I'm hitting a roadblock and it feels bad

I feel like learning to ignore non crucial stuff and not getting caught up on it was my biggest improvement as a language learner. I find learning from context to be the best way, and if there isn’t enough context to tell what a word means, there might be enough next time, or after that. Ignoring unimportant things lets me keep going longer and learn more things as a result.

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That’s the Law of Diminishing Returns and applies to almost all walks of life unfortunately. I too feel that my the rate of my progress has been slowing down compared to 7-8 months ago.

I’m also trying to teach myself how to draw a lil on the side and this chart is a really nice thing to see, ty for it!

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I keep track of the lookups I do but I rarely reference the list. For me it’s like note taking, the act helps with remembering even if I never actually use the notes.

And within a single book, the writer tends to use the same phrases quite often so they’re easy to remember. On my current one, which is written in 1st person, the MC uses かも知れない like every other page.

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Ok so I just wanted to come back to this and say that yeah I definitely still feel the same way towards the advanced material I’ve been trying, but I just went back to a manga I started reading months ago and never finished, and I read back up to around where I stopped. It definitely wasn’t as hard as what I’ve been trying to work on now, but I also did struggle a fair bit at the time and now while re-reading I was able to read and understand pretty much all of it up to where I left off, even almost as fast as I would read in English and with near full understanding too. This has shown me that going back to easier material is probably good for you every now and then if nothing more than for a confidence boost.


Based on this and what you wrote at the beginning, would you say the main problem is that you keep running into new vocab, despite having studied a lot already?

So I heard about Noragami a well. One reason I’m a little reluctant to start reading it in Japanese. But that’s pretty amazing that you can recognize the vocab from there that well!

Yup, sounds like the notorious intermediate plateau to me. Read more books on different topics, if possible. Try to find something that overlaps with your current vocab knowledgebase, but is new so that the learning curve is not too steep, but noticeable. If you enjoy fantasy, maybe try horrors and/or thrillers? If you’re comfortable with manga and VNs and/or LNs, it might be time for actual books :slight_smile: .

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I don’t want to offer any advice as we’re in the different place, as I still haven’t even finished WK, but

I’m currently after 1st volume of Noragami as well, and I wanted to take a chance to ask somebody, who just finished it, about one thing after atogaki (the very last page):

What is it referencing to? My best guess is the fact that authors potray their sensei in atogaki as amazing - but working even while on your deathbed might seem like a bad role modelling. :thinking:

And welp, if you don’t read afterwords, then nevermind :sweat_smile:

I feel like I’m doing a lot but I’m not feeling like it’s actually doing anything. Is there anything better I can or should be doing or is this just the way it is for a while until I actually like fully complete like dozens of books or whatever?

I’m only Level 28, but I read a lot, and I understand a lot of what I read and watch.
The secret is immersion.

And the person who screwed my head on straight about immersion, is Cure Dolly, who I has the best explanations on immersion that I’ve seen yet – why to do it, when to do it, how to do it.

Cure Dolly almost always talks about immersion, but here are some particular videos to watch, if you are interested:

One of my eye-opening moments is when she incidentally points out, at 2:40, that even little kids have an advanced vocabulary that you’ll never be prepared for with “core” decks, via 咥える, which you probably know as 加える. It’s a word that specifically means “to hold something in one’s mouth,” we have no word like it in English, and it’s in the first sentence of a story made for little kids.


Cure Dolly starts this video by talking about how disappointing it is to use Anki to study a bunch of vocab, and then immediately feel helpless in a page of manga.

Cure Dolly also presents a theory of multiple cores, that I find quite true to life.

Here’s another on the nature of words and vocabulary. Words are more like people, than definitions. To know a word is to know its life and its ecology.


The key thing is that in language learning, you can’t really afford to be perfectionist. You have to be okay with being uncomfortable, and not knowing what’s going on all the time, and give up notions of “mastery.” Instead, replacing it with progress.

A final thought is that engaging in free talk conversations with community tutors on iTalki twice a week, which should cost ~$20/week, is a FANTASTIC way to challenge and cross over perfectionism. Good ground rules are: No Lessons, No English, No Grammer, and No Corrections – just pure conversation that is free and immersive. If you want to ask about a grammatical point, or ask to be corrected on something specific, or need to pull in an English word here or there, that’s fine, but these are useful guidelines in the main for the acquisition of language.


So you are WK lvl 60, studying N3 N2 vocab and you just finished your first manga? It definitely seems that you should confront yourself to native material.

If you want to improve your comprehension of Noragami, study Noragami not some N3 or N2 deck!


Just keep immersing, it’s gonna pay off. One important thing is to read content that you actually enjoy. Stop reading with the main intent of learning. You’re there, you’re at a point where you can understand most sentences (I got the impression of that anyway). What got you into studying japanese? What was the thing that you were looking forward to doing? Well, you arrived. Do it.


This is really the best answer imo, agreed on all acounts

yeah, I have 17,000 known on koohi which doesnt count the 6000 on wk and other words I know that aren’t on either (there is some overlap, tbf doe). I’m STILL learning a lot of words, but I promise you it does get easier eventually.


Those decks are an inefficient choice imo. You’re basically just learning random words that may be relevant to the context your light novel has and may be a word the author chooses to use. Why not just straight up learn words that you know will be relevant to the contexts of your book and that you know the author likes to use? You may learn 30 words on day and have only 5 of them show up in your book. Why not use koohi and make sure all 30 of them show up in your book.

Granted you gotta learn all this stuff eventually anyways, but the order you do it in can really make your life easier and honestly…make reading a lot more enjoyable.

Agreed, hands down srs all that you can. I do 20 words a day and honestly, I don’t know if I would suggest doing more. Give it a shot and if you can do 30, awesome, but keep in mind that workload goes up until those burns come in.

Nowadays especially I just read till I get 20 words, stop, and then go over to another book that just read and don’t add words from. One intensive book and one extensive book. Just personal preference, but thats worth keeping in mind, OP.

Hard disagree. Conquer a domain first if you’re feeling stuck. Even real middle of the road difficulty school SoL/romcom light novels can require you to learn 10,000 words on top of what wk teaches to feel real comfortable with just picking up one off the shelf and understanding like…everything. There is plenty of words to learn, so theres no reason to intentionally try to read a bunch of different kinds of books unless you want to.


That implies you’re adding basically every unknown word you encounter in the intensive book to SRS. Is that the case? Personally I take a small fraction of the unknown words and only study those, largely due to a lack of time and patience. I’d guess I add 10-20% of the unknown words, but it’s hard to say. I only highlight some of the words I looked up and I only add some of those to SRS, which is why I don’t really know.

I also add a context sentence for the word I’m adding from the book I saw it in. It is helpful for nailing down the word better and having it available for when I fail a review is nice. But it’s very time consuming and can make my learning experience pretty inefficient. I’ve only SRS’ed about 1400 words in 15 months, or an average of 3 per day.

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Well yes…but I don’t suggest you do that unless you’re far along in your studies. I think I didnt start adding every word until I was maybe around 15,000 words srsed (so that wouldn’t be counting obvious words and ez katakana words). Honestly its hard to remember lol

Before that, I added frequency 2+ words and frequency 1 words that appeared at least once in the next two books I was planning on reading. Basically all I meant was that you get 20 words that you add to your srs and then stop.

Ah, I see! That makes me feel better for sure. My heuristic is checking the Innocent Corpus Yomichan dictionary to see if the word is fairly common. And I also add less common words if they include new kanji or new readings, or if they just seem interesting.

The problem is, I’m reading on my kindle and not on a computer where I can check things like frequency, so I wouldn’t really know where to stop. (And in general, thinking about adding words to SRS while I’m reading would kill my flow.) That said, because I’ve been getting into my books a lot lately, I’ve been putting off the word gathering step until after I finish the whole book, which can then make the process even more tedious. It’s taking me weeks to get through the words I highlighted in 本好き book 8, due to all the steps I have for deciding what to add and actually making the cards.


On the subject of how we each read and deal with mass vocabulary/SRS,

what I’ve ended up doing is I add pretty much everything new, but just by adding it to a word list in the dictionary app that I export, and that eventually pipes into a massive Anki pipeline set to filter in new words randomly each day.

So just by reading whatever I feel like and looking things up to when I need to (or think I’ve spotted a new word), I can trust that at least eventually all the words will travel make the lengthy journey through:

  1. only looked up once / don’t think it’s that interesting a word, added it to a source-specific list
  2. looked up twice or just think it’s a neat word → added it to an export word list
  3. eventually get around to exporting the word list again
    (right now I’m backed up since I have only a few prefecture names still in the hopper and I want to at least have a chance at learning those before the number of new items get too bloated)
  4. have them come up on anki
  5. see them enough to learn them SRS-wise
  6. forget them again and repeat some stage of the process

… without me really having to do anything that feels obtrusive. Just regular looking stuff up and anki in the morning.

It means I won’t see stuff I encounter for the first time today in SRS until like, realistically several months in the future. But in practice I’ve not really minded that. Through the law of “oh hey I just learned that,” somehow what comes up always seems pretty relevant anyway.

And without the baggage of “oh no I need to learn this now,” look-ups don’t feel like they take much mental energy at all. Especially since I instantly see from the app’s word lists if I’ve seen it before, if it’s in my anki hopper (and potentially one I’ve “learned” already in SRS), or if it’s in the “ready-to-export” list. That goes a long way to reinforce the ones I have seen before, and make me feel better about the ones I haven’t.

(P.S. definitely agree self-made decks are far more fulfilling than the premade bulk ones, and am ambivalent about the “deep in one area” or “try broad stuff” aspect – I think both are good and more important than either is just reading whatever you’re enthusiastic about, whichever that is)

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Ahhh, gotcha gotcha. Yeah I mean honestly, if you cant get the exact frequency, I don’t see anything wrong with guessing. I mean sometimes you can pretty easily tell when a word will be useful. Like between 拷問 and 天照大神, your judgement will at least help you out a little right. There are exceptions since there are some words that honestly seem a lot less common than they are (e.g. 魑魅魍魎、醍醐味、怒濤) and words that seem like they would be common because of their english definition but actually aren’t and you could easily go a few books without seeing them (寂寥、和気藹々、痴がましい) . With that being said though, all of those words I just listed and all of the words you come across are used and worth learning eventually. So even if you do end up learning a real uncommon one, not a huge deal in the long run. I would just roughly guess when I think I got 20 good words (maybe go a bit over to like 22-23) and stop there. Again though, thats just me and I don’t have any firm belief that thats the best way. SRSing, yeah deffos, but how you go about getting the words from your book not so much.

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I can’t be the only person expecting a 大ゴミ pun somewhere, right?

I think my mnemonic had to do with dying in a gomibako or something.

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I honestly hit one “intermediate plateau” after another. I have no advice, just that I’ve been there too, and am there now.