Study routine concerns

I recently saw a similar post and it inspired me to ask my own study routine question given how helpful all you folks have been :slight_smile:.

These are the resources I use to learn but I have a few fears I will elaborate on below.

Kanji/Vocab reading:
WaniKani (Duh)

Kanji/Vocab writing:
Skritter (Loving it so far as long as they fix the Beta for Android before it replaces the current production release).

Satori Reader (I absolutely love this as it ties very neatly into WK, and the developer, Brak Software, is amazing and notable for Human Japanese).

Grammar:
Japanese the Manga Way
TextFugu
Tae Kim
Human Japanese
My awesome Sensei

Speaking:
My awesome Sensei

These are my concerns and questions:

  1. I focus on WK and Skritter a lot. To the point that I spend about 3 hours a day on those combined.
  2. While Satori Reader is not short of amazing, I find myself not having enough time for it give how long I spend with the above.
  3. I love the material Grammar resources I have, my issue is that I don’t feel I am progressing enough (retention), and not that the issue is with the materials themselves. Has anyone faced this issue? I feel this might because of a lack of written practice of grammar. Does anyone know of any gamified exercise resources for this, to really cement the content? I am really not keen in a textbook, but more something interactive, where possible.
  4. I’m keen on other speaking resources if anyone has recommendations.
  5. WK does not teach the real radicals of Kanji. My concern here is if I ever needed to look up Kanji or, like @Leebo, ever take any serious Kanji tests, I would be lost. What would people recommend for getting those down after WK.
  6. Is KW a good resource to use for WK Burned items? I guess I’m asking to what extent it has helped people in reality given the issues with multiple Kanji/Vocab having the same English words on WK and reversing it confuses a lot of folk, myself included.
  7. TextFugu worries me a bit. I’m on Season 4 and it seems, so far, like it works well as an introduction to every consequential topic it touches on, but not as a comprehensive resource as there seems to be a lot missing.
    In all I feel like I am learning loads of Kanji (reading, writing), but that my progress is relatively slower in grammar, and speaking. This might be a feature of who I am, or the methods I use. I am not sure. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
  8. Do I have too many resources?

Thanks!

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3 - Write. But only write about what you want to. In sites like ilang8, for example, I don’t like to write single sentences about everyday life like people do in social media so I write short stories, arguments, or translations of my writings in other languages (like this comment). In real world written media, you don’t use a single sentence about a subject like textbook exercises. Write a short text instead.

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Maybe you need to drop/reduce Skritter?

AFAIK even WK doesn’t recommend bothering too much with the writings of kanji and the stroke-by-stroke thing.

We don’t require or encourage any focus on handwriting. Although handwriting is fine and dandy, and does help some people with memory and retention, we don’t believe that it is necessary. The pros of dropping it outweigh the cons.

First, all that time you spend on learning to handwrite (it doubles or triples the time you spend on each kanji) could be spent learning to read double or triple the amount of kanji and vocabulary. That’s very valuable time.

Second, people don’t write by hand much anymore. We would say it’s good to come back around and learn to handwrite after you’ve learned how to read the kanji, but it’s not a big priority until then. Ninety-nine percent of your interactions with kanji will be reading or typing, not handwriting. Hence, writing by hand is put on the back burner.

You can feel free to study writing if you like, but it will slow you down on WaniKani, prevent you from reading Japanese sooner, and make your hand get all crampy.

Personally I try to write only those kanji which I struggle to remember, or which have visually similar kanji which are easy to confuse. Seems to be optimal.

Are you making time to talk with actual Japanese people?

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I probably should have mentioned this earlier, my bad: I am aware WK does not recommend writing, but this is a big personal goal. While I do not think that learning it is essential at all, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of not being able to write in a language I dedicate this much time to. I feel like I am missing out on a big piece when I see a character and can’t write it.
@Wonkyth, I will admit, I have not. Not having time is not an acceptable reason so I shall refrain from using it. Are there any online resources you would recommend, specifically for speaking? Ie. Italki, but perhaps more focused on JP?

Thanks!

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While I do not think that learning it is essential at all, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of not being able to write in a language I dedicate this much time to. I feel like I am missing out on a big piece when I see a character and can’t write it.

I heard that even a lot of Japanese people are getting less and less comfortable writing kanji by hand after they finish school, because there is rarely a need to do it.

Sounds like a perfectionist idea which may slow down the learning (it already causes you time issues, doesn’t it?).

But whatever floats your boat, of course.

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With regards to the writing; your personal goals are, well, personal. However, this is a worldwide, universal thing - many, perhaps most now, English speakers do not write at all, anymore (to the point that banks are complaining because they cannot reliably match signatures, since peple just print their name) for the same reasons that Japanese don’t.

Those reasons are largely “PCs” and “phones”.

I’ll say it…some people won’t like it.

If your goal is to read/write/speak Japanese quicker…spend less time on Wanikani for now. Yes Wanikani is great, but knowing a bunch of kanji doesn’t do you much good if you can’t use the kanji for anything. If your spending 3 hours a day on Wanikani and barely having time to focus on grammar your going to wake up a year from now “knowing” a bunch of Kanji…but not being able to say/write almost anything. Don’t ask me how I know.

Lower your time on Wanikani and raise your time on grammar until you know the basics…after that increase Wanikani and your overall Japanese will be much better.

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WK also teaches vocab though.

That said, I wish they re-evaluated their “kanji first” approach and added more useful vocab to the system. It is more convenient to keep things in one SRS than a bit there and a bit there.

For grammar, I use 日本語の森’s JLPT grammar vids. They’re useful, as I can have them on in the background, and I benefit from the exposure that the audio provides (assuming I’m focusing). For me learning grammar has been about exposure in differing plays followed by one really clear usage that clears away the fog. Doing shadowing has also been useful (for me, at least), and two shadowing books are free on youtube with all the sound files if you’re interested.

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The guy with the suit is definitely my hero xD

@VegasVed, personally I’m not practicing writing Kanji by hand at all. I did that with Kana but I guess I can’t even do that anymore xD I prefer to focus right now on learning the language itself. If I ever decide to practice handwriting Kanji, I can always do it later ^^ It just doesn’t make any sense to me right now because I only use my pc and my phone to write Japanese.

You have to think if you’ll actually use or not in the near future and organize your study, depending on that ^^

I use the HelloTalk app to do language exchange with natives. You can also send audios and stuff there.

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I’ve just looked into Satori Reader and it seems amazing, just like what I’ve been looking for!

The free version is limited a handful of texts, though. Has anyone tried premium? Does it really have a large collection with increasing difficulty? Seems almost too good to be true. BTW, I’m mostly interested in reading Japanese.

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The 日本語の森 grammar videos are great. They pack grammar, vocabulary, and speech all into one. If you watch them directly (instead of just listening) they can also be good reading practice.

Another good reference for grammar is Imabi (今日). It has good explanations of many particles and lots of examples.

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For speaking/grammar, try Japanese Audio Lessons. With this, you’re translating from English (not so good), but the English is translated from Japanese very literally, so you’re thinking in more of a Japanese mode (better). The format is audio flashcards, so you hear the Japanese-ified English sentence and they give you a pause to come up with the translation before giving you the answer. They have a grammar pdf and a full transcript of every lesson, which is fantastic. Best of all, this site is completely free!

The same people who made that site also released a Japanese reader called Learn to Read in Japanese. This is a reader that focuses on about 600 Kanji, in very short chapters. The format is all about context sentences for the kanji. Each chapter focuses on a subset of those kanji and has about 10-30 sentences using those kanji’s various readings. I picked it up as soon as I learned about it, well worth the $20 IMO.

If you want more resources check out the Japanese section of the Tofugu blog. Since January they’ve been compiling the best Japanese resources they find each month. There’s sure to be something you’re interested in the 5-6 posts they’ve made.

Hope that helps!

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Nothing that comes immediately to mind, but really you just want anything that lets you meet people, as it’s pretty easy to practice basic introduction stuff, but a real conversation requuires you to get to know your conversation partner a little. And of course, once you’re on a less one-off basis with someone, it’s easy enough to arrange a language exchange session that involves speaking. :slight_smile:

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@Gaidheal
I do agree that writing is going “out of fashion” so to speak. But perhaps I am old-fashioned in that the very thought of being helpless when needing to jot down something or communicate with my sensei more clearly by writing out what I am talking about as opposed to sounding it out (yay for homonyms and high context-dependency) makes me very uncomfortable and borders on my feeling like I am somehow “cheating” or a “pretender”. Add to this the fact that writing is helping my recall, and that it going “out of fashion” is really not, in my eyes, a good reason not to do it.
It has always seemed to me that, used or not, writing is a major component of literacy. Further, I read a post on a separate forum which really resonated with me: “I don’t want to be forgiven when I need to jot something down and can’t just because I’m a foreigner.” As I see it, there are too many benefits to writing that I would be hard pressed to ignore.
Nota Bene that whatever is stated in here is an opinion about the importance of writing and more notably, its importance for me. This in no way means that your way of doing things are wrong, just that we have different perspectives and motivations, and I believe that is healthy and to be encouraged.
As @eydemidov said:

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@chrstahl89
Very well received, thank you :slight_smile: - I was planning on putting in a three week pause in WK at some point anyway to better manage the review schedule, so might as well do it now :smiley:

@rodrigowaick
I have premium. The system to gauge difficulty is solid as it is not based on some arbitrary metric but voted on by users/readers. This means that when you see difficulty of 3.1, you know that, on average, learners peg the difficulty to be around “medium” give a 1-5 scale.
New content is added regularly and given how new it is, it seems unlikely to die out soon. Also, the developer is quite active with the website’s community so it’s encouraging. My favorite feature is how it imports your WK Kanji automatically and only gives you Kanji+Furigana for Vocab that contains Kanji you’ve not unlocked yet. Alternatively, you can choose what level of Kanji you know from Joyo, Grades, or Frequency.
For anyone wondering, no, I am not affiliated with Satori Reader in any way beyond being a particularly thrilled user of it :slight_smile:

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As someone taking fairly intensive classes in Japan at the moment, I can say that I spend a decent amount of time learning how to write kanji. It’s true that out of all the kanji skills (vocab, meaning, readings, etc) writing is probably the least important, but I think there’s still value in being able to write at least some. Most Japanese people can easily reproduce over a thousand characters, even if they graduated high school years ago.

I recommend you devote the amount of time you want to the aspects of Japanese you consider important. What do you want to do with your Japanese? Can you see yourself using your writing abilities in the future? Is the time devoted to writing hurting other aspects of your learning?

I think a lot of people on wanikani are more concerned about reading and thus there isn’t much value in learning to write, so it gets easily dismissed. The same thing seems to be the case oftentimes with pronunciation on the forums.

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Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. I’ll certainly look into it more carefully.