List of questions that has been going around in my brain for a couple of days

Hai Hai!!!- I just got here recently. Welcome to the WaniKani Community meself ヾ(・ω・*)

I have been investing my time learning japanese for a couple of days now (although i’ve been procrastinating mostly which is a very bad habit (ノ_<。) )

I started using WaniKani at the end of April and still on level 3 during the time writing this very Topic.
While i was also doing my reviews (i’ve been enjoying my reviews, i find it exciting just like playing chess ((wait, is chess exciting?(・・ ) ?
)) i also did many research (and alot of having deep thoughts before sleep) about the language and it’s culture. I did lessons on Genki 1 BUT! i halted it because i lack Vocabulary which made me frustrated when i make my own examples or sentences. Now i’m gonna stop my short introduction and on to the main topic. (You can ask me more tho :eyes:)

I have a lot of questions i’m gonna ask you guys. Asking from a low level. Noobs also can answer hihi. It’s okay to answer a few questions tho; I’m very new, so expect me asking stupid ones.

  1. Should i start my Grammar lessons asap or should i strengthen my kanji and vocabulary? considering that most of us are under quarantine which makes time by our side.

  2. Is there any (e)books you can recommend to me? Genki is my only book as of now since everyone is using it and also VEry much popular. Any books that can benefit learning the language are welcome.

  3. Since this year’s jlpt got cancelled (was it? not sure) and time is on my side, should i go for N4 or N5 next year? also how many Kanji and vocabulary should i memorize for both N4 and N5?

  4. How many levels on WaniKani should i complete for both N4 and N5?

  5. I’m still using the vanilla WaniKani. any plugin recommendations for me?

  6. I see that WaniKani doesn’t help you hand writing Kanjis, but i am little interested writing it. how do i practice it with maximum effectiveness without disturbing WK’s absolute SRS system.

  7. Do you guys can still recall past Kanji’s and vocab? I’m little worried of myself that i might forget it, also when i got little confused when mixing the Onyomi - Kunyomi readings. HELP (ಥ﹏ಥ)
    how do i counter this?

  8. This seems personal but- When did you start learning japanese and what made you motivated? About me tho; i always had a dream moving to japan and living on a minimalist apartment around the urban streets of Tokyo, since i’m still very young (15yo), i still have the opportunity, and also ANIME WITHOUT SUBTITLES / MANGA RAWWWWW.

  9. Make friends with me and together we will beat the Crabigator (Discord:aSliKr#2878) download (1)

  10. At what level should i start reading and listening. Don’t worry though, i’ve been reading quite a handful sentences on Hiragana which made me a lil bit fluent on reading it.

  11. English is not my native knowledge so expect me having difficulties learning. any thoughts? I’m Trilingual btw.

  12. By your experience, how many days/months/years did you beat the CRABIGATOR? any obstacle/challenges that’s gonna unfold? learning experiences with my fellow Senpai(s) uwu

  13. Any japanese learning games that is worth killing time?

  14. Any guides i can follow that is totally worth the time?

  15. Should i heavily rely myself on reading mnemonics, because i don’t think it would be beneficial when reading a sentence.

  16. I also stumbled upon BunPro? is it worth it?

My mind is going blank, i still have many question to ask. So i might gonna update it later.
ANYWAYS_ hello my fellow community mates, may we be friends and together we will be beat the Crabigator. (/^-^(^ ^*)/ :heart:

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1: ASAP
2: Tae Kim as a good (and free) ebook
3: Most will say go for N4. I suggest just taking practice N4 and N5 tests shortly before signups to get a good idea.
4: N5 has only a handful of kanji. Never took N4.
7: I’ve forgotten tons. It’s inevitable. But, that’s why you need to read. To keep up the exposure.
10: Now
15: They’re meant to help in the beginning. Once you get a kanji down, you’ll end up forgetting the mnemonic. Some stick for me and help, others I just have to brute force memorization.
16: I really like it. Its not perfect, but its also pretty cheap, so good value per dollar.

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I’ll just try to answer as many questions as possible, as concisely as possible (not one of my strong suits). If I don’t answer something, it’s just that I probably DK how to answer or it doesn’t apply to me. (Full disclosure: I’m a fluent Chinese speaker, so I’m just hear for the forums, not the kanji. I’d call Chinese my second native language, because I started it as a toddler or earlier (I have no memories earlier than that, see?), but my Chinese isn’t as good as my English.)

1 I see that you were frustrated by your lack of vocabulary when trying to form your own sentences. That’s perfectly normal. I was like that when I started trying to communicate with a friend in Japanese after finishing my first Japanese textbook. So, on the one hand, I’d like to tell you to learn more vocabulary if you want to be able to express yourself… However, basic grammar is extremely important because without that, you won’t make any sense, no matter how wide your vocabulary is. I’d say if possible, learn both at once using example sentences that come with explanations. You can check out Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese. The basic sentences are usually quite simple, and there are vocab lists as well so readers don’t get stuck. Plus, it’s a grammar guide, so you get to learn grammar points at the same time.

2 See above. If you speak French, check out Assimil. Their course claims to get you up to a B2 level for Japanese on the CEFR, which is a decent intermediate level. (I guess it’s… true? From my experience?) Their English edition only gets you up to A2, which is like… ‘advanced beginner’? Basically something like fluency in tourist-level Japanese. Once you’re at the intermediate level, you can consider Tobira. (There will be other intermediate textbooks though, so choose what suits you.) Tobira’s beginner’s textbook is coming out in 2021, so you could wait for that if you want? (I’m kidding. I’m sure you’ll be more advanced by then, but it might be worth checking out, since I believe they’re good.) There’s also TextFugu, which I’ve never heard of. It’s an online textbook, but only the beginning is free.

3 I think this year’s JLPT is gonna happen in December in most countries. The level you should aim for is up to you. Try looking for sample tests once you’ve studied a bit. The N5 is really quite basic, but some people find it challenging because there’s also a need to get used to the test format. Check sites that list the required/commonly tested concepts for N4 and N5 in order to decide.

6 Uh… I strongly believe that any additional practice necessarily makes your memory stronger, so it doesn’t matter if you’re ‘disrupting’ the SRS. However, if you want, you can try to learn to write each kanji as you encounter it on WK. How? Look up the kanji on Jisho.org. It usually will have a stroke order animation for you.

7 When I was learning Chinese growing up, I forgot kanji readings all the time. It’s normal. They’ll only stick with practice and exposure. Also, don’t worry about mixing up kun’yomi and on’yomi. There are only two ways to differentiate them 1. On’yomi are usually shorter because they come from Chinese. Two syllables long or less. 2. On’yomi are more common in kanji compounds. However, when to use them… depends entirely on context. You’ll learn words in which one reading is used, and words in which another is used. It’s the same in Chinese: we have characters with multiple readings too. Everything in good time. No worries.

8 I have a friend who studies in Japan. We took foreign languages together in school: I did French, he did Japanese. However, I love learning languages, and I did tell him I would try picking Japanese up one day. One fine day, my family told me that we were going to Tokyo three days before departure, so I tried to learn as much as I could in three days. (I had already bought my course.) Thereafter… well, watching anime is fun, and it gets better each time the more I understand without subtitles. Oh, also, my friend used to joke that I would be better than him in Japanese if I had a full year to study. Currently… haven’t had a year’s worth of free time yet, so it’s taking a while.

9 Maybe some day… I’m currently trying to spend as little time on Discord as possible. (I hate to admit it, but social media is such a time-sucker! :open_mouth:)

10 As early as possible. However, try to get sentences (written or spoken) with explanation, otherwise you’re going to spend forever searching the dictionary for basic structures. Not worth it. Learn basic grammar and vocab first, then start consuming content.

11 So am I. English is my native language though. I’ve also dabbled in Spanish and German.(Japanese is the 6th I’ve studied seriously.) You’re off to a good start, because you’ll be able to look for patterns and links between languages more easily. If you have any experience with languages with declinations, that’s good, because Japanese has particles that do almost the same thing. If you have experience with Latin, also good, because Japanese is similar and puts verbs at the end of each clause. If you have experience with German, good, because you’re used to manipulating sentence structure, which is less necessary for Japanese, but helpful because Japanese sentence structure is so different from European languages’ sentence structure.

14 Tae Kim’s (see above) is one. Maggie Sensei’s articles are good for killing time if you find Japanese itself interesting, because she explains lots of structures with tons of examples and in an easy-to-understand way. For useful YouTube channels… Dogen. Very funny, very easy to understand (because he’s American), but very informative (because he takes studying Japanese very seriously). Also, That Japanese Man Yuta offers a free Japanese course. I have no clue what it’s like, but I think he would be a good teacher.

15 I’d say link meaning of kanji directly to their components as much as possible, but if you can’t, then just use a mnemonic. The idea is to have a backup plan that will save you if you forget the meaning. Eventually, the meaning should sink in and you won’t need the mnemonic anymore. The reason mnemonics exist is because it’s sometimes hard to see the link between a kanji’s components and its meaning, and the explanations based on origin are often only available in Japanese or Chinese (‘kanji’ literally means ‘Han (Chinese) characters’, after all).

16 IDK about it at all. I’ll let someone else answer you.

Anyhow, all the best! It’s cool that you’re starting this at 15. :slight_smile:

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5: I’ll stay vanilla until the end, vanilla is absolutely fine
6: Wait until you burn a kanji to start its writing practice and you should be fine.
7: I learned this from reading one of Belthazar’s comments - it’s useful to know about on’yomi and kun’yomi, but ultimately words are words, and words take several decades to change. Learn the words, and don’t fret too much about on’yomi and kun’yomi, because they’ll click on their own without you even noticing it. An English equivalent, I think, would be thinking about words with the same syllables, such as horse, hose, and house, and then focusing on the ‘ho’ and the ‘se’.
8: same motivation here, though I stick to anime only (just traveling to Japan once in a while is fine to me though) (damn those YouTube videos spoiling Kimetsu no Yaiba that show up on the front page)
9: Do you have a Steam account?
10: You should look at Japanese text once in a while; someday you’ll find you can read the whole thing (I’m not there yet, by the way)
11: English is not my native language either, you’ll do fine. English acts as a bridge, naturally connecting Japanese to your native language
13: I want to play Hollow Knight later. Action games you’ve already played are nice because you already know the plot, so you don’t need to read that carefully, you can just skim and keep going. VNs should wait until you can read effortlessly though.
16: I like BunPro.

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The moment you know hiragana you should start grammar. Basic grammar is simple and the earlier you start it the earlier you can advance. Which brings me to:

Yes. Apart from reading actual native material, in my experience Bunpro is the single most useful thing for learning grammar. But you should also try iknow.jp, which has voiced example sentences. In the beginning that’s even more useful than grammar!

I don’t use plugins and I’m doing fine. Some people like them though.

If you figure this out, teach me! I have given up on writing kanji by hand until I’m finished with WaniKani.

I do recall them and I counter forgetting them by reading Japanese books. But before reaching that level I focused on WaniKani and Bunpro feverishly.

Also as I sead earlier, iknow.jp is very useful. It has voiced sentences, so you’ll also hear pronunciation. In the beginning it was even more useful for me than WaniKani since it really made it obvious how sentence structures work and what the sounds are like.

Good luck! If you just keep doing this every day and don’t give up then you can’t fail. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Read this beginner’s guide! Section 7 covers scripts (they’ll change your life).

Install this script, it shows stroke order for kanji in lessons/reviews. [Userscript] Stroke Order Diagram
If you really want to write it without disturbing srs, I think it would make most sense to write down the kanji right after your lesson/review. Either after each individual item, or all at once at the end (summary page).

You can add synonyms in your native language if you want.

I rely mostly on vocab. But for the items I have a harder time on I use the mnemonics.

You get one month free. Try the genki path alongside your book. Be careful of adding too many similar grammar points though as down the line you’ll feel like any number of possible grammar points could be the answer for a given question.

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  1. Start grammar now if you can, no reason to wait – most beginner textbooks start with words written in kana.
  2. You already have Genki so maybe try that first, and use websites like Tae Kim’s grammar guide, Imabi or Wasabi grammar reference when stuff isn’t clear. Cure Dolly is nice for a different point of view (just mute the sound and speed up the video).
  3. I haven’t sat a JLPT test yet, but I guess it depends on how much you can fit until December… You can always study for N4 and do practice tests in September to see whether you prefer to sit N5 or N4…
  4. By level 16 you’ll know 100% N5 and 96% N4 kanji. But you will need to supplement vocabulary.
  5. If you make a lot of typos, [Userscript]: Double-Check (Version 2.x) is great. If you find stats helpful, then the standalone WK stats v1 is great for level-up projections, and WK stats v2 is nice for checking WK levels against JLPT/Joyo/Frequency/etc.
  6. I don’t practice handwriting yet (time restraints), but practicing writing won’t break the SRS…SRS is a tool, not a goal in itself. You’ll come across words you’ve learnt all over the place anyway.
  7. I still forget stuff, but remember about 90% so far. Don’t worry too much about onyomi vs kunyomi.
  8. I started learning Japanese for fun. I don’t plan on living in Japan, I just wanted to learn a non-European language with a different writing system. Also Japanese food :heart_eyes:
  9. :crabigator::fire:
  10. Reading is more linked to grammar and vocab than kanji, but it should get easier from around an N5 level. The bookclubs around here (past and current) are amazing.
    You can start listening whenever – watch anime on Netflix, listen to Nihongo con Teppei.
  11. There are lots of non-native English speakers using this site, some of them add synonyms in their own languages. I’m a native English speaker, but if a word comes to me in French first I’ll mark it correct (with the double check script).
  12. :woman_shrugging: not there yet personally! :grin:
  13. :woman_shrugging: no time for games right now personally :sob: But I do play a little bit of Pocket Camp on my phone sometimes.
  14. This guide is especially helpful for working out a strategy for using WaniKani: My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 )
    I also found the DJT guide quite helpful as a Japanese-learning strategy (just ignore any illegal resources).
  15. Some people hate the mnemonics, some people find them helpful. Mnemonics are only temporary anyway, and should fade away once you’ve started remembering meanings and pronunciation. I mentally shorten the meaning and reading ones into a combined one, and review mnemonics when I make mistakes.
  16. Bunpro is definitely worth it, the monthly/yearly plans are cheap, and you can try it for free first to see if you like it.

Good luck! :blush:

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other people are answering these questions better than i could so i will answer:

at my school board’s chess tournament last year a guy upended the entire board and a piece hit the mediator on the side of his face which was pretty exciting in my opinion

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Tadoku free ebooks! Also NHK News Web Easy… watanoc was kinda fun…

My game is about 90% blunders but I really love chess…! Very glad to play with you via WK or discord if you ever want to! (Maybe we could start a WK “chess club” thread for correspondence games?? :grinning: )

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While at the same time reading a book about chess! Or discussing this Dutch movie about chess… I was hoping it was based on a book, like so many Dutch children’s films seem to be…

1 Like