Made it to level 26!
It took 15 days, which is a little on the longer end, but I don’t really mind, because I had a lot of stuff to work on!
Mood-wise, it’s been a bit up and down still. But my enthusiasm for learning Japanese has not waned at all, thankfully! I’ve especially gotten a lot of reading done over the past couple weeks, and I’m pretty proud of that! Eagerly looking forward to the day when reading gets a lot quicker for me.
My burned item count as of the beginning of this level: 1523 (and 965 on KW!)
Fun encounters with Japanese outside of WaniKani:
In non-wrestling news, I just finished watching the short drama 消えた初恋. The version I found was subtitled in English, but the subs were fanmade, and I think they might be partially machine translation, because I noticed a lot of common machine translation mistakes, haha, like messing up the pronouns. I was surprised at how much I could understand from listening, though I definitely would’ve floundered without the subtitles.
There was also an instance where the subtitles used correct pronouns, but gendered the speech in a way that it wasn’t in the Japanese, and it seemed like a bizarre translation choice to me because one character did not react at all to another character using he/him pronouns for the person he was dating, and then that character later reacted with homophobic disgust upon finding out that the other character was dating a man. I knew enough about Japanese not to take the subtitled pronouns at face value, haha, but personally, I would have translated this differently!
In any case, the show was cute but didn’t have a whole lot of substance. It seems like a good candidate for practicing more everyday language, though, particularly language relating to high school and relationships.
I adored this tweet from Hyper Misao, the protector of love and peace in TJPW. She proclaimed herself an ally to all people who aren’t good at the atmosphere at the end of the year/beginning of the next, then said “一緒に怯えましょう！！！！”, or “Let’s be scared together!”
I laughed at this whole exchange between DDT’s Chris Brookes and NJPW’s El Desperado. The Japanese is very easy, which I appreciated. Maki Itoh wasn’t too happy with Minoru Suzuki after their tag match together, so she was not thrilled to hear Chris talking about being excited to be in Suzuki-gun now so that he can be in the same faction as Despy, haha.
Despy and Chris had another exchange a few days later after Chris’s match against DDT’s mascot Pokotan. I genuinely burst out laughing at this because Despy tweeted at him “you bastard!!” and Chris just said “仕方ないよ…” (along with the smiling emoji crying a single tear).
The first week of January is a very busy week for Japanese wrestling! I believe I’ve already talked about this, but it’s イッテンヨン week! I ended up watching a whole bunch of shows from a handful of different companies.
The best one was TJPW’s イッテンヨン show; highly recommend watching that one if you get the chance! I watched it with English commentary, though the video had an issue where it would briefly switch to Japanese commentary if it took too long to buffer. In one instance, I heard just a few words before it switched back, and I realized to my surprise that I recognized both: 借りを返す and 相打ち. I had just added those to Anki from the DDT recaps, and it was already paying off! That felt pretty good.
I did learn one new word in Japanese from the show, thanks to Akki’s commentary! ムキムキ, which means muscular!
I also really enjoyed Pro Wrestling NOAH’s new years show. Go Shiozaki vs Katsuhiko Nakajima was awesome (though the match wasn’t quite as good as their last), and I got chills at the end of it when Katsu won and then proclaimed: “俺たちがノアだ”. It was a really cool way of taking Go’s words, “We are NOAH” (which, incidentally, Go now no longer can say, since part of the stipulation for the match was the loser giving up the ability to say “I am NOAH” or “俺がノアだ”), which drew on Go’s connection to the fans as the ace, and then transforming it into an inherently selfish thing, since Katsu was using it specifically to refer to himself and the other members of his faction Kongoh, not the fans. I’m interested to see where both of their characters go next, though of course there’s a part of me that is still somehow hoping the two of them will reunite as a tag team someday.
I thought that line was also an awesome way to subtly build up to one of the marquee matches in the NOAH/NJPW crossover show, since Kongoh was slotted to be in the main event vs NJPW’s most popular faction, Los Ingobernables de Japon, and most of the build to that show was between those two factions, with Kongoh’s leader Kenoh in particular doing most of the speaking for NOAH’s side of the crossover. However, NJPW had other plans, and Kongoh’s match ended up getting moved to the semi-main event . Alas!
The sort of flagship イッテンヨン show, NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom, traditionally on 1.4, now expanded to 1.4, 1.5, and 1.8, was a little bit of a letdown this year, as I was expecting. The funniest thing to me, though, was that I ignored the beginning of Wrestle Kingdom night 2 to watch NOAH, and and then a couple hours after NOAH’s show wrapped, the entire NOAH roster showed up midway through the NJPW show to promote the crossover on January 8! It made me laugh because NOAH counterprogrammed the first part of a show that they then used to promote a crossover that they were a part of.
Oh, I think I forgot to mention this in the last update, but I was very amused by one of Kenta’s post-match comments leading to his match with Tanahashi on January 5. Kenta said that he deserves to be IWGP US champion more than Tana because he pronounces “Costco” the American way, and even pronounces “IKEA” incorrectly like Americans do. He says that he’s now more comfortable with miles and pounds instead of kilometers and grams, and he understands exactly what a gallon is. So, therefore, the US title is clearly meant for him! It was hands down one of the funniest promos all year. Sadly, in the actual match, Kenta both lost his title and picked up a few injuries, so it wasn’t the best day for him.
The actual NJPW/NOAH crossover show was fun, but a little underwhelming. I tried to buy the PPV through Abema, but made the mistake of ordering the ticket through the English language service (I was a little wary of Abema’s region blocking), then couldn’t get my ticket to work and wished I’d just bought it through Abema’s site in Japanese! I’m at a point where my Japanese is good enough, it’s not too difficult to navigate Japanese digital storefronts. I ended up watching via someone else’s stream, haha.
Any sort of NJPW/NOAH crossover these days is a bit loaded with skepticism and cynicism, considering how the relationship between both companies went in the past. I’m not sure this new show really did enough to dissuade those fears, though the last few matches in particular were a lot of fun. I’m hoping it leads to more in the future, because they sowed a lot of interesting story seeds. It’s always nice, too, for NOAH to benefit a bit from NJPW’s increased English language support, since not a lot of NOAH stuff gets subtitled, and fan translation leaves a lot out.
In other news, I loved this tweet from CyberFight president Sanshiro Takagi, containing a photo of Yoshihiko after his DDT match with Chris Brookes. I recently had the realization that I genuinely care about Yoshihiko (a wrestler who is quite literally a blow up doll) as a character, and I get worried for him when he loses big matches, just as I do for my favorite human wrestlers. Here in this photo, Takagi describes him as 黄昏れる. This is a word that apparently means to fade into dusk, or to wane, or to look melancholic. The second kanji, 昏, is not in WK! I ended up adding both this word and that kanji to Anki. It’s a neat word, and if Takagi is using it, it’s probably worth learning for me.
Takagi is apparently very strongly encouraging the DDT roster to become fluent in English. He aims to increase the number of overseas subscribers from 30% to 50%, and to strengthen their relationship with AEW. It’s quite a different world from when Kenny Omega was there originally and the only person on the roster he could talk to was Michael Nakazawa, haha (well, and Kota Ibushi, but through “telepathy” and not words). If you ask me, the number one thing Takagi could do to attract more English-speaking fans would be hiring someone to do live translation on twitter as well as translating all of the post-match comments like Mr. Haku was doing. I feel like the company didn’t realize just how important that kind of work is for making their shows and their stories accessible to English-speaking fans. But, well, we’ll just have to see how things go for them!
Speaking of kanji that aren’t in WK, guess what I saw in my Hobonichi planner?
The 兎 here is read と just like the name of our villainous rabbit empire 兎津叉 in 大海原と大海原!
みんなの日本語 Lesson 19 – 20
I don’t think I have much to report on for lesson 19. I managed to get through it as well as complete 復習E afterward!
One thing that’s kind of funny to me is that I noticed my listening comprehension is often better with wrestling than it is for the textbook listening comprehension exercises, despite the fact that the textbook should be easier for me because theoretically I know all of the vocab. But the voice actors always seem to speak very fast, and wrestlers and commentators often speak much slower! I think it helps that real life conversations tend to have a lot more pauses, especially if you’re exhausted because you just wrestled for twenty minutes!
Lesson 20 has been going well so far! I got legitimately really excited when I looked at the grammar section and saw that we’re finally learning casual speech! I wish the textbook introduced this earlier, but I’m beyond happy that I’ve made it this far. Even though I already could recognize plain form verbs, I’m looking forward to getting more structured practice with them. I can already feel myself making another leap in understanding with the language as I start to fold this into my established knowledge. Sentences are just getting easier and easier to navigate.
My MNN Anki deck has just over 900 unique cards currently, and I’m feeling pretty good about that. There’s a lot of overlap with WK vocab, but I keep the two of them separate in my brain because I treat the MNN vocab as essentially my working vocabulary: these are the words I feel comfortable using in conversation, and I have a general grasp on when and how to use them. With the WK vocab as a whole, things are a lot spottier. I feel fairly confident in my recognition and recall, but generally hold off from using them when attempting to produce the language because I don’t understand the nuance and actual usage.
I updated the MNN kanji by WK level spreadsheet with the lesson 20 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 signed up for the read every day challenge for winter 2022! I was already pretty much doing it, albeit informally, and I thought I might as well try tracking my reading every day to see how often I manage to meet that goal. The DDT translations have definitely been keeping me on my toes, so I don’t know if I really need the pressure of the challenge to motivate me to put work in every day, but I think it has helped a little bit.
I… did not manage to use the extra week to get caught up on 大海原と大海原 . I was too busy reading other things instead. I did finish chapter 12, though, and started chapter 13, so at least I didn’t fall further behind than I already was. I’m still enjoying the book, but on some level, I’m also looking forward to being done with it because I’m definitely not at a point where I’m reading fast/easily enough to be able to juggle manga and the DDT translations at the same time.
My picture books finally arrived! I wrote a review of all four of them, including some photos, and posted it in the read every day challenge thread. And wow, that thread gets substantially more traffic than this one, haha! People seemed to really like them. As I mentioned in that post, I read these extensively and not intensively, and I plan on revisiting them once in a while as I continue to learn.
DDT’s December 25 show was long as heck, and so was the recap for it! It took me a full week to translate it, and my translation ended up being a little less than 3,000 words! The January 3 show was shorter, and the recap for it was, too, but I still found plenty of new words . As usual, click the links below for full posts where I talk about the shows and mention things that I thought were really cool or beautiful, plus Japanese language questions I had while trying to translate them.
DDT 2021.12.25 Never Mind 2021 in Yoyogi — 66 words added (for a total of 104)
DDT 2022.1.3 DDT25周年開幕スペシャル！全席3000円興行!! — 36 words added (for a total of 140)
As I mention in the second post, another fan took up Mr. Haku’s mantle and started live translating the DDT shows! When I discovered that translation thread, I was so happy, I almost cried. It felt so good to once again be able to watch along and have a better idea of what was happening, especially the parts that aren’t mentioned in the text recap later.
I considered whether continuing my own translation project was really worth it if we have translations again, but I think I’m going to keep doing it. For one thing, I really want to have more complete translations of the post-match comments besides just summaries squeezed into tweets. Having the full comments (or as close to full comments as I can get, since they don’t transcribe everything on the website) is really important for really getting a sense of the characters’ personalities.
Also, there’s no guarantee that this fan will be able to keep doing this, so it’s really a good idea for me to continue improving my Japanese as much as possible in the meantime in case we lose another translator. We’ve learned that we can’t rely on DDT/TJPW translation continuing to exist. It’s best for me to prepare for a world where I have to do this on my own.
I can’t remember if I mentioned this last time, but a note on how I’m handling this influx of new words on Anki: I ended up making three separate Anki decks for kanji, my textbook vocab, and now the new cards from Yomichan. I’ve tried, at various points, to combine the three decks, but the thing that made it hard was the change in card formatting, honestly. My decks are aesthetically consistent, but they have different types and amounts of information, and that ended up being more frustrating than I anticipated, haha. It was hard for me to mentally switch gears back and forth while going through them.
The nice thing about having separate decks, too, is that it allows me to have a contingency plan if I ever get too overwhelmed. I’m prioritizing the textbook vocab above the rest on Anki, so if I need to, I can neglect the other decks.
So far, I think the wrestling vocab has added 15-25 minutes to my daily Anki study time. That’s not too bad, but it has definitely required a little adjustment! I also created a leech for myself by adding 実現 right after I learned 現実 in WK, haha! So far, I’ve been able to keep the meaning straight in WK, but I fail every other review for it in KW because I forget the order of the kanji .
I tried to go looking for an Anki add-on that would auto-suspend cards once their due date reached a year or more, but it was surprisingly difficult to find one. I guess suspending cards after a certain time isn’t common practice like I had assumed? I did find out that if you do a search for “prop:ivl>=365” in the browse menu, it pulls up all of the cards with a review interval that long or longer, so I guess it wouldn’t be too hard to manually move them out of the deck, but then that raises the question of if you’d truly be saving time doing that instead of just clicking the “easy” button when the cards come up again, haha! I guess for now, I’ll leave things as they are.
Tofugu shared a bunch of new Japanese learning resources for winter 2021, and out of everything in this round-up, the one that stood out to me is KayoShodo’s calligraphy courses. I started following her on twitter because her account seems useful!
My main goal right now is to keep up with reading every day! My top priority is the DDT recaps, but I do want to finish 大海原と大海原 before the end of the month!
I’d also like to get back into reading more in Spanish, I think, but that will probably have to wait until I’m done with 大海原と大海原, so I won’t commit to anything else at this point.
Onward to level 27! 行くぞ！