What have been your most effective self-study methods?

That’s good to know :sweat_smile: I think I’m just overcorrecting to make sure I match the pitch. So when the pitch goes up I REALLY GO UP and when it goes down I REALLY GO DOWN. It’ll probably even out with time.

years ago when I was learning Mandarin Chinese (which I have since forgotten) my Chinese professor told me I was good at mimicking tones even though most of the time I had no idea what was happening. I pray that power is still with me

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exaggerating isn’t bad. it will level out over time, no big deal. by exaggerating, you really focus on the pitch, and that’s probably exactly what you need at this point in your program. i’d say you’re on the right track :slight_smile:

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Hey, thanks for mentioning Kanji Study! I had been looking for something like this, and I just got the app so I can practice during my commute. This might be a silly question, but how do you import kanji lists from WK? Do I have to use WK on my phone to be able to do that?

@HelixApothecari Great question. I wrote up a little tutorial for this, for you at How to add Wanikani data to Japanese Kanji Study (Android App) - #13 by normful

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Wow, thanks a lot! Just checked it out, and you put a lot of work into that “little” tutorial. I especially appreciate the pictures you added for every step. Now adding those kanji shouldn’t be a problem!

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Shadowing update: I think I hurt my throat yelling 銀行は何時から何時までですか! at my computer today :joy: Something about the repeated で really got me. These are fun! Thanks so much for sharing!

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there’s a line in a song ilike that goes 受け入れられたらそれでいいんじゃないか that took me a while to master, hehe. the inflections can get really bad :slight_smile: but it’s doable. just keep going :wink:

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First of all thanks for the great tips on how to approach the whole thing. I’ve been jumbling around a lot with different things not having gotten a clear path, because there is just an overwhelming amount of information and resources out there that you don’t even know where to go to.

I think I’ll stick with WK for Kanji, Bunpro for grammar repetition and get the Grammar Book you recommended. So that I’ll be able to try for the N5 test this coming summer.
Two questions:

  1. Do you have any recommendations on graded readers? Or just the white rabbit ones? Maybe the one that @normful recommended here: Self-assessing Reading Level
  2. Where to get the Vocab / Kana only words from that are not covered by WK?

Thanks for the great input. I hope that brings me into a straighter line of studying for my goals :slight_smile:

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you can use any kind of graded material. i don’t have a pc right now, so i can’t link, but there’s for example a series called 〜のふしぎ aimed at elementary students, a series イッキによめる, those work, too.
it’s generally easier to find this sort of stuff on japanese amazon, search for 1年生、2年生 and so on.
even books about subjects like biology, history, etc are fine, they only contain kanji for that grade and furigana for all advanced stuff.

that’s probably also the cheapest option.

if you live in japan, go to a BOOK-OFF and ask them for 小学生向けの教科書






At first i used My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) until i was about lvl 30.
By then i had learned verb bases, formal and casual forms for desu and verbs and bunch of other stuff.

i then found Wanikani and the ride has been mostly pleasant.

Lately i found Simeji keyboard that allows me to write in both English and Japanese.
By writing a daily diary/journal i find things sticking better.

Also, if i find certain items i might forget i add them into my custom Ankidroid deck.
Be aware that Anki decks can be quite large and having many can be a plus because sometimes other decks lack some items.

i haven’t learned much about stroke order or kanji writing but when i use Simeji i select the most kanji like option that i can.
Actually i find reading kana words to be more difficult than kanji.
When it comes to grammar i am still at beginner level though once i am exposed to new stuff i tend to learn quickly provided that i am not overloaded by lessons and reviews.

Since i am also offline from time to time i find Takoboto dictionary great though it might lack some example sentences.

i don’t recommend doing speed runs unless one can.
Doing reviews as stressed can be bad imo.
Taking breaks here and there can help.

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I like Simeji for the quick switch between languages, beautiful skins and auto-katakana key but detest the shortcoming of the English system? I don’t know how to term it but it’s unfortunately not as smart (not even close) as Google’s. I switch between both sets.

Thank you for the reply.

Yeah, one thing i don’t like in Simeji is that i cannot disable word prediction just for English.
i mean that if i see a mistake somewhere and want to fix it and forget to press space or select a word, even though the cursor has moved to the right place, Simeji keeps editing the last word.

If one could individually edit language input options then that would be golden.

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Yeah, that’s the main issue I should think. It edits the last typed word :persevere: awesomely backward with English but I’ve gotten accustomed to using it so I keep it despite the occasional annoyance

As for me, I have definitely noticed I don’t remember things as easily as I used to. What helps me the most is constant exposure to the material. I read Genki, I watch the lesson videos on YouTube done by https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjRZpOiz3vjXNqAyjcIGwEw
And I take notes. Then I write out practice sentences and review the Vocab with the genki app. I work through the workbook on my iPad with an apple pen so I can erase as much as I want and keep redoing it. I treat the worksheets as practice and finally as a test the last time. Then I check my answers and correct my work. Also, I “teach” stuff to my husband who humors me and listens to me babble at him. ^_^; heh. That’s my current method anyways. Eventually, I want to read native material, but I’m just not there yet. I’ll get there though!


The biggest things that have helped me so far have been setting not a new year’s resolution, but a resolution that happened to start on the new year since it was conveniently around that time anyway and getting a calendar to visually see which days I have studied by coloring them in with pink highlighter so I can hold myself accountable more easily. Skipping 2-3 days doesn’t feel like much at all, but it really adds up and can easily turn into weeks. Now I have to write down the reason I didn’t study on the blank days. Once I start the studying, I don’t usually have a problem getting 30-60 minutes in that day, but starting it was always the hard part. It’s a bit easier with the visual accountability.


Where do you learn N4 and above grammar from? From “A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners”?

Any thoughts on “An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese”?

Where do you learn N4 and above grammar from? From “A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners”?

Yes. It has practically every possible grammar point you could ever imagine, and every possible little twist on each point as well. All of its example sentences come with English translations and furigana on all kanji (even the most simplest ones).

That book is basically a jam-packed tome of incredibly well-selected example sentences, with a good layout, good cross-references (i.e. it’s easy to find things), natural-sounding English translations, and a concise set of grammatical symbols to represent formations of grammar points and patterns. I think the fact that this gigantic book has been translated into Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai really says something.

I personally think it’s a very underrated book. Most English-speaking Japanese learners on the internet seem to rant and rave about the Dictionary of Basic / Intermediate / Advanced Japanese Grammar books, but never seem to mention A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners at all. With that being said though, I do own copies of D(B/I/A)JG and am systematically working my way through all entries in them too (even if it takes me many years to internalize it all).

Any thoughts on “An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese”?

I have a copy of this book too. Thoughts:

  1. It’s a general-purpose book, not a grammar-specific reference book. In each chapter, it has practice reading passages, vocabulary lists, and a grammar notes section. In other words, it’s more fair to compare this book against Tobira, not a grammar reference book like A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners nor D(B/I/A)JG.
  2. In each grammar note section, roughly 15 grammar points are discussed, usually with around 2 to 5 example sentences for each grammar point.

Here’s a concrete comparison of all of the books above (plus some other ones that you might be considering):

Grammar point: 〜ば〜ほど (the more I do/am X, the more I do/am Y)

  • An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese (page 54):
    • 2 sentences of explanation in English
    • 5 dual-language example sentences
    • limited furigana in example sentences (approximately N5 and N4 kanji do not have furigana; but others do)
  • A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners (page 523):
    • …ば…ほど is found under subentry 24 in a much larger entry about ば
      • 0 explanation sentences in English (I think they chose to omit explanations on this, considering the sheer amount of explanations that come before it, in the broader section on ば)
      • 2 dual-language example sentences
      • furigana on all kanji
    • I think it’s fair to point out that the entire ば entry spans 12 pages and contains the following subentries and sub-subentries:
      • for the entire section on ば, I counted a total of 121 dual language example sentences (including anti-example sentences of what not to do)
      • I counted roughly 100 sentences of accompanying English explanations
      • every single dual language example sentence has furigana on all kanji (this is true throughout the book)
  • Tobira (page 192)
    • 1 sentence explanation in English
    • 5 Japanese-only example sentences (no English translations)
    • limited furigana in the example sentences
  • A Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar (page 6):
    • 6 sentences of explanation in English
    • 9 dual-language example sentences
    • abundant furigana in the example sentences, but not on basic N5 kanji
    • includes comparison with たら and と
    • includes reference to related grammar point: ほど
  • Shin Kanzen Master N3 Grammar (page 19):
    • 1 explanation sentence in English
    • 5 Japanese-only example sentences (no English translations)
    • furigana on all kanji
  • Nihongo So-Matome N3 Grammar (page 66):
    • 0 explanation sentences in English
    • 2 dual-language example sentences
    • furigana on all kanji

Summary of thoughts

A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners is the superior grammar handbook.

I have yet to find a book as thorough as it is, and as helpful as it is, in terms of grammar reference books. Since the example sentences are realistic, it means that the vocabulary included in all examples are NOT limited to a particular JLPT level. They’re as varied as the natural language itself. But because furigana is included in ALL kanji, if you encounter a word with kanji you don’t know, you can still physically read the sentence out loud (and perhaps learn some new vocabulary, in context, even if it’s just the hiragana version of it in your brain). I find reading realistic sentences that use vocabulary a native speaker would use, to be far more helpful than reading a contrived example sentence with artificially simplified vocabulary that included only for the sake of keeping the vocabulary within the limits of a lower JLPT level.

I am fully invested in this book, and am slowly making my way through all of its entries, in whatever order I find to be most useful to me at a given point in time (i.e. not reading it literally from start to finish). Up until this point, I have been using the Kanzen Master N4 and N3 grammar books (and my curiosity / awareness of what I don’t understand yet) as a rough guide for pointing me towards the next grammar entry to read through in A Handbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners.

An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese is nice if you want a well-balanced approach (i.e. if you want some reading practice). But Tobira also covers the same approximate content with the same approximate layout. I think there are many other comparisons of Tobira versus An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese on the internet, so I’ll defer that comparison to other people who have read more of both books than me. I personally have chosen to work through Tobira and will probably only read bits and pieces of An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese, if at all.


I’m that person who is really into the study part :laughing:
The upside is my Japanese comprehension has skyrocketed! The downside is I still struggle to have anything but basic conversations in my day to day life here in Japan.

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