ChristopherFritz's Study Log

If you’re going for time spent reading now instead though, you should see a gradual uptick in the number of pages though. It could be satisfying to track over time.

I’d try to keep track of my pages, but so much of my reading is short comics on Twitter, so it doesn’t work so well.

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Now that I’m aiming to read for an hour Saturdays and Sundays, I figured I’d add a couple more manga into the rotation. (Especially since I’m reading so many that with very short chapters right now.)

The two I’ve landed upon adding are:

たんぽぽの綿毛

Centered around a family consisting of father, teenage son, and preschool son. First chapter has an almost slice-of-life feel, with the added layer of the family members having to balance living their own lives with being there for one another.

Me being at the upper-beginner/lower-intermediate range in reading, it’s always a pleasure when I can pick up a series I know nothing about, read through a chapter, and follow along with minimal lookups.

This series is two volumes long, with six chapters consistently about 32 pages long in the first volume. At one chapter per week, it should last me a few months.

藤代さん系

I’m only a small way into the first chapter on this, but the premise seems to be “above average student who never breaks the rules becomes involved with serial slacker/rule-breaker who happens to be the smartest student at school”. It’s too soon to say whether I’ll like it, but I’m enjoying it enough at 18 pages in.

As a reverse of the other manga I started, I’m constantly looking up words for this one. I’m spending probably three times as long per page as the other manga. I feel like I’ll be able to hit my one hour goal reading fewer pages than I normally do on a 30 minute day.

Regardless of minutes read, I do still aim to complete whole chapters per day. But I think I may split this volume’s first chapter over two days (or more). Chapter one manages to weigh in at 110 pages. (The other chapters in the volume are 40 pages, 30 pages, and then 16 pages.)

It’s funny that you say this, then I go from reading roughly 30–40 pages in 30 minutes per day this past week, to 18 pages in 40 minutes (so far) today!

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Today’s distraction: Kanji categorization.

WK Stats

When it comes to learning kanji (and, more importantly, vocabulary that use those kanji), wkstats has a nice tool to show progress based on WaniKani level, JLPT stage, Joyo grade, and frequency.

I’ve mentioned before, I seem to be someone who tends to collect stats, but never utilize them. This is similar, where data is collected, but I’ve never paid much attention to the list.

One use for such a list is measurement, seeing one’s progress on these various criteria.

Another use is direction, deciding which kanji to learn next based on category. This usage is likely uncommon, as WaniKani is a curated course.

Migaku Anki Kanji Add-On

Over on the Migaku Anki add-ons side, their kanji tool has something similar:

Rather than being color-coded based on WaniKani progress, this is based on Anki progress on kanji cards:

  • Red: Unknown kanji. No Anki card for this kanji.
  • Orange: Unknown kanji. Have Anki card, but not studied yet. (Like a pending lesson in WaniKani.)
  • Seafoam green: Learning kanji. (Similar to an item that hasn’t reached Guru in WaniKani, this item’s interval between reviews is under 21 days.)
  • Blue: Known kanji. (Interval between reviews is over 21 days.)

Here, the various kanji categories available are:

  • JLPT
  • Kanken
  • School Year
  • Jouyou
  • Jinmeiyou (name kanji)
  • RTK
  • All Cards in Anki

I can also view progress based only on my kanji cards, or by kanji appearing anywhere on all of my cards.

Like with wkstats, these charts can be used to measure one’s progress, as well as to provide direction for which kanji to learn next. The latter is more useful here since there’s no curated course with Anki.

And yet, even then, I found this was not something I’d utilize. I’m not prioritizing “learn all kanji covered in elementary school” or “learn all JLPT kanji through N3”.

My Own Stats

I got to thinking, what if I had categorization of kanji that meant something to me specifically?

For example, what if I took the Japanese subtitles for anime, and wrote a tool that extracts all the kanji per episode, categorizes them by episode of first appearance, along with my progress?

Currently this only looks at my Anki kanji cards (not at my other Anki cards, and not at my WaniKani progress), so there are plenty of kanji I know marked as unknown at the moment.

These charts aren’t necessarily any more actionable for me. I’m not necessarily going to start learning kanji based on these charts. I have other ways to determine my direction.

But I find these a much more interesting and meaningful way to measure my progress.

At the moment, all the red is a bit discouraging, but only a little. I plan is to start created Anki cards for my burned kanji (and related vocabulary). If I remember them, they’ll reach “learned” status on this chart fairly quickly. And if I don’t remember them, then it’s probably good that I’m reviewing them.

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Two weeks later, and I’ve been coasting with more of the same. Since that means I’ve made continued progress in learning, that’s not a bad thing.

Leech Numbers

August 10:

August 29:

I had an avalanche of enlightened reviews this morning, and I probably failed half of them… I did all the reviews via the Flaming Durtles app, rather than doing kanji reviews using my vocabulary script, so I also failed to recognize a lot of kanji (mostly reading) that I would have gotten right if I saw them in a word. Well, so long as they don’t descend into Apprentice, I support I won’t mind seeing some of them again later on.

My Guru leech numbers are probably down partly because of extras in Apprentice due to this morning’s failed reviews, but there’s still a lot of that have moved up to master, and from master to enlightened. So that’s motivating!

I’d also done a few kanji lessons that quickly have become leeches. If it’s kanji for words I’m not familiar with, it’s difficult to get a kanji past Apprentice (or in this case, past Apprentice I). I have tried to lean into the mnemonics for these ones, but I always seem to remember all the pieces of the mnemonic except for the parts specific to the reading and the meaning… I can visualize everything in the mnemonic except for those two pieces.

Anki Kanji Cards

I’ve spent some time creating vocabulary/sentence cards in Anki for kanji I’ve already learned in WaniKani. It’s really, really, really helped me improve my recognition speed and reading recall for some of the earlier kanji. (It’s taken me over two and a half years to get almost halfway through WaniKani, so there’s a lot to have forgotten!)

I’ve also tried doing vocabulary/sentence cards for my current WaniKani level. I can’t really say for certain whether it’s helped me, as I’ve been on this level for over 100 days due to spending time bringing my leeches down.

More recently, I’ve been trying out learning unknown kanji directly in Anki.

The process is the same. Use Migaku’s kanji add-on to create a card for the kanji. Ignore the mnemonics aspect (because more than 95% of the time, mnemonics don’t work for me). Look up common high frequency vocabulary that use that kanji, based on my own personal frequency list. Use Tatoeba for sample sentences and Migaku’s card creator for an image and audio.

I’ve been using the first episode of Bottle Fairy as my source, so it’s still a ratio of about 3 known kanji to 1 unknown kanji that I’m creating kanji and vocabulary/sentence cards for. I feel that’s a good mix of reviewing what I should already know (and improving it), and learning new kanji.

Side-note: I’m definitely still moving forward with learning kanji via WaniKani. I don’t know if learning new kanji via Anki will go better or worse or about the same. At the very least, any kanji I learn in Anki then encounter later in WaniKani, WaniKani will then act as review for.

Here are my current kanji stats for the first episode of Bottle Fairy:

Being roughly 12 minutes long (including opening and ending theme songs), there are only 134 kanji (in the subtitles) to learn.

Kanji marked in red I haven’t added to Anki yet. Orange (if there were any) would be kanji I’ve added, but haven’t started learning yet. Teal means I’ve started learning them, but my time between reviews is within three weeks. And blue means my reviews are more than three weeks apart.

I just need to be careful on how many Anki reviews I have per day, so I don’t get so many that I can’t finish them in a day. So far, it seems to be okay.

Studied 202 cards in 20.03 minutes today (5.95s/card)

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For those first learning kanji, the oft-recommended RRTK puts people at a pace of learning to recognize and recall the meaning for 1,000 kanji in one to three months.

My memory’s always been on the poor side, so I’m in awe of the ability of others to accomplish such a feat.

While reading a chapter of Aria today, in the first half alone I’ve already encountered about ten kanji I started learning recently. These are kanji I would not have recognized a week ago. I haven’t learned the readings for all of them yet (although I do make vocabulary cards for each kanji card I create), but simply recognizing them allowed me to do fewer vocabulary look-ups. And as a bonus, some of them contain words I don’t have in my Anki deck yet, so I can sentence-mine them.

These are kanji I started learning as I’m pushing my way through creating Anki kanji cards (and vocabulary cards) for the kanji found in episode one of Bottle Fairy.

Seeing all these new-to-me kanji showing up one after another while reading today, I started to wonder what my new kanji stats have been for this past week. I know I’ll never be able to do ten per day; it’s a victory for me if I’m able to get in two to three new kanji per day.

Looking at the last seven days, I’ve added a total of…48 kanji cards and 79 related vocabulary cards. That’s a rate of 6.9 new kanji cards and 11.3 new vocabulary cards per day. I may not be on pace for 10 kanji per day, but since I’m going over vocabulary as well, I’m certainly not complaining.

I don’t necessarily expect to keep that up, but it feels good to be making such progress. Especially when that progress is measured by recognizing a kanji when I encounter an unknown word in manga, including recalling its meaning.

I likely won’t have time for any new cards today (still have half a chapter of Aria to finish reading), but I’m slowly closing in on my goal of recognizing all kanji in the first episode of Bottle Fairy’s subtitles:

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Novel-Reading Progress

A while back, I started reading a Detective Conan movie novelization.

I made it about 40% of the way through when I stopped reading. Why? I felt I wasn’t getting anything out of it. I’d seen the movie previously, and the more I read, the more I remembered what comes up in the latter half.

Thus, I’m still at zero completed novels.

I don’t mind, because I still have a long way to go learning kanji and vocabulary.

But it’s still nice to give novel-reading another try now and then. Anything I start but don’t finish, if it’s interesting enough, I’ll pick it back up later when I can read it with fewer look-ups.

Kobo’s Recommendation

Every now and again, my e-book source Kobo forgets that I pretty much exclusively buy manga, and it suggests I might be interested in the novel 「かがみの孤城」.

And, time and again, I ignore it, knowing it’ll get pushed back off the recommended items list the next time I buy more manga.

Then, a book club thread for it popped up.

Well, now I need to look into stats on this book, to determine if it’s something I’d want to try reading (and potentially add to my list of unfinished books to get back to later).

Kanji Stats

Overall, the novel looks to have 1,572 unique kanji. Of these, 864 are covered in the first 29 levels of WaniKani (where I am), leaving 532 covered in later levels, and 169 not covered by WaniKani at all.

This means that I’ll recognize about 55% of the individual kanji used.

That’s not much, but thanks to frequency, I’d actually recognize about 88% of the overall kanji used.

That’s lower than I’d like it to be for reading, but it’s fairly close. And that’s not factoring in any kanji I’ve learned outside of WaniKani, which might inch it closer to 89%.

Word Stats

Based on my incomplete log of “words I know”, I should be able to recognize about 18.3% of the unique words used in the book. (Or “books” when considering it was re-released across two books.)

However, again, frequency. My recognition of the overall words used would be closer to 75%. And that’s not including words such as これ and その, or こんにちは and ありがとう.

Short-Term Goals

At the very least, I suppose I can put my Bottle Fairy kanji-learning on hold, and start learning the most frequency kanji I don’t yet know from this novel. I’ll be learning the kanji from both either way, so there’s no reason to do so in any specific order.

Of course, the highest frequency words I don’t know yet, containing kanji I don’t know yet, are for words such as “nod” that never come up in manga.

I wonder if it would be better to jump right into reading the novel and see if I can keep up, or if I should check out the manga first to build up context to make the novel easier to follow.

(Yes, I do jump around from thing to thing a lot. But so long as I keep moving forward in learning, and I’m always doing things that interest me, I think it’s okay.)

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I totally agree with this. I’d say your approach mimics real life, ie if you were in Japan you’d be getting exposed to language from all angles, so who says the path must be linear to be effective?!

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WaniKani Progress

Lately, I keep encountering words I’ve recently learned via WaniKani. Usually within one day.

I tend to listen to the first two episodes of Petite Princess Yucie when washing dishes, and various other kitchen tasks that will take a while. The word 精一杯(せいいっぱい) stood out, as I did its lesson in WaniKani just yesterday. I used to only hear/recognize the “いっぱい” part, but it looks like I’ll be noticing the せい part as well from now on.

It’s nice to have this be happening again. It was quite the task to get through a bunch of words in the 20’s that never show up in anything I read.

Now that I’m on level 30, I’m hoping to keep up a lesson pace of one kanji per day, and all the vocabulary that come up. I’m getting near 100 reviews per day, and am hoping it doesn’t go up too much higher than that.

My Apprentice and Guru leeches are sitting at 208 combined, which isn’t too bad. I’m hoping to see that get under 200 in the coming weeks, and maybe steadily go down. But that remains to be seen.

I figure I’ll probably know within a week if I’ll need to stop lessons for a while.

Anki Progress

I’m up to 555 kanji cards (plus one or more vocabulary cards for each kanji card). Most of these are kanji I already know, with the goal to improve my recall speed for both meaning (kanji cards) and reading (vocabulary cards).

I’m averaging about 200 to 250 reviews per day, and about 20 to 30 minutes review time. My average review time will undoubtedly plummet as I add fewer kanji that I already know, and more that I don’t.

かがみの孤城 Progress

As I remain undecided on whether I’ll attempt to read along with the book club, I’ve continued starting to learn more kanji from the book.

The kanji I’ve added cards for in Anki (including those I’m just starting to learn) cover 67% of the overall total kanji used in the book. If I factor in the kanji I’ve learned from WaniKani (some of which I’ve since forgotten), then brings it up to 91% of the overall kanji I have a shot at recognizing.

Attempting at reading the start of chapter one, it’s definitely a slow process. I switch over to the manga, which has its whole first chapter available as (ため)()み, and was able to get through that (with help from Copyfish for some kanji OCR). The artwork helped fill in some confusion I had on the start of the book, so I plan to re-read the start of the book and see if I can follow along better.

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WaniKani Progress

I feel like no matter how many days go by, I can’t get my level 30 kanji out of Apprentice. I did get a few early on. And some more along the way. But at 16 days in, doing one or two kanji lessons per day, I’m at 25 kanji lessons done, yet only 13 of those have reached Guru. Here’s hoping I can get another 7 more to Guru on Wednesday or Thursday.

I’m trying to lean heavily into WaniKani’s mnemonics, but I just can’t remember all the parts to them, even when I’m re-reading the meaning and reading mnemonics for the same kanji on a nearly daily basis.

My overall Apprentice is staying around 50, which has been really nice. My Guru’s at 320, hopefully mostly thanks to new vocabulary words. I’m hoping not to see too many of those fall back into Apprentice. Daily reviews are ranging from about 80 to 125, and I’m hoping to keep that on the lower end.

My combined Apprentice and Guru leeches are sitting at 126. That’s a drop of 82 since two weeks ago, so that means I’m still somehow managing to get leeches to move on up. I wouldn’t be surprised if a third of my Apprentice kanji leeches right now were my level 30 kanji I’m trying to get to Guru.

Anki Progress

I’m still managing about 150 to 250 reviews per day in Anki. A lot of it is adding cards for kanji I already know (but want to get better at recognizing) and vocabulary cards for those kanji (also many I already know).

I’ve finally had some kanj and vocabulary cards start to auto-suspend as leeches. It’s no surprise that they’re also some of my lifelong WaniKani leeches. I’ll let them stay suspended, as I’m focusing on quantity right now.

I’m up to 621 kanji card in Anki, with 420 having reached the point where it’s three weeks or more between reviews.

かがみの孤城 Progress

I’ve been tackling this one from all angles.

I really want to be able to read it alongside the upcoming book club, even though they’ll be reading at Intermediate Book Club pace.

Different Formats

I went ahead and bought the manga, which I’d already read the first chapter via (ため)()み preview recently. However, I currently don’t plan to read the second chapter until I’ve gotten caught up in reading the book.

I also decided to buy the audio book. It’s one of those fancy audio books with music and sound effects and different voice actors for each character. I’ve never heard of an audio book like this before, so it’s quite the experience.

I’ve been repeatedly listening to the first 20-minute “chapter” of it, which covers a portion of chapter one of the book, and I think about the first 12 pages of the manga.

Kanji Learning

I’m also pushing along on learning kanji from the book. The kanji I’ve added to Anki cover 80.7% of the overall kanji appearing in the book. If I factor in kanji I learned from WaniKani but haven’t added to Anki yet, that gives me 94.2% coverage.

At this point, I’m starting to focus on kanji per “book club week”. There are 538 kanji in week one’s reading, and I’ve added 294 of those to Anki so far. This gives me 244 more kanji to learn for week one’s material, but there’s no way I’ll learn them all in a month. Instead, I’m focusing on those that appear at least ten times in the book, and that I haven’t learned from WaniKani yet. That brings the list down to a more manageable 32 kanji to focus on learning in the next month.

(Pre) Reading Progress

I’ve been working through reading the first chapter of the book, hoping to reach the point of the end of the first chapter of the manga before the book club begins. I want a little bit of a buffer if I decide to read along with the book club.

Even with the kanji coverage that I currently have, reading is still a very slow experience, where it feels like I’m looking up every other word, and getting lost in longer sentences. I’ve read from it probably about five days, and have completed about 25% of what will be “week 1” of the book club. If I can find a way to make each week last 20 days, I may just be able to keep up pace with the group once it starts.

One nice thing is as I make more progress through reading, I pick up more and more re-listening to the first chapter of the audio book. But there’s still a lot that I’ve read, yet can’t pick out a single word of in the audio book. And the audio book goes at a nice slow pace, even.

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Is it really an audio book or is it rather a drama cd?? I heard audio books are practically non-existent in Japan.

Also how’s your Ojisama to Neko reading going?

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It’s definitely an audio book. Complete narration, word for word.

You can check out the “trailer” of the audio book here:

It’s quite a different experience from the Kiki’s Delivery Service audio book, which has a single person reading it.

I’ve completed through chapter 39. (Was that the first chapter of book four?) It’s not forgotten, though! It’s in my folder of manga I’m actively reading.

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Slightly off-topic from Japanese, but these sorts of audio books do exist in English for sure - as a Doctor Who fan there are a few examples from Big Finish (they mainly do audio dramas, but some of their releases cross over into audiobook territory - mainly the Companion Chronicles range, where some of those have multiple actors voicing individual characters, there’s also their new range of audiobooks with sound effects and music, but those aren’t full-cast and just have a single narrator). There’s also some ones for Brandon Sanderson books from a company called Graphic Audio I think? I’m sure there’s probably more you could find on audible if you went looking. Personally I lean more towards the audio drama side than the audiobook side myself - love the Doctor Who audios that Big Finish put out (and there’s a lot) while I never can work out how to make time for audiobooks when I have more Doctor Who audios to listen to haha

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Nice, I wonder how rare that is!

I’m glad you haven’t forgotten :slight_smile:

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If there is one thing I’m glad I took the time to learn years ago, it’s spreadsheets.

Screenshot_20210923_200343

I’ve been using this recently to track kanji in かがみの孤城 at a more detailed level.

The 482 kanji I’ve added to Anki to learn/relearn covers 81% of the overall kanji appearances in the book.

The 484 kanji that I haven’t added to Anki, but I’ve previously learned (and maybe forgot) from WaniKani account for another 14% of the overall kanji appearing in the book. (It may be clear why I focused on adding those other kanji, and not these ones, to Anki for now…)

Originally my target was to learn (or improve my recognition of) the most common kanji in the whole book. After all, I plan to read the whole thing, right? (Right???)

However, I won’t be encountering all the kanji from the whole book at once. The “more detailed” aspect of this spreadsheet splits the first half of the book into its book club weeks, so I can see which kanji are most frequent per week, and focus on those.

Once the club begins and we complete week one, I’ll no longer care about learning any kanji that show up only in week one. For example, 屑? Shows up once in week one, then never again. No need to learn it right now. And 柱? Same thing, and WaniKani will have me covered once I reach level 40.

Looking at the whole book, I have 111 kanji left to learn that appear at least ten times.

Looking at week one, I have 59 kanji left to learn. If I focus on kanji that appear at least two times in the chapter, that brings me down to 5 kanji to focus on. (I think I know which five I’ll be learning next!)

Screenshot_20210923_203140

(Wait, I already know 捨 and 訳. I thought I learned them from WaniKani, but apparently they’re still a couple of levels away.)

Then I may jump to week two kanji where I have 24 kanji appearing at least twice to learn. After learning those, it’ll be 10 kanji to focus on for week 3, and 15 kanji for week 4.

This…might actually be doable. (Maybe.)

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Learned and forgotten. lol

I know you wrote out your breakdown somewhere upthread, but in the spirit of experimentation (and because I downloaded the script) I want to play around with batching my lessons differently. Aside from only doing a few kanji at a time, do you get all of the radicals out of the way first or batch those as well? I want to manage that big lesson dump, and as much as I like doing the vocab, it gets a bit monotonous towards the end to see nothing but a sea of purple.

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I don’t have anything specific that I do for this, but mnemonics do not work for me 59% of the time. So anything I do with radical lessons wouldn’t apply for most people.

What I do, because it is what works for me, is I will delay kanji lessons until I’ve completed my vocabulary lessons. And I will delay my vocabulary lessons if my Apprentice is getting too high.

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I was thinking for this next round to front load the vocabulary and then spread out the radicals and kanji. I use Bish Bash Bosh for kanji and radicals so those stick relatively okay-ish but I think I will still spread those lessons out for a bit of a change.

I’m still trudging along but I can see that I need to kick some life into my WK experience by moving things around a bit.

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WaniKani Progress

Somehow, I have reached the halfway point in WaniKani!

Upon hitting level 31, a kindly gentleman has offered to lead me out of Death.

I don’t know where he’s taking me, but I’m sure it will be somewhere nice.

かがみの孤城 Book Club Preparation

In preparation for かがみの孤城 starting up in one month, I want to reduce the number of SRS reviews I have in a day.

Since I’ve reached WaniKani level 31, I plan to finish up the level 30 vocabulary lessons, as well as doing the initial level 31 vocabulary lessons. That should around the 80 to 120 Apprentice items range initially, with hope that I get down to about the 40 to 50 Apprentice range by the end of October.

On the Anki side of things, I’ve stopped adding new cards for now. Since I use the Migaku schedule optimizer to average out my daily reviews (rather than having dips and spikes along the way), I expect I’ll be able to keep a good downward trend.

In the past week, I’ve gone from averaging 200 reviews per day to about 90, so it if dips too low, I may do add more kanji and vocabulary/sentence cards for level <= 30 WaniKani kanji that show up in かがみの孤城.

Reading Progress

I haven’t been keeping to my planned reading half an hour weekdays, and one hour weekend days, but I’ve still been getting in a fair amount of reading per day.

My latest entry (to begin reading this weekend) is TARI TARI:

I saw the anime with English subtitles about eight years ago, and it was one of those ones where within day of finishing it, I’d forgotten everything about it. I remembered liking it, but I had no memory about the events or even any of the characters. I decided to hang on to it to watch again one day.

Since Japanese subtitles are available out there for it, and because it’s a series I don’t have a memory of, I figured this would be a great series to test watching with Japanese subtitles and seeing how well I can follow along. I wanted to get through the whole (one season) series by the end of the year in prep for going the VPN + Japanese Netflix route in 2021.

This plan was before Netflix’s latest round of blocking VPN’s. Considering the Netflix plan may not work out, I’ve shifted my focus to かがみの孤城, but I’ll stick with TARI TARI, and I figured reading the manga adaptation alongside going through the episodes might be interesting.

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Non-study log post

@_Marcus, that manga I’d been holding on book club nomination, I finally nominated. Reading begins in November. I won’t say it’s anything like the feel of よつばと, but the difficulty level is very similar. Mentioning just In case you may potentially be interested. (But I understand completely if you’re not.)

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You are too good and too kind @ChristopherFritz! You always have been! Thank you so much!

I’ve not studied at all this year, I was just so dispirited by my lack of progress. But every now and then (and I mean, perhaps once a month or less) I’d take WK and Kitsun off of holiday mode and do a few reviews, and then pop over here. You catch me now looking at the recent additions to the Yotsuba threads and doing a little study.

Perhaps reading a cheerful, happy manga, in the company of good friends like you, would be just the ticket. But, I already know that I don’t have the stamina for it. I’d get through chapter one and then give up. But thank you so much for the invitation Christopher! You really are a good person. Thank you.

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