Japanese in one year?! - Not your usual study log

:cherry_blossom: NeoArcturus’ Study Log :cherry_blossom:

Welcome to my study log!

I always wanted to learn Japanese since I was six years old. However, ten years passed until I actually started learning it… On Nov 30th, 2023, I finally began to learn Japanese!

There are various reasons why it took me so long to get started. The main reason was probaby because I was afraid of the thousands of kanji that I have to learn, but getting bullied at school also had a negative influence on my motivation.


Since Japanese is widely regarded as one of the hardest languages to learn, and since I am really fast learner, I thought of making a challenge out of this:

My goal is to get to a decent level of Japanese where I can comfortably read and listen to native Japanese material as well as produce decent Japanese text without having to look up too much, and that in just one year after picking up the language!

I started from absolutely Zero on Nov 30th, 2023, so this is probably going to be pretty hard, but I believe that this is an achievable goal! In my opinion, the key to success consists of consistency and dedication, and as long as you have that, you’ll be able to achieve everything, faster than you could ever imagine!


At the time I am writing this (Feb 20th, 2024), I am level 13 on WaniKani, finished with all N5 and N4 grammar points on Bunpro (which took me only one month), and started with N3 on Bunpro. My current study routine looks like this:

In the morning, I do my WaniKani and Bunpro reviews and try to do some listening practice. Later on, I also do my daily 25 lessons on WaniKani, and also try to add five new grammar points on Bunpro to my review queue. I also do some vocab lessons on Bunpro, but I don’t really have a fixed amount there.

Over the day, I translate a part from @drdru’s Tile World Chronicles (see the resources list below) and read all of the daily NHK Easy articles. I often also do a second review session for WaniKani and Bunpro before 6:00 P.M.

After 6:00 P.M., most of my time is dedicated to Japanese. I get my review queue on WaniKani, KaniWani and Bunpro to 0, do some additional grammar practice and finish the day with some handwriting practice.


I hope you find this log interesting! It’s main purpose is to document my progress, but it would also be awesome if it can help you. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them!

Here is a list of all the resources that I am currently using:

Tools:

Kanji and Vocab:

Grammar:

  • Bunpro (also for Vocab) (like WaniKani but with Grammar)

Reading:

Listening:

Userscripts:

WaniKani:

Forums:


List of some threads that are important for me:

(Linking RedGlare’s very helpful post on custom sections here :durtle_the_explorer:)

List of study logs I’m actively stalking :man_detective::

(Note: These are only the ones I’m actively reading, but I read pretty much every study log when I see it)

Threads by me on other forums that you might find interesting:

And because the first posts here wouldn’t make sense without knowing what my introduction originally was, I’ll post it here in details:

Original OP

WARNING: If you are a person who feels offended rather quickly, you should leave this thread NOW! To make my loooooooooooong posts somewhat interesting, they will be a bit… let’s say, very direct. I don’t mean everything I say.
I do, however, want to state very clearly that you should not complain about me writing stuff like this and instead just leave, because I will write it anyway, so leaving can save time and energy for both of us.

So let’s start.

Before you read any further, you should definitely read the following section, otherwise my response might not be very nice, and believe me, you won’t like it when I’m not nice…

During my whole life of almost 17 years, I’ve made myself a lot of enemies and got quite a few haters because of how I am. If I somehow write something stupid that makes you feel like you want to hate me or the things I’ve said or the way of how I said the things that I said, I’m sorry… for you not being able to handle me like 99% of the people I know. If you feel like you want to hate me or be a hater of mine, feel free to leave this thread, as I want to keep this a peaceful conversation.

Ok, before I start, I’m sure you have some questions after reading the title of this thread. I’ll try to answer them right away:

Why are you in such a rush to learn Japanese?

Because I want to use it: I want to speak it, listen to it (and understand it, of course), write it and read it. I’ve always wanted to learn Japanese since I was 6 years old, and now, 10 years later, I’m finally starting it.

You can’t just learn a language in such a short time, that’s not what learning a language is about!

Who said that?

Who even are you?

I am a 16 year old (almost 17 years old) autistic and very unlikeable teenager, doing school at home (homeschooling), with a lot of free time and a lot of hobbies. My favorite hobbies are Atomic chess (I’m on Lichess as ReChesster, in case you ask where I play), doing Math (I’m really really great at Math, don’t even dare to challenge me), reading scientific stuff, playing piano, writing bad music that I don’t like, listening to music I do like, reading, speedcubing, playing Yu-Gi-Oh etc. I have more hobbies than friends (I have 0 friends).

How do I make friends?

I’m the worst possible person to answer this question, believe me…

Ok, enough boring stuff, let’s just start right away:

What do I want to achieve in one year?

I want to be able to read Japanese books and mangas without any major problems, as well as being able to speak Japanese at a decent level.

What is my ultimate goal?

Fluency, of course. Everything below that is just a bad excuse for being lazy.

How often will I update this thread?

Whenever I feel like it and have time.

Why do I want to make this?

Because I want to share my story. Maybe I’ll be able to help others by writing this, or others will be able to help me.

My progress so far:

I’ve started my journey on November 30th, using the Tofugu guide, by learning Hiragana, using Tofugu’s guide as well. The next day, I learned Katakana, again, using Tofugu’s awesome guide, signed up on WaniKani and started learning Kanji. Currently I am at level 3.

(As you might have noticed, my resources are mainly Tofugu, Tofugu and Tofugu. I like their guides a lot, but if you have any other suggestions, please let me now.)

I often listen to Japanese music and try to read the descriptions and lyrics (by reading I mean say the words by looking at the text.

And that’s pretty much it.

I did practice my pronunciation a lot, but without noone around me speaking Japanese, it’s hard for me to tell how well I am doing.

I am planning on starting to learn Grammar very soon though, so I think it will get more interesting soon. I don’t know if I will be able to actually reach my goal within one year, but it’ll be still a fun challenge, and if you decide to stick around here, be my guest. Just make sure to not hate me, because otherwise I will hate you, too…

Also, I am mainly writing this for myself to practice English as well, as my English isn’t that good yet, as well as to practice writing longer texts because that’s something I’ll soon have to do for school.

See you someday again, maybe!

Have fun!

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Welcome to WaniKani and this community!
We have a very nyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaice commeownity and I really hope you’d like it here! :cat2:

Anyway, may the Great Cat of purrseverance help you achieve your goals! :cat2:

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Good luck on your learning journey! And welcome to the study log crew :writing_hand: :man_dancing:

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Your english is pretty good if you’re a second (third, fourth etc) lang learner!

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You mentioned Tofugu so possibly you’ve read this already, but there are some things to be cautious of when learning Japanese via popular songs (article here, down in the Warning section).

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Interesting intro and I wish you well in your learning journey.

As a possible useful reference to you, can I mention “Alexander Arguelles”?
You might have heard of him already - he is an accomplished polyglot and shares interesting information about language learning. One of his main methods is Shadowing. There were some interesting posts in our community here when I searched for him, and I recommend checking his Youtube channel. (I have not used his methods extensively yet - I am no expert…)

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Thanks a lot! I apurrciate it a lot :wink:

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Thank you :heart:

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Thank you! English is my second language, and while I’m pretty decent at grammar, I need to extend my vocabulary knowledge a lot!

Thank you! I actually haven’t read this yet. I will keep these things in mind!

Thank you, that sounds very interesting, I will definitely check him out!

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There seems to be a sense that, since rock was invented in America, American English is the language it ought to be sung it.

lol wut

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Btw, if you don’t mind a recommendation, here’s a very good resource for jumpstarting reading and listening to Japanese

It is not free, but I think it might work very well for your goal.
There are other (and free) reading resources:

https://drdru.github.io/twc.html

But you might want to learn a bit more kanji and grammar before using them. Satori Reader, however, is great in the way it can be accessable right after learning the kana.

Anyway, best of luck with your studies! :cat2:

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Yes, you can do this. As a young person with the time and motivation, you can tackle this with your whole being.

Kanji is only a part of things. Grammar is only a small part of things.

Throw your soul at this.

There are a few of us here with advanced degrees in math, physics, engineering. We will hold off on challenging you to a duel for now. :stuck_out_tongue:

btw it is possible to write in the forums using \LaTeX code.

x^2

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Love your enthusiasm, but remember that in the end, it might also not be a bad idea to enjoy the process rather than just trying to rush things :wink: You will see how you’ll fare and you can adjust your approach when you feel like it. The most important thing is consistency, and let me tell you, having a great community of language learners like here on WaniKani can be an immense help to keep at it. Have fun!

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Thanks for your recommendations, I will check them out later and let you know what I think :wink:

Thanks for your encouragement! And it’s good to know that LaTeX works here, but how can I use it in a post in a way such that the website knows I intend to use LaTeX?

Of course, I will be enjoying the process of learning the language, just because I intend to learn it fast it doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy it :wink: And thank you!

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See this post

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I’m offended by the lack of potatoes

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approving Idaho noises

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I’m doing my best, man

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If you are offended, I have no choice… but to call the POLICE! :police_car:

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Alright, since I’ve just hit level 4, I thought this might be a good time to update this log.


“The Prologue” or “Just a bunch of annoying stuff”

But, before I begin, I advise you to read this small warning:

Small warning

Warning

Oh, and perhaps you should also read the text that goes with it:

Text

This post might contain some words, phrases or smilies that make you go brrrrrr. If you are a person that goes brrrrr very easily, you might consider leaving this thread before you go brrrr. Also, if you often get offended by tomatoes, you should leave as well, because they’re my favorite vegetables.

Also, I don’t mean everything I say because there are some persons that are actually allergic to cats (shame on them). If you are one of these persons and still want to talk to a cat, talk to @trunklayer, he’s the nicest cat I have ever met!

Ok, so now that’s out of the way, I’ll have to discuss another thing with you. Today I’m really annoying, huh?

A few days ago I realized that my log is more like a blog. This made me think if I should change the name. So which name do you think should I use for the name of the thread?

  • study log
  • study blog
0 voters

Alright, now let’s move on to the actual topic of this post before you get too bored to read any further and just go away to watch some cat videos instead of doing your reviews.


“The Body” or “Just a bunch of annoying stuff”

So, what happened it the last 5 days? I hit level 4, and that’s pretty much everything…

Just kidding, of course I did some more. I ate and drank and slept and… well, you know where this is going.

Ok, now to be serious, I did actually do more! AMAZING, isn’t it?
What did I do? Why did I do it? Who did it? So many questions, right? So, let’s start at the beginning:

About 1 week ago, I realized that it’s impossible to check all the Vocabulary that are not Apprentice at any point by using only WaniKani. After doing some research, I found out that there exists the Self-Study Quiz by @rfindley that makes it possible to do exactly that. So I just downloaded it and started practicing, right?

Wrong! I was too lazy to install the user-script because there wasn’t a download button that instantly downloads the program. I began to use user-sripts when I finally set everything up a few days ago while I was trying to download the bottled WaniMeKani. Yes, you heard me right, I didn’t start using userscripts for learning Japanese, I originally started using them for WaniMeKani.

One way or another, I finally was able to use userscripts, and thus, the first thing I did (after installing WaniMeKani in a bottle, of course) was installing the Self-Study Quiz. I actually managed to get a decent 95% on the first day and a very noice 98% yesterday, so good job, WaniKani, I approve the SRS system :+1:

Alright, did anything else exciting happen? Yes, namely this: Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you!

More? Yes: I downloaded the heatmap and some weird percentage stuff, and the heatmap looks sooooo coooooooool :heart_eyes:


And this: I discovered WKStats!

So, in short, I got a lot of new and cool looking stuff, and if you have any other user-scripts that you recommend, feel free to share them with me!

Let’s continue with the actual topic:
Thanks to the help of @Leebo, I was able to write my first ever Japanese sentence! It’s this one:

十六才です。

If you don’t have a single idea what this means, you should go do you lessons RIGHT NOW!

Last, but not least, I built myself a schedule for how to conquer WaniKani lessons and review:

I usually wake up at 6:00 A.M. and go to sleep at around 10:00 P.M., giving me 16 hours every day. Based on the review times, I decided that I’ll proceed like this:
I unlocked level 4 at 6:00 P.M. and instantly did the Radical lessons using the lesson picker, a nice tool that does what it says, even though it doesn’t speak. This way, I’ll have my first reviews at excatly 10:00 P.M., and since radical reviews usually shouldn’t take too long, I think I can quickly do that before going to sleep. The next reviews will be at 6:00 A.M. next day, but I’ll do them at 7:00 A.M. because I don’t sleep next to my laptop. The next reviews will then be next day at 6:00 A.M., but again, I’ll do them at 7:00 A.M. Then, the last radical reviews are two days later at 6:00 A.M. again (yes, the timespan between Apprentice 4 and Guru 1 is exactly 47 hours, but again, I’ll be doing them at 7:00 A.M.

Now, when I unlock a new level, I don’t unlock only the radicals, but also the kanji I know the radicals for and the vocabulary I know the kanji for. As I said, I use the lesson picker to assure that I can do the radicals first, and while I guru the radicals, I’ll slowly do the lessons for the other stuff I unlock, too, which means by the time I unlock the kanjis, I’ll already have done some kanji (and vocabulary lessons).

Anyway, if everything goes like I plan it, I’ll then unlock the kanji lessons. I’ll plan to do them instantly, as it shouldn’t be too much since I’ve already did a part of them while I dealt with the radicals. The first reviews should then be at 11:00 A.M., the next ones at 7:00 P.M., then we’ll have 6:00 P.M. next day and then 5:00 P.M. two days later, along with unlocking the next level. For the first 3 reviews of the kanjis, I’ll do them instantly, and then I’ll do the last one one hour later, at 6:00 P.M. because this way, I set up the cycle for the exact same process, as I can do the radical lessons at 6:00 P.M.

Isn’t it genius? This way, I’ll be able to level up every Saturday at 6:00 P.M. Of course, I’ll have to be careful how I do the vocabulary lessons such that they don’t end up at 10:00 P.M., together with my radicals, but besides that, I think this is pretty efficient. I’ll have to be able to keep that routine and repeat it consistently, otherwise I will be screwed in my “one year to Japanese”-challenge…


“My goals” or “Just a bunch of annoying stuff”

So, what will I try to do next? Well, I decided that I’ll starting making myself familiar with Japanese grammar, as I haven’t done it yet (because I’m a lazy 牛). Also, I wanna try to hit level 5 on Chrismas, and who knows, I might give you an update there on how things went so far. Who konws, life is full of surprises :eyes:

Regarding grammar, if anyone of you has any advice for me on how to start learning it, I’d be very thankful! I have no idea where to start because it’s just so much :sweat_smile:

I also decided that I will go through all 1000+ question in the Self-Study Quiz to see where I am right now. This includes Japanese —> English, English —> Japanese and the audio quiz. I think if I get above 90%, I’m good to go.


“The Outro” or “Just a bunch of annoying stuff”

Let’s finish this post with something more interesting. First of all, @plantron said this:

In my first post, I said this:

So, @plantron, I guess we two have a problem now, eh? @latepatate this is your fault for not being dominant enough here!

Then, I have to make a very emotional speech as well. Since I don’t want to to cry, I’ll give you the chance to not look at what I have written by hiding it. If you are a person that cries very easily, please do not click, might might cause serious injuries to your mental health or body.

Very emotional speech

Very emotional speech

Very emotional times :cry:

So, if you liked this post as well, then consider smashing the like button and… oh wait, that’s not a YouTube video…

Let me try again…

If you liked this post, I’d be happy about some positive feedback. (Negative feedback is not appreciated because I need an ego boost)

And, to finish this post, here’s an FTQ (Frequently thought questions):

Why are your posts so long?

Because my life is very exciting.

How are you so beautiful?

By looking in a mirror 24/7 saying “I am the most beautiful being in the world”.

Stop getting on my nerves!

Stop reading my posts and start reading the warnings.


I wish you a nice Chrismas season, and stay happy (or else you’ll not be happy, and that would be a shame since Chrismas is next week and I still need some money to buy some gifts)!

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