ChristopherFritz's Study Log

Ouch, is it an adult who plays from time to time, or a kid who’ll hopefully get bored with it soon?

I now have a nice little back patio where I thought I’d spend a lot of time gardening (and sitting outside reading, perhaps?), but any time I go outside back there, whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening, whether it’s weekend or weekday, the neighbor on the other side of the fence is out in his back patio smoking, and the wind blows it through the fence into my area =( I’m extremely sensitive to smoke, so no back patio for me. The weeds that started growing after a couple of heavy rains shall rule the land!


Professional drummer. When I first heard it, I thought it was construction work or a building collapsing in an earthquake! It actually took me a while to realise it was supposed to be “music”. I went round and knocked on the door and he told me he got permission to play the drums from the management office (he moved in just a few weeks ago). This is the same management office that posts reminders to residents to make sure they wear soft slippers indoors to cut down on noise. It makes no sense at all. But hopefully we’ll be able to negotiate something. If he can practice at the same time each day, I can make sure I’m out then, or at least be prepared for it.

Having a smoker next door would be much worse, I really feel for you. As an asthma sufferer, even one sniff of smoke can set off an attack, so I understand how rotten that is. Life, eh?!


could i take your idea of adding manga panels to my study log? its really cute! :cowboy_hat_face:

Don’t let me stop you from adapting any ideas in any way that you see fit =D

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I’ve decided to join the cool kids with the weekly schedules. I’ve tried doing daily and weekly schedules before, and while they’ve somewhat helped out, I’ve had trouble keeping up with them.

Working from home for the past month has thrown my study/reading schedule into chaos, and it hasn’t really settled on any kind of beneficial routine (other than SRS reviews in the morning), so hopefully this helps me get things done.

Things I hope to accomplish with this schedule:

  • Get back on track with WaniKani afternoon reviews. Once I’m doing afternoon reviews, the night reviews will be easier, which means I’ll be up for night reviews nightly. No more spending over an hour on morning review sessions!
  • Get back to watching Cure Dolly videos (although I’m pretty much out of numbered lesson videos from what I downloaded a few months ago) and reading “Making Sense of Japanese”.
  • Make progress on reading ごちうさ volume 2, よつばと! volume 7, and ひふみ.
  • Spread out reading セーラームーン and ふらいんぐうぃっち a little more throughout the week, so I’m not rushing to read 20 pages so I can click “I’m all kinds of up-to-date and totally not behind like I was an hour ago” on the weekly book club polls.
  • Spread out reading アオハル rather than catching up whole chapters at a time near the end of the month. (Maybe I’ll get around to posting in the アオハル thread if I’m not reading two whole chapters in an afternoon, sandwiched between reading other things?)

Page counts are based on reading goals for the week (although this screenshot has some rounding errors that I’ve since corrected). As I read more or less than scheduled, the rest of the week’s page goals will auto-update. I can put all my reading into one or two series one day, and then move to other series the next day, and keep track of what reading I still need to complete.


One week later, how’d I do? Here’s my end-of-week checklist:

WaniKani has been so much easier this week as I’ve gone from 4 AM and 9 PM review sessions to adding a 3 PM review session again. If I could add in a 10 AM review session, maybe I’d be able to take on enough new lessons to spend less than one month per level…

Cure Dolly, I’ve mostly gotten beyond the lesson videos that were available when I downloaded all her videos a while back. Once I get through what I have left, I’ll need to see what else she’s done recently, then start looking for another source of grammar that breaks it down in a way that makes sense to me.

For Reading, my great plan to make small amounts of program in ごちうさ volume 2 has failed completely. I was focused on reading everything else that I didn’t get around to any ごちうさ.

I am satisfied with my reading progress otherwise. My initial reading goals were a bit on the low side, so I’ll probably want to bump them up for the upcoming week. This past week’s reading went as:

  • よつばと!: I read way more than expected. I’ll keep a similar page count for the next week, only now it’ll be split between one chapter from volume 7 and one chapter from volume 13 as the よつばと! book club’s started moving again.

  • セーラームーン: Setting aside time for reading each day has made it easier to complete reading a chapter earlier in the week, although if there keep being dialogue heavy scenes, I may start reading fewer pages per day, across more days.

  • ふらいんぐうぃっち: I’ve gotten to the point where I can usually get through half a chapter in one sitting.

  • 三ツ星カラーズ: Continues to be one of the easier series I’m reading. When another series has a few dialogue-heavy pages, it’s nice to switch over to something like this (or よつばと!). Budget allowing, I plan to pick up the next volume soon.

  • ひ〜ふ〜み〜: A one-off story by the author of 怪盗セイント・テール. The one-offs haven’t been as big a draw as the main series (as they’re completely unrelated to it), but I do want to read through them. Putting it on a checklist really helped out with making progress. (Technically I guess this was a two-off, as I think the next one-off continues with the same characters.)

  • アオハライド: Not as much progress as I wanted to make, but I’m glad to be reading this again. I’m not always fully following the dialogue, but I remember it well enough from the anime to usually be able to fill in the bits and pieces.

  • GALS!: Very little progress, but within my set goal for the week.

  • わんわん: Didn’t reach my reading goal, but I’m afraid that if I start reading, I’ll reach the end of the case portion much too quickly.

  • レンタルおにいちゃん: I finished off volume 2 earlier last month, but with a new month and new monthly budget, I’ll probably be picking up volume 3 soon.

For anime watching, I’ve only progressed one episode of セーラームーン, which is an abysmal pace if I ever want to catch up with where I am in reading the comic.


I should be far along on my reading for the week, but instead I spent a lot of Sunday installing and playing with JUMAN++ (as an alternate to MeCab), and KNP. Monday went into trying to understand what things in KNP’s output mean.


I probably mentioned this one earlier in this study log.

According to Wikipedia, MeCab is a “text segmentation library” for Japanese. It was originally based on another program, ChaSen, which Wikipedia bills as “a morphological parser for the Japanese language” and a “tool for analyzing morphemes”.

Basically, you can throw a sentence at it, and it’ll break it down for you:


JUMAN is, according to Wikipedia of Japan, a 「日本語の形態素解析システム」 or “Japanese morphological analysis system”. Apparently, it too is an offshoot from ChaSen.

JUMAN++ is an improved version of JUMAN. I think I’ve read that it’s re-written from scratch, and is faster than JUMAN.

I don’t know if this is true for JUMAN, but JUMAN++ makes use of recurrent neural network, which probably allows it to do some nifty things that I don’t know anything about.

The output is generally similar to MeCab, but with a much larger pool of pre-trained data:

My favorite thing here is that JUMAN++ recognized the name オキノ as being on the Wikipedia page for 「魔女の宅急便」, which is the book I pulled this sentence from. (The pre-trained data files for JUMAN++ are fairly hefty in total size. I had to resize my hard drive partitions to make room for it…) JUMAN++ also recognizes a lot of colloquialisms and Internet slang that MeCab can’t figure out.


The magic of JUMAN (or JUMAN++) really shines when it’s handed over to KNP.

KNP is a “syntactic analysis system” which takes the “morphological sequence” output of JUMAN, and works out the relationships of all the pieces.

Although I’m able to see how everything fits just by looking at this sentence by itself, I’m sure once the 「魔女の宅急便」 re-read book club starts up, and I’m trying to work my way through sentence after sentence of kanji without furigana, and words I don’t yet know, it’ll be nice to see the structure at a glance like this.


WaniKani Progress

Seeing my WaniKani progress hovering at around six to eight weeks per level, I’m internally debating on whether to:

  1. increase my apprentice count above 100~120, and enforce doing reviews four times per day
    • pro: more lessons per day = more learned in less time = more words I’ll recognize when reading
    • con: more time spent reviewing each day = less time for other things, including reading
  2. spend more any time reviewing leeches
    • pro: getting leeches figured out will reduce the apprentice count, making room for more lessons
    • con: when I’m on level 22, and a level 8 item hits apprentice 1, I have no idea what it’ll take for me to learn it = wasted time trying to figure it out
  3. simply accept up to two months per level; it’s not a race
    • pro: keeping apprentice at around 100, I’m able to continue my daily reviews without feeling overwhelmed
    • con: the longer it takes me to learn more vocabulary via WaniKani, the fewer words I’ll recognize when reading in the short-term

Weekly Schedule Findings

For now, I’m trying to keep up with my weekly schedule. My findings so far:

  • If something doesn’t have furigana, it doesn’t matter if I set my daily reading goal to 2 pages, or even four panels. I’ll probably skip doing it. (This does not bode well for me in the upcoming Kiki book club!)
  • Everything I read has a daily page count goal. I find it hard to start reading a manga (to fulfill the daily goal) if it’s something I normally read many pages in one sitting (Sailormoon, Aoharu). Then I end up having to read a lot to catch up.
  • Easy-to-read manga are like dessert sitting next to a peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread and a bowl of steamed broccoli. I need to make certain I start a reading session with a dialogue-heavy manga, then go to an easy one, and then another straining one, and then another simple one.
  • Trying to put anime-watching on a schedule isn’t working. Daily anime watching was so much easier to fit in back before I started SRS. (But I fit in eight episodes of classic Sailormoon today, so there is that.)
  • There’s no way I would have finished my long overdue re-read of Jay Rubin’s Making Sense of Japanese without scheduling a section per day.
  • There’s no way I’d have watched as much Cure Dolly as I have without scheduling one episode per day.

Latest Purchases

ふらいんぐうぃっち 第4巻

I need to check and see if I’m past the material covered in the anime, so I can give it a watch. This one would probably be on hold if the book club wasn’t continuing it so soon, due to the number of different series I’m reading. I do enjoy the manga, but being slice-of-life makes it easier to set aside for longer. I am looking forward to finishing up volume 3 and starting volume 4, though!

レンタルおにいちゃん 第3巻

After volume 2 covered a lot of important ground, and resolved some storyline plot threads, I’m left me wondering just what might happen in the next volume. A highly anticipated item for me.

三ツ星カラーズ 第6巻、第7巻

I wasn’t planning on buying both volumes until I saw how cheap they were. Are they normally this low of a price (314 円)? I don’t recall, so maybe they are. I figure since there’s no question of whether or not I’ll read volume seven, there was no harm in getting it now.

I’m figure I’ll finish this series and よつばと! around July, and then I’ll have to find another very easy manga to read.



Many years ago, I saw cover artwork for the GOSICK manga volume 1, and figured it was a series set in the Victorian era. Since it wasn’t available in English (as far as I know), I never looked up what it was about.

While I was picking out items to buy yesterday (mostly focused on getting the next volume of ふらいんぐうぃっち), I saw GOSICK in my Kobo recommendations. I decided to check the preview to see how readable it is, and…no preview available. I checked for a 立ち読み, and still didn’t seem to be able to find one.

Eventually I did find a 立ち読み, and was surprised to see it was fairly easy to read. Then I was surprised to see the character on the cover is first seen smoking a pipe. (I’m guessing she falls into the “I’m grown up, but I’m really short with a baby face, so everyone thinks I’m a kid” category.) And then a few pages later, someone literally loses their head, the 立ち読み ends there.

…okay, so maybe I won’t bother with this series. I mean, looking at Wikipedia, it’s set in 1924. That’s not even Victorian era. It’s clearly not slice-of-life, it’s not mahou shoujo, and we know it’s not going to be my top favorite genre, detective story.

Wait, does this here on Wikipedia say there’s a detective? And that complex mysteries get solved? Okay, I can fit volume 1 into my budget and give it a try. But if it ends up being more graphic than Detective Conan, I might just get back to reading Detective Conan (English) instead.



I keep wanting to read more in the Doggy Detectives book club, but I don’t want to see any solutions before everyone else reading in the club. So I figured I’d get the next book in the author’s original series. This’ll give me something similar which I can read at a faster pace. I was really impressed with the groceries-snatching case in book 2 in the series, so I look forward to what’s in this one (book 3).

Schedule Results

In all, I’m satisfied with this week’s results. I did a lot more reading than I would have without a schedule. Main weak points are:

  • should have read a little セーラームーン today
  • should have read another 15 pages of アオハル
  • should have read another 5 pages of GALS!
  • should have read another 10 pages of キキ (cinemanga)
  • I don’t even care about slow progress in ごちうさ, but the longer I take, the more kanji I’ll recognize

Now if only I could log in to the Kobo app (have spent two hours trying to get past a Google Recaptcha that fails in different ways, across multiple devices), maybe I can actually read what I just bought. Need those chapter page counts to finish putting together this week’s checklist.

Update: Installed Tunnelbear, signed up for a free account, set it to Japan, and was able to log in to Kobo without the Google Recaptcha getting in the way. Must be something new they set up recently, requiring a Japanese IP to log in. (But not needed to log in to their e-book web site and buy e-books that need the app to view.)


Wow, just wow! Your energy, determination, and organisation! Amazing!
And 8 episodes of Sailor Moon in one day!!! :open_mouth:

:+1: :smiley:

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I’m pushing to see how much I can understand by watching in Japanese without English subtitles. There’s a lot that I still miss, so I figure it’s best to go with a series I’m familiar with, even if that familiarity is with the 90’s English dub. Actually, it’s kind of nice when I watch a scene in Japanese, understand (the gist of) what they’re saying, and realize that the 90’s English dub completely changed the dialogue of the scene.

I’m sure I’ll struggle once I get to the third series of the 90’s anime, as that will be mostly all new material for me. (Well, I’ll have read the manga source material by then, but I expect the anime to have little resemblance to that.)

Once plus for watching the Crystal anime (based more closely on the manga), is that I keep hearing words I learned reading through the first story arc of the manga. (Although I’m only four episodes in on that one.)


I don’t know if this question will make sense: where does Making Sense of Japanese fit into your studies? I’m also selfishly asking myself this question. Reading about Japanese isn’t the same as reading IN Japanese, which I keep trying avoid because it’s hard and kind of breaks my brain. Though I am realizing that I can read more and more as I level up. But grammar!! :upside_down_face:


I’ll give the “TLDR” up front: Jay Rubin’s Making Sense of Japanese is not a book for learning grammar. It’s supplemental material for better understanding concepts you encounter in consuming (reading, watching, listening to) native Japanese material.

I originally read this book many years ago, when I knew very little of actual Japanese grammar. At the time, it was a boring read, and I didn’t really get much out of it. I wasn’t ready for it yet. I was still too much of a beginner without the necessary experience, and I wasn’t reading native material. (I had tried reading some manga a few times, but always gave up on the first couple of pages.)

Two years ago, I forced myself to work my way through a Japanese manga, and looked up all the grammar I didn’t know. That gave my grammar knowledge a huge boost.

Early last year, I joined the WaniKani community beginner book clubs, and this exposure to even more native material meant learning a lot more grammar.

Later last year, I started watching the Cure Dolly videos on YouTube, and she mentions occasionally that some of the concepts she teaches (such as the “zero pronoun”) come from Jay Rubin’s book, Making Sense of Japanese.

Some months ago, I decide to re-read the book. I found it still a bit boring to read, and I made very little progress until I forced myself to read one essay per day. (The book is essentially a collection of short essays Rubin had written on Japanese.) I finished it recently, and felt there wasn’t really much there for me after having watched well over 80 Cure Dolly videos.

If I hadn’t watched the Cure Dolly videos, then Making Sense of Japanese would have been a very enlightening re-read.

Who would I recommend the book to? I’d say someone who has conquered N5 grammar, knows a lot of N4 grammar (and maybe some higher level grammar), and who reads native material often.

This book does not replace other grammar resources. It supplements consuming Japanese material by allowing you to better understand concepts and nuances that can’t be boxed in to English grammar terms.


Good to know.
I think her は and が videos totally make it worth looking past the jarring presentation.

Thanks for the honest review. As the book isn’t available through my local digital library ( or so it seems in any digital form) I haven’t had a chance to flip through it, and I am trying to cut down on the number of physical books I bring in. That, and I have SO many Japanese materials that have been flipped through but haven’t kept my attention after the first few perusals. As this doesn’t seem to be a must read, I think I’ll just put it on the back burner until the next time I happen to be in a language section and remember to take a look.


I’d say (in my opinion) that は and が is the biggest learn one can walk away from the book with. Once you’ve gone over all of Cure Dolly’s videos on は and が, that takes away the primary interest in the book. (There’s still a lot of useful information in the book, but to me this is the big one.)

If Jay Rubin were born 20 or 30 years later, maybe his essays would instead appear on a personal blog, and maybe he’d do Periscope videos talking about the finer points of Japanese. As things are, his book is indeed available only in paperback form, and I’d be surprised if much of his material hasn’t been covered by more recently written online Japanese learning material.


Someone in the forums recently shared the tip that if you change the video settings to 1.25 or 1.5 speed and turn on subtitles, Cure Dolly becomes much more tolerable; I tried it and agree, so will be adding them to my own study plan.

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Probably, but sometimes a book of essays can be something special…

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Yes, I have seen this tip but she doesn’t bother me as much she does others. Plus, I turn down the volume (and I have kids so this is nothing :joy:). I just added that comment just to prepare a random reader who may run over to check out her videos and are taken aback.


WaniKani Progress

I reached the point where I’m one kanji guru away from leveling up, and the next review for level-up kanji is at least a day and a half away. On one hand, I was hoping to complete level 22 in under 40 days. On the other hand, with 21 lessons pending, I kind of feel I’ll be leveling up too quickly.

I think starting this week, I’m going to make myself do at least a minimum of one vocabulary lesson per day, regardless of where my apprentice is. That way I’m still making some kind of progress, without overwhelming myself with reviews.

Weekly Schedule

Last week’s results:

(I actually did do nightly WaniKani reviews Friday and Saturday nights. Don’t know why I didn’t check them off.)

  • I’m debating on whether to shelf ごちうさ until I know more kanji. Maybe I’ll try to finish up the current chapter and decide.
  • I should probably shelf GALS! for now, and get back to it when I’ve build up more stamina for reading. Some pages can be fairly dialogue heavy, but even with less dialogue on a page, often it feels like a strain to get through it. I may try re-reading the manga in English, and interlace reading a chapter in Japanese after reading it in English.
  • ゴチック I feel like I’m barely understanding, about halfway into chapter 1. May have to shelf this one for now, but I at least want to finish chapter 1 and see what I was able to get out of it.
  • アオハライド is going well. But I’m also still in the range of material covered by the anime, so I’m curious how my ability to follow along will be once I’m past the anime material.
  • よつばと!, 三ツ星カラーズ, and レンタルおにいちゃん continue to be easy reads. I’m trying to find more easy manga that I’ll like to fill in once I finish these series, but hasn’t found anything yet.
  • ふらいんぐうぃっち and 美少女戦士セーラームーン I was able to read a whole chapter in one day…and on the same day! I feel like my stamina for reading Japanese (manga) has been increasing steadily, which is a good sign. (Especially since I missed out on reading two days last week…)
  • Reading 魔女の宅急便 (シネマコミック) goes smoothly until I hit a complex kanji that’s too small to distinguish to looking up by radical. What I need to do is, earlier in the week, take the movie script and look up kanji I haven’t learned in WaniKani yet. That way I shouldn’t have as much trouble with them when reading a few more pages each day.
    • Following up reading by watching that portion of the movie helps with things I wouldn’t catch by listening alone. For example, せっかく+苦労(くろう)=せっかっくろう.

Time to go watch some Sailormoon!


Why didn’t I think of this myself… :exploding_head:


To give an example of how powerful this can be, I’ve been on the same level for 39 days. In that time, I had 16 days where I didn’t do any lessons. I currently have 20 lessons pending. If I had done at least one vocabulary lesson every one of those days, I would be down to 4 lessons pending, and I would be encountering recent kanji more often in the form of extra vocabulary words.