Suggestions on how to progress with study

Hey there,
I thought about writing how my journey’s going and hear if someone has any kind of advice, since I’m fronting sone first minor problems :pray:

I’m at the beginning of level 3 now, I decided that before doing radicals and kanji of a level I’ll go over all the vocabs available.
I’m doing 10 lessons every morning (5 if hard to remember) and I’m also studying the Genki book. I know that it’s suggested to just go thru the book and meanwhile study the vocabs of each section, but I found myself uncomfortable with studying this way and decided to first go over all the vocab and then study the grammar points - so I also do around 5-10 vocabs from the Genki book every day. But this way, the grammar study proceeds a bit too slow, maybe.
I also use kitsun for reverse wanikani and genki’s vocabs.

Lately I realized that things are sticking less and less in my memory, and the more I go forward the more I forget things. I guess it’s normal tho since the elements learned are piling up, and anyway it feels manageable for now but I’m a bit worried about what’ll happen when I will really have tons and tons of reviews to do, a lot more complicate kanjis to learn, and due to work I will have less chances to practice it thru the day (not working atm and have much free time but I got hired lol).
I’m also having a problem with the readings. I’m learning every reading that WK proposes me but I totally forget which is kun and which is on and therefore struggle when I have to read them because I don’t know which reading I should use. I’m also thinking about indexing somehow/somewhere all the kanjis and vocabs I learn, this usually helps me memorize better the things. Does anyone have an idea about this?
Also - I’m looking for an app or website that allows me to create a database where I manually add every term I studied and makes me test them randomly.
Looking for suggestions :pray:

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Do you mean Anki?

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Hey, thanks for the reply, I’m not sure anki is what I’m looking for. I don’t really know it but isn’t it based on SRS like kitsun? Because I need an app to test EVERYTHING in random order when I want to

If you’re looking for a flashcard app that isn’t SRS, Quizlet’s pretty good

So does this mean you’re learning the vocab in isolation? This might be making it more difficult to remember words since you’re essentially memorizing a big list of items with no context behind them. It may be helpful to start studying a bit of grammar (even if it’s just a little bit). This way, you can see how words are used in sentences, and you can start forming these associations in your mind and practicing using the words you’re having trouble remembering. Hope this makes sense

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Personally I find that doing the radicals and the kanji actually helps me remember the vocabulary (along with the mnemonic) which for me is my biggest reason for using WaniKani. In my opinion, for us newbies or close to newbies, radicals are lifesavers and I believe that WaniKani has designed a great system for us (except when random vocabulary comes up).

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Hey there, thank you for your suggestion, I downloaded the app and will try to see if it’s for my case :ok_hand:

Exactly, but luckily it’s easy stuff so I’m not finding problems with it. I guess it’d be more difficult to memorize vocabs while seeing them in a text, at least for me… the inly problem with this approach is that It takes a week to just go thru the vocabs of a section and learn them for well (50~) and only then, I can approach the reading and grammar points.

This makes sense, actually it’s what I’m already doing since I’m also studying a bit of grammar from youtube vids dan’t don’t use many vocabs. But this way I feel that the grammar points I learn are a bit ‘lost in the air’ if you get what I mean. Genki coupled with vocab study gives me a solid base to work on.
Thank you for your suggestion :pray:

I definitely agree with you, in fact the only vocabs I learn as soon as I unlock a new level, are the ones that don’t use any radical/kanji that I haven’t studied yet.
Thank you for your suggestion :ok_hand:

I’m using Minna no Nihongo, not Genki, so my experience is probably a little different, but personally I’ve spent the whole book so far (I’m on lesson 30 out of 50) pre-learning the vocab before each chapter, and it has absolutely been the right decision.

MNN is entirely in Japanese, so if I go into a new lesson with the vocab already learned, the only thing I have to worry about when reading it is applying the new grammar. It often introduces 40-50 new words each lesson, which takes me generally a week to get through (I do 20 new Anki cards a day, so 10 new words with both recollection and recall cards). Each lesson ends up taking me a little less than two weeks generally. I’ve found that I can cut the time down slightly if I start learning the next chapter’s vocab while doing the exercises for the previous one, but it’s a lot of SRS, and I don’t always have the stamina to push myself like that.

Personally, I’m happy with this pace. I think if you keep doing Genki at this speed, you’ll be going slower than some other people, but you’ll also be absorbing a lot more vocab, and vocab is the real grind with language learning, and it’s the part that can’t really be rushed. You’ll probably reach the point where I did where the beginning is kind of slow, but then suddenly all of your kanji, grammar, and vocab knowledge clicks together, and you realize that you can actually read a lot of stuff without too much effort.

At least with MNN, what I like about this method is that I’m not learning words in a vacuum at all. Initially, yes, when going through the Anki cards, they are in a vacuum, but I immediately apply the knowledge by reading them and using them in context in the textbook. It feels like I’m learning them way more thoroughly this way. The MNN vocab is vocab that I actually feel comfortable using in writing and in speech because I feel like I actually have a sense of how it is actually used, whereas with WK vocab and even the stuff I’ve mined from native materials, I’m hazier on it.

I understand your anxiety that things aren’t sticking, but I would try keeping at it for a little longer, because for a lot of this stuff, the more knowledge you have already, the more of a framework there is for new knowledge to build on. Especially with the on’yomi and kun’yomi readings. I started out feeling very lost and overwhelmed, but once I learned enough kanji, I just automatically gained a feel for it, and now I have no trouble remembering.

If you haven’t already installed it, I highly recommend downloading the Keisei semantic-phonetic composition script. That script helps me a lot with the on’yomi readings, though it’s less helpful at the beginning, haha.

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Hey, thank you for your answer and suggestions,

The Genki book adds around 40-50 vocabs per lesson too

In fact I’m finding myself pretty good at this rythm, when I go thru the lesson all the words and expressions I learned come together and make sense. The only thing is that this way, between the active study of two grammar lessons with their exercises, there is an empty week of just vocabs memorization and zero grammar.

Looking forward to that moment! How long into the study were you before it happened?

Same, the genki book is really well made and I feel that the terms I’m learning are very useful - not that I have the skills to express a valid opinion on the book

I will take your suggestion :ok_hand:

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Quite a while, unfortunately, haha :sweat_smile:. I think it was around a year in. I started noticing it around when I had just about reached the halfway point on WK, and had finished MNN 1. I’d also SRS’d a few hundred additional vocab from native media at that point. I realized that I could actually browse twitter on my phone without Yomichan or dictionary look-ups and could actually read parts of a lot of tweets. It was a combination of my kanji knowledge getting good enough, plus having SRS’d more specific vocab to the topic (pro wrestling), as well as having a foundation of basic textbook grammar and some common vocab. All of that adds up and results in fewer unknowns per sentence, which makes it way easier to read.

Oh, I did get to a point where I could read NHK News Easy sooner than that! I think that became doable for me before I’d even finished MNN 1. There are still some vocab words I don’t know in those articles, but usually only a few, and the grammar is very easy for me. But I’ve barely spent my time with easier materials, haha, so most of my experience has been with trying to read native media that’s way, way above my level :sweat_smile:. But it’s just getting easier and easier every month.

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Your experience is very interesting, thank you for having shared it :ok_hand: I’m probably starting from a weaker base than yours (that is literally zero knowledge of japanese) but I hope I’ll be able to approach the simplest reading resources in some months from now

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My base was pretty weak, too, haha. I also started pretty much from zero. But I do have the advantage of spending a lot of time listening to unsubtitled Japanese media and seeing Japanese tweets on my twitter feed, so I get daily opportunities for reading/listening practice, and I mostly just passively try to understand what I can. It’s nice for seeing your progress over time, and it helps make actual deliberate reading less intimidating :blush:.

Once you do get a little further in, I recommend joining the absolute beginners book club here! The club provides vocab lists and also has more experienced people who can help with grammar questions, so if you get lost or stuck, you’ll have resources to help you. It makes native media so much more approachable. There is also Satori Reader, which can be a good starting point for reading.

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I look forward to this. Every time I look at that site I’m still all…???

Though I did understand the main idea behind some other simple reader, even if I couldn’t make out all the words.

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