🐬 raindrops’ study log & 日本語日記🐬

Heya :> welcome to my study log! I’m raindrops (she/her), a 25 year old gubbin living, working, and stumbling through life in Japan :sun_behind_rain_cloud: I began learning Japanese in late 2020 with the long-term goal of being able to read and write about Japanese media (literature, manga, anime, any fun fiction :>) someday. Because I have lots of things in my life that take a lot of (mental; physical; creative etc.) energy, I’m a big advocate for slow learning. I don’t mind moving slowly as long as I’m moving. In Dec 2022 I passed the N4 and I plan to shoot for the N3 in 2024!

This thread started when I wanted to try picking up the pace on WK; now I’m back to slow durtlin and I use this page just as my general study log :potted_plant:

Jan 2024 update: I’m currently using this page as a place to write and post small daily diary entries in Japanese! I’ll also occassionally post reading updates (the Japanese translation of Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta or Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira) but those are rarer than I’d like.

I also like dabbling in making short stories/comics in Japanese (usually genres/scenes I’d never read myself haha but it’s great output) as a way to practice the grammar I’m learning with the Quartet study group which I post here! I’m a total noob and have so much to learn but here are the ones I’ve done so far:

  1. a present for a beary good friend :bear:
  2. an office breakup :smoking:
  3. the girl next to me :love_letter:
My study routine isn't fixed but generally I use a combination of these things to study Japanese; I go through "study moods" so usually I focus on one of these things more than others at a given time!

for reading:
:sunny: wanikani
:sunny: reading NHK easy news
:sunny: Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira
:sunny: Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta (in Japanese)

for writing:
:sunny: writing my 日本語で日記

for speaking and listening:
:sunny: chatting to Japanese people
:sunny: anki - Japanese core 2000 (for word recall)
:sunny: online conversation sessions

for grammar:
:sunny: bunpro
:sunny: tokini andy’s genki/grammar videos

Here's a list of milestones throughout 2023 ╰(*°▽°*)╯

:dolphin: 12.02.23 - First Wanikani level up (lvl.27) of the year!
:dolphin: 17.02.23 - Finished my first manga in Japanese! I read デキる猫は今日も憂鬱!
:dolphin: 22.02.23 - lvl.28
:dolphin: 09.03.23 - lvl.29
:dolphin: 20.03.23 - lvl.30 HALF WAY THROUGH WANIKANI!
:dolphin: 20.04.23 - lvl.31 officially in the Hell levels!
:dolphin: 21.04.23 - reached 3000 burns
:dolphin: 25.05.23 - lvl.32
:dolphin: 23.06.23 - lvl.33 (seems I’m levelling up once a month haha)
:dolphin: 10.09.23 - lvl.34 (once a month level-up out the window!)
:dolphin: 10.09.23 - finished 小さな森の狼ちゃん and my first ever wanikani book club (albeit finishing late)
:dolphin: 19.09.23 - drew my first lil comic (see above) in Japanese for the Quartet study group
:dolphin: 12.10.23 - drew my second comic (see above) for the Quartet study group!
:dolphin: 16.11.23 - lvl 35 (after 98 days ooph, finally levelled up!)

2024 milestones !!

:crescent_moon: 10.01.24 - lvl 36 (first level up of the year!)
crescent_moon: 23.01.24 - wrote my first short story of the year (might try and make it a monthly thing???)
:crescent_moon: 27.01.24 - lvl 37
:crescent_moon: 10.02.24 - lvl 38

anime gifs / art / media

Thanks to everyone who shares advice and motivation down below; you’re awesome :seedling: !

じゃ読んでありがとう! 一緒に勉強して頑張ろう!

Original Post 🌱

hey everyone ^-^ u may have seen me talk about how much i enjoy taking the ‘scenic route’ to WK (you’ll find me chatting in Let’s Durtle The Scenic Route a bit) - part of this involves me always keeping my reviews under 100; it’s definitely saved me from an overwelming mountain of reviews or burnout / fatigue

and yet…

lately i find myself getting more and more tempted to speed up my pace; i’ve started upping my ‘maximum reviews’ bit by bit so i think i’m gonna experiment with completing the remainder of my lessons in one go for this level and see what happens

will i sink or swim … let’s find out

happy holidays y’all,
raindrops xx :hedgehog:


a little side note: after browsing the forums i think i’m experiencing a similar feeling to what this user mentioned in this post → 100 Apprentice? so like the comments say here, maybe i just need to experiment with different apprentice caps etc. we’ll see

this was from a year and a half ago and this user is already level 60 though haha incredible!! i doubt this will be me!


:durtle_noice: :durtle_noice: :durtle_noice: :durtle_noice: lets go lads


Congrats, you can post in the zero zero thread


There is no need to artificially cap your number of reviews or lessons per day. Any suggestions on these forums are just that: suggestions to be tweaked to your own needs and pace.

If you have energy to do more, go for it. When you feel overwhelmed slow down. That’s all there is to it really. No need to overthink things, imo.

Good luck with your studies!


If I had to stay under 100 Apprentice I could NEVER do another lesson :smiley:


yeah I think this is great advice and hopefully this little experiment will illuminate where im at with how many reviews a day I can handle :cat: but it doesn’t have to stay stagnant and i can adapt and change any time :green_heart:


If it makes you feel any better, that user’s post was actually 2.5 years ago :smiley:

Good luck!


woah i totally misread haha that extra year does make me feel a bit better :pleading_face:

i know each user varies and numbers don’t really matter as long as you’re enjoying your learning journey, but i am curious what the average time to get to level 60 might be :thinking: :seedling: it’s nice hearing about the in-between amounts like that user’s 2.5 years!


update: there were defo some miscalculations hereeee


i totally thought this was going to be a big experiment but for some reason half of my kanji is still locked haha ! so actually this level has been super chill and if anything it feels slower than normal (for example today i had barely any reviews)

it says the kanji is locked til i complete all the radicals - is that always the case? meanwhile i’ve just been making my way through the reviews i can (only 89 apprentice items!)

in any case i think i’m gonna repeat this experiment for real at the start of level 14 (and maaaaaaaaaaybe even use that api that reorders lessons to prioritize radicals and kanji first ^-^ heh heh)


hit 500 burned items sometime recently !! hell yeah !!


also think i’m gonna level up tonight :o :o


MADE IT TO LEVEL 14 ! Now let the experiment begin >:)


oh my goodness it is 1:30am and i am sleepy haha but i wanna give a quick update! i
had a video call with some friends tonight which went on til quite late but i knew i was due to level up tonight so couldn’t resist staying up after and levelling up before doing some lessons !

tho i downloaded the lesson-reorder api, after playing around with it, i’ve realized i dont want to do the new-level-kanji first as i’m not wanting to simply level up quicker but to progress quicker if that makes sense. i wouldn’t want to have a mountain of vocab lessons waiting just to have a higher number level on my belt. so with that in mind it makes more sense to learn all the previous level’s vocab first before the new level’s kanji!

so that’s what i did tonight - sat down, put on some lofi, and went through all of level 13’s vocabularly (i think it was about 90 lessons or so) whilst also writing it all down (hoping to improve my writing ability and retention!)

in the morning i will do the level 14 radical+kanji lessons too so i can get that sweet 4 hour window everyone talks about ^-^ but for now, sleeeeeeeeeeep



level 14 radicals and kanji lessons done! I also did the first round of reviews for all the level 13 vocab and got 86% accuracy which isn’t too bad (I think bc the l-13 vocab is all quite intuitive, no tricky or new concepts)! Made a few of my own mnemonics when I didn’t relate to the ones offered by WK:

  • 器: container, うつわ
    you (う) are contained in the sewer (つわ)” (maybe by pennywise the clown haha)

  • 輪: ring, わ
    “when you watch the film ‘The Ring’ you cry ‘waaa’ (わ) because it’s so scary”

  • 場合: case, ばあい
    “things have to be reviewed case by (ばあい) case

I liked these mnemonics a lot ^-^

getting through all the l-14 kanji was tough this morning, I felt quite lessoned-out after the late study sesh last night :dizzy_face: my current 想定 is that for the next level i’ll just do all of the prior level vocab lessons in one go but save the new level kanji to do over a few days … but we’ll see!


two nemeses of mine 自立 and 私立 are finally going to be vanquished as of tonight (I hope)! I’ve finally decided to follow the advice of the forums to assign micro-mnemonics to certain readings soooo for these two, remembering that Jesus is independent (じりつ) and that She loves privacy (しりつ) - have also (to follow a very popular tip) started picturing all words with 人 as relating to either gin (じん) or nintendo (にん) and it’s working great thus far (^-^


damn! one off from a clean sweep tonight haha!


did another bout of lessons this evening when they came in (including all l-14’s kanji!); some thoughts i had:

  • the mnemonic for 約 felt a little convoluted so have shortened it to just the image of promising to help your yak (やく) swim in the pool by tying yourself to them with thread
  • ditto in learning 束, for me the word ‘tab’ associates the sound tabu rather than taba so my mnemonic is to think of the beatrix potter character tabitha twitchit (たば) and her bundle of kittens

  • found it surprising when learning 苺 that there isn’t a ‘mother’ radical so they were still using the drop and window radicals in the mnemonic, so for me i’ve been picturing a mother giving flowers and straberries to the ichy godzilla
  • and finally, the biggest shock of level 14 so far: what the heck is the story behind the kanji for carrot??? 人参 so weird???


hopefully it’s so weird a kanji it’ll just stick – since I’ve already been associating the じん sound (for learning 人) with mini-mnemonics with gin in them, i’ll ignore their image of carrots in jeans and instead learn: people (人) participate (参) in playing a nintendo (にん) game where you drink carrot-flavoured gin (じん) – may seem a little complicated but this is guarenteed to make me remember meaning and reading ^-^


facing an ETHICAL CONUNDRUM with myself lol

usually when WK teaches several words which have the same meaning, i like learning different meanings for different words so that i feel like i’ve learnt more vocab if that makes sense (so for example, 支度 and 用意 could both be read as ‘preparation’ but i chose to learn 支度 as ‘getting ready’ so i felt i learnt 2 phrases/words not 1. Usually i do some research on the differences between the words and their specific nuances when picking which meaning to delegate)

however, for this level i’m catching myself being ‘‘lazy’’ and just writing the same word so i don’t risk getting it wrong so:

望み and 希望 and 願望 all as ‘wish’ +
完了 and 完成 and 完全 all as ‘completion’ +
技 and 技能 and a few others i can’t remember as ‘skill’

maybe it’s bc i’ve increased my speed, but i can’t decide if learning separate meanings is something i should drop or something i should persevere with! unsuuuuure!



I’m usually am fine learning different words with the same (rough) meaning. I feel like when I’ll end up encountering them in the wild, that’s when I’ll truly solidify and add any nuance to the word. at the end of the day, it’s whatever feels best for you that’ll probably be the right answer. and maybe adding that extra step is helping you remember them?
maybe someone with more experience can answer?


ありがとう @FrankieFrank for your input ^-^ ! i agree with both your points; i’ve decided to try learning the specifics (bc as u say it probably just helps with memorization) but also with the understanding that once i too encounter them in the wild i’ll probably gain a deeper understanding to their nuances !

but for now - from a mixture of looking at dictionary definitions and forums which discuss the differences - here is what i’ll go for:


  • 技 as ‘technique’ (bc apparently it is used to describe an individual skill or ‘move’)
  • 技能 i’ve added my own synonym as ‘technical skill’ (as that’s what the dictionary lists it as and it’ll come up later with words like ‘technician’ or ‘technical skills test’ etc.)
  • 才能 as ‘talent’ (bc of genius kanji)
  • 能力 as ‘capability’ (bc the strength kanji makes me think of one’s potential)

“Wish” (these were all chosen based on first word for them in the dictionary)

  • 希望 as ‘hope’
  • 願望 as ‘desire’
  • 念願 as ‘earnest wish’
  • 望み as ‘wish’
  • 心願 as ‘heart’s desire’


  • 性格 as ‘character’ *
  • 人格 as ‘personality’ *
    ** this one was interesting ! the forums’ seemed to suggest 性格 is what you are born with (so also is translated as one’s ‘nature’) and 人格 is acquired so I chose my wording based on that!


  • 完全 as ‘perfection’
  • 完了 as ‘completion’ *
  • 完成 as ‘completion’ *
    ** one forum described these latter two as having the nuance that 完了 is the completion of a task while 完成 is the completion of something you have made/crafted - this seems intuitive to me with the kanji so might add the synonyms ‘completion (task)’ and ‘completion (making)’ – wish there was a way to verify the forums tho and know if this is true! I guess that’s where the importance of engaging with native content comes in!


quite a long list haha but it was interesting looking up all these words! who knew l-14 would spark so much decision making haha … speaking of which, i think i’ll be levelling up tomorrow :eyes: !