Earwen's Japanese study log (with a side of German)

Starting one as I really enjoy reading these, as well as because I tend to annoy my friends with needlessly long updates about my studies that are probably better served here.
Tried to keep it relatively short…not sure if this coun’ts as a success

Japanese
Japanese Background

I’ve been studying on and off since I was a child, but I started taking it semi-seriously in 2019. I went through various courses and study programs, some that did help me learn, many that didn’t. Somehow managed to read one novel and some manga while looking up everything. During this time I took long breaks, or did minimal work that in hindsight didn’t actually help.

Last year there was a change in my life that isn’t directly relevant but resulted in me focusing more on Japanese to get my mind off things. So starting 2024 I have been taking things much more seriously.

tl;dr: studied on and off for years taking it more seriously since the start of 2024

Current status

Kanji/vocabulary was and is my biggest roadblock, I can’t really list them seperately as I can’t seem to memorize vocab if I’m not familiar with Knaji. After many other methods I’ve been using a modified wanikani deck on anki, and this has been the only thing that really helped with it. Right now I’m at level 20. For vocab I do vocab mining from stuff I read.

I don’t actively study grammar anymore, though I’m working my way through cure dollys videos, the latter ones are less grammar and more…concept? vocab? They’re still helpful though. In general I love her course. I used to do grammar flashcards in renshuu, but I feel I get enough exposure to them when reading anyway.

And as for reading, I’m doing intensive reading with Satori reader, and more extensive with manga. I set a rule for myself to only read/watch anime and manga in japanese, but I don’t watch much anime if it isn’t with somebody else (who would most likely use english subs or not understand) so I’m not sure how big of a limit that is lol

In short current study schedule looks like this
Everyday for sure: Kanji Anki reviews
Everyday but less strict: reading on satori reader
whenever I feel like it: anime or manga (more often manga), some cure dolly videos or similiar channels. this tier is more entertainment than serious study really
???: mined vocab cards both from random things i read and satori reader. I used to do this daily but I’m thinking of dropping it entirely until I’m done with my wanikani deck. I keep picking it back up though, I’m not sure what I’ll decide on.

aand

German

Short version is: learned as a very young child but am now very out of practice. I still can understand pretty much everything but output is much harder. I probably should just bite the bullet and practice some form of output but you know, let’s change change the topic instead.

so “study” schedule is (looser than japanese)

everyday: anki noun gender deck, read or listen to SOME sort of german
weekdays: put up german videos/podcast as background noise during work. I realized I basically always have something on, so I might as well give myself a german-only limit there. I am struggling to find very engaging content but I’m not suppoed to give 100% attention to it anyway.
few times a week: grammar study. i tend to “intuit” grammar, but a significant amount of times my intuition is wrong in output lol. So I accepted I have to properly teach myself some grammar.

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My (annoying) suggestion to this is to add more listening (and ideally listening without subs/text) at your level or slightly above. I’ve found this to be really helpful, in all my languages really, but especially with Japanese where the kanji is a bit of a crutch for the meanings.

This is a good point… I always considered my listening skills good enough, but I’m definitely not doing much of it, I don’t even watch anime much. However my “listening time” is more allotted to german right now. Sometimes I relisten to satori reader stories without text, but that’s the only listening-focused thing I do, and it’s not consistent. Honestly it really feels like there are not enough hours in the day to be focusing at two languages at once (and work and have other human beings in your life…maybe even other hobbies? one can dream), even when they’re at completely different levels :smiling_face_with_tear: :smiling_face_with_tear: :smiling_face_with_tear: I will see where I can make time

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Really unproductive week for me in general, even besides languages… well I still did a bunch of stuff, it just didn’t feel like it helped much.

jp

on level 21 of wanikani, i use a anki deck, and it’s actually quite a bit modified. Which normally allows me to go through it quicker (for example, I only have a single card for vocab instead of reading and meaning seperately). However something about this level just won’t stick to my brain. I will take a few extra days for it at least.

I didn’t read much this week, ignored satori reader completely. I read a bit of a light novel and some manga… All in all, not great

de

for the first time since I started there was a day where I didn’t finish my gender reviews, lol. Probably because I was so frustrated with jp. I even quit mined reviews entirely to not spend so much time on anki, so maybe it’s just bad luck. The other days I did finish them though. There are definitely some leeches, and some are whatever while others are very basic works.
Other than that, I did both my personal reading and for the childrens book club, as well as some listening practice. Youtube actually started reccing me things that halfway align with my interest in German shockingly enough…I also made reddit dash completely in german so when I decide to mindless browse through social media I can at least do it in german

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I ended up following this advice without really trying. I randomly decided I want to watch doremi and I couldn’t find jp subs for it. First I tried ai generated subs, which were fine, but it seemed like a chore to generate them for each ep. So I watched the next ep without it, and to my surprise it’s actually pretty comprehensible. I had to relisten to some parts twice, and check the english once or twice (though, this didn’t help much as the subs seem to be not word for word accurate …) but overall fairly comprehensible. Let’s see if this helps any. And even if not it feels kinda nice to watch a show with relative ease.

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Yay, I’m glad you found a sweet spot show! I’m trying to be less and less bothered by things I don’t get as long as I’m enjoying the overall experience.

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When you output, do you notice your mistakes and are you usually able to correct them right away? Because if yes, then it could just be that you’re out of practice like you said. If you reached a high level of speaking/writing, I don’t see why you couldn’t just recover it by just getting your mind used to the language again. That’s been my experience with getting back into speaking Spanish at least.

Obviously it all depends on what level you were at your highest. But even then, grammar isn’t everything, and knowing advanced grammar doesn’t mean language learners won’t make mistakes on basic things. Imho it’s more a matter of specifically practicing output.

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Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I think the issue is, When I reached a high level of speaking, I was a child so a lot of the subtler rules didn’t stick once I stopped using it. I don’t have issues where I completely butcher a sentence or use words completely wrong. My biggest grammar-problem is the cases, and they are related to noun genders, which generally boils down to the error being a difference of 2-3 letters. So first, I need to start being more sure of the genders of the nouns I am trying to talk about (which is why I am doing the anki deck), but even when I do know the gender of the noun putting it in the right case can still confuse me especially when it’s the similar sound den/dem.

Also: unexpected Oosaka shaped road block in Doremi: kansai-ben speaking character appeared! I had to listen to everything she said a few times and check english subs. I hope I get used to her speaking quick.

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new week. kind of more of the same as last

jp

Finally started level 22 kanji after struggling through 21. Since I saw others complaining about that level in wk forums, I really hope I will get back to my previous pace now.

Anime: watching doremi without subs and conan with. My comprehension for doremi for the most part is fairly high but when Aiko starts talking it drops down to 20% maybe lol…Conan also has a kansai-ben character who is much more understandable.

Manga: nothing much? sort of deciding what to read next since I feel a bit burnt out on the series I’m reading right now and want to try something different. I’ve just been feeling lazy and not running potential stuff through mokuro and therefore not reading. I’m not a big manga reader in general, and I don’t think it’s the most helpful to learn, so this is whatever.

reading: I should probably focus more on this beyond manga. Being able to read novels (and visual novels) is my main goal. I need to build up more reading stamina in japanese, but I find it hard to stick to anything. I either feel “I like this, I should save trying to read it to when I enjoy it more” or “this is easy enough to understand, but I don’t feel particularly motivated to continue”. Maybe I should finish up the advanced level stories on satori reader first since I already paid for it…they’re not terribly interesting though.

de

just gender reviews. Didn’t even read the beginner book club chapters which would probably take 20 minutes. I’ll put up some german video now and return to work.

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new week. better in some ways but worse in others? Overall I feel better about it though

jp

wk level 22 was so much better than 21. It’s a huge relief
I haven’t done much reading or anything else but just the kanji stuff going better has been a huge relief.
I probably won’t have time to do more reading this week either. Starting next week I’ll be away from my normal setup for an indefinite amount of time. So I’ve been running some manga through mokuro as preparation.
I don’t feel too much from manga though… I mentioned before I should do more ‘regular’ reading. I think I will set a goal to myself to finish the remaining satori reader stories during my time away.
I asked for some kansai-ben recs in other threads, and I want to check them out as well. Not understanding one character in doremi is kind of discouraging, and without subs I don’t feel like I’m making much progress getting better at it. So I’ll try to focus on that as well

de

Gender reviews as usual. Noticing some really persistent leeches. But I should be done with new cards in 2 months, so I think I’ll just focus on any remaining leeches afterwards. Going through the deck takes like 15 mins a day so it’s not a huge deal.
I’ve done a decent amount of reading of a relatively hard book, I want to finish it before I leave. Which seems doable I only have 3 chapters left. After that I’ll read the next earthsea book in german I think.

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You may want to also just pick up some “learn Kansai” stuff. I found this book pretty decent: Colloquial Kansai Japanese―まいど! おおきに! 関西弁 (Tuttle language library) | L15

Edit: tho it definitely has some typos here and there - but nothing breaking.

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mostly a decent week for japanese! Not so much for German , I really need to buil a consistent reading habbit in German…

jp

Level 23 in wanikani deck but I am hitting 200 reviews again. 200 isn’t so bad but if it becomes the new normal before I know it I will be seeing 300 too. I like leveling up once per week and seperating weekdays neatly into vocab kanji etc but perhaps not the most sustainable way. Leveing up once 10 days or so seems like a more natural pacing for me. for now I’m not adding new cards until My reviews are around 150.

Reading

For my goal of finishing up Satori reader I am doing reasonably. I finished the first Fujiki story and now am going through Okku Nikkou. The latter I had a lot of trouble with before and put down multiple times. I think the descriptions of scenery scared me before :sweat_smile: Anyway, it’s going alright now, though I’d like to go even faster since the point is to increase reading speed.

For manga, I finished Ottouto no Otto, which was a pretty comfortable level. I didn’t love the manga but it was alright. I might write a review later. I started chainsaw man and that definitely feels more challenging, but not overly so.

For Kansai-ben I didn’t actually do anything. I looked through some online lessons but I really need practice. I’m already reading a couple of other manga so I don’t want to start anything new, and I don’t have the time to sit down and watch an anime lately. We’ll see.

de

Gender reviews as usual. I noticed once I make one error 10 more follow one after another. Maybe I should take breaks more, there seems to be a psychological aspect. Though since it takes around 15-20 mins max it feels odd to take breaks.
I read a little of Die Kleine Hexe, and like one page of the 3rd Erdsee book but that really isn’t enough. Which reminds me I should check the books in the krimi club and vote, if it’s even open still!

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