Fallynleaf's study log

Excellent, thanks so much! It’s nice to hear someone talk about something they’re into like this. You’ve honestly gotten me a little curious – no way I’m going to understand much at this stage, but in the future, I’m going to be looking for more and more varied input. Might actually try to watch some! Is there anywhere online you’d recommend that’s easy to watch this stuff? Or is it the kind of thing you have to go a little more out of your way for?

I do know exactly what you mean about their own learning as a motivating factor. I’ve learned that a few people I’ve come across whose Japanese content either helps me or that I want to consume when I’m more ready are learning English right now, and it’s just sort of a nice feeling. A lot of cultural exchange goes into properly learning language. And in those moments when it’s like “ugh Japanese is hard,” obviously I know deep down that it’s just different, but it’s nice to have the immediate reminder that the person helping me might be going through the same exact thing with English.

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Yes, there are a lot of matches for free on youtube, from a whole bunch of different companies! A lot of companies also have their own subscription services, which is the best way to follow the stories, because usually only a few matches actually end up on youtube. Wrestling is interesting because on one hand, you can just jump right in and understand the basic “plot” of a match (each of the wrestlers is trying to win, etc.), even with no other context (I first started out watching Japanese wrestling with Japanese commentary while knowing practically zero wrestling rules haha!). But on the other hand, usually to get actually invested in the outcome, it helps to have a little more context about the wrestlers, and to know sort of what’s at stake for them in the match. Wrestling loves to have huge ideological battles happen in the ring, or major landmarks in a character’s development, and stuff in one match will often reference stuff in previous matches. So following one company or one performer over a period of time usually rewards you a lot more than watching random stuff out of context.

So, considering all of this, a really accessible entry point is a promotion called ChocoPro, which airs all of their shows on youtube! I talked about them in this post and this one. You can watch everything for free and get plenty of Japanese listening practice while also getting most of the stories recapped in English so that you can learn the characters and get invested. Sometimes the audio quality isn’t the greatest, and some people don’t really like their style of wrestling because it is very non-traditional, but if neither of those things are obstacles for you, it’s a lot of fun, and worth checking out! It’s a great way to watch Japanese media in an immersive environment (without subtitles or translations for a lot of things) while still being able to enjoy it and not feel too lost.

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Made it to level 12!

Another 16 day level, but that’s okay!

I brought up this example in another post on this forum when talking about how you can’t predict exactly what weird vocabulary you’re going to need to know in order to understand Japanese wrestling, but TJPW wrestler Haruna Neko’s finisher is a pun that uses the Japanese word for canned cat food. Mr. Haku romanized the name of her move as “Nekocan RaNYA,” and he explained that “nekocan” is Japanese slang for canned cat food (Haruna Neko’s gimmick is, well, I think you can probably guess from her name!). I assumed that this word was at least partially written in katakana, but when I tried typing it, 猫缶 came up! 缶 is a level 44 WK kanji, and it both means “can” and is miraculously also read “かん”. “RaNYA” is a fun one because a rana is a very common type of wrestling move that was actually named after the Spanish word for frog, with the hurricanrana being one of the most common versions of the move. So, “Nekocan RaNYA” is a double pun on “hurricanrana,” which originally comes from Spanish! I believe the non-romanized way to write her finisher is 猫缶ラニャ.

猫缶 apparently comes up only 80 times in the Innocent Corpus collection, so it’s a very uncommon word, but I’m glad that I learned it, because it makes that small element of Haruna’s character so much more fun!

My burned item count as of this update: 72

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

I noticed that this section of my study log has started to incorporate more grammar and longer strings of Japanese and not just “I saw this kanji!”, and I’m really proud of this progression! Even though this still isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, it’s much more than I was able to understand a year ago!

This section got away from me a little bit these past couple weeks, so I put it under a cut this time. But hey, the fact that I have so much to talk about is good news, because it shows just how much I've managed to learn in this short time!

I saw ビー玉 on a ラムネ bottle! Ramune advertises itself as as “fun marble drink,” and the bottle was labeled 元祖ビー玉. The word 元祖(がんそ) apparently means originator, inventor, or founder, so I’m assuming this translates into something along the lines of “original marble drink.” It was cool to see ビー玉 in the wild!

In the video package before Katsuhiko Nakajima’s cage match with Masa Kitamiya in Pro Wrestling NOAH, Nakajima said 楽しみだな (this was subtitled, and I was able to actually read it and understand before the subtitles left the screen), and I was so pleased that I understood it! Or at least, I understood the gist of it. Here’s our friend だ again!

The な particle was new to me. A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar defines the な particle as “a negative imperative marker used by a male speaker in very informal speech,” but the use described in the book didn’t quite match Nakajima’s delivery, since it wouldn’t make sense for his character to be saying “it won’t be fun” or “I’m not looking forward to it.” After consulting google, I learned that な can sometimes be used at the end of a sentence to express an opinion or feeling without asserting yourself too much (similar to ね, though it’s less acceptable in formal situations). It’s also more often used by men, and can make speech a little offensive.

I’d describe Nakajima’s character as playful in a kind of evil way, and he certainly isn’t too concerned with being polite, especially not in this circumstance! Video packages are similar to the post-match interview in that it’s a space where the wrestlers can comment on their opponent in a way that is more self-directed and more about their own feelings, as opposed to an actual conversation or interaction with someone else. So だ makes sense here in that regard (especially since Nakajima is unconcerned with politeness). I think, then, he’s basically saying “It’ll be fun,” but in an overconfident and slightly rude way that gives the impression that it might be fun for him, but it’ll actually not be fun for his opponent.

A side note on だ: Japanese Ammo with Misa briefly mentioned that だ is an informal form of です, and that a noun/な-adjective + だ is mainly used in anime and dramas, but it sounds anime/fictional/arrogant in real life, so she cautioned viewers against using it. I wonder if part of why it’s more common in anime is because characters are more likely to verbalize their inner feelings in order to convey the story, whereas in real life, people might be less likely to comment on some of these things out loud (and if they did, they would likely be speaking in less of a self-directed way, so would either leave off any form of です entirely, or would include it for politeness). But I really don’t know! If I’m very wrong about any of these things, feel free to correct me!

A couple minutes into the NOAH cage match, they showed some information onscreen about the competitors, and I saw that Nakajima’s said GHCタッグ王座保持者 and I realized that I could read the whole thing! Nakajima currently has one half of the GHC Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (the person who has the other half of the tag team championship is, uh, Masa Kitamiya. Both of them are refusing to give up their tag belts despite the fact that Kitamiya just betrayed Nakajima, and they hate each other).

I haven’t officially learned the kanji 座 yet (it’s level 18), but I’ve seen and heard the word 王座(おうざ) enough times during wrestling to understand that it means “champion” or “championship.” Most of the dictionaries just define it as “throne,” which makes sense, considering it uses the kanji for king and sit. 保持 is of course a level 9 WK word that means retention, maintenance, or preservation, and I’ve learned 者, so I guessed that 保持者(ほじしゃ) is probably roughly “someone who retains,” and sure enough, jisho translates it as “holder (of a record, title, permit, etc.)​.” So, putting it all together, GHCタッグ王座保持者 means GHC tag championship holder.

I was looking at the new line stickers for the Up Up Girls (an idol group that contains three women who also wrestle for TJPW), and I can actually understand surprisingly a lot of the text! The first one, for example, says 負けたくない, which I read and immediately realized that it’s the name of one of the Up Up Girls’ songs that they sing at the beginning of TJPW shows (the phrase is part of the chorus). I thought this might be a form of 負ける, and sure enough, Yomichan confirmed that assumption! A little bit of googling, and I was able to figure out that the verb had been put in the たい form and then negated (負ける became 負けたい which became 負けたくない). It translates to: “I don’t want to lose.”

NJPW wrestler Kota Ibushi made an incredible typo on twitter. He said IWGP世界ベビー級王者 instead of IWGP世界ヘビー級王者 (ベビー instead of ヘビー), which changed the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship into the IWGP World Babyweight Championship. Takagi Shingo, his upcoming opponent, pointed out the typo, and Ibushi responded calling himself ベビー級の飯伏 (“babyweight Ibushi”).

Ibushi’s twitter is frequently a very confusing read for non-Japanese speakers. According to my friends who are more proficient in Japanese than I am, he often speaks and writes in a way that is particularly difficult to understand, and apparently he also makes frequent typos, which does not help. As a consequence of both of these things, machine translation usually completely fails to interpret what he’s saying. My desire to understand him better is honestly a not insignificant part of my motivation to learn Japanese, haha!

Level 11 of WK finally taught me 級, which is the kanji used to designate weight class in wrestling (it’s also part of the title of my textbook in the word 初級). It also taught me 神, which is a word that I already knew, largely thanks to Ibushi. Ibushi’s finisher is a move called the “Kamigoye” (it’s spelled カミゴェ), which is generally translated as “surpass god.” He created the move to defeat Tanahashi, a wrestler that he has referred to as one of his “gods.” Last year, things took a further turn. Ibushi was in a tag team with Tana for a while, and when they split, Tana told him that he must become god now (since Ibushi has surpassed him), and Ibushi, uh, took it quite literally and started saying that he was going to “become God.”

This was a tricky thing to translate for a western audience, as it turned out! Ibushi clarified that Tana and Shinsuke Nakamura were “gods” to him, but they’re real people, and that’s not what he was talking about. He was going to become 神! The translators chose to translate this as Ibushi saying that he was going to become “capital ‘G’ God,” and many western fans proceeded to interpret it as if he was saying that he was going to become the literal Christian God. Many jokes and memes were made about this. It was enough to prompt me to look a little more into what he actually was saying so that we could get a better idea of the cultural context behind it.

Ibushi’s friend Michael Nakazawa, who currently works for the American promotion AEW, made a really sweet post on twitter after Ibushi held onto both of his titles on January 5 (and thus “became god”). Lots of WK words in this! Nak mentions (paraphrased from lightly edited machine translation) that there are no shrines or temples in Orlando, Florida, so he hasn’t visited a shrine yet this year, but he heard that a new god was born in Japan, so when corona dies down, he’ll have to go pay his first visit to him.

I saw a graphic for an upcoming TJPW show that was labeled 東京・新木場, and I was pleased that I was able to read 新木場(しんきば) on my first try! Kanji in names can be tricky, so I’m happy any time I’m able to easily guess the reading. I also saw 両国KFCホール on another TJPW show and immediately figured out how to read 両国(りょうごく) from the context (I suppose the rendaku on this one might serve to show that the word is one word and help distinguish it from 両国(りょうこく) meaning “both countries”?).

I noticed that a couple recent NJPW shows had the hashtag “#ABEMAで新日本” onscreen. I just learned the で particle in lesson 5 of MNN, where it is used to indicate a means or method. According to A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, it can also indicate location. So, an English translation of this hashtag would probably be something along the lines of #NJPWonABEMA (Abema is a Japanese video streaming website) in the same way that an American wrestling promotion might say #AEWonTNT.

One thing I was curious about was the word WK teaches for “third generation”: 三世. There’s a group of NJPW wrestlers who are referred to as The Third Generation, so I thought I’d try to keep an ear out for the word to see if it was the same word that WK teaches, but I struggled to catch it whenever they were referred to, haha! But they had a title match recently, and I finally saw a few tweets about them in Japanese and figured it out: The Third Generation in NJPW is 第3世代! I found it interesting that it’s very similar to 第3代, which I believe refers to the third champion (this word currently precedes the IWGP世界ヘビー級王者 on the name card that pops up onscreen for current champion Shingo Takagi). Perhaps more literally, it’s the third reign (since one of the definitions for 代 appears to be “reign” or “rule”)?

第 is a level 12 kanji that WK defines as the “ordinal number prefix,” so I guess in these two examples, it’s essentially the “The”! I’m not exactly sure of the difference between3世代 and 3世. Maybe 3世代 is a little less broad in scope?

I also saw another WK word in a wrestling context! Utami Hayashishita vs Syuri from a recent Stardom show ended in a time limit draw and then a double knockout after they restarted the match. When they recapped this match in the next PPV, they referred to it as a 両者KO!

TJPW has a new wrestler named Kaya Toribami who is still somewhat of a mystery. No one knows exactly who she is or where she came from, though she’s clearly very talented already. Her mask and gear are styled like a bird with black feathers, and she was inviting fans to guess what kind of bird she is on twitter. I was so pleased that I was one of the few people who guessed correctly that she’s a cassowary! After I figured it out, one of my friends looked up the kanji for cassowary, and it’s a fun one: 火食鳥 (fire-eating bird?). It’s actually sort of a pun on Kaya’s name, which is written as 鳥喰かや (bird-eater Kaya).

While watching DDT, I saw this preview of the main event of the King of DDT tournament finals, and I was so pleased that I could figure out that 佐々木大輔対竹下幸之介 の勝者 VS 火野裕士対樋口和貞 の勝者 meant “the winner of Daisuke Sasaki vs Konosuke Takeshita VS the winner of Yuji Hino vs Kazusada Higuchi”. Granted, I knew the tournament would work like this going into it, but it was still nice to be able to read it!

みんなの日本語 Lesson 5 – Lesson 6

It feels really good to learn some more particles! I didn’t really get tripped up by anything in lesson 5, though probably because the things that would have likely caused me trouble (the day counters) I had already learned through WK.

So far, I have still yet to run into any major comprehension issues. I suppose this means that the textbook is working as intended. A few minor grammar things stumped me when I was working through the exercises, but I was able to figure out what was going on after stopping to think about it.

I did end up tracking the time I spent on lesson 5 just to see how it compared to last level. These are the results:

Preparing Anki cards: 51 minutes
Preparing kanji spreadsheet: 30 minutes
Practicing writing kanji and taking vocab notes: 4 hours, 7 minutes
Taking grammar notes: 34 minutes
Studying the textbook: 2 hours
Doing both workbooks: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Daily Anki reviews: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Total: 11 hours, 36 minutes

Here’s the distribution of my daily Anki workload:
chart

Looks like it might average out to about 12 hours a lesson for me. Substantially more than the average, but that’s fine!

I don’t really have a lot to report on in lesson 5 or the lesson 6 vocab, but seeing some of the food vocabulary in lesson 6 reminded me that I’d actually already learned a few food vocabulary words when I got very into Tokyo Mew Mew as a young teenager, haha!

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 6 kanji! (Just a reminder that it’s possible to sort the chart by WK level or MNN lesson number, whichever is most useful to you).

My current daily tasks:

I realized that my daily study schedule has changed enough that it might be useful to write it all out again! Here’s what I do every day regardless of what else is going on in my life:

  • Do all WaniKani reviews that are waiting for me in the morning
  • Do 10 vocab and 3 kanji lessons (if I’m out of kanji lessons for the level, just do 10 vocab lessons. If it’s the first day on a new level, do all of the radical lessons instead of vocab and kanji)
  • Use the self-study quiz to drill myself on the new lesson items
  • Do Kaniwani reviews and any new lessons (KW is currently set to give me new items after I guru them in WK)
  • Use the leech trainer to practice my leeches at least once
  • Do my Anki reviews
  • Do a second review session on WK and KW to review the new items
  • Practice writing the new kanji that I learned
  • Do a third review session on WK (and sometimes KW) before I go to bed

I keep planning to time myself on all of this to see how long I’m spending each day, but I keep forgetting! It’s not too bad, though. I don’t think the SRS takes me much more than an hour total each day, maybe slightly more on the days with a heavier Anki workload. Kanji writing probably adds an extra 20 minutes, perhaps. So maybe 1.5 hours total every day?

I think I generally spend about 20 minutes to an hour on MNN each day on top of that. Plus usually a few hours doing passive immersion through watching wrestling and browsing Japanese wrestling twitter, though I don’t count that as studying because I’d be doing it regardless!

Reading:

I read this article about what 80% comprehension feels like, which has some fantastic examples that demonstrate the differences between reading something with 98%, 95%, and 80% comprehension. I’m probably at 75-80% with most of the Spanish books and articles that I’m reading, and it’s definitely still a lot of work to read, and can be difficult to motivate myself to spend time reading.

I ended up dipping my toes a little bit into trying to read a Japanese comic that is way beyond my ability, haha! TJPW wrestler Hyper Misao retweeted this lesbian manga that is 30 pages long and free to read on pixiv. I was intimidated by it at first, but decided to at least try to transcribe all of the text on the first page and put it through machine translation and see if I could make some sense of it.

To my surprise, I was able to transcribe the text seemingly perfectly (at least the very beginning of it, which is all I’ve tried so far)? There were a few kanji that I didn’t know, but I was able to get the IME pad to bring them up for me. Then I found out that apparently a couple of my friends who are much better at Japanese than I am have not had much success with the IME pad at all. That surprised me!

I realized then just how much practicing writing kanji has paid off for me. I’ve never officially looked up the typical rules for stroke order, but I’ve written enough kanji that I’ve gained an intuitive sense for most of them, and I can look at an unknown kanji and generally figure out the number of strokes and the order (as well as figure out how to visually balance it in the gridded square the IME pad gives you).

Maybe these skills actually aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things, but I feel like learning to write kanji has just given me a deeper sense of them in general, and I highly recommend trying it out, even if you don’t learn how to write all of the kanji you’re learning. The more of them you practice, the more you’ll learn stroke order and how to read other people’s handwriting, and you won’t be completely tied to a computer in order to take notes or communicate in writing to other people.

Reading in Spanish: Translating a couple articles about the exotico wrestler Pimpinela Escarlata and learning a little more about LGBTQ wrestlers

Last year, I translated a few articles about LGBTQ luchadores that were published during pride month. This year, the only two articles that I found were both about a wrestler named Pimpinela Escarlata. I decided to actually translate them instead of just reading them, which is a lot more work! But this way, they would be easier to reference in the future, and my friends could read them, too.

Both of the articles are a little depressing, because he talks about abuse he suffered as a child and being bullied by other children. But there are positive things in the interviews, too, such as his relationship with his mother, who was always supportive of him.

There are still large gaps in my knowledge, but I’m starting to gradually put together a picture of the history of the exotico style, and the key wrestlers involved in it. From reading these articles, I think Pimpinela might have been the person who started a lot of the current trends of the style, such as weaponized kissing. And unlike El Bello Greco (who is often credited as the first exotico, and who I’m pretty sure was straight), Pimpi is very much an actual gay man who has faced a lot of hardship in his life because of his sexuality, so the way he presents himself in the ring seems to be a powerful outlet for him. That theme comes up a lot in these articles. With the LGBTQ exoticos, at least, the style is something that is empowering and positive to them.

It can be sometimes hard to figure out how to approach some aspects of wrestling that invoke sexuality like this. (Danshoko Dieno in the Japanese promotion DDT is another wrestler that I have complicated feelings on for similar reasons). Generally I’m much more okay with it when the wrestler in question is LGBTQ themself. But then again, I’m aware that there are significant cultural differences, and it isn’t always easy to point at something and say it is or is not offensive without having the full context.

From what I’ve read, the exotico style is one of the few outlets available to LGBTQ luchadores where they can openly express their sexuality and be accepted for it, and a lot of the tropes were started or popularized by wrestlers who are actually LGBTQ in real life, and who therefore aren’t straight men just doing it to be a caricature. I still hope that one day LGBTQ luchadores can be open about their sexuality while wrestling other styles of wrestling, too, but if/when we do get to that point, it’s a path that was paved by all of the exotico luchadores who came before them.

New resources:

Thanks once again to @rodan, I was able to pick up the first volume of おとなになっても for free, as well as the first volume of きのう何食べた? and an 80’s wrestling comic called プロレス・スターウォーズ! My library of books is actually starting to shape up. I have a few books already, and a few more that I’m keeping an eye out for. When I do start reading, I’m probably going to pick one series and try to stick with it until I’ve finished it (and will probably have to buy the rest of it), but it’s nice to save a little money by getting some of these books for free.

I found this reference post on contractions! This is definitely still beyond me, but I’m sure I’ll encounter many of these once I actually try reading native media beyond trying to translate a few words and simple phrases.

I also got into a lengthy conversation about rendaku, and ended up revisiting this Tofugu article on the phenomenon. I believe I’ve read this before, but it was useful to read it again and realize that I have a much better understanding of what it’s talking about just from my experience learning vocab on WK and reading the rendaku information script section on every new item. I’ve picked up on a lot of these rules just by gradually learning new words over time.

I also realized that this sort of explains the reason why some numbers rendaku with the 分 counter and some don’t! The rendaku script points out that on’yomi readings often rendaku if “the reading starts with ‘h’ and follows ん, つ or ち,” and ふん doesn’t start with an “h” sound exactly, but it’s in the same group of sounds. So this is probably why 3分, 4分 and 何分 (分 follows ん), and 1分 and 8分 (分 follows ち), rendaku, while 2分, 5分, 7分, and 9分 don’t. 6分 and 10分 are a little unusual in that they rendaku even though the numbers don’t contain those sounds, but numbers tend to be a little strange anyway! It’s much easier to remember all of this if it fits into a known pattern instead of trying to just memorize numbers individually, so I’m happy I noticed this one!

Next steps:

I realized that my perspective on WK levels has sort of evolved. I care more about regular, consistent progress now than leveling up, at this point. It’s still nice to see the level number go up, but my priority is keeping a consistent number of daily lessons instead of trying to maintain a particular level up pace. Ultimately, the levels are a meaningless and arbitrary way to divide up the content, haha!

That said, if you’re reading this and are considering starting a study log of your own, I would recommend: 1) saving your updates for when you reach a new milestone in study content instead of updating on a regular schedule, and 2) keeping a document where you keep track of little observations and things that you struggled with that you want to share.

Doing the second thing will show you how much you’re progressing, and it will remind you of all of the small victories and fascinating things you’ve learned, and waiting to post it based on progression (when you finish a WK level, or a textbook chapter, or finish reading a manga, etc.) will encourage you to keep working on your studies so that you can reach that milestone and finally share all of the cool things you’ve been wanting to talk about!

I’m sure there are also benefits to keeping a regular time-based study log, but personally, I’ve started to really look forward to making these posts at the end of a level, and that’s more motivating than merely watching the level numbers go up.

Onward to level 13!

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Wonderful progress!!! Thank you for sharing your findings too!!! This is terrific to read!!! :two_hearts:

Thank you for sharing your methods too. I like the idea of compiling a document of exciting realizations and sharing it on level up. Nice!!

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Thank you!! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it! I always get a little self-conscious with how long these posts get, haha, but honestly I love reading long entries on other people’s study logs, so hopefully others enjoy mine, too!

I hope you do end up compiling some of your own exciting realizations, because I’d love to read them! It’s really fun to see the kinds of connections that other people are making during their studies!

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Made it to level 13!

15 days this time, so pretty typical for me! I came very close to running out of vocab lessons this level, so I did 4 kanji lessons instead of 3 for a few days to give me more of a buffer. I think I’m going to decrease my daily vocab lessons to 9 and try 4 kanji a day for a level and see how that goes.

I also tried tracking the time I spend daily on WK/KW/Japanese studying in general. Here are some stats:

A lighter day for me (only 10 WK lessons and less textbook study) came out to:

WK reviews (107 total): 22 minutes
WK lessons (10 total): 6 minutes
Self-study quiz: 4 minutes
Leech training: 2 minutes
Writing kanji: 8 minutes
KW lessons+reviews (95 total): 19 minutes
Anki reviews: 6 minutes
Minna no Nihongo: 14 minutes

Grand total: 1 hour, 21 minutes

A heavier day (13 lessons and more textbook study) came out to:

WK reviews (116 total): 22 minutes
WK lessons (13 total): 9 minutes
Self-study quiz: 5 minutes
Leech training: 2 minutes
Writing kanji: 13 minutes
KW lessons+reviews (129 total): 22 minutes
Anki reviews: 6 minutes
Minna no Nihongo: 1 hour, 12 minutes

Grand total: 2 hours, 31 minutes

All in all, I only spend about 30 minutes a day on my WK lessons and reviews! The script quizzes add a little extra time, but not too much. And KW basically doubles my WK review time. From this experiment, I’m guessing that I spend on average one and a half to two hours studying Japanese every day, sometimes two and a half. I don’t even know how many hours of immersion I do a week, but it’s probably over a dozen (It’s maybe closer to 20 some weeks :sweat_smile:). Hopefully this puts my study log into context a little more, if anyone is reading this and hoping to use any part of it as a model!

落ち葉 came up in my lessons, and it made me smile. I felt like that word deserved to be in this study log, haha!

I also learned 野球, which is fun! I think I’ve talked about this before, but I’m actually really looking forward to learning all of the baseball vocabulary on WK, even though I don’t care for baseball at all. I do really enjoy Blaseball, which is sort of fantasy baseball, except it’s absurdist horror and also a massive multiplayer tabletop RPG. I’m excited to come up with a bunch of blaseball-inspired mnemonics, haha!

野球 came up for review while I was watching the 50 inning Semi-Centennial exhibition match on Saturday. I don't know how to explain what that even is (it involves an impending explosion of the sun, a deadly player with the power to incinerate everyone, and neoliberal capitalism personified as an awful goddess), but it was pretty wild, and the review was very well-timed.

A recent NJPW show featured Tetsuya Naito & Sanada vs Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr for the IWGP tag titles, and Hiromu Takahashi and El Desperado were both on commentary for the match at the same time, and I don’t know if I’d ever experienced such a powerful longing to be fluent! If you don’t follow NJPW at all, Hiromu and Despy have one of the most compelling rivalries in wrestling. Despy has been in love with Hiromu for years, and there are a lot of complicated feelings there between them. The tag title match itself was loads of fun, but I’m disappointed that there was over half an hour of Despy and Hiromu on the mic together, and I had to miss out because I couldn’t understand them!

Maybe if all goes well, in a few years, I’ll be able to go back and rewatch the match and finally get to listen to Despy and Hiromu flirt in the background while their factionmates fight for the titles.

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

This section got very long again! I put most of it under a cut.

While watching a NOAH show, I noticed 20分1本勝負 on the card that showed on screen before a match, and it cleared up a lot of things for me! I’m almost certain that this translates to “20 minute time limit, one fall.” I’m familiar with the minute counters, but I did not know the word for specifying the number of falls in a match (if you don’t watch wrestling, most matches go to “one fall,” meaning the match ends as soon as any wrestler gets pinned once. Some matches are “two out of three falls” matches, where the match goes until one side has scored two pinfalls). It’s very typical for the announcer to announce how many falls the match will be going to at the beginning of the match, but I didn’t know the exact word for it in Japanese, though of course I’ve heard it many times! Sure enough, when I typed いっぽんしょうぶ (there’s that rendaku) with the Japanese keyboard, 一本勝負 came up.

I also remembered the word “いっぽん” from one of my favorite DDT matches (this one’s on youtube and is very accessible to watch even if you’ve never seen wrestling before, so if you look at the tumblr post and think it sounds fun, I highly, highly recommend giving it a watch. You’ll get a bit of Japanese immersion practice!). I looked it up to see if it was written with the same kanji, and I discovered that… they wrote it in romaji :sweat_smile:. The match is called a 蛍光灯IPPONデスマッチ. 蛍光灯(けいこうとう) is the word for light tube, I believe, and デスマッチ is deathmatch. “IPPON” is the fun part—the twist with this match is that there is just one single light tube, and the goal is not to break it!

One of Yomichan’s definitions for 一本(いっぽん) is “one long cylindrical thing,” and this certainly describes a light tube!

I quickly scribbled down a couple words in my notes while watching wrestling, then forgot to include any context for them, haha, but I went back and checked, and they were in the video package for Naomichi Marufuji vs Takashi Sugiura in Pro Wrestling NOAH. I wrote down a bit more of the context, now that I had the benefit of being able to pause the video! The first word that I noticed was 勝利(しょうり) (using the kanji for victory and profit). Sure enough, I was able to guess its reading and it came up as soon as I typed it in. The meaning follows from the kanji easily enough: Yomichan defines it as victory, triumph, conquest, success, or a win. I’m not sure exactly what distinguishes it from 勝ち in meaning, but 勝利 appears to be a far more common word, judging from the Innocent Corpus number.

The second word that I noticed was 苦楽(くらく), which stood out to me because the kanji are antonyms. I was thankfully able to guess its reading, too (which was how I was able to quickly jot it down in my notes even though it left the screen very soon!). Yomichan defines this word as “pleasure and pain” or “joys and sorrows.” I copied down the full sentence it occurred in because I recognized all of the kanji: “わかりやすく言えば苦楽を共にしてきた”. The grammar is currently beyond me, but DeepL translated this as: “To put it simply, we’ve been through a lot together.” According to Yomichan, “苦楽を共にして” is from a set phrase that means “to share (life’s) joys and sorrows (with)” or “to stick together through thick and thin.” I don’t know a whole lot about Marufuji and Sugiura’s history, but both of them have been with Pro Wrestling NOAH since the beginning of the company, and NOAH has definitely had its share of sorrows.

When I was rewatching the video package, I noticed that Marufuji said 彼と共通する and I literally paused the video because I was so surprised. I’ve learned (かれ) (outside of WK) as a word for “he” or “him,” but both Japanese Ammo with Misa and MNN warned that it has the connotation of referring to your boyfriend. Apparently that isn’t always the case! 共通(きょうつう) was new to me, but I know 共通点 from WK, which means common point. 共通 means “common,” “shared,” “mutual,” etc., so I think the whole phrase that Maru used means “in common with him.”

He also said 彼と共同する shortly after that. I know that 共同 means “cooperation,” “doing together (as equals),” etc. So I’m guessing the whole phrase means something like “working together with him (as equals).”

All in all, it really stood out to me that the 共 kanji kept showing up (learning this kanji last level turned out to be perfect timing for me!). Rewatching this video package made me appreciate that feud a little more in hindsight, honestly. There was a lot of emphasis on togetherness, which is one of my favorite themes in wrestling (as you all probably know by this point :sweat_smile:). I found it very sweet.

I was so happy to finally learn 合 this level! I see this kanji all the time in wrestling. TJPW just started their annual tournament, the Tokyo Princess Cup, and I was delighted that I could read some of the video description! The first round of the tournament was labeled: “Ameba presents 第8回東京プリンセスカップ,” and I easily read it as the 8th Tokyo Princess Cup. I recognized the words when the ring announcer said it, too!

The first line of the video description is: ※試合開始は12時00分の予定です。I haven’t learned 試合 yet (it’s a level 14 word), or the kun’yomi reading for 合, for that matter, but 試合開始(しあいかいし) means “beginning of the game” according to Yomichan, and I have enough familiarity with machine translation of wrestling tweets to know that 試合 “game” is a word that is also used for wrestling matches. 開始, of course, is a WK word itself, and so are 時, 分, and 予定. I believe a translation of this is something like: “The beginning of the show is scheduled for 12:00 (p.m.)”. Show times are always given on a 24-hour clock, so there’s no need to specify 午後 or 午前 (I actually did see a list of show dates at the end of a NJPW show that specified ごご5時, but almost all advertised times for wrestling shows across the board seem to be on a 24-hour clock and not a 12-hour one).

I learned a new word from wrestling: テメエ. It appeared in the subtitles for a video package that played at the beginning of a NJPW show. I looked it up because I immediately recognized it as a word that I’d heard many times while watching wrestling (Evil in particular loves to say this one), and 手前(てめえ) came up. According to Yomichan and jisho, it’s usually written in kana alone, and is (yet another) derogatory word for “you,” or a pronoun for “I; me; oneself.” It is also generally used by men. WaniKani, (unsurprisingly?), does not teach this one, haha! I believe the NJPW translators like to translate this word as “punk.”

I also think I figured out a phrase that wrestlers commonly shout during matches. I think they’re saying 行くぞ! Wrestlers frequently shout something before they do a move, and I’d always wondered exactly what they’re saying, but this makes sense. 行く of course means “to go,” and apparently the ぞ sentence ending particle tends to be more masculine, and it emphasizes the speaker’s will or opinion. When someone uses ぞ to listeners, it sounds like an invitation, like “let’s,” but can sound commanding when compared to the volitional form. So, if I’m correct here, the wrestlers are shouting “let’s go!” Note: I hear plenty of 女子 wrestlers shout 行くぞ, too, so it’s not just something that men say, at least in the context of wrestling.

I heard commentary say トップ ロープ から during a NJPW show, and I haven’t encountered this exact use of から yet, but I understood that they were saying “from the top rope”! Wrestling having so many 外来語 from English really comes in handy, haha, because it reduces the amount of vocab I need to learn if I want to understand the commentary.

I searched for the 癒 kanji in a wrestling discord server I’m in because it came up in a recent tweet and I couldn’t remember if it was the same kanji as the one in Chris Brookes’ favorite Japanese word ((いや)される). It turned out that yes, I remembered it correctly! But the search also turned up a handful of other tweets that people had shared in the server over the past couple years, and I think I understand why this is Chris’s favorite word.

One of them is this tweet from last December, where TJPW wrestler Hikari Noa talks about being healed by being in the presence of Yuka Sakazaki and Mizuki flirting (the three of them were all on the same team that day). Watching Yuka and Mizuki together is healing to me, too, so I completely understand where she’s coming from.

Another is this tweet from NOAH wrestler Katsuhiko Nakajima that floored me a little. It’s a picture of his ex tag partner Go Shiozaki bringing him water on a hot day, wearing a big smile on his face. It’s shot from Katsu’s perspective, and it’s Go as Katsu sees him. He attached a bunch of hashtags to it, including (やさ)しい (a level 23 WK word that means gentle, kind, warmhearted), 優男(やさおとこ) (man with a gentle nature), スマイル (smile), and of course, (いや)し (healing, soothing, comfort, etc.).

It’s a very healing tweet, but also a deeply bittersweet one, because just nine days after he posted this, Katsu turned on Go and betrayed him, ending the AXIZ tag team. You get used to this, with wrestling. You learn how to hold onto these glimpses of happiness, these 癒される moments while you have them. Some of them, like Yuka and Mizuki, last a little longer, but some are (もの)(あわ)れ moments, gone like the end of summer (a NOAH fan blogging about the AXIZ photobooks taught me that phrase, actually).

I think people who don’t make it to level 55 (or who never learn 癒 elsewhere) miss out on so much. I don’t know how common this kanji is. Perhaps it’s very uncommon. But it has shown up a lot in things that are relevant to my interests, and ultimately that’s all that matters.

Just for fun, I searched for all of the level 60 kanji individually in our server, just to see if anything came up. It turns out that 11 of the final set of 32 kanji that WK teaches have appeared just in tweets and articles that have been shared in our wrestling-centric discord server over the past few years. The kanji that had at least one occurrence were: 囚某蛮狐謹升桟妄醜湧慕. I started to feel tempted to do a search for every single WK kanji, just to put some things into perspective, but I feel like down that path is where madness lies :sweat_smile:.

In any case, this is something I think about a lot when people on this forum discuss the diminishing returns of WK. Sure, those kanji had very few occurrences, but every single one of them were in a tweet/article that someone in the server thought was important to share. Ultimately, my goal is to be able to browse my twitter feed and read all of these tweets in Japanese without having to look up many words. It’s clearly beneficial for me to make it all the way to the end of WK, since I’ve already encountered over a third of the kanji taught in the very last level of the program.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 6 – Lesson 7

Lesson 6 ended up being a breeze, for the most part. I did get initially tripped up by the use of the に particle with 会う, though! But I only had to make the mistake once before I learned it.

All in all, here’s how long lesson 6 took me:

Preparing Anki cards: 40 minutes
Preparing kanji spreadsheet: 25 minutes
Practicing writing kanji and taking vocab notes: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Taking grammar notes: 38 minutes
Studying the textbook: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Doing both workbooks: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Daily Anki reviews: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Total: 9 hours, 26 minutes (over a period of 14 days, starting July 1 and finishing July 14)

No Anki graph this time because I don’t think there’s much of a point to doing them as long as the times are staying pretty much in the same range. But I think I’m getting faster at working through the MNN lessons! Learning more kanji is speeding up the process by a lot.

The lesson 7 vocab was fairly light on the kanji in comparison to the previous lessons. There were only six kanji that I didn’t know going into this one, which was nice. That meant that it took a lot less time to practice writing the unfamiliar kanji and add the vocab words containing them to my physical notes. It also meant I could jump into SRS-ing the vocab a few days sooner!

I complained about an earlier lesson teaching コンピューター instead of パソコン, but it turns out that the latter word actually is introduced in lesson 7!

Lesson 7 also finally helped me figure out 父/母 and お父さん/お母さん. According to MNN, 父 and 母 are used specifically to refer to your own father and mother, and お父さん and お母さん are used to refer to someone else’s father and mother, though they are also occasionally used for your own parents.

I was a little too hasty to jump into actually reading lesson 7, and as a result, was unsure about a couple vocab words when I was reading it. ()す and ()りる are also still causing me problems, haha, but I figure I’ll get them with practice and exposure.

Thanks to getting a faster start with lesson 7, I’m actually already almost done with it! I think I’ll be able to finish lesson 7 and lesson 8 by the time I reach level 14 in WK. I got a sneak preview of the lesson 8 vocab because I needed to look at it early in order to print off some kanji practice sheets. Lesson 8 is very heavy on the kanji, in contrast to 7. Thankfully, though, it’s mostly kanji that I have already learned on WK. I’m excited to finally start using adjectives!

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 7 and 8 kanji! (Just a reminder that it’s possible to sort the chart by WK level or MNN lesson number, whichever is most useful to you).

Reading:

I saw a translation of an exchange in a TJPW show that did not air live (so I had to wait until the VOD went up in order to watch it), and I got really excited when I saw that Sakisama said “I’m homesick.” Could this be one of those rare encounters with 里心 in Japanese media? I figured the chance was slim, but possible, since Sakisama’s character is very elegant and old-fashioned, and I could see her using a word that was more literary and uncommon. I waited excitedly for the VOD to go up so that I could listen for what she actually said.

Then a friend of mine shared this fan comic of the characters, and a few of us attempted to translate it. We struggled more with reading the artist’s handwriting than with understanding the Japanese, haha! There was some katakana in the second speech bubble that stumped us. I finally realized that one of the characters might be ム, and then I started to sound out the word and was so proud of myself when I figured out the rest of it: ホームシック!

As soon as I figured it out, I realized that I had answered my own question regarding what word Sakisama had used in the show. The speech bubbles in the comic appeared to just be repeating the dialogue from the show. And sure enough, when the VOD went up and I watched it, I heard Sakisama say ホームシック plain as day. Alas!

I didn’t get much reading in Spanish done this level because I had some other things keeping me busy, but I did read a few articles. Nothing really worth reporting on, though.

New resources:

I discovered a website called ichi.moe that’s another resource for helping break down Japanese grammar if you input sentences or phrases into it. However, I have been warned that it does sometimes make mistakes. Still seems like a handy resource, though!

I found a thread that some WK users put together compiling some of the similar words on WK and detailing the different nuances between them. A lot of this is stuff that we probably eventually pick up on with seeing words in context, but it’s a helpful read nonetheless!

I also found a thread on kanji words derived from other words. It’s more interesting than directly useful, perhaps, but still fun!

I got a couple more free manga on Bookwalker. I’m getting more and more eager to start reading some of these, but I know myself well enough to know that trying to read them now would be really frustrating and discouraging for me, so I’m being patient and waiting.

Next steps:

I started putting together a thread for recommending wrestling promotions/matches for listening and reading practice. The draft for the inaugural post is already pretty long, so we’ll see if I can actually finish it, but I think some folks might find it useful. I think wrestling is an amazing medium for immersion, but getting into it can be a really convoluted process, especially if you’re completely new. This would hopefully give people somewhere to start!

Onward to level 14! 行くぞ!

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:open_mouth: It seems like just writing your posts would take longer than 2 hours, fallynleaf-san!! (aka お前 in wrestler parlance). Thanks for digging up the comparison thread!

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It’s actually not that bad because I write them over a period of two weeks, haha! I’ll write a paragraph or two whenever I have something new to add. By the time I actually level, the posts are pretty much done and ready to publish.

Maybe I should be counting them at least partially as studying :thinking:. Writing about these things definitely helps me synthesize my knowledge and remember it. And because of the way wrestling works, since it runs in real time and also incorporates elements from everyday life, there’s always something happening, even if it’s just wrestlers messing around in twitter. Never a dull moment!

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I ended up having to count my input time and note-writing time as “doing Japanese” time, since I’m not doing “what I’m supposed to be doing”. :roll_eyes: hashtag “The Intervention”

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At the same time, if I counted all of the hours I spend a day watching wrestling, looking at Japanese tweets, and writing these study log posts, in addition to textbook study and WK, I fear that it would look like I truly have no life outside of studying at all :sweat_smile:

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:eye: :writing_hand:

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Made it to level 14!

It took just shy of 13 days, which is pretty fast for me! There was a little less vocab this level, plus I did 4 kanji to 9 vocab lessons a day instead of 3 kanji to 10 vocab, which meant for a faster level up time. I definitely needed to speed up the kanji rate, because I spent a lot of the level with only a couple dozen vocab lessons in the pile. I’m probably going to continue with 4 kanji lessons a day for now and see how that goes. I currently have 37 vocab left over from level 13, which is a decent buffer.

I think I forgot to post this in the last update, but my current burned items count as of the end of level 13 is: 136. Still not quite at the point where I’m seeing items from when I started doing WK really regularly.

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

During the intermission in NJPW’s Wrestle Grand Slam show, the video feed showed a promotional advertisement that said 運動会・体育祭. I only had time to write down the first three kanji (I recognized 運動 immediately), and Yomichan gave me “athletic meet” or “sports day” for 運動会(うんどうかい). I didn’t have any other context for it until Chris Charlton tweeted this. Then I had time to look at the promotion in more detail, and I realized I knew all of the kanji in the second word as well! 体育祭(たいいくさい) apparently means athletic festival at a school. I also learned that 体育 is the word for P.E. (it’s funny how similar the Japanese and English terms are), and then shortly after, it showed up in my lessons!

The Japanese tweet starts with 【要注目!】. 注目(ちゅうもく) was a new word for me, though I’ve learned 注文 (order) and 注意 (caution) through WK already. 注目 seems to be in a similar vein: Yomichan translates it as “attention”, “notice”, or “observation”. 要, of course, is the kanji for need, though WK doesn’t teach it as a word. The auto-translate renders (よう)注目(ちゅうもく)! as “attention required!” which appears to be more or less accurate.

I saw 道場 in the information card that showed up for Kinya Okada, a trainee wrestler, during a Pro Wrestling NOAH match. It specifically said 道場マッチ, which I read as “dojo match.” A quick check with Yomichan, and yep, 道場(どうじょう) is indeed the word for dojo!

I enjoyed learning 駅長 in level 13 because of this example sentence:

I remembered that Raku (TJPW wrestler, train enthusiast, and idol) had posted on twitter that her dream was to be a station master for a day. Sure enough, I searched for 駅長 in our discord server, and this tweet came up. I hope that this example sentence comes true, and my favorite idol gets to achieve her dream of being selected to be a one-day train station master!

I always enjoy it when I encounter a new word right after learning the kanji and right before the word comes up in one of my lessons. I saw the word 選手 in an interview with TJPW wrestler Hikari Noa (see the reading section below, haha), and I was proud of myself for being able to guess the reading even though I had only just learned the 選 kanji and only knew the reading that WK taught. This word is also used to refer to pro wrestlers, and it came up again and again in the article (eight times, actually), so it was very convenient to know how to easily type it!

みんなの日本語 Lesson 7 – Lesson 8

I finished lesson 7 within a couple days, but did not quite finish lesson 8 due to completing this level within a shorter timeframe than usual.

I also completed 復習(ふくしゅう)B after lesson 7! I’m always very glad with these reviews when I can complete them and remember earlier material from a couple months back without any trouble.

Here’s how long I spent on lesson 7:

Preparing Anki cards: 33 minutes
Preparing kanji spreadsheet: 14 minutes
Practicing writing kanji and taking vocab notes: 1 hour, 9 minutes
Taking grammar notes: 22 minutes
Studying the textbook: 2 hours, 34 minutes
Doing both workbooks: 2 hours, 10 minutes
Daily Anki reviews: 2 hours, 3 minutes

Total: 9 hours, 5 minutes (over a period of 14 days, starting July 14 and finishing July 27)

So far, lesson 8 has been pretty fun! I’ve struggled a little bit with remembering the adjectives I haven’t learned through WK yet, but I actually have an easier time recognizing them through the appearance of the kanji rather than the sound of the kana, haha!

One thing that’s fun is that I’ve been learning more and more of the kanji that are used to label the exercises in MNN. Practice, example, problem, etc. I’m familiar with a lot of these words already because I hear them read out when I do the audio exercises in the textbook.

I realized that I’ve been studying with MNN for four months now. That’s pretty cool! My MNN Anki deck currently has 429 unique cards in it. A good chunk of those are WK words, but plenty of the vocab was completely new to me. Whenever I think I’m going slow, I remember that I’m doing this on top of learning 10-13 new items on WK every day!

No update to the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet this time. The lesson 9 kanji should be on there in a few days, though.

Reading:

I did not do much reading in Spanish these past couple weeks, mainly because I got distracted by the 6月23日 issue of 週刊プロレス, which finally arrived after I ordered it a couple months ago! I wasn’t going to attempt to actually read any of the articles just yet, but, well, it turned out I was unable to resist the temptation :sweat_smile:

However, I did learn a few new words in Spanish while watching, of all things, the youtube stream for a Stardom PPV.

A few people were commenting in Spanish in the live chat for the show. One person commented: “Unagi esta demasiado overpusheada.” I disagree entirely with the sentiment of the comment, but I burst out laughing at the phrase “demasiado overpusheada”. It appears that the English wrestling lingo “overpushed” has become a loanword in Spanish. In pro wrestling, a “push” refers to a wrestler getting booked to win more matches and getting more prominent placement in shows and storylines. If a promotion goes too far with this and pushes an unpopular wrestler, or gives even a popular wrestler too much time and too many wins that don’t feel earned, the fans might start to feel that the wrestler is “overpushed” for their level of talent or for the level of interest the fans have in watching them, which can lead the fans to turn on that wrestler.

The other word that I learned came from a pair of comments made by fans at the end of the stream. One fan said “donde lo pirateo?” and another person said: “Bueno, ahora a ir a verlo pirata”. The first match in the PPV was streamed on youtube for free, but the rest of the show was locked behind a paywall. But illegal wrestling streams exist, if you know where to go to find them. Apparently “piracy” in the sense of illegally distributing content on the internet also shares that meaning in Spanish! I was a little amazed at the gall of these fans for openly discussing pirated streams in the public chat on the official Stardom channel, but they probably assume that no one at the company will read their comments.

As far as reading in Japanese goes, look, @rodan! I actually read this one before you!

週刊プロレス No. 2126

I’m trying not to buy too many print reading materials in Japanese, since I have too many books in English as it is, much less books in a language that I can’t easily read yet, but I couldn’t resist buying the issue with Yoshihiko the blow up doll wrestler on the cover! (If anyone wants to know a little bit of the story behind this cover, see this post).

Lots of interesting looking articles in this one. Here are some impressions just from flipping through it:

There are several pages on the CyberFight Festival supershow, a profile on Kenoh (including a photo of him and a few of his 金剛 ex-factionmates naked during a 温泉旅行), a couple pages on my favorite NOAH junior faction’s recent title matches, a section focusing on Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. winning the NJPW tag belts, an article on Syuri and Utami Hayashishita’s recent feud in Stardom (this was right before their title match. I hope the article mentions the kiss that was part of the lead-up to it!), a feature on several joshi wrestlers and their pets, an article on Naomi Yoshimura, Shunma Katsumata, and Mao before DDT’s King of DDT tournament, an interview with TJPW wrestler Hikari Noa, a page on ChocoPro (I was delighted to see that they were included!), and Ryo Mizunami had an interview about her trip to America to wrestle in AEW (there’s a picture of her standing next to the Jacksonville Jaguars logo outside of Daily’s Place, and another picture of her holding up a fish she caught on a fishing trip with former DDT wrestler Michael Nakazawa (I don’t know if he’s mentioned in the interview, but I know that he was the person who took her fishing because I follow both of them on twitter, haha)).

There’s also a really cool looking advertisement for Stardom’s Yokohama Dream Cinderella show on 7.4 (this isn’t exactly the same image as the one in the magazine, but you get the idea). And the back cover is an advertisement for TJPW’s 6.17 show, featuring a gorgeous photo of Sakisama and Mei Saint-Michel.

There were some articles I didn’t care about (I don’t follow AJPW or Dragon Gate, for example), but alarmingly the vast majority of the magazine content featured promotions and matches that I did watch, as well as some pieces about some joshi promotions that I don’t follow, but which I’m still interested in hearing about anyway. Perhaps I watch too much wrestling? :sweat_smile:

I had planned on just looking at the pictures and doing some light skimming, but the first temptation to actually try translating it was the brief article on Rika Tatsumi’s two year old pet うさぎ named あられ. I saw that 瑞希, her fellow TJPW wrestler, was mentioned in the piece. Mizuki refers to herself as a rabbit, specifically a “popping sugar rabbit,” and Rika has had an unrequited crush on her for years. I was dying to know if Rika likes rabbits because she likes Mizuki, or if she likes Mizuki because she likes rabbits.

Determined to get to the bottom of this, I decided to try digitally transcribing the article and translating it through DeepL and Yomichan. This was a somewhat tedious process because I didn’t know a lot of the kanji, and there’s no furigana. So my strategy was to open up the IME pad and use that to identify the unknown kanji.

Surprisingly, this worked incredibly well! I was able to find every single kanji this way, without having to resort to searching by radicals or other methods of looking them up. It took a little bit of time to draw each one individually, but it wasn’t too bad.

After I had finished typing all 691 characters, I copied the text into DeepL, half fearing the worst, but the translation came out shockingly coherent. Yomichan helped clear up some things that were unclear.

辰巳リカ

According to my translation of the article, Rika acquired her pet rabbit after a regular at her nail salon had a rabbit that was expecting babies. They asked Rika if she was interested in keeping one, and she was hesitant at first, but as soon as she saw the baby rabbit, she fell in love. The interviewer asked about the rabbit’s best features, and Rika rambled about how cute he is, and also talked about his mischievous behavior, where he seemed to take after his owner.

The last paragraph both answered and did not answer my question. It starts by stating that it is a well known fact that Rika loves Mizuki beyond everything else (“こよなく(あい)している” appears to be from a set phrase), but supposedly this has nothing to do with the fact that Rika owns a pet rabbit. Rika claims that it’s a complete coincidence that she got a rabbit, and says that it wasn’t because she’d wanted to own one, but was just because she happened to overhear someone at a nail salon, and it doesn’t mean anything weird! The author of the piece comments on her desperate (必死) defense, and concludes that the truth of the matter is still in the dark.

Was this piece worth going through all the work to digitally transcribe it and struggle through attempting to translate it? Absolutely yes.

The second article that tempted me was the interview with Hikari Noa. This one was much longer than the short feature on Rika’s rabbit. But I was so curious to see if Hikari talked about her desire to become a deathmatch wrestler! I ended up spending several exhausting hours painstakingly transcribing all 2,666 characters of it.

乃蒼ヒカリ


The subtitle for the article is: 不安と 期待と 鮮血と. Two of these are WK words! 鮮 is apparently a level 25 kanji that means “fresh,” and the meaning of 鮮血 follows from both kanji meanings. I suppose the subtitle of the interview is something like “Anxiety, Expectation, Fresh Blood.”

The first part of the interview focuses on Hikari’s then upcoming International Princess title match against Marika Kobashi. It made me sad when Hikari pointed out that both she and Marika had lost a partner before (Marika lost Reika Saiki, who hasn’t wrestled in years, and Hikari lost Natsumi Maki, who left TJPW to wrestle in Stardom as Natsupoi in 2020, and then Sena Shiori, who had to stop wrestling in 2021 because of her health). It was poetic, in a sad way, that Hikari’s first attempt at challenging for the tag belts was with Natsumi against Reika and Marika, who were the tag champs at the time.

The next part of the interview was what I was most interested in reading. It focuses on Hikari’s dream to do more hardcore/deathmatch wrestling. A lot of the machine translation for this part was difficult to parse, and I didn’t have a lot of luck trying to break down the sentences and figure them out myself (my grammar and vocab knowledge is still too low).

From what I was able to interpret, though, Hikari wants to be the only TJPW wrestler who is known for doing hardcore stuff, and she wasn’t really interested in pursuing more hardcore wrestling in TJPW (bummer!). I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant when she said (roughly) that rather than doing hardcore wrestling in TJPW, she wants to use the International belt to get closer to her own dream. I guess maybe she wants to use it to elevate herself so that she seems like a more credible opponent, without necessarily trying to use her position as champion to turn the belt into a hardcore belt? I don’t know.

I did think it was interesting, though, that she splits herself into her normal self and her hardcore self, and she says that she appreciates her four years in TJPW, but when it comes to hardcore and deathmatch wrestling, she feels like she’s been in that field since her third year in junior high.

Machine translation parsed the subject header 不変の狂猿愛 as “unchanging love of mad monkeys,” which made me laugh. As far as I could tell, I typed all the kanji correctly, but I had no idea what this meant! (I figured it out hours later, when I realized that Jun Kasai was the “Crazy Monkey,” haha). In this section, Hikari calls out Suzu Suzuki, an Ice Ribbon wrestler, as someone she thinks of as a rival. The interviewer points out that Suzu had mentioned Hikari’s name in an interview in last week’s issue. A lot of these types of cross-promotion challenges often end up going nowhere, but it would be fun if something came of this one! I don’t know anything about Suzu Suzuki, but if Hikari wants to fight her, then I want her to be able to.

Hikari also mentions that she wants to be like Yuka Sakazaki in TJPW, because when Hikari was a trainee, Yuka was a tag champion, and when Hikari debuted (it took me a couple minutes to figure out デビュー), Yuka was the Princess of Princess champion. So Hikari has often seen Yuka as a champion. This isn’t mentioned in the interview, but Hikari does post a lot on twitter about how much she loves being in Yuka and Mizuki’s presence. She truly seems to admire them a lot, and loves their relationship.

There’s a bittersweet part of the interview where Hikari mentions that she wants to defend the belt more than Natsupoi did (Natsumi Maki was the first person to hold the International Princess title). Hikari mentions that she isn’t worrying about tag teams anymore, and as a tag team enthusiast, that broke my heart a little. I hope she does find another tag partner out there, someday…

In the last section of the interview, there was one kanji that stumped me. It was the only kanji that I just could not get the IME pad to give to me no matter how many times I tried drawing it, even after I looked up the stroke order for all of the radicals. Finally, I found it by browsing via the flower radical. It was this: 葛󠄀󠄀. It was part of a person’s name, so I googled the name 葛󠄀西 and burst out laughing when I discovered that this elusive character was part of Jun Kasai’s name. Jun Kasai is a very famous deathmatch wrestler, and Hikari idolizes him (unchanging love of crazy monkeys!).

What threw me off, though, was that the kanji that appears when I search for 葛󠄀 is this: 葛. The 葛󠄀 kanji also isn’t even recognized by Yomichan, but it’s definitely the character used in the article! I’m sure there’s an explanation for this, but for now, I’m baffled.

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At the end of the interview, Hikari mentions that she has to surpass Jun Kasai, and that in order to do that, she has to win against everyone in TJPW. She hopes that eventually, she’ll make the International Princess belt desirable enough that Miyu and others will want it.

It’s a neat interview! Some interesting insights in there. I was glad I took the time to attempt to read it, though I wish I didn’t have to rely so much on machine translation, which is always flawed. Even still, I’m proud of myself for knowing enough Japanese to be able to type the whole thing up! A friend of mine is currently working on a better translation of the article (thanks to the work I did with transcribing it), so hopefully I’ll be able to properly read it soon!

I’m considering trying to read Ryo Mizunami’s interview next, though it’s pretty long. I do want to know about her impression of AEW this time, though, especially considering that she was wrestling there in pandemic conditions. The first time she wrestled in AEW in 2019 for their inaugural show, she enjoyed the experience so much, it stopped her from retiring. I’m sure her 2021 experience was quite different.

The other thing that I read was much easier than shupro! While making this gif post, I wanted to talk a little bit about Riho’s history with the Somato move. I remembered this tweet from a couple years ago, so I tried to track down the letter in question, because I thought I remembered that it had been posted online. Finally, I found this tweet, which linked to this June 6, 2018 post on Harashima’s blog!

2018年06月06日 伝授

Harashima talks about how he taught the Somato to Riho when she was just a little girl. As a child, Riho used the hiragana name for the move (そうまとう) instead of the kanji spelling (蒼魔刀) because the kanji were too difficult for her. She kept using the move for a long time. When Harashima had the chance to see one of her more recent matches, he thought to himself that her そうまとう was already a 蒼魔刀, because it was so powerful that it didn’t deserve to be written in hiragana. He wrote her a letter on her birthday giving her his full blessing to use the move, and from that point on, her そうまとう became a 蒼魔刀.

It’s a really cute story. I was glad that I bothered to track it down! References within moves is an aspect of wrestling that I really love, because you can trace people’s influences and history this way and find all kinds of surprising connections.

New resources:

Picked up a couple more free manga on Bookwalker thanks to rodan and some other folks chiming in with further recommendations! One of the series recommended was 宝石の国. I’d never heard of this series before, but I was amused by the fact that one of the characters (according to the description) is apparently named 金剛先生. 金剛(こんごう) is a word that I’m familiar with thanks to Pro Wrestling NOAH: this is the name of Kenoh’s faction! It has a variety of definitions according to Yomichan, including “diamond”, “adamantine”, “thunderbolt”, and “vajra” (a ritual weapon symbolizing the properties of a diamond (indestructibility) and a thunderbolt (irresistible force), which has symbolic importance in Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism). Both of these kanji are on WK (though the word 金剛 is not). I’ve already learned 金, and 剛 is a level 49 kanji meaning “sturdy.”

New Userscripts:

  • WaniKani Unobtrusive Kanji Stroke Order — I ended up ditching the Stroke Order Diagram script in favor of this one. The stroke order diagrams took up a lot of space, and this one is a lot cleaner. It’s nice because it also has the stroke order for full vocab words, so if you’re trying to write a word that exists in WK, you don’t have to open all the kanji pages separately in order to reference the stroke order.

Next steps:

I did not get the pro wrestling thread started because I was too distracted by trying to read that shupro issue, haha! I am still working on it, though, and am planning to post it hopefully before I level up again.

Also, from my experience trying to read shupro articles, I heavily, heavily recommend learning how to write kanji! Even if you don’t learn how to write every single one that you learn, learning the basic principles of stroke order and general composition of the characters will benefit you massively in the long run with regards to looking up unknown kanji by drawing them on the IME pad. In a situation where you’re reading text (without furigana) that isn’t digital or that you can’t copy and paste, this is a very useful skill! If you can get the IME pad to work for you, it’s way more convenient to quickly sketch a kanji to find what you’re looking for as opposed to trying to search for an unknown kanji by browsing radical lists.

“Reading” shupro gave me a massive amount of (probably unwarranted) confidence, so I ended up tentatively committing to the 大海原と大海原 absolute beginners book club starting in September. The manga does not appear to have much text, so it looks very doable compared to the articles I spent the past couple weeks trying to read! My original plan was to wait until I finished the first book of MNN before trying to read any manga, but I really like the art style of this one and the premise sounds fun, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Onward to level 15! 行くぞ!

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葛󠄀 is a slightly abbreviated alternate form of with identical meaning and usage (to the point of probably being an unnoticeable difference if you aren’t trying to look it up).
Here’s a helpful article about it from 葛城市, a city that obviously has a vested interest in it:

It sounds like up until Windows XP, operating systems used 葛󠄀 as a rule before the character encoding was expanded to include both, which probably further muddied the waters.

I can’t speak to whether the Crazy Monkey himself is a stickler for writing his name down perfectly, but his name does seem to be 葛西 純 and shupro probably only used 葛󠄀 out of a magazine-wide stylistic guideline, or just an inconsequential oversight.

Either way, I’d say it’s one of the more common not-in-WK kanji out there, and I find it not too difficult to remember, since Kudzu has entered the English lexicon because the vine is a devastating invasive plant in the Southern US. That Kudzu is this 葛!

Anyway, I’m impressed at the dedication to read those articles, and I’m glad it worked! You could always also ask me :wink: even though I’m woefully behind on the magazine… I still haven’t even gotten to that issue!

P.S. I looked a little into 葛西純's usage of the two characters specifically.

It seems like it is 100% interchangeable and 葛󠄀西 will be used sometimes in stuff like billings.
Like, this poster for his movie has the abbrev.:

but this bio on the website about the movie has the original:
image

His twitter has the original:
image

But a retweeted Freedoms card has the abbrev:
image

etc.

NOTE: also that another computer I use, where the browser isn’t set to display in Japanese, displayed all of my characters above as the un-abbreviated form, rendering the whole post extremely confusing. If anyone reading this sees that, maybe try adding Japanese to the list of display languages in your browser settings (or just don’t worry about it and trust I was writing different characters),

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Thank you so much for all of this information, wow! This is super cool!

Aww, thank you! If there’s anything in any issues that I’m absolutely dying to know, I will definitely ask you :blush:

A friend of mine just went through my typed transcription of Hikari’s interview and cleaned up the machine translation, and after she finished it, we had the realization that we could actually read shupro if we combined our abilities (my ability to write kanji, and her ability to, well, actually translate Japanese), and we felt so powerful, haha! I hope to someday get to a point where I don’t need to type things out in order to read them, but even getting far enough to be able to do this is a huge amount of progress from what I could do last year (which was absolutely nothing!).

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I think you’ll continue to be pleasantly shocked at how quickly you make progress!
Enthusiasm and persistence are half the battle, easy! And you’ve clearly got those already. The rest is just building up experience and confidence in a system you know can handle new texts and get the job done, and it sounds like you’re already starting to do that too (earlier than I did). So nice work!

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Made it to level 15!

Almost halfway through the painful levels, and nearly a quarter of the way through WaniKani as a whole! That’s pretty incredible.

I spent an even twelve days on level 14. It looks like level 15 only has 100 vocab, so this one will probably be another quick one for me! It’s the 135 vocab levels that end up being a fifteen or sixteen day adventure.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 179

I had an interesting experience on Saturday where I watched three different wrestling shows happening in three different countries at the same time (AAA’s TripleMania show in Mexico, TJPW in Japan, and NJPW’s Resurgence show in America). The show in Mexico only had Spanish commentary, but I watched the show in Japan with English commentary, and the show in America with Japanese commentary, haha! (I only focused on one match at a time, so I did not have the audio from all three playing at once, which would have been horrendous).

It was far from my first time watching multiple shows at once, but it was unusual for me to watch three simultaneous shows in three different countries, languages, and time zones. I haven’t been able to watch much Mexican wrestling lately, largely due to the country’s struggles with pandemic, but also due to AAA becoming much less accessible outside of Mexico in 2021 (they’re currently dealing with a lawsuit over the rights to their international content).

Believe it or not, all three shows from those three different companies all connect to various storylines happening in AEW, one American company. That’s what’s so cool about pro wrestling. There are so many little threads that you can pick at and follow to all kinds of interesting and unexpected places, and each one enhances your overall enjoyment of the whole thing.

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

In a recent NJPW show, I heard Hirooki Goto use the word あまり when talking about how he was not going to get any sleep that night after the show (because he was too pumped up from the match). This was fun timing for me, because I had just learned the word from MNN a couple days earlier!

I also heard Goto say “その挑戦…受けてえりょ”, which the subtitles translated as “we’ll take your challenge!” 挑戦(ちょうせん) and 挑戦者(ちょうせんしゃ) are both words that I’ve picked up just from listening to wrestling, even though I’ve still yet to learn the 挑 kanji through WK (it’s a level 42 kanji, so it will be quite a while yet before I get there). 挑戦 means challenge, and 挑戦者 means challenger. It’s pretty easy for me to remember 挑戦者, because “ちょうせんしゃ” sounds enough like “challenger” to me, I was able to pick up the word before I even started trying to learn Japanese.

I was pleased that I was (mostly) able to understand Goto’s sentence even without the translation. その挑戦 is “your challenge,” and 受けて is 受ける in the て form. I wasn’t entirely sure that I transcribed the rest of what he was saying perfectly, but I replayed the clip a few times, and “えりょ” was what I heard.

Another funny Goto thing is that during a recent show, Goto’s Chaos factionmate Sho turned on his tag partner Yoh during a tournament match. Goto has a very early bedtime (and he was talking about feeling tired after his own match earlier the show that day), and apparently he went home after his match and immediately went to bed, thereby missing one of his factionmates betraying another. He found out about it the morning after, and reacted in shock on twitter, hours late to the development.

In his tweet, Goto used a couple hashtags that amused me. One was #切ない朝, which DeepL just translated as “sad morning.” Yomichan defines (せつ)ない as painful or heartrending, and 朝 is morning, of course. The other was #心がざわついてる. Yomichan defines ざわつく as “to be discomposed (e.g. feelings)”. I’m guessing that his hashtag means something like “my heart is discomposed,” or maybe “my heart is in disarray” is a more evocative translation.

I watched TJPW’s big Korakuen Hall shows last weekend with English commentary, since English commentary is still fairly rare for TJPW, and Baliyan Akki and Chris Brookes are currently my favorite commentary team in wrestling. Chris couldn’t help himself, though, and at one point he yelled out 気を付けて! He translated it right after, but I was pleased that I understood what he meant right away. I also did not need the translation when Antonio Honda got stabbed with a syringe of some mysterious fluid and then proclaimed 気持ちいい!

Part of Honda’s gimmick is that he always stops the match and tries to tell a story in the middle of the ring. Mr. Haku never translates them, though I get the general idea of them (or as MNN just taught me to say, 大体分かります, haha!). The punchline of the story is always a dick joke, basically. I did catch Honda using the word 昔話 before he started to tell his story in one match.

The TJPW shows last weekend ended with the finals of the Tokyo Princess Cup. Maki Itoh managed to beat Shoko Nakajima and win the tournament, earning her a title shot for her tag partner Miyu Yamashita’s belt. This is Itoh’s biggest accomplishment in her career, and I am so proud of her! After the match, they handed her a big cardboard sign labeled 勝利者賞. Thanks to WaniKani, I was able to understand that it said winner’s prize.

I also realized that I understood a few more words in the DDT show that I watched later that night: 王者組 and 挑戦者組. These words labeled the two teams in the match for the KO-D Tag Team Championship match. 王者組 indicates the champion team, and 挑戦者組 indicates the challenger team. It was cool to realize that 組 could also refer to tag teams!

I learned a few more words just from the live chat accompanying a DDT press conference on youtube! If I see unfamiliar words with kanji that I know (prioritizing kanji I learned very recently), I’ll mouse over them with Yomichan to see if they mean what I think they mean.

出血死(しゅっけつし) straightforwardly means bleeding to death. This fan’s comment came after Chris Brookes very vividly described (in English) what he wanted to do to Shunma Katsumata during their match. 的外(まとはず)れ means miss the mark, misdirected, irrelevant, off base, etc. Another fan commented 運命的(うんめいてき), which means fated or destined. I heard Harashima say うんめい, but didn’t quite catch if there was an 的 at the end of it, and it didn’t make it into Mr Haku’s brief translation, so I couldn’t double-check what I heard. One word that threw me off was 登場(とうじょう), which means entry on stage/appearance on screen, or introduction into a market. This doesn’t follow from the meaning of the kanji especially intuitively!

I also learned a couple words/phrases from the description of the press conference video. One was 直前会見, which DeepL translates as “last-minute press conference,” but which I don’t think is exactly accurate (or at least, “last-minute” isn’t quite the right translation). Yomichan translates 直前(ちょくぜん) as “just before,” and it doesn’t have “press conference” specifically as a meaning for 会見(かいけん). But it definitely is a press conference right before the upcoming show. The other word I learned was 体調(たいちょう), which is pretty easy to remember! It means physical condition.

I’ve been keeping an eye out for the kanji in Jun Kasai’s name whenever I see him mentioned, looking to see if it’s the abbreviated kanji (葛󠄀) or the other one (葛). At the DDT press conference (Kasai is teaming up with Chris Brookes for Wrestle Peter Pan), the description for the video and all of the fans’ comments in the chat (at least, all of the ones I caught) used 葛. I believe a few of the match graphics that I’ve seen during recent DDT shows used 葛󠄀. A friend shared this tweet from the Crazy Monkey himself, where the subtitles in the image use 葛󠄀.

葛 does seem to be worth learning. It’s a grade 9 joyo kanji, and is in the top 1501-2000 most frequent kanji. I suspect in the wrestling world, it has a much higher frequency, haha, thanks to Jun Kasai’s widespread impact.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 8 – Lesson 9

One of my MNN workbooks had a massive review section for material from lessons 1-8. It added an extra day to my study schedule, because it took quite some time to complete it! I did really well on it, though, which was a good feeling. The first exercise was on readings for numbers, and it tried very hard to stump me! I was glad that I practiced some of the trickier ones, because almost all of those showed up here. The only thing I forgot was the small っ in 50分.

Here’s how long I spent on lesson 8:

Preparing Anki cards: 42 minutes
Practicing writing kanji and taking vocab notes: 2 hours, 47 minutes
Taking grammar notes: 55 minutes
Studying the textbook: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Doing both workbooks: 2 hours, 46 minutes
Daily Anki reviews: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total: 11 hours, 1 minute (over a period of 14 days, starting July 28 and finishing August 10)

I only just finished drilling the lesson 9 vocab and barely started working through the exercises, but so far everything is going smoothly. It was nice to see 大体 actually used in context. I have a much better idea of the actual meaning now!

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 9 kanji! (Just a reminder that it’s possible to sort the chart by WK level or MNN lesson number, whichever is most useful to you).

Reading:

I didn’t attempt any substantial reading these past couple weeks, though I did read some bits and pieces of Japanese here and there (mostly tweets and lines from text chats).

As far as Spanish goes, I read a few tweets from NGD and other CMLL wrestlers/potentially-soon-to-be-former-CMLL-wrestlers when NGD left the company. With stuff like this, where it’s wrestlers directly speaking about business stuff or criticizing the company they worked in, I appreciate having translations from other people, but I really like to look at the original text, too. I also read some Spanish leading up to, during, and after AAA’s show TripleMania, though most of my immersion there was listening practice and not reading, especially because I was watching it via a stream for international viewers, so there was much less Spanish in the chat than last year’s TripleMania, when I was watching the same stream as the Mexican fans.

I’m hoping to get more reading done this level!

New resources:

A friend recommended a manga called 死体と、1スーにもならない by 遥川潤, which can be read online for free. It has furigana, but is still too hard for me, though the characters speak formally, which makes it easier. Apparently it’s a horror story about a persecuted immortal witch who hides by becoming a girl’s handmaiden.

The same friend also recommended 魔女ノ結婚, describing it as being on the shorter and easier side. It’s apparently a romcom about a witch who is pretending to mentor someone to use them, but is really just tricking herself into thinking that she is ever going to do it.

“悪役令嬢”と愛のためならなんでもする女 was also recommended. This is apparently a villainess isekai story that focuses on aesthetics, emotionally and visually, and cuts out all of the isekai plot contrivances. It’s completely free, but has no furigana and has some more uncommon vocab. I have been warned, though, that the story is currently a tragic lesbian story.

I discovered a website called Renshuu, though I’m not sure how useful it is for me personally. You can use it to practice various aspects of Japanese, including kanji, vocab, and grammar. It has some integration with some popular textbooks, but it seems incomplete, at least for my textbook. It gave me a preprogrammed study schedule for the MNN lesson vocab and kanji, but not one for the grammar. It also doesn’t appear to integrate with WK in any way.

I tried manually creating a grammar study plan with all of the grammar points from MNN thus far, but some of them were missing, and then when I tried to study it, the sentence it tested me with used grammar that I had not learned yet. I don’t really want a grammar SRS, anyway, but I had been curious to see how many of the JPLT grammar points I had learned, and had hoped I could maybe use this to keep track of them. It did reinforce for me that I’m much happier just using my textbook for this.

I liked the vocab practice a lot better. It includes more information for the vocab than my textbook and Anki cards have, and it has practice quizzes that test different aspects of it. I think I might try using this to do some extra drills of vocab that I struggle with, though I’m going to keep Anki as my primary vocab SRS.

One of the benefits of Renshuu is that it’s heavily gamified, which adds extra incentives to study. It also contains literal games that you can play, such as practicing various counters, doing crosswords, shiritori, etc. I think the website also lets you practice output by writing practice sentences and haikus, though I haven’t tried this.

New Userscripts:

  • WaniKani Workload Graph — This script is an add-on to the heatmap script that displays a graph of your review workload over time, as well as a graph of experienced level difficulty (the error rate per level).
Here’s what my graph currently looks like:

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The first few levels were all over the place, but after I fully committed to putting the time into studying Japanese every day, I managed to find a nice easy rhythm with a consistent workload that isn’t too strenuous.

Next steps:

Once again, I failed to start the wrestling thread :sweat_smile:. No good excuse this time, except for the fact that I got sidetracked trying to think of matches to recommend that are available on youtube, and I worked on that instead of actually writing it.

I’m going to keep working on it, and hopefully will get it published before the next level.

Onward to level 16! 行くぞ!

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Made it to level 16!

25% of the way there! It was another twelve day level for me, as I predicted. Level 16 will probably be a little longer.

Some exciting personal news is that I got a job! It’s very part-time, but it is in my field, and it is within walking distance from my house! The good thing about not working many hours is that it shouldn’t have any impact on my Japanese studying. I was a little worried about potentially having to change my regular WK hours, since I’m currently living on a terrible sleep schedule, but I think I might be able to get away with sticking to the same schedule I’ve been keeping for months.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 238

I can tell from my workload graph that I’m going to be hitting my full workload pretty soon. I’m almost six months from when I started putting in serious daily work into WK, and those reviews are about to start coming due!

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Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

After Konosuke Takeshita defeated Jun Akiyama and won the KO-D title at DDT’s Wrestle Peter Pan show, his tag partner Shunma Katsumata (who was in his corner for the match, and who placed the title around Takeshita’s waist after he won it) tweeted “目からサウナが。。。”. I could read this one without needing the auto-translate! It killed me. He’s saying “saunas from my eyes”, which is a sentence that should not make sense, but does. Shunma is a member of a faction called The 37Kamiina, pronounced “the sauna kamiina,” which used to be called Sauna Club, and over the past year, there have been multiple times where his factionmates have won matches, and Shunma has proclaimed “I’m crying saunas from my eyes!”. So his tweet here was his way of expressing his happiness for Takeshita’s victory.

I also heard 弱虫 during an earlier match. Mr. Haku translated it as “coward.” It was a fun one to hear in the wild!

I don’t watch a whole lot of media in Japanese with Japanese subtitles, but one thing that is interesting to me is paying attention to the Japanese subtitles translating English speech in some NJPW clips. Hiroyoshi Tenzan cursed in English backstage after a recent show, and I laughed when I saw the subtitles: “ファ〇ク クッソー”. I hadn’t realized that they censored that first word in the subtitles before (at least not in Japanese), since wrestlers say it in their promos so frequently.

I also noticed something in the subtitles accompanying a line from El Phantasmo (I don’t like him, so when he speaks, I tend to focus more on the subtitles than his actual speech, haha). ELP said (in English): “Twenty plus years of being officially the very worst wrestling referee that I’ve ever seen.” The subtitles translated this as: “レッドシューズは過去20年で最低最悪のレフェリーだ!” The word レッドシューズ is Red Shoes, which is the referee’s name (Red Shoes Unno). Yomichan informs me that 過去(かこ) refers to the past, so 過去20年 is the past 20 years. 最低最悪のレフェリー is the fun part. This is the “very worst wrestling referee”. Thanks to WK, I know that 最低 is the lowest, and 最悪 is the worst. I did not know that they could be combined like this! Yomichan translates the entire phrase as “worst of the worst”.

Another moment from the subtitles was when Douki said to Robbie Eagles (in English): “I will give you one word, just one word… STFU!” The subtitles translated it as: “お前に一言… STFU!”. What was interesting to me about this is that I could see where the translator chose to leave off the “will give” at the end, but the に is still there indicating that お前 is the recipient. The translator chose to leave off part of the meaning of the sentence in order to translate the casual and rough tone of the line. I was pleased that I understood what was going on in the sentence even with the missing parts, though I don’t know how well I would fare if I had read it without hearing the English.

One last note from the NJPW subtitles is that I noticed that when Jeff Cobb said “Because this rain is done!” the subtitles translated it as “雨は上がる!” I could read all of the words in the translation, but did not know until now that one of the meanings of 上がる is for rain to stop or lift.

I don’t know how useful it is trying to learn from Japanese subtitles for English text, and I’m sure that people on this forum would tell me that it’s inefficient, but I’ve found that it can be a neat way to learn some context for words because I can compare them to the tone of the English speech.

I watched another rare Stardom show streamed live on youtube, and thanks to the live chat, I learned how to say that a wrestler kicked out at one (in non-wrestling terminology, this means that the wrestler gets their shoulder off of the ground during a pin attempt after the referee has only counted to one). Fans were commenting things like: “​1で返す” and “1で返した!!” I know 返す from WK, but had not encountered it used like this before. Apparently, in addition to meaning “to return,” according to Yomichan, it can also mean “to retaliate,” “to overturn,” etc.

This was a new usage of で for me! I looked it up in A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, and the fourth definition seems to be the one that applies here: “a particle which indicates the time when something terminates or the amount of time a period of activity has taken.” Thus, kicking out at one!

The video description said: “FC有料会員先行入場13:00/開場13:15/開始14:00”. I was happy to realize that I knew all of the kanji! 有料(ゆうりょう) refers to paid, and 会員 is of course member. 先行(せんこう) means in advance, going first, taking priority, etc., and 入場 means admission. I think FC refers to fan club, but I’m not entirely sure, as I don’t follow Stardom closely enough to know. But I think this is saying that fan club paid members can enter early at 13:00. 開場(かいじょう) means the doors open (to everyone else) at 13:15, and 開始 informs us that the show starts at 14:00.

In non-wrestling news, I realized when making a picrew that I could understand 完成しました! and 画像ダウンロード now, thanks to WK!

みんなの日本語 Lesson 9 – Lesson 10

Things are still going pretty smoothly with MNN! I don’t think I have anything of note to report from lesson 9.

Here’s how long it took me:

Preparing Anki cards: 44 minutes
Preparing kanji spreadsheet: 29 minutes
Practicing writing kanji and taking vocab notes: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Taking grammar notes: 28 minutes
Studying the textbook: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Doing both workbooks: 1 hour, 51 minutes
Daily Anki reviews: 1 hour, 49 minutes

Total: 8 hours, 36 minutes (over a period of 12 days, starting August 10 and finishing August 22)

I think this is my fastest lesson so far? It’s finally within the projected amount of time that each lesson should be taking me, haha! This one was so quick because I already learned most of the kanji through WK already, so I didn’t have to put as much time into learning them.

I got briefly stumped by a question in one of the lesson 10 exercises in the 文型練習帳 workbook. The question had me choose which particle to use here:

うちの ちかく (で/に) ともだちに あいました。

That question followed this one, which I had no trouble with:

うちの ちかく (で/) ほんやが あります。

The correct answer to the first one is で, and I could not for the life of me figure out what the sentence was saying! I opened up my notes, read back through the pages I took on both of those particles, flipped back through recent grammar sections in the textbook, and still couldn’t figure it out. Then I realized that the last word was あいました and not ありました like I had thought (all of the surrounding questions were using あります since I had just learned it this lesson) :sweat_smile: . Problem solved.

If the word 会いました had been written in kanji and not kana, I wouldn’t have misread it, but this workbook has a lot of writing exercises, and it starts you off with pure kana (the actual textbook chapters use kanji for most of the vocab) so that it’s easier to use for someone just starting out, since writing sentences with a lot of kanji is hard.

I have just a few more days left of the lesson 10 material, then onto lesson 11.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 10 kanji! (Just a reminder that it’s possible to sort the chart by WK level or MNN lesson number, whichever is most useful to you).

Reading:

I did not end up getting any substantial reading done this level because I got distracted by purchasing the first volume of 大海原と大海原 in anticipation of the book club starting next month. Even though there is still some time before the book club starts, I wanted to come up with some sort of strategy going into it.

I think I do want to SRS the new vocab in the book. This will make it take longer for me to read it, and will also add on to my daily SRS study time, but I feel like it’ll help me get a lot more out of the reading experience and make it easier for me to decipher unknown grammar.

Just on the first page alone, I had 17 unknown words (in five sentences) :sweat_smile:. I started an Anki deck of the vocab, though I’m holding off on actually reviewing it until a few days before the book club starts.

My cards just have information imported through Yomichan, including the source sentence that I found the word in. I’m going to see how this goes, and potentially change my strategy if needed.

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New resources:

I found out that the hairdresser for many TJPW and DDT wrestlers has an adult picture book coming out soon. The title is 新宿御苑の木語り, or Shinjuku Gyoen’s Monologue of a Tree. Chris Brookes helped proofread the English for her, and it looks like Sanshiro Takagi also contributed a review. The art looks pleasant, and since it’s a picture book, there probably isn’t a lot of text, so I think I might buy a copy as reading practice.

Learning of the existence of 大人絵本 as a genre sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole! Adult picture books sound like potentially a great resource for adult language learners. I googled 大人絵本 and found all kinds of neat looking picture books that were either designed for adults, or which were included on lists of picture books that appealed to adults. A few of my favorites were 海とそらがであうばしょ, あおのじかん, 終わらない夜, and ごんぎつね (日本の童話名作選). I also thought these Kirby books looked cute, but they’re pretty pricey for their length, so I’m hesitant to buy any of them. I’m tempted to order some used copies of these books, though I’m wary of them taking up a lot of space on my shelves if I build too much of a collection.

Speaking of books, I’m thinking of getting The Kanji Code, which goes into detail about the phonetic components and visual patterns that make up kanji. I already get a lot of this through the Keisei script, so I don’t need the book right now, but I think maybe when I reach the end of WK, it could be a helpful resource. I find this stuff genuinely fascinating.

I discovered jpdb, which has a whole bunch of resources, including difficulty lists for anime, dramas, visual novels, light novels, and web novels.

I also discovered Forvo, which you can apparently use to download audio of vocab words? Usually Yomichan takes care of this with my flash cards, so I haven’t looked into this, but it’s always good to have alternatives.

Next steps:

I failed to start the wrestling thread once again. I do have over 5,000 words for it typed up, though, and there isn’t a whole lot of work left to do. I wanted to include an explanation of how Japanese wrestling storytelling works, and it took quite a long time to write it :sweat_smile:. The thread likely won’t get a lot of traffic, but I thought maybe I could help make wrestling a little more accessible by answering some of the questions I had when I started out watching it in 2019 with essentially zero background knowledge.

The next update to this log should fall right around the start of the book club. 楽しみ!

Onward to level 17! 行くぞ!

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Made it to level 17!

It took me thirteen days, which isn’t bad. Level 17 will probably be a day or two (or three) longer, just because there are more vocab items.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 356

I also started burning items in Kaniwani finally! Unfortunately, the reviews from the first few levels came in large bursts because I started KW late :sweat_smile:. But at least almost all of those items are burned now, so I don’t have to deal with huge review clumps anymore. Currently, I have burned 139 items in KW.

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

One of the highlights of these past couple weeks was another ひらがなまっする show! I always look forward to these immensely. This is perhaps a blasphemous opinion for a wrestling fan, but if I had the chance to see just one wrestling show live in Japan, Hiragana Muscle would be my first choice (yes, even over a Tokyo Dome or a Budokan show). It’s such an incredible use of the Korakuen Hall space, and combines the best qualities of both wrestling and theater.

Here’s a clip from near the beginning of the show that I thought was very cool and well-done (remember, this is a live performance for the crowd in the venue!). This scene would be some fun reading practice to revisit later on, because it has the Japanese names for a lot of common wrestling spots and moves.

The show started, as is typical for a Yoshihiro Sakai/Super Sasadango Machine project, with a powerpoint. I loved the powerpoints before I could read a single word in Japanese, but they’re infinitely more fun now that I can actually read some kanji. As always, my process for watching these shows is by following along via Mr. Haku’s live translation threads on twitter.

(Cut for a long digression on ひらがなまっする specifically)

The powerpoint started by talking about the concept of public awareness, and how awareness of ひらがなまっする is low. The slide had a diagram labeled 世聞, which seems to be the phrase that Mr. Haku was translating as “public awareness.” I was pleased that I was able to read 世界平和 a little later on and immediately understood it to mean “world peace” before Mr. Haku finished typing his translation.

The plot of Hiragana Muscle 5 centered around a parody of the Olympics. At the start of the show, “Yuriko Koikebukuro,” the governor of Tokyo, had some unfortunate news for the director and the assistant directors (they all got fired). I had just learned 大変 in WK, and had learned “大変ですね” used to express sympathy back in lesson 4 of MNN, and I heard 大変 used here as well, and was able to guess that “Yuriko” had some bad news for the other characters before I saw the translation.

I also wrote down 目前(もくぜん) during my notes while watching the show, but I can’t remember the context for it, haha! I think maybe I heard it spoken and quickly wrote it down. It means exactly what I thought it meant. Yomichan translates it as “before one’s very eyes.”

In the plot of the show, most of the 250 countries declined to participate due to covid, but two of the countries that joined were the “United States of Finish” (the group of face wrestlers who are sort of the main characters are the personified gods of wrestling finishers), and “Isubekistan” (the group of heel wrestlers who are antagonists for the Finish Boys are the Steel Chair Boys, who are personified groups of foreign objects, especially chairs. いす is, of course, the word for chair, hence “Isubekistan”). If you watch wrestling, いす is a word that you will not forget.

Sidenote: DDT once had an “イス vs イス” match (here’s the press conference for it, and here’s a link to the match itself, though warning: it contains Danshoku Dieno). A chair also started off DDT’s Ultimate Party 2019 show. One of the chairs had pinned another chair prior to the match and had become Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion. I can’t link to that match to show the chair’s entrance, but I did manage to find the song the chair entered to by searching for イス歌 on youtube.

In this Hiragana Muscle show, the Finish Boys (temporarily) gained a new member. He walked into the ring wearing a shirt that said 練習生, which I read as “practice student” at first glance. 練習生(れんしゅうせい) is, of course, the word for a trainee! The Finish Boys introduced him as the personified god of seconds.

For a good chunk of the show, the wrestlers had to perform different かた, and the crowd (plus the judges) would pick a winner. The かた were things like “the opening few minutes of a match,” or “mid-card wrestler in match 2 of the third show of a non-Tokyo tour,” or “typical tag routine that will probably be popular in US indies in the near future.” The rounds included singles matches, tag matches, a 3-way match, and backstage comments.

I was curious about the kanji for かた, so I looked it up after the show, and it appears to be 型 (since in the show, the かた were modeled after martial arts), which is a level 24 kanji that WK has assigned the meaning “model.” I wondered if this word was another word like かえる, which can be 返える or 帰える, both of which have slightly different meanings. WK teaches (かたち), and in some words, the kanji is read かた or がた, and 形 can mean shape or form. At first I thought 型 and 形 might share a component, but according to the Keisei script, they do not, haha. Perhaps the two kanji and the associated words actually aren’t related at all.

All in all, Hiragana Muscle was a blast as always. Usually how these shows go is I spend most of them laughing, and then at the end, they get surprisingly emotional. I think Sakai has ended every single one of them in tears because of how well they manage to come together, and how they manage to touch on some aspects of wrestling that are real and magical despite the ridiculousness of it and the fact that so much of this is everyone collectively playing pretend.

Supposedly this show (which was over two and a half hours long) was entirely put together in a week. That’s absolutely incredible for a show that includes so much choreographed dancing and acting. I think it’s something that is only really possible in wrestling, where the wrestlers themselves can be trusted to handle their individual performances in the ring and improvise when needed.

In other news, I realized that I’ve learned almost all the kanji in Kota Ibushi’s name: 飯伏 幸太. He’s one of my favorite wrestlers, so this makes me happy. The only one that I have yet to learn is 伏, which is unfortunately a level 55 kanji (it means bow), so it will probably be over a year before I learn it, haha.

I was also happy to learn the kanji 軍 this level! Japanese wrestling fans learn this word pretty quickly, because many wrestling factions use it in their name. In TJPW, there is 伊藤リスペクト軍団, the Itoh Respect Army, which I have a t-shirt for (or at least, my shirt is for the NEO Itoh Respect Army, not the original flavor), and there is one of my favorite factions in wrestling, NEO美威獅鬼軍, NEO Biishiki-gun, whose motto and twitter bio I can now read without machine translation: 美しさは強さ (“beauty is strength”).

There is also, of course, 鈴木軍, NJPW’s Suzuki-gun, which exploded into international prominence a week ago when its leader, Minoru Suzuki, made his surprise debut at AEW’s PPV, All Out, in Chicago. Suzuki’s entrance theme is a song called 風になれ, and it is traditional for the crowd to shout out the main chorus, “風になれ!”, along with the music. However, due to coronavirus restrictions in Japan, crowds have been prohibited from vocalizing, so the audience has been unable to sing it for a year and a half now.

America has been, well, much more callous and less careful about the pandemic than Japan has been, so American crowds do not have the same restrictions, and sure enough, when Suzuki made his entrance, he held his hand up to his ear, and the crowd of thousands of American fans shouted “風になれ!” for the first time since the pandemic started. It was one of those moments that filled me with an indescribable emotion.

After that, 風になれ climbed the iTunes rankings to number 12 in the j-pop section for the US, and then a day after that, it was number 1 (as they say, “鈴木軍一番!”). This is higher than it has ever ranked since its original release in 2004. I think it was extraordinarily cool to hear that audience (who didn’t even know that Suzuki was coming) respect that tradition from Japanese crowds, and sing that line from a Japanese song.

When Suzuki debuted, former NJPW wrestler (and current WWE wrestler, which means he is not really allowed to talk about AEW) Shinsuke Nakamura just tweeted#風になれ”. It wasn’t until I saw that tweet that I realized that I could read the title of the song now.

Suzuki had a match on AEW Dynamite on TNT a few days later, but sadly the production team messed up and cut his entrance off before the 風になれ part. Normally I’m pretty forgiving of AEW’s production errors, but this one got me heated. AEW did realize their mistake right away, though, and it looks like we’re probably going to get Mox & Eddie vs Lance & Suzuki at an upcoming show, where they will almost certainly not make the same mistake.

That was a lot of paragraphs to talk about not a lot of Japanese, haha, but things like that are what keep me going, and are what brought me here in the first place.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 10 – Lesson 11

I am forcing myself not to track the time I spend on MNN lessons anymore because I think I’ve gotten enough of a rough idea of it by now, and I’m better off focusing on other things, like the actual language, instead of my study habits.

Lesson 10 went fine! I don’t think I have specific comments on it. I was able to get it done decently fast, which is nice because I’ve been a little bit quicker with leveling up on WK lately, too.

The Lesson 11 vocab was a breeze. I’ve learned most of it already on WK, so there were only a few new things I had to worry about memorizing. So far, the exercises haven’t been too difficult, either.

One fun coincidence is that lesson 11 teaches the counters for a number of things, and just when I added those cards to my MNN Anki deck, those same vocab items came up on WK and KW for burn review!

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 11 kanji! (Just a reminder that it’s possible to sort the chart by WK level or MNN lesson number, whichever is most useful to you).

Reading:

I started reading the prologue of 大海原と大海原 along with the absolute beginners bookclub! Here’s my attempt at trying to read the first page. So far, it’s very slow-going, since I have to look up a lot of grammar and vocab, but I expected that. Supposedly, this first page of the prologue is one of the hardest in the book, so I felt pretty good about being able to roughly understand it!

I didn’t want to confess this in the actual book club thread, but despite being warned that your first attempt at reading native media is going to be frustratingly hard, I actually haven’t found the actual process to be that hard at all :sweat_smile:. Then again, perhaps you can’t really call it my first attempt, considering the amount of wrestling stuff I look at all the time. But this is the first time I’m attempting an entirely ground-up approach, without using machine translation at all.

A lot of folks on this forum like to recommend against using textbooks, but personally, this attempt at reading actual manga has made me really appreciate the time I’ve spent with MNN so far. I think it has been really valuable. What I really like about MNN is that it slowly adds more complicated elements to sentences, and it gives me ample opportunities to practice all of the new grammar until I feel confident that I understand it.

When I see grammar that I learned in my textbook in the wild, it’s pretty effortless for me to figure out how to read the sentence. Even if there is still unknown grammar, if I at least understand part of it, it’s easier to figure out how to approach what I don’t know. MNN has already given me an eye for looking at a Japanese sentence and figuring out sort of where to start to parse it. But if I’m looking up a bunch of unknown grammar points, that introduces a lot of variables where my interpretation can go wrong, and I also tend to immediately forget the grammar I just looked up. And since I have to read slowly, it’s often a long time before I see another example of that same grammar point to reinforce the knowledge.

What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for others, but I’m happy with the path I’ve taken so far. I think the combination of WK + MNN + lots and lots of passive immersion is a great way to slowly build up a solid understanding that is then reinforced by countless instances of hearing and seeing Japanese in native media. Is it the most efficient method? Absolutely not. But it’s proving to be an effective way for me to slowly gain the ability to understand the Japanese wrestling media that I’m already reading and watching on a daily basis, and that’s my primary goal.

I’m going to keep reading 大海原と大海原 just for the fun of it, but I look forward to the day where my main stumbling block is my lack of vocab, not vocab and grammar both! I think that is when active immersion will become a lot more effective for me.

I do think, though, that I’m not going to be able to effectively SRS the vocab in this book while I’m going through WK and MNN at the rate I’m doing them, so I will save that for another time! Maybe I will reread the book after I’ve completed MNN, and will SRS the unknown vocab then.

New resources:

Perhaps this is only of interest to other book and/or web designers, but I found a neat blog post with a guide on web typography in Japanese! I took a couple classes in book design in grad school and have done a little web design as well, so it was interesting to think about how the aesthetics of Japanese typography differ from English. The shorter line length for Japanese especially stood out to me, because line length is one of the most important elements of typography, and it hadn’t occurred to me that Japanese would have completely different rules here than English.

Regarding fonts, my Anki deck is currently using Yu Mincho for Japanese, and Garamond for English. Here’s a reminder of how they look together:

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I was happy to see that I had chosen the Japanese font well, haha! According to this guide, the design concept of Yu Mincho is the font for Japanese history novels. It’s described as a modern font with traditional tastes, which allows it to be used in both formal and informal documents. Serif typefaces are called 明朝(みんちょう) in Japanese, hence the name Yu Mincho.

I think it seems to be a nice counterpart for Garamond. Garamond is a serif font, so it pairs well with a 明朝 font like Yu Mincho, and Garamond is also a popular typeface for book printing, so I think it works well with a font designed for Japanese history novels. Garamond is what I consider to be my desert island font (basically, if I had to use only one English typeface for the rest of my life for all book design, I would choose Garamond), which is why I defaulted to it here.

I prefer using a 明朝 font for my flash cards because I think it lets me get a better sense of the strokes that make up the characters. Plus, aesthetically, I just prefer the serif look to the ゴシック look (the name for sans-serif in Japanese is “gothic”).

New Userscripts:

  • Burn Progress — This script adds a progress bar at the top of the dashboard which shows your overall progress through WK. It tracks the percentage of items seen, as well as the percentage of items burned. Simple but nifty!

Next steps:

The pro wrestling thread is still not ready to post, but it’s close! I’m currently getting some help from a few friends to help fill out some sections of it that I’m less knowledgeable about. The draft for the inaugural post is over 6,000 words as it stands, and that’s without even including any specific match recommendations :sweat_smile:.

I got a bit delayed because I started working on an article about women’s wrestling that I’m hoping I’ll be able to get published on a real website (as opposed to tumblr or a forum), haha!

My goal for this next level is to finally start that thread, and finish reading the prologue of 大海原と大海原.

Onward to level 18! 行くぞ!

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Somebody with longer, more verbose comments than me!

Respect!

[Seriously, I know nothing of wrestling (or rasslin’ as my Kentucky kin used to call it) but I honestly respect passion. I’m so glad you enjoy it!]

I love this. Usually, it’s the romaji version that has the surname last!

[edit: I’m an idiot: Ibushi is, of course, his surname!]

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Haha, yes, my study log has a bit of a reputation :sweat_smile:. I’m shocked that it gets any readers at all, honestly, especially considering how niche most of my interests are. But I really enjoy writing it, and it helps me remember a lot of the stuff I’m learning if I write about it.

I also knew nothing of wrestling until early 2019. Then I read one article about it, became obsessed over the course of like three days, then watched practically only wrestling for the next two years. And now I know a little bit about it, and am also trying to learn an entire language because of it. So in the end, I fell pretty hard for it.

Regarding Ibushi’s name, Ibushi is his surname, but because English switches the name order, his name is generally written “Kota Ibushi” in English, and that’s how English wrestling commentators will refer to him, and also how his ex boyfriend Kenny Omega in AEW refers to him. Kenny likes to mention him at every possible opportunity, no matter which country he’s in or which company he’s in. But the name order does get confusing with wrestling, because sometimes names will be written in English in the same order as they are said in Japanese, and sometimes they will be written in the English order even though the wrestlers are announced in the Japanese order. You kind of just have to roll with it, haha!

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