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)