I’ve been reading 1 chapter per day. The chapters seem to be episodic, each about its own incident or theme. I’m about 1/3 through this book (volume 1 of 2) and it’s still the late 1930s. Mostly it’s still about the ordinary life of H as a young boy in the Kobe of the time, but here and there something happens to remind us that a war is happening and it’s not going as well as official government stories want everyone to believe.
More about this book
There’s a lot of of new vocabulary. Because this book is written to describe things that happened a lifetime ago, the author includes a lot of details and explanations which an actual old book from that time probably wouldn’t have bothered with. There was a section where the protagonist makes some pocket money by selling glue to his fellow students, which came with an explanation about how there used to be a glue shop, which sold nothing but glue, every type of glue, and people had to buy it frequently because glue wasn’t made with preservatives back then so it would go bad. This last chapter was about a huge flood that happened in Kobe, so there were many new words about floods, water, and objects that were soaked or had to be stored away. Also nearly everyone speaks Kansai-ben.
It’s interesting and educational, and definitely a challenge. I’m learning a lot, but the sheer amount of new vocabulary is daunting and I’ve been feeling discouraged some days because it feels like no matter how much I learn it doesn’t make a difference. I hope I can find something easier for my next book.
Started to read the 「五色 爆発！合宿クライマッス！」event in Idolmaster Shiny Colors today. Its broken into 8 chapters with each one being around 1-2k characters it looks like so I will try to read it throughout the week.
First chapter was simple enough, looks like Kaho saw heroes in her tv show go to 合宿 so she wants to go with everyone herself now.
Shhh… don’t look that this is being posted on May 3…
I missed May 1 cause I was out with a friend in the afternoon looking at cherry blossoms. It’s still so cold. I’m surprised as many bloomed as they did. Negative I want to say it was fun, but between the weather and hearing that my friend was at a convention two days prior (and thus potentially exposed to covid and didn’t tell me before we met), I’m feeling resentful for leaving the house.
This evening I went back to Spy x Family Chapter 1 to start puting together a book-club style Spy x Family vocab list. Please feel free to contribute if you’re so moved. Or point me to any existing lists because I couldn’t find any through search.
Are you playing on Switch or PS4? I’m thinking of picking it up on Switch.
If you’re playing on Switch, did you buy it through the eshop via a Japanese user account? I’m wondering if I buy the US shop’s version, if it’ll switch to Japanese language because my system’s in Japanese.
Yeah I’m playing on switch! You have to buy through the Japanese eshop or import it as the english language version only has Japanese voice, not text options. Setting up a Japanese eshop account is pretty straight forward but I couldnt get any of my usual payment options to work so had to buy eshop vouchers from playasia and purchase that way. I’ve previously ordered Japanese switch games from amazon.jp which is another option (but I was too impatient to play 13 sentinels lol)
…and I’m back, after taking a rest at the end of April due to covid recovery.
I had a look through my books and decided to try こんにちはウーフ which is another 1960s elementary school book. It has some very cute illustrations and what it lacks in kanji, it definitely makes up for in onomatopeia!
I’m working through the Minna No Nihingo Intermediate books with my tutor at the moment and I’ve already seen a fair few of the grammar points in the first chapter so it’s definitely good reinforcement.
Time: 19 minutes
Finished: Chapter 5
Finished: Volume 1 of each (was already half finished most of them)
Did my book club reading for the week (those waffles sounded so cute) and continued in my effort to go through some of the books that have been on my shelf for a while. I think I’ll continue to do so but slow it down to maybe a chapter or so at a time, I’m realizing the reason I haven’t read most of them is because I don’t have much motivation to. Other than that I’m hoping I can finish my ジャックジャンヌ novel this week before finals start and my free time evaporates.
合カギ （あいかぎ）duplicate key
どっと in a rush; in a surge; flooding in; pouring in
下駄箱 （げたばこ）shoe rack (in an entrance); cupboard (for shoes and clogs)
粗品 （そしな）small present; trifling gift
嗜好 （しこう）taste; liking; preference
ブランコ swing; trapeze
チクる to tattle; to tell on; to inform a superior of someone’s actions
育ち盛り （そだちざかり）growth period (in children)
レトルト retort; sealed plastic pouch typically containing ready-made sauce or stew; boil-in-the-bag
絶交 （ぜっこう）breaking off a relationship; permanent breach of friendship; rupture
じょうろ watering can; watering pot; sprinkling can
新米 （しんまい）novice; beginner; newcomer; new hand
がてら on the same occasion; at the same time; coincidentally; along with; partly (to do, for)
SRS discussion... more like my story in language learning but anyway...
So I’m gonna tell more of a story of my discovery of SRS with love at first sight followed by… well, let me start the story instead of giving you a plot summery.
Before WK, I don’t think I’d heard of SRS. I’d tried Duolingo briefly but found it lacking in the words it choose to teach me. (Maybe it makes sense to teach a kid the names of all the colors, but as an adult I don’t find those are the first words I need to know. )
About my journey to get fluent in English without SRS and with help from regular obligatory school, feel free to skip because it makes my post even longer. lol
Instead my experience with language learning came from learning English as my second language. In Sweden, back when I was at school (it might be different now!), we started learning a bit in grade 1-3, but it really kickstarted in grade 4 (10ish years old) and from there on it really built.
When I was about 14 years old, I realized my closest friends were so much better at English than I was. They played computer games in English (mainly that was why), and I didn’t enjoy not understanding things they did, so I decided enough was enough. Also I didn’t want to wait a year after the release of Harry Potter 5 for the Swedish translation. So I dived head first into reading all those (translated) fantasy books I loved in their original language (aka English).
Boy, was that a trip! This was before internet in your pocket (2003!), and I had a physical, paper Eng-Swe dictionary. And now imagine that a paper version have to be selective in its choices of word to include due to length, and now remember how many words are used in fantasy (even set in our modern world) that are not common—not to mention made up words.
And well… I understood everything that happened in the book, but there were definitely words I was very confused by. Definitely a case of maybe not the best picked book, but school had given me a good enough base that I could understand words from context even if I couldn’t look them up.
I started calling myself fluent in English somewhere between 18 and 20 years old, because I no longer had to translate English in my head to Swedish to understand it, and I could communicate quick and easy, and I had no trouble with any books I choose to read.
So I never did SRS with English and I’ve considered myself fluent for almost a decade and a half.
Now, I tried to tackle Japanese several times without getting very far. A new writing system (well three, but anyway), plus grammar so very different from my own, and barely any natural exposure—those things make it a lot harder to get into.
Then eventually I stumbled on WK, and I consider that a god send for my Japanese. I fell in love with SRS as I worked through the free levels. I couldn’t understand how this wasn’t used in school when it made it so easy to learn words. Just words and words and words, and in Japanese’s case kanji.
I was blind to its flaws. Mostly due to not enough experience (and I don’t mean review piles or how the work builds and builds).
Why ever would I quit SRS? It was the best. Ah, the naivety was adorable.
Then I continued. Started coming up in the teens of WK, and later into the twenties and I started to realize that there were words that would not stick via SRS for me. That learning words in isolation like this made it very hard to understand them. How some leeches were created due to similar kanji that wouldn’t happen at all if I read them in context because the meanings were so different that there would be no way I’d wonder if it meant A or Q.
In fact, my leech strategy is to mostly correctly my mistakes and let them move into burned, because I figure I will either understand them in context or eventually find such a good sentence that suddenly I just understand the word forever more. (Honestly that second case have happened a few times.) More SRS only leads to frustration and extra meaningless work.
And somewhere in figuring out that there were things SRS with isolated words couldn’t teach, the amount of work required that isn’t that fun, and the fact that I managed to learn English without SRS… Suddenly eventually quitting SRS made sense.
In fact, I realized that once I had a good basis in Japanese, consumption would take care of expanding my vocabulary and slowly but surely make my understanding clearer and clearer without any focused studying. I occasionally look up English words, either because I’ve never seen them before (tends to be scientific/field of study specific vocab that a layperson don’t tend to know) or sometimes I look up definitions to more clearly understand words I might have encountered many times but can’t clearly define. (These tend to be adjective like nouns, if that makes sense. Words like うらなり weak-looking fellow; pale-faced man; pasty-faced man; pallid man (since I couldn’t come up with one in English).)
Anyway, I can’t tell you exactly when I will stop SRS, but I don’t see myself picking up any new SRS after WK. (Because I got my base vocabulary from 1 year in Japanese language school.) I will probably/maybe finish WK, and I might get back into Bunpro to get clearer on more grammar. And maybe I will pick up a bit of SRS after WK if I still feel like there are too many common words I don’t know.
The only way to know if now is the time to quit is probably to try it. What does it feel like not to do SRS for 3 months or 6 months? Weighting pros and cons could also be good, and with that I mean your own personal ones. How irritating is SRS? How much effort/energy/time does it take to add new words to SRS? How much do you get out of it? Can you clearly point to SRS things making YOUR GOAL WITH JAPANESE easier? (I don’t know why you are learning Japanese.)
SRS is a means to an end. If you’ve gotten what you needed from it, then quit. If you are unsure if you are there yet, put things on vacation mode/equivalent and try it. Experiment, and don’t feel like whatever you choose to do is something you have to stick with. Maybe it only takes two weeks of no SRS to realize that: no actually, SRS is still right for me.
Or in a year’s time you’ll look back at this and go: huh, I really didn’t need SRS anymore.
I look forward to the day I feel done with SRS for Japanese.
It is a wonderful tool and I will probably use it when/if I learn a fourth language in the future. And once again, I will aim to get to a strong base in the new language and then abandon formal study for expanding knowledge through reading/speaking/listening/writing (whichever combo of those I learned the language for in the beginning).
Sorry for being so verbose and still mostly repeating what others have said…
Another double day, because I had a test this morning and had to study for it, but I still read some (excellent time management skills, you see).
These two days I’ve finished this week’s 夜カフェ chapter. Most of this was done today, around 70% of the whole chapter I’ve read last night (time management, again) and just now. I’m impressed at how quikcly I can read, though not sure, which part of reading got easier (and I hope to god it’s not just the one where you find out most things from context).
I didn’t manage to set aside time yesterday for reading — and today I have to work on my assignment for Japanese class. If skimming Japanese search results and reading blogs (in Japanese) about tourism counts as reading, I did a bit today
I may read a bit of かがみの孤城 before going to bed later if it’s not too late. I’ll have to sleep early since I only got 4 hours last night though lol.
A travelling trader is lost and starts to hear the cries of a child in the mountains. He finds the child but when he picks it up he sees that it has the face of a grandpa. It won’t stop crying nor will it let go no matter how hard he tries to get rid of it. Luckily this guy is a sweet-seller by trade and pops a tasty candy in the baby’s mouth, it stops crying but demands more. He tries to flee but seems to black out.
When he awakens he finds that his entire sweet-stock has been eaten.
Japanese found in the tall grass
何処からともなく「どこからともなく」ー Randy Orton Out of nowhere; from who knows where
How to cry like a baby in Japanese:
The “I didn’t know you could stick a repeater on the end of that to make it a thing” category 恐々「こわごわ」ー Fearfully; timidly
I’m reading kinda slowly today. Another tired day. Made it a little past 6000 characters and I’ll call that good, still managing to treat that as my new minimum. Things weren’t that hard but at the same time the new word density was just abnormally high (and, you know, it’s always high to begin with). It didn’t take long beyond the 1000 character mark for me to have 20 mined words, and they were basically all common, useful ones. There are so many words!
I realize now I even forgot to grab a screenshot at all today. It’s just a sleepy day. Probably doesn’t help that my reviews are coincidentally piling near their upper limits recently. Which means they’re about to go down but yeah, I have had upper end times in Anki and WK together. You know what, have this cropped image of angry Tsumugi I took ages ago, and imagine this is how I look when thinking about what I forgot to do:
This route is really holding Shiroha’s whole story at a distance, so I can tell it’s still going to be a while most likely. Just having more summer adventures. Although, I had one moment of bringing back terrible personal memories, heh.
So, two characters were discussing being able to handle bugs, and one mentioned that the exception that freaks them out are かまどうま. Those being camel crickets (or cave crickets, spider crickets, whatever you prefer). Now, I used to live somewhere where these would show up in the house, and they are the worst bugs I’ve ever dealt with. They get pretty big for bugs, but what’s worst, is they jump. Like a lot, and a few feet high. Directly at things that they find threatening. So you’ve got these giant bugs erratically, aggressively hopping at you. Truly the worst. キモイ
Interesting new word: 傷心旅行 (しょうしんりょこう) - “travel to relieve heartbreak”
Oh, right, and I’m also still slowly making progress (alongside the audiobook listens) on スマホを落としただけなのに . Since I’m reading 2 books and the VN at once it’s not getting a ton of attention, but I finished section 8 (of 60…) last night, so that at least shows some continued forward progress. It’s indeed a mostly relaxed read.
On Tuesday’s I often have a call with a friend to read together. Previously we were reading Fullmetal Alchemist, but after completing the first chapter we decided to move on to something that uses more everyday vocab. So today we started reading the Tsubasa Bunko edition of 君の名は together. We read the first page - we only read a little each week so that we can really dig into understanding the grammar …though part of the reason for the slow pace may also be that we keep on getting sidetracked and chatting.
This post is probably going to be huge so I think it’s best if I divide the replies so it doesn’t get too messy. Hoo boi, here I go:
Yeah I think this could be a nice experiment. I guess it comes down to the old need to have everything perfect, I feel very uncomfortable with uncertainty sometimes. I managed to work a lot on my perfectionism with these challenges, I remember being annoyed when I missed a day and then by Winter’s challenge I was fine with it. Now I need to work on being fine with not doing things optimally.
I think it’s not so much that they’re not working per se, only that I think they’re taking an extra effort that could go to just relaxing my approach and going through more things in the meantime, with a bit more varied context and a fresh mentality, with no “x number of words max” per day “limit”. I guess I’m looking for a more comfortable approach. Making cards is not actually huge work because usually it’s only a click in Houhou or in Yomichan, but… I’m not sure, I guess the issue is that I burn out on SRS after a while, because it’s straining to think about what to add, what not to add, how many words, “am I doing enough words today? Oh I barely added anything today, oh today again, oh I already added 20 words so have to stop (Houhou sadly doesn’t have a new cards per day limit, that’s probably a big downside)”, and so on. Too much mental gymnastics and technicalities sometimes. I’ve been testing with JP-JP cards with Yomichan+Anki and I think these are working much better, actually, so that’s good, though still fairly limited for me because I don’t add cards whose definition I don’t understand fully. An approach could be to only add these types of cards whenever I can and leave it at that that would also reduce the daily reviews and overall tediousness.
It often does feel boring, truth be told. It can get so… lifeless. It’s of course probably not pointless, because the method definitely works overall, I’d say. It just seems to be sold as the only valid method to learn a language “properly”, often coming from the Japanese learning community. I sometimes browse /r/languagelearning and it gives me the impression that there are many people there who advocate for the “read, read, read a lot” approach, among other things, even if the SRS population is still very prominent, though not as noisy as in the Japanese community. I wonder what makes Japanese different from other languages, if it’s something inherent to the language itself or the population that learns this language in particular. Sorry this is a random train of thought .
I think so too. I left the language school back then because it felt a bit slow, but the truth is that even if it was slow we did reading, listening, writing and speaking, and it was a much more effective and varied approach, looking back. Over time I’ve come to realise that if I hadn’t left the school I would have achieved a much higher level by now, not worrying about trying to find the best approach or the best pace. Though I wouldn’t go back to the school now, I think I would benefit from returning to my mindset of back then of just keep going, however slow or fast, while maximising fun and curiosity. I’m not sure when the other mentality started to take place, probably when I started researching (and potentially misunderstanding) self-study methods in the online community.
That’s really reassuring .
Yeah that’s my thought as well. I’m not sure why I thought Japanese would be different, I suppose it just looks more intimidating than English ever looked for me . Probably because English already shared a lot of things with Spanish so I felt much more confident, whereas Japanese feels like a completely different beast.
That’s a funny coincidence
I like that reasoning. I’ve seen it before, people using SRS to acquire a first set of “critical” vocabulary and then off to the battlefield.
Do you still learn kanji like in WK or do you just acquire more vocabulary? Ever since I finished WK I’m not sure of how I should approach kanji learning, I’ve only been adding words while having a look at each individual kanji’s meaning and that’s about it, but no formal learning.
Honestly that sounds amazing. I hope I’m not mistaken, but I think I’ve seen you spend multiple hours many days with whatever you’re doing, simply because it kept pulling you in, and I always thought it was impressive. I wouldn’t be able to do that myself with my current approach because of that pressure you mention. English never felt like studying for me, either, because I never sat down to study it. I absorbed it in exactly the same way you are approaching Japanese, only over a long period of time.
I think this is really good advice, and reassuring at the same time, tysm!
It’s exactly the same for me. I encounter words from WK all the time that I don’t remember studying at all, and I burnt about 70% of them. Which is kinda disappointing if I think about the hundreds of hours it took me to reach Lv60 in total that could’ve been used to learn things more in context, but if anything I’m really grateful that at least the readings seem to have stuck very well, and now I’m able to guess correctly the reading of most words I encounter, if I know their kanji.
I think that’s a great way of expressing it. I feel the same, I learnt to associate many words with their meanings, but I never internalised the idea behind them. I learnt to “get correct answers in a software”, as opposed to learning words. And it’s because I never got emotionally invested in them, nothing happened with them, it was purely going through a word list. Though, again, at least a portion of them stuck after all.
That’s interesting! I think I’ve seen the takoboto list approach other times around this community, possibly coming from you, I can’t quite remember. Also thank you for reminding me I hadn’t installed it when I changed phone . I’ll keep the lists idea in mind.
You’re right. It’s reassuring to know that other people use other methods and still learn just fine, even if not in the most efficient way. I don’t care much for efficiency either, which is a contradictory thing to say considering my post from the other day. I guess I could say I care about not getting stuck in a place where I feel I’m not going forward, and it’s good to see that that’s not necessarily bound to happen at all.
Yeah I think you’re right. I have been doing the same thing with the same approach for a long time and I don’t know what it feels like to change direction and walk a different way, especially when most people seem to be walking the other way ;-; . Though ultimately all paths reach the same point, even if some take a bit longer.
To be fair I don’t even know how it works myself either . I just add what I want, with context sentences in the backside in the case of Yomichan and that’s about it. But yes, I think it’s good advice to get rid of whatever that doesn’t seem to be working. I don’t owe these artificial cards anything, after all, they’re only a tool. I could aim for only a small number of cards when I feel like it, as you do, and leave it at that. Perhaps a break from SRS altogether is due for a bit nonetheless.
That’s honestly a good and tricky question. The honest answer is that… I don’t really know specifically. I started learning out of pure curiosity. I thought it would be really cool to learn because I liked a lot of Japanese things in my childhood and still do to this day, so I applied to a language school many years back and got admitted. And I absolutely loved it, it always felt so much fun. It was never a specific thing that drove me, but more like… everything? It’s kinda complex to express, or I’m just very tired . It was similar with English, it wasn’t so much one specific thing but many at the same time. I wanted to watch movies, play games, read books, interact with the English and international community, and so on. I feel like with Japanese it’s similar, I want to be able to enjoy books, play Japanese games, connect with Japanese people, travel to Japan again, and a big etc. There’s a big aura that pulls me in and brightens my life a little bit, and it’s a struggle to put to words what exactly it is what I want to do. Is “everything” and answer? Video games are definitely a big factor, though.
Yeah it’s exactly the same with English for me so it doesn’t really bother me. I don’t feel the need to quantify my vocabulary, I don’t even know how many words I know in Spanish. It’s not something that I think is worth keeping track of . The number of words growing in the SRS is mostly so I could see that I’m indeed being exposed to a wider and wider range of vocabulary, but ultimately I’m happy deleting them at any time.
That’s one nice option, though I don’t usually feel like doing anything else when my energy has been spent scrutinising one thing already. Honestly I think I’m walking in circles to allow myself to drop the SRS and I’m trying to rationalise this a lot when in fact it’s so easy to just stop using it . I guess I was just afraid of doing so and not getting anywhere, but everyone’s responses are giving me a lot of hope.
I think it’s exactly because of not seeing Japanese as straining study that you all are improving a lot over time. I definitely need to return to that mentality . And also I hope I didn’t misunderstand the sarcasm, but I wish you very good luck with the JLPT!
I think I’m starting to realise that overall I’m just burnt out of SRS and need a change of tactic, at least for a while. Replying to you all has made me realise that I’m trying to convince myself to keep pushing a study method that I’m not really enjoying very much, when I can just drop it and try something else for a bit. It has been very enlightening to me .
Yeah definitely, I think I need to be more selective of what I add, but also most importantly of when I add it. Sometimes it’s a word that seems to be important or common enough to learn, but in a context I don’t care about. I’m just usually not inclined to let it go, because it feels important to know.
I think that sounds great, honestly. I think I’ve also had moments when I felt I enjoyed SRS a bit, but it might have been very dependant on mood. I would definitely benefit from adding less words, or better put, reducing or eliminating the pressure to add words overall.
Yeah definitely, flashcards are very efficient and effective with the right method and the right mindset. It just seems so easy for them to be super boring, though ;-; .
That sounds extremely painful . I commend your dedication It’s so weird to think that these comfy tools haven’t always existed, now that we are all so used to them. I’m so grateful.
Thank you for linking this, I’ll definitely give it a read soon!
Yeah that seems familiar. I mentioned it in a reply before, but I get the impression that sometimes I was learning how to type the correct answer, instead of internalising what the words meant, so the natural progression was to forget a lot of vocabulary after a while.
This is definitely my experience as well. I burnt some words in WK that I kept having doubts about, and then I encounter them somewhere else with a very strong context and suddenly they click.
You are completely right. I’ve also mentioned it in another reply but I think I’m subconsciously looking for reassurance and validation to quit the SRS, perhaps temporarily or permanently. It’s definitely food for thought, thank you so much.
Okay that was a lot . Again thank you all so much for your input, I really appreciate it <3 .
On a side note, I mentioned Game Gengo the other day. Coincidentally, he released a video today with a list of video games currently on sale for the golden week (linking in case anyone is interested in any, again it’s a veeeery long video but there’s no need to watch it completely, can just skip to see if there’s anything that catches your eye, though the first minute and a half is important). So anyways, one of them was Team Zero Escape bundle, which grabbed my interest both from Game Gengo’s introduction of it and the price. If I remember correctly I’ve seen some of you play them, @natarin , ZTD is one of them, right? I know absolutely nothing about these games, but they seem interesting enough for a first contact. I… might consider getting it . So uh, thoughts? Is the language there too obscure or difficult to get into, or is it manageable?
This is the pack (they can also be bought separately)
Just have to say that I had a particularly good reading day today! I finished chapter 1 of 夜カフェ２ then read chapter two in one sitting! (And at a fairly nice pace, too.) Then I picked up Asuka and read a chapter from ブナの森のアリア, in which a reclusive witch who seems to live with a talking wolf goes to a supermarket for the very first time. She cut her finger earlier while she was peeling potatoes, so when she sees a salesman pitching peelers (which she has apparently also never seen before) her eyes get all huge and adorable. So anyway, reading that chapter convinced me to grab the first volume on bookwalker (I couldn’t find it on paper, and there is something magical about being able to instantly read) and then I read 30ish pages of that.
I will try to upload a picture from the supermarket chapter later.
P.S. I really wish I could justify getting a subscription to Asuka. Maybe someday …
I skipped yesterday (2nd March) and I’m going to skip today as well. Yesterday was a public holiday so I used that as an excuse to continue reading this new web novel that I found. I ended up staying up whole night still reading it and now I need sleep too badly to concentrate on Japanese practice. I thought this would be the challenge where I get a perfect score but ah well. At least, I got one full month.