Wow, so many helpful replies! Thanks a lot, everybody. I didn’t expect to get this much in the way of feedback so I’m really grateful for all you have to say. All of your advice seems pretty sound, so I think I’ll try out those methods and keep in mind that it’s just always going to be difficult at the start.
It’s less reliable sources I’m worried about, and more my own failings, to be honest. I might misinterpret what I find or end up looking up a grammar point that at first glance might look like it matches what’s in the text I’m reading, but might be an entirely different matter.
Yeah, I switched that to “tag” instead of suspending in Anki, though I’ll be switching over to kitsun full-time once I’m done with the HJ decks. But do you recommend doing something with those suspended words then, or should I just learn them naturally via immersion if they won’t stick in SRS?
I haven’t started using either yet, but I’ll definitely take that into account! I’ve used the Todai Easy Japanese app for reading news articles, which I think does the same thing. It’s really great to use but I stopped using it when I got frustrated from having to click almost every single word to understand things. I’ll see if I can integrate some sort of reader with texts I read, though I don’t know if I’d be able to do that with Kobo, as most of my Japanese books are on Kobo.
That makes a lot of sense! I flipped through Genki a bit and noticed that it seemed to have things that hadn’t been introduced in HJ (though HJ might have some things not in Genki as well, I don’t know). Because of that, I was planning on quickly going through Genki I and II after I finished HJI to patch up any gaps in my knowledge before moving on to either Tobira or Quartet (I still haven’t decided which one to go with yet, but I have time to figure that out). And yeah, sorry if the way I worded it made it seem otherwise, but I’m definitely planning on continuing with my grammar studies while doing this. The reading is just something I figured I could do on the side, but I’m prioritizing HJI and Wanikani for sure. You’re right, I kind of figured HJ wouldn’t prepare you for native content, at least it doesn’t seem that way to me atm. I figure HJI and then Satori Reader which I might start at the same time I go through Genki might be enough, but I got curious about starting early after seeing the absolute beginner book club. But I’m also like you–I have a hard time pushing through if I don’t understand the grammar or most of the vocabulary. I’m going to try anyway though since it seems most of you think it’s helpful to get some reading practice in early.
Btw, as somebody who has gone through both HJ and Genki, what do you think about HJ’s grammar explanations vs Genki’s? I’ve heard that Genki sometimes leaves things out or gives absolutes before correcting themselves in later chapters when they feel you’re ready to know about the various exceptions or other meanings, which is something I’m not a huge fan of. Tbh, that’s the main reason I’ve stuck with HJ, is that their grammar explanations just feel so clear, and I figured if I learned grammar concepts through HJ first, I might not get as frustrated with Genki later.
Oh, that’s funny, I’m exactly the opposite when it comes to tolerance for grammar vs vocabulary. I’ve found that while I dislike not knowing the words, I really hate not knowing the grammar. I think it’s just because for me, I can look up the words fairly easily through a dictionary or parser, but it’s a lot harder to look up the grammar and know if what I’m looking up is the right thing or not. A matter of confidence in the dictionary vs confidence in my google skills. lol
I’ve actually read all the grade 0 stories, and thankfully am able to read them without needing to look up anything–I just learn words in context. I wasn’t confident enough to move on to grade 1, but I probably should do that at some point. I will still probably skim through the picks from the absolute beginner book club to be sure, but if I struggle too much with them (and I very well might!) I will go back to purely graded readers. Tbh even if I don’t struggle with them, I’ll probably still go through the graded readers after hearing how helpful they were for you. I was hoping to “graduate” from them as soon as possible, but maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it since they seem to prepare you for native material fairly well. Maybe instead of looking for the easiest book or manga, it’d be better to stick with the graded readers!
Good luck! Your plan sounds pretty solid and I might try to follow in your footsteps once I reach a similar level.
That makes sense. Yeah, I should probably just get over that and jump in. Knowing that it’s a big jump no matter the level, is oddly enough, a bit reassuring. A part of me thought that it was something that could be bridged by upfront learning, and so I was always worried about when exactly would be the right time to start. I guess there really isn’t a “right time” and more just a “do it.”
I actually have read through a couple of White Rabbit stories! At least the ones in their app (I don’t like physical books due to lack of physical room). Sadly, they don’t seem to have that many in their app, which is a bit of a bummer. But yeah, what you and CoffeeFuel have said about graded readers has made me reconsider them. I was going to try to move on from them asap, but it seems to be worth the while to stick with them for as long as possible instead.
Oh, I was going to start using Satori Reader after I finished HJI, but if I’m already going to be starting to read, it’s probably a good idea to start using it earlier as well. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, but I held back mainly because of the subscription model (I know, I know, seems strange coming from somebody who uses Wanikani). I think I will try out the free account though, and see how I feel about the stories. And yeah, people are telling me to lean into the frustration, but I think I agree with what others have said, that it depends on how well you tolerate not knowing anything. I think my tolerance is a bit too low though, so I’m going to at least try it out and see how I feel about it.
Yeah, it definitely seems pretty hard. T_T But I have been told to stick with it and so I shall, since apparently it’s going to be tough no matter what, and it should hopefully get easier the longer I do it. And yeah, I’m hoping I can get to the point I can just learn new words via context since that seems pretty intuitive and more in line with what I remember when I started reading in my native language as a child.
Huh, that’s pretty heartening to hear, tbh. I’m glad that it gets a lot easier over time and not harder, or about the same. I will try to remember that whenever I struggle with my reading, that it will get better. And you make a good point with the grammar becoming more memorable. I’ve noticed that I seem to remember the things I’ve come across in graded readers a lot more easily than the ones I haven’t. So starting to read now, no matter how hard it is, seems to be the way to go! I might take another look at the detective books then and see if I can’t take a crack at them.