Mango's Study Log

This seems like an easy and straightforward way of keeping tabs on my learning but also a nice way to track how I’ve been studying. This is a little bit of copy&paste from elsewhere but ideally I will give this its own weekly/biweekly updates!

I started off with JapanesePod in late 2016 during a winter break, but after my break was done with I was too busy with school to use it proactively. Months later I hit up the kana charts again, but this time I stuck with Tofugu’s mnemonics. Since then I have reviewed hiragana enough times to have those characters seared into my brain. Katakana… not so much, but I’m not stressin’ it. After kana I moved onto WaniKani, but the mnemonics there weren’t doing it for me, which is why I am now applying my efforts elsewhere. My language-learning study habits have been infrequent and irregular, primarily due to school, but since I’m out free for at least one year I think I can make some real progress. I will be back in school eventually and progress will slow, but I want to see how far I can get until then. :purple_heart:

Currently studying with…

  • Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide
  • Situational Functional Japanese Vol. 1, Notes + Drills
  • Remembering the Kanji 1
  • Kanji Koohii
  • Anki
  • Apps like Manabi, NHK World, Drops
  • NHK News Web Easy

How it’s going…

For now I am only using Anki for kana review. It helps to keep those character alive in my brain, but I also reference back to my katakana chart as I turtle along with kanji. (When I can, I am also visiting NHK Web Easy or using the Manabi reader app for character recog practice.)

WaniKani didn’t work out for me upon the initial try, so I will stick to Heisig’s method for at least the duration of Remembering the Kanji 1. I’m still fresh into it, but creating my own stories appears to work better for me. ATM I’ve covered the first two lessons, so that’s 30 characters in all—including their on and kun readings. I’m not sure if that’s a wise way to go about it, but I figured that covering on and kun will help in the long run. Some kanji prove easier to recall than others (obvi), but I’m afraid if I pick up more too soon then I’m going to confuse my brain. I’ll work with these 30 over the next couple of days and see how I feel.

Tae Kim has been an okay source so far. My initial plan was to work through TK as well Genki I, but I can’t time manage both. As far as TK goes, I feel frustrated toward the presentation—or it’s because my own time management skills are making progress slow, and I want to read about complete sentence structure already. I am still on verb tenses, so I will keep reading through it in hopes that everything falls together and make better sense. I’ve been pairing it off an on with these Situational Functional Japanese textbooks, which also feel kind of scarce presentation-wise, but it also nicely provides a different perspective.

I’m also using the Drops app merely for the quick, albeit small, vocabulary practice. My focus is mainly on grammar and kanji at this point, so slipping in a five-minute Drops session 1 - 2 times a day is doable. I made sure to uncheck the romaji and hiragana options, which allows me pair images with their respective kanji when applicable. I’m not studying the vocab outside of review within the app, but the exposure certainly doesn’t hurt.

Study Goals for 4.21 - 5.06:

  • Review/study kanji from Heisig’s first two lessons
  • Assess how I’m doing with the 30 kanji on Tuesday, and then choose a choose a number of characters to aim for by the end of the week
  • Study and review Kanj daily via Koohii
  • Work through past-tense to adverbs and sentence-ending particles (Tae Kim goals)
  • Start essential grammar in TK by 4.28
  • Work up to chapter 4 in SFJ notes by 5.06




In short review of my goals…

  • Review/study kanji from Heisig’s first two lessons :heavy_check_mark:
  • Assess how I’m doing with the 30 kanji on Tuesday, and then choose a choose a number of characters to aim for by the end of the week :heavy_check_mark:
  • Study and review Kanj daily via Koohii :heavy_check_mark:
  • Work through past-tense to adverbs and sentence-ending particles (Tae Kim goals)
  • Start essential grammar in TK by 4.28
  • Work up to chapter 4 in SFJ notes by 5.06

Kanji took over, basically, and then… other stuff happened. My time management can be somewhat inept or I’m otherwise outright trying to bite off more than I can chew, but last week was a mess. I had more going on than I anticipated, and it left me making sacrifices. Grammar was one of those, as I chose to hit kanji goals over Tae Kim. I was ready for TK this week, and I had set a goal to reach 100 total kanji should my schedule allow, but in came the cluster migraines. It’s blindsiding.

Prior to this happening I had jumped into a 1 Month Kanji Challenge + a 50 Hours Challenge — each a separate but doable language challenge that so far have kept me motivated and feeling accountable for my goals. They’ve been great so far! But the migraines have been stealing study hours, so I decided to pause the kanji challenge until I can study and familiarize myself with what I’ve compiled so far. I hope this doesn’t take longer than mid-next week, but it feels uncertain with these daily attacks. :anguished:

However, I did get through a TK review, and without those reviews it’s too easy for me to forget things. At least I did that. Tomorrow the plan is to work at TK for at least an hour, even if it’s the only thing I do. By my next update I’m hoping I can say I’ve done the following:

:sunny:Goals for 5月5日 - 5月11日:sunny:

  • Work through TK at least for one hour 3 - 4 days a week
  • Practice/review known kanji daily to every other day
  • Learn 2 - 3 vocab words per each new-to-me kanji
  • Study new kanji as I see fit, depending on how many “trouble kanji” I have

I want to update this in a week, more so to hold myself accountable for TK goals! :ok_hand:

As for study material, I’m still using:

  • Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide
  • Remembering the Kanji 1
  • Kanji Koohii/Kanji Ryokucha
  • Quizlet
  • Jisho
  • Anki
    ⇝I’m still going through RtK! I am up to 85 Kanji, which is 15 less than where I was hoping to be at but things happen. NBD. I really need to sit down with the stuff I have trouble recalling, though, and I don’t feel like bringing in new kanji until I have these particular ones better-learned. I think I mentioned this last time, but I am also covering the on and kun readings~
    ⇝My routine is to go through 6 - 10 kanji in RtK, work through them again at Kanji Koohii while Jisho-ing the readings, and then create Quizlet sets. (KK vs Quizlet: I just prefer the aesthetics, esp when I want to do a quick runthrough on mobile, but Kanji Ryokucha is great too! All three are put to heavy use.)

Stuff I occasionally use or “when I remember to use it”:

  • Situational Functional Japanese Vol. 1, Notes + Drills
  • Apps like Manabi, NHK World, Drops
  • NHK News Web Easy
    ⇝SFJ is a JPN textbook I stole from my mom, who used it in her college days. I have days where I like it, it’s okay, and then others where it feels off-putting. My mom warned me not to use it, actually! She said to use “her other one,” which I can’t find… For now, I use SFJ if I want a different POV or just some kana practice!
    ⇝I’ve been lax with the apps and NHK news, too. Mainly because I have been busy and put focus on the bigger stuff. I would still like to use Drops more often, though! But if not, I’m not gonna sweat it either.

11.5.2019 Study Log Update:

So I do a weekly goals post on my blog, and in it I planned out the days I’d hit up TK for at least one hour. I’m happy to say I followed through on that, and switching the plan from 'work up to this section by this date" to an assigned time goal has been a big improvement. I’m able to work at whatever kind of pace I need to rather than feel pressured by my own expectation to reach a certain point in the text by the end of the week. I’m not on essential grammar just yet — I wrapped up relative clauses and sentence order today, and I probably won’t begin noun-related particles until Monday (with tomorrow being Mother’s Day). One thing I’ve learned is to to supplement TK with other online resources, preferably a good video from YouTube. Textbook + textbook wasn’t working for me, since sometimes I need someone to verbally explain how ‘thing x’ works before I go off to do practice drills. (TK’s Guide is also just a little too brief for me, and I don’t always make connections between his points… So whether that’s because he is too brief or I’m a little slow, I don’t know. :no_mouth: But since it’s not completely failing me as a resource, I’ll continue to use it in conjunction with other sources.)

I also reviewed my ‘trouble kanji’ this week — those ones I had issues remembering, both for character and reading — and picked up the 1 month kanji challenge again, limiting my new kanji to no more than three a day + the five vocab per kanji. But again, I think I forgot those troublesome kanji, but more so the characters than their readings. I don’t know why, but they don’t seem to stick very well. Instead of studying them over for days, I plan to keep exposing myself to the characters and their readings until they’ve sunken in more (hopefully).

Since last week I also heard about Kanji Garden, and I finally checked it out last night! I don’t know what the cost will be once it’s out of beta, but I’m thinking I’d like to continue using it if possible. As someone who tried and didn’t match with the popular WankiKani (:grimacing:), KG is a nice alternative. That said, I’m generally a completist if my heart’s in it, so I would still like to finish RtK 1. I’m just debating if I should use RtK to learn character recognition while picking up readings via KG, or expose myself to the readings alongside RtK as I have been…

As for other stuff I’ve been doing, or not been doing… The Drops app was no-go this week. It’s not a priority ATM, especially when I am picking up extra vocab through the kanji challenge, but in general I did more studying than I have in past weeks (for both Japanese and German), so it’s an out of sight, out of mind thing. I have been managing my anki deck, though, but I’ll need to add new stuff soon (either vocab or sentences). I get lots of kana review as it is just through normal study, so kanji, vocab, and general grammar and word order should be my focus now.

I think this sums up my week of study! I’ll just add that the 50 Hours Club/Summer Challenge has had a huge hand in helping me to better time manage study time. It’s not that I’ve received any guidance, but the act of writing out daily goals in addition to my weekly goals (which is more of a brief overview of how I’d like the week to go, and how I might achieve it) has helped me fine-tune what I need to do based on my schedule and how far I got in studying the previous day. :sunflower:

:sunny:Goals for 5月12日 - 5月18日:sunny:

  • Work through TK at least three days of the week for one hour per study day
  • Continue with RtK. Try taking on 3 kanji per day, at minimum
  • Daily Kanji Garden visits! :sparkling_heart:
  • Add vocab or sentence decks to anki

:books:Current study materials:pen:

  • Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide
  • Youtube (Misa, JapanesePod101, JapanSociety, l3reezer stuff etc)
  • Remembering the Kanji 1
  • Kanji Koohii/Kanji Ryokucha
  • Kanji Garden
  • Quizlet
  • Jisho
  • Anki

30.6.2019 Study Log Update:

It’s been a while. :grimacing: I haven’t stopped studying but lots of changes have been made.

I’ll start with Tae Kim: dropped it. I reached a point where I was done pulling my hair over trying to make sense of his explanations and examples. It’s a lot of text that is sometimes dense but often confusing for a pure beginner in Japanese grammar. Adding to that point, Japanese is unlike any language I’m familiar with—English, German, Spanish. I am more inclined to think that TK’s guide is better off for those at the intermediate level for reference and review. I’d briefly talked with a few other language learners—specifically about using TK as an introduction to JPN grammar—and I was glad I wasn’t the only one feeling lost while navigating through his book. There may come a point where I return to his guide, but for now I see little point when there are other, more beginner-friendly, options out there.

Which brings me to Genki. I managed to pull a Discord :sparkles: study group :sparkles: together in a little under a week. The goal is one chapter a week, but I’m not hellbent on rushing through it. If we need more time, we need more time. We are supposed to start chapter three this Monday, but I know at least a few fell behind, so I think we will do a review after this. At the moment I know I can use more practice time implementing ‘words that point’ into grammatically correct sentences~!

So far I’m quite happy with Genki 1. It’s clear and simple and has no shortage of practice in both the text and workbook + having experienced members in the study group to @ for help is nice. If I didn’t have them I’d probably go through the text making grammatical errors with no clue—it’s nice to catch things like this early on! Plus our weekly prompts. I’ve made errors both weeks in a row, but it is still satisfying to construct even basic sentences (whereas in TK, I didn’t feel I could do this yet).

The only disappointment so far is that while I received a handful of messages from people interested in learning with Genki, I estimate that only six or so of us (not including our Genki Helpers) have been active and seem committed. This also makes our live sessions a bit more limited (considering time zones and schedules), but I hope we can see this through to the end. Even if it ends up being three of us. :sweat_smile::crossed_fingers: On my end, I feel like it’s easier to commit to my personal study guides each week when I know I have these guys working through the same material, and that I have people I can directly talk and ask questions to if needed. (So, sending a quiet thanks to them for doing this with me. :sparkling_heart: You’re motivating.)

I’ve also pulled back on my kanji and vocab. ATM my focus is really just all about grammar, and so I am mostly leaving new vocab and kanji up to whatever Genki has to offer. On the side, of course, I’m still working with Kanji Garden and Kanji Koohii, but mainly for review and upkeep on the kanji I’ve already ‘learned’ (or exposed myself to). I also still use the Genki Vocab Anki deck, which I started a little over a month ago. :ok_hand:

The amount of work that went into the Genki deck shows, and it’s made a great study tool so far. The one thing I appreciate is the kanji form of the words (which Genki doesn’t start off using), but the different ways in which it quizzes you on each word is also helpful — from listening comprehension and spelling to character recognition. And since I have this amazing deck to work with, I feel like I can relax on the vocab and focus more on the grammar points. (Although I do like to write in kanji during note-taking. It never hurts to practice, and it helps cement the characters into my brain.)

On a separate note, I’ll end this by saying that I did complete my 30-day kanji and and vocab challenge. Funny that as soon as it ended I suddenly felt less motivated to keep up my kanji pace and started to slack :upside_down_face: But it was fun and I enjoyed the daily goals it provided.

(Okay, the real ending note: Because the bulk of my study goes into Genki, as I am intending, I have less time for German. I’m sad about it, but I knew this would happen. I know I won’t be able to fit in textbook time without overloading myself on language studies, so I have some ideas stirring. It’s my goal to come up with a reasonable study guide that will allow even minimal exposure to retain what I’ve covered up to this point. :crossed_fingers:)

:sunny: Goals for 6月30日 - 7月14日 :sunny:

  • Complete Genki 1 Lesson 3
  • Review Genki 1 Lessons 1 - 3
  • Dedicate some daily time for:
    • Kanji Garden and/or Kanji Koohii
    • Genki Vocab Anki deck

:books: Current study materials :pen:

  • Genki 1 - text and workbook
  • Youtube, if/when needed (Misa, JapanesePod101, JapanSociety, l3reezer, etc)
  • Kanji Koohii/Kanji Ryokucha
  • Kanji Garden
  • Jisho
  • Anki
1 Like

6.2.2020 Study Log Update:

It’s been a very long time :upside_down_face: A quick summary of things:

:dizzy: I completed Genki 1 last weekend! We averaged one lesson every two to three weeks with one break during December for the holidays. We’re currently doing a G1 review period before moving onto G2 starting March 2nd.
:dizzy: I haven’t been doing much… or anything, actually, in regards to kanji and vocab outside of Genki. It’s something I mean to work on, but finding the time between everything else in a day has been tough.
:dizzy: Created a new and separate Twitter account just for writing in Japanese. (Coincidentally, this helps with the point above…) I’m making a plethora of mistakes, ha ha. Some I catch, many I likely don’t, but I find the act of writing small things, even things I have to look up the grammar for, has helped a ton in remembering certain words, grammar points/structures, and kanji, but interacting with more native speakers and learners is the biggest bonus.

:sunny: Goals ~ 2月6日から3月2日まで :sunny:

  • Finish making and follow G1 Review Guide for grammar and vocab
  • Keep using Twitter
  • Keep writing practice sentences
  • Keep using Japanese Class
  • Read/Listen to one or more articles from Satori

:sunny: The “if I have time” goals :sunny:

  • Make a post at LangCorrect
  • Learn vocabulary from Suda’s Sayonara Elegy (’:

:books: Current study materials :pen:


Hi Mango :wave:

Congratulations on finishing Genki 1!

Have you tried using HelloTalk instead of twitter? You’ll get corrections, etc :+1:

I’ll start with Tae Kim: dropped it . I reached a point where I was done pulling my hair over trying to make sense of his explanations and examples. It’s a lot of text that is sometimes dense but often confusing for a pure beginner in Japanese grammar.

I find this is interesting. Tae Kim used to be super popular and highly recommended, but these days it doesn’t seem to be (on Reddit I find the hivemind disapproves of TK)

I’ve read the Advanced and Special Expressions sections recently and started doing the usual Tae Kim deck. Now, I am not an expert nor I am I a beginner and I’ve covered most of the advanced grammar from other sources such as Genki 2, JLPT books, and lookups when reading. I am just doing it as he covers a lot of casual slang and contractions, which is useful for reading manga!

I find the sentences in the flashcards strange and the later sections of the guide are very, very brief. I think reading the first two sections is definitely worthwhile – after that, I can only recommend it as a reference for slang and contractions.

Regarding Kanji, if you’re doing kanji + readings, then a slow pace is absolutely fine.

I’ve had HelloTalk listed down as a reminder to try out for a while (since way before I started studying grammar), but I still haven’t used it yet. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll check it out!

Yeah, I was surprised with Tae Kim. I’d always thought of it as a popular and well-liked choice for beginners, especially for self-studiers—and I still come across a lot of people who started out with it—but I found myself having to supplement a lot, and there were parts that just felt uncessarily confusing. I thought it was just me until I talked it over with another beginner and intermediate, and I decided I’d be better off with different learning material. I did get the impression, too, that TK isn’t as favored on Reddit after I came across a thread comparing it with IMABI :sweat_smile: I’d be interested in flipping through TK later on after I have more grammar under my belt to see how I feel about his explanations then.

But so far I’ve adored Genki and only had to supplement for explanations once or twice. Some stuff has needed clarification, but overall I’ve had a good experience with it and really look forward to G2 :smile:

I always had the impression that Tae Kim’s guide was recommended in large part because it was an at-the-time rare combination of free, fairly comprehensive and not-awful. It does also make some choices that would have appealed to the typical kanji-koohii-forumite: emphasis on the grammar, use of kanji, focus on the structure of the language and dismissive of approaches that try to teach usable dialogues and phrases early.

1 Like