Daisoujou's Study Log

Hey there, very new here! Looks like a very pleasant community and these topics seem welcome enough so I figured I’d type something out – connecting with others can only help, plus I kind of enjoy rambling about what I’m up to, whether anyone reads it or not. I don’t have a planned schedule for this, as this forum looks great, but I have to avoid the trap of getting too distracted from doing the actual work. I’ll pop in whenever I think I have an update worth mentioning. Whether you have anything to say or not, thanks for taking a look <3.

Quick background: Wanting to learn Japanese has been in the back of my head for ages, but I’m often pretty bad about motivation and, like, self-confidence. It didn’t help that I made one attempt years ago, long before I was ready, that never even reached the stage of confidently memorizing all the kana. But I enjoy a lot of Japanese media of all sorts (music, films, videogames, etc), and something finally snapped and I decided it was time. At the start of this month, Tofugu’s hiragana and katakana guides taught me both in one day each, and that was all I needed to realize that, wow, I could actually do this. So here I am!


Currently my main learning is focused on Wanikani and Genki. I have too much time on my hands, so I’m moving through Wanikani at near max rate so far (sometimes I’ll split the lessons into 2 days or so if a huge chunk starts feeling like too much). Doing reviews whenever I have the time as soon as chunks come up, another review or two and I’ll finish level 4. I’m watching out for moving too fast and overwhelming myself, but my retention rate has been great, so no worries yet. Same goes for Genki 1, where I’m starting lesson 8. I drill the vocab in anki, then read and work through everything with the help of some Youtube videos (TokiniAndy has made the explanations clearer often). For now I’m skipping writing because I care a lot more about learning to read/listen and eventually speak than I do to write, and I’m not someone who feels like I need writing to help me learn. I might work on it later, but that’ll be a long term thing.

In a less rigid way, I’m working through the low level Tadoku graded readers to reinforce the language, and Youtube channels like Comprehensible Japanese have been great to watch for the same reason. I’m also going to join the absolute beginner book club! Looking forward to that, as my goal is definitely to move to mostly reading/listening to learn once I’m further along. Maybe after Genki 2? That might come with sentence mining but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I guess my goals at the moment in the shorter term are finishing Genki and the constant treadmill of Wanikani level ups. In the longer term, I’ve got reading to do – in addition to the book club, I grabbed Yotsubato 1 since that’s recommended a lot. And beyond that, at a slightly higher level, I’ve been wanting to check out the VN Summer Pockets, so reading that is my major goal right now.

TL;DR:

28 days in, I’m late level 4 on Wanikani, on Genki 1 lesson 8, and, while I know that I know almost nothing, “almost nothing” is so much more than I knew last month. Good luck, everyone.

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Japanese is a really complicated language, so I feel you! I read all Yotsubato and yeah, it’s such a good start :slight_smile: The language it uses is basic and all the kanji has furigana n.n And it’s really funny!

Since I’m living in Tokyo, I felt all I did before was just trash. I studied Japanese during my University years plus two years in an academy. Then, I arrived… and omg. Nothing, literally nothing it’s like the books. I spent one year completely lost just repeating the same basic words my teachers taught me and I realize I couldn’t keep like that for too long. When my first year finished, I had no friends. If you cannot speak Japanese here, nobody it’s gonna make an effort trying to understand your English. And I understand that! I’m the one in their country, they don’t need to adapt themselves for me. So, because I’m an English teacher in a kindergarten, I just thought: “What if… I study Japanese like my kids? From the very beginning!” And it’s working! I bought kids books that they usually use in schools and, of course, they’re adapt to them as they are learning how to read step by step. Adults books made for foreigners starts in many different ways because they have no idea which level we have, so I decided not to take them anymore and just learn their native way. Maybe it takes me ten years to be native, but I don’t feel stress anymore :wink:

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Yeah, the amount of time needed to learn Japanese is crazy. All good though, it’s the language I care by far most to learn so I think I’ll make it there eventually. Plus it helps to think, like, there is no “endpoint” to learning a language, you know? It’s a lifelong process. I mean unless you have a hard goal you want to reach and then don’t care, but personally I want to be as good at it as I can. The language itself is interesting. So with that kind of framework, it helps to think: I’ve already learned Japanese. I have SO much more to learn, yes, but there is Japanese that I know, and that wasn’t true before. There’ll never be a time when I know everything; I don’t even know all of English. And I’ve found that framing really nice for motivation, because, of course I can learn Japanese… I already have! Just have to do more of it.

Ooh, Tokyo, how are you liking it? I’d love to at least visit, but I’m living in the US and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

That sounds like a great approach to learning! I’m building the foundation right now so that ANYTHING will be comprehensible, but the more I can move towards your method, the better. I’m already getting better at following simple Youtube videos and graded readers, which feels great. And sometimes it’s very obvious how well that has cemented certain words for me.

Best of luck to you!

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Having such a sanguine outlook while learning Japanese will carry you far =D

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The particularly amusing part about this to me is that I didn’t know the word “sanguine” as anything other than the “blood-red” meaning so, well played proving my point, haha.

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I like Tokyo, just too crowded hahaha I’m enjoying a good life, but busy. In my country (Spain) everyday was quite and calm. Here, on the other hand, it feels like a nonstop… Too crazy hahaha But the children… they’re wonderful! I really like my job here too and, well, just because of my preschool students I can get used to not understand most of what people says to me and earthquakes without running away back to Spain haha

Hope everything is ok in the US :wink:

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Oh yeah I bet! I’ve never lived anywhere like that. As fun as that seems like it could be, it must get a little overwhelming or stressful too. I have the opposite problem, having only lived in rural Indiana – nothing to do! Honestly I’m pretty tired of it, and I especially wish I could live somewhere where driving wasn’t necessary to go literally anywhere. I think in the next year or two I might at least be changing where I live within the US, though. I think I’d like to try a new country some day but that’s not gonna happen any time soon. The pandemic and other recent events have made me a little tired of this country generally but I’ll avoid getting into that much, heh.

Teaching little kids sounds nice! And I wish I could visit Spain too, looks beautiful. I guess there aren’t too many places I don’t wish I could visit, haha.


While I’m here, might as well say: I just hit the beginning of level 5! Staring down 86 lessons right now, hoping to tackle at least ~40 today and see how I feel then. No big updates otherwise. On we go.

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Indiana! Must be a beautiful, quiet place. I never left Spain but coming here, so I need to see more world,… I can’t wait! But first, I need to be rich hahaha Spain is nice, tho,… just for vacations.

My Japanese is going so wrooooong ToT I can’t touch level two because the reading of the kanji I studied before are all but the ones Wanikani’s teaching me. It’s good! Because I didn’t memorize them and are the only left for me to learn… but I always get confuse and write the other readings haha Been stuck for three days already. It’s frustrating when I can speak nicely and understand TV but cannot memorice that 上 is reading as じょう…

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Yeah I haven’t been outside of the country either, except for a brief trip to Canada! But that was more of a visit to a person and we didn’t really go out and see the sights. Indiana is quiet at least. I’m not a huge fan of the look – certainly some of it is pretty, but it takes some effort to go seek out the parts that haven’t been paved over or turned into corn fields, haha.

Oof, good luck with your learning. Maybe I’m lucky to have a blank slate, in that way. That and, honestly, while there are subjects I can’t handle, I seem well adjusted to sort of school-style memorization learning. Which might make the transition to more natural language acquisition, necessary and exciting as it is, somewhat harder for me than other people. But while I’m on the stage where I have to sit and use flash cards and memorize, I guess I’m in my element. Really hope you can manage to detangle all of those readings soon.


On that subject, any time I’m already here, I figure small progress updates might as well happen. I did 45 lessons to start off level 5! A lot of those were words using readings I already know, and radicals, which tend to be a bit simpler, so I didn’t feel too bad about pushing it like that. Hopefully I can blow through the 41 other lessons tomorrow, and my reviews later won’t be too rough. I can tell even the radicals are getting somewhat less intuitive and weirder.

Speaking of weird radicals, Wanikani calls this 斤 “axe” and as soon as I read ““This is a strange looking axe, I know. But think of it this way: the letter “T” is in the cliff.” I had an a-ha moment. Oh, a climbing axe! They aren’t actually shaped like that but that’s ok, great. …then the explanation went on to say some things about Mr. T. “What is the “T”? Of course it has to be Mr. T, who’s super awesome. Think of Mr. T wielding a terrifying axe, running after you screaming, “I pity the fool!” while trying to chop you down. That makes for a pretty terrifying axe.””

I don’t even know what’s going on with that mnemonic, but I think I’ll remember it fine my way, haha.

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mr-t-pity-the-fool

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Congrats on your progress so far! It seems like things are going pretty well!

Just a warning, though, doing 40 lessons in a day is a lot to do at one time, especially since those reviews are going to come back at the same time for each apprentice stage, then guru, then master, then enlightened, then for their burn review… So you have to be really careful in order not to create future problems for yourself months down the line. Getting a surprise 40 reviews coming due in one day after you’re fully in the thick of it with a few hundred normal reviews can be a little overwhelming.

It might be fine in the earlier levels to rush through and do lessons in huge batches, but this can quickly become fairly unsustainable unless you have a massive amount of time that you can commit to WK each day. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your WK schedule allows you time for grammar study and reading. If it gets to a point where kanji reviews alone are taking you 2-3 hours a day, it can be hard to fit in other study.

My recommendation would be to decide on a set number of lessons to do each day (depending on the speed you want to complete WK at, and your ability to retain the information) and stick to that number. Even if you’re going full speed (which is a big time commitment!), there are ways to spread out the lesson workload over several days, which can help prevent burnout. If you haven’t read it yet, The Ultimate Guide to WK gives a lot of detailed advice on this matter. Personally, I’m going at about half full speed, which should let me complete WK in a little over two years (I’m hoping to finish MNN 1+2 in the same timeframe so that I can be ready with a foundation of both grammar/vocab and kanji knowledge to be in a good position to start reading intermediate manga!)

Of course, if you go too fast and things start becoming a problem, it’s always possible to stop doing lessons for a bit and just do your reviews until things slow down! But it’s easier to stick to WK if you can make it into a consistent habit, and that’s easier to achieve if you’re spending roughly the same amount of time on it every day.

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Totally fair, I appreciate the advice and it’s the kind of thing I’m doing my best to watch out for. If they really pile up at later levels I can ease off, as you mentioned, but I have far too much time on my hands right now that one way or another is going to be spent on Japanese. I also figured I’d probably have to slow down in the future when the kanji likely gets more complicated, words get less directly related to meanings, etc. But so far I’ve found even on days when I get hit with ~100 reviews, I make my coffee in the morning and breeze through them pretty quickly. I know it’s going to be beyond 100 for sure; just saying that amount is nowhere near an issue so far.

I’m making sure to simultaneously hit other Japanese studying, yeah. Most days I’m doing some sort of Genki studying for grammar, whether that’s new stuff or working through all exercises. I also think I’ll naturally slow down on WK more as I get more able to read/listen – I’m not ignoring that stuff right now; I’ve found some simple Youtube channels and graded readers that I do spend a little time with, but there’s only so much of it at near-comprehensible level when I’m at the end of month 1. Speaking would be cool to practice too, but I don’t think it’s quite time for that, and that would push me to slowing down here as well. Shifting more of my attention in the direction of WK and the grammar feels like the right call until I have a bit of a better handle on this stuff. Like, I do have a consistent schedule in that I check all of this stuff every single day (and roughly at the same time) but I don’t want to limit what I do because time isn’t too much of a concern currently. Like, I’m not worried about burning out at all currently, but if I did, I think I’d be much more likely to burn out from frustration at not making enough progress than from giving myself too much to do, y’know?

I hope that doesn’t sound too dismissive! I appreciate the advice, and I think the time I can devote to this stuff currently is definitely uncommon for most people so I totally get where you’re coming from. Or maybe it’s just one of those walls I can’t see until I hit it for myself once, haha.

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Yeah, right now it’s probably fine, but the problem is when those 40 reviews come back months later, on top of all of the other reviews that you have that future day. When things are going full speed for me, I’m going to have like 130 reviews daily, and that’s just with me doing a pretty regular 10-13 lessons a day for several months. If I was going faster, that number would probably be double (and if I wasn’t doing a set number of lessons a day, it would vacillate a large amount from day to day instead of being consistent). The main concern isn’t really your schedule right now, but your schedule six months from now, which can be harder to predict.

Of course, it’s still up to you how you prefer to manage your schedule, but sometimes when you’re new, it’s hard to realize just how much the decisions you make at the beginning will affect you in the long term. If your life gets crazy six months from now, or you start to experience the early warning signs of burnout then, you might regret going so fast right now and having huge batches of reviews coming due all at once. Or even if you’re able to manage it, you might have to start cutting grammar study and immersion time out of your schedule just to keep up with WK, which isn’t ideal.

Just some things to keep in mind!

Update time! I just finished reading through and watching the supplementary videos I like to use for Genki 1 lesson 12, the final lesson. There are exercises to do, some reviews (I do use the workbook as well), etc, but in terms of initially learning stuff… I’m done with the first Genki book and theoretically roughly N5! Exciting stuff. I’ve recently been repeatedly reminded that when it comes to native material, this is nowhere near enough, but one step at a time. Hopefully I can make the leap more fully after Genki 2.

I also finished all the lowest level Tadoku readers (that I have? it’s a lot anyway) a little while back and I’m rapidly closing in on finishing the second, level 1. Admittedly, I don’t agonize over these very hard – treating them as an extensive exposure where I read what I can and move on. That said, if the next level proves to be too much and I can’t find other good material to fill in my time, maybe I’ll do closer readings of this past level. We’ll see.

Cruising through early-mid level 6 of Wanikani. A few words are tricky (the uses of にち vs じつ in day words trip me up a lot), but still, loving the WK method, no complaints at all.

The biggest monster in my eyes by far is the grammar, but I’m getting by. Case in point, Genki ends lesson 12 with an example that doesn’t have an English translation along with it, including the line:

まだけっこんしたくないんです

まだ is fine, but the meat of that illustrates how grammar points that are easy in isolation stack to be really tricky. One issue was I couldn’t stop seeing けっこんした – the past form of “to get married.” I may have spent a literal minute or two on this, but I did puzzle out alone that it is using negative たい (たくない) plus んです. So like “I don’t want to get married yet (which is an explanation/reason/etc).” Proud that I could manage that.

I also remember weird hanging んs (as in, んです) getting me hung up and confused when reading the first chapter of the absolute beginner book club manga, so I already recognize I’m better equipped to handle that! Exciting.

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Be careful. Once you get used to したい and したくない, it’ll be nearly impossible to get caught up on the した part!

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That’s encouraging! Just gonna take more exposure. たい was only taught in the previous lesson of Genki, and I haven’t done the workbook stuff yet for that one because I stagger it to get my own pseudo spaced practice reminder, so besides not having much real world exposure, I haven’t even really seen たい all that I plan to in the textbook! So I’m calling it a victory to even recognize what’s happening at this stage, haha.

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That's gonna happen =D

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I just finished my reviews that put me at level 7, and in addition, I reached 10% of the kanji Wanikani teaches! Having a great time with that. I’m sure it’ll get tougher, but kanji has consistently felt like the easiest part of Japanese for me personally. Maybe I just click with the Wanikani method well.

I’ve been sticking to my general study plans well, not slacking off on the grammar (working on the second lesson in Genki 2) or reading either. Besides struggling through Ayumu in the absolute beginner book club, I’m doing level 2 Tadoku graded readers now, and it’s pretty smooth! Feels great that in its somewhat “safe” form, reading is getting more or less comfortable. There are some words I have to look up here and there, but I’m usually on the cusp of totally following, so I go for it, where I used to not bother as often. Sometimes I take a look at this site with N5-specific articles I saw someone share recently (I forget who, sorry! But thank you!). I wish it didn’t put spaces between words, but it’s nice to have another resource I know will mostly only contain things I know. If I feel like pushing myself, I open the NHK News, but that’s still pretty tough. Lots of word lookups and just trying to follow the general gist, there. But I remember first hearing about NHK News and thinking that for “Easy News” it looked terribly intimidating, so that’s progress!

Mostly, I’m just happy about a few tiny observations. I mentioned it in the “most recent word you learned” thread, but I had my first instance of deducing a word in part by the kanji with 小麦粉 (こむぎこ) – (wheat) flour. Thanks for teaching me the first 2 of those 3 kanji, WK. I also learned a grammar point in Genki and immediately remembered it was in Ayumu, returned to apply it right as I was reading about it, and finally more or less fully understood that sentence. Things are looking up!

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If you reeeaaalllllyyy wanted no spaces, and you were reading on a desktop/laptop computer where you can easily access a Javascript console (such as Ctrl+Shift+I on Chromium-based browser, then click on the Console tab), you could paste some Javascript in.

For example...

Before:

After:

[document.body, ...document.body.querySelectorAll("*:not(script):not(noscript):not(style)")].forEach(({childNodes: [...nodes]}) => nodes
    .filter(({nodeType}) => nodeType === document.TEXT_NODE)
    .forEach((textNode) => textNode.textContent = textNode.textContent.replace(" ", "").replace(" ", "")));

(But I imagine they’re too short to go through the bother.)

It should be fun to look back on this a year from now, and see the growth.

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Oh cool, thank you! Knowing that shortcut (thanks again) it doesn’t seem too bad; maybe I’ll give that a shot later. Always feels like it’s best to be practicing as close to the real thing as I can manage, and the spaces have even thrown me off here and there. Like, seeing と attached to the first word before 思ういますand the like can be weird.

And yeah, I totally agree on the progress from Ayumu. I use negative sounding words cause I’m prone to exaggeration and spicing up stuff I say, but I’m definitely glad to be doing it. You all are helpful and every small victory, wherever it comes, feels better than just about any other since it’s my main “real” Japanese exposure right now. Looking back at how things are easier is great and feels really important anyway. Even on the small scale I do things like make sure to read Genki’s little example stories before the lessons so that I can have parts I don’t understand, then after the lesson re-read and (usually!) fly through it. Feels good.

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