Suji's Slow Journey! A 🐌 Study Log

I’ll second mention of Cure Dolly’s videos. If you make time for one video per day (usually 10 to 15 minutes) from her Japanese from Scratch playlist, you’ll have a massive grammar base in a month and a half.

Two weeks of squeezing in one video per day is all you need to be ready to start “reading” manga.

Note my use of quotes there. It won’t feel like reading so early. If your vocabulary is small, you won’t know nearly enough words to get through more than a page a day.

Until you learn enough basic grammar and a lot of basic vocabulary, any manga reading you do will be what’s known as “intensive reading”. You’ll encounter words you don’t know, so you’ll need to look them up. You’ll encounter grammar you won’t know, so you’ll need to look it up.

If you prefer to learned a lot of grammar and vocabulary before you start reading manga, you can check out graded readers first. These are extremely simple stories geared toward beginning learners.

Once you’re ready to start reading short books and manga at an absolute beginner level, check out the Absolute Beginner Book Club. We pick fairly easy books and manga to read through slowly. We compile spreadsheets of vocabulary (making lookup easier while reading), and discuss grammar and what’s going on in the story.

I know what it’s like buying manga that you’re not able to read yet. I bought Sailormoon manga in the mid 1990’s. They adorned my shelves for over 20 years without being read, as I made no substantial progress after two years of high school Japanese class.

In the past decade, I wasted a few years learning and forgetting vocabulary words. Then in 2018, I became serious about learning grammar instead, and I focused heavily on that for two years. Finally, in 2020, I was ready to read through the Sailormoon manga. Today I’m 51 chapters in, with only 8 more chapters to go.

With the free resources available today, you can measure your progress in years, rather than decades. Good luck!