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]

[I’m going to use this space to write out an article I’ve been writing on monolingual dictionaries without hopefully alerting anyone :stuck_out_tongue: If you happen to read this, this is very much a work in progress, so you can skip over this post :wink: ]

I. Introduction

I. Introduction

Before getting started with this post I still want to pre-face with a small notice before getting into the nitty-gritty. While I have been using these dictionaries quite a lot over the past few weeks, and am planning on updating this post if I gain any new insights. And while I have been reading up a lot on Japanese monolingual dictionaries on a variety of sources, I am at the moment of writing far from an expert on the matter. I am just collecting a bunch of information I have gleaned from people who know their stuff better and compiling it in a post. If you have any corrections on the matter, anything you’d like to add, your own experiences on the matter (or even better, reviews of dictionaries, both ones I am myself talking about, and new ones I haven’t covered (yet) ) please feel free to share!

So, I have been diving a bit more in the world of dictionaries over the last few days (as anyone reading either here or my comments in the POLL thread is probably EXTREMELY aware of, not like I don’t mention it a million times per day :stuck_out_tongue: ), but I decided to start actually typing out a bit more about what I’ve learned, because I am becoming more fascinated and interested in the subject, but I also feel like there is a lot of information that just somehow isn’t available to people who aren’t yet able to read Japanese sources (not to say I am fluent, I’ve been looking up A LOT of words to understand the news articles, web pages and forum posts on the matter). The following post will be my poor attempt at making more of this information available, and giving people that want to make the leap to monolingual dictionaries the information they need to (hopefully) be successful the first time around (speaking from someone who has only slowly gotten his feet wet over the course of more than a year).

1. Division of dictionaries

Let’s begin by mentioning that there are quite a few ways to rank / divide the sorts of dictionaries there are, I’ll try to go into a bit more detail here about the differences.

Based on size

Based on size

小型辞書こがたじしょ or small dictionaries, while sources vary on exact numbers, a number I came across on multiple occasions is them having between 60,000 and 90,000 words. They often do not include any archaic words, and if they do they are very limited in general.

中型辞書ちゅうがたじしょ or middle-sized dictionaries. Though I haven’t found any exact ranges, it seems that they have an entry count of over 200,000 words, but sitting beneath the only behemoth that I will talk about in a bit. I have come across sources mentioning that, while there used to be more of this size of dictionary in the past, only three such dictionaries remain at present. These are :『広辞苑こうじえん』『大辞林だいじりん』『大辞泉だいじせん』.

大型辞書おおがたじしょ or large-sized dictionary (singular, yes). There is only one dictionary that fits this format and that’s because it exists in a scale of it’s own. Clocking in over 500,000 words, its the 『日本国語大辞典にほんこくごだいじてん』This beast of a dictionary clocks in at 13 (!) volumes :smile_cat:

Properties of medium sized dictionaries
  • Arranged from Ancient to Modern usage.
  • Lots of examples (1)
  • Includes proper nouns and technical terms (2)

(1) Whether looking up Archaic words or Modern words, they will often come with an abundance of examples.
(2) Many important locations, company names, people’s names, … are included. This gives the medium-sized dictionaries a bit of an Encylopaedic feel.

Based on subject matter (still need to be written)

Pending write-up

Based on use-case (still needs to be written)

Pending write-up


2. Information about different dictionaries :

Small-sized dictionaries :

小型辞書こがたじしょ or short dictionaries are generally dictionaries that have between 60,000 and 90,000 words. We’ll be giving a quick overview of some of the common ones you can buy on the market at the moment. I should note that I still haven’t gotten my grubby mitts on all of them, so for some entries the information is either gleaned from blog posts, store pages, their descriptions or whatever I could find on discussion boards that made for interesting notes. I will probably be updating these entries in the future as I am planning on purchasing all the listed ones eventually.

三省堂国語辞典

三省堂国語辞典

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First edition : 1960
Latest edition : 2021 (8th edition)
Publisher : 三省堂
Number of words : 84.000 words
Nickname : 三国

The Sanseido is one of many dictionaries published by Sanseido, a leading dictionary manufacturer. It is currently up to it’s eight edition, only being released in December of 2021. The strength of this dictionary lies in it’s inclusion of new words. They also basically don’t include any proper nouns or difficult technical terms, so most entries found are words one could encounter in everyday language. It is a thoroughly modernist dictionary, with it’s goal being to faithfully copy the Japanese language as it is being used currently. It is well known for it’s policy of quite quickly eliminating words that aren’t judged to be “modern words”. This means that when reading a text from even a decade ago, it is possible however that many words won’t even be found in there anymore.

Besides just new headwords, new meanings of existing words and overlooked meanings and usages are also covered very quickly.

It is also available on the Monokakido “Dictionaries” app, here is an example looking at the headword 『肉』

角川国語辞典

角川国語辞典

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First edition : 1956
Latest edition : 1969
Publisher : KADOKAWA
Number of pages : 1247 pages
Number of words : 75.000 words
ISBN-13 : 978-4040102030

The first edition dates from 1956, but the “new edition” that is available already dates from 1969. That means that the last time these entries were revised, man had just planted foot on the moon, Richard Nixon was just sworn in as President and Elvis was recording his albums “From Elvis in Memphis” and “Back in Memphis”. To put it into other words, it has been A LONG TIME (over half a century!). There are certain use cases imaginable for getting this dictionary, but they are quite limited and especially for us Japanese Language Learners less interesting.

It can accurately be described as a living fossil, for some reason this “new edition” is still being sold in bookstores. The first edition had seemingly gained popularity back in the day that modern kana got introduced as a dictionary for it’s usage.

One unique feature of this dictionary is the fact that not only accents are given, but also devoicing of nasal sounds and vowels are clearly indicated. This does set it apart and could be considered a good use case, but there are specialized dictionaries for this that would be a better way to spend your money (The NHK accent diary fills this niche quite nicely ^^)

I feel like there is a reason why it’s only ranked #274 in the Japanese dictionaries (books) section of Amazon!

新選国語辞典

新選国語辞典

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First edition : 1959
Latest edition : 2022 (10th edition)
Publisher : 小学館;
Number of pages : 1635 pages
Number of words : 94.000 words
ISBN : 9784095014098

While the first edition of this one is nearly as old as the Kadokawa Japanese dictionary above, at least here the revisions have been continued. It also has a good inclusion of modern language. The definitions are concise and well chosen.

Though the focus of the dictionary claims to be for all subjects that a high school or junior high school student may encounter, instead of only focusing on 国語こくご, I have come across several mentions that there is still a quite heavy overemphasis on terms one would come to encounter in the Japanese Language Department.

One of the greatest strengths in this dictionary are the explanations on the constituents of compound words. A wealth of information on this can be found in this dictionary, so if that’s something you are interested in this dictionary can be heartily recommended. If however it isn’t of particular interest to you, there are other dictionaries that offer better options.

旺文社国語辞典

旺文社国語辞典

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First edition : 1960
Latest edition : 2013 (11th edition)
Publisher : 旺文社
Number of words : 83.500 words
Nickname : 旺国

While we’re listing the first edition as being from 1960, this is actually a re-title of the 1958’s 学生国語辞典 and can also be traced back to the 1954 中学国語辞典. Two somewhat interesting aspects of the Oubunsha are the 中心義 and 変遷 (central meaning and transition), central meanings looks at polysemous words (which is just a fancy way of saying words that have multiple meanings) and looks at the root that ties together these multiple words.

With transition we mean the changing of the meaning from words through ancient to modern texts. This transition overview gives an overview how it has changed throughout the years, which is quite useful for people studying ancient Japanese, but for Japanese Language Learners it’s less interesting. The central meaning is useful for learns too, though.

While both of these aspects are present, which is quite unique for a short dictionary, there are actually only 108 words that have this central meaning, and only 47 words that have the transitory information.

Another thing setting the Oukoku apart is that certain, representative waka and haiku are listed along with interpretations.

岩波国語辞典

岩波国語辞典

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First edition : 1963
Latest edition : 2019 (8th edition)
Publisher : 岩波書店
Word count : 67.000
Nickname : 岩国

As is stated in the preface :

「新しい語、新しい意味・用法については、他の辞書に比べて若干慎重な姿勢をとり、十分に定着したと判断されるものを掲載するようにしている」

The dictionary takes quite a cautious stance with regards to new words as well as new meanings and usages compared to most other dictionaries. They choose to only include new words that they deem to be well established. Which is completely the opposite editorial decision to the 三国. This is reflected both by the number of entries for new words, as well as the relatively sparse entries with katakana headings.

Some people would read this and consider this to be a dictionary that is outdated from the very moment it is published, but it isn’t the case that they don’t consider new words (often times, when a new word is included they will even mention the first usage, so this indicates that they are paying close attention!), they are just on the conservative side when it comes to actually including them.

Perhaps due to this conservative stance, the image that the 岩波国語辞典 is that of an ordinary, serious dictionary. It is however not the case, this is a very high quality dictionary. They look at the Japanese language with a keen eye, and the editor’s views on the matter shine through quite strongly.

新明解国語辞典

新明解国語辞典

First edition : 1972
Latest edition : 2020 (8th edition)
Publisher : 三省堂
Word count : 79.000 words
Nicknames : 新明国/新解さん

An apt description of what lies at the core of the philosophy of this dictionary can be found in the preface :

すなわち、『新明解国語辞典』の当初からの特徴である、ことばの本質をとらえた鋭い語釈と、それを裏付ける適切な用例を一体化して提示すること、これを本辞典の中核に据えた。

The best-selling Japanese dictionary in Japan. This dictionary is well known for it’s deeper dives into words, with good explanations on how words are actually used and the actual sense of the language. This goes beyond paraphrasing and mere explanation of usage, and gets to the true core of the words. All headwords are accented (and pronunciations are included with the digital version), which is a nice feature. They have also spent more care in the eighth edition to divide these accents up depending on how the word is used! (Also, there are quite a lot of subheadings with accent included). The dictionary also tries to keep up with the times quite well, including quite a variety of new words.

There are also some interesting appendices included, such as one on how to count for example.

Entry in Monokakido app :

Medium sized dictionaries :

広辞苑

広辞苑

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「広辞苑にこう書いてあります」と言って、広辞苑を唯一の拠り所に論陣を張る人がよくいる。

“People often argue with the Koujien as their sole source of information, saying, “It says this in the Koujien.””

The koujien was first published by 岩波書店いわなみしょてん in 1955. It was the successor of the 『辞苑じえん』published in 1935. It has become pretty much synonymous with the Japanese language dictionary.

While in earlier editions apparently the headwords were written in phonetic kana, the fourth edition made the switch to adapting the modern kana system, thus eliminating the difference in reading that existed between it and the “Daijirin” and “Daijisen”.

This dictionary however does not follow the government’s national language policy on fronts such as the use of 同訓異字どうくんいじ(1) and the way of adding kana.

One other difference of note is that words with multiple meanings are explained in the order of their meanings, starting with the meaning closest to the etymology. While this used to be the default way of arranging meanings in most medium-sized dictionaries, ever since the “Daijirin”, “Daijisen” and 『角川国語中辞典かどかわこくごちゅうじてん』have started explaining from the modern meaning, the Koujien way of doing things is different from the current standard.

The one downside to this dictionary (for me) is that while this dictionary is available for purchase on the macOs app store, this is only the case if you live in Japan :unamused: . As such I haven’t had the pleasure of working with it myself. If anyone knows a way to bypass this restriction, please let me know, as just using a VPN doesn’t seem to work.

大辞林 (Still needs to be written)

Pending entry

大辞泉 (Still needs to be written)

Pending entry

Large-sized dictionaries

As mentioned before, there is only one big-boy that deserves to be classified in this category, namely the :

日本国語大辞典 (still needs to be written)

Pending write-up

Footnotes

Here is a list of footnotes, at the moment I have yet to annotate them correctly through this post, they will be describing some terms that come up in the article, that I didn’t bother to write out in the main article. [Note, this article is currently still being written, so many footnotes will just be listed as a single word, with me still needing to write out the explanations at a later date. Please have patience :bowing_man: ]

On doukuniji

「同訓異字」”doukun” refers to having the same Japanese reading, “Iji” to different characters.

Wikipedia mentions three general cases of doukuniji :

  1. Kanji that have similar meanings and can be used in similar ways.
  2. Kanji with similar meanings but with differences that allow them to be written in different ways.
  3. Kanji that have different meanings but happen to be read the same way.

The boundary between 1 and 2 is rather ambiguous, and the use-cases can differ depending on a writer’s impressions for example. Lots of examples can be found on This wikipedia page

On Modern Kana Usage

When talking about Modern Kana Usage, we are talking about 現代仮名遣いげんだいかなづかい, and when we’re talking about Modern Kana Usage with regards to dictionaries, we’re mostly really talking in a very narrow sense about Cabinet Notice No. 1 in 1986, ``Modern Kana Usage’', which abolished Cabinet Notice No. 33 of 1946.

The only reason to really mention the Modern Kana Usage is that while nearly all dictionaries use the government suggestions on this matter, there are some exception, most notably the 広辞苑 that do not follow the standard guide-lines. Which could result in some confusion when using these dictionaries.

For more information, This article Is a good start, though native sources will give a lot more information :wink:

Related notes

Here are just my thoughts on some matters pertaining to monolingual dictionaries, making the transition and the like. As well as some guides on how to use 'em. Any of the learning advice mentioned here is very much just my personal opinion on the matter. I do not know “the one true path to Japanese fluency” or anything of that ilk. What I do know is I’ve spent several years learning Japanese and have learned several other languages to some success. Take all my advice with a nice, big grain of salt though and do make up your own mind on the matter :smiley_cat:

Getting the most out of the Monokakido Dictionaries app (WIP)

The Monokakido “Dictionaries” app

I can’t mention enough how much I have come to love this app over the past period of time. There are a lot of great things to mention about it, but the two things I think are the most important are the sync between my iPhone and my macbook for search history, as well as the cross-search between multiple dictionaries. More on those later, let’s start with a general overview.

General set-up

The first thing I’d personally recommend when starting to use the Dictionaries app is to tweak a few very useful settings for the entire app, namely :

General settings :

This is how I personally like to have my set-up. I’d recommend you playing around with the font sizes and contrast until you figure something out that works best for you. I do recommend enabling the search clipboard function, quick bookmark and to make sure to Sync your Bookmarks and History via iCloud if you also have an iPad or iPhone (but more on why this is useful later on)

Besides the general settings, once you have multiple dictionaries (which I would highly recommend for several reasons, first of which is that not all words are in every dictionary, second of all it’s always a good idea to compare dictionary entries to get a fuller idea of the word as well as more potential example sentences and the like). There are two other things you want to set-up, you can find these on the left side of the options, namely “Edit category order” and “edit search order”.

When you click category order you will see something like this :

These are the categories in which you will be looking for results. You can order them however you like (and depending on the dictionaries you own you might see other categories than me). But this is how I personally prefer to set them up. I mostly look up meanings of words, which is why I have set Japanese as the main category. Sometimes I’ll want a deeper look at the Kanji, or need to hear the pronunciation (Accent for me is only the NHK accent dictionary), and as a fall back if I can’t make heads nor tails from the definition I can always look it up in an Eng – Jpn dictionary.

When you click “edit search order” you’ll get a popup similar to this one :

Here you can re-arrange the order in which results will popup within the categories. You simply arrange the order of dictionaries you prefer to consult the most, or which definitions you find to be the most useful in general. You can still consult them all no matter how you arrange these though, so you don’t need to worry too much about the matter. I haven’t changed this one any more ever since I set it up the first time, there would be a few changes that I’d make if I were to change things. (Mostly switching the seventh and eight edition of the 三省堂国語辞典 as the eight edition has slightly better definitions in my opinion).

Basics of searching

Monokakido uses 串刺し検索 or skewered search, which enables querying of multiple corpora by certain categories, such as register type and period. Also known as cross search. While you can search in a specific dictionary by opening it from the “collection page”, like this :


Note : The main search page when opening the “MEIKYO” dictionary.

The best way to unlock the full power of the Monokakido Dictionaries app is by performing a search through all the dictionaries you own. You can simply do this by typing something in the main search page of the app, no need to open a dictionary. The resulting search will look like this :

We’ll be looking a bit closer at the options this search provides. (It’s also important to remember that the order of the dictionaries listed on the left is the result of the “edit search order” that we talked about before. There are several powerful little tools in this search box that might not be all that obvious at first glance. Let’s zoom in :

A first important thing to notice is the red dots in the middle on the right. This is a quick way to jump between dictionaries, as you can see that there are 45 headwords matching this search result in the Meikyou dictionary, and even 153 results in Daijisen. So, that would be a lot of scrolling if you didn’t get to hop around :stuck_out_tongue:

The second important thing is when we go a bit higher are the categories. As you can see I’m currently in the “Japanese” category, meaning I’m searching through the Japanese dictionaries. I can switch my search criteria to the “Kanji”, “Accent” or “Eng – Jpn” categories depending on my search type. They will provide different entries by searching through another set of dictionaries.

The second powerful option is above that. When I’m searching through my Japanese dictionaries, I can choose out of five options :

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Namely “word”, “idiom”, “example”, “kanji” and “group. Depending on which of these categories I choose I will see different results from those dictionaries. For example the first screen showed all searches through the Japanese dictionaries for “words”. However if I switch over to the “idiom” category, these are the results I get :

Yet other results are gained by switching to other categories. Depending on the dictionary a term you are looking for might not be included under the headwords, but it might show up in one of the other categories, so it can pay of to switch these up.

The next handy feature is where you see “Start” on the upper-left hand side. If you click on this you’ll get a selection of three options :

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Changing these will indicate the search to either look for the input at the beginning or end of the headwords, or only exact matches. As you can see from the following image, Match will seriously cut down on your results, but will generally be more informative. I do suggest, especially when learning Kanji, to look through the list of words for ideas how they are used in compound words though, it can tell you a lot of useful information ^^

Result with “Match” selected :

As you can see, the results have been cut down by a lot :smile_cat:

The next useful feature is the one you get when you press the little asterisk on the left hand side of the search bar. This is the first one that might not be entirely self explanatory. It’s the “wildcard” option, (though officially pattern search option) but as you can see by pressing it, there are actually 5 options that become available :

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*: Zero or more arbitrary characters between two characters ->「あ*ま」finds「あま」,「あいま」,「あめだま」etc.
?: replace with any character, for each ? All possible words with one arbitrary character in that place will be shown. → 「あ?ま」finds「あいま」,「あたま」etc
@: replace with any kana → 「愛@@」finds「愛する」,「愛しい」,「愛でる」etc
#: replace with any kanji → 「一#一#」finds「一期一会」,「一長一短」etc
(…): Search for any word that has a character from the group → (あい)たま finds あたま and いたま.

The last useful feature on the main page is the search history (we’ll go over this in a bit more detail later on, because it has quite an awesome use-case!), which will display your last searches. So if you looked something up a bit ago and wanted to remind yourself? Quite nifty! It’s the clock on the right of the search bar :

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A few notes on important things when selecting a dictionary

1. The content of each dictionary is completely different.

If the impression you have about different dictionaries, whether it’s in your own native language or when shopping around for a Japanese dictionary (either monolingual or JPN – Eng / Eng – JPN), you would be dreadfully mistaken. One of the most common things you’ll encounter is that one dictionary will label a certain usage as “misuse”, while it is perfectly correct according to another dictionary. There is also the fact that many words can be encountered in one dictionary, but not in another (this is especially of concern when using 小型辞書こがたじしょ or small dictionaries). A recommendation you will often see is to use multiple dictionaries (at least two, but the more the better really :smile_cat: )

2. A dictionary isn’t good or bad based purely on the headword counting

There are many dictionaries with a reasonably high headcount. But only the headcount is not important when looking at a dictionary to choose. The most important thing is the quality of the entries, and it’s here where large differences are quite noticeable. This can go from accuracy and simplicity of the definition, number of usage patterns, … So, one should never select a dictionary just based on the wordcount.

3. Japanese dictionaries are not encyclopaedias

The line between an encyclopaedia and a dictionary in the Japanese language is often quite blury, as there are dictionaries that do handle proper nouns (personal names, names of places, …), but it shouldn’t be the case that you should rule a dictionary out just because it doesn’t mention Belgium for example.

4. Buy the latest version

Sure, it might look awesome to have a heavily tattered and worn dictionary to refer to, after all it shows you use it a lot, right? But it’s important to note that the meaning of and way that words are used is something that changes from day to day. That dictionary edition from 30 years ago might list words that aren’t currently (and haven’t been for over a generation) used, or might use them in a way that is now either considered out-dated or plain wrong. To make sure that you encounter the correct uses of these words, an up to date dictionary is a way better guarantee.

Making the monolingual leap

It is my conviction that one of the most powerful tools in your learning arsenal is eventually making the monolingual transition. However, am I a master of Japanese that can read anything without any trouble and thus the correct person to ask? No. But I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my own reading that coincided with making the step to going fully monolingual (WaniKani excluded :stuck_out_tongue: ). So, while I may not be the best person to ask, I’ll be doing a short write up based on what I’ve read concerning making the monolingual transition. Please take all of this sub-item with a heavy dose of doubt, and do make up your own mind! :smile_cat:

Going fully monolingual isn’t a necessity to studying Japanese, and may even increase your discomfort with the language for months on end, but the potential rewards as you have to learn to comprehend new words, context and the like in Japanese is very immense. It helps you to gain a deeper grasp of the language, and will probably be helpful in shortening the time to fluency as you are potentially increasing the amount of exposure to the language.

Another (claimed) benefit is that it helps you get out of the mindset of translating from Japanese to another language in your head, and truly start thinking in Japanese.

First caveat

The first caveat to going monolingual is looking at time spent reading. If you find that using a monolingual dictionary causes you to read less than you do while using a bilingual dictionary due to it being more draining, by all means, continue using a bilingual one. There are still several potential steps you can take to try and incorporate more time with a monolingual dictionary, but as stated previously it’s not a hard requirement on your path to fluency.

The first potential step you can make is doing the first look-up in a monolingual dictionary, but if you don’t immediately get the meaning (though I believe the struggle in figuring it out is beneficial!) you can look it up in a bilingual dictionary.

The other potential avenue is trying and using a monolingual exclusively until you reach a point of mental fatigue where you can’t be bothered anymore and then switching to a bilingual one. This will somewhat increase your time spent fully in Japanese, though your reading speed (at least in the beginning) will probably drop by quite a lot.

How long will the transition take?

I can’t claim to be an expert on this matter. I slowly got my feet wet in the beginning, only taking a dip here or there, getting my toes wet with some monolingual definitions and the like. With only the last few months going pretty hard on monolingual dictionaries. It’s only been a while since I made the full monolingual leap I’m describing here myself, so please remember to keep all this advice with a grain of salt. It’s based on some stuff I’ve read on various blogs more than personal experience. In general the claim is that the transition to full monolingual look-ups will see a slowdown for several months, but later on it is claimed that you will actually gain reading speed which will make up for the time loss.

When to actually make the switch?

I feel like a certain familiarity with grammar and vocabulary are a necessity when it comes to making the monolingual leap. Sure, you can try and figure things out from the get-go, but stumbling on even the simplest of words and having to look up 10 words in a single definition, that each have their own definition in which you need to look up 10 more words just seems like a fool’s errand to me personally. I feel like the same sort of advice that is given when first diving into native material applies here. Make sure you have a foundation of at least the 1,000 most common words and a firm grasp on basic grammar (N5 and N4 would be preferable as a minimum), but this isn’t a hard set of rules. The most important thing is that you feel at least somewhat comfortable reading Japanese. If each sentence of every definition leaves you scratching your head, making the monolingual transition would be the ideal way of sending yourself of to the looney bin. However, waiting until you understand all definitions immediately on first read would be too long in my personal opinion. The uncertainty, ambiguity and need to figure it out by thinking about what they could mean is one of the most beneficial aspects of it all in my opinion.

But in general I’d advice : Only make the leap once you are only somewhat uncomfortable with making the leap.

How to make the switch

How to go about it? I’d advice picking up several monolingual dictionaries personally, as sometimes I won’t understand the explanation in one for a certain word, but then one of the other ones has an entry that makes perfect sense (or the word might just not be in the one you own, which is another problem entirely). And then, just look stuff up and see if it clicks! I do personally advocate for the monokakido dictionaries app that I mention quite a few times throughout this post, and I suggest giving a quick read through the explanations of all the dictionaries in this post to make up your mind on which ones to get, but if you don’t want to bother with all that, here are the ones available in the monokakido app in the order that I’d personally recommend them :

  • 明鏡国語辞典 第三版
  • 三省堂国語辞典 第八版
  • 三省堂 新明解国語辞典 第八版
  • 大辞林4
  • 日本国語大辞典
  • 大辞泉

When should you not use a monolingual dictionary

  1. You need a specific Japanese word when writing a text

While I’d say 90+% of your language learning needs can be covered by going monolingual, this isn’t always the case when compiling your own texts. Whether it’s just a short tweet or post on this forum, or an in-depth article of some sort, trying to find the exact word you want to use by trying and explaining it in Japanese terms and hoping Google has got your back is a dreadful way to go about it. Simply look the word up in an J-E-J or E-J dictionary and go on your merry way!

  1. It’s a highly specific term that you’d barely understand in your native language

Sometimes you will come across a word that has a very specific meaning / nuance. Sometimes you can roughly guesstimate this word when looking it up in the dictionary, but there will be times when even reading up on all the entries, looking up all the words in those entries, and diving even deeper still leaves you confused at the end of it all. This can especially be the case when looking at some more technical texts, I myself have encountered it on many occasions when venturing to the more technical pages on the Japanese Wikipedia for example. When reading certain types of texts I consider it fine to “cheat” and look up the English meaning just because the mental load of understanding the text itself already takes up all brainpower. You’ll generally find that it becomes easier eventually, and once it does, it’s a good rule to switch out the bilingual for monolingual again though!

Why I advice on dictionary look-ups instead of yomi-chan or the like (personal opionion)

Yomi-chan, Migaku, Rikaichamp, … They are all great tools, giving you a handy tool to have a myriad of dictionaries right at your fingertips, just click on a word and you’ll have the meaning, reading, example sentences, … The works in just one easy click!

Besides the legality of the many dictionaries people share and install with this add-on though, it is my opinion that this is also too great of a convenience in many cases to allow words to properly stick. If you just need to work your way through a text and don’t care too much for retention it’s a fantastic tool. And if you want to easily add words to your Anki decks, it is the best thing suited for it.

My problem though with the convenience that it offers is that it (at least for me) prevents taking the time to properly get acquainted with new words, and it give you the proper time to think WHY you keep forgetting and having to look up a certain word.

The biggest problem with the convenience however is that it actively discourages you from relying on recall when the word is just on the tip of your… mind. If you have to go to your dictionary app and type the word in, it’s a lot easier to convince yourself to just spend the few extra seconds trying to recall the meaning, while if all you have to do is click, you’ll be more likely to go and click, and then say “Oh, right, I knew that.”. I feel like this quite handicaps your learning progress as you don’t spend any amount of time in ambiguity and this let’s you rely too much on external tools. Something that you can’t use as easily when reading a paperback book or making conversation with someone for example.

Do you need to stop using Yomi-chan and the like to be successful as a student? Absolutely not, and if it’s the only way you’ll actually continue reading, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, USE IT!!! But, if you are using it only because it’s convenient and you could do without, why not try not using it for a bit and see how the experience is? I believe you will be pleasantly surprised. And if it’s not for you, you can always switch back :smile_cat:

To write out :

  • Modern Kana transition
  • National language policies pertaining to dictionary entries
  • Information pertaining to the indexes
  • A general overview of how dictionaries can be divided (WIP)
  • Besides monolingual dictionaries
  • Making the transition (short version done, work out deeper?)
  • Getting the most out of the Monokakido app (WIP)

Possible avenues :

  • Looking at older editions
  • Themed dictionaries
  • Thesauruses
  • NHK Pronunciation dictionary
  • Jargon
  • Online dictionaries

Just some images I need :

Dic_X : image

Dic_Triangle : image

Dic_Exclamation : image

Dic_Star : image

Dic_Question : image

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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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I really should post here more, but I don’t really have anything all that interesting to say to be honest. WK is going slowly but steadily, made it to level 14 and will probably reach level 15 in 2 days. I have started watching some Vtubers as well as Terrace House for listening practice, both without subtitles just to let the audio wash over me. Reading is still a big fat zero, I have read maybe a dozen Satori Reader articles over the last month, and that’s about it. Hope to soon find the energy to engage with the language in a more meaningful way again ^^

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So, this is a thing :

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I can’t believe I haven’t updated this thread in close to four months. I guess I’m taking the meaning of sporadic a bit too literal :sweat_smile: Anyways, I’ll try my best to do a bit more on the updating front from now on.

General Experience over the past four months

So, a lot has happened over the past few months that made me reflect on a lot of habits / hobbies and projects I was running. I won’t bore all of you lovely people with too many details, but the conclusion is pretty much this :

“Renew my focus on Japanese studies as my primary hobby, while focusing on spending more time with friends and family. Dropping most other projects because I simply had no more time.”

In line with this renewed focus I’ve started strengthening my grasp on the fundamentals of Japanese, re-starting my Grammar studies from the start on BunPro and starting a new course (Assimil Japanese). More information on that all at a later stage.

WaniKani

Let’s start with some screenshots to give a bit of a status update :

General overview :

Overview of days studied :

Current Wall of Shame :

So, first thing is first, since my last post I have reset back to Level 10 as I felt overwhelmed with my reviews due to my long absence, and I felt like I still had a good grasp off the Kanji and Vocabulary items up to that point. After my reset on the 27th of August I spend a bit of time there, just slowly burning some items I knew off and getting a grasp on my Reviews until they were at a point I could manage them. It’s only been a few days ago I’ve finally started adding new lessons back into the mix to re-start my journey climbing that long WK ladder.

My current goal for WaniKani is to advance a minimum of 1 Level each month, with a preferred pace of 2 Levels each month. This would mean that my goal is to achieve a minimum of Level 14 (my level pre-reset) by the end of the year. As WaniKani is no longer my primary focus in my study strategy I feel like this is a good pace. Yes, I do know that it will take over 4 years at this rate to complete it, but hey, I’ve already been doing this dance for nearly three, so maybe slow and steady wins the race :smile_cat:

Torii

Current Status :

I have restarted my Torii Journey. I had only 1,100 vocab words on there and didn’t use it with any real consistency. My goal here is quite simple, I’m going to do all 50 lessons each day I remember to use Torii until I reach a point where I feel like I don’t know at least 90 - 95% of all newly introduced words. Once I reach that point (should be somewhere around 1 - 2 K is my guess) I’ll spend 2 weeks getting those words further along the track, not adding new lessons. From then on I will be adding new words at a rate of 5 words per day, as well as adding any words I can think of that I know by heart, but haven’t been introduced yet.

Again, this will mean that my journey of advancement is quite slow and will take quite a while, but that is my entire focus on Japanese now. I don’t NEED to become fluent quickly, drowning myself in too much work and just stopping because it’s too much extra stress. I can just take my time and enjoy the experience!

BunPro

General Status :


Yes, I have also reset my BunPro account (who could have guessed, right?) and have quite rapidly added all N5 grammar points. As you can see from my ghost reviews I have quite a few basic mistakes, but that is sometimes due to being clumsy (not realizing the English was in the past for example), making a typo or just being with my head in the clouds.

Luckily I don’t have any troubled grammar listed, so all in all I feel like I’m doing quite good on that front, but I still have some problems with the Verb[ない]+ なくちゃ(2) + いけません construction (an old pain for me, but I keep making mistakes on it). I hope to get it fixed soon, I do understand it correctly when reading most of the time, but when trying to form it there is around a 50% probability of me making a mistake there :sweat_smile:

Assimil Japanese

In general I quite like this course, though I am quite frustrated with certain aspects of it (mostly the romaji input and the continuous log-in problems on PC) which mean I use it less than I really should. The dialogues and exercises are a lot better (and ramp up in difficulty quicker) than any other course I’ve encountered though, which make the problems somewhat acceptable. Would hope they fix it someday in the future though!

Kitsun

I’ve suspended using Kitsun for the moment, but due to their new smartphone app I might get back into using it. My goal would only be a few words / phrases per day, as I don’t want yet another huge review load added :sweat_smile:

Anki

I’ve stopped using Anki completely. I like it, but it was more work than I am willing to put in.

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Okay, so update time. I will be making smaller but more frequent updates probably, so please don’t expect any passage length updates every time if anyone is reading this :sweat_smile:

WaniKani :

BunPro :

I was working my way through some grammar points being amazed at the jump up in level from N5 → N4, as it was way bigger than I remembered. It was only at the third grammar point that I realized I had set my JLPT level to N2 for an example picture… :sweat_smile: I stopped those lessons, changed my JLPT level to N4 and added three new lessons today, namely :

  • なくて
  • なくてはならない (Another one that keeps messing with my brain, it’s probably because a few years ago I internalized this as a negative without proper grammar studies, and from then on all these forms really break my brain :stuck_out_tongue: I can get them right if I think about them, but I still misread them relatively often…) I did not know that in this grammar point ならない indicates that that action must be taken due to some rules, beliefs, … though, it clears up a lot ^^
    -でも (let’s hear it for the easy grammar points :smile_cat: - Though admittedly I misread the sentence だれでも かれ名前なまえっています。the first time around :stuck_out_tongue:

In my reviews I mistyped once and completely failed to form なさ すぎた から (Because I didn’t sleep at all) I just couldn’t wrap my head about that use-case of すぎる until I read it :stuck_out_tongue:

Torii :

Random fun-ness :

Today I came across the expression 蛞蝓 なめくじ しお which means to be crestfallen; dejected; shriveled. I love the expressiveness ^^

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I just learned about these this week, tried to add them to BunPro and then took them off because I missed them nearly every time. I get the meaning when reading them but the conjunction just isnt making sense. I figure Ill come back to that later…

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Haha, best of luck there! No harm in keeping that one for later, especially with you getting the meaning when reading :smile_cat:

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Update time (I am planning on doing this daily for a bit, it’s good motivation)

Wanikani :

I’ve confused 工業 and 作業 once again, I really need to internalize the difference more, there one of my biggest sources of mistakes :sweat_smile:

BunPro :

I only made one mistake in my reviews ^^ Couldn’t remember ので for some reason :stuck_out_tongue: Just goes to show that what you understand and active recall can differ by quite a large margin sometimes :man_shrugging:

New Grammar learned today :

  • など (Didn’t even know this had a Kanji :stuck_out_tongue: )
  • やすい (with yet another conjugation I always have to re-read at least once :stuck_out_tongue:やすかった)
  • しい

Torii :

I’ll still have an evening session for some reviews, so the numbers might slightly change still, but not too much :stuck_out_tongue:

Random fun-ness :

I realized today that I have been reading よご wrong all this time :stuck_out_tongue: it’s not きたなれ as my brain seemed to think :stuck_out_tongue:
Due to the above mistake I however learned about よごやく which means the role of the villain; the bad-guy role in a movie / play / etc ^^

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Daily update :

WaniKani :


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I had 6 typos on my review (have 2 more review sessions planned today) and 3 I made genuine mistakes on, namely :

失う - Thought it meant to fault something…
曲げる - Keep confusing 曲げる and 曲がる even though I already have 曲がる burned :sweat_smile:
保つ - Thought it was just もつ instead of たもつ.


BunPro :

My reviews went really well the past two days, so I’ve added a ton of new grammar points at once, namely :

  • なくてはいけない
  • てあげる
  • とき
  • とおもう
  • なさい
  • ないで
  • みたい
  • どんどん
  • まず
  • てほしい
  • てくれる
  • そう
  • てすみません

The main reason I’ve added so many grammar points at once is that they are all quite easy ones, so I don’t expect too many difficulties. I will stop adding new ones for a day or two probably for the amount of reviews to settle down a bit.


Torii :

Still one session left today, but current state of affairs :smile_cat:

Random fun-ness :

Today I learned about から stating that the preceding clause is a/the reason for some action/behaviour/etc. I had internalized this through exposure but hadn’t come across it yet in real grammar studies. It has made some translations that I understood but couldn’t translate easier to do ^^


Reading :

I was reminded yesterday about the マジック・ツリーハウス series, and have started reading the first one :

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It’s a fun read, it’s quite simple, but it’s fun to just be able to read without having to look stuff up every few sentences. I might read all 4 books that I have ^^

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Its cool that I reminded you to read something.

Congrats! That’s a big goal for me, but it feels pretry far off.

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You’ll get there eventually ^^ Just keep on keeping on, you’ve got this!!!

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