Luna's Learning Log

2023年8月30日 (Aug 8, 2023)

I’ve been thinking about starting one of these for a while. No idea why that became now, but here goes!

紹介と目的 Background and Goals

Like many others, I was into anime and manga as a kid, and took an (adult) intro Japanese class back in high school. I didn’t do anything else with it until almost 2 years ago, when a friend mentioned they had started learning, and I decided to do so as well. My goals have always been (in order): reading comprehension, audio comprehension, speaking & digital writing, physical writing (an afterthought). My main interests are: light novels, video games (JRPGs and VNs), anime, manga, history (not something I’ve delved into much). Someday I’d like to be able to read something like Fate/Stay Night comfortably!

道具 Tools & resources that worked for me

I dabbled in a bunch of things, and eventually discovered that the following worked for me:

漢字と単語 (Kanji & Vocab):

  • WaniKani
  • Learning songs (highly, highly recommend)

文法 (Grammar):

  • LingoDeer
  • Cure Dolly
  • Miku Real Japanese shadowing course
  • (good deep dive)

読力 (Reading Comprehension):

  • Satori Reader (bridged the gap to native material)
  • Crystal Hunters manga (make this your first manga! They have free teaching guides for it!)


  • Anki (great for songs or with subs2srs, I never stuck with it for too long though)
  • (use their pre-made for whatever media you’re consuming)
メディア Media choices

Early on:

A bit later:

  • Satori Reader stories
  • Crystal Hunters
  • 百合漫画 (yuri manga), 日常漫画 (slice of life manga), ラブコメ漫画 (romantic comedy manga)
  • ファンタジー漫画 (fantasy manga, above my level for a while)


  • Everything in previous section, minus Satori
  • Added ライトノベル (light novels) back in (I’ve finished 10 so far)
  • ビジュアルノベル (Visual novels - easy ones, but also Fate/Stay Night, which I gave up on)
  • ビデオゲーム (video games - Trinity Trigger, Final Fantasy XII)

My recommendation for songs is Yuki Kajiura 's music (and associated acts like Kalafina, FictionJunction, etc). There is a wonderful website with JP, romaji, and translation for all her songs. I actually discovered some of my favorite anime b/c of that (SAO in particular) . Otherwise though, you can find the same for many popular songs.

Generally my process is: read/listen to JP, try to understand, check English, reread/listen if necessary. Occasionally I’ll try something without referencing the English (sometimes just bc there is no translation available). I also do things like put my phone or computer in Japanese (tho occasionally switch back to English).

One thing that’s been really cool is that I never would have checked out most of the 日常 or ラブコメ stuff prior to learning JP. And even within genres

先生を探した Finding a teacher

Until a week ago, I had been only self-teaching, and finally decided to look for a teacher. I found two on iTalki, and am looking forward to seeing where that goes. In my first trial lessons, I was too shy/self-conscious to bring up what I was actually reading (灰と幻想のグリムガル), so we read from one of those easy news/culture sites (which in a way was challenging bc of all the furigana, since it caused the words to be too spaced out). That lesson made me realize that I’m also maybe a bit more interested in conversation than I thought.

I’ve been going back and forth on what to bring up in today’s lesson. The culture articles are a bit more simplistic than I want, but good in their own way. I also don’t like reading them bc of the format. With LNs (I’m currently focusing on Log Horizon), I have to stop so frequently to do vocab lookups that it feels like a not so effective use of time. The exception might be 本好きの下剋上, but I feel like I understand that pretty well / don’t usually have many questions.

The lesson is an hour long, so maybe I should try half and half?

今の活動 Current activities

I’ve been a little lax about reading time over the last 2 weeks, due to a combination of moving apartments, preparing for a D&D game, and just general laziness/distraction.


  • ログ・ホライズン 1
  • 本好きの下剋上 (next week with book club)
  • Almost finished replay of FF XII (not sure I care enough to actually finish)
  • Next: getting back to the 五等分の花嫁 game, which I’ve been neglecting.

Anyway that’s that. Might post an update after today’s lesson. Feel free to correct my Japanese, if any of the word choices were off.


2023年9月1日 (Sep 1, 2023)

Feeling a bit more uplifted than before :slight_smile:

Lesson reflections

My lesson with Y-sensei was really nice. We picked up reading the 記事 (article) from one of the easy reading websites (not NHK), then talked for a while, before finally starting a second article on the fall harvest festival. There was a lot more talking than I was expecting, and I’m finding I’m enjoying/interested in that more than I was expecting.

Reading the articles is interesting. The 振り仮名 (furigana) make it challenging, b/c of how much they space out the text. The reading level is lower than what I’m usually reading. Reading aloud is its own challenge, and helpful in a way. I’ve started reading aloud more when I read now, bc of this. It’s really nice having someone to ask questions to as I’m reading. My comprehension is pretty decent, and I think I’m getting something beneficial out of reading at this level, rather than LN sort of stuff.

Inspiration from SAO Full Dive

Since then I ended up watching the SAO Full Dive event that came out on Crunchyroll. I watched with EN subs, bc JP wasn’t available, but found I could understand a decent amount of the JP without them. I’ve been feeling pretty down about my comprehension lately (basically since I started reading 灰と幻想のグリムガル, so that was really refreshing. Also the original stories in the event were really uplifting, and filled in a lot of gaps between events in Aincrad or elsewhere (tho they’re not necessarily canonical). I have been doing really little anime watching lately, and it inspired me to go rewatch some SAO.

I decided to rewatch the first ALO arc (skipping all the parts I don’t like), without subs, and was pleasantly surprised that I could understand a lot of it very naturally (not even relying on my memory). I’m going to rewatch the GGO and ユウキ arcs next. "


I’ve been making very slow progress with ログ・ホライズン, due to time and energy. I’m looking forward to finishing the D&D one-shot I’m running on Monday, since that will open my time up a lot. While I’m fine going (mostly) sentence by sentence with it, I’d really like to start making some more progress soon.


2023年9月6日 (Sep 6, 2023):

「本好きの下剋上」と読力 (Honzuki & reading comprehension

It’s been interesting rereading the beginning chapters of 本好きの下剋上 1. I first tried it, without checking translation, about 2.5 months ago. I wanted to see if my comprehension was good enough, and I felt good about it back then. This time around I’m double-checking the translation.

One thing that’s clear: my standard for comprehension has gone up substantially since then (which explains why I’ve been feeling down about it lately). So far I didn’t miss anything major the first time around, but I’ve definitely had some “ohhhhhhh” moments this time.

It’s hard to tell how well I’m doing with comprehension right now, bc it’s been too hot to think clearly lately. So I’m curious to see how that goes next week.

本好きの下剋上 audiobook

I’m also using the audiobook differently this time. This time around I’m reading first, then listening to the audiobook, or using it to check readings. I’m not sure whether or not that’s the optimal method. It’s a bit frustrating doing both bc it takes more time, and also the audiobook divisions don’t match the chapters. So the first 6 chapters are all in first track. So it’s not easy to skip around (though I have the timestamps through the 7th/8th chapter marked from before)

lesson progress

I had two lessons back to back yesterday (not doing that again lol).

In my lesson with T-sensei, we read some simple manga and then switched to an essay from 「名作」 で鍛えるトコトン考える力 about 白雪姫 (Snow White). That was really cool and interesting. The book isn’t available in pdf form, but I’m hoping I can find it at Kinokuniya next time I go. It was also nice to read something without furigana… Sometimes reading with furigana feels harder in a way, bc it’s more visual noise.

In my lesson with Y-sensei, we finished reading the 記事 (article) about 七五三, and then started another one on 京都の観光 (sightseeing destinations in Kyoto). We got a bit sidetracked when we reached the section about 清水寺 (Kiyomizu-dera), which I mentioned I recognized from 五等分の花嫁… So we started talking about that for a while which was nice.

So far I’ve hesitated to bring in anything of my own to read, which I think has been the right call. This way I’m getting exposed to things I never would have gone or read on my own.

会話力と文章力 (speaking & writing level)

I’m also feeling frustrated with my conversational abilities, and want to get to a point where I can get through a whole lesson in Japanese. Otoh, I’m proud I can get through as much of a lesson in Japanese as I can. Even just listening and having basic conversation is really helpful.

So I think I want to work on output some more. Maybe I’ll start with listening through the Miku Real Japanese shadowing course and interviews some more. Maybe it’s better to start with writing, but then I don’t have any kind of structure. I’ve been thinking about going through perhaps… But anyway, it’s not something I need to overly focus on right now.

Edit: I just discovered 日本語文型辞典 英語版一AHandbook of Japanese Grammar Patterns for Teachers and Learners … That’s perfect (it’s apparently now available as part of the iOS dictionary app as well… I don’t have that tho)


2023年9月17日 (at least, that’s when I meant to post it)

ReoNa, Anima

I’ve been trying out a lot of (mostly new) things since my last journal.

ソードアート・オンラインは字幕なしを観ていたは - Watching SAO without subs

Building on the inspiration from SAO Full Dive, I rewatched the first 3 arcs of SAO without subs. I normally only watch things w/ JP subs, but I’ve already done that w/ SAO, so I decided to watch through the first 3 arcs without subs. I was able to naturally understand a lot (sometimes even most) of the lines, and that was exciting! One nice thing about watching w/o subtitles is you can really pay more attention to the animation.

「Just Because!」を観た - I watched 'Just Because!'

Just Because! | L23 is a wholesome, slow paced romance, with a mature (if somewhat gloomy) ensemble cast. While it features the usual love triangles, it does so in an interesting and not melodramatic way, and the characters are friends more than anything else. My one frustration was the way the ending was executed, but I digress…

I first watched this show w/ EN subs in 2023年8月 - so a bit over a year ago! It was exciting to rewatch it - both for entertainment and language purposes. There’s no tricky accents, but there’s some tricky casual speech - nothing impossible. My comprehension varied, and I felt like I had to check the subs a decent amount, but also like I understood a decent amount.

One of my challenges with choosing what to watch is being stuck between “I want to be able to understand what I’m watching” and “I need to watch something interesting that I haven’t seen multiple times”. The intersection of those two things is still rather small, but this fit the niche nicely :slight_smile: Just Because! marks the 21st distinct series I’ve finished on Natively… which is simultaneously a lot, and nothing at all.

I have an all JP playlist that I listen to constantly, and the OP/ED from Just Because are on it… but it’s been so long that I’d lost that association. So it was neat to rediscover that!

こみっくがーるずは字幕なしを観た - I watched Comic Girls w/out subs

I tried watching an ep of こみっくがーるず without subs. It was kind of fun, but my comprehension felt like it was around 60%… some of that is due to very contracted or quirky character speech. I don’t know whether I’ll watch more or not.

LNs - SAOP 1 & 本好きの下剋上

I’ve been largely focusing on SAO Progressive 1. I’ve finally passed the portion I had read back in the day (right after the hilarious “Materialize All” scene), so now I can get a real sense of just how solid (or not) my comprehension actually is. One thing intrigues me is that w/ SAO, I’m much more inclined towards extensive reading - even if it results in shallower comprehension - than with other things. This has its pros and cons, but now that I’m out of the “rereading” section, I might try to be a bit more intensive about it.

漫画祭り - Manga fest

At some point my brain felt a bit fried, so I decided to try reading some Fate manga (皮肉… 笑笑笑). So I picked Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ ツヴァイ! (2) back up, since it’s been sitting on my “I’m Reading” list for ages. I’ve been reading without translation, with mixed success… occasionally there’s stuff I don’t quite get, but nothing plot-breaking. I’m still in the portion that overlaps with the anime (and that was adapted well), so I wonder how I’ll feel about things if/when I get to less familiar parts, in future volumes. Anyway, it’s nice to read some manga again. It’s soooo much faster (and more instantly gratifying) than reading LNs… hence my 152 finished manga vs 10 finished LNs lol

I also picked up ホリミヤ 10 | L22 and have been enjoying it so far. I had dropped the series in early July agree getting burnt out on both it’s repetitiveness and some of the humor crossing the line into domestic abuse

遊んで遊んでばかりがいいな?でしょうやっぱりやっぱりそうでしょう!- SAO Lost Song, Hakuoki series

I’ve been playing through SAO Lost Song again. It’s set in ALO, has a great story, and is basically a VN with a video game attached… there’s so many (fully voiced besides MC) dialogue scenes to go through, and they’re at a great reading level for me.

More exciting though, I just started playing 薄桜鬼 真改 風ノ章 (Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds). I’m only an hour in (meaning I’m still in the intro :rofl: ), but just figuring everything out from scratch and reading the non-block font has been cool. It’s set towards the end of the Edo period (1860s), which I’m finding is a period I’m really interested by. Anyway, the aesthetic is cool, and reading the stylized font is great practice. It even has a feature where it will teach you a bit about certain highlighted words, like 浪人 or [idk what I meant to put here]


2023年10月2日 久しぶり

I’ve been all over the place lately - but mostly in manga, video game, and visual novel land.


Lessons have been great! With Y-sensei we moved on from the furigana articles to articles without, since that allowed more reading choices. One article was on traditional places in 北海道, and the names were very hard to read, since they’re in a local dialect - even Y-sensei had to look a lot of them up. Another article featured different kinds of flowers (something I wouldn’t usually take the time to read about in English), and my recent playing of Stardew Valley helped me out a bit there. We also started in on an article detailing places features in 君の名は, which has been pretty cool! Occasionally I share bits of JP culture I’m into - usually as a tangent (ex I mentioned that I often take a bit to pull up the いし reading of 石, bc my first strong association is with the song 宝石 by Yuki Kajiura (lyrics here).

In my lesson with T-sensei we read a bit of a comedy manga, and then an essay on 白雪姫 (Snow White). I haven’t been able to book another lesson for the last few weeks, cuz of financial stuff. Hoping I can do that more consistently in the future.

Both teachers have praised me on my reading (which I don’t feel is totally deserved, but it’s nice getting the compliments anyway), in part bc I have decent vocab/kanji recognition I’ve been thinking about asking Y-sensei to correct my intonation (pitch accent) as I’m reading, but I’m not sure whether it’s really what I should be focusing on, so I haven’t brought it up yet. It might increase my confidence more though.


Sometimes I put podcasts on in the background at work - usually something like ぼっち・ざ・らじお. I can’t usually fully tell what’s going on, but I can pick up parts, and if it’s the right material, it can be kind of relaxing. Otherwise I started to dip my feet into the Hololive stuff (very hit or miss for me). Also discovered an easy level channel where the person talks to a VTuber, but I’ve forgotten the name. There’s also podcasts like Miku Real Japanese, Yuyuの日本語, etc. At some point maybe I should make a list, but I think it’s fine for this to be unstructured.

Light Novels and Visual Novels

I’m 67% through SAO Progressive 1, and it feels like I’m getting better at reading it. But also I took a break to dive into some manga. I love reading LNs, but it feels like a lot of exertion, especially compared to simpler manga where I can get by with few lookups. In both cases, I’d really like my reading speed to be a lot faster… I know that will come with time though. Once I finish SAOP 1, I want to focus on Log Horizon again. After that I might be down to pick up 灰と幻想のグリムガル again, but I might just want to keep reading SAOP, or something else… I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, I guess.

I’ve been reading and loving マルコと銀河龍 . It’s also not at all what I was expecting, but in the best way possible. The story is really fun so far, and the lead is voiced by 井澤詩織 (いざわ しおり Shiori Izawa), the voice actor from SAO. Recognizing voice actors really makes me happy - especially when it’s from a beloved character :slight_smile: It’s a lot easier than a lot of other things I’ve tried reading, and the ability to toggle between JP and English via keyboard is sooooo helpful.


I’m midway through ホリミヤ vol 16 (of 17), started reading ヲタクに恋は難しい, 高音さんと嵐ちゃん はじめの話, and 雪解けとアガパンサス (which I found on Twitter). I also finished 安達としまむら, and 熱帯魚は雪に焦がれる. The latter two were not quite what I was expecting (especially 安達としまむら), but I had a pretty easy time with 熱帯魚, including the Iyo dialect. I still couldn’t do 100% without translation, but I got through a lot without; unlike 安達としまむら. I’m really glad I discovered yuri manga in general - quite possibly my favorite manga genre! I also started reading ヲタクに恋は難しい. I’m not sure how sold I am on the story yet, but well as someone with オタク tendencies, I can certainly appreciate characters who are (I would not self describe as オタク per se, but would self describe as say an SAO otaku). Anyway it’s very challenging, and there’s a lot of slang I’m it. I’m thinking of bringing it in to my lessons with T-sensei, bc it seems like the right vibe and difficulty for those.

One thing that’s challenging for me with manga is I get really excited and into it, and I have to force myself to slow down, so I can actually process the whole meaning. The other thing that’s challenging is getting the context/speaker right, and being careful about vocabulary. Sometimes being just a bit off can make everything totally backwards.

I’ve been considering rereading 雨でも晴れでも. It was one of the earlier mangas I read - and without translation - and was the first time I encountered a character who spoke Kansai dialect (and a pretty thick accent at that). That was definitely a challenge at the time!! I also think I want to reread やがて君になる at some point. But in general I prefer to experience new things, and manga is the area where that’s easiest to do.

Stardew Valley

I started playing Stardew Valley, and the language has been fairly straightforward - tho I find I still get lazy about reading item descriptions, or sometimes just wanting to push past dialogue. I’m very noncommittal about games rn, so if I feel compelled to pick up SAO Lost Song or the historical fiction one I mentioned, I’ll do it occasionally. I think I should try to play a few min of the 五等分の花嫁 game during work breaks, since I still haven’t finished it lol.

Reading level and content choices

the contrast in difficulty between 安達としまむら (harder) and 熱帯魚は雪に焦がれる (easier), and between マルコと銀河龍 and other VNs and LNs I’ve tried to read, has me thinking about whether I should seek out more lower level reading material in the future. It’s hard to say, but I feel like the articles I’ve been reading in my lessons are a nice bridge there. My time in general is pretty limited right now, bc I’m also teaching myself game development. That’s been a long time dream of mine, and one of the things that’s encouraged me to pursue it is Aoba from NEW GAME.

I also want to try reading more real life content - like articles, Wikipedia, social media posts, etc. My interests can be a bit narrow, so it’s hard to figure out what to go for, but if I can connect it to novels or manga I’m reading, then that’s a good in - with the added bonus that I’ll have a better appreciation of things in the manga or other media I’m consuming.

SNS/Social Media and Blogging

I’ve been trying to follow more JP Twitter accounts (somewhat dangerous, bc then I discover new yuri sees I have to buy), which so far has mostly been artists/mangaka and a few game devs. Quora is also great, when I remember it exists. I also discovered a really fascinating SNS site called Ameba which has blogs, voice blogs (with transcripts), news, an app where you decorate your room (ピグ), games, and more. I’m trying to do a little bit of blogging here and there, if/when I have the inspiration. It’s challenging bc of my writing level, but also easier than English bc it’s totally anonymous. Maybe the key is to keep it to short posts for now. とにかく it’s also something I’m noncommittal about.



I finally found something comfortable to read!!

ラノベ: something comfortable, finally

I read through all of クラスで2番目に可愛い女の子と友達になった | L26, without translation and it was really great! The were some sections where I was a bit lost, but overall it’s the closest I’ve felt to how I read in English. My reading speed is definitely still slower than I’d like though.

I also reread the first volume as well. Comprehension was easy like 95% of the time. On the other hand, I still have a ton of lookups (added X in x pgs). That said, 70-80% of my lookups are for 読み方 rather than 意味. So I might start doing some SRS here and there. I’m super looking forward to Vol 5 coming out on Nov 1st.

I’m trying to stick to romance LNs in the upper 20s rn, so as to do the comprehensible part of comprehensible input. Though I do plan on getting back to SAO, Log Horizon, and Grimgar soon.


I finally finished ホリミヤ -piece- S1 | L24 and decided to drop ライザのアトリエ 〜常闇の女王と秘密の隠れ家〜 S1 | L27 . I also picked up 薬屋のひとりごと S1 | L28 which has a really excellent MC and amazing artwork. Really loving it.


I’ve just been reading high school/college yuri, except for クラスで2番目に可愛い女の子と友だちになった. Shout-out to 君に紡ぐ傍白 1 | L20 for being full color, and set in college. I want to get the physical version someday


Lessons have been going great, and so helpful! With T-sensei, we’ve just been reading from 「名作」 で鍛えるトコトン考える力 1 each lesson. With Y-sensei, more articles from Matcha. They’re still challenging, but I can read a lot more smoothly than before, and I usually understand them pretty well. Being able to ask sensei questions about them is soooo helpful. Even more than that, I think actually conversing in Japanese has helped accelerate things.

It’s made me want to talk/focus on output a bit more.


To that end, I’ve been trying out HelloTalk, which is a really mixed bag. While I don’t get inappropriate requests, a lot of people there are just really bad at conversation/don’t put it any effort. I’ve found the timeline to be the most useful. Also the voice chats are pretty cool, but limited to 1 hr per day on free accounts.

Writing, maybe?

I also signed up for an email pen pal thing. Not sure if I’ll find anyone or not, but could be cool if I do. I’ve been feeling back and forth about maybe learning how to handwrite kanji. I could see it being helpful in some ways, but also not sure it’s a good thing to focus my attention on right now, and it seems too open ended

Book clubs

I’ve been getting to do more of the 暁のヨナ book club readings lately. Can simultaneously see my progress and weak points there. I should do more reading out loud.

I’ll probably join the yuri book club here. The probably winner isn’t what I was hoping for (and I really wanted a manga), but it would be my first time reading short stories, and I might enjoy it in the end.

LN club I’ll probly only join if one of thew ones I voted for makes it (I mostly voted lower level ones). Otherwise I don’t think I’m up for the commitment.

On language exchange sites

I feel like there are so many ways to improve these sites (have better interest lists/free form interests, being able to search people by interest, group chats/discussions by topic, etc) but pretty much all of them are terrible. You pretty much have to just get lucky sifting through the muck and hope to strike gold in the form of someone you can have a conversation with who will actually do language exchange (and not just try to do everything in English all the time).


Yeah the interests selection on HelloTalk was very weird/random.

Good to know. I realized part of the issue for me is that I’m an introvert with social anxiety who doesn’t like small talk… So a chat based app is a bit of a poor fit for me. I do like the timeline & voice chat stuff there though

So far from the digital pen pal site I’ve gotten messages from:

  • A Swedish & a Pakistani individual, neither of whom speak Japanese (could be interesting anyway)
  • a Japanese instructor trying to get me to take their lesson course, who sent me a sample lesson PDF with hiragana after I wrote an email to him in Japanese :rofl:

But I haven’t actively looked for anyone yet. Those are just emails messages I received


In the meantime, I started using Ringotan and am obsessed with it. Very curious to see how it will affect my recognition when reading. I feel like I’m already starting to process the details of the kanji a bit better (rather than just getting the overall shape).

Guess I’ll report back in a week or whenever.


2023年11月4日 少しブリ

ゲーム 五等分の花嫁 終わった!次はFire Emblem

I finally finished 五等分の花嫁 ~夏の思い出も五等分~ game (first of 3). I only played through the 四葉 ending, and don’t think I’m likely to play through the rest anytime soon. I do really wanna play the next two games tho - especially the 3rd one, which takes place in college. I also realized they come with drama cds, which means I’m probly gonna buy the special editions in the future (my wallet hurts already lol).

Anyway, now that I’m finally done with that, I can start on Fire Emblem, which my friend lent me.

Ringotan - 書きを学ぶ

I’m obsessively going through Ringotan. Up to 562 kanji (I already know most of these, just not how to write them), and following the KKLC order (arranged around radicals). It’s definitely helping my reading a bit, since I can more confident distinguish (or work out) certain kanji more that I’m actually seeing the inner shapes more.

At first I was writing them on paper as well, and there’s definitely a difference. I stopped b/c it would be more accurate to use drill books, and I don’t have an actual need to handwrite, so the main benefit for me is actually recognition - which doesn’t necessitate writing on paper.


I’m almost halfway through クラスで2番目に可愛い女の子に友だちになった 5. It’s taken more days than previous volumes, bc I’ve been spending so much time on Ringotan. The story has definitely started getting a bit steamy! I’m doing pretty well comprehension wise, but still have too many lookups. Ringotan is helping a bit there, since I’m remembering and recognizing known kanji better (of course just bc I know the Kanji doesn’t always mean I know the word). At first I was adding the words to vocab lists in Takoboto, but I decided to stop doing that, since it just increases disruption time, and I never review them anyway.

I’m also caught up with the manga.

I’m kind of thinking about casually reading the SAO - Fairy Dance manga. Flipping through the previews, it looks like it’s actually it’s mostly in comfortable vocab territory for me. Whatever works I don’t know, I can get the meaning of, since I already know the entire story in and out. So I’m not looking anything up, which is nice for a change!

Despite some problems with that arc, I really love a lot of the Kirito & Leafa interactions, and both the manga & the LN contain the (left out of the anime) story of Kirito & Leafa getting stuck in ヨツンヘイム (Jötunheim) and meeting/saving Tonky - which has some really touching moments.

physical books!

I’ve been getting an itch for physical media lately, and decided to order the rest of the 五等分の花嫁 volumes and 君に紡ぐ傍白. Both are full color, and are things I will likely reread at some point, so I felt justified in ordering. Ironically the thing that originally inspired the order was getting a copy of the latest 花とゆめ magazine (which has a bonus 暁のヨナ drama link), but it was out of stock again.

Otherwise I own very few physical books b/c it’s harder to read that way, I prefer pure white page background, and I don’t want to buy something I’m not going to read/reread at least once. Which reminds me, I really need to read Hopeful Chant and the Aria of a Starless Night bonus story at some point (which only have physical editions)


Ooh Three Houses? I played that in Japanese as well and had so much fun + learned a lot. Enjoy!


Oh cool!! That’s the one :slight_smile:

I’m interested to see how it will compare to the Final Fantasy games (I’ve played XII twice, and half of X and some of IX)… Feels a bit daunting starting a new thing


2023年11月28日 散らしちゃったけど、大丈夫かな?そして、雨垂れ石を穿つ

I feel like I’ve been all over the place, but in a mostly good way. I’m making bits of small progress, in lots of things… not my usual style (usually I try to drop/consolidate)



LIght Novels


Now Reading
Now Watching



Now Gaming (sorta)

I’m very uncommitedly playing Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I’m very early in the game, but it’s been hard to motivate myself, and I’m not into the actual gameplay so far. I’m borrowing it from a friend, so I want to at least give it a fair shot soon.

I really want to get the next two 五等分の花嫁 games instead, but I don’t have the extra money for those right now.

Plan to Resume

I keep buying all these on-sale manga & LNs… which makes it harder to get the list smaller

Beginner's Light Novel Club

I put together the 初心者のライトノベル読書会、and we chose また、同じ夢を見ていた | L25 as our first book!! Here’s the (home thread link). It’s been a lot of organizing, but we’re starting at the end of January :smiley:

Ringotan/Writing Kanji

I went overboard with Ringotan, and had to reset it, b/c I had too many reviews. Which is great, b/c it let me start from clean at 840 kanji. I also decided to add Hiragana & Katakana for now. I’m making sure to pace myself this time.

Overall, it’s definitely been helping my reading. I’ve stopped caring about writing so much… but also printed some kanji sheets, which I can practice with when bored.

電子辞書 (Electronic JP Dictionary)

I got an electronic dictionary!! Very old fashioned, but it’s soooo cool having a single device with a bunch of JP-JP dictionaries, encyclopedias, EN-JP phrasebooks, etc. The main utility for me is slowly getting more accustomed to JP-JP dictionaries… which is great for byte-sized learning!!


Same as usual - articles with Y-sensei. Essays from 「名作」で鍛える トコトン考える力 with T-sensei. I mentioned maybe wanting to read ヲタクに恋は難しい 1 | L28 together, but never followed up on it, and am not really 100% sure whether I want to or not. it would be useful, but I feel like the essays are more unique and culturally interesting.

Reading Comprehension Progress

Finishing クラスで二番目可愛い女の子 5 and 男子だと思っていた 1 (plus 2/3rds of vol 2) has definitely really helped my reading comfort. So it speaks to the efficacy of reading lower level material. Getting back to SAO Progressive 1 has felt easier now (though intensive comprehension remains hit or miss). I think I’m a bit burnt out of high school romance at this point… so starting to look at other genres.

Reading the older settings like 日本の歴史 series and 薬屋のひとりごと manga and light novel(!!) has been really enjoyable. Their is some overlap of vocabulary between 薬屋 and 日本の歴史, and the grammar patterns in the 薬屋 LN are novel for me, making it worth the challenge. It’s been helpful that I’ve watched the anime, but I think of the 3, the LN will be the most helpful for letting things sink in. It will be good prep for 後宮の烏 | L34. Since it’s such a higher level than anything else I’ve read, I don’t feel frustrated going slower, or not totally getting things (unlike say SAOP)

I’ve been dragging my feet with 日本の歴史 a bit… some inertia there, but will be great when I get past it. It’s hard with all the new characters and names, and it’s in the middle of “We’re going to war with the Tao Dynasty”… just need to be in the headspace for it.

Byte-Sized Challenges

I’ve been slowly pushing myself to read small things like JP-JP dictionary entries, read JP descriptions of media, read Wikipedia articles, tweets, book titles, etc, instead of giving into the “oh it’s too much effort” feeling. Reading Wikipedia articles can be cool. Like I learned that 松岡禎丞 Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (my favorite 声優) is from 北海道帯広市 (Obihiro, Hokkaido) the other day, and that he was inspired to get into voice acting by 新世紀エヴァンゲリオン (Neon Genesis: Evangelion). Sometimes it’s hard to hit the productive vs interesting niche.


One of the things I’ve felt frustrated by is just not knowing how to read names… people, cities, etc… which are also really inconvenient to look up. I know of ENAMDict and WWWJDIC: Word Search, but wish there were a less cumbersome way to do it. I guess maybe the answer is I’ll just start to get these more, as I read more articles and such? Would love to hear suggestions, if anyone has any.

Anyway, I’ll be amazed if anyone reads all of that… it’s a lot of sections, but I tried to keep most of them short.


In regards to your last point, this might be of interest:


Thank you!! I mostly dislike Anki & SRS (多分ADHDの癖に…ちょっと詰まらないから www)… but this is perfect! Also just remembered that exists (can use w/ Yomichan), which will be helpful on the computer at least

(I realize Ringotan is SRS, but actively writing is fun, and seeing the patterns more closely is efficient enough that it’s enjoyable!)


2023年11月29日 早いよ!

SAO Progressive 1 progress/frustration

Reading a bit more extensively with SAOP 1 now… It’s still in the Nezuha fraud part of the story (almost at the end of that), and I’m bored out of my mind with that section. Skipped a few pages where he was (yet again) explaining SAO game mechanics + the method behind the fraud, and its implications.

119 eBook pages left to go (24% left)… Slightly less, since I won’t read the あとがき and all that. The SAO afterwords are good, I just don’t feel the need to reread it.

I both love this book, and am sooooo ready to be done with it lol

日本の歴史 大化から律令国家まだ

Also finally got through the 大化 Taika chapter in 日本の歴史, so now I’m up to 律令国家 the Ritsuryō reforms… Which should be the interesting stuff! I don’t feel like I really “got” the Taika period super well, so I’m doing some EN Wikipedia reading to supplement that


I also started reading Colloquial Kansai Japanese―まいど! おおきに! 関西弁 (Tuttle language library) | L15 - which is a great resource for 関西弁 Kansai dialect so far… A mix of “I knew that”, “ohhh that’s what that is?”, and new info.

Another “whenever I feel like it” sort of read.

Finished 雪解けとアガパンサス 2 | L21 … It got better in the second half, but I won’t pick up book 3 when it’s out

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I’m only on Day 2, but loving the deck so far. I’ve left it at the Anki default of 20 per day, tho a handful were already familiar…

Curious to see how sustainable that is over time, but the app currently says 今日は80枚のカードを11分で学習しています (80 reviews, 11 min). So that’s certainly manageable for now!

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2023年12月4日 退屈

SAO Progressive 1 - 67 pgs left. I’m at the second most interesting part of Floor 2 (boss battle), and almost at the most exciting part of it, but my reading speed (combined with already knowing what will happen) is making it frustrating. I just want to be done with it already! Checking the translation less frequently is helping.

君に届け has gotten better as the show’s progressed (finished ep 17 of 25), but I really want to be done with it. The pacing is just so unbelievably slow, relative to the payoff. It’s easy enough to understand tho. Also everytime I hear Miyuki Sawashiro (who plays a supporting character), it helps me keep going.

Honestly if it weren’t for being on Natively, I wouldn’t finish either of these rn. It’s not the first time I’ve pushed myself to finish something b/c of Natively, so I’m definitely grateful for that!

日本の歴史 2 has so far been more random battles, but I think I might finally be up to the actual implementing of the Ritsuryō system - so it should (hopefully) stop feeling like a chore.

Looking forward to focusing on 薬屋のひとりごと 1 when I finish SAOP 1. I’ve been putting it off for now, just bc I really wanna be done with SAO. Otherwise, been enjoying Colloquial Kansai Japanese, and it’s helped my comprehension when reading Kibaou’s lines in SAO.

Also I’ve discovered that RA Salvatore’s Dark Elf Trilogy and first 2 vols of the Cleric Quintet have JP translations… So those are getting added to my eventual list!!


2023年12月7日 一歩一歩、新しい試し



Actively Watching:

今の読書 Now Reading

I finally finished both SAOP 1!!

Now reading:


Observations: I’m bad at 薬屋のひとりごと and ぼっち・ざ・ろく(a nice change of pace!). 薬屋 I expected, it’s absolutely above my level. ぼっち I’m hoping is just an “I’ll get used to this soon”. They’re both kind of abstract, in writing style. 薬屋 I especially have to read very closely, and check sentence by sentence. Reading things I’m bad at is a good choice right now.

兄友 is pretty comfortable (also full color + furigana), but sometimes there’s slang or expressions or things I don’t 100% get. Nothing major. I’m reading it without translation.

SAO 2 I’m reading and sometimes checking the translation. I still have to do a good amount of lookups. I really wish I was at a point where I can read it totally without translation, and have a very detailed understanding, but I’m not quite confident/accurate enough yet. It feels kind of odd, since I have read other SAO books (sections) without translation/reference (bc it didn’t exist at the time). しょうがないよね

駄目なSAOオタクだよ (もう知ってるよ!)

No hope for this SAO Otaku :rofl:

Reading Progressive got me nostalgic for OG Aincrad, so I started SAO 2, which has Silica, Liz, Yui, and Sachi stories. The first 2-3 are very heartwarming, though the last two are also a bit tragic. I wish I could skip them & still mark the book complete… But I’ll just have to read them.

Also bought Vols 3-6 and 19-20, which I’ll eventually read.

Vol 3-4 Fairy Dance: you get a lot of Suguha’s perspective + Leafa and Kirito’s side adventure to Jötunheim (sadly but understandably cut from the anime). I’m gonna wish I could skip the Sugou + Asuna being captive parts, but oh well.

Vol 5-6 Phantom Bullet: Kirito + Sinon story. They’re my 2 fav SAO characters, and I really love the camaraderie between them in that story! I wish I could skip the Shinkawa Kyouji and PTSD flashback parts, but then I wouldn’t be able to mark it complete.

Vol 19-20 Moon Cradle: early part of Kirito & Asuna’s time in Underworld, after the war. There’s some great stuff with Ronie & Tiese (Kirito & Eugeo’s former paiges), and it’s one of the few SAO stories I don’t remember super well. So it will be nice to read familiar but fresh, if I read it.

But also… I kinda wanna continue with SAO Progressive, since Floor 3 is where things actually start getting interesting and fun! So we’ll see where I go after SAO 2 I guess.


I’m working on getting myself more comfortable with JP-JP dictionaries. So I’ve put Takoboto to show JP definitions and hide EN ones, until you tap on the word (It doesn’t always have JP definitions though). It’s definitely a bit less efficient, but since this is starting to be more comfortably in reach, it’s worth it. Need to start using that 電子辞書 more


Lessons are mostly same as usual, except that I’ve been talking more, which is kinda fun. Not 100% sure that’s the best use of my time tho. Next lesson with Y-sensei I’m reading an article on 妖怪. T-Sensei gave me an essay about かぐや姫 (Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) to read for homework. So we’ll start with that, and read another one as well.

I did a trial lesson with a new teacher, K-Sensei. It’s much more what I would have expected of a typical lesson: there’s a PowerPoint with grammar and other exercises, we do a mix of reading, listening, and speaking, the teacher types out things I had trouble with, assigns homework, writes/sends a report after, etc. It was really great b/c it honed in on my general weakness: grammar (and output).

I have a trial lesson with a different teacher upcoming, T-sensei, who self-describes as an otaku, and offers informal conversation lessons. While I sometimes talk about anime, LNs, and manga in my lessons with Y-sensei, it’s tangential, and it’s hard to really express my thoughts about them well. So I thought it would be cool to try a lesson where something like that can be the focus.

The budgeting is tight tho, so I’ll have to limit it to one lesson per month with the new teachers (that’s still 7-8 total though!). Though if I only go with one of the new teachers, I could do lessons 2x per month, which might be more productive.


As I mentioned, my grammar knowledge has some holes, and it definitely affects my reading comprehension (I rely on intuiting, rather than fully understanding). My output is very limited too - short sentences, iffy grammar, 表現 choices, etc. This has been in the back of my mind for a while now, and I’ve been thinking about what to do about it.

So I’m giving Bunpro a try. It’s surprisingly nice. Reminds me of LingoDeer, but stricter with the output exercises, and less Duolingo-esque (LD & DL are very different, but the UX for the actual sessions is a similar style. LingoDeer is a very solid app).

I know that outputting with Ringotan has really helped my reading comprehension, bc of kanji recognition, so I’m hopeful Bunpro will help here too!!


Ringotan has been really helping with the kanji, and feeling more secure as I read + reducing the number of lookups. I’m up to 2,300分の1,130 (1,130 out of 2,300), and making it a point this time to not do too many new kanji at the same time.

The other nice thing is that it’s easier to actually physically write them now. Definitely not easy though, but like the motions and the proportions are more intuitive. Sometimes I reduce the text box size, or set it to stricter drawing evaluation, but my stylus isn’t always precise enough. I know the stricter drawing setting would be more benefici, but since my main goal is recognition, I usually leave that on Normal. Plus now that I have a printer, I can practice with actual kanji sheets, if I really want.

名前ら (駄洒落、すみません!)

I’ve been doing the proper nouns and names deck that @bibliothecary so kindly recommended, as well as a second Japanese names deck I found. The proper nouns one is better - it shows multiple readings + type (location, name, etc) + frequency, but the overlap from the second deck is pretty helpful too. Also the second deck put the back of the cards in katakana… No idea why, but that’s helpful in its own way.

The location names have already been useful, in one of my lessons. Also it’s cool to plug them into Google Maps and actually see where they are in Japan. Between that + the history manga, I’m slowly getting a somewhat more developed sense of where the various cities, prefectures, etc are in Japan!

I also started making a 声優 deck, which I’m slowly adding names of my favorite voice actors to. I’m sure most of the names would show up at some point in the other decks, but I always get frustrated when I see VA names, and I’m just like “I have no clue what that could possibly say”, even for my favorites.

Kinda surprising that I’m doing all this SRS, but something like this is what I’d consider the ideal use case for it anyway.



I started playing 二ノ国 - it’s really gorgeous, adorable, cute, etc. wasn’t expecting it to go for tearjerker right off the bat! Everything is captioned with furigana, and the spoken dialogue is in the perfect range, where I can get it with some concentration, and occasional pauses for vocab lookups. It’s definitely nice after having only tried RPGs aimed at a more advanced demographic (FF, SAO, Fire Emblem).

One of the characters speaks in kansai-ben, so that book has been a bit helpful. Also the Bunpro lessons. I’ve only done a handful, but I’ve felt a little more secure from doing them :slight_smile:

I read the かぐや姫 essay in my lesson earlier, and then asked if we could switch to doing manga. It’s been really interesting reading all those essays, but I feel like not the most practical. We’re reading 私がモテないのはどう考えてもお前らが悪い! 1 | L25 and I’m probably going to bring in 青い花 1 | L26 as well. Those are much more level appropriate.