Mara's Study Log!

For 2024 I have the goal to add 1000 kanji to my study routine, at a rate of approximately 20 per week! As of January 1st I had 534 kanji, so my goal will be 1534.

I also plan to play reading bingo, and to work on reading through three years worth of Harta magazine! I don’t necessarily have to do that amount within the year, that’s just the amount that I currently own.

So I thought I’d make a little study log of my own to keep track of my various projects.

2023 Summary, and 2024 Goals

My 2024 Bingo Home Post

Harta Summary posts!
Issue 75
Issue 76
Issue 77
Issue 78
Issue 79
Issue 80
Issue 81
Issue 82
Issue 83 (now with illustrations!)



first comment reserved for stuff!


Study log entry the first!

First of all, Harta catch-up is going great! I’m really enjoying all the art and stories, and (with my upgraded dictionary) it’s a pretty accessible level. I’ve read two issues now, and I feel really motivated to continue!

Bingo: I got one square, but haven’t done a write-up or updated my board yet. I will get to that … eventually.

Kanji count: 575

This one’s a little depressing. I finished the first two weeks of January alright, but am starting to think that I may have misjudged my stated goal of 20 kanji a week. It seemed quite do-able, just 5 kanji a day 4 days a week, with three days to let them settle in before adding more. (And I’m actually fairly familiar with most of them already!) However, and maybe it’s not actually related, but the brain fog I’m experiencing at the moment suggests that 20 kanji a week is actually a lot for my brain right now.

I might try scaling back to ten new kanji a week and then building up from there.

It could also simply be the time of year. I feel like I still haven’t 100% recovered from the holiday hangover, it’s cold and kind of dark all the time, and I just feel kind of worn out and overworked. So yeah, maybe the solution is just to play a lot of Breath of the Wild on our brand new switch until I’m all fresh and sparkly-eyed again. :joy:


I feel like no matter what the problem is, this is the solution


Reporting to my study log, more fresh and sparkly-eyed than last time! (Yes, I did play a fair amount of Breath of the Wild, though nothing crazy.)

Kanji count: 611

I switched to a more organic approach to adding kanji, and I think it’s helping. Basically, when I have to look it up in Harta I add it to a list, and then if I see that I already added it to that list (or I recognize it as really common, or it seems easy to learn) I add it to another list, and so on for one more list. Then when I’m ready to add kanji I pick from the last list, and usually look up similar kanji to add at the same time. (Like, I added 可 奇 寄 all at the same time.)

I think my brain thrives on Chaos, so this will probably work for me a lot longer than the previous method (add them one by one according to their assigned order in the app).

I posted my review for Harta Issue 77! So far it seems like each issue is taking me around 2 weeks, we’ll see how that changes as I pick up more and more series … I’m still having a lot of fun with it and feeling motivated!


It’s been another almost-two-weeks, and I posted my most recent Harta review! (I’m concerned discord is going to lock me out of my study log because I keep linking that Harta thread and it keeps asking me if I really want to do that? Um, yes?)

Kanji count: 653


0-24% 44
25-49% 150
50-74% 191
75-99% 248
100% 20

My new approach to adding kanji seems to be working, and when there’s a kanji element that’s kind of complicated, adding a bunch of kanji with that element at the same time definitely helps my retention.

General Reading

I have been reading a lot of Harta, and not a lot else … I’m really enjoying Harta, and it’s for sure helping me in my kanji quest, so it’s all good. But basically the only other stuff I’ve read are my “bedtime” series … はなにあらし and 舞妓さんちのまかないさん, mainly. Oh, I have managed to keep up with the beginner book club on WK as well. For one week, lol.

Anyway, I’ll just try to stay flexible! This is my year of binging kanji, so I’ll do whatever it takes!! :slight_smile:


Kanji count: 700


0-24% 44 → 48
25-49% 150 → 138
50-74% 191 → 238
75-99% 248 → 253
100% 20 → 23

I posted my Harta review a little quicker this time (link in the OP if anyone is curious) which is cool. I can definitely see improvement in my reading speed already.

Book Clubs

The beginner book club book (気になってる人が男じゃなかった) on WK is great, so when I fell behind in week 2 it was easy to catch up in week 3.

I caught up with the offshoot 舞妓さんちのまかないさん (on WK) in time for the last chapter of volume 2, and I appear to have dropped ふしぎ駄菓子屋 銭天堂, though not really intentionally. I just never feel like reading prose at the moment. Probably just feeling overloaded by kanji.

Slow and steady wins the race!


Kanji count: 741


0-24% 48 → 48
25-49% 138 → 151
50-74% 238 → 255
75-99% 253 → 262
100% 23 → 25

Not much to report.

Book clubs continue as before, except that I also just started 老女的少女ひなたちゃん, which is super cute, and I could see myself being unable to stick to the ABBC super-slow pacing in the future. (I already read ahead last night even though I was very tired.)

And still no new bingo squares. I did finish a よつばと! volume from my backlog (which qualifies it for bingo), but couldn’t find any way for it to fulfill the requirements for a square. The improvement in my reading speed and ease for that series is notable, though, which is great! And it also feels great to reduce my backlog at least a little.

And I’m still happy with my current kanji study system.

Here’s to another two weeks of study!


Kanji count: 798


Kanji added: 264

0-24% 48 → 61
25-49% 151 → 174
50-74% 255 → 268
75-99% 262 → 264
100% 25 → 31

I’ve got it down to a (seemingly stable) system now … I add ten kanji each on Monday and Tuesday (my weekend) from the priority lists I make while reading Harta. Then on workdays I maybe add 1 or 2 kanji from the app’s default school grade sequence if I feel like it / reviews are not too brutal.

Harta’s going great! I’m currently averaging 2 chapters per day. And I honestly don’t know how I would be doing with kanji if I hadn’t stumbled on the perfect way to practice (ie reading Harta). Of course, now there are many more chapters to read per issue. I’m currently reading issue #82 and that’s going to be about 20 chapters. That sounds like sooo many it makes me feel impatient just writing it haha. I’m so antsy to catch up!

In other news, I bought the 単行本 of 夜の名前を呼んで volume 1 in time to read the last chapter on paper! (Along with a few other things…)

It was super cute, and I added it to my bingo board for the square “new to me author”. I’ll post more thoughts on yoruyo (nickname according to the creator in the あとがき) in my next Harta review post.


Great to see はなにあらし - it’s such a wonderful series!!

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Kanji count: 833


Kanji added: 299

0-24% 61 → 45
25-49% 174 → 193
50-74% 268 → 286
75-99% 264 → 273
100% 31 → 36

Ughhhh… I can’t seem to catch up on my kanji reviews for the life of me. I’m gonna have to add fewer kanji this week, which is fine because I was ahead of schedule, but it’s also annoying, because I like being ahead of schedule. :joy:

Also, it’s been almost two weeks since my last study log post and I haven’t been able to post my Harta issue 82 summary … Actually, it’s been 20 days since I posted my summary for issue 81! For what it’s worth, issue 82 has a ton of yomikiri and new series chapters. (Eleven total, I believe.)

I think it will make me feel a little better if I alternate between chapters from issue 82 and issue 83, because I feel so bogged down right now. Hmm, yes, I like this idea.

But also I may need to chill out a little bit. Like, it’s okay if I don’t read anything in Japanese for a day. This isn’t a job or a performance, it’s “for fun”. :joy:


Okay, so right after my last post I got covid for the first time and I’ve been between 90-100% out of commission ever since. Luckily, I’ve been able to use that 10% (when I had it) on Japanese study!

Never mind that in my last study log I wrote “I may need to chill out a little bit” … I’m such a lost case. To be fair, language learning has always been a fun activity that helped me stay sane despite intense boredom in the past, so it’s probably not as bad as it sounds.

Kanji count: 891

stats +

Kanji added: 357

0-24% 45→ 65
25-49% 193 → 205
50-74% 286 → 291
75-99% 273 → 285
100% 36 → 45

I’ve been feeling a lot of love for kanji lately. Like, when I finish adding my new kanji for the day I’ll look at them all lined up on the page and be like “oh man, I love kanji so much.”

Harta is going good! I now have two series that I’m reading on paper out of the collected volumes, and having the self-discipline not to read ahead is difficult!


So the big change this time is that I’m trying to work speaking practice/study back into my routine, now that I’ve kind of got a handle on my kanji … um, habit?

My favorite activity that I tried recently is listening to a vlog or some such thing, then pausing occasionally to write down more complex sentence structures, practice saying them, then practice using the same grammar but substituting my own words (saying something that I might actually say in a conversation) in as many variations as I can come up with. Then I’ll write down one or two of my own sentences that I really liked.

One of my most recent was 犬たちのことをもっと知りたいなって気づきました。(from 日本に住んでいるだけで、たくさん楽しめるなって気づきました。)


Hope you feel better soon!!

Also the method you mentioned in your Speaking section is brilliant!

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The last two weeks in a nutshell: I went back to work, I got tired a lot, I had a lot of post-covid headaches, and I continued to progress steadily in my kanji studies!

Kanji count: 947

Kanji added: 413

0-24% 65→ 59
25-49% 205 → 243
50-74% 291 → 294
75-99% 285 → 298
100% 45 → 53

Last night while lying in bed I was like “oh boy, tomorrow I get to add more kanji again!” feeling genuinely excited. So addicting! :joy:


… has not been going as well the last couple weeks as previously. I’ve been missing a lot of days, and not always been able to finish each chapter in a day. But I’m still recovering from covid, and I’ve also started working on applications to writing programs, so … Although I would love to make faster progress, I’m fine with the fact that I have to be a little patient right now.


Although I really liked my new speaking study activity, I haven’t gotten around to it in the last couple weeks.

I did go to a Japanese meetup, which was unfortunately not super fun. I got some practice, but also had to listen to a lot of detailed conversation (a lot of it in English) about (probably) 少年 anime that I knew nothing about. (And didn’t particularly care to know anything about.)

I will probably still go back though, because after being on sick leave for three weeks I have no more money for private lessons on italki. :sob:
/the only money I do have I spent on ordering most of the rest of はなにあらし from cdjapan because I’m almost through the last volume I own …!!!


Ahhh that’s the worst… like I feel even more of an outsider when ppl are talking about something we could almost have in common, but don’t. I’m not interested in most of the popular/mainstream shounen anime/manga either, and then the stuff I’m into tends to be too niche for folks who are :confused:

Fwiw if you’re not concerned about getting them brand new, and need to save money, Suruga-ya doesn’t charge shipping on weekends. I’m probably ordering はなにあらし from there next month, depending on what else I decide to order.

Hope you’re able to recover more soon!


Yeah, totally! I was thinking of seeing about starting a book club with this group but I don’t know if there’s anyone who’s as interested as reading as I am, or even at all interested … :sweat_smile: … and if there was maybe they would be like “I have read ALL of One Piece in the original Japanese, let’s talk pirates!” and I would be like … or what about gentle portrayals of conversations about emotions?

Thanks for the tip! I have seen folks talking about this site, but I can never seem to find what I’m looking for on there … Is there something I’m missing? Maybe it shows you different stuff based on your (presumed) location? (I’m in the US.)

Thank you! :two_hearts: I am starting to feel a lot more normal this week!


Can’t know till you ask… Maybe come prepared with a few suggestions. It could be that ppl there also have the same hesitations as you. Best case, maybe you’ll introduce people to something new they’ll love? Worst case, you give it a try, and it doesn’t go anywhere

Are you searching in English or Japanese? The English search doesn’t work so well bc the titles are inconsistent and stuff. So if you change the site language to JP, it should go better. Otherwise you just have to make good use of the various filters to narrow things down. Sometimes they don’t have a particular volume or (more rarely) series in stock, but will get it in later.


Sometimes even searching in Japanese things won’t come up in a global search, but if I narrow it down to books then magically there are results. It’s a very bad user experience, but it’s also very cheap manga. I specifically happen to know they have はなにあらし because I’m currently reading a volume I got from there. :joy:

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Oh, wow, yeah that makes a big difference. I was searching in JP but the site was in English and nothing was showing up. Yay! This is so exciting!

Kanji count: 996

Kanji added: 462

0-24% 59→ 58
25-49% 243 → 233
50-74% 294 → 328
75-99% 298 → 319
100% 53 → 58

There’s actually not too much to say, which is probably why I went three weeks instead of two between logs.

  • Adding kanji according to how frequently they come up in my reading is working out well, and I’m going to continue with it.
  • Harta is going slow but steady and I’m pretty happy with my average pace for the last six months.
  • I decided to join back in with the 魔女の宅急便 club when they reach the point where I last stopped, because I wasn’t enjoying rereading the parts I had already read.
  • Which means I’m caught up on all book clubs, if not a little ahead.
  • But I don’t currently have any additional time to do any studying other than kanji, Harta, and book clubs. And I barely have time to do any reading besides that.