Just wanted to share a positive experience.
I bought キノの旅 (Kino’s Journey) as an e-book from japanese Amazon last summer. I watched the animated version many years ago and liked it, so when I read somewhere that the books apparently weren’t supposed to be that difficult I decided to try the first volume.
I guess I must have been about level 20-25 on Wanikani when I bought it. I opened it up and… it was so slow. And I understood so little. It was a bit frustrating and I never got through more than the prologue and about half the first chapter over three or four reading sessions.
Flash forward to a week or so ago, I decided to try reading it once more. During this time I have reached level 40, I’ve done quite a lot of reading in Japanese through playing games, reading articles and some comics. I’ve also started refreshing/improving my grammar by putting grammar points from A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar into Houhou.
So I opened the book up again and it was a world of difference! Not only did I notice I could understand so much more of what was going on, I also noticed how much my reading speed had improved and how much further I could read before becoming mentally exhausted. In the first sitting I was able to read about as much as I had done through all of my sittings nine months ago.
Without any illustrations to assist me, I get to explore the journey of Kino and Hermes (A talking motorcycle. Yup.) into a mysterious city seemingly devoid of people where everything is managed by machines. As they explore, they begin to wonder if the city really is as desolate as it seems, and start to unravel the mystery. And I actually pictured it, through Japanese. The chapter is called 人の痛みが分かる国 - The Country of Understanding Peoples Pain and if it sounds at all interesting to you I recommend you try it.
Sure, I don’t understand every word, and I’m sure much of the finer details elude me completely, but still. The feeling is really quite extraordinary. My reading speed is also still much slower than ideal, but I can feel myself getting there. It’s like I’ve reached a tipping point for kanji and vocabulary, atleast for this particular book, where the ones I know outweighs the ones I don’t yet know in a large enough ratio.
So if you’re having a hard time and don’t feel motivated, know that if you persevere and keep learning you will get there. Read stuff, try things apporpriate for your level, as well as stuff that is beyond, or way beyond. Then return to them again and again. Every time you do you will understand more. And more. And more.
Thanks for reading and keep having fun with Japanese everybody!