Technique for reading Japanese?

Let’s talk a little about HOW to read Japanese?

When you get a new Japanese book or manga, how do you start? Do you skim and look up vocab first and then read it again, do you read it sentence by sentence and look up words as you go, do you make an Anki deck, do you write down vocab in a note book while you read, what do you do?

I’m in the process of trying different things now. One technique I really like is to first listen to the book on audio book and try to read along and see how much I understand. Then I read it again from the book looking up words as I go, and then I listen to the audio book and read along again. I find that I understand so much more the second time.

I also love to read the books that have been covered by the book clubs here. Being able to look up all the words in the vocab lists and looking at the questions that others have asked is so helpful!

If there’s no audio book and no book club I read the sentences one by one and try to understand as much as I can, looking up words as I go. I don’t make any Anki decks as I read. I have more than enough flash cards from other studies. If the words from the book are common then I’ll learn them from exposure and if they are uncommon there’s no point in cramming them anyway.


I don’t have any audiobooks, but when I was reading graded readers I tried to listen to them as well as read them, as much as possible. I can’t quite remember my ordering, but I think I did something similar, where I would listen both before and after reading the text.

Same. I have gotten much better at reading ahead a little if I don’t understand something though, as this often sheds light on earlier parts of confusion.

I do use FloFlo, but I’m very particular about which words I bother to learn. My experience has been that if I don’t study a word separately, I might have to look it up thirty times before it even starts to lodge itself in my brain :sweat_smile:

FloFlo helps me know which words are worth learning from a frequency point of view, and I have various other criteria as well. When I’m actively reading a book with the club here, I’m probably adding between five and twenty words a week.

Edit: I should say I only bother with flashcards for actual books, not manga. And if the book isn’t on FloFlo, well then, I guess fate doesn’t want me to bother then either. I also don’t have any other SRS apart from WaniKani - this was the one other I chose to retain for now. If I was using something else, that would be my limit, so I wouldn’t do it at all.


I do this :slight_smile:

  1. Read through guessing words I don’t know/admiring pictures.
  2. Read through again, looking up words/grammar I don’t understand.
  3. If it’s a bookclub, read following bookclub posts (depending on the posts).

I should probably start collecting words in an Anki deck but this…