Fallynleaf's study log

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).


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:


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!


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!


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).


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.


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!


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).


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:


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!


Somebody with longer, more verbose comments than me!


[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!]


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!


Made it to level 18!

As of today, I have been studying Japanese for exactly a year! I’ve only been seriously studying for about half of this time, so I have not made as much progress as I could have if I had gotten serious about studying earlier, but it’s still amazing to me that I can actually read stuff now!

This post is over a day late. I ended up prioritizing starting the pro wrestling thread over finishing this update, and the formatting on that one was such a pain, I ran out of time to post this.

But hey, the good news is the pro wrestling thread finally exists now! Hopefully that thread helps give some context to a lot of the things I talk about in this log. The word count of the original draft for that thread was over 7.5k words, but I wanted to write the explanation that I wish I’d had when I started watching Japanese wrestling. I hope it helps at least one person!

Level 17 took me fifteen days. I think level 18 might take a little less? We’ll see.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 474 (plus 227 in KW)

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

In a rare non-wrestling example, I saw a tumblr post where someone gave the Japanese word for “toe beans” (as in, cat toes). I cracked up as soon as I saw the kanji: 肉球(にくきゅう). I feel like “toe beans” and “meat balls/spheres” are comparably funny names for this.

WK taught 関西(かんさい) to teach the さい reading of 西, and I had no trouble remembering this one thanks to 葛西(かさい) (じゅん)!

I was having some trouble remembering 放送する, but this tweet from Syuri helped me learn it. She said “わ 今放送中です!!!” and I effortlessly read it as “broadcasting now!”

Speaking of Syuri, I watched the finals to Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix live, and throughout the show, they would display tweets from fans at the bottom of the screen. Most of them went away too fast for me to read, or contained too many unknown kanji, but I was very proud of myself for being able to effortlessly read and understand this one before it left the screen: “赤いベルトvs白いベルト!! これはすごい楽しみ!”

I also read some kanji that displayed on Saki Kashima’s titantron during her entrance, and I realized I could read the entire name of her trademark finisher: 起死回生(きしかいせい). Yomichan translates 起死回生 as “revival from the brink of death” or “recovering from a hopeless situation”. Saki usually pulls out this move when she has nearly been defeated, stealing the win from her opponent just when they think she has nothing left.

I was watching part of a DDT show streamed on youtube, and someone in the chat commented: “今ならドームでやりたい放題できるな”. This caught my attention because of 放題. I wondered why those kanji were being used in this context, and Yomichan helpfully showed me that やりたい放題 is a set phrase meaning irresponsibility, as one pleases, free-for-all, etc. I think this comment says something along the lines of: “If in the [Tokyo? Another arena?] Dome now, they’ll be able to do whatever they want.” I don’t have enough context for this comment to be able to interpret it any better than that.

I’m at a point where I can understand pretty much all of the rudimentary Japanese that NJPW wrestler Zack Sabre Jr. occasionally uses in his promos. DDT’s Chris Brookes has already surpassed Zack in his proficiency with the language, despite living and working in Japan for a much shorter time. At least, judging by my own ear, haha. I can understand some of Chris’s Japanese, but he’s a lot better at the language than I am.

Though, I suppose there is a slight possibility that this could be part of Zack’s heel shtick, because it’s common for foreign heels in NJPW not to speak Japanese even if they have proficiency with the language (since speaking Japanese serves as a way to connect to the audience, and heels typically reject the audience). I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Zack started doing some promos in Japanese when his faction Suzuki-gun started to become more of a face faction.

Chris Brookes had a big match this week, challenging Konosuke Takeshita for the KO-D title in DDT. The video package before this match featured a very interesting choice of song: Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey. DDT and TJPW often tend to feature very inspired choices of music for these, haha. But the reason why I’m mentioning this is because apparently the person who makes these videos is the wrestler Yumehito Imanari, and he posted an interesting tweet about it.

Imanari was glad that Chris was happy with the video, and said that he can’t make make a cool VTR with CGI like American promotions, but he always makes them with feeling and 浪花節(なにわぶし). He was very glad that something of 浪花節 was conveyed to Chris (who is an Englishman and not Japanese).

Google didn’t translate 浪花節, and Yomichan wasn’t much help, either (it just says that it’s a variety of sung narrative popular during the Edo period). I tried looking it up, but there weren’t a lot of resources explaining it in English. Most of the descriptions that I found only talked about the historical 浪花節, and were not any help in understanding what about the style might apply to a pro wrestling video package! I guess this will just have to be a mystery that I’ll be able to properly research after I become more fluent.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 11 – Lesson 12

I don’t think I have any notes from the rest of lesson 11. Lesson 12 was tougher because there’s a lot more vocab with kanji, and a lot of it is kanji I have yet to learn in WK.

I actually encountered a kanji in the lesson 12 vocab that is not in WK! It’s the first kanji in 祇園祭(ぎおんまつり), the Gion Festival in Kyoto. It’s probably not a super vital word for me to learn, but I try to add the more specific name vocab to my Anki deck anyway, because I think it’s worth learning them if I have the opportunity.

I also started a separate Anki deck for non-WK kanji. I’m guessing most of the kanji will be found in names. I haven’t decided exactly what I want these cards to look like, or what information I want to include, so they might change in the future. Currently, each card includes the word I found the kanji in, the main on and kun readings (with the one used in the word highlighted in red), the primary meanings of the kanji, the primary radical, and then a brief translation of the word at the very bottom (or romanization, if it’s a name).

Here’s what my kanji flash cards look like. I have another one for both variations of the first kanji in Jun Kasai’s name. And so far, that’s it! Maybe it’s pointless to have them in a separate deck like this with no other kanji in the mix to confuse them with.

gion festival

Something that’s kind of funny is that I was struggling to memorize the level 17 kanji 覚, and after failing my reviews over and over again for a few days, I realized it’s in the title of one of my MNN workbooks, which begins with: “書いて覚える”. I laughed when I saw it, because I felt so silly for missing it when I had an actual real life example of it sitting right next to me!

I’m still finishing up lesson 12 because there’s a little more content than usual. Review C comes after it, and after that, there’s another section of exercises. I’m almost halfway done with the first book in the beginner series! So, almost a quarter of the way done throughout the beginner series as a whole. That’s pretty good progress!

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 12 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).


I fell a bit behind on 大海原と大海原 because I had a lot of other stuff going on in my life, so it took a backseat to my other studies. But I did manage to complete the prologue, as well as chapter 1!

My strategy right now is to completely ignore the discussion thread until I’ve finished reading the chapter. I try my best to translate all the lines and understand the story as best as I can, then I take some time and go through the entire thread and compare other people’s translations to mine.

I am genuinely enjoying the book, which is nice! It’s a cute story, and the setting is fun. There are a few mysteries in the story that keep things intriguing. It’s still a lot of work to read it, but the process of looking things up isn’t too painful, and my progress is steady enough.

New resources:

As usual, my constant trawling of the forum has paid off, and I found some additions to Yomichan’s dictionaries that add WK/JLPT tags. This is handy because it’s great to have a quick way to check if words in my textbook vocab lists or in native media are words that I will eventually see in WK. I’ll add my textbook vocab to Anki regardless, but I’ll often reference the WK mnemonics for future vocab words to help me memorize them for MNN lessons. Currently, I am holding off on SRS-ing extra vocab from manga and such, but if I change my mind on that, these dictionary extensions can help me avoid making duplicate cards. As of right now, these extensions have not been updated to be in line with recent WK content additions (and removals), so if you install these, keep this in mind.

I also found a few handy new addons for Anki. One is a Forvo pronunciation downloader, which makes it extremely easy to add audio to cards. I no longer have to remake preexisting cards with Yomichan if I want audio! The other is a Japanese definition scraper, which adds Japanese definitions to cards. I am still very far away from reaching a point where I can effectively use a monolingual dictionary for Japanese, but I think this will be an excellent tool later on.

As someone who relies on WK userscripts pretty extensively, I have a feeling I will eventually get really into streamlining/improving the Anki experience after I finish WK and start transitioning to Anki for the bulk of my flash cards, haha.

New Userscripts:

  • Tofugu Latest — This script adds a section to your dashboard with links to the most recent articles on Tofugu.com. I really enjoy Tofugu’s articles, but don’t really have the time or energy to constantly check for new ones, so this is very handy!
  • Remove Useless Panels — This script removes the panels for recent unlocks, critical condition items, burned items, recent community topics, and WaniKani news at the bottom of the dashboard page. I installed this because I now have a lot of scripts that display actually valuable information on this part of the page, and I didn’t like scrolling past a bunch of clutter that I never looked at anyway.
  • Wanikani Leaderboard — This script adds a leaderboard to your dashboard where you can track people’s level-up progress. I installed this so that I could add my friends to it.

Next steps:

My main goal right now is to catch up with the absolute beginner’s book club for 大海原と大海原. Hopefully by the time I level up again, I’ll have finished chapter 2 and 3!

Onward to level 19! 行くぞ!


Congratulations on your one-year anniversary of studying Japanese! <3


Made it to level 19!

Took just shy of thirteen days, which isn’t bad at all! I’m so close to being a third of the way there! I neglected my studies a little bit due to being busy with starting my new job and my brother visiting for several days, but I stayed on track with my SRS lessons/reviews at least.

I was really struck by the smoke kanji, 煙. The WK radicals paint a very vivid picture of this one. I live in a part of the pacific northwest that has experienced increasingly bad wildfires, and I’m very familiar with the sound of helicopters constantly flying overhead, trying to put out the fires. If we’re unlucky, the valley will sometimes be filled with smoke for weeks. So 煙, a helicopter soaring over barren dirt toward a fire, the sky choked with smoke, is quite the evocative picture for me.

I’m bummed that WK removed 里心 right before it came up for burn reviews for me. I doubt I’ll ever forget it, but I am sad that it’s gone from WK now.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 609 (plus 298 in KW).

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

NJPW wrestler Kenta was once again teasing Shingo Takagi for calling himself The Dragon when the first kanji in his name (鷹木信悟) is hawk, not dragon. I was so sad to see that 鷹 isn’t in WK! I ended up adding it to my Anki kanji deck.

This level taught me 銀座 and 正座 (and of course, I already knew this kanji from the word 王座(おうざ), used for wrestling champions), and I also learned 土下座(どげざ) from a NJPW show. This one was also Kenta’s doing. Intending to use it to humiliate Great O-Khan, he tried to make it a condition of their G1 match that whoever loses had to do a 土下座 in front of the victor. O-Khan lost, but was ultimately unwilling to comply.

I enjoyed seeing 斤 in this tweet from TJPW wrestler Kamiyu. Two loaves of bread indeed, haha!

Hyper Misao brought a sign to TJPW’s big show, Wrestle Princess. I couldn’t read it on my own fast enough before Akki translated it on commentary. Later, I looked at a photo of the sign, and I realized I could actually read the whole thing! I actually learned お帰りなさい in Minna no Nihongo last lesson, but I didn’t connect the おかえり on the sign to お帰り until Akki translated it. Then I happened to see おかえり in 大海原と大海原 the very next day, and I immediately knew what it meant!

CyberFight president Sanshiro Takagi posted a tweet after the TJPW show where he talked about a breathtaking tag team move that Yuka Sakazaki and Mizuki did. He said that for an instant, he recalled the Golden Lovers’ old tag team finisher. Takagi mentioned the Golden Lovers’ move by name, and several people replying or quoting the tweet definitely misinterpreted what he was talking about, haha (the name is a certain double entendre that exists in both Japanese and English).

I was delighted by him making this comparison, because I thought it, too, but I’m definitely biased :sweat_smile:. When we watched this match, one of my friends commented that Yuka and Mizuki’s tag move was the most married looking tag move of all time, so the Golden Lovers is certainly an apt comparison. I have a habit of writing down a quote each day in my planner, and I wanted to write his tweet as my quote for that day, so I actually took the time to properly translate it.

I also had a lot of fun translating the Abema meter stats in a couple Pro Wrestling NOAH shows I watched. I started learning Japanese right around when I started watching NOAH last year, and I remember being so proud of myself for being able to translate some of the katakana words used in these (パワー, スタミナ, スピード, テクニック are all common). I was completely helpless with the kanji, though. But not anymore!

I translated way too many of these to repeat all of them here, but I did get hilariously stumped by one of Tadasuke’s stats. He had a 7 in stamina, 8 in speed, and 10 in something that I couldn’t quite figure out: コーナーカメラヘアピール. I was like: “corner camera hair… peel?” Then one of my friends pointed out that the ヘ was the particle, not part of a word. It says “appeal to corner camera”. (Tadasuke has a penchant for going over to the corner camera during his entrance and showing off for it before the match).

One of my favorites was Katsuhiko Nakajima’s. I noticed earlier this year that Katsu had gone from having two 9’s and one 10 to having one 9 and two 10’s (10 is the max), but I couldn’t read one of his 10’s because translating the kanji from the screen was beyond me. Until now!

In 2020, Katsu’s stats were: パワー9 スタミナ9 キック10 (Power 9, Stamina 9, Kick 10). But as of his recent title match, they were: パワー9 冷酷10 キック10 (Power 9, 冷酷10, Kick 10). I looked up 冷酷(れいこく) (it’s a WK word! Level 54), and it means cruelty, coldheartedness, relentless, ruthless. Apparently, over the past year, his coldheartedness increased to the point where it surpassed his stamina stat. Last year, my friends and I joked that he should have a 10 in breaking Go Shiozaki’s heart.

Katsu had quite the night recently. He won the GHC belt almost exactly one year after he failed to win it from his ex-partner. Then he got on the mic and uttered three words that immediately became all I could think about for a solid day: “俺がノアだ。”

It’s a reference to a line in English, actually. When Go Shiozaki was GHC champion in 2020, as he began to grow into his late-blooming ace role and started to take on the responsibility of representing Pro Wrestling NOAH, he started saying “I am NOAH.” Eventually, his position as champion (and also as the ace) resulted in tension with his much more heelish tag partner, and Katsu betrayed him.

Katsu failed to capture Go’s title when he had the chance, though, and Go went on to lose the belt to someone else, and then took an extended break from wrestling to heal his body and undergo some much needed surgery. He last wrestled back in March.

But that short sentence there says so much. It says that despite Katsu’s betrayal, and despite everything that has happened since, including him winning the title, he’s still not over his ex. He still feels the need to invoke/provoke Go here, even while Go has been away from wrestling for months. And that’s exactly the kind of stuff that keeps me watching, hoping that just maybe I’ll get to see the two of them back together again someday.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 12 – Lesson 13

The review section after lesson 12, halfway through the book, was thankfully not too bad! Except for the last set of exercises, however. The exercise asked me to fill in stock phrases that were common in conversation, and even though I could remember a lot of them, I wasn’t very good at applying them in context. This part probably would’ve been much easier if I practiced speaking, haha.

It was fun to see a few of those types of phrases/exchanges in 大海原と大海原! Nice to have a reminder that even if I can’t quite produce them, I can at least remember them well enough to understand them when I see them.

I’m really excited to be halfway through the book, which puts me at a quarter of the way through the beginner series as a whole. I still have quite a ways left to go, but I feel pretty confident that I can keep doing what I’m doing and manage to reach the end.

Lesson 13 is going well so far! It’s nice to finally be starting to learn how to use multiple verbs in a sentence, haha.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 13 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).


I now work as a librarian at a community college, and something that’s cool about the college library is that we have a literacy development section, which consists of books that are intended for people who are learning to read in English as a second language (or in some cases, learning to read, period). It contains picture books, easy chapter books (at or below third grade reading level), and some books written for adults that seem to be equivalent to graded readers. I’m going through the collection right now, and I really wish we had one like it for Japanese! My struggles with Spanish and Japanese have given me a lot of sympathy for people trying to learn English the same way.

Thanks to my brother visiting, I fell a little further behind schedule with the absolute beginners book club, but when I finally managed to reach the end of chapter two of 大海原と大海原, I got kind of hooked, haha, and I read a few more pages that night than I’d planned because I was curious to learn more about the new character that was introduced. I actually managed to finish chapter three just barely in time because I read the entire thing in just a few days.

The grammar in that one was easier for me, and I’d like to think it’s because I’m improving, but I think there was just less unfamiliar grammar in this chapter compared to the previous ones :sweat_smile:

New resources:

I found a link with a bunch of dictionaries that can be added onto Yomichan, including some monolingual dictionaries and frequency dictionaries. Currently, the only one I’ve installed is 旺文社国語辞典 第十一版, which the person who compiled these resources recommended as a monolingual dictionary for beginners. I’m still too much of a beginner to benefit a lot from monolingual dictionaries, but it occurred to me that I might as well install one now because I can always nest multiple Yomichan popups and use Yomichan to decipher the Yomichan entry, if I want a little more clarification than the English translations give me.

I want to install another one of the frequency dictionaries (I have Innocent Corpus already), but I can’t decide which of the lists most pertains to my own interests, since I’m not really learning Japanese to speak it, or to watch anime or read novels.

I also found an Anki add-on that adds a colored stroke order diagram to my kanji cards. I wanted to have some sort of recall test in addition to the cards I already have which test recognition, so I thought I’d try forcing myself to memorize how to write the kanji. Ideally, this will eventually allow me to recognize the kanji on sight haha. Currently, these cards are very bare bones: they just have a prompt with the word I learned the kanji in (currently all names), with the kanji the card is quizzing me on replaced by kana and highlighted in red.

Here’s the one I made for the hawk kanji in Shingo’s name:

I’m adding new kanji to this deck very slowly, so I’m not too concerned about learning to write them taking up too much time. Depending on how it goes, I might eventually try slowly adding some WK kanji to this deck so that I’m forced to fully memorize how to write them as well.

Next steps:

I forgot to mention this last time, but Kota Ibushi has a podcast now! It’s called 飯伏幸太の世界, and if my Japanese was better, I would definitely attempt to listen to it, but knowing how he is, it’s far beyond me right now :sweat_smile:. Chris Charlton posted a few translated highlights from the first episode. If I ever get to a point where I can understand Ibushi’s Japanese, that’s when I’ll know that I’ve achieved fluency. Maybe in a few years from now, I’ll go back to this and try to listen to it.

My goal for this next level is to stay on track with 大海原と大海原, and finish catching up on some things (like writing kanji) that I fell a little behind on while I was busy these past couple weeks.

Onward to level 20! 行くぞ!


Made it to level 20!

It took fourteen and a half days because I had one failed kanji that was holding me back :sweat_smile:. But I’m here now! Next level will probably be a little faster because I’ll have to frontload more kanji so that I don’t run out of vocab lessons.

I’ve been slacking a little bit on practicing writing kanji because I’ve been doing a drawing challenge this month where I try to complete one drawing every day, and my kanji writing practice time/energy has been going into that instead. I don’t feel too bad about it, though, because I’ve practiced writing enough that I’m at least competent. I can catch up in the future!

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 751 (407 on KW)

As it turns out, Kaniwani gave me the closure that I didn’t get to have in WaniKani. Goodbye, 里心

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

The American promotion AEW brought Minoru Suzuki back for an incredible dream match with Bryan Danielson, which they aired live on youtube for free. It’s a fantastic match that is worth your time if you have the chance/inclination to watch it, though you won’t get a lot of Japanese practice with this one, because the commentary is in English, but the American crowd did manage to hit the 風になれ!

Something that stood out to me is that the Miami crowd chanted in three languages that night. In addition to that Japanese line from Suzuki’s song, they did several chants in Spanish, including some “Sí!” chants instead of the usual “Yes!” chants for Danielson. That one was especially funny because apparently the copyright on the “Yes” chant is a little murky, and Danielson hasn’t been encouraging those chants now that he’s in AEW because he’s trying to respect WWE’s intellectual property. It made me wonder if “Sí!” could be a possible workaround, haha!

I’m talking about this here because after this show, there was a really lovely twitter interaction in Japanese between the NJPW wrestler El Desperado and Emi Sakura. Despy watched the match to support Suzuki, his “boss,” and as a self-styled luchador who has spent part of his career in Mexico, he was really struck by the “Sí!” chants. Emi (who was at the venue) explained that she asked a nearby wrestler about this, and the other wrestler told her that there are many people in Miami who speak Spanish.

Despy replied that it was really interesting for the fans within the same country to change the chant (I learned a new word,チャント, haha) to a word in a different language that has the same meaning. Emi gave a really touching reply where she said that she’s struggling with English in America, but many wrestlers and fans speak Spanish as their mother tongue, and she’s keenly aware that Spanish is just as important. She thinks it would be more fun if she could understand “sí” as it is.

The whole thing was just really delightful as someone who is trying to work toward fluency in both Spanish and Japanese. It’s a fantastic example of why pro wrestling is so special as a medium, and how it can serve as a bridge between different cultures.

In other news, there was a pretty fun string of twitter interactions between Kota Ibushi and Kenta leading up to their match in the A Block finals of the G1 Climax in NJPW. Here’s a compilation of their interactions, along with some translations. It’s a pretty entertaining read haha, because it goes from a joke based on the name of Kenta’s finisher (“Go 2 Sleep”, yes, spelled just like that) to… Kenta worrying about Ibushi’s dysfunctional lifestyle and then roleplaying as his mom.

Watching this unfold on twitter was a fun read for me because the hashtags were simple enough, I could actually read most of them without needing translations. Here’s our good friend the command form, haha!

I also enjoyed seeing this portion of an old interview with Ibushi, because I saw that tweet the day I learned the word for brainwashing, 洗脳, in WK. That’s a pretty neat coincidence, because judging by the Innocent Corpus number (580), it’s not a very common word!

Ibushi won his match against Kenta, then went on to face Kazuchika Okada in the G1 final (it was Ibushi’s record-breaking fourth G1 final in a row). Unfortunately, he did not win his third G1 in a row. Even worse, he dislocated his shoulder after a missed Phoenix Splash, and the referee had to stop the match.

Thankfully, the injury doesn’t seem to be too serious. Ibushi is on the mend, and even though he can’t wrestle again until he heals, he’s back to tweeting at Kenta. I appreciated this tweet of his in particular because the way he separated out all of the words into hashtags made it easier for me to parse haha. Lots of WK words in here! Kenta replied with a screenshot of, I believe, a quoted exchange from one of Ibushi’s post-match comments (it’s from a 2020 match when he was on a tag team with Tanahashi).

I just went off of my ability to read some of the text from the screenshot, and didn’t look anything up, so I could be wrong about it, but I’m pretty sure this is when Tana told Ibushi that he needs to become “god” now (since Ibushi had essentially managed to surpass Tana, whom he referred to as one of his gods). I was proud of myself for being able to read even a little of it! The reason why Kenta is bringing this up now is because he moved on to challenging Tana for his belt after losing to Ibushi, so naturally he was more than happy to find something he could use to make fun of them both.

On a non-NJPW note, I was rewatching part of Stardom’s 5 Star Grand Prix finals with some friends, and I once again got distracted trying to read the tweets they showed at the bottom of the screen. Sure enough, I could read a little more than I could last month, haha! I saw 宇宙 mentioned in one (presumably referring to something Cosmic-Angels-related) the day after I learned that word in WK.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 13 – Lesson 14

Lesson 13 wasn’t too bad! And the lesson 14 vocab is mostly verbs that I have already learned through WK, so it wasn’t a lot of effort to memorize the vocab for the chapter.

I’m really excited to finally be learning the て-form! I originally “learned” it months and months ago through Japanese Ammo with Misa, but it was a little bit early, and I never really practiced applying it, so I really just learned how to recognize it and not much more than that.

I will say, I think lesson 14 is probably the hardest point in the textbook so far, and it wouldn’t surprise me if lots of people fall off of it here. I would probably be feeling a little bit lost if I hadn’t watched Japanese Ammo with Misa first. If you get to lesson 14 and feel completely in over your head at this point, I recommend looking up Misa’s videos on the て-form, and then coming back to MNN afterward.

This is also a point where the textbook’s insistence on starting with the ます-form can be kind of a hindrance. Normally it doesn’t bother me that much, because I’m learning so much more than just how to use verbs, and the verbs I have been using so far have been pretty simple, but I think it’s easier to understand the verb groups and the ending patterns in the て-form if you’re familiar with the verbs in their plain form first.

I suspect it’ll take a while before I have the て-form patterns down confidently. Currently, I feel like my main strategy is to memorize a handful of specific common verbs in the て-form, haha, then if I’m conjugating a verb with the same ending, I can refer back to the other word to check if it sounds right.

I’m almost done with lesson 14! I think I have maybe two more days of work left before I’ll be moving on to 15.

I might as well take a moment to talk a little bit about the two workbooks I have, in case anyone reading along wants to know a little more about them. MNN has a bunch of supplementary texts available to buy, but I just have 標準問題集 and 書いて覚える 文型練習帳. I didn’t buy the listening or reading practice workbooks, though they seem like they’d be useful.

()いて(おぼ)える 文型(ぶんけい)練習帳(れんしゅうちょう)


This is the “writing and memorizing sentence patterns workbook”, assuming I’m translating the title properly? It’s my favorite of the two workbooks! Each lesson gets several pages of exercises, and they aren’t too difficult if you’ve read the lesson and completed 練習(れんしゅう) A-C in the main textbook already. I like this workbook because it really makes you practice things like different counters, numbers, conjugations, that sort of thing. The main textbook doesn’t spend a lot of time drilling these.

This workbook also has a fair amount of production exercises where it asks you questions, or asks you to write your own questions, and your responses can be fairly freeform. Usually it gives an example answer in the back that you can use as sort of a guide to make sure that you understood what the book was asking you to write. These exercises might be less useful without someone to check your work, but I appreciate having the opportunity to start attempting to formulate sentences in Japanese in a very low stakes environment.

Usually, I do this workbook after completing the 練習 exercises in the textbook. After I finish it, I pick up the other workbook.

Here are some photos from the upcoming lesson:



I believe this is the “standard workbook”? It’s a pretty short book. The pages are perforated, so they can be removed. Each lesson gets a tight two pages, and that’s it. Additionally, there are a few review sections that cover multiple chapters, and I think one final review at the end.

This is, in my opinion, the hardest of the three books. I save it until nearly last. The only thing I do after it is the 問題(もんだい) section in the main textbook, since I’m better at the listening exercises the more practice I have.

I’m not sure exactly how to pin down why this book is harder than the core textbook or the sentence pattern workbook. I think maybe it’s because the exercises really ask you to synthesize everything you’ve been learning, so you really have to think when answering the questions (most of the exercises in the other books ask you to do just one thing at a time).

I sort of treat it like a practice test at the end of the lesson, haha, with the 問題 section in the textbook serving as the final review to determine if I truly know the material before I move on.

Here are some photos from the upcoming lesson:

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 14 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).


大海原と大海原 is still going well! The story has really picked up at this point, and the plot has gotten darker, which makes it a more intriguing read. I just finished chapter 5, and have two more chapters left!

As of this update, I’m running a couple days behind schedule, but I am hoping to get caught up soon now that things are a little less busy! I’m also planning on participating in the volume 2 spin-off book club, though that will be a little difficult during NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping for a couple weeks buffer between volume 1 and 2 so that I can focus on writing for the first part of the month.

New resources:

I’ve been picking up loads of new manga for free thanks to the newly revamped book lists in the Bookwalker freebies thread! curiousjp has configured the lists to pull content tags for the books as well as their Natively difficulty level (if they’re in that system), which makes it significantly easier to find free books that might be of interest to you. Since I no longer read books that heavily center around heterosexual romance, the tags are extremely helpful for finding free LGBTQ manga.

I started listening to the Duolingo podcast to practice my Spanish listening comprehension, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much of it I could understand! I figure trying this with Spanish will help build my confidence up for eventually trying it with Japanese. I also found some Spanish movies and tv shows on Netflix that look interesting. Thanks to a tip on this forum, I changed my language settings on Netflix to indicate that I speak Spanish and Japanese in addition to English, which should give me access to captions in more languages. I’m hoping to try watching something in Spanish with Spanish subtitles.

New Userscripts:

  • Item Inspector — This script can display several tables of WK items, which can be configured by the user. The one I was most interested in was the leech table, so I decided to give the script a try. I was curious to see how many leeches I actually had, since I don’t feel like they cause me that much trouble. I never have any issues with my apprentice item count getting out of hand, at least. It always hovers around 52-78 items, depending on if I’ve done my last set of reviews for the day or not. According to the item inspector, my current leech count is 58, though this number wildly fluctuates, and most of the leeches have low values. It was around 56 when I installed the script, dipped down to 48 a few days later, then climbed back up. It is nice to have this list of items for a quick reference, though. I think it helps to keep an eye on these items and check on them a little more frequently than the review schedule.

Next steps:

During this level, things really started to feel like they were coming together. I’m about a third of the way through WaniKani, I’ve reached a fairly significant turning point in my textbook study, and I’m almost done reading my first book in Japanese!

It definitely makes me feel eager to keep going and progressing even further in my studies. Tweets are a lot easier to parse at a glance now.

Next month should be interesting, because it’s National Novel Writing Month, and I always participate in that. This will be my thirteenth year in a row attempting NaNoWriMo, and I don’t want to break my previous twelve year streak of winning it :triumph:. I think I’ll be able to juggle that on top of my normal studies and immersion, but I might be a little less active on the forum as a consequence (alternatively, I’ll be just as active, but sacrificing sleep instead :sweat_smile:).

Onward to level 21! 行くぞ!


Made it to level 21!

Officially in the Death levels! Level 20 took me just over 12 days, due to the smaller number of items. I think level 21 will probably take a similar amount of time.

I spent the last week being very, very busy! I had to take a lot of extra hours at work, and ended up working 20 hours, which is quite a bit more than usual. It also coincided with the first week of NaNoWriMo, which wasn’t great for my ability to get anything other than writing done, though I did keep up with my SRS reviews. Didn’t get as much work done on my reading or my textbook exercises, though. Hoping to catch up this week.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: I forgot to write it down! A few less than 892? And 484 in KW.

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

A friend of mine saw this plushie of eevee in a wrestling ring and commented: “イーブィし幸太”. It took me a moment to catch the pun, haha! The Japanese name for eevee is イーブィ, and thanks to Japanese using the same letter for B and V sounds, it’s possible to make a pun on 飯伏幸太’s name.

I read this fan-written translation/summary of a recent episode of Ibushi’s podcast where he talks about his recent injury, and the translator makes note of a difference in nuance between 全治 and 完治, which can both be translated as “full recovery.” Apparently 全治 (the only one in WK) refers to the bare minimum time it would take for injuries to heal without a great hindrance to normal life, and 完治 refers to a “true” full recovery, where you return to the level of physical ability that you had before. Ibushi says that he wants to return to the ring after 完治, not just 全治, which would mean taking another 1 to 2 months to heal after achieving 全治.

I saw a Japanese fan tweeting in excitement after Kenta won the IWGP US belt from Tanahashi in a recent NJPW show, commenting on the possibility of Kenta defending the belt overseas. The fan used the :eyes: emoji, then said: “(AEW方面をガン見する絵文字)”. According to Yomichan, ガン見 means “gazing at” or “eyeballing”. 方面(ほうめん) apparently means direction or area. So this fan is clarifying that their emoji is gazing in the direction of AEW, haha! A lot of fans are hoping that this leads to a match between Kenta and the American wrestler CM Punk, who stole Kenta’s finisher years ago and continues to use it now.

Here’s a fun Japanese wrestling thing, because we’re once again coming up on this part of the year: Every year, the biggest pro wrestling show in Japan is NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom show, held in the Tokyo Dome on January 4, which is frequently referred to as “イッテンヨン”. This show is sort of the equivalent to WWE’s WrestleMania show in that it has sort of become a huge event where lots of people travel to Tokyo (in a pre-pandemic world, at least) to watch this show, and many other companies also hold wrestling shows around the same time to sort of ride the wave of enthusiasm for wrestling and the resulting tourism bump. TJPW, for example, usually runs their own “イッテンヨン” show in Korakuen Hall earlier on that same day.

I learned the word “イッテンヨン” a couple years back, but didn’t quite understand exactly what it meant, or why it was used to refer to these shows specifically. Well, I finally managed to figure it out! It’s (いっ)(てん)(よん), or 1.4. The date 1月4日, when Wrestle Kingdom is traditionally held, is usually written “1.4”, so it’s literally just being referred to as “one point four”.

I wondered if this was just a wrestling thing, or if the word was used outside of that context, and sure enough, a google search for “イッテンヨン” brought up primarily NJPW content, haha!

I’ve noticed that even though my listening comprehension is still pretty poor, I’m getting better at being able to pick up things from wrestling promos and such. I was able to tell that Kazuchika Okada was challenging Takagi Shingo on January 4 specifically (Wrestle Kingdom is three days this year, but イッテンヨン is the first), and that Okada was framing the challenge as asking which was better: the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, or the G1 Climax winner.

I also was able to pretty much understand a line that Miu Watanabe said in a TJPW show before I saw Mr. Haku’s translation. It’s interesting because I feel like I’m starting to learn how to understand Japanese without having to first translate it to English, which is still something I struggle to do with Spanish, though listening practice has been helping with that.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 14 – Lesson 15

I finished up lesson 14 pretty quickly at the beginning of this level, and I was really happy when I looked at the lesson 15 vocab and saw that there was much less than usual! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to really take advantage of this to get through the lesson any faster, since work and NaNoWriMo kept me very busy, but it was a bit of a break, at least.

I’m working on the 文型練習帳 chapter for lesson 15 right now, and I was very pleased to see that I’ve managed to internalize some of the conjugations of the て-form, though I am still getting a few mixed up, haha! Having to work from the ます-form is both an annoyance and a boon, I think. It absolutely makes it harder because I’ve been translating the words back to their plain form in my head and doing the conjugation that way, but at the same time, I think that practice is pretty useful, because eventually I’ll want to be able to move seamlessly between the different versions of the verbs and immediately recognize them in all of their different forms without having to convert back to the plain form, first.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 15 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).


Chapter 6 of 大海原と大海原 was much harder than the previous chapters! Lots of exposition, new vocabulary, and just a lot of dialogue in general. I did get through it, but it took substantially more time than the previous chapters!

I accidentally cheated on 以前 in WK, haha! I saw it in 大海原と大海原, couldn’t precisely remember what it meant, and looked it up with the rest of the sentence. Maybe an hour later, it showed up for burn review. I’m not too worried about forgetting it due to unfairly burning it, because I believe it’s still in circulation in Kaniwani.

I think I forgot to mention this last update, but I realized that the kanji for shark, 鮫, which is the first kanji in 鮫吉(さめきち)’s name, is actually not in WaniKani. Supposedly the word for shark, さめ, is commonly written in kana, but this manga certainly uses the kanji a lot, and it’s in the top 2500 most common kanji. I ended up adding it to my kanji deck in Anki, because I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn it. So far, my kanji deck seems to be working very well! I think forcing myself to memorize how to write the kanji is an excellent way to cement them into my memory and keep me from confusing them with similar kanji.

I didn’t quite finish chapter 7 in time, due to being so busy this week! I think I’m about halfway through it. I should definitely have finished it by the next update, though, so I’ll post my thoughts on it then, as well as some thoughts on the book as a whole.

New resources:

Thanks to @chemifox mentioning this, I tried downloading the Bookwalker phone app, and as it turns out, it’s way easier to read manga on there than it is to read it on the desktop site! Zooming in and out is easy, and it doesn’t log me out all the time like the website does. My new setup for reading 大海原と大海原 is to open the manga on my phone, then type the words that I’m looking up on my computer, where I can then use Yomichan and ichi.moe to help break down the sentences. If you’ve tried reading anything on Bookwalker and found it to be a struggle, try out the app instead and see if it improves the experience for you.

Next steps:

The head librarian at the community college library liked my idea of expanding our literacy development section to include materials for people who are trying to learn Spanish! I hope that we’re able to get the funding to develop that collection, because I would definitely take advantage of it to improve my own Spanish, and I think it’s a fantastic way for a library to support language learning. Doing the same for Japanese is probably a bit out of reach, because we don’t have many Japanese speakers here, but I’d be happy if we can get some resources that make it easier to learn Spanish. Being on this forum has taught me how important reading is for learning a second language.

My main goal for this next stretch is to finish volume one of 大海原と大海原, and hopefully complete another lesson in MNN! I’m not getting too ambitious beyond that, because I don’t anticipate I’ll have the time to do much else, but I think I can get those two things done, if nothing else!

Onward to level 22! 行くぞ!


Made it to level 22!

I leveled in just under 12 days, though I’ve been so busy, it pretty much passed like a blur. Still managing to keep up with things thus far, though!

I’m also more or less keeping pace with NaNoWriMo, though I did get derailed for a couple days last week thanks to a major update in the Golden Lovers wrestling story, which occupied pretty much my complete focus for a week :sweat_smile:.

Love to have explicit confirmation in the text that Kenny Omega’s entire story in the American company AEW since its very beginning nearly three years ago has been about his unresolved feelings toward Kota Ibushi this entire time. It’s a pretty gutsy move, honestly, to weave that story into AEW’s biggest and most important story this early into its existence, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so glad that it seems to have paid off!

It was incredible to hear the crowd’s reaction to Hangman’s “you once had another tag partner” line. It was clear that they knew exactly who Ibushi was and what he meant to Kenny, despite that story happening almost entirely in Japan, and Ibushi’s name never even getting directly mentioned in AEW.

With Ibushi wanting to wait until 完治 to return to the ring, we’re looking at both of them being out of action until February at the earliest, so this past weekend kicked off what I’ve been calling the Golden Lovers recovery tour. There’s no guarantee, of course, that they’ll reunite when they’re both healthy again, but this is the most optimistic I’ve been about it in two and a half years.

I’m sharing this in my study log because the Golden Lovers are ultimately why I’m here learning Japanese. I’m hoping by the time that story continues, I’ll be a lot further along with the language, and will be in a better position to actually translate and understand the nuances of the Japanese side of things.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: Forgot to write it down again! A few less than 989 (almost to 1000!). And 570 in KW.

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

After Kenny lost the AEW title, the Young Bucks changed their twitter bio to “so long Tyson.” and a Japanese fan on my twitter feed talked about this message, clarifying to other fans that: “(※タイソン…ケニー選手の本名)”. English speaking fans and wrestlers often refer to a wrestler’s real name as their “shoot name” (the Young Bucks, for example, recently had a clip in their vlog where they saw a missing item notice for “Tyson Smith” in the airport and they said: “hey, isn’t that Kenny’s shoot name?”). The term “shoot” meaning “real” is a little bit difficult to explain, but it reflects wrestling’s roots as a traveling carnival show.

I’d wondered if the shoot/work terminology had been adapted in Japanese, since other English wrestling terms (like “babyface,” “heel,” and “kayfabe” (ケーフェイ)) became loanwords in Japanese. In this instance, this fan is just using 本名 to refer to a wrestler’s shoot name (according to the Japanese definition of this word that Yomichan gives me, it refers to someone’s name in the family register as opposed to a pseudonym or a stage name).

It does seem, though, that the term シュート is used with basically the same meaning in Japanese, though ガチンコ seems to be more broadly used to express roughly that concept. ワーク is also listed as a word on that same page. Much like trying to look up wrestling terms in English dictionaries, the Japanese dictionary that I have doesn’t list the pro wrestling specific definitions of either of those words, haha!

As a side note, one thing I’m really looking forward to when I’m further along with Japanese is just being able to read Wikipedia. That feels silly to say, but it’s true. I think a lot of questions that I have about the language are probably answered there! I already use it a lot when I want to know the katakana word for something (like the name of the city I live in, for example). I’ll go to the page in English, then look to see if there is a Japanese version of the article.

I appreciated Sanshiro Takagi commenting 山下のラスボス感!on this poster for Miyu Yamashita vs Yuki Arai in an upcoming TJPW show. I had the exact same thought when I saw the poster, haha! It’s fun that ラスボス is a concept that also exists in Japanese.

Shortly after learning 経験 this level, I saw it in the Abema meter ratings in a NOAH show! This seems to be the word used for “experience” in the sense of “amount of wrestling experience”.

I read that DDT’s Tetsuya Endo’s new faction is potentially named after Animal Crossing (he already has a move named Animal Crossing New Horizons), so I went to look up the non-romanized name of the faction. This article lists it as 集まれエンテツの森(仮), which is a play on どうぶつの森, the Japanese name for Animal Crossing. The name isn’t set in stone yet (as indicated by the (かり), which is a word that WK doesn’t have, though 仮 is a level 9 kanji. I did fail to remember the kun’yomi reading when I saw the word), but he said that about his move name, too, and as far as I know, he has yet to change it (though he also hasn’t used that move in a while).

みんなの日本語 Lesson 15 – Lesson 16

I fell a little behind on MNN due to being so busy (and distracted), so I only just started actually reading lesson 16, and I don’t really have specific comments on the rest of the lesson 15 material that I didn’t cover in the last update. In contrast to 15, lesson 16 has a lot more vocab! Thankfully the vast majority of the words I’ve already learned on WK, so it was pretty painless to memorize them.

I can tell from the vocab list that I’m about to finally start dealing with transitive and intransitive verbs, haha! WK gives me a leg up here because I’ve already brute force memorized a bunch of the pairs, and I feel prepared to actually use them.

I think I might start running through the lesson 17 vocab while I’m still finishing up lesson 16, because I want to roughly keep up my usual pace of finishing one lesson per WK level, and my Anki workload is pretty light at the moment.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 16 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).


I finished volume 1 of 大海原と大海原! I haven’t bought volume 2 yet, though I’m going to be starting it very soon! It feels really satisfying to have read an entire book in Japanese!

As I mentioned already, I really liked the book! It was difficult for my level, but the story was compelling and the art was lovely, so even though my comprehension was far from perfect, it was still an enjoyable read.

One of the strengths of the manga is the character designs, which are really distinctive and creative. I really love ocean animals, so I enjoyed seeing how the artist incorporated elements from different animals into the character designs.

Some screencaps:

I found it especially satisfying when there was a dramatic moment in the story and I was able to immediately understand it without having to translate it.

A few spoilers and another screencap:

I liked the opening of chapter 3, for example, because I could effortlessly read the title, (もと)使(つか)(), and it immediately made me want to read more to find out about this character who was only just introduced at the end of the last chapter, and learn why this relationship went wrong.

There was also a really great moment in chapter 7 when Wadanohara is talking to Tatsumiya, and Tatsumiya suddenly stops talking, and Wadanohara says “なんですか竜宮(たつみや)さ…” and then as she turns and finishes the last mora “ん…”, she suddenly notices the army of 兎津叉(とつさ)(へい) who had arrived for a surprise attack behind her.

I noticed some more kanji that aren’t in WK! There are probably others that I missed, since I definitely didn’t check every single unknown kanji I came across, assuming that I will eventually learn the vast majority of them through WK, but these were some of the notable ones: (rabbit, which is apparently usually written using kana alone) and (fork in road, usually used in names), both in the name of the 兎津叉帝国, and (duck, which is apparently usually written using kana alone), which appears in the extra story at the very end. I’m adding all three of them to my Anki kanji deck.

I do plan on eventually going back through the book and rereading it once I have a better base of grammar and vocab (probably after I’ve completed MNN and WK), and at that point, if I notice kanji that are still unknown to me, I’ll add them to Anki along with the new vocab words.

New resources:

@rodan’s review of NJPW’s English learning book has got me severely tempted to buy myself a copy, haha! I’m especially tempted by the vocabulary entries, which would probably be worth adding to Anki. I might order it when I order the next set of MNN books (I’ll be needing them in a few months!). I hope the success of that book encourages them to consider making one aimed at English speakers who want to learn Japanese, because it’s a really cool idea and I think there’s absolutely an audience for it.

Next steps:

Going into the home stretch for November! It’ll be a busy week and a half for me, and then I’ll be able to relax a little. I’m looking forward to that.

The 大海原と大海原 volume 2 spin-off club is starting, and I am going to try my absolute best to read along with the club, though I suspect I might fall behind pretty early. My goal is to be on track by the end of the first week of December.

Onward to level 23! 行くぞ!


I’ve wondered about the same subject, since I haven’t really read anything where you might expect “work” and “shoot” to be said a lot.
That said, one thing I can mention is 週刊プロレス, in the little bio box attached to a wrestler’s interview (which is especially useful because it gives the reading to their name), will often list the wrestler’s 本名 if it’s public knowledge. So it’s definitely the word for one’s non-wrestling name in that context, and it does feel more like a stage name / real name type of distinction to me since I don’t feel the weirdly intense kayfabe taboo so much in Japanese wrestling contexts (like I don’t know that an equivalent American magazine would do the same and print like “Seth Rollins, real name Colby Lopez, etc. etc.”).

Similarly, the wrestlers in interviews will say ヒール / ベビーフェイス fairly frequently in interviews to describe their roles, and it feels like the loanword version is more a causal description of different kinds of wrestlers, rather than the more taboo connotation of a backstage role written for them to take on. But I don’t think I’ve seen ワーク/シュート (or ガチンコ for that matter) in similar contexts (at least not nearly as much) (and I don’t think the プロレス語辞典 I read defines them either, but it does ヒール, as 悪役レスラー), so either the taboo remains on those, or perhaps they’d mainly be appropriate in the context of talking about American wrestling.

My general impression is, to hear Japanese wrestlers tell it in interviews at least, プロレス is a stage show performance and physical competition where, compared to MMA and other martial arts, flashiness and forming an emotional connection with the audience are especially important. And then the reason why that is just isn’t mentioned.
The pretense feels less elaborate, I guess is what I mean.

I hope if you do you aren’t disappointed by the amount of vocabulary! Pagecount-wise, it’s definitely not the majority of the book, but there’s some good stuff. The section on English slang one might hear in promos is, unfortunately for our purposes, a bit longer…

(and the bit about looking forward to being able to read wikipedia makes total sense! It makes a big difference, being able to casually search for information there or on google like you would in English)


Oh, that is interesting! Yeah, American fans tend to get mad when wrestlers refer to each other by their shoot names, because here it has the connotation of “exposing the business,” since in the past, that information was kept separate from the public personas. The Bucks like to do it because it gets them heat from the fans, and of course Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta refer to each other by their shoot names practically as often as their ring names, giving the sense of blurred identity between their real selves and their characters.

It seems like in Japan, because they’re more strict about keeping kayfabe in general, it weirdly frees them to talk about some aspects of the business that were formerly considered taboo. I think it would feel quite bizarre to most people if publications tried to insist that “El Desperado,” “King of Darkness, Evil,” “Hyper Misao,” and other such names were the real actual names of those people, whereas by acknowledging that some aspects of pro wrestling are a deliberate performance (without precisely defining the extent of that), it actually makes it feel more realistic.


Yeah, I guess the way I would put it is it seems like (to use another word that I don’t know what the exact translation would be) the “fooling the marks” aspect is less pronounced than it is here. Maybe because the TV show format is so much less important.

I’ve been reading shupro for over a year now, and I don’t really remember any interviews off the top of my head where it felt like a wrestler had to outright lie - it’s always pretty much always either stuff that’s equally true in kayfabe and out (determination, fighting spirit, injuries, technique, they’re gonna 頑張る for their next match, etc.), patently zany and comedic (Michinoku Pro’s Great Space War, etc.), or like, playing up a persona in a similar way to how a comedian or any other public figure plays up a public-facing persona (like for example I assume Kenoh, 本名:中栄大輔, doesn’t have quite the same opinions or act exactly the same way in real life, but this is his public-facing persona).

Which I guess isn’t necessarily that big of a distinction, but like, in America it seems like even when feuds are built around ridiculous and demonstrably not true stuff (resurrected necromancers, eye gougings, attempted murders, etc.) everyone talks and acts like there’s still an implicit assertion that all of it is 100% true and someone out there is meant to be fooled. And so it’s hard for interviews to be anything other than work or shoot because the most crucial details are completely different in fiction and reality. And so “exposing the business” turns into pretending to expose the business to fool people even harder, etc.

My impression of Japanese wrestling is it’s more like you just don’t say it’s predetermined for the same reason an idol doesn’t say she doesn’t care about her fans - it would break the illusion that makes the performance go, and it’s a fun illusion to get caught up in anyway.

(that said, I have no idea how Japanese wrestling fans talk about wrestling, and don’t know very much historically, so I could of course be wildly off-base. And for all I know all the wrestlers might have been lying their butts off completely in all those interviews and I bought all of it!)

Anyway, it’s an interesting subject!


This is a really good point! I think this comparison is spot on.

And yeah, it’s definitely an interesting cultural difference for sure. In Mexico, it seems more similar to how Japan does it, where publications more or less keep kayfabe (or rather, they don’t break it). There was a neat book by Heather Levi where she published her findings on lucha libre after spending extensive time studying it in Mexico, including training to be a luchadora, and one of the things that really struck me was that even during training, they never outright said that the sport was predetermined or fake. It was something that everyone knew, but they didn’t actually say it out loud.

Honestly, I don’t really understand why a lot of American fans get so upset over wrestlers “exposing the business” by using insider terms and that sort of thing. Kenny and the Bucks, for example, are often accused of doing that, but if you pay any sort of close attention to their work (especially their vlog), they actually do a pretty incredible job at weaving together their characters with the real people, to the point where it becomes impossible to fully separate them. I think instead of killing American kayfabe, in many ways they’ve reinvented it. The fact that they make little insider jokes and remarks tricks people into thinking that their character work is them shooting.

Don Callis, too, is absolutely this type of wrestler. I’m not convinced that a single interview he’s done is 100% shoot. There was this interview with him from November 2020, right after he showed up to do guest commentary for Kenny during his match against Hangman, but before Kenny turned heel. At first blush, it’s a seemingly shoot interview, focusing heavily on their real-life family connection. Callis even mentions Kenny wanting to “put him over” (for non-fans who might be reading this, this is slang for Kenny scripting the outcome of the match so that he loses to Callis).

But if you read it after December 2, 2020 (when Kenny turned heel and won the title thanks to Callis helping him cheat, launching an entire story where Kenny is essentially being manipulated and controlled by Callis, who views himself as “The Invisible Hand” pulling strings behind the scenes and controlling the entire industry), the whole interview suddenly comes across completely differently. There are lots of little touches foreshadowing the story to come (like Callis mentioning that if AEW didn’t exist, Kenny would have come to Impact, because Callis would have made that happen whether or not Kenny ever agreed to it), and just doing a lot of work to build up the history of their relationship, which would become essential background for the story that was about to kick off in a few weeks.

Sorry for the very long-winded example, but all of this is to say that I think kayfabe in America is protected and maintained more than people think, but it takes a different form than it has in the past, and some fans who are stuck in the past have yet to realize this. I think in some ways, this is similar to how it works in Japan, where wrestlers acknowledge some things that we know are factually true about them (like the fact that they have shoot names) and about the business that they work in, and that allows it to feel plausible enough that we don’t always notice the fact that we’re getting worked.


That 彦 is not in WK; however it is the one in 山彦 (echo; the word is taught as やまびこ in WK).
It is also a component of 諺 (ことわざ).


That’s really neat to know, thank you! I’ll add that kanji to my Anki deck as well :blush:

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Made it to level 23!

It took a little over twelve days, but I was a little late on getting the last bits of this post together :sweat_smile:

As expected, this was by far my busiest level yet, just in terms of real life stuff. Trying to balance NaNoWriMo on top of family commitments during the Thanksgiving weekend was very difficult, and trying to add Japanese study on top of that was nearly impossible! Thankfully, November is over, which frees up a few hours of time each day. I’m very excited to get back to studying more!

One cool thing is that I befriended another Golden Lovers fan a couple months ago who is fluent in Japanese! I’ve been talking to them about language learning and wrestling (Japanese wrestling was also a major motivation for them to learn the language), and they also started with Minna no Nihongo! It’s super encouraging to meet someone who was able to reach extremely high level proficiency with the language who started out with the same resource that I’m using now.

I’m so grateful for all of the people on this forum and outside of it who have offered me encouragement and advice and answers for my questions. Y’all really help keep me going. It means a lot!

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 1117 (and 652 in KW)!

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

I struggled to remember the reading for (みや) at first, but then I realized it’s in 竜宮(たつみや)’s name in 大海原と大海原, and a friend pointed out that it’s also in the name of Pro Wrestling NOAH’s shining young ace, Kaito Kiyomiya: 清宮 海斗. After that, I had no trouble remembering, haha. Truly wrestler names are the best mnemonics.

My mom bought some Japanese candy, and I noticed that one of the packages said のど飴. This was shortly after I learned 喉飴, and I was very pleased to see the word in the wild!

I also had fun trying to read a few of my brother’s Japanese Magic: The Gathering cards. They apparently released a set recently with alternate art where the Japanese artists were given a lot of artistic freedom, and they’re absolutely gorgeous (there’s some great reading practice on this page if you’re a nerd). I got initially stumped over ライブラリー (I blame wrestling and the word ライバル for sending me down the wrong track), but my brother figured it out right away as soon as I read it out loud, haha! I was impressed by my ability to read and understand a fair amount of the card descriptions.

I could read this cute cat tweet shared by TJPW wrestler Nao Kakuta! I’ve still yet to learn either of those kanji through WK, but I’ve learned both of those words in MNN well enough to apparently recognize them without needing furigana.

I could also read TJPW wrestler Mahiro Kiryu’s tweet here: “飴食べ終わった…” It was funny because twitter tried to show it to me based on a topic it identified (I don’t follow her, but I follow several other people who do follow her), and it showed it to me under “tweets about candy.”

Poor Yumehito Imanari posted a picture of a “無理ゲー”. I feel sorry for him, but also the timing of this tweet was very fortuitous for me, because I had just failed the review for that word, and seeing it here genuinely helped me remember it better.

Syuri and Giulia from Stardom then helped me with 罰ゲーム after this tweet exchange. I had just learned it that day, too, so I was excited to immediately see it on twitter!

Something that I found extraordinarily cute was that during Death Triangle’s match on AEW Dynamite this week, the three of them hit a tag team move together, and they said “せいの” when they were setting up for it. せいの is a word I learned from NJPW because Yoshi-Hashi, Hirooki Goto, and Tomohiro Ishii say it all the time when setting up for their team moves (it basically means “ready, go!”), and the Japanese commentary team and the wrestlers they were feuding with made fun of them for doing that earlier this year.

What’s notable about Death Triangle saying the phrase in AEW is that it’s in America, not Japan, and as far as I’m aware, none of the wrestlers speak Japanese fluently (though they’ve surely picked up bits and pieces). There’s already a pretty strong language barrier in the team, but it’s between English and Spanish, not Japanese. My understanding is that Pac doesn’t speak much Spanish, and Penta El Zero M doesn’t speak much English. Rey Fenix is the only one of the three who speaks both languages. So, they’ve seemingly gone with Japanese because they’re essentially all on the same page with it!

While watching Pro Wrestling NOAH, I realized that I could now read all of the kanji in NOSAWA論外’s name. I’m not the biggest fan of him (as a wrestler or a booker), but apparently 論外(ろんがい) is a word meaning “out of the question” or “outrageous".

Go Shiozaki finally took Katsuhiko Nakajima’s bait and made his triumphant return to NOAH, challenging his former tag partner. As I saw one fan photographer frame it, it’s “「俺がノアだ」 vs 「I am NOAH」”. I enjoyed this tweet that Go posted after he returned to the ring. Ibushi’s “ベビー” typo appears again, haha!

I also can read almost all of the kanji in 日本武道館! Nippon Budokan is one of the most famous wrestling venues in the world. It’s especially symbolically significant for NOAH, though for many years, they were unable to run shows there. It’s the perfect venue for Go vs Katsu reprising their feud over this title, especially now with the identity of the entire company seemingly at stake.

One of my favorite matches happened at 日本武道館: Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi’s second singles match, in 2012. Here’s a fantastic essay about it. This match is infamous for one spot in particular: Ibushi decides to moonsault off of the balcony onto Kenny, and it gets him banned from the venue for six years. His next time wrestling here is in 2018, for NJPW instead of DDT. He faces Kenny again, in their third ever singles match.

In the past fifteen years, only one match besides G1 finals has managed to sell out 日本武道館. It was the same match, twice: Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi, once in 2012, and then in 2018. They did it for DDT, and then again for NJPW. This is one of my favorite Golden Lovers facts because it really speaks to the power of that story.

I think 日本武道館 is probably my third favorite wrestling venue. It’s after 後楽園ホール (which is probably my favorite), but I like it better than the 東京ドーム. My second favorite is KBSホール, which is easily the most beautiful wrestling venue in the world. It is unfortunately fairly small, which means that the bigger companies don’t run many shows there, and the shows that do happen tend to be lighter on the drama.

Here’s Miyu Yamashita and Yuki Arai standing in front of the gorgeous stained glass backdrop at KBSホール in a recent TJPW show:

みんなの日本語 Lesson 16 – 17

This is the first time I did not quite manage to finish a MNN lesson before I leveled up, due to being so busy! I guess I technically finished the lesson, but I still have the 復習(ふくしゅう)D left to do, as well as adding the lesson 16 grammar info to my notes (so, probably two more days of work).

I did, however, already start running through the lesson 17 vocab on Anki, so I should be prepared to dive right into actually reading the lesson as soon as I wrap up 16. And with December being a lot less busy, I don’t think I’ll have much trouble keeping up my usual pace from there.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 17 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).


I bought volume 2 of 大海原と大海原! I only just started reading it, though, so I am quite behind on the book club! I will catch up as best as I can, but it will be hard. So far, chapter 8 seems to be going pretty easily, so I’m hoping to finish it tomorrow.

New resources:

Tofugu posted a review of the Todai Easy Japanese app, which is similar to NHK Web Easy. The app looks interesting, so I’m making note of it here in case I want to try it in the future. At the moment, though, it seems to be both too difficult for me now, and too easy for where I hope to be in the future :sweat_smile:. I don’t really need easy dictionary lookups, as Yomichan takes care of that for me, and if I want to save words that I find and turn them into flash cards, I have Anki for that. The JLPT stuff is useless to me, and I don’t really like all of the clutter around the words in the sentences (I suppose this is what happens to you if your primary engagement with Japanese text in the wild is through twitter). The subtitled videos feature, though, seems potentially useful, since I don’t really know other tools that do that.

My mom also offered to buy me some Japanese study books for Christmas, so I should be getting the next set of MNN books a little sooner than I’d planned! Sadly, the NJPW English learning book doesn’t ship directly to the US, so I’ll have to buy that one on my own through Tenso the next time I order wrestling merch.

Next steps:

First and foremost, I want to catch up with the book club! I also want to make up a little time with MNN, and hopefully get back to some things that I’ve been neglecting, like practicing writing.

I’m also hoping to get back to sharing fun stuff in the pro wrestling thread! There have been some great free matches and exciting developments over the past month, and I’m eager to finally have the time to post about them!

Onward to level 24! 行くぞ!


You might appreciate this joke version I saw in a manga then! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

compared to the real facade (the sign’s right to left, conveying an older more traditional style):

You don’t have long at all to wait for 武 though!
Might turn out to be relevant for the ringname BUSHI as well (and the company name Bushiroad for that matter)! Who can say, only time and one more level will tell…


Made it to level 24!

It took thirteen days total, which feels so short considering that it wasn’t exactly the easiest level for me. It did occur to me that since I started WaniKani at the end of December 2020, I’m about on track for two weeks per level, despite my really uneven start. It’s a cool feeling to realize that I’ve managed to stick with this for that long. At this rate, I should finish in a year and a half.

One thing I’ve been struggling with is that I’ve been dealing with slightly more reviews since my accuracy dipped a little bit last month. As it turns out, doing reviews when you are exhausted and distracted is a bad idea! I think I’ve managed to push most of those back along, thankfully.

I’ve also struggled a bit with the various words for theory, righteousness, law, judgment, etc. It’s easier to get them confused for one another, which means missing more reviews, which means more items in the apprentice pile. Bad timing for this to happen when a lot of older items are coming back as well.

To compensate a little bit for this, I’ve reduced my daily lesson count to 12 instead of 13. A very small decrease, but it should add up over time. A more positive note, though, is that I think my Anki kanji deck is working, so I should be able to add more kanji that are causing me trouble to that deck if I need to.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a great past couple weeks for me. I got my free time back, but have been too depressed to really do much with it. However, I have been able to keep up my Japanese study, at least! I was very relieved that even at my most miserable, I could still motivate myself to do reviews and textbook exercises and read manga. It’s a nice distraction, honestly.

December also came with the bitter news that my favorite wrestling translator, Mr. Haku, is going to be leaving CyberFight at the end of the year. This means no more live translation threads for DDT or TJPW, since he was apparently doing those entirely on his own because he personally wanted to. It’s one of those moments where I’m honestly a little staggered by how much free fan labor contributes to pro wrestling. I never would have gotten into those companies’ current products without his work, and it’s really bleak to think about how much I’m losing when I watch them now because my Japanese isn’t there yet.

It makes me really regret the fact that I didn’t start learning Japanese in December 2019 instead, or April 2019, or any point earlier than when I did. If I’d started earlier, I’d be farther along than I am now, and maybe I’d have more of a chance to be able to watch DDT/TJPW and understand without completely relying on translation.

But then again, I have to remind myself that when I started watching wrestling in the first place, I started with the Golden Lovers’ DDT matches that happened before Mr. Haku was even hired, and I was able to watch them without understanding a word, and it was still somehow enough to pull me into this weird and wonderful world. The beauty of wrestling is that you can watch two people in a match together and just know that they love each other without them ever needing to verbally express it. Ultimately, it’s a story told with people’s bodies, and that part of it transcends language.

I think it hurts so much now, though, because I know what I’ve lost. I had a taste of being able to actually follow along with all of the jokes and the quirks in the stories as if I were fluent, and now I don’t have that anymore. What stings the most is losing Hiragana Muscle, honestly. I’ll probably still watch any future shows, but I’ll miss so much of what makes that show so fun and delightful without Mr. Haku translating the plot.

I guess it all comes back to what NOAH wrestler Masa Kitamiya said: プロレスは諸行無常. I think about that quote every single day of my life (someday, I will learn all of the kanji in it). Every day, I think about how transient these stories are, all of these moments in time. But I’d failed to consider the transience of the experience of watching wrestling in itself, the people and fans who make that possible and enjoyable. I expect tag teams I love to break up, my favorite wrestlers to retire, stories of heartbreak and separation and longing. But when my favorite translator leaves, I’m blindsided. I suppose I’d taken it for granted that even if the story turned sad, at least there would still be a story for me to follow.

But, ah, this is a little off topic for a study log, isn’t it? But I don’t think it’s possible for me to separate all of this from my studies, because it informs every aspect of what I do, and why I’m doing this. I guess there’s nothing left to do now except keep going. Eventually I’ll get there.

My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 1246 (and 762 on KW)!

Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:

My brain keeps trying to trick me into believing that if I listen close enough during DDT and TJPW shows, I’ll be able to magically understand everything they’re saying without Mr. Haku’s live translation threads on twitter. I can’t say that I have good or even okay comprehension, but I do feel like I’m catching a few things.

Speaking of things I can’t yet understand without help, though, I read this translation/summary of Kota Ibushi’s latest podcast episode, and I really enjoyed hearing him talk about doing calligraphy. Apparently Ibushi has been writing random characters with a brush pen to help him get back to normal function in his right arm after he dislocated his shoulder. He’s been practicing with a lot of kanji that he normally types on his smartphone that he wouldn’t know how to write in real life.

Murata (a commentator for NJPW) says that having the option to write them on a computer makes you forget even the most basic kanji if you don’t write them for a while (relatable!). He thinks that writing practice is probably good training for your brain as well, which I agree with. It was nice to read this as I’m trying to get back into the habit of regularly practicing writing myself.

One highlight of the past couple weeks for me was this amazing essay about Kota Ibushi’s whole career up until now. It taught me the word 喜怒哀楽(きどあいらく), which the author of the essay describes as “joy, anger, sadness, and enjoyment or fun”, and which encapsulates the spectrum of these emotions that art should strive to create and facilitate. The author uses 喜怒哀楽 to describe the emotional whirlwind of Ibushi’s 2018, starting with the Golden Lovers reunion and ending with the two of them parting ways, once again separated by diverging ambitions.

Apparently Ibushi has used the term 喜怒哀楽 when describing his ideal of wrestling. I feel like that comes across so well in his art. With wrestling in general, really. I think that theme is apparent all throughout this study log.

I saw a picture show up on my twitter feed that perfectly embodies the 喜怒哀楽 of Ibushi’s 2018. It’s Ibushi and Kenny standing together in 後楽園ホール at the very end of the year, at the end of their short-lived second run as a tag team, though no one knew it at the time. There’s an interesting collection of photos in the #顔が見えないプロレス写真 hashtag (what’s a non-clunky way to translate this, “pro wrestling photos where the faces aren’t shown”?), but this one is my favorite.

Shortly after learning it, I saw 位置 in this tweet from Pro Wrestling NOAH wrestler Takashi Sugiura (who is known for his pet dogs to the point where his faction’s shirt has a picture of his dog on it), where it was part of the word 定位置(ていいち). Apparently 定位置 means home position, origin, or usual place. So his caption for this picture says that the dogs are sleeping in their usual position today as well.

I laughed when I saw Yuna Mizumori refer to 後楽園ホール as “Korakuen Hole” in this tweet. She almost had it!

This also made me laugh. Saki Akai did a promo for DDT in English, and she did a pretty good job at sounding fluent! Then Mr. Haku revealed her secret: she wrote the whole thing out phonetically in hiragana. This is the kind of content I’ll really miss seeing from Mr. Haku after he leaves CyberFight.

I saw this gorgeous fanart of NJPW wrestler Douki, and I realized I could read the kanji on it, and that’s how I found out how to spell his name in kanji (normally his name is stylized just as DOUKI, without any kana or kanji). I just learned 鬼 this past level, and I think 道鬼 is an extremely cool name, honestly. It’s very fitting for his overall look.

I also saw 反則 used in a promo from Kenta during the NJPW Best of the Super Jr. and World Tag League finals! Kenta was proposing a no disqualification match, and I appreciated that the video was subtitled. I also understood Katsuyori Shibata’s entire announcement during the show, though he didn’t say much! Basically just: “January 4, I have a match, that’s all”.

From this twitter exchange from Michael Nakazawa, I learned that apparently part of the reason why AEW has so little coverage in Japan is because 週プロ doesn’t have many people who can handle interviews in English, and AEW doesn’t really have anyone who can handle Japanese media interactions (there’s 対応, which I just learned!). Nak was so frustrated (歯がゆい was a new use of 歯 for me) that he ended up pitching shupro himself. I hope his article is well-received and the magazine decides to publish more.

I’d wondered about this, honestly, because AEW has so many relationships with Japanese promotions. Just off the top of my head, they’ve shared or borrowed talent from NJPW, DDT, TJPW, Stardom, SEAdLINNNG, Marvelous, and ChocoPro. But they don’t seem to have much presence in Japanese media, and don’t offer Japanese commentary or really provide much support for Japanese fans. It’s the same problem I have now with access to DDT/TJPW content across a language barrier, except in reverse. Maybe AEW or shupro should hire Mr. Haku, if he wants to do media instead of translation work, haha.

みんなの日本語 Lesson 17 – 18

At the time of leveling, I had not quite managed to complete lesson 17, but as of the time of finishing this post, I did manage to wrap up the last of the exercises! I’m also just about done learning the vocab for lesson 18 and should be able to get started on that as soon as I’ve finished adding the lesson 17 material to my grammar notes.

I was a little slower than I’d hoped because there was another large review in the workbook that covered material from lessons 8-17, and it took me a couple days to get through it. I believe this puts me at about two thirds of the way through MNN 1? These longer reviews are hard because they bring out some of the more uncommon grammar, which I’m generally pretty good at recognizing in my reading, but have a much harder time producing. I got 79/100 points on this review, haha, but I think that’s decent for doing it without referencing the textbook or my notes at all. As long as I’m able to read all of the sentences and understand exactly what they’re saying, I don’t really worry about making mistakes when trying to produce Japanese.

With the lesson itself, none of the grammar especially tripped me up this week, though I did have more trouble with the listening comprehension exercises because the ない-form sentence patterns for “please don’t do”, “must do”, and “need not do” were difficult for me to catch in spoken speech. I’m sure this will get easier with time, though!

My entire strategy with the textbook is to just push forward as long as I can comprehend everything, and only reference my notes if I get something wrong and don’t understand why. This means I make a lot of mistakes because I’ll misremember a verb group or forget a て-form conjugation or forget which particle goes with a particular verb, but I think I learn more from racking my brain and just trying something and getting the answer wrong, haha, then I would if I pulled out the textbook whenever I got into a pinch.

I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 18 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).


I managed to read the first two chapters of volume 2 of 大海原と大海原! The chapters in volume 2 are longer than those in volume 1, so that makes it a little harder to catch up. I’m still a chapter behind the book club, and will likely remain so for quite a while, but I’m trying my best.

Learning the various uses of the て-form has really helped make more complex sentences easier for me to understand, so I’m very grateful for that! I was excited that I was able to understand something in chapter 8 on page 23 that I probably would have struggled with if I hadn’t just learned it in MNN:

(cut for spoilers)

I was able to effortlessly understand that 鮫吉 was asking 黒巻 to what extent that she knew when he asked “どこまで知っている”. Really cool to have moments like that where it all comes together.

In other reading news, I… might have started a massively overambitious project, which is attempting to sort of make up for the lack of translation for DDT and TJPW shows going forward. The companies upload show descriptions and transcriptions of the post-match comments after each show, but of course, all of this information is in Japanese. Reading the comments is, however, pretty vital if you want to truly be able to follow the storylines. Just for my own sake, I wanted to try to read them.

I’m definitely not proficient enough at the language to attempt to do this sort of large scale translation project, because reading is very slow for me, and I frequently make mistakes when translating, but I figured at the very least, I could run this text through DeepL and then clean up the comment translations with Yomichan and ichi.moe.

So I started doing this! I don’t think I’ll make any of these translations public, at least not at this point, because I have no confidence in them, but it has been an interesting learning experience so far. I’ve frequently been diving into monolingual dictionary entries for clarification (though I’ve been machine translating those with the help of Yomichan/DeepL also, haha, so it’s not really a lot of additional reading practice).

When trying to translate the comments (here, warning for very rare pictures of blood in TJPW) after the experimental TJPW Inspiration show on December 12, it was interesting trying to figure out what Nao Kakuta meant by saying that she didn’t want this match to be “その経験の過程” (as far as I can tell, she’s basically saying that she doesn’t want her first hardcore match to just be a stage in the process of gaining experience?), and it was interesting seeing 路線 used here: 東京女子のハードコア路線で, because I understood what she meant by that, but that wasn’t the sense I had of 路線 before.

A friend of mine who is more proficient in Japanese than I am volunteered to tackle the rest of the TJPW comments, so I will probably mostly just be working on DDT, going forward. We’ll see if I’ll be able to keep it up! Depending on how much work it ends up being, I might slow down on reading manga and such after finishing volume 2 of 大海原と大海原, at least until I become a more proficient reader. I want to prioritize the DDT comments since that’s a much more immediate concern.

I think I might try to put posts about the DDT comments in the pro wrestling thread instead of in here to try and keep some of the clutter down in this thread and also perhaps invite more conversation about the content (or answers to translation questions, haha).

New resources:

Tofugu published an article on using こそあど言葉 to refer to things that you can’t physically see. It’s an interesting read that addresses a grammar problem we don’t really have in English.

Next steps:

My main priority right now is maintenance: keeping up with my three SRS (WK, KW, Anki), continuing to progress in MNN, and trying to at least avoid falling further behind in the book club, even if I’m unable to actually catch up. Depending on where I’m at emotionally in the next couple weeks, this might be all I’m able to do, and if it is, then that’s okay.

If I’m able to, I would like to post more matches in the wrestling thread, and also work on translating those DDT comments! I want to properly get back into the habit of practicing writing kanji daily (instead of just occasionally) as well, though that is probably my lowest priority currently.

I already really miss Mr. Haku’s translations, but I’m determined not to let that discourage me. Even after studying for just a year, I’m in a much better position to be able to navigate Japanese content on my own now. The thought of losing his translations last year would have been an unfathomable loss. Now I feel like the stories are still within reach, albeit barely. I’ll just have to work a lot harder if I want to keep them.

Onward to level 25! 行くぞ!