The best realization I’ve had learning Japanese is that I should stop studying so much, but it took a while to get there.
My original goal was to reach level 60 in a year. I read the ultimate guide and figured, hey, if this dude can do it, so can I, and started orienting my daily schedule around when WaniKani reviews were due.
That didn’t last too long. I got about a third of the way through before realizing that, for some reason, I stopped having as much time to do things like, you know, study Japanese. So then I pushed my goal back to a more realistic two years, but as I started getting close to around level 40 I started realizing there was a lot of vocabulary I didn’t know, and slowed down to study more vocab.
Then when I got to around level 50 about a year ago I realized that a lot of the extra vocabulary I’d been studying wasn’t sticking because somewhere along the way I’d forgotten that the point of studying was to use Japanese, not study Japanese and I needed to spend like, way more time just reading and listening to and actually using Japanese.
Magically, my Japanese started getting way better. Apparently the point of learning a language is not to race to memorize as many things as possible, who knew?
So if you’re just starting out, here’s my tip! Study a lot, but don’t forget there’s a point where you should stop and actually make good use of that studying.
Remember to ask yourself: why am I studying this language? In my case I really like anime and manga and wanted to more naturally engage with native Japanese content. Having a goal in mind is good for staying motivated. But it’s healthy to give yourself a break if you need one. Other responsibilities come first, after all
I’m not the OP, but in my opinion, you’re ready to start today! Find something you want to read/hear/play in Japanese and dive right in right now! You’ll be frustrated at first, but you really will see gains after a while!
I’ve been checking out the absolute beginner book club in WK but seems the book choices are mostly graded with JLPT N4 difficulty in Natively. Right now I’m still halfway through N5 grammar. So, I wonder if I should study all of the N5 and N4 grammar points first before starting with a manga or book.
Absolutely, I think as long as you’re constantly reading and listening and everything you should probably be fine! If you’re JUST starting obviously studying is most productive, but you should try to read simple things too! It was at the point where I was getting into novels and then tried to add every word I didn’t know to an Anki deck, even though I could infer most of them from context that I was like, wait, this is silly. I don’t need to study EVERY word I come across. I have still been using yomichan and such to study some words, but I realized that I probably shouldn’t spend more time studying than using Japanese at this point.
wow It’s surprising you were level 50 a year ago, I was convinced you must have been level 60 when I first watched your review videos. this is because you were reviewing japanese games and anime in depth. now I’m lv.40, It’s happy to imagine things what I would be able to do when I reach lv.50.
it’s honestly not THAT radically different lol, the majority of the kanji you’ll need you learn before level 30. after that it just fills in all the holes you’ll have so you’ll just be slightly further towards fluency
It’s like, as I get close to certen threshold point, productivty of my japanese knowledge go up even faster. when you play league of legends, the more you get cooldown reduction stats, the more your power increases exponentially. someday I would eventually reach high plateau, It feels like I’m not there yet.
I was rushing until before hell levels, it became too hard for me, many similar vocab and vocab I have never heard or seen before, then I realized sticking to memory long time is the main goal here, not finishing in 1 year or 2 years.
I just looked back to see where I was up to when I started reading.
It looks like it was about 3 months after I started WK - I was about level 14, and only about halfway through N5 on Bunpro - which was quite a shaky foundation.
I struggled - but I read the book, with a lot of help. I think whenever you start reading it’s going to be difficult - being faced with a wall of text is frightening, though often made easier when you realise it’s the table of contents.
I vaguely recall someone saying the next ABBC pick is maybe on the higher side of difficulty for the club. So maybe only jump in if it interests you. But don’t wait till you’ve finished N4 grammar! Reading is a great way to consolidate.