Thank you for your kind words and suggestions. Also, thanks a lot for mentioning the Japanese Film Club - I hadn’t seen that yet, but I will most definitely take a look. A while ago, for my introduction I compiled a list of movies in my introduction thread; I’ve got quite a number of Japanese movies on blu-ray in my collection and can most definitely participate in bringing in some suggestions - I’ve seen that currently you’re watching カタクリ家の幸福; that’s actually a movie I’ve been circling around for a while now - it was on sale twice on blu-ray and I was considering it, but in the end didn’t have the courage to pick it up, as it looks quite strange - maybe this is the kick I need to finally watching that movie
Hey, what’s important is that you came back! Most people who fall off of it once don’t make it that far .
I think you’ll recover what you knew pretty quickly, and I’m sure that this next attempt will go smoother!
Today’s Saturday, I reset my status last Friday, that means a week is over; how have I done? So far, so good, I’d say.
As stated, I planed to first just stay on WaniKani and get some kind of routine back with it. I started WaniKani every morning after waking up, did all my reviews and put on a timer for the upcoming reviews of the day. I also did basically all the lessons as soon as they became available, and it was pretty straight forward and easy to do (keeping in mind, that I’ve already been there). So today morning at 1am, before I went to bed, I managed to get to Level 3. All the while managing to keeping a nearly 100% accuracy.
That changed mainly due to today morning; I first did my lessons (40 of them), and already there I realized that I wasn’t too concentrated - but doing lessons and the quiz doesn’t do you much bad… then however, when doing my reviews afterwards I made a lot of stupid mistakes (like switching around ~日 and ~月 readings and/or meanings). And maybe this is also the time to start slowing things down again. I mean, I reset my Level 5 for a reason (i.e., not recalling any of the Level 5/Level 4 items, and not being sure if that would also be true for Levels 3-1); as soon as I recognize the pace is not working out anymore because I don’t remember things, I need to slow down to a more natural pensum; this is my plan:
Doing all my reviews as soon as they pop up, whenever possible (i.e. during the day I’ll set the timer for days I am at home [being able to work from home since 2020, this is a luxury I have]), and learning 10 new items a day, right in the morning.
I also found out that the heat map partially stopped working and found the reason here on the forums. That’s a shame, even though I get it. I know there is this local storage solution, but I guess my paranoid settings deleted all the progress (whenever I close my browser all info saved gets deleted - and yes, the stats show that for the last 2 days I didn’t shut down my PC - had some heavy calculations running during the night ).
And I somehow stumbled upon this thread, and got caught up with point 3: “The Wanikani’s sibling that you need to meet” - actually haven’t read through the rest of it. The point made, that got me thinking is this:
There is a lot of truth in this, and I was eager to try it out, so I did and tried out KaniWani with the first lesson (it’s pretty nice that you can actually lock the lessons manually); and even the first lesson where I have 100% accuracy in WaniKani and manage to go through really fast, was rather slow and difficult. In the end, I just made two mistakes, but for each item I had to think about the solution probably in 3-4 times longer than on WaniKani plus the mistakes showed me, something even more interesting:
First I typed in 工 for artificial; then I remembered that this is actually construction and artificial is man-made; so I typed in 工人, which is obviously wrong as well - and then I started guessing: 口人？Only then did I realize that the order was wrong; 人工, of course. When I see it, I automatically hear the voice of the audio on WaniKani pronouncing it in my head; so the recognition works really well. But recalling it? Not so much, I guess… After getting 人工 wrong, I also got 人口 wrong, using 人々 instead.
Now I am wondering, if I should incorporate this into my learning schedule as well, and if I should really do it right away, to further strengthen my Kanji knowledge. As the post suggests, it’s a question of goals; do I just want to be able to recognize, or do I also want to produce? If I go through my initial list of goals, 3 out of 4 goals (I listed 5 but actually, the first are focused on recognition (fluent reading, watching movies, JLPT) are actually recognition goals; not recalling. The last however is:
For me, it always feels like I only train my recognition and never my recalling; I learned French for a couple of years, and also Spanish; both some years/decades ago. Both used to be somewhere between the A2-B1 according to CEFR (never tested it, but that’s what the classes worked towards, and that’s how I would have assessed myself at that time). Today I manage to speak just a hand full of sentences, and these take really long to form and are riddled with small Grammatical errors. But I am always surprised, when I then get some text or hear to some audio and manage to understand much more than I would have expected - I just cannot reproduce or create it. For a while that was true for my English as well. For me, personally, I do not feel like knowing a language, unless I am also able to speak it; to converse with someone else. On the other hand, I don’t need this knowledge for most of what I would like to do, and I don’t have any chance of speaking or writing Japanese, as I don’t have any Japanese friends to practice with.
So incorporating KaniWani makes sense. However, on the down side this would be a third SRS that I need to track; I feel like this could be getting a bit much in the long run. To reiterate my plans:
- WaniKani: Do my reviews as soon as they become available (at least twice a day, at the start and the end) + learn 10 new items (or maybe reduce it to five, later on).
- Genki: Do review exercises for past sub-chapters of a lesson, learn one new sub-chapter (either a dialog or reading exercise (I’ll use them for listening + reading comprehension) or a grammar point), and add 10 new vocabulary items (plus possible example sentences for the grammar points) to Anki.
- KaniWani: 10 more items???
Feels like I’ll be spending 2+ hours a day - most of it for SRS reviews - if I want to keep up that pensum - and I am not sure if I can (always) make time for this. Hm… What to do?
First off, I’ll probably stick (at least) another week to just WaniKani; next week I am working regularly again (this week I had just one day, and the rest off). And then, when I feel more comfortable (and also start learning new things again that I haven’t seen before), I’ll add one of the two others… and maybe even both… in the end: Even though it was much more difficult, it was also kinda fun, doing KaniWani.
For what it’s worth, I did WK + KaniWani + Anki (for Minna no Nihongo vocab) all the way to level 60, and it was doable, and I do think I benefited from all three, though it does add extra time. I’d say I probably spent an hour to an hour and a half on SRS each day (maybe a little more for the last month or so of WK, since my review counts were higher).
But yeah, I also never missed a single day of doing my reviews, which kept things from ballooning out of control. So it really was an hour, minimum, every single day for over two years. That is definitely a commitment, and it’s not one that everyone is able to make. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the benefits of practicing recall are worth adding the extra work.
A bit later than usual, but therefore I’ve got something worth while to report: Level up! While the forum still shows me at level 3, I’ve actually just today reached level 4.
A bit slower than I anticipated, to be honest; WK stats puts me at 9 days; which is okey, I guess - I had some vocabulary left over from lesson 2, when I switched over to level 3, and I wasn’t too quick in picking up all the radicals which was probably a mistake. Those radicals are fairly easy, they don’t come with readings, and basically you try to connect the meaning just to the look of the radical; whereas everywhere else you need to identify the number of radicals, then remember the story that connects them, and then only are you able to produce the meaning + think about the other story for the reading(s). So even though quite easy and without many mistakes, I had to wait quite a while for new lessons to happen, because I didn’t burn the radicals, which led in delays for the Kanji learning.
So for the future I’ll try to pick up all Radicals at once, or in two batches if there are just too many (not more than that though), that are on the same day.
On the plus side, adding WaniKani as exception to my strict “cookie deletion on browser restart” finally shows all my past reviews; 6 days too late, but still - 12/12 (which should actually be 18/18) is quite a good outcome that I am really happy with; and I think I always did lessons when they where available, so I am happy with that progression as well.
So in all, even though it took me 9 days, I am happy with my progress and especially with my error rates according to WK Stats. I also started working on KaniWani - I couldn’t keep away, even though it does not have the same priority and I don’t do it every day the same way I do WaniKani. In the beginning it was quite fun and I enjoyed it - I also feel that it helps with WaniKani as well, adding another “path” in the brain to the things you’ve already started learning.
However, when progressing, I got more and more fed up, due to all the vocabulary with the same translation. Like girl - when you see this, which one would you pick? 女子？女の子？少女？What about woman? 女？女人？女の人？This is really frustrating, cause you need to enter the correct word; so I’ve started to create a list (the only hint you have are the additional words, e.g. “girl 1” has “woman” as second meaning; “girl 2” has “young girl, lady, woman”; and “girl 3” has “young lady”. This at least gives you a way to differentiate, but still it’s no fun; and looking it up from a list feels like cheating. So I am not sure how far KaniWani and I will go; depends on the next vocabulary.
In other news, I found a way to motivate me even further by changing my wallpaper using http://wkw.natural20design.com/ – I guess you all know this site already, but just in case you don’t: This will create a wallpaper with Kanji in the ordering you like best, and the colors you choose. The Kanji will change their color according to their level; I’ve themed my computer according to the dracula color theme, so I used that color palette, and changed it so that unseen is barely visible from the background; and then it will change from gray over blue to red, according to the journey from Apprentice to Burned.
I also decided to group the Kanji according to the JLPT levels, because one of my goals is to take those tests - this way I can see whenever I’ve reached another level - Kanji wise. On the other hand I am also interested in seeing how many of the most frequent Kanji I know; so inside the groups I ordered them that way. Looks quite good, and I cant wait to see the first Kanji turning red.
If you own a Windows or Mac, there’s a script that will automatically update on changes; there is nothing available for Linux, so I had to write my own; but it’s quite easy: I opted for a systemd’s timer unit (which is the equivalent to Init V’s cronjobs), i.e. under
~/.config/systemd/user/ I created two scripts, one for downloading a new wallpaper (
wallpaper.service) and setting it as the new wallpaper, and a second one that is run as a timer (
wallpaper.timer) every hour and calls the first script. The first script needs the API Key from WaniKani (the cutout from the screenshot below), and of course, depending on your desktop environment what comes after the download will probably be different to my setup (I use pure i3 on an Xorg, and change my wallpaper with the programm feh).
Just install the script with
systemctl --user enable wallpaper.timer and from then on,on every hour the script will check for a new wallpaper and replace your old one with the new. If you want to try this yourself on your Linux machine and get stuck anywhere feel free to drop me a line and I’ll try to help with details. For me it works like a charm, and it’s fun to see it change every time you’ve finished some reviews. Another source of motivation, if you need it.
Last but not least, I listened to some Japanese music, and I tried reading along; I started buying Japanese music a while ago, when I stumbled upon this German label on Bandcamp called Get Your Genki; who in 2018 started releasing a compilation MC every now and then; from Bands that you’d usually not get out here. I’ve already found some cool bands, and one that I really liked, even got a single released with Get Your Genki. They are called クスリノリスク, and unfortnuately they already seem to have disbanded - which makes my copy of their one and only single so much more special; if you are interested, you can listen to their music via bandcamp: クスリノリスク - 1. Single | Get your Genki. And it was really fun following the text while reading along - even though I could only read the Kana and not the Kanji - it felt really good, and I’ll try to do some more active listening.
Do you know any good japanese Bands worth giving a listen to? Especially similar to クスリノリスク? Any tip is welcome
Let’s see what the next week will bring - I’m on a festival that coming weekend, but I’ll try to at least do all my daily reviews. And the week after I’d probably start picking up Genki again.
My 2023.5 progression
- SRS Review fail: If any SRS review did not get done, this will be the only emoji for that day
- Genki Vol 1: One new Item
- WaniKani: All new Radicals or 10 new Kanji or 10+ new Vocab
KaniWani: All new Lessons
- Anki: 10 new Items (Vocab or Grammar point)
- Listening: Some form of conscious listening activity
- Reading: Some form of conscious reading activity
I stumbled upon this new learning log, and saw this template, and shamelessly stole it (well I’ve seen these before - even used them - in the reading clubs, but it didn’t occur to me to use it for my learning log as well ) and made it my own, by extending it (also with consideration for the future).
My goal is to keep this up to date - if possible even daily - so this is my new “sticky” goto post. On the one hand this is more visual and more easily to grasp than writing paragraphs of text, and on the other hand I can keep my ~weekly log entries a bit shorter and focus on the interesting stuff. As I said, I also made it my own, by reflecting on my goals and what my main focus should be:
In-depth explanation of the Legend
So, you are in fact interested in a more in-depth reasoning for why I chose what I chose? Here you go (this is probably me reading this some weeks in the future, because I forgot my initial thoughts and goals ); this list is sorted in priority, i.e. not all icons can and will be shown in the
: This might be considered the most controversial thing in my log, but for me a day where I do all new items in WaniKani and KaniWani, work on three chapter of Genki, add 50 vocabs to Anki and do reading and listening exercises will still be a failed day if I skip any of my SRS repetitions, and in this case I do not get to brag about any of the other things I did that day. This might seem harsh, but it will be in tune with my yearly goals I did in January (a minimum of 365 days of reviews - which I already broke, but let’s update this to 164 days then [i.e. 11 days in July + 153 remaining days in the year from August to December]), and put an emphasis on the problem I have with consistency. Over the last months/years I came to the realization (far to late in my life) that SRS is not only a pretty decent tool that allows maximum efficiency with learning – not maximum speed, sure. But being able to remember things in the long-run with just a couple of times reviewing them (to get an Item burned on WaniKani you’ll see it 8 times; after 6 times you’re remembering your stuff already for a month) is something that seems insane to me – during school and university I used to be the guy that started learning for the exams a couple of weeks before, spending every waking hour (and a couple of hours that I should have rather been sleeping); in that time I’d probably see all my cards and notes 10-20 times to hammer it into my brain, and in the end retention wasn’t half as good. But for this to work you really need to hit your review times – timing is the most important thing for this to work (at least according to theory, but my limited experience already shows me that this is probably also holding up for me individually in practice as well). And this is true for all SRS systems, not just WaniKani. Whenever I add another SRS system (like Anki), hitting this goal means reviewing all the SRSs – no exceptions. Well – I am not quite sure what to make of KaniWani yet, so I’d probably have that as my very first exception just for now. Why? Firstly, it basically is an addition to WaniKani, rather than its own system, and as such it not only ties in to WaniKanis SRS, but also screws it up a bit, by actually showing you all the items twice – even if it is just in reverse. And I’m not quite sure yet, what to make of this. Secondly, I am already stumbling on problems that I don’t quite like. Having 4x “Girl” and guessing which one it could be is no fun – learning by heart, when KaniWani adds which additional translations in unique combinations to the vocabulary (girl, young lady, lady, woman) is in my eyes stupid and a waste of time, and writing them out on a sheet of paper to having lye around next to me, then recalling all possible girls and then looking up which one the system wants, feels like to much hassle for me. So maybe I’d ditch KaniWani again, maybe for good, maybe just replace it with another solution that works better? It is this uncertainty that makes me not wanting to commit to KaniWani (or another reverse system) to the list of separate SRS that all need to be done to not get an . But as soon as I commit to a system, it’ll be in that SRS list as well. So my main focus is that this icon is never shown - and if nothing else is shown, it’s still a good day, because I at least did my reviews.
: The single book represents my main learning textbook, so the source where I get my additional vocabulary, reading and writing exercises, and all the Grammar work, and hopefully (depending on the book, I guess) also listening comprehension. I own a copy of Genki Vol. 1, which will be my first text book; when I switch to Genki Vol. 2 I’ll also switch the book’s color to . You might recall that I also own a copy of J-Bridge which I didn’t like as a beginners book and discontinued usage, but I might pick it up, once I’m through with the Genkis. If I do, I’ll switch to ; I have no idea what textbook will come after that - I’ve recently stumbled upon Quartet which to some is the best book to follow up with Genki, that seems intriguing (and it looks light pinkish, so probably I’ll be using then)… so you’ll see according to the book color where I am at - but I’d be rotating soon as there aren’t so many book-colors available (a pity ). Regardless the cover, however, I expect this to be in the diary as often as possible. Ideally, we’ll see it daily, because this is the main source for me to learn the language in a structured and progressive way.
: I’ve read somewhere that 10 Items is a good number of Items to learn at once. This is also the default setting on WaniKani – so they probably think so, too? – and as long as I am only using WaniKani, it is a pace that I am able to keep up with. So having 10 items was my initial goal for WaniKani, regardless of the type of items – and I wanted to reduce it, once I add additional SRS systems, so that it stays at 10 in total. But now I’ve come to question this a bit; learning a Kanji will consist of (1) deconstructing the radicals, (2) combining them in a story to remember including the meaning, (3) attaching to it another story to also learn the readings and (4) learn the Kana writing. That is quite some mental work, and often I realize that when I don’t recall a Kanji, it’s mostly because I didn’t pay too much attention to one of these points [i.e. in (1) I didn’t realize the drop, and then I get presented with a similar Kanji without the drop and mix things up, or in (2) and or (3) I didn’t pay enough time envisioning the story, which is why it’s not getting back to me, or (4) I screw up things like 十日 with とうか instead of とおか]. Especially (4) is a regular problem for me, so limiting myself to 10 items seems reasonable here. But what about with Vocabulary? Sometimes you get presented with 10 words that are pretty hard: 下手, 一人, 二人, etc. are irregular in reading and require you to do the same as with the Kanji. Other times you get something like: 一台, 二台, 三台, … up to 10. Feels like learning one word… well not even, because I already know the readings of the individual Kanjis as well. Limiting myself to 10 items in such cases feels like intentionally holding back, and artificially slowing down the progress. In these cases I’ll want a bit more flexibility. Do I have round about 10 new items that feel hard to remember, due to meaning, reading or both? Then I’ll stick to the 10. But if there’s a lot of “you already know the reading - nice” items in the Vocabulary, I’ll add another bunch – and I’ll repeat this process until I feel I am at around 10 hard ones that really need mental work. And now, last but not least, the Radicals. It was during my re-doing of the Levels 1-3 and especially Level 3 that I realized two things: First, radicals are actually not that hard. They consist of just one thing - seeing the name of the radical in the drawing of it. That’s hardly any mental work. And second, spreading them over days just hurts your progression. In Level 3 I had days with no new lessons because I needed to wait on my Kanji to get unlocked that where waiting for radicals that I got through the system with 100% correctness and where I felt that I was wasting time having to wait on them. I mean sure, this is facilitated by (a) the fact that I am redoing lessons and (b) the fact that in the early lessons you get pretty easy radicals like “hat”, “toe”, “ground”, “treasure”, etc. But I peeked ahead and I think for the first 10 lessons this will stay this easy, and beginning with level 14, there won’t even be 10 radicals anymore. So this rule of doing all radicals at once only needs focus for the first 13 levels anyway and than comes naturally. One important last note: Due to the splitting off SRS reviews into its own icon (or rather lack of icon), the crabigator gets only shown, if there’s a lesson for me to do. Which might not always be the case. I expect the crabigator to join the party as often as possible, but not having a crabigator around might not mean that I was lazy that day, but maybe there was no lesson to do; and even if there was - more important than trying to get in new stuff is being consistent with the reviews, and in the long-run being more consistent in learning the language (i.e. using the workbook) than just learning Kanji - even though using WaniKani is (at least to me) much more fun than working with the book
: Nothing much to say about this one that I haven’t said already. I think the recalling vs reproduction argument against WaniKani is a valid one and that WaniKani needs supplementation, if reproduction is as important to you as recalling. It is also quite fun, and it does help with solidifying WaniKani as well. And I do love the effort and work that someone put into KaniWani – but there are downsides, so I am not sure if I want to keep up with this, I am not sure if I want another service instead (but I’ll for sure try them), and if it will become an integral part of my journey. We’ll see. In the end, same applies to the upside down face as to the crabigator: Not seeing the world upside down a day is not bad thing - might be there weren’t any lessons, might be I could just concentrate on reviews - once I’ve committed a reverse-system to my learning routine, it will contribute to the daily by preventing that review-
: This will represent input to the SRS system, more specifically to the SRS system that isn’t already filled by WaniKani or KaniWani (or alternative); basically that’s just Anki, which I’ll be using for everything else; I’ve adapted the “example sentences over single words” mentality, and with it, I’ll try to both, learn vocabulary (i.e. 私の＿＿はピゴスパです。Is quite obviously referring to the missing word for “name” without learning a 1-to-1 translation of the word and all the while also learning the word in the context of a common sentence in a common usage, making it easier to recall things as they get interconnected with each other), as well as Grammatical ideas (i.e. 私はラーメン＿＿食べます。to learn the object marker -の). And to further help the brain remembering things (giving more context), I’ll also add images, and if I’ve got them: recordings. This makes creating the cards quite time-consuming, so it is totally fine not to do this every day; it might also be that there is a day with no cards needed to be created (though I doubt this, especially in the beginning). And even though it is in the end the main tool to actually make the things from the workbook (and possibly other sources) stick, I think that actually doing the work (mostly exercises and text/listening work) is in the long run a bit more important than creating Anki cards [vocab can also be learned by observing them in the texts, and with WaniKani as well, grammar points are also learned (and revised) with the exercises, etc.]; might be that this will change in the future and swap places with WaniKani, but for now I am most happy with this order - I think I’ll re-evaluate this, once I reach level 10 on WaniKani.
& : I feel these are both on the same level and absolutely similar in the way I understand this. It is conscious reading or listening - unconscious reading is a bit difficult, but unconscious listening would be putting on a CD that runs in the background, whereas conscious listening would be paying attention, trying to understand words, shadowing the things I hear (for pronunciation, etc.), reading the lyrics while hearing, singing along, mining vocabulary, etc. Same goes for books. Both, reading and listening is probably quite important, and also part of immersion, and they can happen anywhere (reading something online, like news, adverts, blogs, etc. - maybe even here on the forum, or subtitles in Japanese; listening to a podcast, watching a movie, YouTube, music, etc.). Priority should be higher, but especially in the beginning this is not something where I will get most value out of - this is why I’d put it this low - hopefully with reaching level 20 on WaniKani, Genki 1+2 and JLPT N5 + N4, this will shift fundamentally and these two become more important. But for now, I think it is reasonable. And again, this is additional reading - I won’t count reading/listening in Genki (because it’s already covered by Genki) or WaniKani, etc.
By the way, regarding all the new icons - next week or the week after (at latest) I’ll be starting with Genki Vol. 1 (), which will also pull in Anki (), so expect them to show up at least in the last row from August, Listening is something that could always appear somewhere, and reading at latest somewhere towards the end of the year - the graded readers are accessible right from the start and where fun to do, but real reading stuff (absolute beginners reading club?) is probably only really doable with at least JLPT5, so probably by the end of year (depending on my speed).
Regarding KaniWani, what I ended up doing with it is just adding synonyms pretty liberally and not worrying too much about it. If the prompt it gives me is identical or nearly so (like if some of the English glosses overlap), I’ll add the word as a synonym. It means my recall coverage on those words isn’t as great, because often I’ll gravitate toward one of the synonyms and reinforce that one way more than the rest, but I feel like it’s not a big enough issue to worry too much over.
I only really aim for gaining an approximate understanding of the word with SRS anyway. It’ll take lots of exposure to the word in context before I develop a real understanding of how it’s actually used. So I prioritize ease and painlessness of doing SRS reviews over being a stickler for details that I don’t think are best learned in an SRS environment anyway.
２０２３年８月１５日です、time for the review of the last week. That week was complicated and busy; I had a very busy Wednesday and Thursday, and a days of from Friday to Monday, due to this years M’Era Luna Festival. But that didn’t let me stop doing my reviews, and even lessons, as you can see in my updated calendar view. As I was doing my reviews on the smartphone, I had to add them manually, so I made a lot of screenshots to remember how many reviews I did – and just in case someone says: “Pic or didn’t happen”: I’ve got you covered
(Me in our tent on the festival location, doing my reviews and lessons!)
I didn’t do anything else, though (i.e. KaniWani), and I didn’t pay the best of attentions on my lessons. One of them (不) was not included in the session where I learned all the other remaining Kanji, so that one will hold me back on leveling, now. Which is a shame, but even gets worse because once I realized (I think it was in a break between to concerts), I did another lesson, but it didn’t stick well, so I made a mistake on it two times now -.- This will let me level up the earliest in 2 day, on Thursday.
This might also explain my Reading accuracy getting worse; it dropped ~2%. But hey, I only had such a high value here due to my reset anyways, and it would be a bad sign if my accuracy was still that good (i.e. then I could have probably just kept on doing my reviews).
On the plus side, I’ve got my first Mastery level items; 23 of 25 radicals of level 1 (I unfortunately screwed up 九 [my fingers where to fast, typing kiu which became きう and I only saw the mistake in the same second I pressed Enter -.- ], and 七 [after learning 匕 and not paying attention when I was presented with 七 thinking it was another of the Apprentice reviews for spoon -.-]). But more important than that, my first 14 Kanji are also in master (I don’t remember when, why and how I screwed up the Kanjis 七, 二, and 八 which are still in Guru, but I painfully remember that yesterday I mistook 力 for 刀, which got then bumped back to Apprentice. Shame. Japanese has a lot of these “false friends”, and you need to pay attention to every detail and double check before hitting enter).
Still I am pretty happy with my total of 37主 levels and looking forward to the next items, because it makes my background even more colorful! There’s now a friendly purple between all the shades of grey and blue
My plans for this week:
- Level up to level 5.
- Get more Items into Mastery (a lot of Vocabulary on Level 1, as well as the Radicals and Kanji on level 2 will get their next reviews on Thursday or Saturday, so I expect a lot of purple ).
- Try out an alternative to KaniWani; I will keep on using KaniWani, just in case I end up liking it better, but meanwhile I’d also like to check out KameSame, which is unfortunately not open source, but other than that seems pretty active in development and interaction and has a bunch of interesting features (most important - as KW it can be linked with WK; but other than that it handles the problem of same-meaning Kanji more gracefully, has audio support, etc. – and could be used even beyond WaniKani with curated lists of additional vocabulary, etc.). Hopefully at the end of this week I will have one system I want to keep using, and then I’ll try using both of them without missing any reviews and evaluate if and how this could fit into my schedule.
That’s it for this week - see you on ~Sunday
Lmfao I’m around the same level and I do this like every other day. I think I did the spoon/seven mistake too because I always forget older items will come back up in the SRS and am expecting reviews of recent stuff only.
今日は２０２３年８月２１日です：Update time! I had a really slow week, this week, unfortunately. I did all my reviews, daily, and I also did work with kamesame (and dropped kaniwani); but I overdid it with kamesame; I added 200 items just from the get-go, and then of course my reviews got filled up and took much longer than I expected. So while I did do some WaniKani lessons, I did far less then I would have liked. Only two days; enough though to get another level up; now I am at level 5, but if I get the forum profile counting, this probably will update to 5 after finishing level 5; which is totally fine as well - just feels a bit weird that those two numbers are different.
Kamesame is really fun to use; I don’t quite get the level circle thing, but the stars is a nice touch, and the inbox zero counter is really cool. I also like the already included statistics, though there could be more info; but I love how vocab with same translation are handled - you don’t get an error, and you are reminded once it comes up again, that it’s not the one you already entered. If both are in your review, it will even tell you: “Well, we actually looked for a different vocab, but as both of them are on review, we’ll count this for the other one”. That’s pretty smart.
Something else I learned through kamesame: 単語を入力して下さい。This sentence actually only contains one Kanji I didn’t know before: 単；however shamefully I have to admit that at first I didn’t get 入力 due to the added して. And I also didn’t see 下さい in the mix, initially. It took quite some time, until I saw it. So reading is definitely something that will need some more practice. I didn’t have 語 in Wanikani yet but still know it as language, so including the context I could deduce the meaning. Besides words, we also get 漢字を入力して下さい and that one puzzled me more; 字 I would have thought means something like learning/studying, etc. But then again - the devil is in the details: That’s actually 学. Once more the realization that especially in Japanese the details matter a lot. 漢字 actually means Kanji, so yeah. Now this makes sense as well.
I had another unexpected encounter with Japanese: I watched the movie Archive – which is quite a nice movie; an English one, but apparently it plays in Japan (which you don’t get to see anything of, so it could be anywhere), so every now and then there is a Japanese word hidden. I found 出口 on the helicopter doors, and also 人工知能 = じんこうちのう = Artificial Intelligence - a word that’s actually pretty important to me. I of course didn’t know 知能, but given that it is a word in a movie about robots, I deduced that it must mean artificial intelligence, and was right It’s not much, but seeing these Kanji out in the open and recognizing them, recalling their meaning and being able to deduce the rest from context is a really fun and motivating experience, and this is kicking in much earlier, than I expected. I had another of these experiences a while ago; when watching a Chinese movie Cliff Walkers; in it, you could see a shield over a public sink, including the Kanji “用水” (and something else). I paused at that moment and said: “Hey, I don’t know any Chinese, but these two Kanji mean ‘use water’ - not sure why it’s used as a label for a sink, though” - a second later the subtitles said “preserve water”. So not exactly the meaning, but still; being able to get something like this out of a movie - and a Chinese one in particular - that felt pretty cool.
So yeah, even though I didn’t have much effort in learning new things, I hit all my reviews in WaniKani and I am now slowing down on KameSame, so reviews will become easier to handle, and I hope that this week every day there will be maybe 10 more WaniKani and 20 more KameSame, just to catch up (I am still on a 137 items-gap between WaniKani and KameSame and I really like to close that gap. Just for completion sake, here are the stats:
私は生きています！But yeah, I had a break… again the only positive about it, is, that it wasn’t my fault and totally out of my hand (personal healt reasons). The not so positive: I could have had less off days. But returning to Wanikani after a 10 days absence is daunting. I tried, mid of September, but yeah… didn’t get far. And the rest of September and October is on me On the plus side, however: I finally had the chance to take a week of from work, and instead of リラックスします I did some 日本語を学ぶます.
Nearly 600 reviews, I tried to tackle ~100 every day, and today I finally managed to break even, so to speak. No more reviews.
Goal for next week: Start to make it a habbit again every morning before work (as I did the time before) and before I start new lessons I will keep on just doing reviews for a couple more days, because while some words I retained quite well, there where a couple of items that my brain was completely blank on and that also didn’t cut it a second (or third) review.
But speaking of words well retained:
Can I have at least a small celebration for my Enlightened items count? I started off with 0 Items, and ended today with 238 items! Unfortnuately also Apprentice has become larger, without me doing any new items, so a couple of words have slided down as well. But over all I think the numbers look all right
- Apprentice 102 → 116
- Guru 213 → 111
- Master 271 → 121
- Enlightend 0 → 238
Just in case you are curious; my first enlightened Item was the “Drop” radical, then came 円 as kanji and finally 人口 as vocabulary.
I’ll try to focus next week on the reviews, with a special focus on relearning all the items I constantly made wrong the last few days, and then I re-evaluate the goals for the last couple of weeks of this year.
I just did my reviews (there’s a saying in Germany “The early bird get’s the worm” - it’s now 7am where I am at, and I did my reviews round about 6am
I afterwards took the time and updated my learning log calendar, i.e. this guy. As a small reminder: A bad day (no work at all) get’s an , an okey day (at least SRS done - which for now is just WaniKani reviews) get’s a , i.e. a space/nothing (because it is the minimum I should do) and a good day - for now - get’s a which means I added at least 10 new items to the SRS.
You might notice that I removed KaniWani/Kamesame. I was already considering this before my break, because it took quite some time, and keeping track with all my SRS reviews already felt hard. Also, while there where some Kanji and vocab that felt hard, there where also a lot of items that where quite easy - and still they filled up my queue, taking up valuable time. That’s why I’ve decided for myself that for now my most important focus should be being able to read and recognize Kanji and get back into a textbook (i.e. Genki 1 and 2). If I then still feel the need to learn the reverse, I can pick up Kamesame again, but maybe not link it to WaniKani but rather do one of the other lists (there is the possibility to pick up any 10 lessons from WaniKani (i.e. "WaniKani Vocab 31-40), as well as JLPT-Level lists, or the Top 10k words. After having a good grasp in the one direction, those lists might be more useful then now learning the reverse which is more time-consuming than valuable.
Two last things:
- I wonder if this is the correct expression for ‘the previous months of 2023’: ２０２３年の先月. In my understanding, 先月 means last or previous month; but as there is no plural form in Japanese, it has to be seen by the context (which is all past months of 2023, so it should be correct)?
- I wonder if I should move the post with my monthly calendar log into the first post. Being more of a web-forum guy it somehow feels weird to me, editing old posts once they are written. On the other hand, I always have to scroll through all my posts to finally find it. So maybe I should. What do you guys think? Sometimes I feel like “now that I know how these forums work and are ‘lived’ by the community I should start all over again”
And to at least have one picture in this post - my wallpaper got pretty pink this week, so the progress is becoming visible - even through the long break
PS: I also added some , because in Spooktober I also watched some movies in Japanes (with original sound and English subtitles); so I feel they count as listening exercise (even though there where just a few words I recognized - but I did recognize some! ). If you are interested, the movies I watched, where [links to Wikipedia if you want to know more]:
- 無常 (Mujō, aka ‘This Transient Life’ by Akio Jissoji from 1970)
- リング (Ringu by Hideo Nakata from 1998)
- リング2 (Ringu 2 by Hideo Nakata from 1999)
- リング0 バースデイ (Ringu Zero: Bāsudei, aka Ring 0: Birthday by Norio Tsuruta from 2000)
- らせん (Rasen, aka Spiral by Jōji Iida from 1998)
- 呪怨 (Juon, aka Ju-on: The Curse, by Takashi Shimizu from 2000)
- 呪怨2 (Juon 2, aka Ju-on: The Curse 2, by Takashi Shimizu from 2000)
- 呪怨 (Juon, aka Ju-on: The Grudge, by Takashi Shimizu from 2002)
- 呪怨: 白い老女 (Juon: Shiroi Rōjo, aka Ju-On: White Ghost by Ryuta Miyake from 2009)
- 呪怨: 黒い少女, (Juon: Kuroi Shōjo, aka Ju-On: Black Young Girl by Mari Asato from 2009)
Another week is done, and I just updated my November table. And look, ! こんにちは、さん！This week I managed to reduce my Apprentice level items to ~20 Items, so ~100 items where reached Guru-level and a couple even Master-level. This of course made my daily review heatmap change color from a dark blue to a now nearly whitish color, so it’s time to tackle new things! I was contemplating also adding some Genki, but didn’t get around yet.
I still have a couple of words that pop up every time in apprentice and that really annoy me, that I somehow need to tackle:
- 先日 My longest “correct meaning” streak is 8, my current is 1. This one is really bothering me, and it has reached a point where I don’t even know the correct one anymore. It all started with knowing that the word isn’t “yesterday”, but rather a day that happend before this. “previous day”. Well, nope. “last day”… now sometimes I get “other day” right in my head and think - “no, wait, I get this wrong all the time, so the answer probably isn’t my first intuition - let’s think about this” And it get’s even worse:
- 先月 My inability to remember 先日 now stretches over to 先月 which I would normally only get wrong in reading, rather than meaning, because sometimes I am to fast and think it’s せんがつ instead of せんげつ. I always had the meaning correct. But now I start typing things like “previous month”
- 主人 100% correct meaning, 46% correct reading. Oh boy. しゅうじん is my favorite wrong reading for this one, but there are variants I tried out; ちゅうじん、しゅうにん、ちゅじん、ちゅにん. I don’t know why, but this one’s hard really hard for me.
- 主に I always remember that it’s not one of the chuu-variants from the one above, but rather something with an o-sound, and end up with something like おうに、 みょうに、もうに。。。
There’s more, but these are the worst, I guess - or the most annoying ones. They all just feel too well in my apprentice area and won’t leave the party But yeah, let them stay as long as they want, I don’t care - we’re progressing with the lessons now. Everyday ~10 items, that’s the goal, for the next week.
On two days I had a work event (I usually work from home; since Corona this hasn’t changed), and I searched for something I could listen to on my phone (I am not used to this situation anymore I’m only outside with friends, or on times where nobody uses the public transportation and it is possible to grab a seat and read a book – but standing in rush-hours, not in the last 3 years, no sir). I found an interesting podcast named Japanisch/ドイツ語カフェ - Rike & Miyako by a Japan-enthusiast from Germany and a German language teacher from Japan. They have a conversation with one another, but the German person only speaks in German while the japanese Person only speaks in Japanese. They’ll sometimes summarize the answers from their partner in their language, but basically it’s just that. It’s pretty high level and I hardly understood any Japanese, but I still kept listening to it, just to get a feel for native language speakers in Japanese and trying to catch one or the other word that I can recognize. I’ll keep on listening to it, I guess, and I most definately cycle back to it, once I’ve reached an level where I can understand more than just one or another word. They started in 2022 and the podcast is still active (which isn’t true for most of the Japanese podcasts that I could find in my quick search), but it’s a rather slow-paced release - we are at episode 42, with round about 1 episode per month, and each of them with a length of round about 30 minutes. But hey, maybe this is interesting for some of you?
毎日私は日本語を学ぶます。… if that is correct. But yeah, I had a really productive week (even without vacation). Last week I did all my reviews and brought them to 0 every single day, and this trend continued this week. Not a single day missed. Also, last week on Sunday I decided that it is time to pick up learning new items in 鰐蟹 (oh yes, I finally also figured out what WaniKani is actually supposed to mean; well, I could have guessed it, but I didn’t, so I looked the entire thing up and couldn’t find anything, and then tried to separate it. AHA! Call me detective Crabigator! sorry… I’m a bit silly today…)… and – wow did I digress from this sentence – I continnued doing so every day this week as well. Which finally led me tooooooo LEVEL 6.
Well, I’m not sure whether to celebrate or to weep, because just then, Koichi himself mailed me (wow, he must be stalking me on WaniKani, or something…), and told me, that from now on, things are only going to get even harder. There goes the motivation, I guess… well, not entirely.
If WaniKani is getting harder, then I need to find something that’s easier. On Thursday I decided to pick up Genki 1 again, because Kanji is not everything, and I decided to start at level 1 again, and work my way through the book and workbook - should be easy and fast, for the first couple of days/weeks (hopefully). And to motivate me even further, I got myself a new ノート, because (I kid you not) before that I was using tear-off pads to take my notes, and they are… well not that permanent (my school days are over a while now).
Normally I would have gotten a typical “college block” (these are pretty famous in Germany, I guess)… but I thought to myself that I wanted it to be more of a learning diary, of sorts, and that for this purpose I wanted to have something nice, that motivates me even further, so I got an expensive Moleskine XL dotted notepad; and I spent some amount of time figuring out if there’s such a thing like a perfect pen for writing in Japanese (NO DON’T YOU OPEN A NEW TAB NOW! DON’T LOOK IT UP. IT’S A RABBIT HOLE THAT YOU WON’T GET OUT TOO SOON - you have been warned!), and so I also got myself a set of サラサクリップ・ジェルボールペン in インク色 “Vintage” (it’s the only one that was available with different colors). What makes me even more happy with my purchase, is that I could actually read all the Japanese on the front and understand it.
And so, beginning of Friday I was writing in my new ノート with my new サラサクリップ・ジェルボールペン. I decided to start with ひらがな and カタカナ again; I know all my Hiragana in reading, but I wanted to make sure that I was writing them correctly as well, so I did the drill exercises. For Katakana - not so much. And that was the reason I thought about going through my Kana once more to begin with, because it annoyed me, that I still get errors on WaniKani on vocabulary such as シアトル市, just because I cannot differenciate my ル from my ロ (and they don’t even look anything alike ). So I started with those “Drill exercises” on the workbook, to get the writing correct; plus I watched Japanese Calligrapher Takumi to get the pauses and fast movements right as well on Hiragana and Katakana while doing it. The next day I did the Reading/Wrting Exercises at the back of the Genki Textbook for Hiragana as a review exercise and did the “drill exercises” on the workbook for Katakana; this wasn’t as easy as I wished it to be, but I hope my brain now strengthened the connections here was well. Next day (which incidently is today) I did the Seth Clydesdale’s Excercises on Hiragana for further review, and did quite well except for one mistake on combos (しゅ is not じゅ). I also did the Textbook exercises for Katakana, and that worked out quite okey as well; and then I revised the Greetings part, which I am still quite good at. I reset my Anki status (haven’t used Anki in nearly a year, uff). And did all three card-types for all the Greetings (i.e. recognition, production and writing).
I also used my notebook to mark my progress on WaniKani and especially note the words that I’ve been doing wrong, and try to find either new mnemonics where the WaniKani mnemonics are not working for me, or help me to further visualizing them by drawing little images for them. This has been working really well, so far.
So next week I’ll start with the real work in Genki: Lesson 1. And continue with WaniKani and Anki, of course. One cool thing: I had my first couple of WaniKani Kanjis and Vocab (like 大学, 学ぶ, 毎日, etc.), where I actually don’t even need the WaniKani mnemonics, because I already know the vocabulary from Genki or other vocab work I did. Hopefully this will stack up even further, because it makes thinks so fast and easy ). I think I will rush through the first chapters and Anki items, until I hit resistance - let’s see where it’ll take us. I hope you also had a great and productive week and wish you all a happy and relaxing Sunday!
Proof of work
- Anki + WaniKani reviews went well (moved 18 Items from apprentice to guru); two (common) mistakes of my:
- Readings of 来 and 米; I have a new “mnemonic” for it: “米 to get the 来” does not make sense in the translation, but it does so in the reading! And the 米 comes first, because first you have the thing and then you can put the lid on it. Hopefully this will help me stop mixing those readings up.
- 来る - I made a little sketch drawing with Darth Vader wearing “cool” sunglasses.
- Seth Clydesdale: Did the カタカナ review, and well… while ひらがな was super easy, I had a score of only 95% while taking a minute longer; and this would be even harder if it wasn’t possible to eliminate possible answers with previous correctly answered Kana. Diacritical Katakana scored only 88%; Combos 90%. I’ll revise these more regularly; maybe I’ll also look for a smartphone app, or something…
- I did the textbook exercise on greetings as a review exercise, 100%
- I listened to the dialogues of lesson 1, and could understand and translate everything.
- I added the first half of the vocabulary into Anki. Took some time, because I needed to figure out how exactly my template was working again, sort all the vocab, and update some of the cards, because whenever I know the Kanji I’d have the card use the Kanji, so I can focus on writing them. While learning I realized how important this is, because I messed up 先 (first I wrote down 去, then realizing that this was not the Kanji that needs to be in front of 先生, I corrected myself, but forgot the slide part of the gun radical).
I did not pick up new items for WaniKani, though; maybe I can get to it in my lunch break, but now I am up for work… … a break came earlier than expected; picked up the missing vocabulary for level 5, and as they where pretty easy I also learned the first 16 Radicals for Level 6. Only four more radicals missing (and usually I’d like to do them in one go), but then I’d also pull in some new Kanji and I think that would be too much. Some of the radicals already look pretty wild…
Wow loving your handwriting!
Keep it up
Oh, thank you very much I am actually overcritical with my handwriting, and feel like my Kana and Kanji look really horrible But I am trying to have them look as nice as possible
Agreed, your handwriting’s really aesthetically pleasing. Handwriting Japanese isn’t something I’ve considered a goal before (except I enjoy writing the date every morning when I journal) but reviewing your posts inspired me to try earlier! I drilled hiragana today in my ノート too… I found あ omegahard and they all ended up looking like raisins
Thank you very much
I am happy to have inspired you It actually never really was a goal of mine in the sense that I wanted to have a nice handwriting; but I wanted to be able to write Hiragana and Katakana, though, because for me it helps me a lot if I can write things down by hand. Whenever I hit an learning item somewhere, that will not get even into my short term memory it helps me if I can write it down. And I didn’t want to use romanji because everyone warns you about using them… and knowing myself – if I learn something wrong from the get-go I’ll never be able to correct it – I paid extra attention to how to do the strokes (not so much how it looks, though).
… but… since I started with Kanji (which is what I wanted to put off as long as possible when I started my Japanese language journey), I found all these Japanese Kalligraphy videos and they are really relaxing to watch, and I often find myself thinking: It would be really nice if I could do this However writing Kanji is more of a side-goal and not something I spend too much time on (and I wouldn’t advice you to search this on YouTube, because - it’s a rabbit hole ).
For me WaniKani is all about recognizing, reading and understanding the meaning, to get a strong and solid foundation for the language, and hopefully being able to soon start reading original material and immerse myself into the language. But for fun I pay attention to how to write the Kanji, once they appear in Genki (there they have a much slower pace and hopefully I already know all of the Kanji from WaniKani before the get presented in Genki) or if I already know the Hiragana vocabulary in Kanji from WaniKana, and add them to Anki to test my writing. There is a cool plugin in Anki that will automatically fetch the stroke order for Kanji, and while on my PC I’ll just write them into my notebook, but on the go you can also just scribble them onto the screen of the smartphone app, which is pretty neat
Last small tip: When I started writing Hiragana I actually used some trace sheets. You can find them online to print out, and then you already have the line that you can follow. Seems weird (like being back in Kindergarden ), but it helped me a lot to get a feel about how to move the pen. For me - the hardest Kana, that always looks kind of off is ふ, followed by え I guess… Somehow it never looks like when you see others writing え. And I realized that I have a lot of (unwanted) variance in how my お and れ look
Today was not the best day - woke up with a horrible headache, that wouldn’t stop until I had to work so I called in sick, and slept some more. Then I wanted to do some Japanese, but somehow did not get myself to it (and procrastinated a bit on this forum). I had another sleep session, and now I spent the last ~2 hours catching up with Anki and WaniKani. Did just my reviews (and just in time), no new stuff. But I did them; even with delay - Anki and WaniKani is at 0 and both streaks (20 days on WK and 3 on Anki) weren’t broken. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.