Matskye's sporadic log of durtling and language learning

\textcolor{\green}{\huge \textsf{Hello, and WELCOME to my study log!}}

I have been having an internal debate with myself over whether I should start one of these up for months now, but after posting about it in the POLL thread (Love you all dearly, POLLfam :smile_cat:) and receiving some encouraging words from @TheHotOnionMunch, I decided to go ahead with it :smile_cat:

A way too long description of my Japanese journey up to now

The first time I started “learning” Japanese was in 2012. Though I wouldn’t really say I was actively learning. I had gotten the first level of Rosetta Stone in Japanese for my graduation present after talking about wanting to learn it to several family members. I was quite motivated at the start, and I did complete the first level entirely but due to the price, and me being a student, I put off furthering my studies. I was also becoming overwhelmed with the work load at university plus my part-time job and some side-projects I was working on with some friends. Thus I decided to shelf my ambition to learn Japanese for the moment.

I didn’t bother with anything relating to Japanese for several years, until after switching study subjects twice and dropping out of university to pursue a specialization in the trades. The one year of specialization that I had to complete only required 18 hours of classtime per week, and due to me already being familiar with most of the coursework I found myself with a lot of free time. I did not spent nearly as much time on Japanese as I would now have liked during this year, but I did study for one to two four-hour sessions per week. Though I spent more than a month on deciding what text book to follow, and had an incredibly inefficient study routine during the entire year, due to me never really learning any language besides being exposed to it from childhood [Dutch (my native language), English (present EVERY where), French (taught from elementary school) and German (exposure from distant family and annual vacations)]

During this year I eventually decided on following along with the GENKI textbooks but that was all. I hadn’t heard about flash cards or anything of the sorts so my study method was simply copying down entire vocab lists from the chapters and filling in either the reading / Kanji or meaning collumns again and again until I didn’t get any wrong. Did this work? Undoubtedly, but it took an incredibly long time, and got me feeling more and more disconnected from the language and enjoying it less each day. Not to mention that it took me about two months per chapter because I kept forgetting some stuff due to how infrequent my study sessions were.

After making my way through most of the GENKI I textbook I was teetering on the verge of burning out on the language. I had been studying Japanese for ten months now, yet in my eyes I had nothing to show for it. I would make mistakes on the simplest things, and doubt anything I would read. Even after spending a lot of time puzzling it out, by the time my next study session rolled around I would once again be completely in the dark, having forgotten most of what I learned. Thus, once again I decided to shelf my Japanese studies.

It luckily didn’t take TOO long between me shelving my Japanese studies and wanting to once again pick them up. I had managed to land a job that allowed me ample free time in 2016, and found myself pretty quickly drawn back to that alluring language of Japanese. It was late-summer in 2017 by now. But I had decided to myself that if I would ever give the language up again, it would be the last time I would attempt it. I did this for two reasons, the first as a way to keep myself motivated, so that I wouldn’t call it quits at the first hurdle. The second because, while Japanese is quite the interesting language, and throughout the years I have fallen in love with it all over again, it isn’t the only thing I want to achieve in my life. There are many projects and studies that I’m doing alongside learning this language, and there are many things I want to master. So I couldn’t in good faith allow myself to always find myself back here and be stuck perpetually at this pre-beginner level where I seemed to find myself.

The first thing I decided to do is take a good hard look at my study methods, see where I could improve, what other people on the internet had found themselves stumbling on, how they resolved it and what methods existed. The first things I came across was (surprise, surprise) Anki, Remembering the Kanji and Wanikani. It took me a while to settle on using either WK or RTK and (sadly) I settled on RTK. The main reason was that after hearing around a friend owned the RTK books so I wouldn’t have to purchase anything, wanikani did cost money after all!

So at the start of 2018 I began on my “final” attempt to learn Japanese. I would first work my way through RTK using Anki, and as soon as I had around 1,000 Kanji under my belt I would re-start my GENKI textbook and alongside my studying I would read some books and watch some Japanese movies to create some faux “immersion”. I didn’t jive with RTK though. No matter how much I tried, I would keep mistaking or forgetting Kanji, time and time again and the goal of reaching 1,000 Kanji to start my studying seemed more distant than ever. So after a few months of trying this method without real results I decided to ditch RTK and I would try and pick up the Kanji from context. My main focus now was starting Genki, and trying to start reading some books. I had purchased the Japanese translation of Harry Potter (which I still haven’t read after all these years) and would just brute-force look up any Kanji I didn’t know as I worked my way through the book. Now, my grammar knowledge was pretty much non-existent at the start, so even if I looked up all the words, I couldn’t figure out what the sentences were saying and while I had read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone twice, the last time I had read it was in middle school, in the long long ago. This was another disaster, though I spent several months attempting, only to find myself reading the same sentences just days later already having forgotten it’s meanings. In the mean time I had started putting every sentence I didn’t understand in Anki, and trying to thus commit it to my long-term memory. This worked up to a point, but was highly inefficient.

Luckily on the fourth of November 2018 I decided to give Wanikani a try, and while (as you can all tell by my level :stuck_out_tongue:) I have reset quite often (I think the highest I ever got was around level 15 or so) it has reinvigorated my learning in ways I had never expected. In the more than two years since I started using Wanikani I have cycled my way through God knows how many other learning tools (Core10K on Anki, Toori, Koohi, bunpro, kaniwani, Genki, Japanese for busy people, A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammer, Imabi, Tae Kim, Jalup, …) The list is pretty much endless but I have managed to pick a grain of knowledge here, a grain of knowledge there, and throughout the past two years seen my understanding and intuition of the Japanese language grow immensly. It’s still a long way from where I eventually want to be, but I can now watch a show or Anime and feel like I can at least grasp the major lines of the conversations and plot, though not all will be clear (still haven’t finished any of the core decks :sweat_smile:) and I can read some basic manga. Do I still have to look up unfamiliar words / Kanji and Grammar points? Hell yes! But at least I only need to do this a few times on an average page (for level appropriate stuff, the more difficult ones are still a nightmare :smile_cat: ) but it’s something I do with pleasure and I can if I want work myself through an entire volume in a day now, and watching an episode is no longer tiring due to straining my brain, but instead it’s interesting and invigorating!

Goals

My main goal for the moment is just to get more exposure to the language. I might (though I’m still weighing this option) start taking the JLPT exams from this year forward. I don’t have any specific reason or purpose for doing this, but I think it might be fun to have a more concrete goal besides fluency to study for. The big cave-ats here are that the JLPT is only held once a year in my country, so I either would have to skip levels (which, while not hard, is something that I personally feel a bit iffy about. I feel secure that I would pass N5 and might also pass N4, but until I take N5 how will I know for certain? :stuck_out_tongue: ) So I will probably (if it still is held this year, and if by then my vacinations and the like are in order) take the N5 this year, to see how the test goes and get a feel for it. Then I will either :

  • take one level per year, meaning it will take me until the summer of 2025 to have reached N1. In my eyes this is still an acceptable pace, especially considering I’m only doing this as a hobby and I’d rather get a higher level once a year than risking taking a test and not passing at the level I guesstimate myself to be.
  • Skip N4 and/or some other levels and try to reach N1 in 2 or 3 years.
What will I log and when will I update?

I am not planning on logging every study session in an SRS I do. The once I’m currently doing are Torii 10k (started this one up quite recently, no set pace, just whenever I have some time, goal is completing 10K by the end of next year, I don’t foresee any problems here, though I might drop it), Wanikani (Again, no set pace, though I have decided that I will no longer reset, as I am quite trigger happy with that reset button :stuck_out_tongue: Goal is same as 10K by the end of 2022 I hope to have reached level 60, and I hope to have everything burned by the end of 2023, this one I am not 100% certain on, but don’t foresee too many problems), bunpro (I have just about completed N5, I spend way too little time on there, and only every so often add one or two grammar points. My focus there is trying to complete N5 by the end of March and then complete N4 by the end of the year. Afterwards I will try to complete one more level per year. This might not seem like a lot, but I have always been bad at Grammar, even in my native language. While I haven’t encountered any grammar on there that I can’t understand / recognize when written, reproduction seems to be a bigger problem for me, often mixing things up and making mistakes that I wouldn’t have expected to make.)

What will I log? Mainly only big accomplishments (completing a set of 1000 new words, completing N5 grammar, 10 levels of WK) and possibly whenever I complete an entire series or read through a stand-alone book. Expect updates to be infrequent, I might update a few days in a row if I find myself with lots of time to focus on Japanese. I might also not update for months on end if life gets busy, and I barely manage to maintain my SRS systems. No promises on either front.

I do however look forward to being able to write some good news down here every so often. Should anyone follow my journey, thank you SO much and I’m happy to be able to share this journey with you.

Big LOG of current SRS levels

  • Wanikani(1) : Currently level 7 (10 - FEB - 2021)
  • Torii SRS(2) : Currently 761 words in (10 - FEB - 2021)
  • Bunpro (3) : Currently Level 23 / 90 grammar points in (10 - FEB - 2021)
  • Anki (discounting sentence mining decks) : Currently 2487 cards (10 - FEB - 2021)

(1) reset in December 2020
(2) re-started in January 2021
(3) reset in December 2020

Who / what can you post here?

Any discussion on what I post and the like is more than welcomed, good, bad, neutral, don’t be shy to post. If you ever don’t want to spam this thread but still want to discuss something feel free to for example tag me and make a post in the POLL threads or similar :smile_cat:

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[post reserved in case I ever need it]

You’ve had quite the journey so far. I’m very glad you stuck to it and kept on getting back up. You’re a true fighter! :boxing_glove:

Just take your time and keep at it and I know you’ll make it to the end! :+1: ^>^

ippo-gi

I’ll be keeping a watch on your blog! :eyes:

67fde390d7f6015ef498a28357c83ffd8757477c_00

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Haha, thank you :smile_cat: Appreciate the encouraging words!!!

image

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just one question.

who the hell is @Matskye?

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It says so in his profile right?

“Matskye was born on Betelgeuse V. His father (and uncle) was from Betelgeuse VII, which was decimated during the Great Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Gal./Sid./Year 03758. After this, he moved to Betelgeuse V, where he died of shame because his son/nep”

After all the Munchkin name changes people started talking about having lost their username before, I wasn’t worried at first, but decided to take the only surefire way I had to safeguard it somehow, thus @matskye was born!

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Woooo, you’re already going strong and this will be nice to look back on every now and again! :heart: Let’s keep it up! :partying_face:

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Well then, it has been eighth days since I started this thread, so I guess I’ll write a little update. While I didn’t manage to do as much as I would like to do due to both work and two side-projects suddenly throwing a heap of stuff to do at me, I still managed to get some results.

Reading

I haven’t been reading the last week though, which I find a real shame. I’m hoping that I’ll manage to read something tomorrow. I have been thinking of re-reading the よつば manga series now that I have a slightly firmer grasp on Japanese. The last time I had to break down pretty much every sentence and look up most of the words. Also, I recently bought the 50-volume set of クレヨンしんちゃん and it’s set to arrive somewhere next week. While I’ve read the first three volumes digitally, I am looking forward to slowly working my way through the series, I’m hoping to finish the final volume (if I don’t happen to drop the series, it was enjoyable for a few volumes, but it might grow stale before I read the fiftieth :stuck_out_tongue:) before the end of April.

I’m also planning on re-reading all articles / series on Satori Reader, the main reason behind this is that I recently read an article (if someone is interested, let me know, I’ll see if I can dig it up) that stated that listening to things you already completely understand in the background while working / cleaning / … is of tremendous help. I’ve already listened to new input where I understand maybe 20 – 50% while doing these things, but I’m interested to see what happens when being exposed to completely comprehensible input :smile_cat:

Watching / Listening

I haven’t been listening to anything, except re-listening to some episodes of Nihongo Switch while on my commute. For series, I’ve mainly been watching two over the past week. One, Doraemon is one I’m planning on using for listenign practice (Wanted to use Detective Conan, but haven’t found anywhere to watch it legally yet online, and I don’t have a DVD / BluRay player so buying those is out of the question at the moment, not to mention pricey!). At the moment, due to being too tired the past days I’ve been watching it with Japanese subtitles, but the plan is to one of these days switch over to subless for Doraemon. The series is easy enough in general and there are plenty of clues to figure out what is going on, the only reason I haven’t taken the step yet is… To be honest, it just feels like a big step, I really should just get it over with :sweat_smile:

On That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime

On the whole I have been avoiding the isekai genre, I watched a few series at the start of my Japanese journey with english subtitles in the hope of practicing my listening and getting an ear for the language. However, I found them to be quite boring in general, and power fantasy’s / mary sue’s in specificity.

I only started watching this series on a recommendation by a member of the POLLfam and have to say that, at least up to now (I’m only 8 episodes in), I’m still enjoying it! It strikes a good balance between taking itself seriously and making fun of the situation, and up to now it doesn’t seem that our slime protagonist is TOO overpowered. We will have to see how the series develops, but I am really enjoying it. The first episode was, in my eyes, a lot harder than the subsequent ones though, due to being loaded with a lot of (at least to me) unfamiliar terms in the entire reïncarnation part.

Started watching on : 14 – FEB – 2021

Goal : 1 Episode on Free days

Subtitle usage : Japanese only

Comprehension target : Understanding the premise, roughly understanding all conversations.

Favorite episode (so far) : Season 1, Episode 3 (When the goblins get their names, just love their enthusiasm :smile_cat: )

On Doraemon

Doraemon (2005 - … )

Doraemon tells the story of a friendship between のび太 and ドラえもん. ドラえもん is a robotic cat that travelled back in time from the 22nd century. It’s an incredibly long-running anime series (I’m currently watching the 2005 edition, but the first series started airing in 1973!). At the moment the 2005 series has a grand total of 640 episodes, so this one is perfect for some listening practice. The conversations are relatively easy to follow, due to being a children’s show. Though many non-existing technologies are used, often with their own, somewhat nonsensical names.

At the moment I am slowly working my way through the series, though I have yet to find most of the episodes. A selection is available on netflix, but I would really like to find a way to start at episode 1 and watch the entire series + movies. I am finding the series a lot more enjoyable than I expected, it gives a brief relief from the stresses of life, and because I can follow along without to much effort, only pauzing occasionally to check the subtitles, it’s not tiring to watch at all :smile_cat:

Started watching on : 10 – FEB – 2021

Goal : >1 Episode per day, every day!

Subtitle usage : Japanese only for the moment, planning on dropping subtitles entirely soon.

Comprehension target : Understanding the premise, roughly understanding all conversations.

Favorite episode (so far) : Goodbye, Doraemon (164a (s)); Season 5; Release date March 20 2009

Writing

I just started using an app called “Skritter” yesterday. While I had used it very briefly long in the past, it seems they have completely overhauled the app, and decided to try it out again. I’m slowly working my way through all the kana, I know how to write them already, but I’ve been burned once too many adding everything I knew at once into an SRS. So I’m adding 10 new items to the app’s SRS per day. While it means it will take a while before I get to writing Kanji, I find it good practice to get accustomed to the app (especially curls sometimes have problems registering if you’re being to slow / precise at the end for example) and I think it will be a nice refresher for writing Katakana (I still mess these up very frequently due to having to write them so infrequently :stuck_out_tongue: )

Grammar

BunPro is going well, though I still mess up a lot more than I would like. I’ve now nearly added all N5 grammar points to the SRS (105 / 111), so I’m looking forward to having the entirety of N5 under my belt relatively soon. Due to being so busy I haven’t been able to do any other reading / practice on grammar however, so not much else to say!

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Another 8 days have passed since my last log, so even though I don’t have too much to talk about, I guess I’ll write another update. (Mostly because I can’t sleep :stuck_out_tongue: )

Reading

I’ve already mentioned last time that I haven’t really been reading, and sadly this is still the case. I was hoping to have picked up several things by now, but life keeps throwing curveballs (and sadly, as Japanese is just a hobby without consequences for my life) that take me away from any Japanese learning past maintaining my SRS systems. I’ve read a couple of Satori Reader articles that I hadn’t read before when I was waiting somewhere, but that is about it. The one good bit of news on this front is that my volumes of クレヨンしんちゃん have arrived, so I can’t wait to dive in there! :smile_cat:

Watching / Listening

Besides a few podcasts sprinkled throughout the week I haven’t watched / listened to anything (not even english series or anything, just no time at all :expressionless: )

Writing

I have forsaken my Skritter practice already :scream_cat: . I am planning on using the service, but in the hustle and bustle I completely forgot about this until I started writing this post… I’ve written a few short sentences by hand though, when I was bored and had some paper at hand. Not much, but every little counts!

Grammar

Due to POLL reasons, I’ve decided to reset my bunpro progress. I am currently back at level 7 with 42 items of N5 under my belt. Luckily I wasn’t too high of a level, so it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to regain my level ^^. I’ve also started going back through Genki I to see if I find any weaknesses to tackle. At least in the first 4 chapters everything was completely clear, will have to see about the later chapters.

Other

One of the things I have started doing is looking through a Kanji Learners dictionary, and reading through one Kanji a day. At the moment I’m not planning on adding all words to an SRS, but this is mainly because I have quite the high workload at the moment, and in all honesty I just can’t be bothered. I’m planning on restarting as soon as work slows down and actually adding them all on Kitsun (because of their new ‘Known Words’ system, these types of exercises are a lot more benificial, I didn’t do this before because I didn’t want to SRS the same word in five different decks :stuck_out_tongue: )

Example of entry in Kanji dictionary :

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It has already been a grand total of 24 days since I last updated this log :sweat_smile: I know I called it ‘sporadic’, but still…

Oh well, time for another update!

Life has been increasingly intense over the last month due to me taking on several projects that all turned out to require more work than I had honestly expected, so certain parts of my Japanese language learning journey were put on the backburner (mostly due to lack of energy :woman_shrugging: )

I did manage to level-up in wanikani a few times since my last post(Was at level 8 I believe), but seeing as I was already intimately familiar with all the kanji and vocab of these levels it didn’t really pose a challenge. I have decided to take level 10 as my “resting” level though. I will do some reviews / lessons whenever the mood strikes me, but I am in no hurry to complete the level. (I am also taking a break from all my other SRS systems during this period. No Kitsun, Bunpro Anki or Torii for at least a week, maybe a bit longer, as I was really starting to burn-out on them).

In general I feel like I am slowly beginning to break through what I see as the “beginner plateau” that I was experiencing. I can now watch along with quite a few anime series and follow along pretty well, and can follow along with the few manga’s I have tried. I still need to look up a lot of words, and will often-times doubt myself even though I know what it’s saying, but I’m noticing a definite improvement :smile_cat:

My hope is that I’ll at least see enough improvement that I can start reading a light-novel or a more complex manga without having to grab a dictionary every bloody page. I still have a long way to go to reach the treshold of an intermediate japanese learner, but I’m slowly but steadily breaking away from absolute beginner at least :stuck_out_tongue:

My weakness has also been shifting from listening to reproduction, but more about the reasons for this in the “Watching / Listening” segment :wink:

Reading

I’ve been re-reading “Akiko’s American Foreign Exchange” on Satori Reader, this time reading both the “Easier” and “Harder” versions instead of only the easier one. I’m also working on a rolling repition schedule here, where I work my way through ten articles (so 20 texts), then add one article and re-read from ten text back. So

Read-through 1 : 1 – 10
Read-through 2 : 2 – 11
Read-through 3 : 3 – 12

I am doing this because I’ve recently learned the benefit of re-reading / rewatching the same content (More thorough explanation in "Watching / Listening). I might shorten the amount to 5 or so articles in the future, but at the moment I find this ten article roll-over to have some great effects. (Currently at articles 30 – 40 ).

One of the things that I’ve found in quite recent days, is that my intuitive grasp of grammar due to repetition is improving, I still need to look up some words when reading a new text, but it is rarer and rarer that I have to actively think what a sentence is trying to say. I do still make mistakes, miss something, … But it is happening less and less, so I’m quite happy wih that result :smile_cat:

Besides working my way through Satori Reader (I’m planning to do the other series too after Akiko’s, just chose Akiko’s because it’s the one I’ve read the most and was the most familiar with already, so thought it was the best candidate to test this out on).

I’ve recently picked up からかい上手の元高木さん to read through before reading the からかい上手の高木さん series with the bookclub. This is a spin-off of the series were the protagonists are adults and have a child. It’s still an absolutely lovely series, but now focusing on the interaction between mother and daughter. It’s also an incredibly easy read, and will become my go-to recommendation for anyone looking for a first series to read in Japanese :smile_cat:

Watching / Listening

I don’t know who reads this thread to be honest, but if you are reading this you might be familiar with a thread that I started quite recently, namely :

You watched it HOW MANY times? - Let’s Rewatch thread!

I am currently doing a watch-through of the first episode of “ダンベル何キロ持てる?” and will watch it on repeat for 60 days. Once per day. To make sure I have a correct understanding of the entire episode and all it’s nuances, I have been watching it in this order :

Day one : English subtitles
Day two : Japanese subtitles
Day three : No subtitles
Day 4 - 9 : Repeat Day 1 - 3
Day 10 : English subtitles
Day 10+ : No subtitles

I am now completely past the subtitles and in the No subtitle territory. There is a chance that at some point in time I will watch it once again with subtitles just to check that throughout the time of this experiment I haven’t started mishearing / misunderstandign something. But at the moment it is quite crystal clear :smile_cat:

In case you weren’t aware of this experiment and you feel intrigued (or want to tell me what an idiotic idea this is) you’re always welcome :smile_cat:

I’ve already (in my opinion) got quite a bit of rewards from doing this and watching the episode around a dozen times. Whether I will see any further rewards with more watch throughs or not is still up in the air, but I’m excited to find out ^^

Besides the re-watching of the first episode I’ve also watched all the other episodes of the series unsubbed. I’ve skipped over a lot of the vocabulary that I didn’t know relating to muscles and exercise at the moment. I am planning a second watch through where I actually try to acquire this vocab in the future, but for the moment I did not have the energy to add it all (yes, I know it’s a lame excuse, and I’m aware that I’ve shamelessly used it quite a lot in this study log already :stuck_out_tongue: )

Grammar

As I’ve mentioned before. My intuitive understanding of Grammar is improving tremendously, so I am hoping to start up some actual grammar studies in the near future. For the moment I haven’t done a lot besides immersion. Even bunpro hasn’t seen a new item added in several weeks. I might work my way through the grammar dictionaries if I manage to get some decent free time to focus on it. I’m not planning to learn every item, but I am planning to read through it all at least!

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This update is just short and sweet, don’t really have anything to mention, but wanted to give a short update seeing as it’s been a month :

Life kinda got in the way over the past few weeks and I have barely done any studying at all (except for some WK and bunpro). I have even neglected my repeated watches and stuff, but I hope to pick my studies back up in the coming days, hope to post some beefier updates soon ^^

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