Fluently speaking Japanese without being able to read it

I’m a reasonable fluent speaker of Japanese, I can do casual conversations and follow most of TV dramas dialogues but I stopped studying Japanese 10 years ago after the N2 exam (which I didn’t pass but it was a close thing) and I never manage to catch up with Kanji and “difficult words”.

I’m now at level 5 after one month, and after being bored the first weeks I start now to find it stimulating, I don’t want to break any record but I hope to arrive at least to level 30 in one year.

I really like the little stories and the memory hints (and I’ve tried pretty everything was available 10 years ago). I still find confusing that some kanji want the onyomi and others the kunyomi… but it doesn’t mark it as an error so I’m ok.

I wonder if other people are in my same situation (fluent spoken Japanese but little reading skill).

Something that I’d like is a drill mode (which doesn’t update the stats) to repeat the kanjis of given level.

Anyway so far so good! thanks for your work.


You can use [Userscript] Self-Study Quiz as a drill mode if you’d like. Best of luck in your studies!


This is the best thing ever. Thank you!!


You’re going to be great. In my opinion speaking is the most difficult part of the language because you need to reproduce it fairly quickly.

I certainly does get more and more stimulating as you level up and the onyomi vs kunyomi readings become clearer as the patterns start clicking. Of course, like any language Japanese is full of exceptions so you’ll have to deal with those.


I honestly think that this is what a lot of people with at least one Japanese parent experience if they grow up outside of Japan, because they might not have the time (or otherwise be encouraged) to hone their reading skills.

I think most people are in the opposite situation because we probably don’t get many occasions to speak Japanese? I can carry on a fairly fluid conversation via text messages with a friend, but because I almost never need to speak, things don’t flow as well when I speak aloud. (It doesn’t help that the Japanese class I’m currently taking only involves fairly stilted conversations that involve answering really classic questions. Using set phrases and common expressions is easy once you’re familiar with them, but actually expressing yourself is much harder.)

In any case, congratulations on your spoken proficiency! I hope you start to see more and more links between the knowledge you already have and the way kanji are used. Maybe you’ll rediscover certain words that you already know. I hope you have a fulfilling journey. :slight_smile:


I made an Anki deck for the Kanjis with the mnemonics and use it every day as a writing training.
I can recommend this a lot, it makes the recalling easier and you can also pass the Kanken without a lot of extra effort later on.

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Once kanjiroids is back online, that might be a good drill practice for you! It’s a space invaders style game where you type the reading to eliminate kanji/vocab/kana from your screen.


I can testify that there is another category of people in my same situation: people with a Japanese spouse. :slight_smile:


kek, that’s true lol. My ex taught me some words and it’s weird to learn the kanji for them on here

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