How on earth did you come to be competent?

You know, I have the English prompt default to off. For many of the sentences, the correct phrase can be inferred via context, so I usually try that first, and only check if it’s unclear/I can’t figure it out. I think that also helps with comprehension far more than just translating from the prompt.

I stopped reviews and basically reset my account. I then went into Grammar -> All and picked stuff from N5/N4 that I thought I needed more help with and added all the sentences. If I encountered something in reading, I looked it up with the search feature to see if it was covered and added all of those.

After that, I started going systematically in their order.

When you look things up based on reading, it’s really surprising how common things like 的 don’t appear until N3 or ともなると is N1.

Could you specify the let’s plays?

I have no clue what to Google for that, but do some Japanese players do Pokémon challenge runs a la Mah-Dry-Bread or Jrose11?

Not claiming competency by any means but I’m working through N2 grammar in BunPro too so perhaps similar situation. When I’m getting sloppy, I go back to my Kitsun deck to practice recognition for a tune up. I essentially made the deck picking my favorite sentences and put every point from N3 upward and I can even practice my grammar leeches (which I’d rather do than Cram). When you have a reading context then it is a lot easier than the productive input side. But true production is really if you can speak and write on command to really lock it in and I still have alot of work to do…I’ve been meaning to write more to help with N2 points along with some N3 to help on that end.

For BunPro, I think it’s how you use it and everyone may be different. If users smash through reviews based on key words, it’s just a translation exercise and probably not the best use of time. But if you read through the sentences, learn new vocab, listen to the audio (if available), study the painful synonyms and research grammar points or follow a book path then it’s a bit more enriching. I’ll probably continue to need the extra recognition deck with the productive input to get the most out it going forward


Because I already knew that the copious amount of failure is very funny to me, I started off watching two Super Bunny Man playlists. The first one being this one. The second one was 2BRO’s playthrough. Then I pretty much watched every single horror LP on the 2BRO channel over the course of several months.

A lot of the horror games have exposition documents, so following the story also became a reading exercise. It was mostly 多読 - reading it through once and taking away from it what I could.

I also watched 2BRO’s Borderlands 3 LP, which is a different can of worms with the three of them chatting amongst themselves. Certainly harder than just 弟者 talking about the on-screen happenings.

I watched セナ’s LP of Skyward Sword. I didn’t know anything about the game’s storyline, and it was really fun to be able to understand basically everything in the story without ever needing to pause to read. The fact that he had furigana turned on made that a lot easier, though.

A watched a bunch of videos of だいだら’s Pokemon Shield LP (fast talker and fast reader without furigana), but haven’t finished it on account of it being a million episodes long, and I got sucked into binging whatever I could find of a Japanese gameshow.

For anyone that didn’t know already; 実況プレイ[game title], or just 実況[game title] is how I search for Japanese LPs.


Do you have any recommendations of horror playthroughs for 弟者 (I can’t get enough of his voice ^^)? Or do they usually play together? I binged all of 牛沢’s Resident Evil playthroughs and really enjoyed those. He’s playing through RE2 2nd currently but I need moar.


Thanks for this pointer! I tried that with my daily batch of reviews on Bunpro, and it’s an entirely different level of intensity. In hindsight, I used to mostly just stare at the English sentences and translate the highlighted word, instead of actually trying to parse the Japanese.

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I really liked his playthrough of Little Nightmares. I think there was even a WK listening club for that playthrough, actually!

Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this… :sweat_smile: I wish my voice was that cool…


弟者 also played through some of the ビオハザード remakes and games. Always good fun. ^^

A game I remember fondly is this one:

Paranormal HK

It’s an indy game and the thumb nail makes it look pretty cheap, but I enjoyed it.

I watched so many different games in succession that it all bleeds together a bit, to be honest. I’m going to throw out some titles that stand out in my memory, but I can’t swear to the quality of every single one. It’s possible that I’m remembering some of them because I dropped the game, honestly.

Blame Him
Little Nightmares


Not sure if you can tell by the time I joined WK or my level, but I’m obviously not competent in my ability. But Tofugu (the company/blog that made WK) has a blog with things like this. (Here: a huge thing that will help you is their 4500 sentence packet. It costs money but it’s definitely worth it if you want to refine your reading vocabulary and whatnot. (If you can’t afford them i’m sure there somewhere on the internet for free but don’t tell Koichi).

The trick with learning most things is quantity over quality. They have an article about it here:
I can’t stress reading it enough.

Just go through the 4500 sentences translating whatever you can and skipping anything that is too hard for you. When you get through all 4500 go back to sentence 1 and go through it trying to translate anything you couldn’t translate before, if you still can’t skip it again. Don’t get caught up on anything that’s too hard, but try sentences that are a little hard.

Here are the sentences:

The other tip is immersion immersion immersion. Watch anime with Japanese subtitles, use a VPN linked to a Japanese server and browse the internet in Japanese. Learn the Japanese dictionary terms* through english to Japanese translations, then use Japanese to Japanese translations for anything you need translated. Read manga and light novels in Japanese. The more time you spend around Japanese, the more your brain will panic to try and recall and remember information and the more comfortable you will get with Japanese. Read anything and everything you come across in Japanese, if you can afford it take a trip to Japan. Things like these will get you accustomed to the language.

(* Dictionary terms are words that are commonly used in dictionary definitions. Usually dictionary definitions are more advanced that the term they are defining, so knowing these terms will help you translate things with Japanese to Japanese. To learn these, read, and when you come across a character you’ve seen multiple times but still don’t know, pop it into the Japanese to Japanese translator. Go through the translation and copy any kanji you don’t know in the definition and add that to a note software like one note or excel. Look up the Japanese to Japanese translation of those terms, and repeat the process taking the terms you don’t know, jotting them and translating them. Once they’re all in your note taking software, use a Japanese to english translator on each term, and add each Kanji and translation to your SRS deck. Keep doing this until you know all the terms you repeatedly come across in Japanese to Japanese dictionaries. From there only use Japanese to Japanese dictionaries for words in Japanese books you repeatedly come across but don’t know).

I would also recommend learning how to write Kanji if you want whenever you have free time. It familiarizes you with the shape and details of each Kanji so you can differentiate them. It’s also a fun party trick haha.


+1 on Immersion. I am still a beginner in Japanese, but regarding Mandarin, I spent 6 months in China (including class in the morning and living life in the afternoon evening) and I was able to go from knowing nothing to being fluent at a kid level and able to read lots.


I actually love Bunpro, but I’ve turned off the English translation while testing, so I actually have to understand the sentence in order to complete it… Also, they link to a lot of outside grammar resources that you can read or refer to.

I can’t say that I am proficient, even though I can feel some progress happening. What helps is definitely doing some kind of Japanese study everyday, and also shadowing or learning audio by heart and practicing to say it as fluently as possible (I’m actually in an international training program for another subject that has both Japanese and American students, so I’ve had a chance to work on personal material in Japanese for presentation, with the help of the Japanese students). I feel that when I shadow a lot I understand better.

A little off topic, but I thought it would be of interest to show how I use Slite to centralize all my Japanese notes, especially grammar points:

I copy and paste all the resources I find useful on each point into one doc (see link below) I can refer to easily. Saves me lots of time and allows me to study in a centralized way and keep track of progress.なくて

Anyway, I’m far from being proficient but keeping at it!!!

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That makes a lot of sense. Are there any resources that ask for the reserve thinking like how there are 3rd party apps for WaniKani that make you give the Japanese for the English word?

I don’t know about that but you can turn off the English translation in Bunpro test mode, or keep it to the bare minimum (just what you’re supposed to input). I find that forces me to actually read the sentence and understand it before I can answer.

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It’s also one of the items that usually gets a discount when Tofugu has a sale on. I got it for about 90% off last year.

I wouldn’t say I feel confident with my language ability as a whole (esp speaking), but I feel confident reading when it comes to normal books, light novels, manga, japanese social media, etc. so I’ll respond in that area. My reading isn’t perfect by any means, but when I say I’m confident in it, I mean there are some words I don’t know but can almost always guess from context and its very rare I come across a sentence I do\n’t understand. Reading books without a dictionary for enjoyment has sorta become the norm at this point (even though I’m trying to change that habit so I don’t stagnate lol)

Funny enough, probably the last 10 levels of wanikani. There was plenty of useful stuff in those last 10 levels, but also a lot of stuff I feel like I had such a hard time coming across immediately after doing them that they kinda became easy to forget. Get em done eventually, but theres no need to rush through them as fast as possible.

Genki textbook as well. Man, if you have it in you to just go out and find grammar in native material rather than learn from a textbook, do it. Make quality sentence cards in anki and go with that. This can be a bit frustrating, but if you can deal with that I think youll learn faster and more in depth than whatever a textbook could offer you

I used whatever grammar site came up when I searched for a grammar explanation. At first it was tae kim and maggie sensei usually, but as time went on, hinative and then just grammar explanations written in japanese. Same goes for word definitions. I used jisho and then kinda switched to using kotobank and googles japanese definition.

Apart from that, floflo had a huge impact on my reading ability. I think I have learned like 7000 or 8000 words on there by now (all from books). Idk since the site doesnt show anymore, but all I know is that the sum of already known words+learned words on there is like 11000. Used floflo every day since getting level 60.

Its hard to say as of recently since like I’ve read manga and books but the progress i make is so minimal that its hard to tell what helps and what doesn’t. The only thing I can say for certain is that the first 3 light novel volumes I read gave me some real tangible progress. For those I read 俺修羅. I ended up reading 12 volumes of that and learned a lot of words, but the first 3 really made a FAR more noticeable difference. They also felt hard as shit compared to how I feel when I read now lol.

Technically like 5 years, but about a year and a half of that was when I quit japanese when I was a wee lad who just started. In total a little over 3.5 years of hard study. By hard study I mean for the most part I was putting in like maybe 4 hours a day of active study? Never skip a day except for maybe once or twice for a vacation trip to japan. When I say 3.5 years to get confident in my skills, I don’t mean that I’m content with my skills, however. I have a LOT of work to do to actually just be where I want to be in japanese, and at this rate im expecting that I may very well never be satisfied with my japanese ability.

Probably just not enough input. Input is king, read read read. When I started reading, I sucked at it, and you will too. No amount of bunpro study alone will change that. Failure is a mechanism for improvement. Get out there and fail at reading and then put in work to see what you missed so you can get better!


Can I ask you where you find manga to read in Japanese? Is there a good website, or do you recommend just buying it?

I read やがて君になる in English before and I loved it, so it would be great if I could read the original.

I got an Amazon Fire just to use as an ereader connected to the Japanese Kindle store. You do need a Japanese address, but if you’re out of the country, there are proxy sites that can provide one without hitting any legal trouble. Luckily you don’t need a Japanese credit card, which makes this pretty appealing, with your biggest hassle being the region settings if you’re not actually in Japan.

Similarly, you can access the Japanese app store on a smart phone, etc., and download a number of manga reader apps that way. Some are completely free and run on advertising (mostly those that have large libraries of app-exclusive digital firsts; Ganma is one of them, and I believe also one of the few that can actually be accessed through international app stores), while others will offer chapter or volumes rentals or purchases for a price. Some paid apps will need domestic Japanese credit cards, some won’t. There are a lot of Japanese manga apps, with a mix of exclusives to individual platforms and those licensed for digital rental or purchase from other publishers.

The absolute cheapest way to read through a manga series in Japan is to do physical volume rentals, or buy and then sell back used, but outside of the country, those apps or just buying volumes from ereader shops are probably the cheapest way to go. Luckily even if you’re purchasing most series, manga at Japanese prices is quite cheap. (One of the reasons the industry is so robust.) 400-450 yen for a new black-and-white volume is standard, and even deluxe releases and colored volumes stay under the 1,000-yen mark.

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Maybe we just read different kind of manga, but the ones I get are usually 550-700 yen per volume. That’s for what I’d consider “standard” manga. Oversized manga costs more like 800-900 yen. That’s all pre-shipping cost and doesn’t include tax since for some reason Amazon doesn’t charge tax when shipping to the U.S.

Anyway, @SilkeCGV, I just buy most of my manga physically from I occasionally buy ebook versions, also from there. I just prefer physical copies for manga because I like the feel of holding a physical book and because it’s usually bigger and easier to read the occasional tiny or handwritten text.