Best way to make notes?

I learn best when I write things down and I love writing notes and making them look pretty. When I first started playing with learning Japanese, that was easy - writing the hiragana/katakana charts, organising radicals by strokes, even organising kanji by topic. But this will only take me so far and I would like to know how others make their notes/record what they’ve learnt. These are primary for the act of note making but also to refer back to. I’ve been writing each radical/kanji/vocab down along with its meaning, its hiragana spelling and equivalent english spelling and am on level 13 now so got quite a big list of words and want to organise them in some way.

One idea was to make a verb book and organise the verbs I’ve learnt alphabetically (by japanese or english?) and list their different forms (the only down side is grammatical terms are not at all my strong suit so not sure where to start with that one) I also like the idea of a vocab book (again alphabetically) but again, don’t know where to start with organising it.

Would love to hear your thoughts/see your examples.



Well, I actually made my own app for taking notes

You can organize your notes in a similar fashion using MS OneNote or some other sticky notes app.


maybe @windgreen might have some advice?

i want to do that as well but i’m struggling to make a start. i even bought pretty notebooks but still never got started with notes.


I used to love taking cute and organiased notes, but now I think it’s too time consuming and inefficient.

Now I use Notion to take my language notes and I find it very efficient! It’s more convenient for me because I can study anywhere and easily copy and paste things (for example vocabulary I look up in and online dictionary). If you don’t know it maybe give it a try, even though you wont’ be writing you can make your notes look really pretty in my opinion.

When I was in highschool I used a vocabulary notebook, but I didn’t organise it alphabetically since I updated it constantly and I couldn’t move words I had already written on paper. So instead I organised them by topic (very useful in my opinion) or book chapter. I divided every page in half vertically and wrote on one side the vocab and on the other the translation. You can even find notebooks that are made for vocabulary and already have this layout or an address book that has different sections for each letter. If you want to organiase them by alphabet I think using your pc might be more useful and less time consuming.

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This post still humbles me. I’d give anything to be able to create notes this beautiful (except, of course, devote the patience and practice required).


Same here! :high_touch: Are you also a stationery enthusiast? :eyes: If so, you might want to check out this thread! :wink:

Here’s how I take notes. My focus is simply writing down the basic info for each lesson, only once (I’m not working on repetitions nor calligraphy). I also enjoy writing down things that have to do with the Japanese learning journey: goals, milestones, quotes for inspiration, that kind of stuff.

Now, considering you want to organize your notes to use them as a reference, then I think you’d benefit from a different approach, something that allows you to reorder and reorganize items as you learn them. Perhaps something like flashcards or punched loose leaf paper with tabbed folders or an accordion file holder or a ring binder?


Thank you, you’re very kind! :slightly_smiling_face: