Made it to level 31!
Welcome to hell! I’m glad to finally be officially halfway there . The last level took me thirteen days. It has… not been the easiest past couple weeks for me (hence why this post is a little late), but I’m still here.
I realized I left out something in the summary post, which is the Let’s Durtle the Scenic Route thread! So I edited that post to include a little bit about it.
I did not hear back from the Japanese store I contacted, but I was able to problem solve the issue on my own thanks to google. I found some joshi wrestling fans talking about having the same problem ordering from a different store, haha. It turns out to be an issue with online stores powered by BASE, which is a common platform for independent sellers. Apparently the problem is that the store won’t accept my card if my billing address doesn’t match my Tenso shipping address. The website forces me to input a Japanese address for the billing address, so I can’t even give them my American address, and therefore the order will always fail. The easiest workaround is to use a service like White Rabbit Express instead of Tenso, since they place the order for you. However, they also cost more, so it’s not ideal.
So, I now have a new goal: get good enough at Japanese so that I can communicate this problem to BASE clearly and effectively so that hopefully the platform will fix this and make it easier for international customers to order from all of these stores! Things like this are why I definitely do want my ability to produce the language to be at least passable.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 2238 (and 1537 in KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
I had a moment where I was really grateful that I’d learned some Japanese when Hyper Misao posted a really heavy tweet and I was able to actually read it (trigger warning for a mention of past attempted suicide if you click on it). Misao later posted her own translation of it into English, so I would have been able to read it regardless, but I’m still glad that I can read things like this now, because it’s really important. Misao is honestly one of the most inspiring wrestlers to me. She’s the wrestler who got me into TJPW, and her work continues to be incredibly innovative and entertaining. I’m so glad that she got past that rough time in her life.
Her match with Sanshiro Takagi was awesome, and I ended up just completely sobbing at the end of it. I’ll probably go into a little more detail about what the wrestlers specifically said when I get around to translating the recap, but let’s just say that as someone who is currently very depressed and who is using wrestling to cope, Misao’s story here hits especially hard for me right now. She is for me what Takagi and Jun Kasai were for her.
On a more topic-relevant note, at the beginning of the match, Misao brought out a few signs, and I was pleased that I could read both of them! One of them said 大社長 with the 大 crossed out. It’s a reference to “big boss” Takagi, whom Misao thinks is perhaps not so big anymore, haha. The other was a banner that had Takagi’s name, 高木三四郎, running down it, and then two kanji that I had to read kind of quickly which were, I believe, 打倒, which is a new word for me that apparently means knockdown, overthrow, defeat, etc. So, the banner said “defeat Sanshiro Takagi”.
Shortly after Misao’s tweet, there was another instance that was not exactly a “fun” encounter with Japanese, but it was a moment where I was grateful that I could understand the language. I saw a tweet reporting that Mia Ikumi, the creator of Tokyo Mew Mew, had passed away. Tokyo Mew Mew was the first Japanese media I really loved, and it was responsible for my very first attempts to learn Japanese as a young teenager (I made it as far as memorizing a handful of hiragana and a few scattered words, and that was it). I was really looking forward to the remade anime, which is coming out this year, and which Ikumi had been supervising. I really wanted to experience TMM all over again now that I actually have more Japanese knowledge. I think, from reading the obituary, that the plan is to keep moving forward with the show, so I will still watch it if possible, but it’s incredibly tragic that Ikumi herself won’t get to see the final result of her labor.
On a less heavy note, I finally officially learned 婚, which I already knew from the word 結婚 (marriage). I had suspected that the phonetic component of 婚 was 昏, which is a kanji I’d learned on my own from wrestling (I first encountered it in the word 黄昏る in a tweet from Takagi, meaning “to fade into dusk”, “to wane”, “to look melancholic”. Then I encountered it again in a DDT recap not long after in the word 昏倒 , which means swoon or faint). Both 婚 and 昏 have the same on’yomi reading, こん, which combined with the visual similarity seemed like a telltale sign to me.
So I was excited to finally learn 婚, thinking that for once in my life, I’d already learned a new kanji’s somewhat rare phonetic component. But unfortunately, the Keisei script gently let me down, haha. This is the message that greeted me: “The kanji 「婚」 has an unknown or contested origin, or its phonetic mark is too obscure to be useful. Stay tuned for more information in future versions.” I suppose maybe they thought 昏 was “too obscure to be useful”. Or maybe I’m just completely off the mark, and the appearance of a shared component is just a coincidence! In any case, it still works as a mnemonic aid for me.
Also, I learned 監督 and was like: “Yes! I finally learned the かんとく in ‘Taguchi Kantoku’!” Which is one of Ryusuke Taguchi’s nicknames. It came up a lot when he was tagging with Rocky Romero as the Mega Coaches (they’d use the word to refer to each other). So, the first time 監督 came up for review, I happily typed “coach”, only to have my answer rejected because it’s not the one WK wanted .
I googled “田口隆祐 監督” to double check that this is, in fact, the same かんとく they use for Taguchi, and yes, it appears to be! I was amused by the related searches that came up (I could read all of them!). People wanted to know answers to the obvious classic questions: marriage, children, his classmates, entrance music, etc.
I also found this tweet of Chris Charlton’s on the matter, which amused me. Apparently the ambiguity of the word has confused native Japanese speakers, too.
On another NJPW note, I hadn’t been watching the post-match comments because NJPW’s product has just been less engaging lately and I wasn’t really invested in any of the stories, but I started watching them again because I was curious about a few things, like the Guerillas of Destiny getting kicked out of Bullet Club. As it turns out, my understanding has noticeably improved since the last time I watched the comments, haha! I’m able to pick out far more words that I know, and am also able to read many of the Japanese subtitles on the English lines. They’re honestly pretty handy for helping me figure out better ways to translate some lines in the TJPW recaps.
I also watched a couple NJPW shows with Japanese commentary instead of English, and I was a little bit blown away by how much I could actually understand. I still couldn’t understand the vast majority of what they were saying, but my Anki cards for wrestling words have absolutely paid off, and learning a few common wrestling verbs and such is super helpful. I’ve been noticing a lot more words that I know on twitter, too. Now that I’m past the initial beginner hump, it feels like a whole new world is starting to open up to me. I know enough kanji, vocab, and grammar that I’m finally able to put a lot of it together.
I’m also getting more and more out of the youtube chat for the occasional house shows that DDT streams there. I can just passively read a lot of the comments now without even needing Yomichan! The last show was pretty funny, because there was a baby in the venue who kept making noise, and whenever the baby would cry or laugh, everyone would comment on it, haha. Someone commented that the baby understands wrestling well, “赤ちゃんプロレスよくわかってるなあｗｗｗ”, which amused me.
The video quality wasn’t the greatest for most of the show, due to poor signal from the venue making streaming difficult (they ultimately had to give up and stream the show on twitter instead). At one point, the quality maxed out at 144p. One fan commented: “秋山さんのポリゴン数がスゴすぎてガクガク”. Which I believe translates roughly into: “Akiyama-san’s polygon count is really terrible and wobbly.”
Kazuki Hirata was briefly part of Eruption for one match, and he showed up looking the part, having borrowed Saki Akai’s entrance jacket. I had the stream open in a small window, so I was a little confused at first when I saw this comment from a fan: “平田の体に落書きが”. I recognized the word 落書き, graffiti, from WK, but was unsure how this would apply to Hirata’s body. Then I made the window bigger and was able to see that he had actually drawn on fake tattoos, haha, so that he could match Yukio Sakaguchi, who has lots of real ones.
I also laughed at this tweet from a Japanese fan after Jeff Hardy debuted in AEW. AEW now has four Matts and two Jeffs (including two separate Matt & Jeff tag teams). I realized that I would actually fail this quiz, haha, because I can’t match either first or last name to the two members of 2.0. But I could read all of the katakana!
A friend shared this tweet with translations of a bunch of English idioms into Japanese. I realized that there were some on here that I had never even heard of. Then my Australian friend chimed in and said she was familiar with all of them, haha, so it’s really a guide to specifically Australian English idioms in Japanese. Reading the Japanese actually helped me understand them.
I also enjoyed this tweet that has a diagram for helping distinguish the differences between 桜, 梅, and 桃 blossoms. It was really cool to be able to read the whole diagram and understand it without needing to look anything up! There were a few kanji/words I didn’t know, but could figure out from context.
みんなの日本語 Lesson 26 – Lesson 27
I finished the first lesson in book two of MNN, and just started the next! So far, the earlier chapters seem to be heavier on new vocab. Flipping through it, it seems like the last chapters have less, which was also the case for book one.
I was glad to see that lesson 27 introduces potential verbs. This is another thing that I’ve repeatedly looked up while reading, but never quite managed to fully wrap my brain around.
Overall, book two of MNN seems to be more or less the same format as book one, so my strategy remains unchanged! One thing I found interesting is that the foreword mentions that MNN is intended primarily for those who have already left full-time education (though it can also be recommended as a textbook for courses). This is why I think it’s strange when people say that MNN can’t be used by self-learners, haha. Its use as a textbook is actually secondary to its original purpose!
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 27 kanji! (I removed my disclaimer because it’s covered in my summary post, haha).
Reading in Spanish (switching to Wonder: La Lección de August, a translation of the YA novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio)
I ended up putting Tempestad aside for now, because I was processing some of our new Spanish language books at the library I work at, and when I flipped through Wonder, I noticed that it seemed extremely readable, so I thought it would probably be a better choice for my current level of skill. I checked it out without knowing really anything about the actual plot, haha.
Having read the first few chapters, I definitely think it was a good choice! Wonder is a great book for a beginner because it’s written in first person present (!) tense, and it’s a young adult novel with very straightforward, everyday language. Plus, the chapters are extremely short. It’s by far the easiest book I’ve read in Spanish so far, and I only have to look up a few words each page instead of a few words each sentence .
I do want to get back to Tempestad at some point, but I think I’ll get more out of reading something a little closer to my level for now. Since the library’s Spanish collection is continuing to improve, I might pick out something else from there to read next if another book catches my eye. Wonder is decently long (a little over 400 pages), so it’ll probably take me a while to finish it.
Regarding reading in Japanese, I… got even more behind with 大海原と大海原 . I ended up just not having any time to read manga because I was working hard at trying to get some TJPW stuff translated before their Ryogoku show on March 19.
The good news is I finished both press conferences! The two of them combined were over 8,500 characters, and they took me several days of hard work to finish . I was very intimidated at first, but I did manage to get them done, and the amount of words I mined wasn’t even that bad!
As usual, click the posts below for stuff that I found interesting or confusing. The March 7 presser forced me to learn some mahjong words, haha.
2022.03.05 Tokyo Joshi 2022 Winter — (19 words added)
2022.03.08 TJPW Press Conference — (45 words added)
2022.03.07 TJPW Press Conference — (21 words added)
My wrestling deck now has a total of 432 words in it! That’s quite impressive! I definitely can feel the difference in terms of my listening comprehension during shows and my ability to read tweets and such.
I realized that neither of the kanji in TJPW wrestler Rika Tatsumi’s name, 辰巳リカ, were in WK, so I went ahead and added them to Anki. They’re both pretty fun kanji, actually! 辰 is the kanji for the sign of the dragon, and it’s actually a phonetic component used in several other kanji, including 震 earthquake (level 20 WK), 振 shake (level 26 WK), 娠 pregnant (level 38 WK), and 唇 lips (level 47 WK). It gives all of those kanji its on’yomi reading, しん. This kanji is also apparently in the word for cinnabar, 辰砂!
巳 is the kanji for the sign of the snake or serpent, and I don’t think this one is a phonetic component. Both of these kanji are apparently N1 kanji, and both are among the 2,500 most used kanji. Rika got the 辰巳 name from Tatsumi Fujinami, who was nicknamed “The Dragon” and who I believe is the person who invented the dragon sleeper and the dragon suplex. Rika calls herself “The White Dragon” as a reference to Fujinami, and she uses several of his moves.
I feel like there’s always an adjustment period when adding any new resource where it feels a little overwhelming at first, but then it settles down a bit and you get used to it (this is why I usually recommend people add new resources one at a time, haha). I feel like I’ve maybe reached this point with the wrestling vocab, over two and a half months since I started adding it.
At first, it took me quite a while to really chew through the new cards I was adding to Anki, and I felt like I was constantly forgetting words and having to reset their intervals. I started to worry a bit that I’d have to slow down even further, because it just wasn’t sticking faster than I was adding new cards.
But I realized as I was adding the press conference vocab (right on the heels of the next MNN lesson vocab) that it was taking me much fewer repetitions to learn the new words, and it just felt less overwhelming in general. I think my brain finally got used to this new format. It helps that I’ve learned enough words now so that there are fewer unknowns in the sentences, and I have a better sense of the nuances of common kanji used in wrestling words, and I get a lot of them reinforced when listening to Japanese commentary, plus I can actually read more of the source sentences that I’m pulling the words from (which are included on my cards).
Maybe it’s just further evidence that Japanese gets easier to learn the more you learn, which is unfortunate for beginners . I’m not sure I’ve really managed to cut down the time I’m spending on my wrestling Anki deck each day, but it sure feels like I’ve managed to reduce the energy it takes to go through it. I suppose I could try to check my stats to see if my accuracy has improved, though honestly I’m staying out of my Anki statistics for the sake of my own peace of mind. I micromanage my WK stats enough as it is .
I’m about to have another big recap to translate for TJPW’s Ryogoku show, so that’ll probably keep me occupied for the next week or so!
A friend of mine linked me to this site with a long list of idiomatic expressions. The site says they’re for “advanced and post-advanced learners” but anyone who has read any native media at all will surely have encountered these, haha. I see loads of sayings that I currently have circulating in Anki. Honestly, Yomichan already seems to have most of these, but it could potentially be handy for figuring out an expression with omitted particles. It would have helped me with “調子乗る”, for example.
Also, here’s a twitter thread with some Japanese words with nuances that are likely to trip you up. A small thing, but useful to know!
Overall Progress Bars — This is another script for adding a WK progress bar to the top of your dashboard. This one has a bar representing each level, with different colors representing the SRS stages of all of the items in that level. There are three display options, and these two are my favorites:
It hasn’t exactly been the greatest or most productive past few weeks for me because I have been, shall we say, extremely depressed. I think the thing that really triggered it was the mask mandate dropping in my state, which means that my workplace is no longer requiring masks, and I feel extremely unsafe. But I’ve still somehow been able to keep going with Japanese.
Honestly, it occurred to me that part of the reason why I’ve been able to keep studying even when my mental health is extremely bad is because studying Japanese is the one thing in my life I actually have complete control over. Everything else at work, my home, my friendships, the wrestling world, the community at large, etc. is subject to the decisions of other people. But I can do my SRS reviews every day, and I can diligently do workbook exercises, or read manga, or translate pro wrestling recaps, or practice writing kanji, or do whatever studying I want, regardless of what else is going on around me. It’s genuinely incredibly calming and reassuring.
I’m definitely neglecting some responsibilities that I probably shouldn’t be neglecting, but, well, as long as I’m able to keep studying, I feel hard pressed to complain too much about my general lack of focus. If I can get fluency in a foreign language out of this, that’ll be more than any other period of depression has ever given me.
I remain extremely grateful for this forum, which is a welcome distraction. Thank you so much to everyone who likes my posts, and everyone who sends comments! Truthfully, y’all help keep me going, both with Japanese and also with life, haha. It’s nice to feel like at least one thing that I’m doing is touching other people in a positive way.
I don’t know if I really have specific goals in mind for this next level, besides surviving. It would be nice to finish at least one chapter of 大海原と大海原, but if I can’t manage that, it’s okay.
Onward to level 32! 行くぞ！