Longtime Japanese Learner begins WK for 1st time (Study Log)

image

image

@Saida, @morteasd, and @Leebo, thanks for the Kanken discussion and strategizing. Kanken has definitely been on my radar as something I’d like to do in the future, particularly when I spend that year in Japan in 8 years. I’d have three opportunitites to take it if I’m there a year (unless I’m somehow way off base and it’s offered other places in the world… I’ve never looked into that and just assumed it’s a Japan-only test…). I’m most interested in level 5 or 4 as that level would really give me the ability to both teach the reading and writing components to my kids but also to read pretty much any kid literature pretty confidently I believe. But I’d like to go higher (not 1級 and maybe not even2級) if I have the ability/capacity to over time.

Absolutely! Thanks for sharing your story. It seems all too common for your experience to be repeated. I’m super mindful of all the ways in which I can stem off the passive bilingual thing. You had an amazing opportunity in going to your parents’ home country so often! We plan to travel internationally every 4 years only based on our budget, but also take advantage of every opportunity within the US that we can to keep this going longterm!

Oh, yes, thank you! I’ve looked into this and decided against it for the time being. I’m hoping it won’t be TOO much of a pain longterm (especially as the other levels seem to have more kanji so you’re generally allowed to mess up two items and still move ahead), but I’ll reevaluate if it’s constantly an issue.

Haha yes, exactly. These books are SOOO French in all the best of weird ways.

My VERY top pick for the poetry stuff is the book called Les poèmes ont des oreilles. It’s a gorgeous anthology and those poems are all MEANT to be spoken. They are so fun to hear and fun to say. My elder kiddo has several of the poems memorized because he has such fun with them!

And I’m glad you enjoyed all my pics. I have our most recent order of Japanese books that I’ll be giving to my kids for Lunar New Year (one of the 3 times a year we get more books!) and I’ll try to update you when we get them into rotation and see what we like.

Thank you. :relaxed: Always a work in progress as parents but we 頑張る. I’ve been interested in all the posts I’ve seen of yours, too, so keep sharing your journey and we will keep on moving up together!!


So yes, on to level 4!! A new year! Happy New Year everyone!

Level 3 totally dragged… I’m thinking it’s part of the whole 98/99% accuracy thing as I’m just not getting the reviews kicked back around as I know these kanji like the back of my hand. I touch them and they all move up. But soon (next week) I’ll get one new kanji and at least a handful of vocabulary that I don’t know already, plus I will have my first master-eligible items coming back around in a few days so that will make for more consistent review-cycling between the current apprentice, guru, and master cycles.

I posted my learning goals for 2021 over in this topic, but I’ll repost them here since this is my study guide after all.

2021 Japanese Goals!

  • WK initial sprint to level 18 by April 24, 2021
  • Review/study Tobira grammar points (1 point daily until finished - 240 days)
  • 例文で学ぶ漢字と言葉N2 review 1 page daily (first run through looking at the first example sentence for each kanji only; second run through reading all example sentences and adding unknown jukugo to SRS)
  • ACTFL OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview) in the spring
  • Have my third kid summer 2021 and give myself some grace/cut myself slack for doing as little as I feel up for for 3 full months of sleep deprivation and adjustment
  • Read 魔女の宅急便 and 川の光 at a minimum (the more reading the better)
  • After above N2 review book completed, work on Kanji in Context workbook, Tobira kanji workbook, Tobira grammar workbook at a decent pace as applicable (based on when I return to study postpartum)
  • 101+ half hour italki lessons in Japanese (I took an even 100 in 2020 despite having added our second newborn)
  • JLPT N2 official practice test early November
  • 1st attempt at JLPT N2 December 5, 2021
  • WK level 30 by December 31, 2021/January 1, 2022

We will see how well I can do! I’m highly motivated this year. 2020 was such a weird one, but I feel I’m back to where I was in 2019 with my Japanese study.

On the OPI

I actually signed up for the OPI right away after contemplating these goals. I listed two possible dates when I booked but I THINK it’s the first of those dates so I’ll take it a month from now. I’ve been meaning to take this test now for years… in both Japanese and French (I’m signed up for Japanese and after I take it, I’ll probably sign up right away for French). It would have been nice to already have the progress of the past couple years documented as I’ve learned… but that’s my main goal in taking it… as a level check for where I am right now JUST SO I can look back from the future and see where I’ve been. It won’t be accurate to where I was when I first started parenting 3.5 years ago, but it will be a timestamp for my last kid (doing it during this pregnancy, that is) at least and the kind of language caliber I’ll be basting this one in from the start. On the CEFR framework, my goal is at least high C1 level proficiency in both French and Japanese if not C2 (depending on whether or not one believes that C2 is truly possible for non-native speakers), so of course it would be NICE to be closer to that goal and score an Advanced on the OPI, but I’m not betting on it. I’m guessing I’ll get Intermediate-mid or Intermediate-high. I think I’d have to really bomb the test to score lower than that, but as it is my first time, I suppose it’s possible I could just freeze up and not be able to show my true competencies… but I’m aiming higher.

3 Likes

I also started learning Japanese at university in the fall of 2011, it seems like yesterday but OMG it really literally was about 10 years ago now. But unlike you very little has changed for me I didn’t have a girlfriend back then and I still today don’t haven’t had a girlfriend, let alone having kids, can’t imagine actually having kids although my occupation is teaching teenagers.

Nonetheless I have greatly improved my kanji knowledge since starting wanikani last February.

1 Like

Yeah this makes me feel old every time I think about it too hard. I always think about the adage ‘We overestimate the changes we can make in a day, but underestimate the changes we can make in a year. We overestimate what we can learn in one year, but underestimate what we can learn in a decade.’ I sometimes get down on myself about how much time I’ve wasted, but then I think about how many other people who started studying Japanese 10 years ago have completely given it up. And I think about all the other things I’ve given up learning or practicing over the past 10 years, either intentionally or just because they weren’t as high a priority… and I remember what a priority learning Japanese actually IS for me. I’ve stuck with it and come back to it despite how often I’ve felt like quitting or thought it was just too hard a goal. And those thoughts keep me going whether I’m old or not.

2 Likes

Three items, even!

A bunch of US test locations!
https://www.kanken.or.jp/kanken/personal/interior/overseas.html

1 Like

I also started WK after a long hiatus from studying Japanese in a classroom setting. My last class ended in 2002 when i was a sophomore in high school. I still remember most of what I learned, but I knew I’d need something a little stronger to help boost me up to a workable literacy. Honestly, I could only recognize maybe 30 Kanji tops - and 15-20 were numbers :rofl:

I tried RTK, Kanji in Context, and a few Anki decks, but WK is the only one that keeps me engaged. I went with a lifetime membership because I restarted over the summer and found myself logging in for every review. I know Anki is basically the same principal, but it just doesn’t feel the same.

1 Like

I’ll have to look into this in a couple years when travel to California becomes a feasible option again… my partner, eldest kid, and I actually happened to drive by one of those testing locations (a Japanese immersion pre- and elementary school) when we were visiting my college friend nearby! Nothing remotely closeish to our home, I’m afraid, however.

Agreed. I’m still struggling with how to reliably review the general vocab words I come across on a daily basis (constantly looking things up for my kids… plus the words that my italki tutors introduce or help me express many times a week) that doesn’t rely on Anki. I’m currently terrible about doing any review there…


STUDY UPDATE

Wanikani
I should level up tomorrow again (unless something goes terribly wrong with these final kanji reviews…), and also hoping for my first Master items (a bunch of guru 2 coming at me this weekend). I feel like WK is definitely finding its place in my daily routine and becoming a habit at this point now that I’m a few weeks in.

Tobira texbook study

I just finished completely restudying the first chapter of Tobira today. I’ll be aiming to do a chapter every 16 days as I will study one grammar point per day every day without fail, and then do the readings/dialogues and kanji review at some point during the 2 weeks and change each time when it’s easiest to fit in. On to Chapter 2. This pace feels completely manageable and highly sustainable. Every other time I’ve studied Tobira I’ve gone way too fast (including when I first did it in college). I find that nearly all the information has managed to seep in despite the speed of the previous many times I’ve gone through the first 5-7 chapters. I know nearly every word now and the grammar is mostly well-integrated into my speech (except the formal stuff…), but I’m still determined to go slowly this time and not rush ahead because I feel I know it. I’ll get to newer content eventually.

Kanji N2 Study

I’ve decided to abandon the 例文で学ぶ漢字と言葉N2 book for the time being… likely until I finish Tobira. Rather, I’ll do all the exercises in the Tobira Kanji workbook, which I already had lying around. Like with WK, I’ll use a staggered approach and I’ll finish all the kanji from chapter 1 Tobira Kanji workbook before moving on to Chapter 3 of the textbook. The issue with the N2 book was its organization (syllabary-order for the on-yomi), so I was encountering too many kanji that I haven’t studied yet or else haven’t encountered in quite a long time. It was the perfect study material for me to begin after my last run with learning the kanji (when I had the kyoiku down… winter 2019), but as much of that information has seeped from my brain, I’ll have to make up the losses in my kanji ability before I can expect much more of myself. I DO recognize the kanji in Tobira, however, so I’ll just work with that and then when I finish Tobira there won’t be as much of a gap (I remember about 600+ kanji well currently; 800 kanji studied through Tobira; 1000ish needed for N2)

OPI Prep

I mentioned last time I’m signed up for the ACTFL’s Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) for early next month. It will be the first time I’m actually taking it. I’m continuing with my regular Italki lessons with the kids, but I also added a bunch of evening sessions for myself just to specifically practice for the OPI with only one of my regular tutors. I did the first session but I spent most of the half hour session just talking ABOUT the test and how we will prepare for it, so next time will be more mock-test focused. I really hope I can do well. I’m aiming for no lower than Intermediate-high… but as I’ve never taken it, I don’t know what to expect and I feel like the role play portion might really trip me up…

Extensive Reading

I’ve been having lots of reflection and thought about extensive reading lately… I’m trying to figure out how to fit a lot more silent reading into my life (and I already am in the habit of about an hour a day in three or four chunks… but mostly in English and French), but also to make it stay very, very pleasurable. I have no interest in intensive reading at the moment… and zero interest in reading something that is so hard it’s painful. But so far so good. I’ve read the first 100+ pages of 魔女の宅急便 over the past 2 weeks and it has been a very pleasant reading experience. I’ve been trying to be really extra mindful of the yomikata so I can accurately read aloud, but that’s all I wound up looking up. The rest was easy to decipher through context.

On to another productive week of study!

4 Likes

The audio book is available here:

image

image

Woohoo! Onward and upward! I’ll learn one new kanji this level!

3 Likes

Oh I think you have forgotten the books about Madeleine In French by Ludwig Bemelmans). I loved them, and so did my children.

Where do you get all those stats?

https://www.wkstats.com/progress/dashboard
Using your API key found here: https://www.wanikani.com/settings/personal_access_tokens

Thanks, My stats are not nearly as good as yours :wink: But still encouraging to me.

image

image

Thanks for the audiobook link for Kiki’s, @nemurineko. I’ve been thinking about getting it on audio for a while but I still haven’t. Going to try to figure out how to fit it in the budget soon.


STUDY UPDATE

Wanikani
I’m honestly surprised that my accuracy has remained as decent as it was this level. I had 3 days of noticeably lower accuracy as my partner had to have a medical procedure on short notice so I was scrambling to take care of all the members of my family (the kids plus husband) for a few trying days and my brain and body were sooo tired everytime I had to do reviews. But all is well now, everyone is doing well, and my reviews are in a better place than a few days ago.

But yay! I’m finally learning a couple new words here and there as I move up in the levels. It has been nearly a month (30 days) since I joined and I can definitely see how this is really going to help me break though the kyouiku wall I hit two years ago… once things really get going. Beyond level 10 I should be learning significantly more, but beyond level 20 I’m seeing a substantial chunk of each level will be new material so I’m very motivated to get there.

Tobira textbook study

Now halfway through my review of chapter 2. Things are going well and feel very, very natural and effortless. I know to some that would mean I should go faster or else just skip forward to the chapters I’ve never studied before, but I really think I should do the whole textbook even though this is my third time through the preliminary chapters.

Kanji N2 Study

My side study for the Tobira Kanji workbook has gone well. I did one exercise per day from both the review chapter and from chapter 1 this week. I’ll be done with both those chapters in four days and will move onto chapter 2.

OPI Prep

I didn’t do nearly as much this week (French week for my family) toward my preparations. I’ll be getting back to thinking about it more this week. One thing I’m really unsure about is what level of speech to use during the test. I’m just going to go for straight です/ます but I don’t know if it would be advisable to do part of my “tell me a bit about yourself” question as a more formalized 自己紹介 with some sonkeigo thrown in or not: I’ll be thinking about this more… any tips appreciated but I haven’t much talk about OPI here on WK forums.

Extensive Reading

Now over half-way through Kiki’s despite my weird week. I’m going to start another straightforward book TBD on the side this week as I’m reading Kiki with the stragglers’ book club so I think I have some extra time on top of the current pace we are doing as a group. I’ll be choosing from amongst the children’s novels I already have that a mom friend gave me but haven’t decided what to read yet.

1 Like

I’ve finally read through your study goals today! It’s funny, we have very similar goals. I have always wanted to raise my (future) children using at least two languages. I also figured I’d marry someone who spoke a different language, but that’s just now how it turned out. I married a plain old English-speaking man, just like myself. Love gets in the way sometimes, doesn’t it?

I have still been harboring a wish to teach my children Japanese, but I have felt that maybe it wouldn’t be culturally approppriate, and why should I, a woman who lives in the US, teach my children Japanese? (or French, which I am also learning, if we didn’t already have similar goals already). I plan to live in Japan off-and-on over the years, so I was thinking maybe that was a good reason for me.

Your post has been heartwarming for me. You’re absolutely right, it is possible and a good idea to raise children in multiple languages, regardless of where you live. I’m more motivated than ever to get my Japanese to a fluent level and then follow quickly with my French. I’m planning on having kids in a couple of years, and I do this with them in mind.

I put you on my leader board today, if that’s alright. I want to cheer you on as you go forward!

2 Likes