Seeking advice from the community

Hi! Beginner here!

A little bit of background about me: I’ve already completed the Japanese from Zero 1+2 books, so I know some basic grammar. I am currently doing Bunpro (halfway through N5).

I really want to learn Japanese by consuming native content (of course, without giving up Bunpro and Wanikani). HOWEVER, I feel that at my current level, I should wait until I:

  • Master N4 grammar
  • Learn N5-N4 kanjis (Wanikani level 16 if I’m not mistaken)

in order to benefit more from the experience of learning Japanese through native content. For some reason, I think the little time I have to study Japanese would be better spent if I do the above.

What do you think? Do you agree? Why? Why not?

I look forward to reading your views!

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i don’t know much, but that’s a really good idea. that way you can still have some fun while learning instead of looking up EVERYTHING

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I am doing almost like you

So far finished N5 kanji and next big step is level 27 when I finish the N4 kanji

meanwhile I started shirimono for grammar and I have been learning a little bit the example sentences.

I dont know if bunpro is more hardcore at teaching grammar points (more variable examples) but so far it is helping me a little bit.

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I think you should try it out at least. Check out NHK Easy News:

You don’t have to read a full article or anything, but just going to the site every now and then is a good way to gauge progress and see how much you can make out each time.

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Definitely agree that you should try it out and that it’s a good gauge.

Also, a good idea to aim for as much N4 knowledge as you can have because if you’re picking up resources from Tadoku, Natively, Koohi, it’ll be handy to be around that level.

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I’m doing something sort of similar myself. Though, technically I have mastered at least most of N5/N4 kanji and grammar before using WaniKani. What’s really holding me back is my lack of vocabulary and understanding certain nuances. I’m waiting until I at least get to an N3-ish level before I consume more native content. At the moment, I’m using graded readers. I think what you’re doing is good, though. It’d be easier to test what you’ve learned with a mastery of N4. It’d be less cumbersome.

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I don’t know enough to consume native content, but I really like going through the easiest texts at https://satorireader.com

They have detailed translations of every word in the specific context, so I learn quite a lot from reading there. I’m super slow, obviously, but it’s fun!

They also let you import your Wanikani data to determine if they should show furigana or not.

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Cure Dolly is who I learn Japanese structure from, in the main, though I do use WaniKani for Kanji. I do not study grammar at all – I just learn bits here and there as I come across it.

I found that at level 15, it was difficult for me to learn from playing video games – I felt like I had to look up each and every word. But when I reached level 25 WaniKani, recently, I had another crack at video games targeted for, say, 9-12 year olds, and found that it was quite easy to learn from them – that I can understand about half of what’s said in a given sentence, on average.

Video game where the language worked well for me at level 25:

Games that do NOT work well for me yet:

  • ファイナルファンタジー6
  • スーパーぷよぷよ (oddly enough)

Things that make it hard are when most text goes by super fast (ぷよぷよ) and you can’t take time to read it, and when it’s at a more advanced reading level (FF6).

I have read 漫画, watched アニメ with Japanese subtitles (Netflix is great for this,) and played video games, and far and away, what has done the most for me is the video games. I think it’s because the words repeat a lot, and you see them over and over again, and you see them in a context of direct functional use, so games have been amazingly effective for me.

It’s about getting over that initial hump, though.

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I highly recommend

https://nihongoconteppei.com/

for listening practice.

The NHK Easy News and Satori Reader are great resources too; they’ve already been recommended in this thread.

Another cool resource is

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I’m doing the exact same thing as you, worked through N5 bunpro and halfway through N4, with the plan to fully immerse after I’m through with N4 points on bunpro and have that baseline of kanji and grammar.
in the meantime i did join an absolute beginners book club on this forum though and i can say 100% say that it’s been extremely useful seeing even the low level grammar in the wild and having people i can ask for clarification, no matter how simple the question might be.

I’m just a complete noob still so take everything i say with a grain of salt, but for me personally atleast, reading about grammar and using bunpro is great to get to know the grammar points, but it doesn’t translate too well into being able to read, i missed simple grammar points when i tried out reading, that i had a really long streak on in bunpro, but after joining the discussion about the grammar points and sentences here in the forum, even after 5 weeks i’ve made such a big leap.

The book club is still ongoing if you’re interested Teasing Master Takagi-san 😝 ・ Absolute Beginners Book Club

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i just jumped into reading around level 10 of WK, with a solid N5 grammar. it was a pain (it still is, but less so) because i had to look so much up. but because i chose stuff to read which i actively wanted to read it was fun.

i do have a lot of free time though, so if time is an issue you might want to continue with more targeted/active learning for a bit. but reading did (and continues to) improve all my other skills considerably ^^

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I meant to have more grammar under my belt when I started reading - my grammar knowledge is… very limited and inconsistent (know some random higher level points, but my N5 is definitely still holey); my vocabulary is…not great. That said, I have time to spend reading in the evening if I want, and I find grammar points stick better when I see them ‘in the wild’ shortly after I’ve learned them. In my textbook, I expect to see specific grammar points - it just feels different from native materials where I see familiar points and sometimes totally miss that they are familiar. It’s been better the more I read though. Also, I don’t really mind when reading is a slog of looking up tons of words - but I think I’m weird that way.

With more limited time, I would probably go with getting at least solid N5 and at least some N4 before I dove into native material, but I would also suggest getting something that you’re interested in and expect to be somewhat readable (e.g. slice of life stuff is probably more doable than high fantasy in terms of vocab you are more likely to have seen when studying) to try out from time to time and gauge whether you might be able to read it (keeping in mind, manga are likely to have a bunch of casual versions of grammar you know that might look unfamiliar, but you’ll ‘get’ a bit better after looking it up once or twice)

Also, fully support reading your first book with a book club (present or past) - so helpful to see how others are breaking down the sentences and what questions they’re asking, and definitely raises awareness of grammar points - even if you haven’t really studied them yet.

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In reality, both options you presented have solid pros and cons. Furthermore the actual span of time this decision would affect is pretty small (10 wanikani levels is not a whole lot compared to the entire journey to mastery).

As a result, I honestly think you’re ok doing either and the best one is the one you would rather do. It seems like you want to spend your time efficiently which is respectable, but neither options is so much better than the other that I imagine it would make much of a difference over whatever amount of time it takes you to complete 10 wk levels.

The most important thing at your level in my opinion is to develop a healthy relationship with your study of the language. If you give native content a try now and absolutely hate it, then don’t do it. If its fun understanding content through plenty of effort, then go for it. Really though, I think you can only know if you try. Those who have the easiest time with native content are those who are comfortable swimming in ambiguity and failure. As adults, we tend to have like…very little of that in our lives so its really hard to know how you’ll handle it without seeing for yourself.

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I don’t think you need to wait for that to give it a try. I didn’t know any kanji when I started out or grammar. That only came later.

Watching a bit of tv/anime is an easy starting point. Then you can get to more difficult stuff. There is no harm in trying! :slight_smile:

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