Reading experience and reading goals

I decided to make a thread where i write my experience and impressions i made today with reading.

So i hittet level 21 this week and was kinda curious how my reading in regards of kanji would went if i start reading now, so i decided to give it a try how things look.

So i created a account on" https:/" where u can choose a source of japanese content and create reviewpiles in advance before u start with the reading content itshelf so that u don t have to look it up while u read. I decided to pick the Novel 魔女の旅々and bought it on “Bookwalker” since u can also buy japanese content aswell as paying with paypal. Since it was a Novel, it hadnt any pictures like manga which u have to rely much more on the information that u get through the book which is much harder for me. After i readed almost the first page, i decided that i m not ready for it now, since i had still to look up too many kanjis and it was very demotivating for me learning them outside wk without mmnemonics and stuff. I decided now to try it again when i reached lvl 30 and at latest lvl 35 i would force my shelf if i would still struggle. I planned until i reach this level to learn more grammar and improve my kanji recognizing by handwriting them.

Waht are u guys experience impressions and thoughs about ur journey with reading and wanikani in general overall? Do u have any goals or plans aswell or are u open minded?

Would really like to hear ur story,

Love u, cheers


Did you check out the reading section here in the forums? They have a nice guide about getting started with reading. We also have book clubs for different level of experience. Feel free to join one of the (absolute) beginner book clubs or go through some of the books they have read previously.

Getting started always includes getting used to the new language first. No matter how many kanji you have under your belt there always will be some vocabulary or grammar items that you’re less familiar with.

As for myself I always try to read or listen to a little bit of Japanese every day. Not the big novels though… I’m more on the easy news or stories for children section :blush:


thank u for the response.

yeah i checked out some, most recommend anyways to be around lvl 30 for the smoothest experience for reading. I sometimes read the nhk news which is nice. I don t like most of the more beginnerfriendly books, idk why, just didnt find a title yet which looks appealing to me.I could start reading yeah, but it was for my taste still too rough to get a joy out of it. I need to focus at my grammar anyways at somepoint aswell.

Which children books did u read? i prefer darkstorys like horror, morally bad, or tragedy, would be nice if u knew something is this way.

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When talking about children books I had the kids kids in mind… not the big ones :sweat_smile: For example I was reading momotarô in a version with zero kanji.

If you haven’t already, I recommend starting with manga (with one of the book clubs…they’re awesome). The pictures help you keep track of what’s going on, the grammar tends to be simpler and shorter chunks of text mean that the experience is a lot less tiring, even if you read the same amount of text.

I got a decent amount of practice before I tried a proper novel, and that definitely helped a lot, although it did take a little while to get used to the intimidating wall of kanji. Also novels tend to have their own special grammar and vocabulary which can be challenging if you’re not comfortable with the basics yet.

Maybe i should practice reading through manga before starting with novels. Could imagine that the transision would go smoother if i do so, since when did u start with ur first manga?

Yeah i have one child book which contains almost no grammar at all and all written in hiragana only. I used it at the very beginning where reading hiragana was still difficult to me. 笑

I started really reading (not just easy manga) about when I was level 30. I started on a visual novel that, looking back, is actually harder than plenty of light novels out there. Struggled with that and then started reading light novels when I hit level 60. Nowadays still reading novels/light novels and usually go though a book in like a week. 3 things in general I’ve found to be true

  1. You’ll be learning new kanji for a long time. I still learn new kanji and I hit level 60 like 3 years ago or so.

  2. There will be a LOT of vocab for you to learn. This will be your primary time sink.

  3. Reading big boi material is going to be hard at the start no matter what. You’ll be breaking stuff down sentence by sentence, staring at stuff and just not getting it, and looking up a buncha stuff. Throw away the expectation that you’ll be comfortable at the start if you have it. The only way to get better at reading is to read and that comes with the struggle at the start.


I try to read 1 to 2 pages a day of my novel made for elementary school students. I have to translate nearly every word but I know it will become easier to read eventually.
This is my 2nd novel I’m reading in Japanese. It’s already a lot easier than my 1st novel. I really like it when I see wanikani words in my books.

Out of curiosity, what is the book you’re reading?

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I’m reading 怪盗レッド

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I’m at the place as you and feel the pain. I tried reading Yotsuba at level 10 and found it too difficult. But picked it up a few levels ago and it’s waaaaaaaay better! There’s also a youtube channel that talks through all the vocab and grammer as you read (and difficult fonts which got me stuck alot). So I check after to see if what I understood was close and it helps get used to the familiar dialogue. I feel like its the perfect challenge level right now- with being able to read a page or 2 without looking something up so it stays entertaining, but still learning lots.

News web easy after 6 months of 10 mins a day seems to be reading quite fluid. They repeat alot of grammer and vocab. We’ve covered alot of the kanji they use at this point and it’s good review. It’s not as fun as reading or flexing a manga tho.


I actually love reading books and can read at quite a good speed but only English books. :frowning_face: I had picked a japanese light novel and couldn’t understand a single sentence, guess it was too early for me to start. Also for some reason I get demotivated whenever I start a book.

the first things I read (around level 10) was nhk easy and aria, which was pretty difficult, and then moved on to shirokuma cafe and then flying witch with the book clubs, along with various other stuff outside of them. I started reading my first actual novel last spring (not sure what level I was then) and it was a big step up from the manga, but manageable once I got used to the grammar.

Hello there!
I use Satori Readers, mostly. I guess it doesn’t qualify as a “novel”, but it isn’t a manga either, so… Basically, it makes reading feel useful. I can follow stories without much effort. Also, there’s an option to synchronize the kanji there with WaniKani (as I don’t use learning thingy Satori has, I think this option is great). Also, before that I tried to stick with reading materials for learners, like 小説 ミラーさん(from みんなの日本語) and レベル別日本語

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I have this demotivation aswell when something is really difficult, i become quick demoralized facing something which seems almost unachievable to me. I think its not too bad in my situation because it prevents me for doing something which is not very efficient(and fun) in my eyes, and decide to continue at a later stage.

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i have to read more nhk aswell, i m going all the time to short on this. i will check the youtube channel out, maybe this comes in handy.

Thank u for ur experience share.I kinda get the message out that the suffering will never end, but rather become part of you. lol

How do you translate? If I’m reading something online it’s easy, just copy and paste into a translator. I got stuck, though, on some simple sentences in bilingual books, but had no idea how to figure them out since I don’t know the reading for the kanji I haven’t learned yet.

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Since translation, at least for me, is supposed to be a learning exercise, I don’t go straight to a translator. I’ll lookup kanji I don’t know on, and then with grammar, I start by looking through, “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar”. If that doesn’t suffice, I’ll paste the sentence into And only after trying to tease out the meaning for an extended period of time will I drop it into DeepL (which I like better than Google translate).

All my translation is done on google docs with a photo, from my phone, of a manga page, and translations to the right of the photo. Allows me to zoom easily to actually read the print as well.

Recently I kind of hit a churn wall with WaniKani and in order to try to improve my grammar and aid in retention of vocab I decided at least one context sentence needed to be surfaced in reviews, and so I wrote Simple Show Context Sentence I’m finding it’s not a cheat, and I’m slowing down, and parsing out sentences. So far I think it’s helpful, and it’s not so obtrusive as to be unable to be ignored.