📚📚 Read every day challenge - Spring 2022 🌸 🌱

Summary Post

April 30
Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun

May 1
Final Fantasy VII

(I planned to post this yesterday but it was already pretty late and couldn’t articulate my thoughts properly so went to bed instead. Haven’t read today yet, will make another post later.)

Finished Shadow Tactics, pretty nice game, I liked it. I’ll definitely replay it at some point. Overall it wasn’t too much of a language learning experience but I could still grab some words.

Long ramble, feel free to ignore, though I would appreciate some feedback and/or discussion <3

So, about this. I’ve been thinking lately about the effectiveness of SRS, or better put, the effectiveness of my SRS habits in particular. I’m just still not completely sure of how I feel about it as a whole. I’d like to think that it’s doing its thing and being beneficial, but sometimes I have my doubts about its efficiency. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing things only so I can add new words, and so I treat every moment I read/play as a constant search for unknown words to add and it gets honestly tiring fairly often, even if it can also be fun at the same time. This creates a situation where, since I associate doing most things in Japanese with meticulous study, I tend to avoid doing any more once I’ve already done anything. So if I have done something for this challenge for the day, small or big, then I’m usually done with Japanese for that day. And so I wonder if I’m not sabotaging myself a little bit in this whole process.

When I think of how I learnt English, I remember I never used SRS (I didn’t know what SRS was until much later) and still don’t to this day. I learnt a decent foundation at school, and after that I kept using it and basically never stopped, consuming whatever media I wanted to and whatnot. For Japanese it was similar starting out: I did 3 years of language school without SRS whatsoever totally fine with very good grades, even if it was basic Japanese back then; still completely new to me nonetheless. If I had to take a guess, I suppose it is because I was very engaged with the content/context in both languages. I feel like the focus was different, it wasn’t exactly “learn more vocabulary”, it felt more like a drive to simply understand more of what I was interested in. It’s a very small difference in nuance but I think for me at least it is significant. I wasn’t trying to artificially expand my vocabulary, but absorbing what was most relevant in that moment, whether that was the vocabulary from the conversations we had in class a particular week, or the vocabulary from a particular thing I was interested in in that moment, and so on. There was a very strong… emotional? connection with what I was doing, so learning vocabulary was natural, smooth and easy.

So this is what I’ve had on my mind lately. I get the impression that I’ve lost a portion of “magic”, or genuine curiosity when it comes to language learning. That I’ve reduced it to a repetition of tedious tasks for the sake of learning, hoping that the words I hammer daily into my brain with an SRS app stick. Don’t get me wrong, I still have fun most of the time and I enjoy what I do, but I’m just wondering if I could be doing much better than I currently am if I drop completely or change my strategy of mining words. It’s not always the case but sometimes, when reviewing words, I don’t remember where I got them from or their context, so the meaning becomes blurry or I forget it after a while. I’m starting to use Anki for this so I can add the sentences I got them from, but then again that’s only one sentence per word, and I feel like one sentence alone is definitely not enough for me to assimilate a word. This is the issue I have now with a lot of WaniKani vocabulary after a year since I reached Lv60, that I’ve forgotten a lot of words because there was no emotional connection to the content (though I’m grateful that at least the readings have stuck for the most part). I remember having trouble with differentiating 栄光 and 光栄, which I ended up burning I don’t know how… and now I can perfectly tell them apart because I remember a line (no spoilers, couldn’t find a short video with Japanese subs) in Nier:Automata that says “人類に栄光あれ!” that gave me chills back then and it’s repeated throughout different parts of the game because it’s the slogan of YoRHa, an important organisation. Funny enough, I also remember 人類 from Attack on Titan’s “その日、人類は思い出した。”. I didn’t need SRS at all for that, only a very exciting moment, and it makes me think if the time and effort I put into SRS is overall worth it. I add all my words from content I consume when I come across them, but not all sentences are conducive to me remembering a word simply because I might not be engaged in a particular dialogue, and so on. Then the same word appears in something I’m very engaged in and it’s easy to not only learn and remember, but also recall.

In conclusion, I’m wondering if the effort I’m putting into dissecting thoroughly whatever I do could be instead directed into gaining a lot more exposure without worrying too much, if let’s say an hour of reading/playing + SRS could instead become two or three hours of pure enjoyment, and if those two or three hours could take me much farther than my current strategy. I guess the doubt that remains is that I’m worried this backfires, my study starts becoming way too comfortable and I go nowhere. The plan would still be the same, to look up the words and grammar I don’t know, but then move on. I think this would relieve a lot of pressure and need of performance; just going through something without the urge to add anything anywhere. It’s actually something that Game Gengo (a channel dedicated to learning Japanese through video games) talks about in one video, linking it just in case anyone is curious, though it’s very long.

So I’m really asking for feedback here, if anyone has had similar thoughts, success stories and also failure stories of Japanese without SRS, or really anything that you think relevant to mention. I use SRS because I think it will do me good, not because I love it, and I would probably drop it if I had the certainty that my time won’t be wasted if I don’t use it. I like the aspect of seeing a number of words grow because it gives me the impression of tangible improvement, and I worry that not using it will make everything very ambiguous. I struggle with seeing improvement in language learning because it’s so, so easy for it to go unnoticed until you see it and it feels discouraging. I think I’ve fallen in an “efficiency trap” that isn’t turning out to be very efficient after all. It’s difficult not to doubt oneself when the obsession for SRS in the Japanese learning community in general is so pervasive, it seems like the only worthwhile method. And no wonder, it’s a magnificent tool if used properly, but I think it’s also easy to misuse and turn it into something that doesn’t work in your favour, like I might have for myself. I need to reassess my study method with it, or discard it altogether.


May 2nd!

I started Volume 9 of Yotsuba today, and read the first chapter.
I also read chapter 14 of Shirokuma Cafe, and am increasingly jealous of Panda’s job :sleeping:

(Home Post)


@rikaiwisdom I definitely understand what you mean, because reading as a means of study kind of positions the reading material in a weird mental space sometime. It did that for me for a long time… I think I’m finally getting better at it because I’m getting more comfortable, but I know that search for words to add very well. Personally I’ve got a bit of an efficiency addiction (at least for now, maybe when I’m further along I can re-evaluate) so I wouldn’t dream of going with SRS at the moment, but I mean, it has to be doable without, right? People have learned Japanese without it for sure. The only person I can recall seeing around here talking about their own experiences having success without ever doing it is Jonapedia, and they’ve had some interesting advice scattered around about how they they work to create a personal connection with the words. Doesn’t sound too different from what you mentioned happening for you before, though. If it’s enough of a drag, I’m sure you can manage without it. Maybe take a little while without and see how you’re feeling? It might not be easy to gauge since progress isn’t always readily perceptible but the experiment might at least show you if as soon as you stop SRS it makes you more anxious than you expected, or maybe instead it’s such a relief you feel sure right after you start it.

I guess an alternative idea, if your mined sentences aren’t working to create enough of an attachment for you, is to try to be a little more selective about them or do some work with your card formats (images and the like that people add, if you don’t already) to try to artificially create a stronger attachment.


Main Post

Finished reading 猫奥 volume 1 and 銭天堂 volume 1 this weekend. The cat manga was a decent read. Some funny classical faces, but had too little meat on the bone for me to continue. Thought it was nice to learn some things about the inner workings and life around this specific part tho. Book was a nice read, I docked off a star for the hairdresser story. I think my favorite was the taiyaki fishing chapter, was very imaginative. The little epilogue also has this mysterious vibe. So I think it’s save to say it was good success. Also marked a new milestone, as I read 50 volumes worth since I started last year. Guess the next one I’ll hit soonish is 10k pages read (yes, it’s over 9000 atm).

Already started reading a new manga:

Immediately began with a reference to Schrodinger’s cat. Not sure if it was making fun of VN’s or something, but I went leo.gif on it. It’s a 4-koma manga about a high school girl and a talking shiba inu in a post apocalyptic world. I find it very strange, but it seems like a good challenge to expand myself into. I read the first two chapters and each page has a theme with one or two 4-koma strips. The dog talks up a storm and the girl seems like a mess.

As we’ve done a month of this challenge already, I thought maybe it would be nice to do a VN this month on the side. I’ve already played some games on the background, but as more members are talking about it this might be nice to share. Last week my steam deck arrived, which unlocks my options more. I’ll first explore that some more, like do I play something new in JP from the start or replay something I’m already familiar with. This gives me some time to wrap up whatever I was planning to still do in Arceus. There will be a review of that later, but in the Japanese gaming thread. So look forward to that. :eyes:

Some thoughts...hopefully not too stream of consciousness lol, I said a lot of words that will hopefully make some amount of sense

I think you are absolutely right on with this. Context is everything. The more context you have, the more you remember, because it connects. It fits. It’s all a part of a bigger picture that you want to see. Those connections between things are the entire foundation of how (at least my own) memory works xD If you see the word as part of a whole entire story, it seems natural to me that you would remember it more than if you saw it by itself, or as a part of a single stand-alone sentence without any further context. Trying to create that context artificially is just…not really the same, at least for me. It loses the magic after a while - even if it’s a sentence you pulled from something, you just see it in isolation over and over again in an SRS and it becomes “just another sentence” with no connection. It’s routine. It’s boring. And brains (at least my brain) love new. That’s the magic. …Maybe I’m just repeating what you said in a slightly different way xD Idk if this is very helpful, but those are my thoughts on this.

This sounds like what I do, and while I can’t say it feels like I’m learning a lot per se, I’m learning something xD Every once in a while, I get a moment where it’s like, wow, this is a lot easier than it used to be/than I thought it would be. Or wow, I just like…read that. :o I know way more than I used to. Sometimes it’s something little, like, “oh, this word, I’ve looked this up a million times but now I remember it so I don’t have to think about it so much anymore” xD Just noticing those little things might help you feel more like you’re making progress without relying on SRS.

I wonder how much of that “I’m not learning anything if I don’t SRS” feeling is the external pressure that gets put on us to be studying the “optimal” way, or the “most efficient” way, or the way that looks like studying. But SRS is certainly not the only way to learn something, and I don’t think it’s really the be-all end-all of efficiency either if you’re bored by it and not retaining things effectively due to lack of sufficient context. “Learning by doing” may be a slower, more fluid process than SRS, but imo it’s deeper, more long-lasting, more organic, and definitely more fun. Some words get naturally SRSed over time - like I kind of mentioned above, there are definitely some words I have looked up so often that I just know them now. I’m not deliberately studying them, they’re just used so often that they’re in my brain. And in a way, those are the most useful words, because they come up so often. So it almost naturally selects for the words you’d most commonly need to know. I think SRS is good for getting a foundation (like I’m certainly glad that I completed WK) but after a while I think it’s ok to kind of let go of that and just let natural exposure take care of it. (All of this is said with the idea in mind that the main purpose of learning Japanese for you is to enjoy what you want to enjoy - if you have a more specific goal, it may not apply exactly the same way).

omg discourse, is this being posted as a reply to @rikaiwisdom or not I stg
…sorry for the double post/notification @rikaiwisdom :upside_down_face:


Starting a bit late ( 〃▽〃) good luck to everyone!

days completed: 6/15
(let’s try harder next time (╥ᆺ╥;))

02✅ 03 04 05 06 07 08
09✅ 10 11 12 13 14 15
16✅ 17 18 19✅ 20 21 22
23 24 25✅ 26 27 28 29
30 31✅

Maybe you can get Japanese text if you set the system language to Japanese? I don’t own DQXI, but I know it works for some games (but sadly not for all games…)

What you’re saying definitely resonates with me, but I can’t give you any stories about learning without SRS because I’m very much still a ways off from finishing Wanikani, but I do make a conscious choice to (currently) restrict SRS to Wanikani and Jalup and to keep my reading time separate from that: I only very rarely add a word from what I’m reading to my Anki deck (only if it’s a word that repeatedly occurs and bugs me because I can’t remember it). I think @omk3 once said something about simply letting the native material function as your SRS and I think that is a nice way to think about it. As long as you can keep consuming enough native content, there should be no reason for SRS (just like with English).


Unfortunately, DQ11 is one of those games where there is outright a Japanese version and rest of the world version and there’s no way to switch languages across them short of buying the game again (except on PC, I think there’s a mod to replace text).

my experiences!

So this is basically the same dilemma I went through last challenge :joy: so I definitely feel you! I can’t speak for you or your situation, but in case my experiences can give any insight:

It’s probably been about two months now since I stopped trying to seriously do SRS? As you can see I never even finished WK; I’d fallen off of it for the billionth time, and general SRS just felt like it was taking away time from more fun things, like playing games and reading manga and such. SRS was always a means to make reading possible, so once I started genuinely feeling like I could read things, SRS quickly felt like more of a chore than anything. As much as I owe my very presence in Japanese to WK, once I started learning a bunch of kanji just from encountering them in reading, it just felt like something hanging over my head that I should do.

It was a bit of a mental battle to get myself to stop feeling obligated to finish WK especially, but once I got there it really changed the whole vibe. Since then I’ve only vaguely studied some words on jpdb.io whenever the mood strikes, and that’s really it. And it’s been great! Japanese is just fun now, all of my interactions with it are just like playing games I want to play, watching shows I want to watch, and looking things up as I need to within that. Without that pressure, all of these things have really ended up my main forms of leisure, even though they could arguably be “studying” :joy:

All of this rambling is to say that I definitely think SRS is really useful, and I absolutely would not be where I am now without it, but if it’s taking away from your enjoyment and time that you would love to use to just consume more content, dropping it is totally okay. It’s not like you’ll never learn anything ever again, it’s just harder to see like you said. But if you’re just having fun with what you’re doing you’re probably also less likely to get frustrated about a perceived lack of progress than if you’re doing more explicit study that you don’t really enjoy. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here really; I can vouch that I’ve had an amazing time without SRS and absolutely still feel like I’m growing and learning, so it’s totally doable! Plus it’s not like it’s forever, you can always pick SRS up again if you get to a point where you think it’s more beneficial.

I also got rambly lmao :joy: Regardless of what you do, best of luck! :grin:


I agree with everything @windupbird said, and I don’t think I can say it better, but here’s my experience, for what it’s worth:

Collapsed for size

I still regard myself to be at probably lower intermediate level (whatever that means), so I won’t pretend mine is a success story or anything, but I’m not using any kind of SRS after Wanikani, and I’m happy with how it’s been going for me. It had been my intention to start using Anki after finishing WK, and I have even gone as far as setting up my anki deck the way I’d like it, but I still haven’t reviewed a single thing, and I doubt I ever will. I had never used SRS before Wanikani, and I must say I was impressed by its effectiveness, but I still find myself “relearning” words I know from just Wanikani when I finally come across them in context. It’s, I don’t know, as if I had looked at pictures of someone’s family, and learned to associate their names and life stories with the pictures, but then I finally meet them face to face, and all that hard work I put in memorizing pictures seems irrelevant, if that makes sense. Not worthless, but definitely not enough or particularly worthwhile.

What I do when reading is I look up words a lot: words I don’t know, words I should know but don’t readily recall, words I know the meaning but not the reading, words I know the reading but not the meaning, words I know but want to exactly pinpoint the nuance. After I’ve looked them up in my dictionary apps (Takoboto on Android, Midori on iOS at the moment), I always add them to a list named after the book I’m reading (one click within the app, not time at all). When I do that I can instantly see if the word is already added to this list or others. It’s interesting to see how often some words crop up (and how often I tend to look up the same words again and again). I could theoretically export those lists to Anki, and I have exported some, but as I said, I haven’t bothered to review them yet - I have a better time just reading.

And I’m learning, that’s for sure. I have definitely learned new vocab from reading, and grammar too. And as I keep coming across them and looking them up, more and more sink in. It might be more efficient to use SRS, I know most people seem to claim so, but I’m not sure it would be the best use of my time. I know from experience I learn better in context (context I enjoy no less), that’s how I have successfully learned any other language I tackled so far, so why would Japanese be any different?


I’d say yes, try and see what it is like not doing SRS and just do what you enjoy. I feel like study routines have a tendency to change depending on your goal as you progress, so nothing wrong with trying something you feel will be better for you.

Regarding efficiency, I personally don’t really care at this point. I only use Koohi for my vocab. Sometimes I add 20 words into my review queue because I can, sometimes I add 10 words because I feel like that’s enough, sometimes I don’t add anything for several weeks. I could be adding all the unknown words in the book’s word list, but some of the words I just don’t care about right then or I’ve forgotten the context, so I decide not to add those words. Which is no problem, it’s not like I’ll never see those words ever again. I care more about having fun than being efficient just for numbers sake. I’ve also taken breaks from koohi from time to time.

Maybe after a while you’ll reach a point where you feel like SRS is really going to benefit you, and you’ll want to start SRS-ing again. I think my only advice, like you mentioned, is to let go of words you’ve mined that you feel are more difficult to learn because of lack of context. Either delete the sentence/word or whatever and wait until you find the word in another context. I don’t know how Anki sentence mining usually works, so take this with a grain of salt. Do whatever works best for you :sunflower:


Totally on a whim I decided to try playing Triangle Strategy in Japanese. :triangular_ruler: :crossed_swords::smiley:

After playing the first section in English, I got really curious about how everything was phrased in Japanese (the voice acting goes too quick for me to follow) so I decided to give it a try. Of course, the game starts with an exposition dump with lots of difficult words, so the start was very slow and I haven’t gotten to any gameplay yet :sweat_smile: I’m just going to take it slow and settle in and I’m sure it’ll get better. The game is great for this because you can switch the language for the text and/or audio at any time on the title screen (why doesn’t every game have that??).

I think I’m going to try to stick with it because it’s a text-heavy game so there’s plenty of text for reading practice and it’s also easy to go back through the dialog and relisten to any of the lines for some listening practice.

Interesting word: 歯応え (used in the description of the difficulty levels)


Day 32

Read short Tadoku stories today:

New words:

  • かげ・shadow
  • ご主人・ごしゅじん・master, owner (of a pet)・also means “husband”
  • 夕方・ゆうがた・dusk

Summary post :bookmark:

May 2nd :seedling: (look at this bean sprout go)

・薬屋のひとりごと (78% → 79%)

Read one fourth-ish of chapter 27. I learned about a type of art: 螺鈿細工(らでんさいく)

Pretty art



Day 32 :heavy_check_mark: :milk_glass:

告白 ~ still at 20%, start of chapter 2

I had to catch up on all the work (and sleep) I neglected yesterday, so reading took the back seat today. I read a negligible amount of 告白, only enough to ascertain that the point of view has indeed changed, and the sections seem to be thankfully smaller, at least for now. It appears that a student is speaking now (writing? thinking?), but that’s as far as I can deduce. Many names have been mentioned so far in the book, but most were connected to nothing in particular, so I did nothing with them other than highlighting them in case they come up again later. Is the person speaking now one of the names mentioned? I guess we’ll see.

I also read this week’s portion of 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん for the IBC. Compared to 告白 the pages looked nearly empty with all those unused spaces at the end of paragraphs and dialogue. :smile:

Fun vocab selection from 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん:
ド肝を抜く - to astonish, to astound
かんかんがくがく - arguing heatedly

more @rikaiwisdom SRS chat

There is already so much good advice so I doubt I’m going to say anything revolutionary but I love to add my 2 cents lol. I feel like something important here might be what your goals with Japanese are? I only very sporadically use SRS, and don’t mine words from 99% of the things I read/play - but at least so far I’ve been able to see progress in that I’ve been able to read and play progressively more challenging things and so that’s been satisfying to me…however I have zero idea how many words I know etc so I could see it being a stressful approach for someone more focused on efficiency. One option could be to limit mining to maybe one book/game or medium and don’t do it for others? Might be easier than stopping sharp (that said, the things I mine vocab from are games I play on PC…and that tends to just mean that I decide to play the games I’m playing on the switch instead so I can avoid it lol :sweat_smile:)

I think I have the opposite of this problem lol, in that I just spend all of my free time reading or playing things in Japanese and never do any meticulous study (it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s not like i signed up for the JLPT in two months or anything…)

In other news, I’m obsessed with 13 sentinels and have played a ridiculous amount this weekend (to be fair, I was sick and so stuck in the house). I’ve completed about half of the characters routes (there are 13 character routes, but unlike typical VNs you jump back and forth between them rather than work through one at a time) and have quite a few more close to the end. Many answers are being revealed but I still have many questions!

Pick of my favourite non spoiler bit from this weekend, in the route of the ultimate bisexual himbo Takatoshi, who gets annoyed at being left behind by his crush, eats 5 yakisoba pans out of spite/because they are his ultimate love, and then falls asleep and so is late for the important story stuff he’s meant to be investigating. In the game there is a menu where you choose your actions and in that section they all just change to “eat yakisoba pan” :smile:


I read 9 pages of a Graded Reader on Japanese weddings. This one is harder just because of all the new vocabulary related to weddings.

New Vocabulary for today:

披露宴 wedding reception, banquet

祝儀 wedding ceremony

受付 reception desk

も both A and B

祝儀袋 special envelope for monetary gifts

渡す to hand over

招待状 invitation

書く to write, to compose

返事 reply, response. answer

始まる to begin, to start, to commence


Summary post

I made it to 7,000 characters eventually! Today was kind of wilder, the game went off the rails again with a large water gun bit. Between the joke-y battlefield related vocabulary and some absolutely out of nowhere stuff where these guys appeared who referred to themselves with the names of the four symbols, guardians for each cardinal direction… yeah, one of those days. No clue what that was about. I made it, though. All the same, I’m tired, so I’m not going to dig for much more to say today.

And this CG is so colorful and cute, so it served as a good reward.

Today’s new words aren’t too exciting, but I’ll give you 仄めかす (ほのめかす), to hint at/imply/etc.



I’m jumping in real late but I plan to read thru some little beginner books for this month. I have been learning so much kanji and vocabulary but need to put it into actual context. This is going to definitely form some new brain wrinkles. Thank you so much for hosting this in its 4th round!

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23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31

Yotsubato! Vol.1
Book of Friends Vol.1
Genki I - Reading Exercises

May 10th Notes - So far, I’m realizing that I have a long way before I can read even simple sentences fluently. Every time I read I try my best to just sound things out and look for words that I know, piecing things together as I go. Its slow work but it’s helping me tear down any fear of reading. Obviously, textbook exercises are a bit easier because I can review the vocabulary beforehand. Book of Friends is also going rather well because I’ve seen the anime before and words I’m familiar with seem to be everywhere. These are all my notes for now. I might pick up a graded reader soon, but probably not in time for this challenge.

May 22 Notes: Dropped off a bit these past two weeks due to a busy schedule. I jumped right back into reading tonight. I hope to catch up this week before the challenge is over! I printed out some children’s stories because they are shorter to get thru instead of getting a graded reader. I’m learning quite a lot of new kanji and vocabulary and am keeping a notebook for reference. Writing out new kanji is helping me get into the rhythm of stroke order.

May 31st: Made it til the end! 21 days out of 31 isn’t bad. I definitely learned a lot of vocabulary. Still going slowly with reading sentences. Will have to continue with this into June so I can keep making reading progress. Well done everyone!


Summary Post

May 2
Final Fantasy VII

Thank you all so much for all the replies!! <3 I really appreciate it. I can’t possibly reply back to all of them right now without going to sleep like a real zombie, but I’ll make sure I do properly tomorrow when I have the time.