Hi to anyone who wants to brave another study log I have been asking lots of questions in various threads, so I thought it would be nice for me to create my own study log to hopefully do so in a more centralized place. It’s a bit lengthy but should you choose to proceed, you need only click the arrows below!
What got me interested in Japan & Japanese Culture?
When I was a young teenager around the year 2000 I rented (yes rented) a Sega Dreamcast game called Shenmue created by Yu Suzuki. I didn’t realize it at the time, but aside from the epic story plot, the regular everyday experiences of the protagonist set in 1986 captured me. Slowly throughout my life I began daydreaming about the simplicity of that lifestyle through the lens of Shenmue’s world. Whether or not it was totally realistic didn’t matter, the fantastic story and world that Yu Suzuki created became a part of me whether I liked it or not, and it sparked my interest in Japanese antiquity and modernity! As I grew into adulthood I began learning about and appreciating true aspects of Japanese culture. Everything from teas to sushi/cuisine and even Japanese antiques - my life is full of things that show my appreciation for Japanese culture, albeit from a distance. I would like to visit Japan someday, but I am perfectly content appreciating it from afar too.
Why do I want to learn Japanese?
In my head, I still ask myself this question! I have a very poor history with foreign languages, both French and Spanish, so Japanese is a rather lofty undertaking for me. My entire education (all the way through my Master’s Degree) I sat in a classroom far too anxious to ask questions. I know I can’t do that if I want to be successful in this journey that ultimately has no destination for me other than to keep learning. I have two goals that really drive my journey at this time:
- Learn about Manga and be able to read it in Japanese (because I’ve never read it even in English). I would LOVE for anyone reading this to tell me about their experiences with different Manga and why you like it.
- Be able to play Shenmue I and II someday in Japanese and understand a fair amount dialogue without complete reliance on the subtitles. It has so many possible conversations I feel like this will be a really cool learning tool as well.
What do I have for resources?
I will certainly add to this ongoing list as acquire more tools in my toolbox, but here’s my start: (updated 1/7/2022)
All your lovely suggestions
Kanji / Vocabulary: WaniKani of course! I love the SRS methodology and I really feel like I’ve been learning a lot as a beginner in these two areas. I started off too fast and I’m slowing down to utilize other resources better.
Torii SRS is what I finally decided on, after much consideration of the following: Anki I have looked into multiple times for flashcards, but I continued to seek elsewhere for various reasons. Kitsun was also recommended which looks great but it requires a subscription. I also explored koohi.cafe, which I liked a lot but it still didn’t feel right.
Grammar: I did give up on Bunpro for now, but I did learn a few things and perhaps I will give it another go in the future. Cure Dolly (YouTube) has been amazing, and I also have Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese. This area is super intimidating to me, but so far I have a few basic grammar points down. I just added Minna no Nihongo to my library as well!
Jisho Japanese Dictionary
ichi.moe (for parsing sentences)
Yomichan for scanning Japanese text on web pages. Chrome extension download here.
Shirabe Jisho (iOS) - My personal favorite! First of all, it’s FREE - and I think it should cost a 百万. Has so many features, flash cards, etc. Very easy to draw kanji to search and is very accurate (with little accuracy required on your part). Cannot recommend this enough for iPhone/iPad users.
Listening / Understanding: I am hoping to find more resources for this as I continue on, but as previously stated I would like to play Shenmue in the Japanese language and understand things without subtitles. Because of Shenmue’s simplicity of conversations, I imagine this will be a good learning tool as I get further along. Perhaps a certain Anime series in Japanese would help too?! (Shenmue the Animation: Coming 2022!) I have also been introduced to VTubers for listening! Completely new to me… Thank you Yamitenshi and TokeruKonkoyo!
Speaking: At this time I am not terribly focused on speaking, but I do test myself by saying things out loud and when I hear Kyoko in my reviews
Minna no Nihongo + Study Guide
Essential Kanji - Neat for Kanji reference.
All About Particles- In depth particle reference.
The Handbook of Japanese Verbs - Awesome for verb reference / instruction, sample senteces, etc.
Japanese Stories for Language Learners - Seems like cool stories - also came with an audio CD. Little high for my level at the moment.
Manga: As I said before I would really like to learn about Manga, and I hope some of you will tell me about it! I know this will help with vocabulary and forcing me to look up Kanji. I received a couple beginner series as gifts that I’ve seen recommended - よつばと！and しろくまカフェ。I have been trudging through よつばと! and I LOVE it. I’m getting a couple pages a day read, and I have a grammar guide for the first volume that I can reference if I get really stuck.
Where I am at as of January 2022
I just reached level 7 on WaniKani a couple days ago. I am staying on top of my reviews and lessons, and I STOPPED using the Self-Study script like a maniac. I am slowing down…. For grammar - Cure Dolly / Books / Manga. For vocab - Torii SRS 10k at the moment, and I don’t foresee a switch from here on out. It’s learning common vocab without much fuss, and it does allow adding custom vocab when mine sentences in よつばと!
What are my hopes for this journal / log?
I honestly want this to be a place where ANYONE can throw questions out there like a message in a bottle and hope a kind soul takes the time to provide some guidance! I’ve really appreciated so many of you for helping me when I’ve asked questions in various other threads, especially because I have such a hard time asking them to begin with (it’s easier over the internet vs. a classroom though ). Again, I hope to learn about Manga from your likes and preferences. I want to hear your experiences. I want this log to capture my journey, and perhaps help some others along the way too!
If you made it through this entire thing, I am simply grateful for your time! If you would like to reply in any aspect of this, I would like that as well