Resource Suggestions

Hi hi :white_heart: During my early WaniKani days I used the first book of Minna no Nihongo. Completed it. Was keeping up with vocab decks too, as well as using Bunpro obsessively. Almost completed N4.

I burnt out. Kept up with WK but eliminated everything else during a very stressful time in my life in terms of my education. I’m now at a point where whenever I try to return to things like vocab decks (on any site: be that Anki, Torii, Mochi, Jpdb, or Bunpro’s vocabulary routes) I feel a lot of anxiety and honestly disgust from relentless nights of draining my mental health over keeping up with vocabulary, grammar and kanji reviews all at once on top of hard healthcare courses.

I was excited when WK mentioned incorporating kana-only vocabularies into the site, but it’s going to be a looong time before I start to see anything I don’t already know. I do not want to use a core deck. I cannot handle brute force memorising vocabulary anymore. It makes me feel sick. – mnumonics work for me when they’re kana-only. But I’m uncreative.

I know I can’t stay away from grammar any longer after all I’ve forgotten, I need to get over my disdain to studying and at least turtle my way through Bunpro again.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Experienced something similar? Tips?
(I don’t watch anime or read manga. I know, a shocker. But trust me I’ve tried really hard. Getting into beginner level books is hard for that reason, and I also simply don’t want to put vocab into SRS decks anymore. :frowning: )

I know that you said that you don’t do anime - a few years back I didn’t do anime either - I was vaguely aware of it, but I had no interest in it whatsoever. At the time, I was watching J-dorama (drama) live-action shows (on Crunchyroll), with English subtitles. However, Crunchyroll decided to drop their J-dorama shows and go exclusively with anime, and so I had little alternative at the time other than to start watching anime shows with English subtitles. It eventually changed my outlook, to the point where I now watch anime every day - still with English subtitles.

I have found that my vocabulary has improved immensely as a result of watching anime with English subtitles - to the point where I think that I may be ready to make a switch and look for anime with Japanese subtitles (or closed captioning).

But there are other sources of live-action dramas with English subtitles that may interest you if anime doesn’t - for example, Viki comes to mind as one such source.

Have you tried something like that? If not, maybe you would find it interesting enough to keep your attention.

I have found that repetition is the key to learning vocabulary that way, either with live-action or anime broadcasts. I can hear the words and see a translation (which is not always a literal word-for-word translation) - and over time, I hear the same words often enough that they sink in. I try to listen actively, with a dictionary app open, and I will often stop the playback, look up a word that I just heard in the dictionary, back up the video, and play it again, sometimes a few times in a row. Not only has it helped with my vocabulary, but it has also helped immensely with my listening comprehension.

I still have lots more work to do - learning more grammar and sentence structure, for example. If I block the subtitles, while I can often understand a lot, there is also a lot that still escapes my ability to understand - but I am finding that, in many ways, I have made the leap from mentally translating words into English, to actually listening and understanding a lot of the Japanese that I hear without doing the intermediate translation step. That’s what I really hope to gain over time, on my journey toward building my vocabulary as well as my listening comprehension abilities.

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We do have a large database of Japanese Learning Resources here. I’m often surprised at the variety and depth of content on there.

Two quick things from my own experience:

1.) I wasn’t into anime or manga growing up. It was a turning point for me when I realized they are mediums, not genres. There anime and manga about cooking, sports, sea diving, painting, loan sharking, teaching, mountain climbing…the list goes on. Once I found something I was truly interested in, it was much easier to stay motivated when studying the associated vocabulary and grammar. You may have already explored that route, but I was definitely someone who did not know how deep the well went before I dove in.

2.) My favorite grammar resource was and is the Dictionary of Japanese Grammar books. For some reason having things laid out like a book gave me a sense of manageable progression that online resources didn’t have, and they weren’t classroom focused like Genki and other textbooks.

In either case, good luck! I can absolutely relate to some of the feelings you described in your post.


If you’re looking for a way to ease back into grammar, we recently started a book club for A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar and have been (slowly) reading through the basic volume. You could jump in with the club where we’re at now and gradually catch up on the sections you missed as we go (it’s not like it really matters if you read it in alphabetical order haha).

The club is nice because it’s good motivation to practice a little grammar every day without having the SRS issue where it creates future work for yourself by adding more flash cards in circulation. You can also ask questions in the book club threads about grammar stuff you don’t understand or remember very well. With as far as you got before, I bet you already learned most of the grammar in the basic volume and it would come back to you pretty easily with just a little refresher!


i would really recommend fluentu

Maybe try a few beginner-friendly Japanese language podcasts like Nihongo Con Teppei? He uses little if any English, but the episodes are only about four minutes long and devoted to a single topic so it’s easy to dip your toe in without being too overwhelmed. Japanese with Shun is another one that seems to get mentioned.

YouTube is another good resource for both learning and general interest non-anime content. For example, I follow ZOZOZO which is a Ghost Hunters type show, and Fake Documentary Q which presents found footage horror shorts. Both offer optional English subtitles.

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