Daisoujou's Study Log - It's the end maybe

That’s fantastic, thank you so much! I’ll definitely give it a rewatch with these. I absolutely adore Kiki’s; it’s like the most stubborn earnest and sweet thing in the world, so even if it’s less overtly magical than some other Ghibli’s, it’s my favorite. I’ve had to mess with subtitle syncing occasionally, which I usually did directly in VLC, but IIRC that doesn’t save the setting for the future so I should probably grab a program like you one you mentioned. Appreciate that, as well.

You know, it was obvious Kiki’s was far more dense in dialogue, neat to have those actual numbers.

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Sometimes it feels like studying Japanese is more of a contest of managing one’s attitude and mood more than anything, heh. I’m doing fine, struggling on, but allow me to dump a few angsts out here.

I’m rolling on with sentence mining in Satori Reader and I think I’m doing ok with the actual reading, though it’s so much more nice and inviting with the whole ability to get answers in front of you. I think as early as I am it’s best to just roll with it for a bit, but I don’t want to get too dependent on the training wheels. On the other hand, things I sentence mine are really hard to remember. After so much time hearing about how words are infinitely easier to learn in context, it’s not happening for me yet. Granted, I recognize the difference in “learning” between seeing a word 1000 times in its proper context as opposed to getting a one word English translation from Genki. I’m not at all doubting the necessity of that kind of deep acquisition. But the words that I add are hard to make stick – I think it’s partly because I do just add them as the opportunity arises without a lot of effort to make myself memorize them like I did with a vocab list. But the thing is, when I’m grabbing ~10 or so words a day and reviewing them the same day, maybe even the next day, they’re really easy to remember, short term. The problem is, they flee my long term memory so much easier. Maybe they’re not getting properly reinforced. I think I’m making decent cards, but they often just aren’t coming back up soon enough. Doesn’t help that I’m mostly waiting on WK kanji words for when WK teaches me the kanji, so I’m left with all or “usually” kana words. It’s not horrible but I dunno if I need to change my approach somehow; it feels like anki isn’t helping me so much these days.

A few months ago I made a post on the forums asking about discerning pitch accent because I just can’t really hear it. And to be fair I haven’t done a lot of specific study, but I’ve got the add-on for Wanikani and I try to hear it in each word’s audio and repeat it back. Generally, it’s something I’ve been doing my best to try to acknowledge exists and listen for it. On a whim I tried that pitch accent test website today and… well, I still scored well below random chance haha. To be perfectly honest, comprehension is probably a lot more important to me than speaking (I mainly came to Japanese through art and media of all sorts). I’m still putting off throwing myself too deeply into accent because of all the work I have to do to be able to understand, but it’s certainly frustrating to feel like there is an element of the language that I’m genuinely unsure if I can ever handle.

Reading Yotsubato has slowed a bit too in volume 13 because Ba-chan has arrived and I’m sure not used to kansai-ben. She seems to just use a lot of less common words too, and as if it were volume 1, I’m back to gluing my eyes to the vocab sheet every time she talks.

I’m doing fine overall, I think; these days come and go and I try to trust that I’m learning more even though it doesn’t feel like it. Perhaps it’s a bit of the intermediate plateau I hear so much about, though I’d hesitate to use the word “intermediate” for myself right now. I can do more than I could a little while back, no doubt, I’m just neurotic enough to constantly have to stave off the feeling that I have suddenly hit the wall where no more progress is being made and the forgetting curve is going to eat me. I think that’s normal, though. I try to push through it.

This post is just a drag! Hope you all are doing well :slight_smile:


Are you keeping mined sentences to only one “unknown” per card?

I think a big part of this is mining from something you care about, such as an anime you’re watching or a manga you’re reading. You get more of a connection to it versus mining Genki sentences (for example).

Have you adjusted any of Anki’s settings, such as to match Refold’s recommended settings?

Are you avoiding the Easy and Bad buttons, and only using the Good and Again buttons?

Are you adding audio of the vocabulary word, and optionally an image (both on the back of the card) to help associate the meaning with how it sounds, etc? I don’t know how much it may help, but it can’t hurt to try.

You can also make cards for words that usually are written with kanji, but do a card using kana only. For example, you can have a card for がっこう to help learn this word as “school”, and then when you reach level 7…er, bad example. You already know 学校. Well, maybe you get the idea. You can still learn words with unknown kanji if you start by learning them kana-only. I find that makes it a lot easier to learn the kanji for them because I already know the word, and thus has noticed it a lot while reading, and thus have already taken notice of the kanji over time.


I definitely also have yet to really experience this! There are some words in the manga I’m reading that I have yet to memorize despite seeing them over and over again, and I still struggle with them when I try making them into flash cards :sweat_smile:. At least, it doesn’t seem like I have any better luck memorizing them than I do memorizing words completely out of context.

The thing that context does help me with is understanding the actual usage of the word, which can sometimes translate into me remembering it better if I have to apply it over and over again in textbook exercises. But for memorizing just from reading/listening without any production exercises, it doesn’t seem to help terribly much (unless the word shows up over and over again in native media and I get to benefit from natural SRS drilling it into my head, haha). It does help me if I write about encountering the word in my study log, though. A lot of what I write about in there does end up sticking for me. But I can’t write in detail about every single word I’m learning, at least not at this point.

My guess is that the bigger our vocabulary gets, the easier it is to read a greater volume of text, and the things that we don’t know within that text stand out more to us and are thus more memorable (as opposed to the beginner stage where everything is pretty new and strange to us).


Yeah, usually. There is the occasional card where I took a small liberty with something in the sentence, mostly if it’s something I particularly wanted like a piece of grammar or something, since the longer form Satori Reader sentences can easily end up throwing out a kanji I don’t know or something. But I’m pretty careful about being able to understand the sentence as a whole and the use of the word I’m looking for, with the little cheat being an overall unimportant adjective or something. Either way, I wouldn’t say that kind of thing is the norm.

True. I think the Satori Reader stories are interesting enough (I’m actually rather enjoying Koibito right now), but it is still learning material, so maybe there would be a difference if I was to the point of mining a visual novel or something. For the moment it’s just that the site has done a lot to help my comprehension along, so I want to stick with intensively reading there, and I’m attached to the Yomichan → Anki setup for mining. With native material I’m mostly in easy manga territory and that would be more of a challenge, or at least require me to rethink how I make them. Doubly so with it being physical manga, currently.

I think I copied those exact settings in the past, yeah! I wasn’t super clear with my phrasing but really I meant more that I’m not running into them soon enough in my reading in enough cases, to see them outside of Anki too, not that Anki intervals are wrong, though I see how that’s definitely what it sounded like I meant. I mean, could be a bit of both. I also don’t use the easy and bad buttons, to the degree I have them totally gone, haha.

This one I don’t have… seems some people swear by that. Would require reconfiguring how I do this a bit, but I might seriously consider that one. The answer may just be something about how I end up approaching them mentally, too.

Yeah, I’ve defaulted to weirdly purist thoughts about wanting to fully learn the kanji and pronunciation and everything all together, but maybe I’m pushing it too much. I know exactly what you mean about ease of learning, because anything I learned phonetically from Genki was incredibly simple to map straight onto kanji and move on when it came up in WK. I should probably start doing this.


Glad to hear I’m not alone! I mean, I hope you start remembering them better, haha, but perhaps I was led to expect too much out of contextual cues for memory in itself.

For sure. The longer I do this, the more painfully aware I become of just how few words can be elegantly turned into an English alternative. The point about exercises makes a lot of sense… honestly, perhaps I’m thinking about this wrong and, although they were just textbook sentences, undervaluing what reading Genki’s examples and doing their exercises did to reinforce those words, outside of me just studying them without context in a list.

That’s so relatable – I actually posted in the “most recent Japanese word you’ve learned” thread once in the past purely because a word refused to stick, and using it like that seemed like a good way to somehow make the word a little more special in my head. That worked out pretty well, but yeah, difficult to replicate 10s of thousands of times and if anything, overdoing it might make those words stop standing out.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I’ve been thinking about it being easier over time in another way too: for words to really stick we need to keep seeing them, and the better we get at this, the greater volume of stuff we can read over a given time span to have more and more opportunities to reinforce words.


I must have seen 「(あらわ)れる」 a hundred times in Sailormoon, and had to look it up every single time. (I know it by now, though!)

I never added a flash card for it because I knew it was coming up in WaniKani eventually.

You can see from my meaning streak that the reading was really really hard for me to get down.

That’s what I’m hoping for one day, at least!


Let’s have a nicer update this time! I will say it’s a weird feeling to adjust to, ping-ponging between “wow I actually know some Japanese!” and “why don’t I know a single thing in this language yet”… not only between materials, but sometimes within the same thing, haha. I know it sounds like that seems to be a feeling that never quite goes away. I’ve been watching some Shirokuma Cafe recently, and it’s especially strong there, with episodes varying wildly in how much I can understand. But overall I know that’s good. The bad times aren’t AS bad as they feel and wow, I know a few things finally.

Chugging along in Wanikani, up to level 19. My burn reviews begin in late November – I’m a little concerned about how much I might forget, but what can you do, really. I can tell from using Satori Reader (with furigana set to only kanji I haven’t learned) that I have indeed retained quite a bit. If anything, the forgetting will just make my next attempt to remember even better. Or that’s what I choose to tell myself haha.

On the subject of Satori Reader, I’m tearing through it. I skipped over one series that was very long, but otherwise, I’ve nearly finished all of the intermediate level content, too! When I started, one of the simplest stories (Kiki Mimi Radio) literally gave me a headache to read, but now I’m getting through Oku Nikko with only the occasional problem sentence, so I’m very pleased. I have nothing but good things to say about that site and what it has taught me.

I’ve also totally finished all 15 volumes of Yotsubato! I really fell in love with that series, and that’s a hell of an emotional ending (I mean, I hope there’s more, and I know it’s not officially over or anything, but it would be a strong place to end if it was). My little manga baby is growing up, y’know? <3

Never wanting to slow down, I’ve moved on to reading more manga, currently Neko Ramen. There are a lot of words for me to look up and some very rough, sort of masculine/rude patterns I have to research, but with a little time and effort, I’ve understood nearly all of it so far. You can really tell how far role language and author voice stretches when you change materials. It’s nothing amazing, but it’s a cute little yonkoma, and I’m learning.

If I haven’t completely buried myself in other projects, I’m really eyeing the Way of the Househusband beginner book club in a month. I looked at the preview and it seemed… fine. The lack of furigana might get me here and there, but I’ll know a little more by then, and I imagine I’ll have a nice vocab sheet to fill in the gaps. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to handle it, and I always want to keep pushing further. Intermediate club here we come, some day.


Speaking from experience, you might be more surprised by how much you remember!

This actually makes me want to really try to get into Satori Reader. I’ve read through most of the free content, but I guess the overall format just… doesn’t interest me? I dunno, maybe I’m just too hard to please, but seeing you do so well with it is certainly inspiring to give things another go.

!!! This seems like a massive achievement, congratulations!

Ahh, your growth is so exciting to see. You’re definitely going to blow me out of the water soon :joy:

Congrats! Happy to see things going well!! :slight_smile:


Me back when I read Yotsuba in Japanese:

“I can read this! I can understand this! I know Japanese!”

Me when Yotsuba’s father and a friend had a conversation:

“I have no idea what they’re saying. I don’t know Japanese!”

If you find you’d like something “easy” to intermix between more reading sessions of more difficulty manga, 三ツ星カラーズ is comparable to Yotsuba in difficult, minus the easiest and hardest parts.

Somehow I completely forgot about the lack of furigana, and bought the first volume. I meant to avoid anything without furigana as I’ll be flailing around joining in with かがみの孤城 starting next week. Well, I already bought it, so hopefully the househusband’s way is to use words with low-WK level kanji =D

I keep seeing people passing me by!


I’ve also totally finished all 15 volumes of Yotsubato!

nice progress dude, you’re putting in good work, i remember you starting in the beginners bookclub, good to see you’re still at it.


I hope so! I have really been surprised by how easy most of the simple kanji is to read through Satori Reader; Wanikani really has ingrained them pretty well for how short the time I’ve been doing this is.

You know, that’s understandable enough. I’ve found the level that the content is interesting varies some – Hole in the Wall is mostly a bit too saccharine, Sakura & Suzuki is kind of lacking personality (though having had a long distance relationship, I still got a bit emotional at the airport meeting bits), etc. There are some that I’ve been into, like Koibito. For what it’s worth, pretty much all of them start a little slow and meandering, so maybe the free content doesn’t give the best first impression. Regardless, yeah, I’ve found that their explanations of points help me so much, sometimes giving explanations for things I wouldn’t even think to question. If you’re at that right level, kind of ready to read but still beginner enough that it’s a struggle, I think it’s a fantastic way to get better. I’ve looked over previews of simple(r) books (stuff like Kiki’s Delivery Service) and besides unfamiliar kanji, they look pretty borderline approachable. I think all of that is totally thanks to Satori Reader. But you know, at the same time, if it’s gonna be a drag for you, no particular piece of learning material is necessary.

Haha, thank you for all the congratulations. To be fair I have, like, an obscene amount of time to pour into this right now, and I seem to only enjoy it more the further I get rather than burning out at all, so I’m doing more hours than it seems most people on this forum consider reasonable, haha. As long as you’re making progress, that’s great! And I eagerly look forward to seeing your progress too :slight_smile:

I do think that looks appealing! The only thing stopping me from totally committing is wanting to make progress in the pile of manga I’ve created for myself, but given the relaxed pace the clubs move at, I think I can make an effort at it.

Best of luck! It’s a reality check of how far there is to go when I’m reminded that the person who, within the beginner clubs, looks like an all-knowing sage, still has a ways to go, haha. I bet you’ll be fine though.

Thank you so much! There were a couple times I more or less could only keep up with reviews, but I haven’t missed a day yet. Told myself if I was going to start this I was going to totally hard commit. In a way I really am surprising myself with how much I’ve already managed. Definitely thanks to some of your all’s help in part, both for figuring things out, and for helping me hang in there when things got tough (the transition to full on learning from reading is ROUGH at the start).


I want to look ahead a little.

So, leaving off the one enormous series I chose to skip, after tomorrow I’ll have exhausted everything not labelled “harder” on Satori Reader. Oku Nikkou was a bit of a pain for the first few episodes (loads of unfamiliar words about onsens and weather, heh), but it pretty quickly became very manageable. There are unfamiliar words for sure (I think that’ll be the caveat forever), but aside from the occasional grammar curveball they tuck in that’s just a new pattern, it’s getting pretty simple to sit back and read. Feeling fantastic about that. Once I do some of their top level content, I’m going to need an exit strategy.

Can never be sure what I’ll be ready for, but I think my hope is to take that time to tackle my first visual novel with a texthooker, and see if that’s tolerable at all. I’m thinking something by Key – I have both Little Busters and Clannad on hand. I poked around in Clannad sometime, probably a month or more ago, and found that every non-dialog sentence was dense with like 4 unknown words using totally unfamiliar kanji, and it was too much to piece all of that together for my working memory. I’m hopeful that I’ve patched up more holes with my Wanikani progress, and that I’ll have continued to do so by the time I start. I’m currently on level 20, and I’ve heard 30 thrown around as a very rough estimate of a time people feel a little more comfortable with the kanji they know when tackling this sort of non-furigana thing. I think I’ll wrap up Satori Reader before that level, but that’s only a guess and I’ve spent every day trying to push myself through difficult stuff, so I’m hopeful. I’ve enjoyed visual novels for a long time, so that’ll be a major step whenever I can make it work.

On the manga front, I finished the 2 volumes I had of Neko Ramen. The challenge in all the slangy speech and constantly unfamiliar words kind of snuck up on me there; it felt like it was written straightforwardly until it eventually occurred to me that just about every page was a small challenge; the simplicity of Yotsuba yelling a couple words at a time isn’t here, haha. But I made it through, and if nothing else sticks with me, I now know that “さん” can become “つぁん” after names ending in つ. I… had to ask about that on these forums because the cat almost never uses such honorics and the guy’s name being てつ sort of threw me off that it was even a name. Really one of those “ugh Japanese why” moments when I have to go ask people online for help reading, and it turns out what I couldn’t read was just "さん”.

Now I’m starting on アオハライド / Blue Spring Ride! I just peeked at the first few pages to see what I was in for, and it seems like text is pretty simple and sparse, so far. Might be a nice little restful read compared to everything else. Wouldn’t mind getting through the 3 volumes I have quickly.

Oh, and listening! Once I got fairly well able to tell what Teppei was saying in Nihongo Con Teppei, I switched to his podcast with Noriko. Seems a bit harder, but I’ve been listening long enough that I’m getting better and better at at least following the gist of what they’re saying, too. Looking back at Nihongo no Mori (especially after going through the Wanikani level with all the part of speech words) it’s much simpler to understand and better take in the full message, now that I’m not struggling as hard to decipher the words. I don’t know if I want to spend much time on such grammar study right now, but I was happy to look back because it showed some very noticeable listening progress… which I need, because people like Teppei fool me into feeling like I know this language, and when I listen to real natural Japanese, I’m back to struggling to catch a word here and there. It’s to be expected.

Really appreciate you all who check in; I hope you’re hanging in there, too.

Here are WaniKani kanji charts for the anime for the two games.



Clannad: The red (upper) line is the one that counts. By the end of level 20, you should recognize 70% of the total kanji (using the anime subtitles as a rough idea of what to expect in the visual novel). By the end of level 30, you should recognize about 84%. That’s actually still quite low. A text hooker will likely still be very necessary.

Little Busters: Level 20’s end gets you up to about 66%, and finishing up level 30 is about 79%.

Note that the stats of Little Busters includes the opening/ending theme songs’ kanji. I’m not certain about Clannad’s, though it may as well.

Don’t forget about those book club threads in case you have any questions.

I know the series has furigana, but if you’re curious…

...here's the WaniKani charts for the anime.


When I reply, the thread complains that I’m replying too much and need to let others get a word in =P


Ooh, the stats are much appreciated. Yeah I can’t say I’m entirely surprised, but I think that’s the nature of taking this kind of thing on. I’m just going to be hopeful that they’re distributed nicely enough and try my hardest, haha. Because they’re both excessively long (VNDB estimates ~80 hours each, which is honestly lower than I expected from Clannad’s reputation), my hope is that if I can hang in there through the beginning, those new kanji and words are going to get drilled in hard. Can’t compare against WK stats easily, but JPDB has stats on the VN itself (no entry for Little Busters): Visual novel difficulty list – jpdb

573,636 words, with 18,666 of them used once, is a hell of a lot of reinforcement, haha. Of course, it also means, if I do stick it out to the end, reading something so long in a foreign language at my current deciphering speed, this is going to be my project for a looong time. But hey, if it helps, I’m down for that. It’s the stage at which, no matter how hard the struggle is, if it’s doable at all, it kind of represents me finally taking the step into doing whatever I would already be, but in Japanese. Besides some listening I do on the side, but I don’t claim to understand much of it, haha. I mean I’m having a great time with manga, but it’s just different cause I was never much of a manga reader previously.

You know, I’m literally only about 10 pages in, so I can’t really talk, but I’ve noticed that thus far I’ve actually known just about every kanji except those used in names. That’s been nice.

And yeah, thanks for the reminder, I did actually think about the book club thread earlier. Got that topic saved.

Well I’m not gonna do that!


damn bro, that’s insane, think we’re at 1/6 of that with the かがみの孤城 book club and that’s a struggle already, if you get through the whole thing you’ll have made a giant leap i bet.
how much are you gonna read per day?


That’s really my hope!

Haha, you know, I feel like the answer to this has to be “whatever I can manage.” I like to try to read for a few hours a day, but I fully expect that, if I can do it, I’m probably going to be clawing my way through half an hour then stopping with an awful headache. As long as I can make it long enough to sentence mine a small chunk of words, that’s pretty good. I’ll probably need some easier manga to fall back on when I can’t keep my eyes on the screen any longer.


I’m just out here trying to read Japanese.

Today I hit level 22; that’s neat. Feels like the words are getting more and more abstract, with a little more necessity to stretch the kanji meanings to arrive at the word. しょうがない. That said, my accuracy is still fine, so no need to complain there.

What I do want to complain about are onomatopoeia. Or, my own brain, in relation to onomatopoeia. My anki deck is slowly transforming into sound effect leech hell. How could I ever mistake ばりばり (tearing, ripping, crunching, etc.) for ばらばら (scattered, disperse, loose, etc)! Since the vast majority follow the same couple patterns with the consonants swapped, my brain just cannot detangle them. I’m grabbing them from sentence mining, but maybe I need to look into Youtube videos that demonstrate them, or something.

Still rolling on through Satori Reader and manga. The “harder” stories (well, just Secret right now because it’s really long) don’t seem too noticeably harder. I don’t know if that means their difficult curve is semi-flat or if I’m just getting better. Hopefully the latter, because I’m spinning around on every psychological intermediate plateau possible and just hoping that as the numbers go up on WK and Anki, someday I’ll look around and realize I’ve learned. It’s not actually demotivating, really, just tons of work to do and constantly promising myself it’ll be worth it. 仕方がない. Again. I also read their little feature on Aum Shinrikyo which was quite interesting, if not a bit of a new word overload. Got some practice deciphering while pressuring my working memory there, which I’ll probably need when the visual novel reading begins, heh. On the manga front I finished the 3 volumes I had of Ao Haru Ride, honestly with more trouble than I expected, but I felt like I was getting into the writing style a lot more in volume 3… just in time to swap off for now and struggle again, haha. I’ll probably come back to it eventually.

That’s about it, really. Nothing big is gonna happen until I feel like I’ve squeezed a little more value out of Satori Reader, cancel that subscription, and go forth into visual novels. At the rate I’m moving, I could see that being another month from now, roughly.


Don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s going to be a game launched next year with a focus on Japanese onomatopoeia. You’re a clerk trying to get items for your clients based sorely on their onomatopoeia, and you need to shake and throw them around to hear it and see the katakana pop up. It might be interesting if it releases soon


Oh that looks really nice - will have to try and keep an eye on it

Personally what I’ve been trying to do for now is not worry too hard about them when they show up. I’ll try to get a general vibe for what they’re trying to convey within the wider context of what’s being said. This tends to work best for more sound-effect based ones, but can also do alright with the more abstract ones too. Other than that I don’t really know what else to do about them tbh

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