Using Time Efficiently

how is the rosetta stone going


You stop that right now. :joy:

I can’t stop laughing :rofl:.


One place you can find them are here, here, and here respectively. I don’t have any meaningful experience with apple products, but with bookwalker you can click the book cover for a preview that opens in the browser app, so you can see if that’s acceptable for your needs that way. If you’ll be reading in a place with a steady internet connection, and don’t have issues with the browser app, then bookwalker doesn’t require installing anything special.

I found the sign-up easy and have never had any issues like needing a Japanese address or credit card or anything like that (I think I remember maybe having to enter some information in half-width alphanumeric, but otherwise super convenient and easy), so I’d definitely recommend it as a surprisingly easy way to get an extremely large amount of Japanese ebooks. You also might be interested in the Freebies thread where information about periodically free manga gets posted (I’ve seen the first few volumes of Parasyte go free-to-keep a few times this year so it might be a semi-regular occurance).

(there’s other, similarly easy alternatives out there, like Booklive, but as far I’ve seen the differences between them are pretty minor.)


It looks like some other people have given some recommendations for ereader material -
I don’t actually do a lot of reading online, but I know that is one place you can
set up an account and buy manga. There are also tutorials online about how to sign up for an account,
since it’s all in Japanese.

My reading experience has been this:

  1. I bought the ASK Publishing graded readers. にほんご よむよむ文庫 Japanese Graded Readers Home – アスク出版 日本語教材

These books are some of the best learning tools I have found. You might check to see if your library has any of them, if you don’t want to buy them. There are also digital versions available.

The books start at an N5 or even easier level and get progressively more difficult, in terms of grammar and sentence structure.

  1. I found some easier books to read, like the Japanese translation of “Charlotte’s Web” -
    CDJapan : Sha Lot No Okurimono / Hara Title : Charlotte's Web E. B. White / Saku Ga Su Oui Rear Muzu / E Sakuma Yumiko / Yaku BOOK

  2. I have continued to read easier books and I also read some manga, which I buy on ebay or
    at - I mostly read physical books instead of ebooks.

I think manga can actually be hardest to read, depending on the genre and reading level. A children’s book that has fairly simple sentences can be a good place to start.

But, if you have already read a manga in English, try finding the Japanese
version online or for sale on ebay. If you already know the plot, you can just read
for pleasure and skip words you don’t know or look things up selectively.

Hope that helps!


I would also want to add Satori Reader, it’s great for this purpose. I already wrote what I like about it on another thread so I’m just going to paste it here.

  1. Suitable for beginners to advanced level. There are quite a lot of content in Satori Reader, ranging from fantasy, thriller, mystery, even real-life content like news and interview (some of it are made up, though the content itself is close to real news)
  2. Translation. Every chapter and sentence has a translation. They often add extra grammar explanations on tricky and complex sentences or obscure references that only Japanese people know.
  3. Customizable. You can choose to show furigana on a kanji that you don’t know and hide furigana from kanji that you already know. You can add your own kanji list or connect it through wanikani API to match your wk level.
  4. Audio. Every chapter has audio. The narrator is a native Japanese speaker, so you can practice listening skills too.
  5. Bite-sized. Every chapter is quite short, so it’s perfect for busy people, or if you like to do repetition like me.

You could try it for free, though it’s limited only to the first two chapters for every series.

It’s available on Android, iPhone, and you can open it via browser if you are on a computer.


I also second this recommendation for the ASK Publishing readers, although they can be quite expensive to buy new. If you’re in contact with other Japanese learners in your community (or here on Wanikani) it might be worth seeing if anyone has a set they’ve outgrown that they’d be willing to part with. @Stillman777, if you don’t mind me asking, have you seen this particular brand of readers for sale in digital? I’d love to know more.

PIBO’s not bad for this either - you’ll need to manually look out for older kids’ books though unless you’re a subscriber I believe.

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It seems like the digital versions have been taken off the App Store - some are available, but the pictures don’t match up with the books I am familiar with:

I think tahubulat’s recommendation of Satori Reader is a great alternative. I agree that the ASK books are expensive. Then again, the amount of value I’ve gotten out of them makes them the best investment I have made in learning to read!

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Ah, it looks like these are the readers by White Rabbit! I have come across these, but they somehow didn’t grab me quite as well as the ones that NPO puts out for ASK. Thank you for looking though. :slight_smile:

edit: I just noticed something quite odd. The OMGJapan page for the NPO readers has a link to audio samples… which are hosted on the White Rabbit Press soundcloud! So perhaps they are the same company under the hood.

I would definitely second (or quadruple at this point) reading + Anki & Yomichan, but also pay some attention to what you put into your Anki decks. From your immersion studies you should have a feel for which words are more common or more modern than others so super archaic words are probably not worth it if staying efficient is the goal. No 里心s :joy: .

You mentioned watching plenty of shows in Japanese, but you didn’t mention what you got out of it or intended to :slight_smile: . Were you after just general listening practice / immersion or more interesting vocab?

Definitely 100% this.

People already suggested Bookwalker and Amazon JP. There is also this online bookstore called Verasia: which does deliveries within Europe.
I got my grammar books from there, but they also do manga and light novels.

If you want to be able to study sentences word by word, regular books might be better suited. I get mine at Aozora Bunko:
Many of the books are old (like old kanji orthography old), but some modern enough that you can get pretty far with them. Here’s the main thread on WaniKani forums with a link to a spreadsheet with a list of Aozora books sorted by WaniKani level: Here, Have a List of Aozora Books by WK Level

I occasionally write there about the books/stories I’ve read so far.


Rosetta Stone? huh? Yeah I did that back at the beginning of the year. Took me about six weeks to finish the full program. Because of the way Rosetta Stone works it’s not really that great for Japanese. I wouldn’t recommend it…unlesss… you can hack the code and overwrite the text to include Kanji without furigana.

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Oh, I’d listen and try to type out what they were saying whenever it was something I felt I’d use in a real life conversation which happend a lot so a twenty minute episode may end up taking me an hour to get through. Then I’d pull up the subtitles and compare finding I had a much more simplistic version of what they said by utilizing more kanji than the subtitles which was neat. Then I’d fuss around with the dialogue and try to think up other scenarios where I may say that or a phrase similiar to that. what I enjoyed the most was seeing all the different ways a phrase would be used during the span of an entire season. Take…一緒に for instance…on the show Eraser: 僕だけがいない街

Now come on and let’s eat

Let’s work hard together!

Let’s go together.

This time…we should make it together.

It felt like a drinking game everytime I caught then using that phrase. But there were specific moments in each show where a speech was giving that was particularly moving and I really wish I didn’t have to painfully sit there and listen to track after track over and over to try to capture it because there actually weren’t japanese subtitles to be had! Parasyte: 寄生獣

I had very little experience listening before, but watching all those shows really pointed out how I need to be reading, not listening if I want to make the kind of strides I am hoping for. Then I can start up an Anki deck and go to town with all my new phrases and vocabulary.


Apologies, it took me a while to clock which show that is. I think the English manga/anime title was “Erased”, which still doesn’t align with the Japanese title so I’m always confused :smiley: .

That sounds like a really good approach, honestly! Whenever I read a book or text, I usually read it aloud and also work through each sentence slowly to make sure I “feel” the nuance of it.

Ah, definitely! Yes, it does sound like reading would be good practice. That’s how I learned most of my English so I think it’s a good general approach.

Also, what I haven’t done myself, but might be an interesting exercise is to put Post-its around your flat with sentences or labels, like 冷蔵庫 on your fridge, or 果物 next to the place where you keep fruits and something like 腐ったものを捨ててください. To kind of build out your physical Japanese space :smiley: .

If efficiency is what you are after, then the best approach like many have suggested is to go for immersion + Anki mining. Although, I would add a few extra pointers that I found worked really well for me :slight_smile:

First would be to mine sentences, rather than just words. This is a completely different approach than the WK one, and I find that rereading sentences in which a new word appeared not only strengthens the meaning of the word, but you also get to see other known words in the same sentence, you are continuously exposed to various grammar points, etc. Bonus points if there’s also an audio clip of the sentence. I personally reread each sentence when reviewing my flashcards, and it does wonders for retention imo. ( Sentence Cards vs Vocab Cards: In-Depth Comparison - YouTube - video from Matt vs Japan on the topic of sentence vs vocab cards )

Next, for reading, and even listening, I would recommend you try - . It’s a website that offers prebuilt decks along with srs for different shows, books, games, and even youtube videos. The best feature imo is the fact most items have a difficulty rating along with a word count known %. This makes finding what to read/watch next a breeze. There is some setup you must do once you register on the website… mostly setting your WK level, checking some boxes for blacklisting words, and importing your own known words ( if you have some anki decks available ). Afterwords, you the known percentage should be fairly close to know many words you’d know on average.

For example, I’m reading Steins Gate right now, and it looks like this on the website ( with my anki decks added, and marking read VNs, and LNs as known ) -

When reading, I’ve personally found that a combination between extensive and intensive reading works the best. I don’t bother too much with fully understanding a sentence, but I do look up unknown words, and reread the sentence if I feel like I need to. But I personally value reading more than understanding everything. Most research states that combining both intensive and extensive reading is a good approach to studying a language ( ). I also remember someone saying in a study that reading extensively 10 books is equivalent to spending a year in that country, whose language you’re studying. Might be remembering that completely wrong tho :slight_smile:

Also if you like gamification, and a better UI for your Anki, at the cost of paying a monthly subscription, I personally use instead of Anki. Has exp points, leveling up, and a nice graph with upcoming reviews.

Edit - Since people where talking above about Ebooks, and since I’ve spent way too much time researching this, there’s a few pointers I can give about this as well. Most people recommend buying digital books from Amazon or Kobo, since you can download them locally ( for Amazon you need the Kindle desktop app ). Then you can use Calibre + a DeDRM extenstion to convert them to epub and get rid of the pesky DRM on the book you paid for. Then you can just use a web reader like -

I would avoid Bookwalker since you can’t highlight text there for Yomichan, and you can’t download the books to remove the drm. You’d need an OCR software to recognize the text and then copy it to clipboard. Too much of a headache imo, since the prices are the same anyway.


I don’t have any experience with Safarikai, only Yomichan which I do use on my Mac. The main benefit of Yomichan is that it automates the card creation process which can be extremely time consuming.

For your pictures, you can use the search feature of Yomichan to look up the new word and then type the context sentence into anki manually. I used to do this often, and while it is faster than doing it manually, it took nearly as much time as the reading itself. I’d suggest working through your backlog and then transitioning to a more automated setup.

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Does this work with Yomichan? I’ve been staying away from ereaders precisely because you can’t highlight text like you said.

Yep, if you have an epub of the book you want to read you can use the ereader web app I linked, and it works quite well :slight_smile:

I’d say that getting the DRM off your books is the most complicated process. But even that isn’t too hard once you get used to it. For Amazon Kindle Books at least, the desktop app ( I’m going to guess both Windows and Mac ) saves the book as a .azw file. With Calibre ( think it’s available for all OS ) and the DeDRM extension which you have to download separately and add to calibre you can remove the DRM and convert the book to epub.

You do need to have the Kindle app installed beforehand since DeDRM needs to grab a key that’s linked to your account to remove the DRM.


I think we are talking about the same books. These are the ones I use (scroll down):

I agree that the White Rabbit connection is confusing - I think they are just a distributor? Not sure.

Yeah this is what I use personally.

I don’t use sentence cards though, and I don’t think Matt is an authority on card types since he makes it very clear that he has only ever used one card type himself. I use vocab cards and prefer it.

Yeah, it’s best to use what works for you :slight_smile: , rather then what someone says online. As far as I know there’s no study regarding this.

Personally, found sentence cards to work better in terms of retention for me. Linked Matt’s video since it found it interesting, since he outlines both approaches’ pros and cons as he sees them.

Honestly I don’t really buy into the whole working best for you thing in a lot of cases, and I think there’s probably one option that’s better across the board when it comes down to it. It’s just that I don’t think we have much research right now to say what it is, and it’s clear people can get to high levels using either one based off of what we’ve seen. So it’s more like, just pick one, doesn’t matter. Or do both.