Krt100's Study Log 🤖

Alright, it’s time to make my very own study log and to make it interesting for me and others on the internet, I’ll post my studies publicly. For the most part, I’ll post weekly reports, but i might eventually share what I’m immersing myself into that’s related to Japanese.

For the latter, you can mostly expect any mecha content from me because the first three Armored Core games on PS1 are one of the main reasons why I started studying the language more seriously in the last few months. Speaking of AC, here’s the Raven’s Nest logo which is one of the best logos that I’ve ever seen:

I might also return to space opera anime in the future because I’d like to finish the remaining classic Space Battleship Yamato series and movies.

Brief self-introduction

My introduction thread is privated (guests can’t see it), so I’ll extremely briefly introduce myself. I’m from Slovenia and I’ve been trying to study this language for 15 years at this point (started as a teenager, but life got complicated over the years, so I studied on and off as a result). The only things that I never forgot were the Hiragana and Katakana.

Goals for 2024

  • reach at least level 20 in WaniKani
  • try to finish Genki I and II
  • start reading
  • try to play and beat a video game in Japanese (preferably without furigana)
Current resources
  • Wanikani (kanji learning)
  • Genki I and II (textbook grammar)
  • Maggie Sensei (more practical grammar/everyday Japanese)
  • Satori Reader (reading practice, vocabulary mining)
  • Jisho (Japanese dictionary)
  • PONS (a dictionary for many languages; used for English to Slovenian translation and vice-versa if needed for obvious reasons)
  • Google Translate (in case PONS doesn’t provide me a clear answer)

Current studying routine

  1. WaniKani reviews at least twice a day (preferably more if I can spend a few minutes at work to do just a few items)
  2. 15 new items at minimum every day if available and up to 30 at most in one day (will be adjusted if needed)
  3. do some grammar study whenever possible
Resources I plan on using for language practice

Reading
NHK News Web Easy

Listening
Podcasts:
1. Nihongo no Teppei (already did in the past, but I’ll restart it)
2. Let’s learn Japanese from small talk! (I appreciate the episodes being long and the inclusion of vocabulary lists for each episode)

  • News channels on YouTube
  • Japanese radio

Watching

  • mecha and space opera anime (especially the older ones); it’ll take a long time before I can actually start watching something without relying on subtitles

My reward system

After 15 years of attempts, I’ve realized that the motivation for studying needs to be constantly maintained since learning this language can be extremely slow, especially if you attempt to learn completely everything and you don’t live in Japan. In case someone needs ideas, here’s how I do it:

  • for every essential task completed, I award myself 1€,
  • any additional tasks (like learning even more Kanji in WaniKani) done in a day also gives me 1€ each,
  • I can buy anything with the reward money at any point, but you need to restrict yourself from buying anything that isn’t necessary to live, like candy and snacks,
  • whenever I buy something, the amount of reward money gets reduced,
  • if I have any money left from a previous month after entering the next one, it gets transferred, which encourages saving up for something really expensive,
  • as the previous point implied, there is no limit in how much money you can get.

I’ve been using this system since the beginning of 2024 and it’s been the most effective way of self-motivation so far and it might get even better when I’ll eventually get to read and listen Japanese material.

This concludes my first post. There will likely be at least one more section in the future that I’d like to add depending on my needs.

11 Likes

Week 6 report (February 9th - Sunday 11th)

This one will be on the short side because it’s been only three days since I’ve made this study log and I didn’t write down what I was doing before that. I’m currently in the middle of level 2 in WaniKani and while I could learn the remaining seven Kanji, I’m having a lot of reviews pending for the Guru items this week, so I’ll only focus on reviews for at least day or two.

As for grammar lessons, I did Imabi lessons from #17 to #20 and one for Maggie Sensei (How to use いる+ある ( = iru + aru)). When I reach lesson #25 on Imabi, I’ll try to start reading NHK News Web Easy, so that I can start applying all of the grammar as soon as possible. I already have Anki set up for vocabulary mining.

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Week 7 report (February 12th - February 18th)

I reached level 3 in WaniKani and I only did one grammar lesson (Imabi #21) because I was too busy. While I could probably start reading now, I’d like to do a few more lessons to make it easier on myself. Speaking of reading, I’ll try to join the Absolute Beginner Book Club in the near future.

As for the listening portion that I plan on doing, I’ll slowly start introducing it into my studying routine by listening to podcasts while I drive to work and back, which should be about 30 minutes at minimum every day.

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Week 8 report (February 19th - February 25th)

About halfway through level 3 at the moment. I should be able to level up during the week at this rate, especially if I learn 15 items or more every day. While I could pay for the yearly subscription right now and I’m 100% willing to do it, I’d like to see if there’s any flavor text left at the very end.

Anyway, I started listening to the “Nihongo Con Teppei” podcast from the beginning while commuting to work and I can already kind of understand what Teppei is talking about in each episode. However, grammar and vocabulary need work, but at least I started applying what I managed to learn from Imabi and Maggie Sensei.

Speaking of Imabi, I got through nine lessons (#30 was the latest one) this week and I think I should be ready for reading as well. I’ve discovered Tadoku thanks to the WaniKani forum user “drdru” and this particular resource seems to be the perfect starting point. Level 0 seems to be extremely accessible due to the stories being very short, simple themes and them having many pictures, so you don’t have to constantly look up what every single word and sentence means. In case anyone’s interested, click here. There is also a post on Reddit from 2021 that has many stories already compiled and sorted by levels, so you don’t need to download several dozens of stories initially.

While these beginner level stories may not have Armored Core/FromSoft levels of intrigue, they are still way more suitable for me at the moment than the Furigana-free text that’s full of political, war, and machine/mecha vocabulary. It would be extremely sick if I was already good enough to read that, though. :grin:

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The reddit user has posted a new update recently : 2024 updated Free Tadoku Graded Reader PDFs 2,681 total pages for reading : LearnJapanese

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This is even better than what I posted. Thank you for sharing. :+1:

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Week 9 report (February 26th - March 3rd)

Made it to level 4 after more than a month since I started using WaniKani. Pretty good pace, but I think it will eventually get slower because I’m starting to focus on other aspects of the Japanese language as well and I might have less free time during the week in the future. If possible, I’d like to get as close as I can to level 30 until the end of the year as originally planned.

I started reading via Tadoku, but I realized after a few days that vocabulary mining is not very efficient with this resource because the PDF files don’t seem to allow you to copy text no matter what, so I’ll need another resource that’s more mining friendly … unless I can find an OCR method that can handle any Japanese vertical text without problems on top of the left-to-right text.

Week 10 report (March 4th - March 10th)

I only managed to do one single lesson on Imabi during the week (lesson #31). The most important change to my studying routine was drastically increasing the amount of items I learn on WaniKani per day because I think the current pace is too slow for me now. I decided to start doing 15 items minimum instead of 5. Whenever possible, I try to do 30 in one day (usually between Friday and Sunday).

This will drastically increase the amount of reviews that I’ll get in one day (the most I had so far was about 70 items). I’m motivated enough to dedicate hours of my free time to learning Japanese at this point, so I’m not worried too much about this. If all goes well, I’ll pump the minimum amount ever further. A very risky strategy, but I’m tired of doing it very slowly after so many years.

The second most important change was ditching Tadoku because vocabulary mining turned out to be too bothersome with this method, which nearly destroyed my motivation to do any reading; I might use it from time to time to test myself, though. I decided to switch to Satori Reader because it’s been recommended on this forum a lot and it seems way better for reading practice. I really like it so far and it actually restored my motivation to study even more.

I should start doing at least one grammar lesson per day instead of doing several of them at once in order to make the reading practice more effective - any extra that I can do in one day would be nice.


My overall motivation at this point represented by a Pizza Tower animation:
pizza tower mach 3 run

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Week 11 report (March 11th - March 17th)

Reached level 5 during the weekend. I decided to start prioritizing radicals and Kanji as soon as they become available, so that I can level up at least a few days earlier than usual. If needed, I’ll only do reviews for a day or two once in a while in order to not burn out.

As for grammar, I only had time to reach lesson #37 on Imabi this week. Fortunately, the lessons start to get shorter at this point, but there are still some that take a lot of time and energy to go through.

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Week 12 report (March 18th - March 24th)

At the moment, I’m very close to reaching level 6 because the remaining Kanji items are already available, but I’ll write this report first in order to not break my habit of writing one. In the next hour or two, I should be level 6 by then if I don’t do any major mistakes.

I’ve also stopped using Imabi a few days ago because its crew significantly changed how the lessons are ordered in the “Beginner I” section where I was at the time, which really messed up the progress I made. While I understand that the website is being remodeled in 2024, I didn’t expect it to change this drastically, so I decided to switch to something else that shouldn’t suddenly change on a whim. Then again, I admit that its content was a bit too much for me and I didn’t learn some of it. I’ll return to Imabi when my fundamental knowledge will be good enough.

After making some research, I’ve settled on Genki since that one shouldn’t change out of nowhere and is recommended by a lot of people. I’ll need to adjust how I study with it since the textbook was meant for classroom/group studying, but I’ll be studying it by myself all the time. Despite this, Genki seems to be more fun, yet more manageable compared to Imabi so far.

Week 13 report (March 25th - March 31st)

Took a break from learning new stuff, so all I did for the whole week was do reviews in WaniKani and Anki. Well, I did technically learn new cards in Anki for the Lesson 1 vocabulary in Genki I via the premade deck I found on Anki Decks | Genki Study Resources, but I already knew most of the words, so that hardly counts. I don’t regret it at all since I was starting to feel burned out and I needed to rest.

From now on, I’ll try to level up in WaniKani every two weeks at most instead of one because I need to focus on other aspects of the language as well. Not being a NEET or a student with Japanese as their major makes it harder for me to dedicate more time to this language. With this change, it will be very unlikely that I can reach level 30 by 2025, so I’ll be more realistic and lower the goal to at least level 20.

My explanation regarding recent changes

There might have been lots of changes in the last few weeks to how I study, but it used to be much worse in the past because I refused to do any changes. This resulted in a very slow and ineffective way of studying Japanese that lasted almost 15 years.

Things would’ve been much different if I had the mindset I have nowadays. I’d very likely have high level Japanese knowledge by now and would even start studying other languages, like Croatian because it’s the easiest language in the world for native Slovenian speakers. It would’ve been even easier to me due to being used to learning one of the hardest ones prior.

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Week 14 report (April 1st - April 7th)

I’ve managed to finish the first actual lesson in Genki I while doing every single exercise in the textbook and the workbook that could be done solo. Learning grammar this way turned out to be way more effective compared to just reading lessons on Imabi and do zero exercise afterwards.

As for WaniKani, I’ve only managed to unlock the remaining Kanji and that was pretty much it. I’ll try to Guru the remaining ones by the end of the week to stay on track.

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Week 15 report (April 8th - April 14th)

Reached level 7, but I’ll need to focus on vocabulary items for a few days because I currently have about 160 words in total available and I’d like to significantly reduce that number before I start with radicals and Kanji. On top of that, I completed 3 sections out of 6 in Chapter 2 in Genki I. I’d like to do the remaining 3 as soon as possible and attempt completing Chapter 3 as well if I’ll have enough time.

I’ll also try to restructure my very first post as planned and give it a bit of personality at the same time during the week because I find it a bit dull now. I kind of have a gist on what I’d like to change and maybe what would my “shtick” be.

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Week 16 report (April 15th - April 21th)

I’m about halfway through level 7 at the moment and I’ll be able to unlock the remaining Kanji within two days. Reaching level 8 by the end of the next week should be doable. Until then, I’ll also work on vocabulary items because I have over 100 of them and my goal is to learn at least the ones from level 6 (only have 83 of them left at the moment).

As for Genki I, I’ve finished chapter 2 and learned all vocabulary words for Chapter 3 via Anki. I’ll start working on Chapter 3 tomorrow because the very first lesson is about verb conjugations and is rather long compared to other lessons so far.

I’ve also updated my first post as planned. I’ve added some stuff, hid certain sections to make it concise and even replaced the emoji in the title appropriately. My study log will be mecha themed from now on because the first three Armored Core games impressed me so much that I’d like to play them in Japanese eventually. While the localization does its job well, I’ve noticed that some VAs get recycled a lot and some of the translations are questionable at times. The 0:42 timestamp in the following video is a good example (spoiler alert for Armored Core 2 and Another Age in case you’re interested or are playing right now):

That one female VA being used multiple times across several games in various roles, including a twist AI villain, makes it a very jarring experience as well. I’m not sure for all of the games, but the Japanese versions of the first three games at least tried to have variety in their VA casts from what I saw.

I’ve also recently discovered an anime series called “Armored Trooper Votoms” which seems to have inspired From Software due to the way how the mecha suits in that one use boosters, which is extremely cool and is one of my favorite features in AC games. It will take me several months before I can watch it or anything similar without subtitles or at least with Japanese ones. I also need to finish the remaining classic Space Battleship Yamato series and movies that I haven’t seen yet.

Anyway, this is it for this week.

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Week 17 report (April 22nd - April 28th)

The most notable achievements this week were:
1. reaching level 8 in WaniKani
2. actually starting to immerse myself in untranslated Japanese media for real

WaniKani is going well so far and I’m consistently leveling up every two weeks, which is good enough for now.

The second point gets a bit more interesting: I’ve started watching Game Center CX again after many years thanks to Twitch (some people are streaming the episodes on it … for now at the time of writing this). I used to watch it a lot with English subtitles, but eventually lost interest in it.
I’ve been watching it the whole week now and I actually like it even more this time thanks to WaniKani because I can actually read some of the text already. One of the Twitch streams even plays raw episodes, which I really appreciate because it forces me to pay more attention if I want to at least get the gist of what’s happening.

I’ll spend more time on Genki I next week because of two Labor days we’re having here in Slovenia instead of just one. I took it easy this week in order to not burn out right before the holidays.

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Week 18 report (April 29th - May 5th)

I’ve been able to learn every single radical and Kanji for level 8 up until now and I should level up in the next few days if all goes well. Surprisingly enough, the amount of vocabulary items I still have from level 7 is lower than usual (61 instead of nearly 100), so I should be able to learn those by the time I reach level 9.

It took me a bit too long, but I’ve managed to complete lesson 3 in Genki I. What ended up giving me motivation was simply skimming through the future lessons and that made me excited because all of it seemed extremely useful for what I actually want to learn and nothing will abruptly change them unlike Imabi in 2024.

After nearly 5 months of learning with WaniKani, I’ve noticed that it greatly improved my motivation to learn the language. In January, I could barely start studying it because Remembering the Kanji 1 was so much of a slog to use (not having any readings at all was the worst part of it). I made the right choice to switch to WaniKani instead. Nowadays, I feel like I just can’t wait to come home from work and start studying. :grinning:

This desire is even starting to become more powerful than playing video games, which is actually impressive considering I’ve been playing them for ~25 years at this point very frequently. Fortunately for me, the ones I play tend to be from Japanese developers or happen to have Japanese localizations, so I’m not worried about this.

Speaking of video games, I’ve completely beaten Armored Core 2: Another Age during the week (yes, that also includes all of the post-game missions). Here’s my final AC design that was used for them:

Pretty clunky and sluggish due to the high weight, but surprisingly versatile for the rest of the game once I could afford the necessary parts. The post-game missions didn’t give me too much trouble because I was already used to fighting all those Nine-Balls in the PS1 games. Extremely cool that they appeared at all, let alone being nearly untouched design wise. Pretty cool conclusion to the original timeline.

I’m not in a hurry to start with AC3 because that one starts its own timeline and I’d like to focus more on Japanese for a while.

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Week 19 report (May 6th - May 12th)

I’m very close to level 10 and I’m almost out of the Pleasant levels. Level 9 will be my favorite one during my WaniKani journey and I’ll explain why later (it’s Armored Core related - the veteran players will instantly know what I’ll be talking about). Anyway, I finished level 8 a bit earlier than usual, but I’d like to maintain this pace for as long as possible.

As for grammar, I only studied the vocabulary used in lesson 4 of Genki I. I should start learning its vocabulary via Anki every day because only doing a certain amount of words at a time and then studying grammar feels too slow and tedious. Fortunately, I already have a dedicated Anki deck for Genki I and II, so all I need to do is to translate the English text found on the cards into my native language; the translations are rather quick to do.

Okay, here’s the reason why level 9 will be my favorite level:

hustler one emblem

For anyone not in the know, this emblem belongs to a character called “Hustler One” and his AC is called “Nine-Ball”. Without spoiling anything, he’s infamous due to how hard he is to fight against. Here comes the ironic part: the major encounters with him are PAINFUL at best and HELL at worst and will almost always contain (your) DEATH. You also feel like you reached PARADISE if you do manage to beat him, especially without Human Plus.

Even his theme song is menacing:

The keywords written in bold capital letters happen to be the names of upcoming level categories in WaniKani. Things will very likely get tougher from now on, but I’m ready for the challenge. I hope I can keep leveling up consistently for long enough to start burning items.

Week 20 report (May 13th - May 19th)

This will be a short one because I slowed down a bit after reaching level 9. While I could keep on going and reach level 10 before June, I decided to take my time instead and relax - this gave me an opportunity to think about how to start studying grammar on a daily basis like I do with WaniKani and I already got an idea. I’m not sure how effective it will be in the long run, so I’ll share my results next week.

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Week 21 report (May 20th - May 26th)

A bit later than usual because of work and the following exhaustion in the evening, but at least I got to write this now and not break the streak.

Anyway, now I tried to study grammar during the week instead of the weekends and it turns out that if I have limited time to do something, I’ll actually take it more seriously. During the week, I managed to do one single grammar point in Genki I everyday, but lost motivation during the weekend. I think if I start doing more grammar during the week and start reading during the weekends, I should be able to start learning grammar much more effectively.

Additionally, I started using Bunpro because I heard a lot about it and it seems to be a good resource as long as you know what exactly you need and only use that. There is so much content that I’ll only use it as a supplement for Genki because it has several dedicated decks for it. What I also like about it is that you can see the progress for all five skill levels, which could come in handy if I ever try to go on a JLPT test.

As for WaniKani, I’m close to level 10 and it might happen after I’m done with morning reviews. I’ll post the following while I’m still at level 9:

9

Source: snes nerd’s YouTube community post

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Week 22 report (May 27th - June 2nd)

The most notable achievement in week 22 was reaching level 10, my first double digit level :partying_face:. After that, I focused more on Apprentice items rather than learning anything new.

While I did some grammar, it wasn’t much and it might stay this way for a week or two because of my job (vacations started). Fortunately for me, mine already starts in June, so this won’t take too long and I should be able to study more when it’s my turn.

4 Likes