Harahachibu's Study Log

Porting over my thread from Koohii (Beyond JLPT N1), which was basically my study log. While the thread had some interesting discussions about different topics, only moving over my study log-related posts.

Passed JLPT N2 in December of 2011. Passed JLPT N1 in December 2015.

Current Plan
Took a bit of a hiatus in 2018, where the only active Japanese I did was my daily Anki flashcard decks and occasional TV shows for entertainment.

Currently looking to get back into reading Japanese novels for pleasure again.


2015-12-22, 3:01 pm

I thought the 2015 N1-N2 thread was helpful in seeing what other people were studying & finding useful resources, so I thought it would be nice to have a 2016 version of the thread for those who hopefully will, or already have passed N1.

I just wanted to see what kind of things advanced learners are going through, what they’re trying to learn, and links to helpful resources and the like.

Here’s my tentative plan for 2016. I’d really like to build up my vocabulary more, work on my business keigo, and get listening comprehension up to college lecture level.

Anki decks to go through (already made):
Collection of gitaigo
Subset of most commonly used yojijukugo
Japanese names of kanji bushu

How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese by Charles De Wolf - A collection of vocabulary words divided into chapters like politics, arts, science, economics, law, etc. I have gone through a little bit of it and I think it does help in building vocabulary so you can have more in depth and interesting conversations with people.

Read Practical Japanese by John Braden - Useful Japanese words and phrases, especially for signs and notices. Useful for me since I don’t live in Japan and won’t run across these naturally.

Common Japanese Collocations by Kakuko Shoji - A collection of 3200 word combinations so that your Japanese sounds more natural. I certainly won’t anki all of it, but hopefully will have a chance to go through and pick out the ones that I would find useful.

Shin Kanzen Master N1 Goi - I didn’t have a chance to go through this before I took the N1 in December, but I still think it’d be useful for me to go through and anki any interesting phrases / vocabulary.

Japanese for Professionals by AJALT - This was recommended a few times on this board for business keigo so I got this. I’d really like to get my business keigo to a better & more consistent level. I’m open to suggestions if anyone has other recommendations.

I’d like to try and go through a lecture series from Gacco

Maybe go through some NHK Koukou Kouza videos

Other things:
I have found a few online sources for Japanese names, so I may make an anki deck for the most common surnames and the most popular boys and girls names for the last few decades. I feel like not being able to read men’s first names is kind of a big hole in my reading ability. There seemed to be a few Anki shared decks but I wasn’t sure if any of them were any good.

2016-05-13, 9:42 am

I thought I would post an update since we’re a few months into the year.

I’ve managed to go through my Anki decks for the gitaigo and the Japanese names for kanji bushu. I haven’t gone through the yojijikugo deck however, for a few reasons. I’m not sure how accurate the frequency grade in that deck is, and I’m not a big fan of how the cards are formatted. It’s not really much work, to be honest, but I have just been lazy about it. Maybe I’ll fiddle with the format this weekend and get started on the deck. The entire yojijukugo deck is 3000+ cards, but I will probably only focus on maybe the top 10-20% by frequency.

As far as my books go, I have not really touched them. I generally dislike the time consuming process of adding things wholesale into Anki and have been putting it off. Maybe I’ll try to get the Read Practical Japanese and How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese books into Anki by the end of June as a goal. Those two books are probably the ones I want to mine for vocab the most.

I have not gone through a Gacco lecture series or any of the NHK Koukou Kouza videos.

I’d still be interested in going through a deck of common names & kanji, especially readings for male first names, which I still find to be difficult. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a pre-made Anki deck for that, and currently I don’t have a ton of motivation to make it myself right now.

Things that I have been doing:

I try to read at least a little bit of a Japanese novel almost every day. I’ve finished three this year so far. My other goal is to basically read from a different author each time so that I am exposed to different writing styles, vocabulary, kanji usage, etc. This has been a good experience for me so far.

I’ve been watching the NHK documentary series 「ドキュメント72時間」 which is pretty interesting. They set up a camera crew at a certain location for 72 hours and then interview the people who visit there, work there, etc.

I’ve been adding unknown words that I come across in the wild to my Anki deck. It’s definitely not all the words, but it’s not a trivial amount either. So far in 2016 I’ve added about 500 cards. In comparison, in 2015 I added about 2300 vocab cards.

Not having the JLPT looming over you is interesting. You feel more free to delve into the parts of the language that you find more interesting, but on the other hand without a time limit you can find yourself being lazy without any real penalty for it. It’s also harder to find a way to mark progress. I did take the JCAT at the beginning of the year, so I can use that for now.

2017-01-01, 5:33 pm

I wanted to write up a quick summary of 2016 in review. I will probably post again later with 2017 goals. I doubt I’ll make a new thread for it, will probably just continue this one:

Anki decks to go through (already made):
:heavy_check_mark: Collection of gitaigo
:heavy_check_mark: Subset of most commonly used yojijukugo - This was quite useful. I only did maybe the top 5-10% in terms of frequency, so I may add another slice next year.
:heavy_check_mark: Japanese names of kanji bushu

Additional decks I added:
:heavy_check_mark: Express Your Feelings in Japanese
:heavy_check_mark: Berlitz Japanese Phrasebook
:heavy_check_mark: Japanese Newspaper Compounds

:heavy_check_mark: How to Sound Intelligent in Japanese by Charles De Wolf
:heavy_check_mark: Read Practical Japanese by John Braden
:x: Common Japanese Collocations by Kakuko Shoji - This one is probably too many to anki directly. Not sure if there’s a good way to find what would be the most useful and learn those.
:x: Shin Kanzen Master N1 Goi
:x: Japanese for Professionals by AJALT

Pleasure reading:
:heavy_check_mark: Novels: 赤川次郎、西村京太郎、ねじめ正一、東川徳哉、中村文則、星新一 - I tried to read books from different authors this year. It was a great experience, the different writing styles really helps with language exposure I think. I may continue this next year as well.
:heavy_check_mark: Manga: 食戟のソーマ - I love this manga because cooking is my other hobby, so it’s a natural fit. I also started watching Mushi-shi on Netflix and enjoyed that, so I may start reading that manga as well.

:x: I’d like to try and go through a lecture series from Gacco
:x: Maybe go through some NHK Koukou Kouza videos
:heavy_check_mark: NHK Document 72 - I really enjoyed this documentary series from NHK. I’m almost done with all of the ones that I could find, however. It might be worth it for me to figure out how to sign up and pay for NHK On Demand and then use a VPN to view it. It seems they come out with a new one almost every week.

Other things:
:x: Japanese Names anki deck? - I’d still like to find a useful deck for this if possible. I did some cursory work on building one myself but would prefer not to do it myself.

Anki Stats:
Added 3,834 Vocab cards to Anki this year

2017-01-08, 6:47 pm

Okay, I’ve given it a bit of thought and here are my goals for 2017 in Japanese.


One exercise I am thinking of doing is going through Core 6k/10k and also maybe the WWWJDICT “common words” list (about 20k words) and adding some of those to my decks.

Yojijukugo, slice #2: I did about the top 10% by frequency from this massive yojijukugo deck, and I found it to be useful, so I may do another 10% slice this year as well.

Unsuspend Kanji cards: I should probably do a cram session of all of my kanji cards and also un-suspend my currently suspended leech kanji cards.

I may go through some of my keigo books (see below) and add them as Anki cards. I’m not 100% sure if they’re a good candidate for Anki-ing however.

Decks I would like to find (but may end up making myself, ugh):

Common Japanese names, esp. male first names. Maybe find a list of the most popular boys/girls names per year for the past few decades.

Japanese places trivia, cities, etc… basic cultural info about various regions, prefectures, cities of Japan. I already have a deck that is a map, but would like more of the trivia/tourist info about places. What are the big cities? Famous tourist or historical sites? Famous foods? etc.


When I went to Japan last year I picked up some keigo and business Japanese books. About half were for foreigners learning Japanese and half were aimed at native Japanese speakers. Listing some of them below. I may Anki some of these if I can figure out a good format for doing so.

シャドーイング 日本語を話そう 就職・アルバイト・進学面接編 - I’ve never done shadowing before so I don’t know how effective it is, but I figure this would be interesting to work through.

スラスラ話せる敬語入門 一目でわかる!! すぐに使える!!



I definitely will continue reading books and novels for leisure. If anything, this may be the main focus of my Japanese for the year. I’ve already started reading 宮部みゆきの「火車」, and it has been a lot easier than the last time I picked it up and scanned a few pages of it (maybe last year?). Hopefully that means some progress on my end.

Authors I’d like to read this year: 宮部みゆき (MIYABE Miyuki)、川端安成 (KAWABATA Yasunari)、江戸川乱歩 (EDOGAWA Ranpo)


Last year I had an online college course and Koukou Kouza listed here, but that was probably a bit too ambitious. I think I’d rather do lighter and more entertaining stuff than purely academic.

NHK Documentaries: I’d like to watch more NHK Documentaries. Someone posted a link earlier to a bunch from AJATT, which might be a good place to start. Perhaps I should look into paying for access to NHK somehow. There might also be some Youtube channels out there that might be interesting.

J-Drama with Japanese subtitles - This is usually a pretty good exercise for me. The number of dramas with Japanese subtitles is quite low, however, and doing the timing myself is not that fun. I should try and do it for a few dramas this year though. An alternative might be watching the Netflix Japanese shows since those have Japanese subtitles already. The only downside with those is that I have to watch them on my computer instead of my TV.

BBC Japanese: I like reading news off here because it gives me Japanese vocabulary words for current events in the west & in America. I should probably try to read this more regularly for practice.

Podcasts: I used to listen to バイリンガルニュース, and I like the format of it. Unfortunately I got a little tired of hearing the American guy man-splaining everything and the Japanese girl just agreeing with him. So I felt the vocabulary usage was lopsided towards the English side and the Japanese side eventually turned into a lot of “sou desu-nee.” I’m not really a regular listener of podcasts in English either, but I’m listing it here to remind myself to look every now and then.

Other: I used to post on Lang-8, maybe it’s worthwhile to do that again? Also, maybe there are teachers on iTalki that could figure out a lesson plan for me? It’s a little more difficult without a set curriculum to aim for, but there are probably teachers out there who have a curriculum for advanced learners.


I don’t intend on signing up for any tests any time soon (aside from J-CAT), but just as a reference if anyone is interested, here are some other non-JLPT exams out there:

Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) - phone interview

Business Japanese Proficiency Test (BJT) (not held in USA)

J-Test (not held in USA)

Kanji Kentei

2017-01-10, 5:35 pm

Just took the J-CAT and posted in the J-CAT thread, but posting here as well for my own personal reference. Older score is from about a year ago, shortly after passing JLPT N1:

聴解 / Listening 85 -> 88
語彙 / Vocabulary 45 -> 52
文法 / Grammar 71 -> 70
読解 / Reading 52 -> 69
合計 / Total 253 -> 279

I’m surprised my grammar score didn’t regress further, since I haven’t studied standardized test grammar in so long. It’s nice to see progress in a quantified manner I guess. Maybe hopefully I get a score of 300 next year if I keep up my reading?

2017-05-29, 1:50 pm

I thought I’d update this thread with my progress for the year thus far. Doing this last year was a good motivator for some things I had been slacking on, so maybe it will do the same this year. Apologies in advance for the wall of text.

ANKI Vocab

So I’m suffering from a little bit of Anki fatigue at the moment, at least on the vocabulary side of things. I had gone through the Core6k words I didn’t know, and was plodding along the Core10k words I didn’t know when I just hit a wall and was tired of the increasing number of Anki reviews I was facing each day. So I completely put a pause on adding new vocabulary about a month ago. I’ll probably start adding in the words I’ve encountered in the wild that I wanted to add, but forcing down the Core10k words felt sort of pointless so I’m not sure if I’ll ever end up finishing that. The Core6k didn’t feel that way, they felt like genuinely useful words I didn’t know.

I briefly looked at the WWWJDict common words, but it’s about 20k+ words, so I abandoned that idea.

The yojijukugo was helpful, but I spaced them out so that I did about 10 per week. I got about halfway through the list I wanted to get through this year, and currently put it on pause as well with my other vocabulary. I’ll probably end up finishing this, it has been quite helpful.

  • Core6k unknown words (Completed)

  • Core10k unknown words (Finished about 20% before hitting the wall)

  • WWWJDict Common Words (Too many to sift through, did not go through these)

  • Yojijukugo, slice #2 (completed half so far, intend to finish this in 2017)

  • Other vocabulary words - Added 441 so far this year.

ANKI Kanji

I’ve decided to start tackling some non-Jouyou kanji this year. I’m thinking about it in phases as a long term project, so I’m kind of rolling my own RTK3-lite list, and then chipping away from there. I am basically using the Kanji Kentei list as a guide, with potentially my ultimate goal (maybe 1 year from now) being KK1.5 (準1級) + a very small subset of KK1 (1級). I’ll probably assess things after I finish the RTK3-lite to see if I want to continue on to finish all of KK1.5.

I should also note that when I add kanji now I am adding only 4 new kanji per day, so that I’m not overwhelmed by them.

  • Unsuspend Kanji cards - Re-studied my backlog of leech kanji cards. (completed)

  • Non Jouyou Kanji cards

  • DIY RTK3-lite set using frequency list as a guide (will start soon)

  • The rest of Kanji Kentei 1.5 (TBD)


I haven’t touched the books that I bought in Japan (maybe I’ll get on that soon), which were all on keigo usage. I have been getting a decent amount of novel reading done, though. My initial goal was about one novel per month. It was pretty easy to hit that when I was reading a little bit every day, but the last few months I’ve been slacking off a little bit. Reading a different author each time is good exposure, but for motivation’s sake, maybe I should back off the more challenging stuff and read a simpler mystery novel or something.

  • 宮部みゆき (MIYABE Miyuki) - 火車 - It was a nice confidence booster to be able to pick up and read this. I remember trying to read it a while back and found the few pages I got through quite the slog because of how much I had to stop and look up.
  • 川端安成 (KAWABATA Yasunari) - 掌の小説 - I struggled through a few stories before I decided to give up on it. Hopefully in the future my reading comprehension will be up to the task, but it looks like it is not yet there.
  • 平出隆 (HIRAIDE Takashi) - 猫の客 - Since I had both the English and Japanese versions, I’d read a chapter in Japanese first and then read the English translation. This novel, while grammatically very simple, still felt difficult because of the author’s vocabulary and kanji usage. He is apparently a poet, so I think that has something to do with it.
  • 江戸川乱歩 (EDOGAWA Ranpo) - Really interesting to see the different kanji usage from stuff written about 100 years ago. Since it’s past copyright, it’s listed on Aozora and is much easier to read with rikaisama/yomichan enabled.

I’ll toss in manga in here as well, I’ve been reading 食戟のソーマ and I started reading 深夜食堂 again. It’d been a while since I read Shinya Shokudou, so it was a nice surprise to see that it has become a pretty easy read for me now.


  • NHK Documentaries:

  • ドキュメント72時間 - I watch this whenever I can find it online.

  • J-Drama with Japanese subtitles - I’ve recently been watching these from Chinese sites that have both Japanese and Chinese subtitles. For some reason, having both of them on there is distracting to me and I kind of zone out and stop reading the Japanese subtitles. I should probably find better sources. Dear Japan, Inc., I would love for a legitimate, reasonably priced streaming option with Japanese subtitle support. I am happy to watch the commercials.

  • BBC Japanese: I at least scan the headlines from this every day. I should probably read more of the articles, but they seem to publish only 3 articles per weekday, so there’s not a lot to choose from.

  • Varieties: I’ve started watching some varieties. They’re quite entertaining, but probably not very educational.

2017-12-31, 2:15 pm

2017 Year in Review

A reflection on my goals for the year. I’ll probably post a follow up in a few weeks for 2018 goals.

ANKI - Vocab

1755 total vocab cards added to 2017 vocab (vs 3834 cards in 2016, 6076 cards in 2015).

I hit a bit of Anki fatigue halfway through the year and so the second half of the year was mostly just adding words from the wild and not working through any vocab lists. The Yojijukugo deck is maybe something I may work on again but I think otherwise I might be done with vocab lists for the time being.

:heavy_check_mark: Core 6k (490/490 completed)
:x: Core 10k (213/1513 done) - will probably abandon this, I found Core10k to be less useful than the words in Core6k that I didn’t know.
:x: WWWJDICT “common words” list - way too many to sift through
:x: Yojijukugo (204/399 completed for 2017 target, total 511 of 3300 from complete set done) - will probably continue next year
:heavy_check_mark: 848 vocab cards from the wild - getting a little harder to figure out if I want to add a card or not. Not many of my vocab words are “common words” now, so it’s hard to say if it’s something worth putting into Anki. Lots of non-Jouyou kanji as well. For now, my rule of thumb is “if it’s a phrase I’d like to use in production” then I add it.

ANKI - Kanji

:heavy_check_mark: Unsuspend Kanji leech cards (completed)
:heavy_check_mark: non Jouyou kanji (367 cards added) - worked slowly through a bit of my version of RTK3-lite. Hopefully will continue working on it slowly next year as well.

:x: Keigo books - didn’t input any of these into Anki

Decks I would like to find (but may end up making myself, ugh):

:x: Japanese names - The non Jouyou kanji that I learned has helped a bit with reading names. I am starting to get a better feel for how to read names now, without any intentional effort into it. Maybe a deck would be good for it, but that seems like a lot of effort.

:x: geography information - I bought a gakushuu manga in Japan for elementary school kids with basic info on each prefecture. That’s probably about the level of geography knowledge I’m aiming for. I also might want to look for travel TV shows in Japanese that might be an easy way to pick up some information.


I didn’t really do anything with the books that I got last year on keigo. I did get a decent amount of pleasure reading done, however, which I think has been pretty valuable. My rule to read different authors has been working out pretty well I think.

:x: シャドーイング 日本語を話そう 就職・アルバイト・進学面接編
:x: スラスラ話せる敬語入門 一目でわかる!! すぐに使える!!
:x: 敬語すらすらBOOK
:x: 敬語これだけBOOK

See my previous posts for thoughts on these authors:

:heavy_check_mark: 宮部みゆき (MIYABE Miyuki) - 火車
:x: 川端安成 (KAWABATA Yasunari) - 掌の小説
:heavy_check_mark: 平出隆 (HIRAIDE Takashi) - 猫の客
:heavy_check_mark: 江戸川乱歩 (EDOGAWA Ranpo)

Books I’ve read since that post:

:heavy_check_mark: 村上春樹 (MURAKAMI Haruki) - 女のいない男たち - A collection of short stories, the usual Murakami style. This was a fairly easy read, much easier than his ‘Colorless Tazaki’ novel that I read a few years ago. I ran an experiment and read both the Japanese and English versions and found that my Japanese reading speed is about 1/5 my English reading speed.

:heavy_check_mark: 東野圭吾 (HIGASHINO Keigo) - ガリレオの苦悩 - Another collection of Galileo mystery short stories. This was meh, ok. I find that as the actual act of reading and comprehending becomes easier, I am becoming a little more opinionated about the style of authors and if I like them or not. Right now Higashino Keigo is trending down, but I’ve only read his Galileo books. Maybe his other books are more my style.

:heavy_check_mark: 星新一 (HOSHI Shin’ichi) - ノックの音が - Hoshi Shin’ichi is pretty fun for me to read. Not very challenging but his stories are always so interesting and quick to read. This collection of stories all begin with the phrase “ノックの音が,” hence the title.

:heavy_check_mark: 東川篤哉 (HIGASHIGAWA Tokuya) - 密室に向かって撃て! - A comedy mystery from the writer of “謎解きはディナーの後で.” It’s the second in the series and I would say I enjoyed this a little less than the first in the series.

:heavy_check_mark: 横山秀夫 (YOKOYAMA Hideo) - 64(ロクヨン) - This mystery made some best-of lists and was actually reviewed in the New York Times, which is where I heard about it first. So, it’s a mystery novel but it’s actually more about the political machinations happening inside the police force. Solving the mystery is almost secondary to playing the politics game. There’s a good chunk of the novel where the plot hangs on whom a particular memo is addressed to and the career consequences of it. Also, I found the writer to be quite difficult to read. He uses jouyou kanji that I know, but in words and readings that I don’t know (maybe they’re rare? I’ve loaned it to a Japanese friend so I’m eager to hear what they think).

:heavy_check_mark: 村田沙耶香 (MURATA Sayaka) - コンビニ人間 - Picked this up on my last trip to Japan. Won the Akutagawa prize. It was a pretty quick and easy read. It is about a woman who has worked at a convenience store for 18 years, and she’s now 36 years old. She considers her life and thinks about whether she should try to get married or get a regular job and conform to social expectations.

湊かなえ (MINATO Kanae) - 豆の上で眠る - I just started this novel, so not a review here, but pretty excited to read it. I got interested in this writer because her novels went on to become movies and TV shows that I liked (Confessions, N no tame ni, Reverse, etc.). I only found out recently that the same woman wrote all of those.


Manga I enjoyed reading this year:

:heavy_check_mark: 僕だけがいない街 - A 29 year old guy gets sent back in time to when he was 11 years old so he can try and stop a classmate from being abducted and killed. It’s on U.S. Netflix now as “Erased,” I really enjoyed reading this.
:heavy_check_mark: ダンジョン飯 - A comedy set in the world of JRPGs. Lots of humor about the fantasy genre.
:heavy_check_mark: 深夜食堂 - This is the manga that is the basis for “Tokyo Midnight Diner” on Netflix. Human interest stories based around the regulars at a restaurant that is only open from midnight to 7 AM.
:heavy_check_mark: 食戟のソーマ - Shounen battle manga around a school where kids settle their differences in Iron Chef-style cooking battles. Pretty difficult kanji usage I would say. After a while the battles get a little tiring but it’s still a pretty fun manga to read.
:heavy_check_mark: モンタージュ - A manga based around the “三億円事件,” maybe Japan’s most famous unsolved crime. The main character thinks his father, who disappeared years ago, may have had something to do with the case and begins investigating. Pretty interesting but a little over the top with the violence at times.
:heavy_check_mark: ソラニン - 20 something OL decides to quit her job. Quick read, I think it was a big hit 10 years ago.
:heavy_check_mark: 宇宙兄弟 - A guy who has been fired from his job decides to try out for JAXA (Japan’s NASA), following in the footsteps of his younger brother, who is already a famous astronaut. It’s a pretty breezy read, I’m kind of surprised that adults read this, but it’s a nice bit of escapist entertainment.


:heavy_check_mark: NHK Documentaries - Watched a decent number of ドキュメント72時間 when I can find them online. I do enjoy these a lot.

:heavy_check_mark: J-Dramas w/Japanese subtitles - I’ve switched to watching about 90% of my Japanese dramas now with Japanese subtitles. It’s a good exercise, but sometimes makes watching dramas more studying than entertainment (having to pause in order to jot down words I want to add to anki etc).

:heavy_check_mark: BBC Japan - Glanced over these headlines every day, but didn’t necessarily read too many articles. It’s a good way to pick up the Japanese words for things that pop up in Western news.

:x: Podcasts - No podcasts really, I’ll probably abandon this idea next year.

:x: Other: Lang-8, iTalki - Didn’t do anything with these this year.

:heavy_check_mark: ANN News - Free streaming Japanese news channel.

:heavy_check_mark: Japanese bulletin board sites - I’ve started reading more Japanese forums and bulletin boards. Good practice for slang and net slang.

:heavy_check_mark: Variety shows that I’ve enjoyed this year for just entertainment purposes

So in 2018, I basically took a bit of a hiatus in furthering my Japanese. I did my daily Anki flashcards, but didn’t add many vocabulary words over the year. I was also unable to read much in Japanese because of a busy schedule, though I did sneak in some dramas and documentaries from time to time.

I spent today reading a few collections of 宇宙兄弟, which I haven’t done in ages. I haven’t sat down and thought about what I’d like to accomplish for this year, but I definitely want to add reading Japanese novels and manga for pleasure back into the mix.

2018-2020 Year(s) in Review

dusts off old thread

I’m so glad to see this community still alive and well. Recently after working to finish reading some Japanese novels I started a few years ago, I noticed that I was progressively forgetting words and kanji that I used to know. I decided to redouble and restart my Japanese studies as a result.

In a lot of ways, it is like going to the gym for the first time after taking a break. I know how much I could do in the past, and I know that I’m not at that level right now, but I’m pretty confident that it’s in my capabilities to get back there, if I am willing to put in the work.


Basically completely took a hiatus from Anki for 2 years.

Looking back at my Anki records, I did my flash cards daily, almost without fail, from 2014 to the middle of 2019. After that, my Anki usage pretty much stopped, probably because work got pretty hectic. So I basically did no Anki for 2 years, and I started studying daily again about 2 weeks ago.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly things are coming back to me. At the moment I’m mostly focused on my kanji cards, and not working through my vocab cards. At peak I was at around 2500 kanji cards, and I’ll likely have to work through the suspended cards eventually as well. Still, it’s nice to know I haven’t forgotten everything and even at just a few weeks of refreshers I feel reading has already gotten easier for me.


I read a total of 0 Japanese books in 2018, 1 Japanese book in 2019, 0 Japanese books in 2020, and finished 2 Japanese books in 2021 (which I actually started in 2019). As mentioned previously, realizing that I had forgotten some kanji and vocab while reading these two books lead me to re-start my Anki habit.

I’m looking forward to getting back to reading more in Japanese. I’ll probably start by focusing on some easier mystery novels, like 赤川次郎’s to get back into the groove.


Read some horror manga by 伊藤潤二 (ITOH Junji) and a tiny bit of 宇宙兄弟, but largely haven’t been reading any manga lately. Manga seems like another good avenue to get more Japanese practice in compared to novels, so I may read some more 深夜食堂、 and ダンジョン飯.



During this time I regularly watched dramas with Japanese subtitles, but that stopped earlier this year when the Chinese site I used to view them put them behind some login or something (not sure exactly what, but could no longer download the torrent and needed to register, so I didn’t bother). I may try to figure out how to get some of the subtitling software working again with the raw Japanese subs that are floating around, but it is honestly quite a bit of work and I’m not sure I’m willing to do put in the work for that.


A long study log!

By the way, that link works on the Wayback Machine / Archive.org:
Beyond JLPT N1

Interesting that you’ve gone back to Anki, ah I see you stopped reading :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to getting back to reading more in Japanese. I’ll probably start by focusing on some easier mystery novels, like 赤川次郎’s to get back into the groove.

I have 三毛猫ホームズ on my “to do list”. When I mentioned it to some friends, they pretty much all said 懐かしい :laughing:

I have 三毛猫ホームズ on my “to do list”. When I mentioned it to some friends, they pretty much all said 懐かしい :laughing:

Yeah, it seems to be a popular series that a lot of people read in middle school. It’s actually a little surprising, the first book in the series has some more adult themes than one might expect. The later ones seem to get a little more middle-school targeted though.

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Just wanted to check in to keep myself accountable, as I realized I just hit 90 straight days of Anki. I thought it would be helpful for people who are coming back to Anki after a long break, to see what the review curve looks like.

I’m currently working through my kanji deck, which is at 2,500 cards. The charts are below, but basically the first two and a half weeks, I was doing at peak ~600 reviews, but eventually came down to about 200 reviews, and is now down to about ~100 reviews per day. From a time standpoint, the peak was almost one hour total, down to about ten minutes per day now. After about 3 weeks I unsuspended all of my leech kanji cards, so I’m slowly adding those back in as “new” cards, at a rate of 6 per day.

I still have my vocabulary deck, which stands at 11,600 cards, which I have not worked on at all. In addition, I have about 50 cards that I’ve added in the past few months.

Outside of Anki, I started & finished a 三毛猫ホームズ novel, and I’m currently reading AX by 伊坂幸太郎 (ISAKA Koutarou), which is an interesting novel about a professional assassin who pretends to be a normal salaryman and has a wife & teenage son who don’t know about his double life. I try to read about ten pages a day. Other than that, keeping up with some TV shows and dramas for leisure. I wish it were easier to get dramas with Japanese subtitles with them.

Chart of reviews by number of cards:

Chart of reviews by time:


2021 Year In Review

明けましておめでとうございます! Happy New Year! Posting my traditional Year In Review for the first time in a while.

Big accomplishment was just re-starting my active Japanese studying. Worked my way through my kanji deck, and started some on my vocabulary deck. Also started reading books again in Japanese, completing 4 this year.

In personal news, I’ve started sending out feelers for jobs in Japan. I may try to make a move in 2022, depending on how Covid goes. Maybe it’s a part of the Great Resignation phenomenon? I like my current job a lot, but living in Japan long-term is something I’d like to try. There are probably only a handful of companies in Japan I’d make the move for, though, so I’d probably place this at 25% probability.


Restarted studying my kanji deck after a two year hiatus. This was my focus starting on May 30th, and it I haven’t missed a day since. Hoping to keep the streak alive this year.

Kanji deck:
2,509 kanji
+0 cards in 2021

Towards the end of the year I started chipping away at my vocab deck as well. It’s pretty large (11k+ cards) so will probably take a while to get to a manageable level.

Vocab deck
11,676 cards
+81 cards in 2021

In addition, I dived into some old spreadsheets and Anki decks I had lying around. I remember a few years ago I had worked on my Anki decks so that I had quite a good amount of cards lined up & ready to go to be added. After some poking around my archives, I managed to find them. I’m not sure if I will actually be adding any from these in 2022, but it’s good to know that I have them ready.

Kanji cards in reserve:
562 (kanji kentei 準一級)
3,289 (kanji kentei 一級)
Total: 3,851 kanji cards (I believe covers all of the kanji kentei)

Vocabulary cards in reserve:
1,300 cards from Core10k
195 cards from Yojijukugo


森下典子 (MORISHITA Noriko) - 日日是好日 - This is a book written by a newspaper columnist about her experience with her tea ceremony hobby, starting from when she was a college student and following it throughout her life. It unfolds somewhat slowly, but comes together beautifully as sort of a meditation on life and life philosophy. It’s available in English as “The Wisdom of Tea,” and was made into a movie a few years ago called “Every Day A Good Day.” I highly recommend this read.

住野よる (SUMINO Yoru) - 麦元三歩の好きなもの - Finished this novel that I started in 2019. It centers around a sort of socially awkward young woman who works part time at a library. Each story is titled “Mugimoto Sanpo likes [something]” and the story kind of revolves around it. I didn’t think it was the most entertaining book, but maybe it would appeal more if I were in the target demographic?

赤川次郎 (AKAGAWA Jirou) - 三毛猫ホームズの駆落ち - Read another mystery in the 三毛猫ホームズ series to get back into the groove of reading.

伊坂幸太郎 (ISAKA Koutarou) - AX(アックス) - Wrote briefly about this in my previous post. I would recommend it, I thought it was a pretty entertaining read.


伊藤潤二 (ITOH Junji) - 闇の声

伊藤潤二 (ITOH Junji) - うずまき - I’m only about halfway through this horror manga, which revolves around a town in Japan where its residents fall prey to or become obsessed with spirals. It’s pretty gruesome and graphic, and I can only stomach reading one chapter at a time. I can see why the author is pretty famous for his horror manga, he definitely has a pretty twisted imagination.



Stuck with my old standby TV shows that I enjoy. Maybe this year I could branch out and look for other shows I might find interesting. I find マツコ・デラックス pretty funny, so maybe I should look for more shows that she hosts or co-hosts. It also seems like Japanese dramas with Japanese subtitles are available more often, probably because they’re easier to rip from Hulu or Amazon? I’m not sure, but glad to see them included more often.