ChristopherFritz's Study Log

Goal Adjustment

I made a mistake on my goal of kanji to learn before reading 「霧のむこうのふしぎな町」. I need to reach level 17, not 16, by mid-December to recognize 90% of the overall kanji used in the book. So, what does this mean for my pace?


Again!? You see the way Ethel’s shoulders jump? You see how Lucy’s eyes go wide? Yeah, that’s me right now!


In order to ensure I hit my goal of reaching level 16 17 by mid-December, here are my plans for this upcoming week:

  • Camp out in the middle of nowhere. (3 days)
  • Play video games with nephews. (3 days)

This…may be more difficult than I originally anticipated. (Impromptu out-of-town trip to visit family incoming.)

Thankfully I’ll have the Flaming Durtles app for offline reviews while camping.

I’ll probably do the entirely of my ABBC and BBC reading on the 10-hour bus trip back home at the end of the week. And I don’t even have to worry about accidentally reading ahead, because by then we’ll be at the start of the next week’s reading.

WaniKani Schedule

As for my WaniKani goal to be able to recognize 90% of the total kanji in 「霧のむこうのふしぎな町」 before we starting reading it in the BBC, my level schedule is:

Level Begin Complete
Level 13 10/02/19 10/20/19
Level 14 10/21/19 11/08/19
Level 15 11/09/19 11/27/19
Level 16 11/28/19 12/16/19

My required pace of 24 days per level has dropped to 18 days per level! This new schedule extends past the reading start date of December 14th, but by then I should have completed all Level 16 lessons.

I’m prioritizing lessons by radicals and then kanji, but I’m not slacking on vocabulary lessons anymore. I’m aiming to keep my apprentice around 100 (hopefully by completing lessons, and not by failing reviews!) The count of new radical introduced per level has dropped, but the kanji are getting to be complex enough that I’m actually reading and using the mnemonic stories (which I normally don’t do).

We’ll see how it goes. Worst-case scenario, I can’t keep up with this schedule, and I slow down to what works for me. I don’t meet my goal, but that just means I’ll know maybe 86% or 87% of the book’s overall kanji, rather than 90%. That’s not a big deal. What’s important is that I maintain a pace that is conducive to learning the material.

Book-Reading Prep

Looking at the level 13 kanji in 「霧のむこうのふしぎな町」 (19 unique kanji comprising 114 of the book’s total kanji count), I recognize the 11 I’ve encountered lessons for. I look forward to learning vocabulary for these well in advance of reading the book.

Although one should study on a schedule, not on motivation, having a little motivation on top of a set schedule certainly doesn’t hurt any. For extra motivation, I’m looking at the count of unique kanji from the book that I’ll encounter per level, and the total usage of those kanji in the book:

Level Individual Total
Level 13 19 114
Level 14 12 30
Level 15 15 101
Level 16 16 92

Although only 19 of the 37 kanji in level 13 are used in the book, I know that once I finish the level, I’ll be able to read 114 of the overall kanji in the book. (Unintended side-effect: Level 14 may feel a little demotivating compared to levels 13, 15, and 16.)

Okay, no new reviews for an hour and a half, and I don’t have to head to the bus station for at least 10 more hours. Guess it’s time to start packing for this trip!


Enjoy the holiday! Camping and video games! Sounds great! :smiley::+1:


WaniKani Progress

I’ll hit level 14 this week, a few days ahead of schedule. Considering I was on vacation last week, I’m hopeful to do even better (faster) on the next level. (Disclaimer: Do not level up at a pace faster than your learning can keep up with.)

I’ve also kept up on my lessons, with it currently sitting at 0. I have 32 vocabulary lessons still waiting to be unlocked, thanks to 12 kanji not due to guru until later this week.

Reading Progress

Does buying a digital copy of the English book “Who Censored Roger Rabbit” and reading through it over the span of a week count as reading progress?

We’re at the end of the current ABBC and BBC manga, which I’m wrapping up reading. I just need to check anything I marked to look up and look them up.

I didn’t put nearly as much effort into 一週間フレンズ as I’d originally planned, but that’s probably because I’ve previously seen the anime with English subtitles, and I’ve previously read the first volume in English, so I had “I know what’s happening” to fall on. This isn’t a bad thing (it’s one of my listed methods for reading manga), but it doesn’t doesn’t help my grammar knowledge grow.

That issue won’t exist with ふらいんぐうぃっち. I haven’t watched the anime, although I did buy it on DVD a couple of years ago. (I…have a backlog.) I haven’t read the manga in English, either, although I download the preview, then delete it after half a year of not reading it. (I…have a lot of English manga I’m reading.)

Granted, it was the same situation for me with 結婚しても恋してる (no English version experience), but that series involves a lot of disjointed one to two page stories. I expect hope chapter-long stories (as ふらいんぐうぃっち is) to be a little more favorable to me looking more deeply at the grammar involved.

Flash Card Musings

When I had read volume one of ごちうさ way back in 2018, I made 2,477 flashcards. This included all first appearances of words, including each conjugation used. I did maybe three or four revisions along the way until I came up with something I was comfortable with.

From that experience, and from increased reading in general, I’ve found the following:

I found sentences are not as necessary as I had originally thought.

Using sentences from the reading material sounds good on paper, but in reality it often results in short, out-of-context sentences.

I also discovered sentences can become a crutch, in which you only know a word because you recognize the rest of the sentence and have memorized the word used in that sentence. (Read: Don’t recognize it in any other sentence.)

Using WaniKani, especially in Anki mode (via the Flaming Durtles Android app) has shown me that sentences are less necessary that I used to think. I’ve also come to realize that I usually don’t even bother reading the sentences in iKnow.

I now routinely encounter the same vocabulary across different decks. For example, 多い appears on page 57 in ごちうさ volume 1, so it appears in my ごちうさ deck (although I don’t review that anymore). It’s also in level 5 of WaniKani. It’s also in the first 100 words in iKnow’s Core decks.

I don’t expect any kind of connection between different services, but if I’m reading multiple books and am using decks based on those books that are part of a single flash card system, there needs to be a way to connect cards for the same vocabulary. They should share review progress, and either should come up at random when it comes time to review the word (unless I’m reviewing a specific deck). I don’t know how doable this is in Anki, and I don’t know if Kitsun has anything like it. I think Floflo may do this (sharing the same card across all books that include that word).

Vocabulary words with multiple definitions I feel should include only the one meaning used in the sentence in the material. This requires extremely time-consuming manual curating of decks. (This is a strength of the community-based service Kitsun.) But that also means progress for the same word across different decks cannot be shared.

I could go back to building decks in Anki, and find a way to reuse the same card across multiple decks. I think this would come in the form of creating one monolithic deck, and then tagging all the words that appear in a story as a way to group them per story.

I could build custom decks in iKnow, using iKnow’s Core series (for shared progress), but their custom deck builder is cumbersome.

I’ve toyed with Kitsun, but I don’t care for how any of the default deck styles look. I tried to make my own layout, but only succeeded in wasting time proving I cannot do any better. More importantly, I don’t know if the site has a concept of shared progress for the same word across multiple decks.

I looked into Floflo, but the tool for importing known words for Anki fails for me. (I had made and tried importing a list of the iKnow Core 2000 words, as I know most of those.) Otherwise, it could be nice to use to tailor my reading toward books based I can read comfortably (grammar willing) while still learning some new vocabulary.

Of course, anything without an offline Android app is a no-go for me. (I begrudgingly used WaniKani on my desktop computer before the third-party Flaming Durtles app was released.)

The easy option is, of course, to be lazy and not create flash cards.


This is what I do! But interesting to read your musings.

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Wanikani Progress

As I work my way through level 14, I find half of the vocabulary I’m learning means “feeling”, and the other half means “personality”, and the final half all mean “complete”. I may just reach level 15 in a few days, but I know I’ll be struggling with the level 14 vocabulary, and I still have 34 lessons pending. (Not doing them yet, since I’m sitting at 101 Apprentice.)

My revised level schedule now allows for 19 days per level, an increase of one whole extra day allowed per level! (Take that, chocolate factory lady!)

Level Begin Complete
Level 14 10/17/19 11/05/19
Level 15 11/06/19 11/25/19
Level 16 11/26/19 12/15/19

Depending on when I hit level 15, I may order my lessons for focus on vocabulary a bit. (At the very latest, I’ll do that once I hit level 17, at which point my level speed will slow back down a bit.)

Reading Progress

I made it through 「にゃんにゃん探偵団」 in about a week. I did have to look up a bunch of words, and skimming through last year’s book club thread helped out from time to time. Looks like I’ll be joining in on the 「にゃんにゃん探偵団おひるね」 book club a bit sooner than I originally anticipated.

I’ve finished up volume 1’s of 「結婚しても恋してる」 and 「一週間フレンズ。」 with the book clubs, and am finding 「ふらいんぐうぃっち」 a (so far) fairly easy read with the Beginner Book Club.

Looking at my WaniKani Reading Clubs Timeline, it looks like 「ふらいんぐうぃっち」 and 「にゃんにゃん探偵団おひるね」 are now my only active club reads. I may be getting back to reading 「よつばと!」 volume 5, or the next volume of 「怪盗セイント・テール」. (Or will I finally get back to 「キラキラ100%」?) There’s also volume 2 of 「あまんちゅ!」. (By the end of volume 1, I am undecided yet if the series will interest me.)

I added 「ハナヤマタ」 on my “considering” list, but having just finished watching the anime, I’m still in the “honeymoon period”. Since it lacks furigana, I may wait a couple of years, or I may forget the anime enough to drop this off my consideration list later.

Part of me wants to get the Japanese release of “Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town” remake for the Switch (after finishing “Breath of Fire” and “Link’s Awakening” in Japanese). But I’m really not feeling the art style for characters, or the upgrades to their appearances. Adding that I’ve always liked 2D sprites over 3D, I’m…undecided.

Grammar Progress(?)

I haven’t learned much anything new in quite a while, but I’ve gotten better are recognizing some things, and am getting good at re-learning things I already knew and forgot.

I would like to get back to reading something where I analyze and scrutinize every little bit of grammar sometime.



I find I consistently get more done when I have a checklist, and I consistently get less done when I do not. It’s not a matter of motivation. It’s purely laziness. I should probably make daily checklists, rather than just the rare weekend one I make in the 「勉強しましょう ~ let’s learn together!」 thread. Perhaps make weekly checklists there that cover seven-day ranges rather than Friday through Sunday?

Grammar Progress

One thing I’m trying to do is get through one Cure Dolly video every day. (Starting yesterday.) Today I listened/subtitle-read through the Cure Dolly video on “passive” verbs, and it completely changed how I view れる/られる. I’m never calling them “passive” verbs again. From now on, I’ll refer to them as “receptive” verbs. I feel like all existing Japanese-learning material should have their whole section on “passive verbs” thrown out, and rewritten from scratch. The idea of taking a Japanese grammar concept, and trying to shoehorn it into a similar-sounding-but-actually-quite-different English grammar concept only confuses things.

I feel like every time I get a quarter of the way into a Cure Dolly video, I want to rant about published English-language resources for learning Japanese grammar. But that’s a good thing, because I’m throwing out the English grammar-based way of looking at Japanese grammar, and learning the Japanese grammar-based way of looking at Japanese grammar.

Wanikani Progress

Nearly five days after reaching level 16, I’ve almost Guru’d all radicals, and haven’t touched a single kanji lesson. I still have some level 15 vocabulary lessons pending that I’ll get to as my Apprentice count dips below 100 from time to time. I just wish Apprentice wouldn’t drop 20 points in a day. That’s quite a bit of new vocabulary lessons (for me) to take on in a day, and it adds to my daily reviews for a while!


Since I’m ahead of my short-term level up schedule, I don’t mind taking a bit more time. It’s how levels 17 and beyond will be as well. Here’s how my schedule looks for reaching level 17:

Level Begin Complete
Level 16 11/05/19 12/15/19

I don’t want to rest on my laurels, but I think I have some time before I start those kanji lessons. (Why do I feel like a fast rabbit who’s taking a nap while a slow turtle trots by?)

My daily reviews are averaging around 150 lately, but it’s slowly creeping higher and higher. I’ve been ignoring doing leech reviews, and that’s showing as well. (Maybe if I stuck leech reviews onto my to-do list?)

Reading Progress

My occasionally-updated bookshelf screenshot up in post two now shows my progress in books I’m reading. I partly just wanted to play with HTML and CSS to make the images visually show my progress, but mostly wanted a clear representation of how far I am in everything I’m reading.

「ゼルダの伝説 夢をみる島」: No progress here. I’m lazy, so I haven’t gotten to swapping out the “Mario Maker 2” game card currently in the Nintendo Switch.

「怪盗セイント・テール」: Reached the end of the story! There are two unrelated one-off stories from the author to finish off this volume, then the short volume 7 covers additional stories with the main characters of the series. I’m using the power of checklists to get through the first one-off story this weekend.

「俺物語!!」: I feel like I should be just about at the end of volume 2, but I’m barely halfway! I think I’m making slow progress mostly because it’s only a couple of years at best since I read the volume in English.

「キラキラ100%」: I hadn’t touched this one in a long time, even though I’m more than halfway through. Thanks to the power of checklists, I’ve started it back up again.

「ご注文うさぎですか?」: The start of volume 2 was a slow struggle earlier this year, and I dropped reading it for a while. I picked it back up again recently, and I’ve been making a good pace of it. Some chapters I remember from watching the anime back in 2017, which really helped considering there’s no furigana to help me out with the kanji. But I can definitely see progress. My kanji analysis of the first volume showed that by the end of WaniKani level 15, I should recognize 45% of the unique kanji and nearly 73% of the total kanji. Volume 2 should be similar, but I feel like I haven’t yet learned even half of the total kanji I’m seeing.

「ブレス オブ ファイア 竜の戦士」: The nice thing about this being a SNES game is it’s a digital download, so I don’t have to swap game cards to play it. But being an RPG, I have long stretches where the only reading is the same battle text over and over again. And then I reach a town, and it’s slog because I just have to talk to everyone. This might not be so bad, except: 1) I have text speed set to slow, and 2) a lot of villagers repeat the same dialogue as other villagers in the same town.

「ふらいんぐうぃっち」 and 「にゃんにゃん探偵団おひるね」: I’m keeping pace with the books clubs, although I haven’t been commenting too much lately.



I’ve finally found a use for my final reserved post: a weekly checklist.

I like to say I’m lazy, but the truth is I’m lazy to start doing. I can spend 15 minutes avoiding starting to watch a 10-minute Cure Dolly video, but once I’ve watched it, I’m ready to watch another. I can spend a month avoiding reading the next chapter in a manga, only to read three chapters once I’ve started.

A checklist helps out with two things:

  1. When I’m doing nothing, I can just pick something from the list and start doing it.
  2. Checking off items gamifies the experience. There’s this desire to complete and check off everything.

Study Progress

I’d been having trouble in my WaniKani reviews with a lot of similar-meaning vocabulary, so I’ve been on level 16 for 18 days. No issues there, except that I’ll end up on level 17 this upcoming week and I still have 76 81 lessons pending! I let my apprentice get too low (it’s sitting at 73), so I need to get back to doing daily vocabulary lessons.

Reading Progress

I’m a tiny bit ahead on one book club, and just barely kept caught up on another. That evens out, right?

My progress on reading is:

  • Saint Tail volume 6 (83%). Just need to start that last one-off story. Since it’s not related to Saint Tail, there’s no incentive for me to read it.
  • Link’s Awakening (80%; estimate). On hiatus because Pokémon.
  • Flying Witch volume 1 (69%). Was almost late on getting last week’s reading done, so I’ll be sure to read it early in the week this time.
  • My Love Story!! volume 2 (68%). Having read it in English and planning to continue the series in English, it feels like work to have to continue this in Japanese. Yet, each time I start reading it, it’s actually nice to read through and compare my understading with the official English translation. I do want to get this finished up.
  • Breath of Fire (66%, estimate). On hiatus because Pokémon.
  • Kirakira 100% volume 1 (66%). I still don’t feel compelled to read more, although I like the basic concept to the story. I expect there to be a specific turning point in the characters’ relationships that may make it more interesting for me, but I don’t know if that’ll happen by the end of volume 1. I do want to get this finished up, as it’s been on my “currently reading” list for a long time now.
  • Yotsuba&! volume 6 (58%). This one may or may not go on hiatus because the book club for it’s starting back up again. I do plan to read the next chapter on Thanksgiving, though.
  • Is the order a rabbit? volume 2 (55%). This is still my “I have three minutes left on my bus commute; what should I do to fill it?” item.
  • Kitty Detectives book 2 (44%). I read this while out of town last weekend and accidentally read two weeks worth. (Probably should have spent half that time on Flying Witch.)
  • Pokémon Sword (9%, estimated). Gotta stop playing in English long enough to play in Japanese.
  • Yotsuba&! volume 11 (0%). The book club lives!

I love the “review, learn, consume” breakdown of your checklist! :heart_eyes:


I responded in the 2020 goals thread with some goals mostly based on what I’ve accomplished in 2019. With a little more attention given, here are my filled out goals which I expect to occasionally write about my my progress of in this thread.


It’s not a Japanese-related goal (just moving up the street), but it will likely impact my progress when I move sometime in first quarter 2019. I expect to miss reading deadlines, and to do minimal vocabulary reviews, some days during during the move.

But there is a relation to Japanese here. Finally, all my stuff in storage will be returning home. I’ll have my Aqua and Aria manga back, and the rest of my ごちうさ Nendoroids in hand again!

Reading Goals

1. Read 30 manga volumes. I expect these to include:

  • 怪盗セイント・テール: Final volume!
  • よつばと!: Not counting what I’m in the middle of, I have five volumes left to complete the series.
  • 三ツ星カラーズ: Perhaps one per season to keep from reading them too quickly? Hopefully a new volume will come out around October!
  • アクア/アリア: Hopefully I remember how to handle a physical manga. Thankfully it’s not an omnibus.
  • ふらいんぐうぃっち: Volume two was a freebie, after all. I like the series so far, so volume two will decide if I keep reading.
  • 美少女戦士セーラームーン: It’s time! Maybe I’ll start with Sailor V, which I failed at in the first few pages ever so long ago. Or Sailor Moon and Sailor V concurrently? I’d like to read at least six volumes in the year.
  • GALS!: In consideration, depending on how other reading is going. I anticipate this series may be a little dialogue heavy for me.

I should be able to get in at least 23 volumes out of these.

In preparation for this, I need to finish up the non-WK book club manga I’m reading (three volumes, not counting よつばと! and ごちうさ).

2. Read four children’s detective picture stories. Not very ambitious, but my focus is on manga. Considerations are:

  • わんわん探偵団: Three-book series which may be picked up by the にゃんにゃん book club.
  • ミルキー杉山のあなたも名探偵: Much older 13-book series from the same author.

If these have three cases to a book, I can read one case per month and hit the four-book goal.

3. Read a Studio Ghibli シネマコミック (cinemanga). I read through となりのトトロ in 2019. For 2020, I’m undecided between (in order of consideration):

  • 魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service)
  • 耳をすませば (Whisper of the Heart)
  • 天空の城ラピュタ (Castle in the Sky)

Whereas a typical manga volume may be around 150 to 200 pages, the cinemanga for 「となりのトトロ」 is 416 (not counting the opening/ending theme song portions). However, a lot of pages were still-images of a scene with no dialogue, so it probably has a similar amount of dialogue as a single manga volume. Reading still takes extra time due to appreciating the artwork, however.

Looking at my potential reading schedule (23 volumes, four children’s books, one cinemanga), I wonder how I ever managed as many manga as I did in the 3/4 of 2019 that I’ve done manga reading! I guess I cheated a bit with “Saint Tail” because I’m so familiar with the story already, and to a lesser extent the easier “Yotsuba&!”.

(Schedule not final. Considering にゃんにゃん book two spills over into 2020, as well as the BBC book, I may need to adjust my book reading. I expect to be adjusting it throughout 2020 as well, based on my reading speed and progress.)

(First edit will be to push Aqua/Aria over. I won’t have them out of storage for at least a few months!)

Vocabulary Goals

Create a custom deck in iKnow where I add at least one Core vocabulary work I encounter in reading each day.

This will require I get my backlog of reviews down to zero. がんばれ〜

Grammar Goals

Identify at least one grammar point I’m certain I don’t know (or don’t know well) in what I’m reading, and thoroughly read up on it.

WaniKani Goals

Reach level 40. Hopefully this is setting the bar low, but going up another 23 levels in the same time I did 15 sounds like a lot to me. I know I slacked off on lessons and didn’t get serious about taking on more lessons for much of the first half of 2019.

Speaking Goals

I have no reason to learn to speak Japanese, but I wonder if shadowing will help my listening speed and comprehension speed any. I’ve been planning to shadow 「となりのトトロ」 in 2020 (but not right away). Since I know this movie very well, and have seen it probably 30 to 40 times (although most of that in English), it should be a good source to try with.


I haven’t been completing all of my daily to-do goals, but it’s been more a matter of being busy with other things rather than laziness, so I’ll accept that. I’ve been getting the important things done.

This past week has been my first in a while of hitting my target of 1 hour reviewing words per week in iKnow. For a while now, I’ve just been reviewing (mostly the same) five to ten words every day, even though there’d been roughly 100 words waiting for review each day. I finally went through the whole stack, and I should be able to keep it at 0 at the end of each day in December. Then I can start adding words from my 2020 reading, and hopefully that’ll make it easier to learn new words.

On the WaniKani side of things, I’ve been on level 17 for 13 days, and haven’t touched a radical yet! I want to start all the level 16 vocabulary first, but I made a settings goof and completed the level 17 vocabulary (and kanji) first.

I’m struggling with various words that have similar meanings, so I may be on level 17 for the most of December. But I’m not in any hurry.


I go one week without checklists, and I feel it’s been my least productive 日本語 week in quite a while. I’m planning to go analogue with this one and get a desk calendar to start writing my to-do lists on for 2020.

I think I’ve finalized my preliminary 2020 reading schedule.

On a whim, I’ve committed myself fully to Kiki’s Delivery Service for 2020. I decided to wait until after ふしぎな町 to start on the first book, though. I’d glanced at it over a year ago, but it was way beyond my ability at the time. (Maybe I should re-read the English translation in advance to give myself a boost?)

I hope to have Aria/Aqua out of storage by March, but I’ve pushed starting it until the latter half of the year. This was mostly because I expect to struggle with Kiki’s a bit, and want to give myself time to acclimate to reading a story book.

Almost $70 in manga and book purchases later, I should be good on all my purchases until May. (That is, unless we get a Kitty Detectives club continuation with a Doggie Detectives read, which I’m sure will happen.)


It looks like 2020 is starting with both ups and downs.

The downside: I planned to add one vocabulary word into iKnow each day. Since I can make my own deck using cards from their core 6000 decks, I figured I could easily find words I don’t know in my daily reading to add. And so far, every word I’ve had to look up, is not in iKnow’s core 6000 deck… (And they’re not in WaniKani, either! For example, 担任 and 通称.) I may just have to dust off Anki and start creating cards again…

The good side: I went into reading the picture book 「もしかしたら名探偵」 thinking I’d read the first “case part” of the three stories within, and I’ve managed to finish it already. But I’m holding off on starting the next book, as I’m carefully going through the pages of this one to see where I need to look up vocabulary and (especially) grammar.

As @Rowena has been doing with Kitty Detectives, I’ve been typing up kanji-ified versions, as well as doing English translations. I decided to try and be a little more fancy with one of the stories from 「もしかしたら名探偵」, but I think fitting the content into the pages, while nice for re-reading, probably has used up too much of my precious reading/learning time… (But it was fun.) ((Maybe I can instead use that time for making Anki cards.))

Left to right, original, kanji-ified, English:

(Oops, I have a (はなし)し in there…)

Back to reviews.


Are there any cats involved? :laughing:

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Well, this character appears near the bottom of one of the pages:

But, no, not really any cats =(

(Hopefully the author does a third Hanae/Kitty Detectives book. I like her a lot more than the detective in this original series.)

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Recently, I’ve been slacking on learning more grammar and have been getting an extra high error rate on WaniKani reviews. (I think having about 200 reviews a day between WK and iKnow is a bit much for me to retain.) But on the good side, I’ve been getting a decent amount of reading in. (And I’ve written out this upcoming week’s to-do list in my planner to address the slacking.)


I’ve started and finished volume 1 of Rental Oniichan, and it’s irrefutably the easiest work I’ve read this year. (Well, we’re still in early January. Make that in the past 12 months.) Even accounting for the easy chapters of Yotsubato!, looking at each volume as a whole, Rental Oniichan was an easier read overall. I’d like to say it’s a sign of my improved reading and comprehension ability, as well as vocabulary, but considering how much grammar and how many words I’m looking up in everything else I’m reading (including the ABBC picture book and BBC book), versus the few items I’ve had to look up for Rental Oniichan (maybe 25 words, most toward the end, and two or three grammar points), I think it may just be a very simple manga. I’ll definitely be getting volume 2 when I’m ready to make another manga purchase.


When I first looked at the cinemanga for Kiki’s Delivery Service, I quickly decided to shelve it for 2020. After all, just look at all this kanji(no furigana)!

However, I decided to take a subtitle file for the movie and run stats on its kanji. I wanted to know how readable to expect it to be.

In all, there are 447 unique kanji, and I’ve gone over about 65% of them in WaniKani so far. Many kanji are used more than once, and out of the overall kanji used, what I’ve gone over accounts for about 80%. I should recognize four out of every five kanji. (And indeed, in the screenshot above, I recognize a fair number of them, although I struggle to recall some pronunciations and some meanings.)

It looks like once I hit level 30, I’ll have covered exactly 90% of the kanji (based on the subtitle file). I don’t know if I can manage level 30 by June, but once I hit level 30, I’ll probably unshelve this title to read through. I think it’ll be good to read something without furigana because 1) one’s eyes always latch onto the path of least resistance (furigana on a known kanji), and 2) it’ll feel like I’m making progress in kanji learning (hopefully).

Table of Stats for Kanji in Kiki's Delivery Service
WK Unique Total
Level Kanji at Level % at Level Cumulative Kanji at Level % at Level Cumulative
1 8 1.79% 1.79% 125 6.35% 6.35%
2 20 4.47% 6.26% 132 6.70% 13.05%
3 20 4.47% 10.74% 124 6.29% 19.34%
4 21 4.70% 15.44% 183 9.29% 28.63%
5 25 5.59% 21.03% 196 9.95% 38.58%
6 23 5.15% 26.17% 152 7.72% 46.29%
7 20 4.47% 30.65% 99 5.03% 51.32%
8 19 4.25% 34.90% 103 5.23% 56.55%
9 25 5.59% 40.49% 123 6.24% 62.79%
10 18 4.03% 44.52% 55 2.79% 65.58%
11 16 3.58% 48.10% 41 2.08% 67.66%
12 17 3.80% 51.90% 65 3.30% 70.96%
13 8 1.79% 53.69% 22 1.12% 72.08%
14 11 2.46% 56.15% 17 0.86% 72.94%
15 15 3.36% 59.51% 66 3.35% 76.29%
16 15 3.36% 62.86% 49 2.49% 78.78%
17 8 1.79% 64.65% 15 0.76% 79.54%
18 9 2.01% 66.67% 28 1.42% 80.96%
19 6 1.34% 68.01% 7 0.36% 81.32%
20 7 1.57% 69.57% 56 2.84% 84.16%
21 5 1.12% 70.69% 9 0.46% 84.62%
22 7 1.57% 72.26% 16 0.81% 85.43%
23 9 2.01% 74.27% 13 0.66% 86.09%
24 3 0.67% 74.94% 17 0.86% 86.95%
25 8 1.79% 76.73% 13 0.66% 87.61%
26 7 1.57% 78.30% 10 0.51% 88.12%
27 8 1.79% 80.09% 19 0.96% 89.09%
28 5 1.12% 81.21% 11 0.56% 89.64%
29 2 0.45% 81.66% 7 0.36% 90.00%
30 4 0.89% 82.55% 7 0.36% 90.36%
31 8 1.79% 84.34% 20 1.02% 91.37%
32 7 1.57% 85.91% 11 0.56% 91.93%
33 3 0.67% 86.58% 4 0.20% 92.13%
34 1 0.22% 86.80% 4 0.20% 92.34%
35 5 1.12% 87.92% 11 0.56% 92.89%
36 4 0.89% 88.81% 11 0.56% 93.45%
37 3 0.67% 89.49% 3 0.15% 93.60%
38 7 1.57% 91.05% 35 1.78% 95.38%
39 5 1.12% 92.17% 6 0.30% 95.69%
40 3 0.67% 92.84% 3 0.15% 95.84%
41 2 0.45% 93.29% 3 0.15% 95.99%
42 4 0.89% 94.18% 6 0.30% 96.29%
43 4 0.89% 95.08% 4 0.20% 96.50%
44 3 0.67% 95.75% 5 0.25% 96.75%
45 3 0.67% 96.42% 4 0.20% 96.95%
46 1 0.22% 96.64% 39 1.98% 98.93%
47 2 0.45% 97.09% 6 0.30% 99.24%
48 0 0.00% 97.09% 0 0.00% 99.24%
49 1 0.22% 97.32% 1 0.05% 99.29%
50 1 0.22% 97.54% 1 0.05% 99.34%
51 3 0.67% 98.21% 3 0.15% 99.49%
52 1 0.22% 98.43% 1 0.05% 99.54%
53 0 0.00% 98.43% 0 0.00% 99.54%
54 0 0.00% 98.43% 0 0.00% 99.54%
55 1 0.22% 98.66% 1 0.05% 99.59%
56 0 0.00% 98.66% 0 0.00% 99.59%
57 1 0.22% 98.88% 1 0.05% 99.64%
58 0 0.00% 98.88% 0 0.00% 99.64%
59 1 0.22% 99.11% 1 0.05% 99.70%
60 0 0.00% 99.11% 0 0.00% 99.70%
(other) 4 0.89% 100.00% 6 0.30% 100.00%

Nice tip! Thank you @ChristopherFritz! Just ordered it this very minute! Perhaps it would make a really good low-level book for the ABBC one of these days? What do you think?


The better you get at recognizing grammar, the harder it is to tell what is ABBC vs BBC material. And I can’t tell whether grammar is N5 or N1. But it was such an easy read that I’d be surprised if it wasn’t a good pick for an absolute beginner reader.

For someone just starting out, there will always be hurdles. I started reading manga (whole works of native material in general) last year with Shirokuma Café, and have participated in many ABBC and BBC manga since. I feel if I re-read any of those, I’d be looking up more and understanding less and taking more time on them than I spent on Rental Oniichan’s first volume. The only ABBC/BBC title I’ve read that even comes close to that is Yotsubato.

I know you have your hands full with Gundam right now, but when you find the time to read it, feel free to let me know what you think of its difficulty. Chapter aren’t too long, and dialogue keeps fairly simple for the most part as most of it centers around a child.


Thank you, will do! Yes, until July pretty much all I’m doing is this Gundam manga, but once it’s over I will desperately need an easier read, and this sounds just the ticket. I’ll read it and let you know, and then, who knows, a really good low-level bookclub?! (In the meantime I know you are really busy with Sailor Moon!). Thanks again for the great tip!


Moving into a townhouse at the start of February and taking time to settle in was a good excuse to fall behind on things, but I need to get serious about getting back on schedule. Things like one CureDolly episode every day. …ah, I’ll have out-of-town relatives staying over this upcoming week. So, maybe starting next week.

For a while, it seemed like I was doing nothing but SRS in my free time. I was barely squeezing in any manga reading. (And in that, I ended up spending a whole month on level 20.) But now, I’m ready to move forward…after next week. In the meantime, I figured I’d look at how I’m doing on my reading goals for 2020, so I probably first started working on them before I knew I’d be buying a home.

My goals post above is outdated as I write this (I’ll update it later), but so far I’m at:

Medium Target Completed Reading Goal
Manga 5 4 5 30
Books ½ 2 0 5
Novels 0 0 1 1

Target: How many I should have completed by early March.
Reading: How many I’m in the middle of reading.

My current goals:

  • Keep at Sailormoon.
  • Keep at Flying Witch.
  • Keep telling myself to get back to reading chapter four of 「霧のむこうのふしぎな町」.
  • Start 「いつのまにか名探偵」.
  • Start two more volumes of easy manga.

Progress (and any lack thereof aside), I did my first purchase at a Bookoff (here in California). I’ve been in there once before, but just to browse. This time, I thought I’d stop by and see if they have Aqua 1 and 2 in Japanese. (They didn’t.) I figured since I was there, I’d peruse for anything else I’d like to check out. The results:

Doggy Detective

I was planning to read this one digital, but it was there in hardcover, so I figured, why not?

Pocket Monsters Manga

I have copies of a bunch of the Kanto episodes in Japanese on VHS that I’ve watched, but when watching the dub I only watched up through the first couple of Johto episodes. I thought it might be interesting to read a manga adaptation of an episode I haven’t seen. I don’t know when I’ll read it, but it’ll be on my “to read” bookshelf (once I have the budget for and get around to buying bookshelves).

Pocket Monsters Strategy Guide

I think Gold/Silver is one of the greatest games in the Pokemon series. I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to reading through any of this, but if I do, it’ll be on a game I’ve played through at least five times in English and three times in Japanese (across Gold, Silver, Crystal). And that’s not even counting playing through the DS remakes.

Weird thing about this book is it reads left to right!

Children’s Books

I saw 「たんてい」 in the title, and grabbed these up without noticing the second says 「たんけん」. Okay, so it’s probably not going to be another Kitty Detectives, but it should be an easy read for when I finish any actual detective story children’s books on my to-read list.


Well done on the move (we’ve just completed ours too, only to discover that the neighbour plays the drums, I kid you not!), on getting back to study the way you want to, and on the book finds! And Happy Wanikaniversary too!