So, I heard that starting a study log is what all the cool kids are doing and thought I’d start one myself.
About one and half years ago I started learning Japanese. I starting memerising Hiragana and Katakana (although I wouldn’t fully know it for another half a year). After that, I started going to a Japanese language school and going through Genki, doing flashcards, etc. All of the traditional things one does to learn a new language. I didn’t make any headway for a long time, partly from a lack of decent tuition from the language school, and partly from a lack dedicated time.
About nine months in of accomplishing very little, I started getting fed up of struggling through every single class. I began doing a lot more independent studying outside of the language school (which I should have been doing first). Around this time, I was able to properly learn how Japanese grammar worked. Then, after another three month I found Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide. This was revolutionary for me; I was finally able to take my Japanese above simple sentence structures and on to far more complex reading.
It was also around this time that I realised the language school was useless. Genki did not work for me whatsoever, and at this point it was online due to COVID-19, so I couldn’t really get the fun culture aspects of it anymore either. I decided to try out other tutors online and found one who was far better for my learning style and left the language school.
This all bring me to now; about six to seven months after I left the language school: my Japanese has improved dramatically since I switched teacher and started reading NHK easy articles more often. Then, about two months ago, late December, I joined WaniKani. I already knew quite a few basic kanji (perhaps totalling two hundred or so), but my vocabulary was very much lacking. WaniKani has already helped me so much in improving my vocabulary and, of course, kanji knowledge. It has been great so far, and here’s to level 60!
Level 8 Progress Report
It seems my speed has staggered somewhat since reaching level 6. However, when I received the level up email from WaniKani, they said that levels 6 to 10 or some such level were the “first hard levels”; therefore I’m not fretting too much about this drop in pace.
With regards my study external to WaniKani, I’ve not been revising the grammar I’ve learnt as often as I’d like, much to do with lack of time, but I’m hoping to get into better habits this week and in so doing make time for such things. I’ve started using Maggie Sensei a lot more; it has now surpassed Tae Kim’s Guide as my main grammar learning tool.
Another thing I would like to add to my studies is more reading outside of NHK easy articles. Don’t get me wrong, I still love NHK easy and I think their articles are great for real Japanese reading. However, I’ve noticed that all the articles are written in a similar style and so I think it would be good to start reading more extended prose texts. I’m going to start reading キノの旅 which I’ve heard is very good as a first novel; my only worry is that I may still lack sufficient kanji knowledge.
Yeah, and that’s about it; I’ll be back with another update next level!
Levels 9-18 Progress Report
So, allow me to explain my absence: I got lazy, and then I had exams.
Yeah, OK, not really a great reason. Anyway, I have been continuing my WaniKani journey during this time (albeit undocumented) and I am finally here with a massive update for you all!
So, I just mentioned that I had exams (15 of them to be precise), but what I didn’t mention is that one of those exams was for Japanese! My Japanese GCSE. I’ve now completed it, and currently am awaiting the results (sometime in August); I’ll let you guys know when they come through. Now that I’ve finished my GCSE, I’m moving on to A-Level Japanese, which is really exciting!
As far as new resources go, I’ve got a few for this update: I’ve started using Tobira and I love it! I really recommend it to anyone who has been stuck in the intermediate valley for a while now. It’s called ‘gateway’ for a reason . It’s articles provide great reading practice, whilst not being too intimidating on the kanji front, and one of my favourite things is the listening sources that they have available online: these have been tremendously helpful for improving my listening skills.
With regards to other resources: I’ve been using a new dictionary app, called Linguee. It has been great for getting a feel of a word’s nuances, rather than just a simple definition, providing the most comprehensive examples that I have seen from any dictionary. It’s also great for another reason that I will get on to later.
The third and final new resource I have added is Manabi Reader. After months of primarily reading NHK news articles, the short stories in this reading app have brought some much needed variety to my shorter reading sessions (i.e. the ones where I am not reading a book or manga). I would strongly recommend it to anyone in the same position.
Let’s talk about what you guys can expect to see from my stats reports: level up time has stagnated recently, but I’m expecting to get back down to about nine days per level hopefully in my next couple of levels. Of course, the slow down has been caused primarily by my exams; I may have been lazy with regards to this study log (or ‘slog’ as I’m hoping will catch on ), but I make a far greater effort not to slack on my reviews!
That’s it in terms of Japanese and WaniKani stuff for this update, but I also want to mention some other things I’ve been up to: I picked up French again! (Yippee) and I’m hoping to go on a French exchange this summer which will help me “get my ear in” for the language, or so I hope. With regards to resources I’m using, I’m actually using the aforementioned Linguee app as my dictionary. This is actually one of the benefits I love about it: I only have to have one dictionary app on my phone! It’s terrifically convenient! I’m also using the Assimil French textbook (at the expert suggestion of @Jonapedia), along with more active study sessions, wherein I read about grammar and practise verb conjugations. I’be been using the Conjuu French app for conjugation practice, and for grammar I’ve been using Doctor French. I would recommend both of them without a second’s thought; they have both help my French skyrocket in such a short period. Something to note about Conjuu though, if you intend to use it in the same “SRS style” as WaniKani, you’ll have to setup a reminder schedule, as there is no built in SRS clock like there is in WaniKani. Personally, I just do it when I remember and that has already helped me learn seven tenses.
I’ve also been studying Mathematics and Physics in preparation for my ALs, but seeing as that doesn’t really have anything to do with languages, I shan’t bore you with the details.
I hope you guys like this update! Let me know if you want me to continuing including my French progress in each report, I promise updates will be far my regular going forward!
To be added ASAP.
To be added ASAP.
To be added ASAP.