~Level 7 Leaderboard Group

I haven’t really read any of the tofugu articles or anything but it’s good to hear it from somewhere else! I grew up in a bilingual household where my parents often wanted us to speak in Danish but never taught us how to read and write, which I think is very common. Despite that, I can still read it without any issues and even though my writing is lacking a bit ( I probably come off as a bit dyslexic) and my written grammar isn’t as strong as it could be, I’m actually pretty well off without having ever spent a minute trying to learn it. It’s been this thought process I’ve kind of applied to my Japanese learning. I find writing to be really difficult, boring and tedious. But I figure if I can focus on learning to speak (forming output) and learning to read (knowing the kanji) I should still be able to indirectly develop some basic written skills for now.

I think this is a great point I could remember to focus on a bit more. Mostly when reading up about grammar you find stand alone sentences and that can be a bit tough sometimes without prior context. Especially since Tobira doesn’t provide translations of the sample sentences and you have no context, sometimes I’m left scratching my head a bit if the grammar explanation didn’t click to begin with.

I’ve already taken this advice to heart after reading it and just wrote to my italki teacher! There are so many grammar points in my current chapter that I’m having such a hard time getting a grasp on. So I asked if we could look at these, she could explain them to me in her own words and then we could practice with some conversation that makes use of it afterwards to help reinforce it.

Thank you so much for all the good advice!


Lol yeah don’t try to talk to toddlers, it is the most demotivating thing ever! I remember once being on a train with a small child right across from us talking to their mom and I understood nothing xD They mumble a lot too and I guess a lot of kids stories tend to be super incoherent and all over the place haha.

I really feel this so much too :broken_heart: So I try to focus on looking back and seeing how much more I understand now than I used to just a year ago.
By the end of this year I’ll also only be solidly in N3. I keep trying to find ways to somehow speed up my process so I can at least finish N3 by the end of the year but I just don’t see it working with my schedule. No matter how I twist and turn things in my head and it bums me out a lot. I guess what we need to set are smaller goals.


I’m finally not sick anymore (well, still a little bit but feeling a lot more like a real person today), woohoo :slight_smile:

I’ve checked it out a little bit today and it seems cool! How do you decide who to talk to though? It seems a little bit impossible as there doesn’t seem to be any way to search by interests or anything like that. Maybe that’s because I’m on the free version?

Both @MinTako & @GrumpyPanda - solid N3 sounds really good! I’ll be lucky if I get through N4 grammar points by the end of the year. Surely there’s quite a lot of Japanese media you can engage with at the N3 level, maybe not effortlessly (vocab is always a factor) but without too much of a struggle? (This might be my newbie ignorance talking though lol)

Is there maybe an individual book or manga or game (or show bit that’s probably the hardest) that is currently a little bit above your level that you could set as a goal for maybe 6 months from now to motivate you? For example - I have been finding playing games in Japanese pretty motivating - just now I’m playing pokemon sword, I’d like to play Zelda breath of the wild but it’s above my level right now - however as it’s a game without too much dialogue if I keep up with my grammar studies then maybe in 6 months I can give it a shot. If it’s still way over my head then I can always try again later! I’m totally expecting that I won’t understand 100% and will have to look up words even when I get to the point where it’s playable - waiting until I had 100% comprehension would take waaaay longer so I guess how well this approach works/how slow it is probably depends on what your tipping point for how much you need to understand before enjoying something is.

This may not be helpful at all! I realise that I’ve been studying Japanese for way less time than both of you so may well be speaking out of newbie ignorance/enthusiasm lol.


This is actually a problem that took me quite a bit to realize:
I’ve tried to get into Manga, Light Novels and Japanese Games quite a few times before studying Japanese, but I never really enjoyed them. So making it more tedious by adding minimal understanding doesn’t make it better :see_no_evil:
I feel like this should have been obvious… But somehow it wasn’t :'D

The things I do actually enjoy are rather dialogue heavy and deep like the Re:Zero anime or Japanese audiobooks, stuff that is definitely way beyond my reach. While I do consume Japanese media for practice, I don’t really have any “WOW I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS”-things within the near future :pensive:

Maybe I should try to pick up a game, like the ones you suggested. I have kind of been meaning to replay BoTW at some point xD I did try a few mobile games cause I figured they were great for on the go but I don’t general play mobile games and/or they were way to difficult which is why maybe it didn’t stick.

I’m currently on a huge anime hype phase so I’m trying really hard to remember to get some listening practice in while watching. I’m definitely much more mathematically minded and languages have never come easy to me, so I’ve found that if I don’t actively focus on listening I don’t pick up anything because I get consumed by the subtitles. Which sucks, especially since my boyfriend who doesn’t study Japanese has a ridiculously huge vocabulary because he’s one of those sponge types that just absorbs tons of words while binging anime :sob: For the longest while I avoided talking about my studies with him because it was the biggest demotivator putting so many hours into something and then while mumbling a passage from Genki I didn’t understand having him come and basically be able to translate it :expressionless: :upside_down_face:

I’ve only just semi recently started on my N3 textbook, so I’m still very much on my beginning N3 steps. But I’ll definitely say that after I finished my N4 book (Genki II) was when I finally felt like I had made some solid progress into learning Japanese. I spent like 4 years on N5 ~ N4 due to bad motivation xD


What is your N3 textbook? Which did you use after Genki II for the rest of N4? :thinking:

EDIT: Ah, I think I got a little confused :see_no_evil:
You’re using Tobira after Genki, right?
Genki II covers maybe… 1/3rd of N4? Half at best. Tobira covers many of the missing N4 grammar points and doesn’t quite cover everything in N3. That’s why I don’t usually think of Genki as N4 and of Tobira as N3.
Genki II felt more like “Finishing N5 and making a good dent into N4” and Tobira like “Finishing N4 and making a better dent into N3”

After reading about what you should be able to do at N3, that sounds awesome!! You could definitely start enjoying Anime without subtitles (probably more slice of life stuff) and read easier books with a dictionary with relative fluidity! I got some great advice in high school from my French teacher, and it’s the only thing I remember from that time lol. She said to be “comfortable with ambiguity” when you are learning a language. I think this is what will keep me from burning out!

@sycamore My personal rule for HelloTalk is that if someone posts in English I will comment in English, and if someone posts in Japanese I will comment in Japanese. My own posts are almost exclusively in Japanese. I don’t use the search function to find people. I surf the news feed and find things to comment on that I feel are interesting, and if the person seems nice, I might send them a private message. Also, despite the stereotype that Japanese people are shy, I have gotten many more initial messages than I have sent out.

I’ve also gotten people who aren’t Japanese speakers asking me to teach them English. I just ignore them.

I agree! I would be ecstatic to be at N3 by the end of this year! Pretty sure I have a better shot at N4.

@MinTako It was really interesting reading about your experience with Danish, and it proves that you don’t need to really physically write in the language to have a full grasp, or even a high degree of fluency. You consider Danish your native language right? Both English and Danish?

In my conversation about Kanji, there are even more obscure Kanji that speakers can read/speak but can’t remember how to write, so I think that unless you’re interested in living in Japan, or interested in calligraphy, it’s definitely a skill you can develop much much later.

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I took some N4 practice tests and was able to pass and get the majority of everything right after finishing Genki II. I guess it depends on how much content you consume on the side. I watch a lot of anime, browse a lot of Japanese shopping sites, etc. in my free time.

Also an example from Tobira is one of the grammar points is ~必要 { がある/はない } and I feel like a lot of things that are considered grammar are like this. But in all honesty if you just know that 必要 means necessary then I feel like this grammar point that it means ‘is necessary to do/ not necessary to do’ is extremely obvious. I plan to try for the N3 if the practice tests go well right after finishing Tobira because I plan on supplementing with a lot of stuff on the side, such as the book clubs here. Which I find more fun and engaging than purely diving into grammar/vocab crunching.

I consider my native language to be English as I definitely feel more comfortable reading and writing in English, but speaking wise I’d say its same same. I think if someone did one of those ‘how much were you paying attention’ things and showed me a clip and asked me what language it was afterwards I might not even be able to answer because I experience them equally fluent so I don’t think about it at all xD

It’s probably because as a baby my world was in Danish only until I started in preschool which is where I started picking up English. After that English quickly became my primary language because school and friends. So I’d say exposure wise as a kid it was kind of equal too. Used English the most but Danish was technically my first language.

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Yeah, that’s my take too. I don’t think of most grammar as grammar. Things like the passive and causative that can’t easily be broken down into other grammar points are definitely more what I consider grammar.
However, there are quite a few like verb[た]+ばかりthat, even though they are related, I feel like you still need to look up to know the proper usage :thinking:
But I think that’d be the main difference. When I think of “N4”, I think of having seen and understood every piece of N4-grammar, which is definitely not required for getting a good score on the JLPT.
But really, that’s just a difference of perspective :man_shrugging:

Yeah, if you pick up many of these tiny things outside of your textbook it’ll definitely fill the gaps.

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ドキドキする!!!! They came in today! :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes:


Yeah I totally agree!

And I do totally understand where you are coming from with the ‘knowing all of it’ part. I think I just know I’ll probably forget and need to pick up some of it along the way again anyways so I’ve given up on that xD

Yay!! I’ve never seen the first one before, but it looks super cute! I’m guessing it is beginner friendly, do you know what it’s about?
And I have Yotsuba book 1 as well! Haven’t started it yet but let me know if you wanna try to tackle it together sometime. Luckily there is the previous book club to lean back on against too.

It’s called ご注文はうさぎですか。(Is the Order a Rabbit?). From my estimation it’s intermediate/advanced but I loved the anime so much that I wanted to tackle the manga no matter what. It’s on my list for later this year. I love the material so I think I will be satisfied with a page or two a day.

Basically, it’s an irreverent slice of life about a bunch of high school girls who work at various coffee shops and tea shops in what looks like a Venice/Amsterdam town mashup lol and there is an incessant focus and obsession with cute rabbits. :rabbit:

Yes! I would love to! I’m planning on starting it in earnest sometime in February so if you wanted to read a chapter a week on our own, and then get together and read it aloud on a zoom call or something and discuss? I love doing dramatic readings and I have never tried anything like that in Japanese, so it might be fun :slight_smile:

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I also have the first yotsuba and would be up for joining in with this if that would be cool! :slight_smile:


Yes please!! Absolutely! And the work of the vocabulary list has already been done for us! :slight_smile:

How is Haikyuu going? How are they running the reading?


It’s been going good so far (though what with being ill I’ve not even started this week’s reading yet :grimacing:)

For the readings, there’s a table for each chapter with the characters that appear (one of us adds it each week) - people select a role to read. If there’s not enough roles or one role is huge then it can be split between people. On the night of the read-through we first go through just reading it in Japanese - then we take another pass through and translate (the first time one person did two pages then it just went through the group like that - later sessions we’ve just been translating the parts that we read). Then there’s usually some miscelaneous chat!


Oh! That sounds like a great idea! We can definitely make that work! :slight_smile: I’ll let MinTako reply and then we can wait to see if anyone else wants to join, and maybe we can follow that model of reading and translating if you think it’s been working for the group!


@trombonekun91 @sycamore
I’ll keep an eye on this! I have all the books, and done a little bit of reading. I’m not a people person at all, so a group reading like that is kiiiiind of out of the comfort zone, but moving past that is probably just what I need. :sweat_smile:


Absolutely! We will keep you in the loop. :slight_smile:


Just added my name!!

I know I’m a little late to the party but I am excited to join you all on this journey…


I have よつばと! lying around here somewhere, might read along with you guys too :heart:
I do have exams from February until April though, so I probably don’t have the time to join for the readings/discussions :pensive: