ChristopherFritz's Study Log

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.


Hey, I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I’ve been reading through all of Yotsubato (just now starting volume 12) and the book club threads here are invaluable for that. Just wanted to say, it’s too bad hearing this since I’ve been sort of progressing with Yotsubato right along with your former self. Maybe that sounds weird but it’s, like, indirectly watching someone else figure out the same stuff I am now through the messages they left behind.

I hope you can find the energy to get back into it some day, but language learning and particularly the one we picked is really challenging, so it’s totally understandable. Hope things are good for you with whatever you’re up to these days, anyway.


SRS Status

Recently, I reached again my prior daily review “best streak” on iKnow. 583 days in a row doing reviews. And then…somehow…I missed reviewing on iKnow the very next day, so I wasn’t even able to beat my best streak before getting dropped back down to 0 days.

I may have mentioned before that I planned to drop iKnow if ever I broke my current streak. The main advantage to iKnow is that I was reviewing about five to ten words a day that I’d previously brute-forced my way through, then forgot because (at the time) I wasn’t reading yet. And now that the streak has been broken, I have finally uninstalled iKnow.

Since iKnow doesn’t have any way to do offline reviews (at least, not that ever worked for me), and it requires daily a “phone home” to the server to maintain one’s streak, it’s refreshing to not have the internet tether. (I previously lost my daily review streak going camping in the middle of nowhere with family for a few days.)

On the WaniKani side of things, I’m down to about 70 to 100 reviews per day. (Not certain exactly as userscripts aren’t working for me at the moment.) I have more vocabulary lessons pending, but I can’t seem to get my Apprentice below 45, so I’m holding off on those at the moment. Maybe I should do one per day?

Anki I’m down to about 30 to 50 reviews per day. (Quite a drop from ~250!) The main kanji + vocabulary I’m trying to learn there have all suspended as leeches in the past week, so I need to develop a way to actually learn them.

These low review numbers make me want to take on more lessons, but I want to have my daily reviews low when the book club for 「かがみの孤城」 starts up. I’ve been steadily reading it here and there for a while now, and I still haven’t finished what will be week one’s material…

Kanji Status

The kanji and vocabulary I’m pre-learning for 「かがみの孤城」 that have been giving me trouble are:

  • 俯く (kanji has ten appearances)
  • 呟く (kanji has 61 appearances)
  • 瞬く and 瞬き (kanji has 82 appearances)
  • 頷く (kanji has 107 apperances)

I think I’m sensing a pattern here. Aside from all ending in 「く」, these words all have a three-furigana kanji. Maybe part of the problem has been trying to learn all four at once…

I’m also struggling with 洩らす, which is extra bad because I’m equally struggling with 漏らす in WaniKani that has the same reading and similar meaning…

Overall, it looks like my prospects of learning kanji outside of WaniKani are grim…

I think the main issue I’m facing is that in WaniKani, even though I don’t pay much attention to the mnemonics, the radical to kanji progression helps puts the components of the kanji in the spotlight. But for these other kanji I’ve been trying to brute-force memorize, I haven’t been doing that.

Maybe it’s time I give making a mnemonic a try. The simple act of doing so may make the kanji more memorable for me.

Vocabulary: (うつむ)

Meaning: to hang one’s head; to look down; to cast one’s eyes downward

It looks like this kanji is comprised of:

  • 亻 (leader)
  • 寸 (measurement)
  • 广 (canopy)

“Sub” kanji found within this one:

  • 付 (attach)

Meaning mnemonic: “The leader measures the canopy his followers brought to him. The followers hang their head in shame because they bought the wrong size.”

Reading mnemonics have always been even worse for me. I typically get by on “I’ve heard this word spoken in anime before”, but that won’t help me for these words.

Maybe I should make sentence cards for sentences from 「かがみの孤城」, using audio from the audio book. Couldn’t hurt…right?

Vocabulary: (つぶや)

Meaning: to mutter; to murmur; to grumble

This kanji is comprised of:

  • 口 (mouth)
  • 玄 (mysterious) [level 48]

Meaning mnemonic: This one I can kind of work with (“muttering” = something mysterious from the mouth). I haven’t encountered 玄 yet on WaniKani, but I do have a kanji card for it in Anki due to it appearing in 玄関(げんかん).

Reading mnemonic: I’m trying to figure if I can connect “two bulls yakking” about their problems, somehow. Guess just give it a try and see if it happens? (Except, now I want to go watch the “Twin Beaks” episode of Darkwing Duck…)

Vocabulary: (まばた)き and (またた)


  • “to blink (one’s eyes); to wink; to bat”
  • “to twinkle (e.g. stars); to flicker; to waver”

WaniKani actually teaches this one!

This kanji is comprised of:

  • 目 (eye)
  • 爪 (cleat)
  • 冖 (forehead)
  • 舛 (dance) [level 46: evening + cow]

(Because of course, since I came up with a reading mnemonic using bulls for the last one, this kanji’s radicals would involve a cow. I’m destined for confusion!)

WaniKani’s meaning mnemonic: “Your eye gets kicked with a cleat that came careening toward your forehead when it popped off someone doing a dance, and you blink.”

I suppose if I keep in mind that "dance" = "evening + cow", then...


(I never liked this cartoon, so the thought of Cow dancing in cleats, and one flying off and coming at me…)

To make things more difficult, this one is (まばた)き and (またた)く, both of which appear in the novel. I realize that I don’t need to get the reading right when reading a novel that (mostly) has no furigana, but I still want to be able to read it right in my head as I go along.

WaniKani’s (瞬き) reading mnemonic: “A wink is all it takes to get the “Ma butter” (まばた) from the store. It’s hidden, and they only bring it out if you do the wink.”

I’m going to have to ponder on the readings for these two a bit…

Vocabulary: (うなず)

Meaning: “to nod; to bow one’s head in assent; to agree”

Kanji is comprised of:

  • 含 (include)
  • 頁 (head)

Meaning mnemonic: “To include yourself, use your head to nod in agreement.”

I’m iffy on a reading mnemonic for this one as well.


Thank you!


(Hi! :wave:)

1 Like

Popping in to say “Hi, Christopher!!” :nerd_face:

I hadn’t noticed your thread before. fascinating… (tldr all, ofc) I’m glad you have one.


November’s around the corner. After becoming increasingly slacking in October, November’s going to be tough!


I’ve purposely reduced my lessons/new cards for SRS to near zero. I want to see what my schedule will be like in November and December before working out how much time I want to put into SRS.

:black_circle: WaniKani

WaniKani is down to about 30 Apprentice and 300 Guru. Those numbers have been fairly consistent (so basically leeches), with an average of maybe 50 or 60 reviews per day.

:black_circle: Anki

Anki’s keeping at about 60 to 70 reviews per day (way down from when it was about 200 to 250 per day). My plan is to add kanji and vocabulary from かがみの孤城 during reading with the book club.

:black_circle: Bunpro

I’m considering adding Bunpro in to review any unknown grammar I happen up in reading. I bought lifetime for it a while back (more as a “support the project” rather than because I expected to use it), so I can jump in and give it a try if my schedule allows.


:black_circle: かがみの孤城

Book club starts in just a couple of weeks. I’ve done a lot of pre-learning of kanji and vocabulary. I did some reading ahead, but once I (finally) reached the end of the first week’s worth of material, I gotten anything else done with it. I’m still letting my daily Anki review count decline (not adding new cards for now).

I haven’t worked out my daily reading schedule yet. I figure I may import each week’s reading into Migaku Reader so I can track my percentage progress throughout the week. I’d be aiming for 15% minimum per day. Or 20% if I can handle it.

I expect a lot of my daily Japanese time will be spent here. (And it likely won’t be reading so much as deciphering.)

:black_circle: 三ツ星カラーズ

And because I have no sense of timing, I last-minute nominated a manga for the Absolute Beginner Book Club, and it won the nomination vote decisively.

When I ran the club for レンタルおにいちゃん’s first volume, I pre-filled the entire vocabulary sheet. I’ve opted to be lazy and not do that for 三ツ星カラーズ, and will instead let it populate organically as is the usual case for book club vocabulary sheets. But I definitely want to peek in and add words earlier on in the week (if no one beats me too it) to help out all the first-time readers.

The remainder of my free time each day will probably be contributing to the discussion threads here.

:black_circle: Misc Manga

I’m not yet certain what will happen with my “read one chapter per day” for manga. I want to keep at it, but I might end up cheating by focusing on manga with short chapters.

Most likely to keep reading (one chapter per week minimum):

  • あしたは土曜日
  • からかい上手の高木さん
  • それでも歩は寄せてくる
  • ポケットモンスタースペシャル
  • 好きな子がめがねを忘れた
  • 恋に恋するユカリちゃん

Most likely to read at a slower pace (a couple of chapters):

  • おじさまと猫
  • たんぽぽの綿毛
  • マギ
  • 俺物語!! (Gotta stretch it out before I reach the end of the series!)
  • 幸色のワンルーム
  • 現代魔女の就職事情
  • 藤代さん系。

Most likely to put onto hiatus (maybe an occasional read):

  • ARIA完全版 (Seen the anime and read the incomplete English translation of the manga over a decade ago.)
  • 大海原と大海原 (Uncertain whether I’ll read past volume one.)

Upcoming book club I’ll likely join:

  • 極主夫道
  • DEATH NOTE (Hopefully I can decide whether to get the original release or the colorized. The analysis paralysis is real!)

Special mention:

  • わんわん探偵団おりこう (Will finish up this weekend.)

Calendar Alignment

Next chapter of 「恋に恋するユカリちゃん」 for me to read seems about right:


Hey, I saw your study log on my fourm homescreen and decided to drop in. It turns out iKnow, linked in your opening post, seems to be exactly the tool I’ve been looking for to learn vocab. Thanks!.


Your review plan sounds like a SANE plan that I should adopt (given my “Learning Japanese” Intervention that hasn’t removed their pressure, although I did get some work accomplished in the “real world”). (Except for your book club/reading plan…I haven’t been “getting to that” lately…). I’m rooting for you CF!!


That Intervention wouldn’t be a thing if you’d just implement some of my eternal laziness.

There’s always reading on a nice, drawn out schedule, with a low daily time commitment :wink:


L.O.L. Yup, that’s why you’re one of my “idols”, Christopher. :wink:

I mean, *even I* admit that it's bad (like the alcoholic sitting at the bar at noon might say)...

Yesterday I was sitting at the hospital bed of an ailing family member. She’s been essentially comatose for a year. I did interact one-sidedly with her for quite some time. But at some point, I finished all 160 reviews and then banged through all of the level 23 lessons. There was this thought: “Well, I’m officially off work today, anyway.” (Rationalization1)

But seeing as she was trying to learn several foreign languages during her lifetime, I think that she would “get” that, and probably support my decision whole-heartedly. If she were conscious, she’d probably be asking “What does this kanji mean? What about that radical?” (Rationalization2)


かがみの孤城 Status

With days to go until reading starts for かがみの孤城, I hope I’m ready…

The good news is I’ve pre-read week one’s material, so the first week should be easy. Wait, that’s this…? Ah, I only pre-read 75%. Even though I spent over a month working on it, there’s still 25% I didn’t get to…


Looking over the kanji, there’s about 230 kanji I won’t recognize in week one’s material. But most of those show up only once (at least for that week), so I won’t worry over them. I should recognize (and hopefully know) about 97% of the overall kanji that shows up in week one, so I need to ensure I don’t rely on Yomichan or Migaku to tell me the work before I take the time to recognize it.


For individual words, I’ve pre-learned all the vocabulary for week one. Well, all the vocabulary that appears at least five times in week one. There’s still over 350 unknown words in week one that I don’t know. And checking later chapters, it appears I’ll be averaging looking up 350 to 450 unknown words each week.

Audio Book

I’ve been listening to the first few audio book files at least once a week, usually while doing house chores. I seem to have developed a tolerance where I don’t even notice the parts I recognize. And I tune out the parts I don’t recognize. So I seem to end up not actually hearing much…

Planned Schedule

The club start date roughly coincides with the Daylight Saving time change where I live.

Since I don’t bother with the whole time change thing, this effectively means my work day shifts to an hour later, while my sleep schedule remains unchanged. (My internet-connected electronic devices change times automatically, but I let my alarm clock stay on “summer time” year round.)

This means my “one hour to do flash cards and some reading before work” morning routine is about to gain another hour.

I have no doubt my schedule won’t go as planned (Laziness Power!), but here’s my initial (wishful thinking) concept:

  • Morning: Read 3 “pages”.
  • Daytime: Play audio book portion for the week’s reading as background audio.
  • Afternoon: Create Anki cards for any vocabulary words I want to give attention to learning. Aim to create at least five cards per day.


Migaku Reader splits chapter one across just over 17 pages. That means I’ll want to aim to read through three pages per day.


Week one’s portion alone is an hour long, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to listen to the same hour of audio every day for a week… (Maybe I’ll see if I can figure out a lazy way to extract just the portion I read to listen to a few times during the day.)


Considering the book as a whole has thousands of words I don’t know, I’ll focus on those that show up multiple times. Requiring the word shows up at least five times in the book reduces the number of words to focus on learning to about 800 words.

Across 32 weeks of reading (assuming the book club reads the second half at the same pace as the first), that’s 25 words per week, and about four words per day. I expect this pace to overwhelm me at some point, and it will include works with kanji I don’t know. I’ll see how that goes, trying to learn the kanji as I go.

Depending on how long WaniKani and Anki reviews take each morning, I may split Anki reviews between morning and evening.


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.