street View pin idea is super innovative. I will definitely give it a shot, and watch this fellow’s video as well. I’ve heard so much about this resource and that resource that I think I just need to find my own “personal resource magnet,” so to speak, with what begins to work for me and stick with it. I know WaniKani only gets you so far with Kanji and Vocabulary learning, over an extensive period of time for most I would imagine. But in the midst of it all I would like to fill in the spaces. I set my goals for Japanese (and all things) very realistically, as I would suggest my patients to do. To be able to read most basic of Manga for the first time ever is that goal. I’ve never even read it in English, but it has always attracted my curiosity! The the idea of starting off in Japanese seems realistic and manageable, however long it may take. And, I imagine a lot of my learning will come from that as well!

Thank you so much for the reply, @taiyousea

I hope to また、ね!as well! (cheated there as well :wink:)

P.S. Shozo is actually a Japanese name, or word, meaning “place” (according to Google Translate, not Jisho). So, wouldn’t it be written in Hiragana and not Katakana? しょぞ - Shozo - or - しょぞさん - Mr. Shozo?


Personally I really liked Minna no Nihongo! I successfully completed both beginner’s books, and have now moved on to Tobira. I wrote up a long post about my experience with MNN. Feel free to ask in there if you start using the book and have questions!

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Okay! First question: Is the red book supposed to be in complete Japanese or did I order / was I sent the wrong version? :laughing: The yellow second book is in English, and I would imagine the first one should be as well, but it’s in complete 100% Japanese!

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Yes, the red book is entirely in Japanese! The yellow book is the only one in English. It’s a little intimidating at first, but I think you’ll get used to how it works! If you look at the post I linked above, I explain my personal strategy for navigating the textbook.


Awesome thanks @fallynleaf !!! :slight_smile:


Hey now! I just got to level 2! And wow I was so ready for it and BAM - 50 lessons right off the bat :astonished: Anyway I slogged through them and just wanted to update you all on my progress. And again, thanks to @fallynleaf for informing me that I did indeed receive the correct version of MNN red book, and I will check out their link about how to navigate it more tomorrow as it is almost time for bed.

As always, thank you for any helpful hints and tips along the way!

And most importantly, take care of yourselves - 行ってらっしゃい :slight_smile:

Below is a link to what I posted in @fallynleaf 's really long and helpful post!


Today I was blasted with new radicals, kanji, and vocab. As someone diagnosed with OCD, I thought failing an answer would trigger me a lot, but I can see how it’s actually helping me by not being “perfect.” It’s literally impossible for me in any testing situation anyway, but the more times I get something wrong and smash my forehead with my hand just solidifies it more (ideally).

I like that it doesn’t “automatically” show you the correct answer when you get it wrong, but it’s bothering to me when I have to type a wrong answer purposely, simply because I am certain I do not know the answer. I vote for an “Okay, I give up!” button :laughing: I come up with my own mnemonics most of the time, so really I just want to see the answer and not the huge amount of text that is sometimes helpful to know, and sometimes just… a huge amount of text :orangutan:

That’s all for today! :slight_smile:


Concussion speedrun any%


Question: For those of you that know about / use these “user scripts” I see in posts, what are they like? Is it like cheating in a sense, or can they just be helpful? I don’t want to cheat the system or break my brain trying to figure them out when WaniKani already has a tried and true method and format. (a.k.a. I grew up in the computer generation and know very little about things such as that anyway :sweat_smile:)


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You can cheat with some userscripts, yes (double check and reorder scripts in particular are notorious for getting misused). But that’s generally not what they’re designed to do. I personally really like them and probably would not have gotten to level 60 without them because I think they add a lot of value to the site (there are many scripts that only add additional content and don’t alter core features), and they can help facilitate more flexibility and consistency with your study plan.

All of the scripts that I use(d) are in my level 60 thread if you want my personal recommendations, though there are many other scripts out there, too.


Wow you are like, the WaniKani new comer extraordinaire! Thank you so much @fallynleaf :smiley:


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So, question about Anki - How does it actually work / how do you get the most out of it? Are there decks you can download / input for novice learning and thereafter? I looked into the user scripts you recommended and some seem very interesting. The one I clicked on says it’s “no longer supported.” I’ve downloaded a couple and don’t see any changes to my WK page, so I think I must be doing something wrong :upside_down_face:


I don’t know if I can really answer the first two questions, haha. I’ve mostly just figured it out as I’ve gone along, and I have no idea if what I’m doing is the “best” way. It’s just what has worked for me! If you search around, you can probably find people giving advice on how to optimize Anki who are better qualified than I am to talk about it.

There are lots of pre-made Anki decks out there, yes! I just started with a Minna no Nihongo deck to accompany the textbook (I didn’t save the link to it, but honestly the specific one I found had a few problems, so you’d probably be better off downloading a different one, anyway), and for a while, that was all I used.

Eventually I started creating my own deck by adding words I was finding in native media, using Yomichan to instantly create the cards.

WK just pushed a major change to the site when they added kana-only vocab yesterday, so that might have broken a few of the scripts. I tried to remove the ones from my list that were no longer supported after the last big update, but it’s possible that I missed one or two, sorry! If you’re having trouble, I recommend going to the script’s individual thread and troubleshooting it there.