ChristopherFritz's Study Log

Good luck! Put that way, with that count of unfamiliar kanji and whatnot, it sounds a little daunting, but I’m impressed at you taking it on nonetheless, and all of the preparation you’ve done. I’ll be rooting for you.


The good news is that the 230 unknown kanji in week one are only 54 unique kanji. But it’s not like I’ll be memorizing them as I see them, so I’m sure they’ll be completely new to me all 230-something appearances.

For the whole book, it’s 609 unknown individual kanji, but that makes for 3,058 total kanji (counting repeat appearances).

My list of unknown vocabulary is over 4,000 words! Even considering that the list contains words I simply haven’t marked as known yet, and some mis-parsed words, that’s still a lot.

I just need to take everything I write for first-time readers in the upcoming ABBC, and apply it to myself =D


I think I’m going to be trying this book too - I’ve pretty much only been keeping up with Takagi and Wadanohara at the moment, so with Wadonahara ending I’ll try to make time for it

I’ve got it on kindle so I have a dictionary inbuilt, or at least an easy way to grab unknown kanji which really would be one of the main obstacles for me I think. Plus since the club is ongoing it’ll be easier to keep up with getting the answers to questions

Tried reading the little prologue bit at the start and I don’t think it was too bad, didn’t seem like it was too far beyond Kiki’s Delivery Service in terms of difficulty for me. Which reminds me I need to read more of that haha

I hope you don’t find it too bad either. I know you’ve said you struggle with prose writing, so hopefully this will help you get used to it. You certainly seem like you’re putting a lot of work into preparing, so that should help


It’s possible this study log will transform into 「僕の『かがみの孤城』物語」 for a while.

I wasn’t planning to begin until Saturday morning, but Migaku’s Kanji add-on received an alpha update Friday night, so it looks like I’m going to get an early start on my Anki plans.

New Anki Cards:

(kanji card)

For some reason, I always have trouble when I see the kanji 優 in WaniKani reviews.

I don’t have trouble with 優しい when reading. When it comes up for reviews in WaniKani, however, my mind gets stuck on “this is the same as the kanji I got wrong again that means superior”, and I’m left with no idea what word 優しい is that is related to “superior”.

(kanji and vocabulary cards)

I used to have no problem recognizing 曲 as “piece of music”. Then I learned it as “bend”, and I never recognize it as きょく/“piece of music” anymore.

I typically pick up on the meaning from context, but the reading no longer comes to me.

運動神経 (vocabulary card)

I have a card for 神経, which I often fail to remember. I’m fairly good with 運動, so I’m hoping I’ll do okay with 運動神経.

近所 (vocabulary card)

This is one of those words I learned from long long ago, then forgot long before I ever started reading. I can recognize 「きんじょ」 no problem, but I can’t seem to make the connection from the kanji to the reading. My recognition of 所 is somewhat poor, as well.

表情 (vocabulary card)

I actually have a card for this one already, with the next review in December. I decided to reset it.

This is one of those words that when I see it, I know I should know it, but I always seem to forget it. I wish I had a solution for these words. (For the most part, I’m letting them auto-suspend if they reach leech status in Anki.)


having the cards with some alternate writing styles is pretty neat.

i started reading かがみの孤城 too after seeing the home thread for it and suprisingly it does seem readable, albeit extremely slowly, think i’m around 1/3 through the weekly quota and it took me multiple hours, basically have to read every page twice, because i start losing the overall picture.

looking forward to seeing your posts in the discussion threads.


かがみの孤城 Day 1


Week’s progress:


To read an equal amount each day, I need to read 14.3% of the material daily. But Migaku Reader only gives a percentage per “page” (same as any other reader), since it cannot know where on the page I’ve read through. For this reason, I’ve rounded week one to 15.8% required per day.

However, after reading my 15.8% for today, I found this pace is not sustainable. I spent more than two hours on it, a time investment I can manage on weekends, but not on weekdays.

For this reason, my new aim is 31.5% Saturday (which I completed in about four hours total), 31.5% on Sunday, and the remaining 37% comes to 7.5% per day. With each “page” in Migaku Reader coming to 5.3%, this means I just aim for two “pages” per day weekdays, so long as I meet my quota weekends.

I estimate my time investment will need to be a minimum of one to two hour per day weekdays, and four to five hours per day weekends.

And I still plan to keep up my “one manga chapter per day” reading pace.

And I expect to heavily participate in the next Absolute Beginner Book Club each day.

Send help.


New kanji cards: 4


Once again, I’m trying to really lean into to mnemonics for kanji. I know they haven’t worked for me in the past (repeatedly). But, I’m going to give it another try.

New vocabulary cards: 10


For Anki cards, I didn’t pay attention to frequency like I was planning. I’m sure I’ll need to start doing that soon, or else I may end up making too many cards each day for me to keep up with in reviews. I stopped creating new cards halfway through my reading today to try and keep the volume manageable.


spent way too much time trying to find good gifs haha


かがみの孤城 Day 2

Somehow, my WaniKani and Anki review volumes were both extra high today, and it took me an hour in the morning to get through them all… That’s more than double the time I normally spend. I guess it’s a good thing the time change gives me an “extra” hour in the morning starting today…


I kept up my weekend goal, and have reached the 63% mark for week one’s material.

This also happens to be almost 2% of the overall book, apparently. Considering I’m still at the beginning, somehow that makes it feel like I’m very far into it.


One of my new Anki words from yesterday, 途切れる, came up in today’s reading.

Back when I pre-read this portion of the chapter, I didn’t take notice of the word beyond a dictionary look-up, and I didn’t take the time to learn it. I didn’t even realize it shows up twice in the chapter.

For that reason, recognizing the word, knowing its reading, and knowing its meaning, all at a glance has me already feeling progress.

This word appears a total of 15 times in the book, so I look forward to seeing it again later, and hopefully continuing to recognize it.

Aside from that, my computer temporarily died on me and corrupted my Anki database. My latest backup was from after I did reviews this morning, but before I added new cards, so I lost all of today’s new cards.


There’s plenty of new words that I’ve added to my Anki from かがみの孤城 already - but what really gets me is when I see a word I don’t know, use the kindle dictionary, and can just read the definition in Japanese without any further lookups needed. That feels good. The only real problem is that, at least on pc, the kindle program doesn’t seem to support deconjugation - so I can’t check verbs very easily unless they’re in dictionary form. It’s annoying, but I can live with it since I’m able to copy the text into yomichan to look up the words


Its kinda funny, after reading your post yesterday, I saw 途切れる show up haha


I’m hoping to get there eventually!

I don’t have any easily accessible electronic dictionary when reading (aside from dropping a word into a search engine with 意味(いみ) next to it in the search box), which limits my interaction with Japanese definitions. But when I do look things up, the definition tends to lead me to unknown words. And sometimes looking up the meaning of a word from a definition, it gets defined using the first word I was looking up…

Come to think of it, I did install Kobo’s Japanese dictionary on my e-reader. But I only tried that on a book that has furigana, and the parser for the dictionary doesn’t know how to cope with that. If I were, for example, looking up 途切(とぎ)れる by pressing down on the word for a second, it would bring up a “no results for 途切” screen.


Oh yeah circular definitions can be a bit of a pain - in those cases I just take the English definition of the one I’m interested in and leave it at that. I’m still mixing English and Japanese definitions fairly often, but one thing I try to do sometimes is reading the Japanese definition even with unknown words and lookup the words in the definition. Usually I don’t go more than one or two layer deep depending on how easy those extra definition layers are

What I tend to do is keep Yomichan’s search window open while I’m reading with what I’m reading on half of the screen and the dictionary on the other. Lets me switch between the two windows easily and keeps what I was reading easily on-screen. I have a couple of JP-JP dictionaries imported into Yomichan so I’ve got those higher priority than the JP-EN stuff to try to encourage me to try the JP definitions


かがみの孤城 Day 3


Goal: 70.5% (cumulative)

Actual: 76.2%

Even though it’s only on its second alpha release, I’ve been mostly enjoying using the Migaku Reader for this:

I would have read more today (I’ve surpassed the portion I had pre-read!) except I still have manga reading to get to for the day.


An add-on issue in Anki prevented me from adding cards this morning, so I only added a couple this afternoon.

New kanji cards: 1

New vocabulary cards: 2


I feel like my card-adding is going to start ramping up after this. After all, I can’t have an issue with adding cards a third day in a row, right?


かがみの孤城 Day 4


Goal: 78.0% (cumulative)

Actual: 85.7%

Scheduling is working well, reading in the morning. Especially since the recent time change gives me an extra hour in the morning. So far I’ve been able to get in my WaniKani and Anki reviews, complete my reading quota, and create Anki cards, within an hour. That means I have enough buffer to increase my daily reading if for any reason I’m not able to keep up a “31.5%” pace each day of the weekend.

Reading is starting to feel a little easier now. I think it’s mostly that before I was re-reading material I’d already pre-read, and now I’m in material I hadn’t read yet. Daily reading has transitioned to “I want to keep reading,” where I’m limited by time available, rather than pushing myself to keep reading.

Part of what is catching my interest right now is filling out the details that I couldn’t get listening to this portion in the audio book. When you’re listening to audio where you understand anywhere from as much as 50% to as little as 5%, there’s a lot of holes waiting to be filled in.

It’s also been interesting seeing what the manga has left out, and what it’s added.


New kanji cards: 4


New vocabulary cards: 7


I haven’t been paying attention to frequency when adding words. Instead, I’ve focused on a mix of:

  1. Do I know all the kanji in this unknown word?
  2. Is it a word without kanji?
  3. Does the unknown kanji look simple enough to learn?

I think Migaku has the ability for me to create my own frequency list to use, but I haven’t looked into it much. I’d be nice to have frequency information for this specific book up directly in Migaku Reader


かがみの孤城 Day 5


My “amount to read each day” was off again, because I didn’t account for Migaku Reader having a “end of book” page included in the page count. (I imported week one by itself, so at the end of the week’s content came an “end of book” page in the reader.)

This means that I have actually completed week one’s reading ahead of schedule.

On one hand, I’m glad and amazed I was able to complete week one’s material within the week, let alone a little early.

On the other hand, I know what happens next from reading the first chapter of the manga and listening to the start of the audio book, and the anticipation will make it difficult to wait for week two to start.

I may get a start on week two early just so I can reduce the minimum amount I have to read over the weekend.


Thus far my daily review count in Anki seems to be going okay. (On the other hand, in WaniKani I haven’t done lessons in forever, and my Apprentice+Guru has been steadily increasing just a little over time.)

WaniKani review time: about 10 to 15 minutes. Anki review time: about 10 minutes.

New kanji cards: 0


New vocabulary cards: 2


New card counts are a bit low because I didn’t realized how close I was to the end of week one’s reading.



Today was something of a milestone day for me.

I did a lot of reading (throughout much of Saturday), with rapidly decreasing amounts of furigana available to me.

Currently feeling like:


Morning Reading: Furigana for Unknown Kanji Only

First up was 「かがみの孤城」, which I’ve totally not been keeping up a daily log for (and haven’t been adding as many words to Anki as I should be).

I did have Migaku Reader adding furigana to unknown words, and I could rapidly look up words I’d forgotten the kanji for. But there were still many known kanji that therefore didn’t have furigana. Using Migaku Reader has really been helping me get used to reading kanji without going directly to the furigana (since it’s not there).

(I do know (ふと), but was too focused on reading to mark it as known.)

Mid-day Reading: Furigana Upon Lookup Only

Since that reading finally surpassed the end of chapter one of the manga, second up was reading chapter two of the manga adaptation:

No furigana here, but I did have Copyfish around to OCR the text, which I then dropped into to look up the meaning of the unknown words. I was surprised that I wasn’t having to look up nearly as many as I expected I would be. It did help that some of the unknown kanji were ones I’d just encountered in the book earlier.

I figured I’d ready half today, half Sunday, but I ended up reading all 46 pages in one go…

Evening Reading: No Furigana

Finally, I started playing 「ポケットモンスター ブリリアントダイヤモンド」 in Japanese.

I wish Pokémon games had a furigana option, rather than a choice between kanji or kana-only. However, somehow or other, it seems I was able to mostly get by.

It did take seeing (たび) a few times before I remembered it, and I was stuck on (たの)しい after seeing it a few times, until I remembered that that kanji is for that word. I took screenshots of some unknown kanji to add to Anki, as well.

Over all, I’m quite satisfied with the reading I got in with two hours of gameplay. I remember trying out the “Let’s Go Eevee” title in Japanese in 2020, and it was a much more difficult experience, with a seemingly endless flow of unknown kanji.


I’ve gotten my WaniKani combined Apprentice+Guru down to 299 cards. That’s down from 330 a month ago, with no new lessons during that time. (Maybe there were a few lessons a while back that I forgot were in this time frame.)

Every day it’s the same cards over and over and over again, as the number of leeches is…well, unknown. WaniKani userscripts stopped working for me a while back, and I still haven’t gotten them working again. Thus, no leech numbers. But I feel I have to be at over 90% leeches for Apprentice+Guru right now.


feel you on the leeches… dying a slow painful death


Mid-December Update


I’ve been looking forward to my daily WaniKani reviews going down, as I haven’t been doing any lessons aside from the lower-level items recently added. And yet, in the past couple of weeks, my number of daily reviews has doubled, and my Apprentice + Guru leeches are up to 266. They’re going in the wrong direction. But on the bright side, if they stick around long enough, they’ll be eligible for hibernation if WaniKani ever implements such a feature.


I haven’t been adding Anki cards as I’d planned. I’ve just been spending too much time on WaniKani reviews to have time to add many Anki cards. If I ever lose my WaniKani review streak (1,082 days in a row doing reviews!), I’ll probably put WaniKani on vacation mode and focus on learning kanji only from material I’m reading for a bit, and see how that goes.

The good news is that 「かがみの孤城」 is getting easier to read. I’m able to get through about three or four pages in the amount of time that I used to spend on one page. This has freed up time for me to start adding to Anki this week.

I’ve been using Migaku’s kanji add-on for Anki to take a page of text from the book, paste it into the add-on, and let it generate kanji cards for any unknown kanji in that text. Then, as I do the lessons for these cards, I treat each kanji card in one of three ways:

  • If I know the kanji already, I mark it as known, which removes the card from reviews.
  • If I don’t know the kanji:
    • If it’s a simple kanji, I also add a vocabulary card or two.
    • If it’s a complex kanji, I delete it (for now) unless it appears on an existing vocabulary card.

My daily reviews are getting low enough that I should add more, but most of the recent words I’ve added I’ve been failing at.

I think the main reason for failing is because I’m adding new kanji and vocabulary from 「かがみの孤城」, and a lot of that is narrative words. I’m sure I’ll see them more over time in reading the book, but they won’t be showing up in manga or video games any time soon. Adding them to Anki and reviewing them in advance of seeing them when reading should help recognition, but so far that isn’t working for me.

I may have to shift back to using manga as a primary source for new kanji/words. That’ll give me a better chance of seeing it again, with as many manga as I read, and the amount that I read.


Reading 「かがみの孤城」 is going well. I fell a little behind when there was one of the two long weeks on the reading schedule, but I’m back on track and hope to continue to keep up with the schedule. I originally thought I might start finishing ahead of time but decided to instead start making kanji and vocabulary cards as I go, for one page per day. (I’m reading about three pages per day, based on how Migaku’s reader splits the week’s reading into pages.)

Since I track my manga volume reading completely based on the year I read the manga, I like to not be midway through any when December ends (aside from book clubs). Thus, I’m looking to finish up the following in the next three and a half weeks:

Should be doable if I stop slacking off weekends.

Video Games

I’m getting good at starting games. Still gotta work on finishing them.

Eventually I’ll get to those final parts in Skyward Sword in Japanese. And I haven’t had much time to continue Pokémon in Japanese. Well, I might have except I’ve also been playing a bit of Chrono Trigger in Japanese since I can run it on my new computer.

And somehow it seems I’m able to run Little Busters as well, although I don’t plan to play it any time soon due to all the kanji, as there’s no text hooking application I could use on Linux.

I might have to write something that screenshots part of the screen, runs it through Tesseract, and then copies the output to the clipboard for Migaku’s clipboard monitor to parse and let me know which words I don’t know and give me definitions. (Actually, that’d be useful for Chrono Trigger as well.)


I don’t know if this is helpful to you (to me it is):
I’ve recently discovered a dictionary app that works well with mangas. I read mangas in bookwalker on my ipad, so I can take screenshots, but this will work with photos from paper books, too.
The app is called Nihongo, this is what the icon looks like:

You can import the picture of your manga page and it will recognize the words:

Then you click on a word and get a translation:

And you can get the full entry for that word, including example sentences, info on how common it is (top left: unüblich = uncommon). You can create an srs deck in the app, if you want to and add the picture of your manga to your card (see top right corner) as personalized example:

Sorry for highjacking your study log. Let me know if you’d prefer me delete it. I just thought this might be helpful to you or readers of your log.


Christopher, I know how you feel about the anki cards from reading. ALL of this year, I haven’t looked at ANY of the Anki that I’ve generated from my reading! Waah! Your focused approach makes sense. 40,000 words in a Vocabulary (to be literary fluent) is just a danged lot of words!!!

I would LOVE to play Skyward Sword in Japanese!! I have barely translated any of BOTW. My days are blowing by too quickly! LOL

Maharetina, please don’t delete that note!! I have been a little bit frustrated reading manga in bookwalker, because the kanji resolution was too low for me to even hand-write it into GoogleTranslate… Thank you.