📚📚 Read every day challenge - Spring 2022 🌸 🌱

interesting J-J discussion! I have nothing more to add that hasn’t been said (I am in the ‘mainly use monolingual definitions but if I don’t understand the definition then look it up in English’ camp. I’m not as stubborn/too impatient to get back to reading to try too hard haha) but it’s always so interesting to hear more about what works for different people!

Updates wise, I’m still on the games train :mountain_railway: I finished 13 sentinels a few days back (very fun game, would reccomend), and am now playing fire emblem 3 houses (I’m doing a blue lions route, and just finished chapter 4 I think :thinking:). I played some of this game when it first came out a few years back in English (got a little bit further than I am now in the black eagles route) so that’s probably helping a bit with remembering the overall gameplay mechanics etc.

I am having to look up quite a lot of vocab, and the fantasy setting means that quite a few ‘older style’ grammar points have come up, but it’s manageable (& fun) so far! There is this one game mechanic though that feels like a real test of Japanese skills - there is an in game ‘advice box’ and you can read notes the students have left there and then try to advise them. But it’s on a timer, so you have like 60 seconds to read the question and then pick one of three responses to give (the student can either be happy with your advice or not). It’s hard! An added difficulty is that the notes are anonymous but getting the right answer kind of depends on figuring out what student has written the note and what kind of advice they are likely to be looking for (tbh I remember not being great at this in English either :sweat_smile:). So far I have pretty much just barely been managing to read the question and options, by which point I usually have about 5 seconds left and pick something in a panic…I have a 2/5 success rate so far lol, not too good.


Quick edit: fixed saying a grammar point was literally the opposite of what it is :smiling_face_with_tear:

Summary post

I had a nice easy time reading part of this week’s 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん last night, which I think I needed. And today’s Summer Pockets was fine too! Just hit 6000 characters, but it’s more for time pressure than anything. The weather’s been nicer so I’ve been going for small walks (which luckily aren’t exhausting me as much recently…) and I need to go talk to my mother on mother’s day haha. I’ll visit next weekend probably :crossed_fingers: Anyway, approaching the climax of this route – having a good time so if I find the chance, I’ll read later tonight. But I’ve been redirecting to more listening practice when I can recently.

Kinda spoilery? I love the art of this game so much

I hit another N2 grammar today, かねる, sort of “to be UNable to do” as a suffix. I actually just learned this on Wanikani with its non-suffix meaning (兼ねる), which is like “serving two functions at once”.

Favorite new word/phrase is undoubtedly 寝耳に水 (ねみみにみず), “bolt from the blue/great surprise.” Water in a sleeping ear sure would be that!


I’m very happy with myself right now for reading 13 pages of 夜カフェ and finishing a chapter today!

I also watched a few Japanese grammar videos on youtube - all in Japanese with no subtitles! (Among other things, I learned a new perspective on the subject of は VS が.) I’m pretty done with grammar videos in English, but watching in Japanese somehow makes it interesting again. It feels like I’m working out my Japanese muscles, so it’s much more satisfying. Funny that folks were just talking about J-J dictionaries – this feels related but not quite the same.

Now the big question… can I read an 18-page chapter from start to finish tomorrow? On the one hand I should have plenty of time, on the other hand that would definitely be the longest chapter I’ve read in one day so far… I’ll just have to give it a try. :slight_smile:

Re: monolingual dictionaries

My main thoughts on J-J definitions is that I’m definitely not quite ready for them yet haha. I have exactly one card in Anki that is a monolingual definition, and that’s because my Japanese dictionary on Yomichan was the only one that had a definition for it, and I just so happened to be able to read all of the other words in the definition (two of them I’d SRS’d earlier, and one I’d learned through MNN, because I haven’t learned the kanji yet through WK). So I went ahead and added that one, and it hasn’t been too bad! I will add other cards under those same conditions if I find more like that.

I do have Japanese definitions on most of my Anki cards simply because I have one monolingual dictionary installed on Yomichan, and Anki automatically imports in all of the definitions. For the most part, I don’t really read the monolingual definitions when doing SRS.

But something that’s kind of funny to me is that I will often try to read them when doing recall cards (I’ve made the somewhat unpopular choice of having both recognition and recall cards for everything I add to Anki). If I can’t quite remember the word from the English definitions, or I’m not sure which synonym it is, I’ll look at the Japanese definition for clues, haha. Often it lets me “cheat” by giving me kanji hints, which is sometimes enough for me to remember the word. It also usually has more nuance than the English glosses, which is helpful for distinguishing synonyms.

I don’t really try that hard to read these definitions during my reviews, so if I do look at them, I mostly just skim them and get what I can from them. Often I get pretty much nothing! But my vocab and overall understanding are definitely growing, and I’m noticing that the monolingual definitions are becoming easier for me to read and are becoming more useful. So in that sense, they’re a nice test of my overall progress.

My main philosophy at this point is not to worry about moving entirely to a J-J dictionary until reading these entries becomes easy and painless to me. I’m in a similar boat to Daisoujou where I have quite a few Anki cards to do daily, as well as my WK workload (though I’m doing 12-14 day levels, not 8 :sweat_smile:). I’m often adding 20 cards a day to Anki now, plus 9 vocab + 3 kanji on WK (so, a total of 22 new items across both platforms). Reviewing 200 cards on Anki is a pretty regular occurrence for me, plus my WK reviews (and KaniWani). It’s a lot of SRS!

But I prefer to get my reading practice either from the scaled comprehensible input that Minna no Nihongo gives me, or from reading tweets, wrestling recaps/interviews, manga, etc., rather than reading dictionary entries. If I’m reading something, I either want it to be easy and painless, or difficult but very interesting to me, haha. And so far, dictionary entries aren’t easy and painless, and nor are they interesting. It’s also hard for me to get a sense from how a word is actually used just from a dictionary definition, anyway. Seeing it in context is the only way I learn that, regardless of if I use a monolingual dictionary or not.

I think that it’s definitely possible to move to J-J definitions earlier than this, and I’m sure that for the people who do, you’ll see tons of gains in understanding, but I feel like for me at least, this method pairs a bit better with immersion without SRS than it does with immersion alongside SRS. It certainly gives you plenty of reading practice, but if you try moving to it when it’s still too hard for you, it can drastically slow down your SRS reviews and sort of take away from the efficiency of that method, and add additional strain to a study method that is already inherently a bit fatiguing.

I definitely don’t want to discourage you, though! I think it’s a great step to take if it feels right for you, and it probably will help take your Japanese to that next level! But if you try it out and start to feel fatigue from it, don’t be afraid to step back and wait a little longer to make the full transition. It certainly is more work for your brain to do, and that coupled with the strain that already exists with SRS can sometimes be too much.

I’ve tried moving to monolingual dictionaries with Spanish (which I am studying without SRS), and I’m definitely closer to being able to use fully monolingual dictionaries with Spanish than I am with Japanese, but even then, my Spanish is still not quite there yet where monolingual dictionaries are truly painless for me, so I’ve gotten more out of looking words up in a S-E dictionary that has lots of context sentences, which do more to teach me the tone and use of the words than any definition really does. Once my vocabulary is better, I’ll try making the transition again, and see how it goes, haha.


Congrats! Love to hear about that progress. And I like to do that too on occasion, it’s great listening practice on top of everything else. This is one of those channels I bring up enough that I sound like a shill, but if you’re looking for more sometime, I really love 日本語の森


Summary Post

Day 38: May 8th
What did I read?: クマとカラス
How much did I read?: 15 pages
How long did it take me?: 23 min

The bear and the crow continue on their journey~
Flower bear :hibiscus:

I love how each chapter opens with a little scenery panel as they move through different areas.

Here are a few

I think these are my favorite panels today though, I love the way the bear talks about the rainbow :3

A couple good words
  • くすぐったい - ticklish​
  • 幸先 (さいさき) - good omen; good sign; sign (of things to come)
  • ところどころ - here and there; in places​ I just like this word lol

Ditto. I liked reading the perspectives, but sycamore’s sentiments mirror mine exactly. Currently most of the words I’m looking up in モテ薬 are medical words and frankly it’s faster and easier to read the English definition than make sense of the dictionary definition for those most of the time. Emotional words, cultural things, new verbs…strong preference for JP<>JP.

I also haven’t resumed Anki since getting back from my trip (so about 2 weeks anki-less) and I’m thinking I might just pick up one deck and leave the others be…but the thought of doing any anki tires me right now. I’ve substituted the ~30 minutes I used to spend on Anki each day with episodes of JP TV shows and getting that extra listening practice in is nice. That said, I’ve been talking in Japanese more (made some acquaintances in my area) and have been feeling more and more frustrated with my lack of ability to recall words when I need them. I feel like my vocab deck did make a difference in my active recall abilities. Choices, choices.

Anyways, yesterday I did no reading unless you count idly reading the first few pages of (more :joy: ) free books I got from the library (they’re clearing out old or extra books).

Today I read 12% → 18% of モテ薬 but might read more still tonight as I’ve gotten more in the swing of it.

More dictionary stuff

It’s funny you mention new verbs because that especially is the sort of thing I tend to avoid in Japanese. I imagine with how much further along you are than me, it’s just less of a strain to read, but my problem with most verbs is they’re the exact sort of words that are going to give you like 8 different definitions to capture all the nuances. I get that they rarely ever fully align with English equivalents, but at this point, the moment I hit a big wall of text in the dictionary, I’m out.

Words about words

I think there’s only a (relatively) small number of words with a bajillion definitions and they’re common words used a lot, in a variety of situations, which is why they have sooooo many definitions. I think once those have been whittled down, you end up with ~1-3 definitions for most words and usually reading the top 2 will give you what you need.
It’s also somewhat laziness on my part? :sweat_smile: I have to scroll past alllllllll the Japanese definitions to see English due to how I set up rikaichan.
But ultimately I’m not a pusher of J<>J - I do it because it pleases me and only really stop to think about it when I’m sharing on here and find myself giving sloppy translations of what I found :joy:

And words

Yeah I guess. I mean with nouns, if it’s not one of those things they have to awkwardly write around for a paragraph, definitely. But with verbs specifically I feel like hovering around 3 is pretty common with what I’ve looked at. Which to be fair, a lot are probably in that sorta intermediate zone; I’m not looking at the super common beginner words but I still have a ways to go.

I respect this a lot, just use laziness in reverse haha. That’s my problem; my English definitions are above the Japanese.

For me it’s like I said, if it was gonna make a huge difference to put in the work now, I’d want to be pushed! But so frequently words I look up just use a couple synonyms that seem even more obscure than what I’m looking up, and once I’m doing many definitions within definitions :grimacing:

100%, J-J produces better results. It’s just a matter of weighing that against the downsides, so ultimately where my position ends up is like… I think the stage I’m currently personally at puts it at doable enough that I have to think about it, but I think the difficulty outweighs what I perceive getting from it. But eventually when I’m at the made up level I might imagine you are, I’ll definitely be using J-J more.



I looked at the ひだまりが聴こえる drama CDs since I plan on getting them eventually (…and then ended up getting the first 2, which means I’ll be cutting down my book haul, if it can even be called that anymore, at the end of the month even further *sigh*) and found out 1) there’s a new volume that’s been released since last time I checked (in December lol so it’s kind of old news), and 2) Taichi’s voiced by Enoki Junya! I’d used Tattsun’s voice for him because he looks like Takao lol but their voices are completely different. I’m not even disappointed in the slightest though, I love Enoki’s voice.

Anyways, work was super busy today. Usually Sunday is less busy than Saturday, likely because of church, but it seems today being Mothers’ Day totally counteracted that. I am exhausted.

After I got home, I stretched out on the couch and played some ゼルダ無双. Did a couple side challenges and started the story challenge to unlock Urbosa but didn’t get far.

I read the Bookwalker preview for 神様のバレー (with more breaks than was warranted). It seems like it may interesting, and it’s probably one I’ll start reading, although I won’t be picking up the first volume this time around. I’m thinking no new series, only single volumes and series I’ve already started/am familiar with. But we’ll see how that works out.

And that is unfortunately all I read today. I’d been looking forward to reading the next chapter of クールドジ男子, but I ended up being far too tired. Tomorrow. I am heading off to bed early tonight.

Smol bit of my experience with J-J

I only managed to switch early (N4’ish) because I used a pre-made deck that helped quite a bit with that. Personally I don’t think I would have made the transition on my own before N3, who knows if I would have even had the grid for that. It’s certainly intimidating. No matter what level you’re at, you’ll have to push through a lot of pain to feel comfortable with a J-J dictionary and I think it’s hard to see the benefits unless you’re on the other side. (Am speaking generally, from what I’ve read you’re probably already there c: )

Opinion that hopefully doesn’t step on too many toes: As for switching on your own, starting it at N3 seems reasonable and not doing it past N2 seems like the less efficient approach. (But ofc efficiency isn’t everything)

Answering the actual question, right!
I actually believe it has limited me quite a bit in terms of reading and probably still does. I’m staying away from things that I’d like to read that have too much unknown vocabulary and if I were less stubborn about it (i.e. looking things up in English that I don’t understand in a monolingual dictionary) I could probably lower that threshold of how much looking up is too annoying.
Personally I’m not sure if that part was to any detriment for my Japanese, because instead of reading a lot I spent stupid amounts of time with listening.

It’s a little hard to tell what’s actually to credit, but during my “going monolingual”-phase I’ve certainly seen the largest gains within my Japanese abilities, so in that regard I’d definitely say it has pushed me quite a bit.

Nobody except @rikaiwisdom is probably going to read this, so this particular comment might be a bit of a waste, but I honestly wish more people gave actively going monolingual more of a try. Having that J-J dictionary installed is a good step, but I think if you’re waiting to get comfortable with it naturally you’ll be waiting for quite a bit longer than you’d need to.

P.S.: I’m not sure (and I certainly don’t want to claim) being as strict as I am about J-J is the right approach. In many ways, having English as something to fall back on seems more reasonable…
… but I’m just stubborn that way. I want nothing to do with English definitions at this point :see_no_evil:


May 8 :cherry_blossom: Home Post

I got more of a normal reading day in today so that was nice! ZTD’s still a lot of fun. There’s been some science talk which is always an adventure, but the characters have often been like “what are you talking about, can you simplify” so that’s reassuring :joy: good times all around!


May 8th (Calendar Post)

… I just realized all my posts this month have “April” instead of “May” in the title… facepaws

Busy day but I managed to get some reading done yey~

魔女が恋する5秒前 => 80 pages (125 min)

Some fun panels from today:




I read a bit more of this today. It appears Rinze’s role in the drama is the evil 生徒会長 who enforces the rules strictly and punishes those who don’t follow them. The other girls came to try and fight her but they were not strong enough yet. They did think of a plan for next time so we will see if they’re more successful in the next chapters.

Nice CG from the reading today

Their punishment for losing the fight

They had to change their clothes!

Jumping into the words thing real quick

From my experience, verbs (and words in general?) having multiple definitions within a monolingual dictionary doesn’t always mean they have multiple “meanings”. More often than not, it is the first meaning being used in a different context or not being used literally.
Like how the verb 染める also has a definition for 恥ずかしさに頰を赤く染める or one for being used like 心を染める or 胸を染める when talking about interests.

It’s something that is present in our native languages as well, but we usually don’t think about it. Many words represent a single concept, but when used in different situations, we need to use different definitions to express the explicit meaning in that given situation.

Personally this is something I really like about monolingual dictionaries, because seeing a bunch of different English verbs for each definition isn’t always as useful for grasping that “single concept” (though 染める isn’t a very good example of that :'D).
This is something you’ll get through a bunch of immersion as well, but to me it seems that using monolingual definitions helps speed up the process.
J-J helping with going from Japanese → English → Understanding to Japanese → Understanding in general is what I love about it, but I don’t wanna be too preachy on my opinion :'D
In the end it’s just that, one more perspective to consider I suppose :3


Well yeah, very frequently different senses all arise from the same sort of core idea. Like how かかる, despite the nightmare it looks like, if you think super broadly has that same sort of “hang” idea in a lot of ways. Some a little too much a stretch to feel intuitive, but like I get it in at least a lot of cases. I don’t disagree; I was just speaking loosely.

The reason I call out long entries with lots of definitions is, I mean, I’m not that good at this. I’ve read a couple books and a lot of this super long VN but my roughly 6000 characters a day today came out to 534 lines. If that’s my stamina for a Japanese reading session, each Japanese definition entry I read is going to subtract from that (I mean obviously it’s not 1:1 per every line but you get the point). And for me, half the time it terminates in English anyway when the definitions have more words I have to look up. If I would go down the rabbit hole of Japanese definitions for words in a Japanese definition… well, the dictionary becomes the day’s project.

I know you’ve taken hardline no English and that’s impressive given when you did it but honestly I dunno how to read ANYTHING that way without just tolerating a ton of ambiguity. Which I prefer not to in the reading here; I’m going for the “intensive” style and looking up everything I don’t understand to try to follow new things.

The more I think I think about it the more I feel like Japanese dictionaries are more useful, for my purposes, to investigate words I already somewhat know. If I’m coming across a word the first time ever, I’m probably not going to even remember it. I mean, I might mine it and try to improve my memory of it that way, but if the definition isn’t basically free to me, is that the best time to devote that energy to making sure I’m getting the pure essence of the word? Some people would say yes… but I’m already always wishing I could read more than I do, and the times the English glosses fail to make sense when combined with all the surrounding context are vanishingly small. They’re worse when looking at a word in isolation, but when you just need to know what the sentence in front of you says? Hard to complain.

Basically, I won’t even disagree with you that using a monolingual definition probably speeds up the process of understanding a word’s “single concept,” but it comes at the cost of slowing down the process of actually immersing in content you care about. Does the benefit of the former actually outweigh the latter? Intuitively it feels like there is a time when it objectively wouldn’t (let’s say don’t use them at sub N5 lol) and a time when it objectively would (imagine someone near total fluency consulting Jisho for some reason). Where is the point on the line where the J-J wins out? Shame there aren’t quality studies on this kind of thing (well, to my knowledge).

more words J-J chat

Lol, from conversations we’ve had I don’t think @GrumpyPanda accepts much ambiguity at all, but is just a lot more controlled in only reading things at a more comfortable reading level in terms of vocab etc. Which for sure is a trade off, especially if you lack all self control and want to read all the things with no waiting (this is me making fun of myself here, to be clear).

A BIG caveat that needs said in this conversation (and I think grumpy already alluded to it) is that both of us got started with J-J using the (now sadly closing) Jalup decks. They are pretty much a tailored easy introduction to J-J definitions, and will introduce key dictionary terms and other vocab using simplified monolingual definitions where the only unknown word is the one being defined. I think grumpy started reading and mining in earnest after 3000 J-J Jalup cards - which doesn’t cover everything but certainly gets you to a place where standard monolingual definitions are generally okay. Of course, it is possible to make the transition without something like this but I think having that hand holding at the start was really helpful to get you past the ‘ah! I don’t know any of the words on this definition!’ stage.

Hahaha, yes this was my exact experience in 13 sentinels whenever they started talking medicine and genetics and cloning etc etc etc. Definitely faster to reach for the English definitions in those situations!


A bit late but I wanted to at least do an update with my reading progress for the 1st week. In any case I have a day-by-day summary on my main post if anyone is curious.

What I’ve managed to do this past week:

  • Read every day
  • Finished かがみの孤城 Week 21 (2 weeks behind)
  • Read 夜カフェ chapter 4 (up to date!)
  • Read 差がのがばいばあちゃん up to chapter 3 (2.5 weeks behind)
  • Finished オレンジ Vol.4
  • Played バリアブルバリケード ~5h which roughly translated to about 1/4 of a route (I think)

I’m still behind and haven’t had as much free time as I’d have liked butttt still trying! I’m still kinda doing a lot of different things and having fun so I’m not too bothered by it. Hopefully next week I can be up to date with at least one more bookclub.


I should really update my reading progress here, but instead I’m going to shamelessly ask @NicoleRauch if they’ve read any more Flesh&Blood. :eyes: I’ve been enjoying experiencing it vicariously while I grind away on my current books.