Powered by Pash - Random Study Thoughts and Log

I’ve internally debated a bit whether I should start writing a study log, mainly because I have no idea how to start this or how to format it nicely. I’ve stalked looked at a few of the other logs and everyone is keeping their posts so neat and tidy! I guess that’s to be expected of a community that loves tracking things.

But well, here I am.

The main purpose is that I want to be able to look back on this post (maybe I will abandon this thread, maybe I will abandon Natively, maybe I will abandon learning Japanese) – but I always found great joy in finding old posts of mine and seeing how much I changed over the weeks, months, years. Sometimes it’s like seeing a completely different person.

I found Natively a few months ago and I love it so much, I really love having a place to keep track of all the things I’m reading and watching and I love stalking looking at other’s profiles to find recommendations. So hopefully this will help me keep track of my progress as well. I don’t know many people here yet, but everyone seems very friendly and helpful.

Some background

I’ve started learning Japanese a long time ago, it must have been 2018 or so. I found old Wanikani posts from me in 2019. I wish I could remember the exact moment where I decided “okay, I’m doing this for real!”. Probably I saw some anime or listened to some J-music, and thought it would be cool to be able to understand it just like that. Or maybe I was reading scans and was in awe of the hard-working translators.

At that time I was pretty clueless how to start, at that time already there was a wealth of information and apps on learning Japanese.

I think I started with some apps like Drops, and then Lingodeer. I remember struggling to find a method to learn Kanji which completely overwhelmed me (as always, the easiest terms - here numbers - have the most complicated readings).

Ultimately I succumbed to Wanikani and used it religiously for a few years. Luckily I already started earning my own money and could afford it without regrets.
I also had a Anki phase but because I wasn’t really versed with making card layouts I always had issues with the pre-made decks, adding and dropping them after a while. If JPDB had been there already then, I probably would have stuck with that. But instead, I re-discovered a cute little app called Renshuu which could do everything I wanted! Nowadays, I only use Renshuu as my all-in-one review tool and feed it the materials I’m studying (textbooks, JLPT lists, making my immersion lists).

During all this time, I’ve had a few slumps where I didn’t study for months on end, but ultimately I always found my motivation back. And the reason for that, was always that I found something that I hyperfixated on, which fueled my burning desire to please let me understand the raws and fanarts I’m begging on my knees.

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit but yeah my latest motivational burst was born from the power of yaoi ships. That’s why I’m putting it here right at the end. But maybe I don’t have to, since I noticed there’s actually quite a lot of BL enjoyers in this community!

Current goals
  • Pass N3 in December to have a sort of qualitative checkpoint

  • Finish reading a (light) novel (I have no idea where the difference between light novels and novels start, I guess anything that’s young-adult themed is a LN? I’m not a YA anymore, so I have no idea what’s that supposed to include)

  • I want be more confident in speaking and reach a travel-conversational level (want to travel to Japan in 2025 with friends and I’ll probably be the one who translates everything)

Stats! (cuz everybody loves numbers!)

Renshuu Vocab Kanji Grammar
Unique Terms 6616 1616 514
N5 855/855 (100%) 80/80 (100%) 110/110 (100%)
N4 610/610 (100%) 166/166 (100%) 141/141 (100%)
N3* 1524/1772 (86%) 376/376 (100%) 153/153 (100%)
N2 668/1747 (38%) 359/359 (100%) 65/247 (26%)
N1 422/3096 (13%) 541/1226 (44%) 7/216 (3%)

*currently working on

Natively Stats
Books/Volumes read* 27
Pages read* 5.3k
Series/Movies watched 6
Hours watched 47.6

*excluding textbooks and graded readers

Currently Reading:

Currently watching:

Is there something else? I guess I can always make liberal use of the edit function. If you’ve come so far, then thank you so much for reading (but I’ll be fine using this just for accountability, too).

(I really hope I won’t abandon this T_T )


Nothing wrong with having it messy either. I mainly started using the details tags for everything to avoid wall of text/tldr

Don’t worry, neither does anyone else :stuck_out_tongue:

Acc to Wikipedia LN article:

Kim Morrissy of Anime News Network reported that Keita Kamikita, the system operator of a science fiction and fantasy forum, is usually credited with coining the term “light novel” in 1990. After noticing that the science fiction and fantasy novels that had emerged in the 1980s were also attracting anime and manga fans because of their illustrations by famous manga artists, Kamikita avoided using terms like “young adult” because the novels did not appeal to one particular demographic

But now it just depends what the publisher decides to call it

Our of curiosity, looking at your renshuu stats, is there a reason you’re considering taking N4 rather than N3?


It’s nice to meet you! I love your avatar; it’s so cute. :3

No shame! :muscle: :muscle: That’s originally how I got into learning Japanese myself, haha. I hope to see you around in the BL book club threads someday!

Join the club; we’ve had a similar discussion here before. :sweat: As far as we’ve managed to figure out, most of the distinction comes down to how the publisher wants to market a book. Any particular LN/novel you’ve got your sights set on first?


New BL Book Club slogan :rofl:


Thanks for the kind replies :smiling_face:

I guess I could try taking N3 seeing that it’s still kinda far, I’m just more of a play it safe kinda type, I still have to work on grammar a lot (especially for the types of questions, where they ask for nuances).

Currently I’m reading the Japanese translation for Semantic Error (セマンティックエラー 1 | L30??)

I tried a bit learning Korean, felt a bit like I mis-skilled when I got into K-Pop in 2021. I know some people manage multiple languages but I’m fully occupied learning Japanese (and a bit of Spanish which is unfortunately suffering due to that).


Can’t be mine :joy: it’s a mess of tables and references I made for myself and chitchat with other people.

It’s your log, whatever format pleases you is best.


That is at least 20 years later than I started :sweat_smile: :melting_face: :sob:

As someone who occasionally keeps a (messy) language log I can attest to having it to look back on feels good over time!

And yay, another yaoi/BL stan!
It didn’t get me into Japanese in the first place, but it certainly is a big part of why I persevered :sweat_smile:


I know I’m not THAT old but being in some online communities it really feels like it when it’s made out of a majority of younger users. I used to have a really nice K-pop discord server but recently it is overrun by minors and idk I can’t fawn my bias the same way as some of those kids that could be my own… /minirant

I feel like here it’s pretty much mixed but also on average a bit maturer? (I don’t know if there is any user statistic for that). I also have the impression it’s less male-dominated as say for example the Reddit and Discord Learning spaces which is honestly refreshing. I guess on Reddit it’s the IT/CS bubble, I joined a Japanese Zoom class from my community college and we are all girls from ages 20-50.


And, the first summary and thoughts about stuff I’m doing right now (copied also in the start post):

Currently Reading:

Semantic Error

I’ve watched the K-Drama and was absolutely in love with Seoham and Jaechan, they had such a great chemistry and they incorporated the characters really well. After that I started reading English fan translations of the novel, which is an absolute masterpiece. The characters are so interesting and their POVs so well-written, and the way the romance develops is so engaging and fun. One of the characters is pretty much autistic, and it’s written in a way that you can understand the way he’s acting and rationalizing.
There is a Japanese translation, so I’m currently reading that. The level is a bit above mine (I would say N2 level), so I’m reading it with lots of lookups and without taking down the vocab, otherwise it would just take too much time.


よつばと! | L17
Current volume: 12
I love slice of life, so as the most recommended beginner manga it’s totally up my alley. I love Yotsuba so much, she’s so adorable and such a lovely kid.


鬼滅の刃 | L24
Current volume: 2
I watched the anime and Tanjirou might be one of my favorite protagonists ever. I like that he’s different from the usual Shounen protagonists, he’s a very sensitive person who’s deeply compassionate about other people and I love how they picture the sibling relationships, it’s so wholesome. There is some fantasy-related vocab and some archaic choice of kanji/words which are a bit more difficult.


葬送のフリーレン | L26
Current volume: 1
I started this after watching the first episodes of the anime. The pace is slow at the beginning, as in the anime. While I didn’t mind it in the anime, it feels a bit sluggish to be reading about it again. The level is alright, lots of fantasy-related vocab which repeats regularly so it’s fairly doable to learn.


It seems you haven’t seen her dark side yet…


I wouldn’t mind, in my 30+ years of living I haven’t found a single 4-leafed clover…


Yeah that was a huge challenge for me in both. I finally finished book 1, and decided to skip to book 7 (where the anime leaves off), but am considering making myself read 2-6 as well.

I often wonder (and simultaneously appreciate not knowing) what the demographics here are. In any case, I agree about it feeling very refreshing :slight_smile:

Your profile is cool btw. Kinda considering rewriting mine in JP now too :slight_smile: tho I never know what to write for these things…

I started reading the manga for the upcoming arc forever ago, but got distracted, which is probably good, since now I can’t get grumpy about adaptation choices :slight_smile:

I also love Tanjirou in this regard (also 花江夏樹 :heart_eyes:)… Particularly I love that he’s able to both be really compassionate and not have a crisis over doing his work. Not sure if you’d agree, but some others that come to mind as similar for me: Kirito/Kazuto from SAO, Syaoran from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle (mostly), and (in a very broken way) Shirou from Fate/Stay Night.

Really looking forward to seeing Nezuko finally get some more development this arc too!


Lol, somehow I decided to respond simultaneously in your thread.

Omg is that the same Syaoran from Card Captor Sakura? I think I distantly remember that CLAMP somehow universed their characters together. If yes, then I’m VERY interested, I LOVED CCS

1 Like

すごい偶然ですよ! 笑

Yes and no. Basically Tsubasa takes the chars from CCS and uses aged up, more mature versions of them. There’s no direct continuity with CCS, but they are the same essential characters in an alternate universe, with similar relationships, in (multiple) different settings. It’s still collecting things (feathers/Sakura’s memories) and still involves the Clow stuff (but differently). It has a more serious and darker tone (tho plenty of humor and peaceful, cute, wholesome moments). Also has some character & plot overlap with xxxHolic, which is more of a “mystery of the week” sorta series that ran concurrently.

I only watched CCS cuz I wanted to get to know the characters/origins more. They’re mostly independent of each other, but there’s occasional fun throwbacks. Anyway it’s one of my favorites!


In today’s episode of doing anything-but-studying, I wanted to write a bit about how I currently divided my studying, yay!


I log all my terms into Renshuu, which I absolutely love and will recommend to anyone who will hear about it. It’s a lovely all-in-one app for vocab, kanji and grammar, all items are crosslinked, you can make custom decks, and the community is also very nice and friendly.

I love making vocab lists, so whenever I feel like studying-but-not-actually-studying I often start transcribing a list. I made lists for almost all my textbooks that weren’t already on Renshuu.

Current streak: 160 days :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

My schedules are currently setup like this:

  • (with JPN ↔ Meaning vector, Sentence Questions on)
    • N3 words
    • Core2K/Kaishi 1.5K words
    • Ace Attorney words (that’s a long time project, currently learning the vocab for Case 2)
    • Book Clubs (from here, what I’m currently reading and Renshuu’s book club)
    • 単語 (merged schedule with anything I ever learned)
  • (with Kanji → Kana vector)
    • Vocab readings (selected words where I forget how they are pronounced, usually rare readings)
  • (with Meaning, Onyomi and Kunyomi vector)
    • Kaishi Kanji (to accompany the vocab)
    • 漢字 (merged schedule with anything I ever learned, also random kanji finds in the wild go here)
  • (with Writing vector)
    • 漢字 (N5-N4 kanji to practice writing)
  • (with Multiple Choice and Sentence Jumble questions)
    • 文法 (merged schedule with anything I ever learned)

I think it takes me about 30-60 minutes a day. Currently I have about 300 reviews total per day. I do most of them before I start work, and then some in my break and after I get off.
I’m trying to add 5-10 new words in each uncompleted schedule, about 15-20 total per day. Though currently I’m taking it slower again until the reviews go down a bit.

Textbooks and Grammar


  • Genki: Working my way through Vol. 2 to re-inforce grammar and practice writing. I’ve been with Genki for a long time – I like its structure but it would really be nicer with a study buddy for the partner exercises.
  • Sou Matome N4: Using this as a checkpoint marker to see which points I should practice more.
  • Nihongo Challenge N5-N4: Using this to practice Kanji writing (why is production so hard?).
  • I’ll probably start with Shin Kanzen N3 Grammar soon, grammar is still the thing that I feel like having the least control over in terms of my abilities.

Grammar Resources

  • Japanese The Manga Way: Not really using this as a lookup but more a bedside read to review a few grammar points with examples. I really like the way it’s informally written and the examples are super helpful.
  • A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar: I like it, I think it’s a valuable resource, but sometimes it’s written in a way that I read an explanation 3 times and still don’t get it. The example sentences though are excellent.
  • Google anything else, or paste it into ChatGPT and then keep arguing with it why it tells me contradicting things sigh.

I basically rotate between 3-5 books (mostly manga), whatever I feel most like reading at the moment. When I have to travel to the city (live in a metropol region, I usually take my kindle to read my novel). Recently it’s been busy and I’ve been so tired, but otherwise I try to read at least an hour a day (better than nothing, I guess?)

I read everything digitally, kindle or tablet. I buy from Amazon JP because I’m lazy and have never figured Bookwalker out. The dictionary function for Kindle app is meh, but I managed to import JMdict on my Kindle at least.

I do like physical books, but I’m - not very tidy, so having books always turns into a mess (my nightstand table is already cluttered with the books above). I saw some people are avid (text)book collectors, I guess I would be the same way, but I had to move often in the last years and I just can’t deal anymore with moving tons of books around.

As to what I productively did for learning, I agreed/decided now that N3 is probably better to aim for in December. Took this as an excuse to buy new textbooks :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

After finishing Genki, I should think what textbook I want to follow next, Quartet would be obvious since I liked Genki but probably I’m going with Tobira due to cost (Quartet would be 4 books, ie. 2 textbooks + 2 workbooks), Tobira only 2 (1 textbook plus 1 grammar workbook, I don’t think I need the kanji workbook).

I also started watching はじめてのおつかい S1 | L20, this time in Japanese. It’s super easy to understand and the kids are adorable. I loved the kid in the 2nd episode, her struggle was so real lol. I think it’s a great series to watch for beginners, since it doesn’t really have a plot, and the narrator is describing exactly what is shown on the screen.


It’s been a while, nothing great to report since I’ve been taking it a bit slow due to work being a major PITA.
I’ve suddenly had to take on a few automation tasks (you could call it language practice since I’ve had to use my scarce knowledge of python) and it’s been draining all my life energy. It wouldn’t be that bad as I like Python and to use it for something project-related is fun, but I’ve learned Python from scratch on the job in the past year, and to expect that my beginner barely made it out of tutorials level code should be used for production is honestly terrifying (and isn’t in my job description, I’m not a dev!).

So that’s why I haven’t really had time or motivation for immersion. I did, though, diligently done my textbooks review and exercises. I really like the Shin Kanzen Master structure for review, there’s lots of exercises that are better at drilling down the chapter contents than Sou-Matome which barely has any exercises. I’m doing one lesson per day for Sou-Matome N4 and started with 2 pages per day with Shin Kanzen N3 (Vocab).

I’m also continuing with my Spanish course, last week we introduced indefinite pronouns (algo/todo/nada, alguno/a/s ninguno/a, alguien/nadie) and I must say that our textbook is really bad. It barely has any explanations and then 3 sentences for practice and 1 exercise in the back. I’m missing the kind of drill exercises to get a feeling for the grammar structure. I joined the A2 course having done it a long time ago and having forgotten lots of vocab, and while my reading and listening comprehension is great, the sort of sense/feeling/intuition for the language is hard to get back.

To report something completely unrelated, we visited a bat sanctuary and it was pretty cool. The sanctuary people reversed the day cycle for them so visitors can watch them being active (in the dark with infrared lights). They were super cute and active, flying around and munching fruits. And apparently they’re the only mammals reproducing non-copulatively (there was more weirdly fascinating facts about that but it might get NSFW-ish). Learn something new every day huh.


If you need help with Python, feel free to DM me. I have a lot of experience with it, and would be happy to help :slight_smile:

Bat sanctuary sounds cool!!


Didn’t know I’d be googling bat reproduction today but here we are


How do you guys deal with fatigue? I think I’ve been tired my entire life, I never feel rested unless I sleep 8-10hrs and since I’m an early riser that means I need to go to bed at like 10pm.

Yesterday I got off work, went grocery shopping, and fell asleep immediately afterwards, woke up at 11pm (and couldn’t fall asleep again, yay body!)

I try to read but active studying already takes up around an hour or more (doing textbooks and vocab study), and then afterwards reading just feels exhausting. I don’t want to cut on grammar practice, I feel like it’s giving good results so I want to keep going there.

Maybe I should read some books in my native language to read just for pure enjoyment, no strings attached. Recently I got a nice book from a flea market, it’s an illustrated German version of Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werwolf.

I also started the May Challenge with the Down Dog Yoga app, to get some stretches from sitting all day at the desk, maybe do meditation on the days where I’m lazy.

I just wonder sometimes how other people live because working, cooking, grocery shopping, studying, a hobby once in a week to see some real peoples’ faces once in a while, it’s taking up all my time and energy. And I have to do something for my health, and there’s friends, and I don’t even have kids…

I know this is not a unique problem but still… There’s this part in me that just want to lay in bed all day and just sleep or daydream…


I am basically the exact same and feel my best when I get 9-10 hrs of sleep. I used to just wake up early and do all my studying in the morning hours during the week and it helped me get around that and be productive, even though I’d be tired in the evenings. However, I had some bloodwork done a while back and discovered I was very anemic, which was contributing to my fatigue and lack of stamina. Once I got my iron levels back up and everything sorted out, I had way more energy throughout the entire day. Maybe something worth checking if you haven’t already? :thinking: (There can be many causes including just a general busy lifestyle, but still!)