After a year and a half of maintenance mode (and general slow leveling up to that point) due to some personal stuff making my interest in Japanese plummet (temporarily) I got back into it in the past week, and hit level 34 (finally!), and am on track to level up to 35 in less than a week! I don’t think I’ve ever leveled up this fast before, post-level-10!
I’m really enjoying reading again (working my way through Yotsuba, one chapter per night), and Wanikani has become fun again (usually it was a bit of a drag). I’m starting to get bored of Japan Easy News, though I have to admit it’s kinda fun being “informed” of what’s going on in Japan. Lately, it’s understandably very heat/weather/coronavirus focused. My friends over there are impressed that I often know their CV19 numbers better than they do.
Wanikani has helped me a ton, but also put me in awkward situations due to my slightly dyslexic brain! For instance, there was a point that 乱行 was a wanikani vocab (and a lower level one at that! Why? I have never ‘needed’ to use this word in real life. I’d prefer to learn it on my own than through an educational tool), and in a Japanese tutorial, my tutor was speaking too fast, and I wanted to say: 「混乱しています！」but unfortunately I recalled the wrong vocabulary, 「乱行しています」and got to witness the sweetest obachan’s jaw drop not knowing how to react.
I’m definitely fully motivated again. I hope this motivation is enough to push me up to level 60 eventually. I will be honest though, and say that I feel like at level 34 I know most of the kanji / vocab I encounter in texting / reading (no advanced reading, though). It’s amazing how much we can do at the halfway point!
Any reading recommendations beyond the two mentioned in the topic?
I think the general consensus is that you will never be ready, and therefore you just have to get started as accept that it will be a challenge. Or better, feel energized that it is a challenge. Cure Dolly has great recommendations for how to watch anime, and record the audio to develop ease with listening.
As for reading, the beginner reading club is starting Shimeji Simulation in a few weeks.
Kiki’s Delivery service and The Girl who Leapt Through Time are also recommended for beginning readers.
This is also an intermediate level reading club, that has recommendations and a book they are currently reading if you want to search the forum for them. I’m sure they have tons of useful information.
Lol corona also spelled the end of my use of NHK Easy.
As for reading recommendations, I’ve started reading people’s blgos here https://ameblo.jp/. They are usually pretty short and colloquial while not being over-the-top manga language. I like reading cycling blogs but there is a huge variety of topics!
Do you also want manga recommendations? I found after finishing my first whole manga with a book club vocab list as training wheels I’ve had a huge breakthrough and read all sorts of stuff in Japanese, and so if you’re progressing through Yotsuba at that rate you’re probably at the same point.
What sort of stuff do you like? Drama, comedy, action, romance? I read a lot of comfy hobby/outdoors/sports stuff like Yuru camp. That one’s got a good vocabulary spreadsheet from the book club if you think that would motivate you to read more. No furigana, however.
Bookwalker offers a lot of free manga. I don’t find much of it worth reading, but it’s still worth looking through–occasionally something really good from a larger series will have free volume or two. When I first started reading manga in Japanese I found it hard to find new series because while I could read the manga themselves I wasn’t totally comfortable navigating websites and picking new titles, but its a skill you acquire readily enough.
I noticed recently that the first five volumes of 働かないふたり are available for free, which is a comedy about a neet brother and sister living out their neet lives.
The absolute beginner book club is currently reading Rental Big Brother. I’ve seen a few times people mentioning it seems easier than Yotsuba. I’ve been enjoying it so far and have trouble not reading ahead lol
Depending on your grammar, you should be able to read pretty much any manga you like at level 34. I’ve been doing that for a while now in full acceptance that I might not get the details. I have never lost track of the story though. And while I never used to like manga much, the A子さんの恋人 series is quite charming (about the life of a 20something who has, lo and behold, been to a foreign country!), メタモルフォーゼの縁側 has been wonderful so far (a troubled high school girl and an old widow bond over BL manga) and pretty much ANYTHING by コマツ・シンヤ (for some reason he writes his name in Katakana…) is incredibly beautiful. I recommend 午后のあくび, which has a second part now. Mainly they are short stories, following the main character, Awako, through the year in short scenes. Her life is full of fantastic events, and the stories are witty and observant. The craziest things might happen around the next corner!
However, I recently bought a kindle and if you have a Japanese Amazon account, you will be able to read a lot of stuff. I’ve recently bought a collection of short stories called 世にも小さな物語工場, which I find easy enough to read and I’ve also been reading コンビニ人間 by Sayaka Murata. Btw, she has published a handful of really interesting essays on her corona experiences (you seem to be into that topic! ;-)). You can find them here: https://bunshun.jp/list/author/5e97d32077656127ca000000. But you see, I’m just another Obachan, my tastes in books might be very different from yours! I simply don’t accept that someone else will control what I can read and what I can’t. And neither should you… just read whatever pleases you!