Well, some people might say, ‘If you don’t take the test, you can’t fail the test,’ but not trying gets you nowhere. Hahaha. And well, as long as you learn from your mistakes and keep improving, you’ll eventually pass, so keep at it!
Hahaha. Yes, those words! I remember them too, albeit a bit more vaguely than the words of the lessons of the Assimil book with which I learnt advanced French. (OK, to be honest, I don’t remember those French lessons anymore, because it’s been such a long time, but I used to recite them in the shower every day. Hahaha.) I finished the entire book and forced myself to finish translating all the lessons from French into Japanese. I was getting a bit bored towards the end of the translation practice, because I wasn’t learning anything new, but I told myself it would help consolidate my Japanese knowledge. At the same time, I was trying to send messages to my friend in Japanese while using the dictionary to fill in the words Assimil didn’t teach me, like 学寮 (‘school hostel/dormitory’) so I could get some real practice.
I don’t know the Duolingo syllabus very well, so I’ll take your word for it. I have to admit that I can’t really appreciate how easy or difficult kanji is for everyone since I know most of them thanks to Chinese. However, yes, without any prior knowledge of Japanese or of Chinese characters (which is to say, kanji), a lot of the kanji in this manga will probably feel foreign because they’re not that frequently used in daily life (this is a medical manga, after all), and someone without prior knowledge wouldn’t have other usage examples to fall back on for each kanji. @Shannon-8 I think you can be proud of yourself for being able to follow the dialogue and understand the story, even if it’s with the help of a dictionary. It’s not easy doing that after just a year: it took me about 6 months to a year to finish my Assimil course, including the lesson translation practice, albeit while in a very busy undergrad course (it’s supposed to take about 5 months total at the rate of a lesson a day), and if I had nothing but that knowledge, reading this manga would not be easy. The underlying grammar might be comprehensible, but there’s so much slang and so many unfamiliar kanji. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of slang and contractions: my friend is fluent and studying in Japan, but he was one of the top students for Japanese nationwide (we did foreign languages up to the end of high school; I did French), and he told me he knows someone else with an N1 (like him) who had no clue that stuff like つえー for 強い existed. Plus, slang differs according to region: I used to be really lost when my friend pulled some of the slang he learnt in Osaka on me, which is nothing like the standard stuff from Tokyo. This stuff isn’t usually taught in textbooks, or on Duolingo, so really, well done.
I can’t really speak for the rest, but I created this account just to join the discussion. I believe we all started learning Japanese somewhere else before coming here, like on Duolingo, and in my case, I’m a Mandarin speaker, so I have some prior knowledge of kanji. I don’t know if the rest are actively using the WaniKani programme: perhaps they are, or will at some point. I’ve never tried it, and don’t intend to (because I already know kanji; please mods, don’t remove me, I’m just here to contribute to discussions), but I’m pleased to know WaniKani includes radicals and real vocabulary, both of which are essential to truly understanding kanji (from my experience with Mandarin anyway). I’m pretty sure it’s a good programme, just based on that.