📚📚 Read every day challenge - Winter 2022 ☃❄

Summary post

Hopefully, it’s time to turn my recent struggles around

So today, maybe just because recent issues made me want to shake things up, I got in the mood to experiment. I’ve never been able to decide just how much I should value monolingual dictionaries or when to go for them, since more often than not they contain so many words I don’t know and balloon out my time spent looking up any given word. But today, on a whim, I re-enabled what I have on Yomichan, just to play around with trying to read them. It slowed me down considerably between setting it back up, spending more time trying to read them, and then having to fix Anki cards I make to just have what I want… but I did find that, occasionally, they worked for me.

More to the point, I had one instance in which they saved me. 青息吐息 (あおいきといき). This 4 kanji compound, on Jisho, is defined as “deep distress.” And perhaps if you know the kanji, you can guess further because there’s “breath” and the sort of “emit from the mouth” type one. But the definition is only deep distress, and that doesn’t really make any sense in the context I read it in! The Japanese dictionaries I was using define it more precisely as the sigh that you breathe in a time of such difficulty/distress. That one makes sense. So… I made my first monolingual Anki card too, on a whim. Made a few of them, when the definition seemed simple enough. Good idea for better definitions and a bit more nested reading practice? Bad waste of time to balloon out Anki time and require me to not have a memory slip on the Japanese in the definitions? Who knows! We’ll find out maybe eventually! Most of my cards were English today still, but not all.

The reading itself didn’t go too far, but I did do it for ~90 minutes, and the characters today were thankfully easier to talk to. What I want to share today is a kanji joke:

You need a bit of context, but they talked about that chessboard with the single pawn surrounded by enemies, describing the pawns as 歩兵 (ほへい, footsoldiers), and I apologize for not remembering the exact wording, but the knights have swords, 剣. They color coded those as the two characters (成歩堂 and 御剣) to make a joke about their relationship that isn’t actually written in the text at all, just implied through the coloring. Kinda neat! If my memory doesn’t fail me, in the English translation they had to just directly go “that’s kind of like you two, huh?” but it felt a little more out of place and random without the kanji connection.


Yay! I also have most of my anki cards with Japanese definitions now…with some exceptions :sweat_smile: Sometimes it’s a long winded explanation in the Japanese dictionary and I think “this is exactly what the English word means, just save myself some reading time” and other times it’s stuff like 鰯(いわし)(sardine) where the English word and a picture seem more apt than “ニシン目のうちイワシ類の海魚の総称。また,マイワシ・ウルメイワシ・カタクチイワシの総称。全長15~30センチメートル。水産上重要な魚類で,多獲され食用のほか,飼料・肥料ともする。” :stuck_out_tongue:


Very cool! Yeah that’s totally understandable, I came across a few words already that were such easy concrete things that I just didn’t bother trying much with the Japanese.

I need to add pictures more. I’ve almost never done it, except when I came across テングザル , almost certainly not an important word, but I absolutely had to make a card for it both because I think it’s really cool that it’s “tengu monkey,” and because I now have a card whose back is just this picture, and it makes me laugh every time:

Hidden for impact



Summary post

January 16 update:
Read 10 pages of 時をかける少女 today. Halfway through there was a scene (lasting about 2 pages) that I could barely follow, to the point that I tried returning to looking up every word – which didn’t help much, so after a dozen or so words I just gave up. I think I got the general idea right, judging by the ensuing discussion between the characters, but I feel like this particular bit was wasted for me in terms of both educational value and entertainment.

As a general observation on my experience so far, I think this book is really too much above my level, at least vocabulary-wise. I’m still enjoying the story, so I’m going to finish it, but once I’m done, I’ll either try reading something a lot easier, or maybe play with the idea of pre-learning vocab with Koohi.

Oh, and there’s also an upcoming book club on Death Note, which I’m looking forward to. Not sure yet how participating in a book club feels, but from what I’ve so far, clubs seem to aim for the middle ground between the two reading approaches that I’ve tried with 時をかける少女, i.e. thorough analysis vs just reading lightly without trying to understand details that are not immediately clear. Since these two are pretty much the extremes, I bet there’s a lot to try in the middle of the spectrum.

Congrats! That sounds like an important milestone. I’m nowhere near the level to effectively use monolingual cards yet, but I think they must crank the immersion level up a few notches :durtle_noice:


Good luck! I’m pretty new to proper books myself but in the easier mediums, still, I feel like usually after you drag yourself through something that’s above your level, it makes the stuff below it feel so much more approachable, as that struggle becomes a little more “default.” Hopefully, if nothing else, by the end of this you’ll find that your brain has reframed where the levels of tolerable challenge and comfort are for you, at least. Rooting for you.

Thank you! It’s totally an experiment on my side, but it is something I’ve been wanting to try to take the plunge into (almost definitely a bit earlier than I should, but I’m always trying to keep moving forward as quickly as I can tolerate). I think it’ll hurt in the short term but I need to give it space and consider it as an investment for me in a few months, or further, and see where that gets me then.


Summary post :bookmark:

January 16

かがみの孤城 (上).
Progress: (96% → 100%) Finished the book :eyes: :sparkles: Very good book :durtle_noice:

かがみの孤城 (下).
Progress: (0% → 2%) I was going to read more, but due to busybusy there was no time for more.


I bounced back health-wise today! I read 2 (much shorter) pages of よつばと! and understood things to a an acceptable degree (although I still am learning the intricacies of manga bubbles :sweat_smile:) All in all I compared notes with my study buddy, got some help in my study lounge, and I’m excited for 2 more pages tomorrow! :four_leaf_clover:


Day 16.
I read Chapter 12 of レンタルおにいちゃん. This was really sweet chapter, I think its my favourite chapter from the series so far :slight_smile:

(Home Post)


Started reading this manga I don’t even know what this manga is about but it was free on bookwalker last year. It’s not that hard therefore I just sit down and read 40 pages.

I also started another manga but it was boring so I just dropped it after reading 5 pages.

Only read some lines from it but I saw nothing even coming near N1. But who knows it may become super hard soon but regardless it has some awesome writing.

Sorry no vocabulary list this time but I updated my last post with lots of useful words.


January 11 - January 16

I’m terrible at updating but I did read every day so far! (more NO. 6 and Orange)
Very different difficulty levels, those two.
Orange feels pretty comfortable even when I’m tired and reading before bed, and I can get by with relatively few look ups. Meanwhile I’m still yomichan’ing my way through NO. 6 which still has so many words I don’t know & I’m progressing much more slowly because of it :turtle:
That’s pretty much what I was aiming for though so it’s all good. I’m enjoying both a lot, in different ways!

I was already reading regulary at the end of last year, but not every day - this challenge is a nice extra push for consistency. It’s working pretty well for me right now I think :slightly_smiling_face:


Summary post

Day 16: January 16th

Time spent: 20 min
Today’s color: 鳶色 (とびいろ) - another reddish brown

Named for the black kite (鳶) - yet another pretty bird. It is apparently a Manly color for Men.

Some good words
  • 悠然 (ゆうぜん) - calm; composed; leisurely
  • 甲高い (かんだかい) - high-pitched; shrill
  • 生息 (せいそく) - inhabiting; living
  • 中型 (ちゅうがた) - medium size
  • 鷹 (たか) - hawk; falcon​
  • 人気ぶり (にんきぶり) - level of popularity
  • 男前 (おとこまえ) - manliness

まいにち暦生活 日本の暮らしを楽しむ365のコツ
Time spent: 11 min

Today’s reading talked about the clear winter sky and some stars you can see in the constellation Orion. It was trying to explain the position of each of the stars, and I learned an interesting expression: 向かって左 - on the left as one faces (it) (there is, correspondingly, 向かって右 as well).

What else did I read?
Amount read: 23 pages
Time spent: 35 min

Tanuki Cuteness Brigade alert! :raccoon: :raccoon: :raccoon:

Started a new book about a tanuki and a fox today. In terms of the format, it reminds me a lot of the shark books and the Koupen-chan book (for anyone that remembers those) - it’s kind of halfway between a manga and a picture book? I wish I knew what that type of book was called. I guess maybe it’s still manga but it doesn’t really have much of an overarching story and a lot of pages are just one illustration. Anyway, I keep picking up these kinds of books for some reason because they’re cute all the time and this is another one like that xD

Today I learned about what seems to be a rather messed-up Japanese folktale if the synopsis on Wikipedia is accurate - かちかち山 (the versions I found on Youtube seem to be a bit milder but I still think the rabbit is a bit of a sadist :sweat_smile:)

On a less gruesome note, here's baby tanuki and baby fox playing :3

And here are some words I learned
  • 行き来 (ゆきき) - coming and going; keeping in touch; visiting each other
  • とっぴんぱらりのぷう - a story-ending phrase (for folktales and such) used in Akita prefecture
  • おののく - to shake (from fear, cold, excitement, etc.); to shudder; to tremble​
  • 持て余す (もてあます) - to be too much for one; to find unmanageable; to be beyond one’s control; to not know what to do with
  • だらける - to be lazy; to be slack; to feel dull; to feel languid; to feel listless

Home post

Day 15:

日本語: I read a lot of 伯爵と妖精 30 and finished it! I poked at a few other things (while knowing I’d start 伯爵と妖精 31 the next day): perhaps 4 pages of 機動強襲型令嬢アリシア物語1, perhaps 3 pages of 冷たい密室と博士たち, the character information and the first page of 獣の奏者 4.


中国語: I read an intermediate entry on Mandarin Bean and one page of 擅长捉弄的高木同学.

Another week successfully completed!


Main Post

January 16th:
Tried reading some random stuff while I was online today.
キャラデザ Character Design.


Thank you, I needed this cuteness today. :relieved:


January 16 :snowflake: Home Post

Well I went feral today and read almost 11 pages of 錆喰(さびく)いビスコ :flushed: Honestly don’t know how I pulled that off, but man am I more invested than ever. I did run into a few more complex sentences that I was able to just read without looking up anything, so that felt really good! I can definitely tell that reading this is drilling a lot of vocab into my brain, so that’s also great! That’s what I’m looking for :grin:

But plot-wise the mushroom and panda boys finally met!! It was even more chaotic than I could’ve anticipated :joy: Best of luck to them haha. There was also a scene with ミロ’s sister that was very reminiscent of the scene with ジャビ talking about like who will protect ビスコ when he dies and I have a lot of feelings, those parallels hurt me man

Anyway very productive reading day out of nowhere! Really just had to force myself to stop because I have work in the morning, I wanted to keep going :eyes:

Some cool words

反逆罪(はんぎゃくざい) - treason
違和感(いわかん) - uncomfortable feeling, unease
尊大(そんだい) - haughtiness, pomposity
(おど)す - to threaten (ビスコ showing up like “you can make medicine right? I threatened three people and they all told me to come here” lmao)
(はち)() - beehive, something full of holes (metaphorically like saying something’s swiss cheese)
(くび)をかしげる - to tilt one’s head to the side (I just think of puppies like ??? precious :pleading_face:)


Summary Post

Day 16: Today I read 4 pages of よつば&!


Today I read thirteen pages of Death note. (It was mostly looking up vocabulary, but I’m starting recognize and remember more). I also read one page of a ぴこぷり magazine, and I thought I’d share a cute manga panel on かき氷 (level 4 Wanikani :wink:).


Home post

Day 10: I read three more pages of よつばと today, and struggled a bit with the explanation of how to use a swing:p



Day 17! Today I read pages 182–184 of Kiki. Even though I spent most of the day at home today, there were a lot of other tasks I needed to prioritise, so here I am reading past midnight again :joy:
Too tired now to read more. I’ll aim for at least five pages tomorrow.


So was telling my spouse about this chapter and he said there’s a similar thing in Ireland called Little Christmas, where women have their own Christmas after Epiphany because they’ve been too busy during actual Christmas to celebrate!

I’ve been out and about a bit for the last few days so picked up a Doraemon manga to read on the train. I got it as part of a job-lot on eBay last year - it’s volume 2 but I know enough about Doraemon to know what’s going on. Doraemon had a really bad singing voice but made everyone listen to him regardless, and it turned out that he’d got an insect caught in his wiring that had made him go wrong.

I’m working through the Minna No Nihongo Intermediate books at the moment and it’s so much easy to absorb the grammar because it’s everywhere! I had a class this morning and then used a japanese cookery book this afternoon to make a cake and it used the same grammar I’d studied in class.

That is an EXCELLENT picture. I’m a way off from monolingual cards yet but I’ve been trying to learn animal names through playing a mobile game that gives you pictures of animals and you have to enter the name in katakana (it’s called 動物クイズ - I’m on android).