vulgar wheat's Study Log


I was interested in learning Japanese since middle school, but didn’t make much progress on my own other than going through RTK in high school (2010 or so). I took a semester of Japanese in college (2011 or 2012), but had to drop in the middle of the second semester. At some point after (2016), I went through maybe 2/3rds of Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar, and probably had about 1500 or so unique words in my vocabulary deck.

For most practical purposes, I got back into it in January 2018. I spent January-March 2018 (re)doing RTK. From March - May 2018 , I started going through Genki, in conjunction with ADoBJG and core6k. I made it a lot harder than it needed to be, and only made it to chapter 6 or so before mostly dropping it. I managed to keep doing (though not complete) anki reviews every day during that time (June-December 2018), though I built up a hell of a backlog.

I made plans to go to Japan with some friends this year, so I spent January-February 2019 chipping away at the backlog. I retained a surprisingly large amount (80%+) despite seeing most cards months late. In March 2019, I put the whole of Japanese The Manga Way in Anki to get a quick/dirty overview of a lot of grammar before the trip; that took around two weeks. The trip, in April 2019, was a lot of fun, if exhausting. I confirmed that I’m pretty terrible at the language. Another Anki backlog built up, so the second half of the month was recovering from that.

Throughout the last two years, I’ve been reading/pretending to read manga, a lot of which I had been previously exposed to in English. Even though I far from understood everything, I only looked up words when I felt like it. This went okay with things like 弟の夫; less well with ゴールデンカムイ. (“Okay” here means that I could at least follow what was going on, could take at least decent guesses as to what most words were being used to mean, etc, but at a summary-level.)


Longer term, I want to aim to take n3 in December; I think it’s plausibly in reach.

To that end, this month, I want to

  • finish half-assing genki 1
  • get about 3k cards from core6k to be active
  • … and that’s it, for easily defined goals.

Abstractly, I want to figure out a way to even measure the things I know i"m disproportionately bad at (grammar, listening, speaking; everything except vocabulary, I guess, which I’m okay at).


For context, I have a lot of unscheduled/free time, so I’m able to study for 3-4 hours a day most days. I usually feel like I haven’t gotten anything done, so I’m making a point to write down what I do each day; I usually surprise myself. With that, on to the last two weeks.

April 29 - May 5

○ My partner wrote some code for me that, if given an ordering and a set of sentences, sorts the sentences based on the ordering. Frex, if given ordering A B C D, and sentences AAA, AAB, AAC, BBB, BBC, AAD, the result would be AAA, AAB, BBB, AAC, BBC, AAD. I used this to sort the core6k sentences by the kanji odyssey 2001 ordering (I thought someone had already done this, but…).
○ I unsuspended and reviewed all the remaining kana-only sentences that I hadn’t seen from core6k, around 40-50.

○ I un-suspended a bunch of words (up til ko2001 150, 他) from the reordered core6k deck. I meant to only do some, and then a little more, and then just a few more, … I think in all, about 200 notes.
○ I picked up DoBJG and found that the marks I’d left last year were right where I left them, so I added three points of grammar’s sentences to anki, which brought me up to Genki Ch 6, more or less.

○ 25 kanji worth of sentences (→175 屋)
○ 3 grammar points
○ I also tried reading a couple of articles from NHK Easy, and I was surprised at how much I understood. The last time I’d tried, each one had been something of a slog with a lot of guesswork.

○ 25 Kanji (→ 200 格)
○ 3 grammar points
○ 2 or 3 nhk easy articles

○ 60? kanji worth of sentences (→260 届)
○ 3 grammar points
○ 2 or 3 nhk easy articles

Saturday & Sunday
○ Planned anki break days, other than reviews; we had a 25 mile bike ride on Saturday, and a 60 mile ride on Sunday.
○ My partner convinced me to get a new tablet to replace a broken one, which arrived Saturday. I started and read 僕らの色彩. I think I’d say it was on the easier side, but there’s still a lot I didn’t understand, so I’ll be happy to go back to it in a few weeks or months. If you look into it, be aware that the author’s other works are very adult.
○ I also got a dictionary on said tablet, 理解学者国語辞典. It’s a children’s dictionary, so I think there’s only about 35k headwords, and the kanji used in the definitions only go up through the 6th grade level. Nearly every definition has some words I don’t understand, so it’s a bit of a challenge.
○ I started to re-read フルーツバスケット in conjunction with 理解学者

May 6 - May 12
○ 20 Kanji (→280 押)
○ 4 grammar points.
○ I had a couple of podcasts on for a few hours, which … well, I’m not getting a whole lot out of them.
○ Finished フルーツバスケット ch 1, understanding most of it. It feels a bit disingenuous to say that, since I had some familiarity with it already.

○ 20 kanji (→300), about 45 sentences
○ 4 grammar points
○ Background podcasts (NHK, まりもえお).
○ A few more pages of フルーツバスケット
○ 2 NHK easy articles, but they didn’t make any damn sense?
○ 500問 n4/5 and n3 arrived, and I did the first 6 days of the n4/n5: 30/30 kanji, 22/30 vocabulary, 22/30 grammar. I expected the grammar, but I was surprised at the vocabulary.

○ 20 kanji, about 50 sentences
○ 4 grammar points, about 50 sentences
○ w1d7 of n4/n5 500問: 10/12 kanji, 10/12 vocabulary, 10/11 grammar
○ background: nhk, ign しゃべりすぎGAMER
○ 3 NHK easy articles, which made more sense than yesterday.
○ partner wrote some more code to make a bunch of verb conjugation anki cards for me

○ 20 kanji, about 24 sentences
○ 4 grammar points (40ish sentences)
○ started the verb conjugation drill cards with just 3 words; I’m terrible at it, like ”getting the informal non-past negative forms wrong” terrible.
○ 3 nhk easy articles
○ 990 anki reviews, ouch.

○ 20 kanji, about 75 sentences
○ 4 grammar points, 60ish sentences
○ grammar drill: swapped it to give recognition first, added 2 more verbs
○ nhk easy: two articles, less good than yesterday.
○ background audio: hotcast, nhk, tokyo midtown lifestyle museum
○ 1000 reviews, so I’m going to slow down on vocabulary next week, I think

Saturday & Sunday (well, predicted)
○ A 50 mile ride on saturday and a shorter ride on sunday mean I probably won’t do very much this weekend other than reviews

I had some goals for this week, which were to get through 360 kanji worth of sentences (yep!) and get through genki ch 10 grammar (yep!). The reviews are building up pretty fast, so I think I need to cool it a little bit and think about what I want to get done next week.

May 13 - May 19
○ finished up genki 1, grammar and selected exercises
○ unsuspended 250 notes from vocabulary
× didn’t read nhk easy every day
× didn’t listen to podcasts at all
○ read more than I even meant to of フルーツバスケット(through vol 2)
○ kept up with verb conjugation deck
○ added a listening deck (saturday)
○ fixed most, though not all, of the marked cards

Slowing down to ~50 notes a day for vocabulary means it’ll be like mid-June when I finish the first big hunk of core6k, which is a little annoying. I want to also go through the jlpt specific books, which will be a little redundant, but I’m missing at least some even n5 (ish). Not many, but any, and I’ll be able to go through the n5 one very quickly, at least, which will make up for it taking a bit longer to finish this set.

I did barely any passive listening this week; I don’t want to listen to it while doing things that I need to actively listen to, and not while my housemates are home, and not while I’m out, and it turns out that’s almost the whole of my day. There’s not much I can/want to change here, so it’ll just have to be this way.

I managed to update most of the cards I had marked with errors/issues, but the DoBJG ones are left. I need to come up with some formatting/style things for the cards I’m using, and I’m stumped on what to do and how to implement it. The main thing that I’m stuck on is that a lot of my cards are two nearly-identical sentences, with one minor difference; I pass the card if I understand what effect that difference has on the meaning.

I finally finished Genki 1 to my satisfaction; all the grammar points it contained have been added from DoBJG, and I went through and did all the exercises I felt were interesting enough to do, which took about 4 hours over Wednesday and Thursday.

Crashed a bit Friday, but recovered. Felt not burned out, exactly, but frustrated, because a bunch of imposing/nebulous/large learning projects would be very beneficial, but… they’re imposing/nebulous large. Saliently: listening practice, writing/grammar/production practice, finding/using a tutor, the huge piles of vocabulary I want to learn this year.

It’s easier for me to internalize a thing by using it, so I think it’d be good to start practicing grammatical points by using them. The last thing I did with Genki was go through and write down a name for every ?stand-alone form? (things that wouldn’t show up in necessarily nearly every sentence: so not like 歩いています but more like 歩いてもいいですか。), and I’m thinking of sticking those in an anki deck or something to act as writing prompts. But, ugh, they’re going to be hard/boring at first because my active vocabulary is basically zero, and I don’t wanna, even though it’d probably help a lot and would stop sucking after a week.

Related to that, it’d probably be a good idea to find a tutor to whom I can hand things I’ve written and ask for feedback, ask for clarification about words or patterns, etc. Truthfully, I’m not very interested in speaking, but practicing at least some would probably cause improvements in my passive abilities, which I do care about. My partner’s encouraging; the main thing holding me back is Hella Anxiety.

I’m trying something out for listening; I saw someone somewhere (here?) say they’d added a listening-only card for all their vocabulary cards, and that they felt it’d helped a lot. I added that today, and figured I’d spend a few weeks playing catch-up with it, but ended up doing 400 of them in a half hour; hopefully, they’ll all go so fast. At this rate, or even much slower, I should be able to catch up within a week or two.

That was a bit wordy, but whatever.

Goals for May 20 - May 26
□ vocabulary: 50 notes a day
□ genki 2: at least one chapter, hopefully two
□ nhk easy: if not daily, then at least articles from every day
□ manga reading: vol3 フルーツバスケット
□ continue adding verbs to verb deck
□ vol 3 of フルーツバスケット
□ catch up with listening deck to main vocabulary deck (new)
□ grammar writing practice (new)

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Goals for May 20 - May 26
○ vocabulary: 50 75ish notes a day
○ genki 2: at least one chapter, hopefully two
× nhk easy: if not daily, then at least articles from every day
○ manga reading: vol3 フルーツバスケット
× continue adding verbs to verb/conjugation deck
× catch up with listening deck to main vocabulary deck
× grammar writing practice

On Tuesday, I hit kanji 445 or so 彼, which had, I don’t know, 400 notes associated with it. Impatiently, I decided to blow through the whole chunk this week, which meant doing about 100/day. A lot were new words to me, but nearly all were familiar readings. Got through 2.5 chapters of Genki 2 (dobjg entries added to anki, the useful/interesting/non-creative exercises done). Read through half of フルーツバスケット 3.

With regards to listening, I’m about 650 cards behind the main vocabulary deck. I did add about 100 every day during the week, so I kept up and made any dent in the gap, but not much of one. Doing the reviews for the listening deck first thing in the morning has been pretty nice, because I can do them (mostly) with my eyes closed.

The conjugation deck was slowed down (max 50 reviews a day), even, because while helpful, it’s also tedious and the cues I have are really hard for me to parse rapid-fire. I have some ideas on how to fix at least some, but haven’t done it yet. The reviews and additions I’ve been doing are taking enough time, and I have enough else going, that I haven’t really read much, either manga or NHK Easy, and the non-obvious things like the grammar practice I wanted to do just aren’t happening.

Time answering cards in anki this last week seems to have been 90 minutes on the weekends, and 2-2.5 hours on weekdays. In total, it looks like I spent about 5 hours each weekday, though that’s including breaks. Other than Japanese study, I biked 90 miles last week and went to the gym three times. I cooked dinner most nights (5.5/7) as well.

Goals for May 27 - June 2
□ vocabulary: 50/weekday
□ genki 2: another 2 chapters (-> 17?)
□ don’t fall behind in listening
□ keep up with conjugation deck, and add to it when under the limit
□ if not start grammar production, then figure out what’s stopping me
□ finish up vol3 of フルーツバスケット

I’m need to slow my roll a bit on vocabulary in order to have enough time to work on other things. It’s my stronger point, so I don’t need to spend all my time on it, but it’s easy and addictive. Partner continues to encourage me to find an internet tutor, and they’re not wrong.

Due to the holiday, I’m treating tomorrow as another weekend day, but I’m hoping to stick to the plan for the rest of the week. I’m going to spend some time at least thinking about how to allocate my study time pleasantly/effectively/etc.

Goals for May 27 - June 2
?vocabulary: 50/weekday
○ genki 2: another 2 chapters (-> 17?)
○ don’t fall behind in listening
× keep up with conjugation deck, and add to it when under the limit
× if not start grammar production, then figure out what’s stopping me
× finish up vol3 of フルーツバスケット

Depressive/anxious episode hit like a truck on Tuesday (in retrospect, it probably started Monday afternoon). Went better than they used to (only one day of acutely terrible), but I’m still feeling not so great. I managed to get away with only really dropping the ball on Japanese study and lowering my biking a bit.

On Monday, trying to avoid feeling awful, I did the 400 vocabulary cards I was behind on and completely caught up there, which I didn’t expect to do. I tried seeing how it’d be if I added new vocabulary in Listening→Reading→Writing order, and I hated it, so went back to Reading→Writing→Listening.

I’m not sure if I met the vocabulary goal or not, but with a only little trouble, I can get to the end of the image of the first 555 kanji (→態) next week, so at worst, I didn’t fall too far behind.

I didn’t do any work with Genki until Wednesday, so Thursday was a bit more full than I wanted to be (finishing one chapter’s exercises, and adding the grammatical points from the next…), but it worked out okay.

The conjugation deck is hella boring and I never implemented the changes I want to try to it; I’ll ask my partner to help me out this week. I didn’t look into production at all. I only read a couple of pages of フルーツバスケット.

My partner had been talking about wanting to study Japanese for a while now, and more seriously since we got back from our trip to Japan this year, so we got him RTKana and a conversational textbook, and finally on Thursday got him started there. I helped him set up a deck to go along with RTKana, and he’s liking it a fair bit; said it’s sticking a lot better than how he tried to drill it before.

(“I found a shared deck for it,” he told me, “but they’d changed some of Heisig’s stories, so I deleted those. I don’t know why they added such NSFW stories…” I had to explain how my copy of RTK has quite a few heisig primitives replaced with much ruder ones.)

Despite everything, I still managed to go to the gym three times this week, and while I only did one outdoor ride, it went pretty well. Made a cherry cobbler, and didn’t burn it, unlike every cherry pie I made in the last two years. Saw an out of town friend for the first time in a long time Friday, which was fun, but added fuel to the “gotta get out of the bay” fire.

goals for June 3 - June 9
□ finish up the vocabulary chunk
□ genki ii: two chapters (17, 18)
□ keep up with reviews
□ find a new manga to read

Next week is supposed to be pretty routine, so with luck, I’ll get back into the swing of things. I want to do more things, but it’s probably most tractable to focus on finishing the vocab.

goals for June 3 - June 9
○ finish up the vocabulary chunk
× genki ii: two chapters (17, 18)
○ keep up with reviews
○ find a new manga to read

Finished up the vocab chunk on Wednesday! … which was a bit overdoing it, oops; i ended up adding like 150 notes that day and my retention deffo dropped towards the end, and I had a terrible time on my reviews Thursday. But the first 2450 cards from core6k, corresponding to the first 555 kanji from ko2001, are all active, which feels like a good accomplishment.

I was reminded that I had よつばと! 1 on the shelf, so I pulled it down and was happy to see how much I understood. It seems to not be legitimately available in ebook, and I have enough heavy hipster dead tree nonsense (four bookcases, almost entirely full) and I don’t need more … But in any case, I read through (with moderate but far from perfect comprehension) the next two volumes.

I didn’t strictly speaking keep up with reviews; I dropped the ball yesterday due to being busy and exhausted, but did catch up this morning, so I’m counting it.

I really didn’t want to do the exercises from genki, because they were hard, but in a boring way: since I’m not doing the vocab from genki, I haven’t reached some of the words used in the exercises, and being asked to conjugate things I don’t know is frustrating/boring/etc… but I don’t want to swap to doing the genki vocab, because like, I don’t care about how to say letter of recommendation and stuff right now. I mean, I guess to some extent I don’t care right now about being able to say democracy (民主主義) and communism (共産主義), but they were dead easy to pick up at the time, so sure, why not?. Whereas the Genki vocab isn’t easy and isn’t relevant.

I think I’m going to go through II in the same way I did I, reading all the explanations and adding to anki, and then go back through a second time to do the exercises.

I bought a copy of 日本語文型辞典 (the english version) a while ago, flipped through, and thought it was too high level for me, but I realized this week that was wrong… and that the examples were maybe a bit more interesting than Do*JG. My partner helped me OCR it, and I have an enormous, somewhat garbled text file that I might clean up and turn into Anki notes.

I was thinking that I’d switch from 2001ko vocab ordering to a less kanji-based vocab thing for a bit, but I’m not sure. I keep waffling. I got three of the JLPT 単語 books (n5, n4, n3), and I have 95%+ coverage for the n5 book; n4 seems to be 60-90% depending on which section I flip to; n3 seems to be maybe 50%, but again, varies. I’d want to edit the audio files if I used it in anki, because they seem to be formatted like “Word … Example Sentence”. I’m torn between completionism (keep on with core6k!) and completionism (collect all the resources!).

85 mile ride yesterday in 85 degree heat. I had energy to spare at the end, but was mentally finished from the heat, the mechanical issues, etc. The route wasn’t even 1000 feet of climbing short of the STP climbing today (4300 to STP’s 5100), so I think we’re ready for that.

It’s hit 90 today, but even without an AC, we’ve been doing okay this time: put in a ceiling fan a few weeks ago, made a gallon of sweet tea, etc. Some friends are hiding out the heat in our apartment, so can’t do much studying today.

goals for june 10 - june 16
□ genki 18 and 19 grammar notes
□ read another volume or two of よつばと!
□ decide on what to do next for vocabulary
□ figure out the viability of using 日本語文型辞典

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85? That’s a cool summer’s evening around here! We just pulled out of almost a week of 100+ in our lovely high humidity (actually lower than normal, because we were in a drought for over a month, past few days has almost made up for the loss).

Anyway, managing 85 miles in that is quite impressive! I have trouble carrying enough water to make it through when it gets that hot, and the longest I usually go for is 30mi. Actually, I haven’t pulled the bike out since started getting hot, this year. Need to get on that.

Stay cool! I’ve known more than one person to fall to heat exhaustion in that kind of weather. A fan can only do you so much.

Oof, sounds like where I grew up, but even hotter. I think Charleston only regularly gets to the upper 90s, but the 90% humidity never helped.

SF’s supposed to be cool all summer, but the last couple of years… It’s not comparable to the heat anywhere else I’ve lived, but to be fair, having AC really helped. Still, we don’t get more than a few 90+ days a year, and it only got to 80 inside yesterday, so I can handle it.

As for the ride, we did stop for water 5 times. We probably could’ve dropped two of the stops, but better safe than sorry in the heat.

Ugh, right?! We only got to the high 90s here but it’s been rough trying to exercise … or garden … or even walk to the car, for that matter. Then we got hail, of all things (so, no more need to worry about the garden!), and then ridiculous quantities of rain. Though to be fair, I think half of my problem with this weather is that it’s just too early in the year for that kind of heat.

That sounds miserable. Three cheers for AC! Hopefully you will cool back down to “normal” SF in time for your next ride.

I’m actually not too far from Charleston (SC, not WV). It usually doesn’t break 100 but once or twice a year, but it was real hot until just a few days ago. Even driving in the shade, my truck was saying it was 100+ for almost a week.

Ugh. Y’all got hail from that last storm? Thankfully it was just a lot of much needed rain, here.
Sorry to hear about the garden.
Most of our veggies didn’t make it through the drought, and I’m still hoping my Satsuma seeds will sprout… Will probably call it next weekend. Should have got those in some sprouting cups and in a warming tray over the winter instead of waiting for it to warm up outside.

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Same Charleston! I made cookies in my car’s windshield a couple of times when it got that hot. They don’t get hot enough for the maillard reaction, but they’re definitely cookies.

It did, so much that we bailed to a much shorter ride; none of us felt like doing 30 miles in even a light rain. I don’t know if we even broke 60f this weekend.

Crashed this week; totally fell behind in anki, no reading, no nothing. Too hot (84f air in the apartment, 90f+ surface temperatures); couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think. I hadn’t been feeling great before the heat, but it did me in. Meds were adjusted at the end of the week. I can’t definitively attribute it to the med change, but I seem to be feeling better.

goals for june 17 - june 23
□ catch up in anki

Feeling better, but I get the sense I shouldn’t push too hard.

Not even a little. I did about 30-80 reviews a day last week, so a deficit of a few hundred a day, oof.

I dropped the ball on a lot of usual things, but the anki backlog is the biggest of the bunch. I do think the short-term med change was helpful. I feel better in a lot of ways that are harder to quantify: less anxious, gloomy, short-tempered, etc. I also got a bunch of personal projects done that I’d been putting off for a year or longer.

So it’s a mixed blessing to lose the monomania for Japanese study. I know it’ll come back, and I want to be able to take advantage of that when it happens, so I need to get back and stay on top of the reviews.

goals for june 24 - june 30
□ average 200 reviews/day for the week
□ on at least one occasion when I find myself screwing around on my phone refreshing (internet addiction of choice), read some manga

When I get through the bulk of the backlog, as a reward, I think I’m going to get myself a shiny new glowing rectangle to play games on.

It’s been a bit! I fell off the face of the earth. I got behind, pulled myself together, and got behind again. I signed up too late to take the JLPT in my city. I managed to do a handful of cards every day, but not nearly enough.

A month into Shelter in Place, I looked at how deep a hole of anki backlog I’d gotten buried in, and realized: if I had been doing 50 cards a day since the start of quarantine, I wouldn’t even be halfway out by now. Freeing! in a sorta nihilistic way. In the three or four weeks since that realization, I’ve dug most of the way out of the hole, with just a few hundred grammar cards left (well, and a pile of kanji cards, but those are heinously boring… and I might just chip at that pile over months.)

The good news is that I had 85%-90% retention most days. I’m pretty sure that’s also a sign that I had messed up because most of those cards were 6 months past due.

What’s next?

I could try to pick up where I left off. The vocabulary part of my study had been going well until I broke down, unlike the grammar part, which was a lot stickier and harder to deal with.

I told myself I’d get a shiny new reference book or three as a reward for catching up on the Vocabulary Pile (2500 or so words, over more than that cards), though I’m at a loss of what to get, and that’s putting the cart before the horse.

My partner is urging me to find an online tutor, because that’s probably the biggest time&effort-to-reward ratio … but imagining being bad at Japanese in front of someone I have to see regularly makes me want to crawl in a hole. He’s probably right, though.

Ideally, I guess, I’d find something I like doing, which is why I think people watch anime or read manga or play games, but those sure are more fun when I can follow what’s going on.

Short Term Goals
□ finish grammar deck
□ put some honest effort into the kanji deck
□ uh, figure out what to do?


I’ve never managed to bite the bullet for online tutoring for similar, yet different reasons. I hate calling people on the phone. Voice chat is similar (yet somehow not as bad). I prefer my telecommunications to be text, and voice communications to be face-to-face.
Which is why I hired a tutor that I can meet in-person, even though it’s more expensive and less convenient. I’d rather embarrass myself in-person than over Skype.
Getting someone to tutor me helped out a lot though, so when you hit a mood where you think you can handle it, do it.

last week’s goals
○ finish grammar deck
○ put some honest effort into the kanji deck
?uh, figure out what to do?

I thought the grammar deck would take me a week … but I did it a bit at a time and got through it in a day. This is more a testimony to how easy the cards are than to my work ethic (I like to have multiple cards per idea, though I do make sure they’re different …).

Going through the kanji deck is definitely good for me, even if it’s a little dull, and I’m tackling that 20-30 at a time, usually about 150 due cards a day. The recall rate is bad, about 65%, but there’s not many cards that I’m actually having a lot of issue with, so it’s going more smoothly than I expected. It looks like I’ll be done within 4 weeks if I keep it up, and probably sooner?

what to do, what to do

I guess it’s my study journal, so I get to use a lot of words here.


When I left off last fall, I had gotten past the first part of ko2001’s kanji ordering, and some of the recently added kanji/words were tripping me up (成 and 効, as in 成功 and 効率, for example). I was thinking at the time to order a second corpus by ko2001, and start using sentences from that, in order to reinforce the meaning <-> kanji <-> sound (in ways that don’t involve ?overdrilling?* individual sentences)… and maybe that’s still a good idea? I think with the corpus/ordering I was using, I was only getting a few 2-3 words introduced per kanji, and it might be better to get more. It might be mostly just be me avoiding doing hard/new things, though. My partner helped me with this a bunch over the weekend, running OCR on ko2001 itself.

  • Like, somehow, I know how to write 支度, and it makes me mad because I definitely don’t have a good mapping of 支度 and したく, i just see “___ができたら出かけましょう” and I say “oh! it’s 支度!”. That’s what I want to avoid.

I had been going through Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, picking up constructions and points and they were introduced in Genki (…which I otherwise ignored, because it was dull, and I feel like I have a surprising tolerance/fondness for dullness? I’m about to undermine that, though). I had picked up a physical 日本語文型辞典 on a whim and the sentences were a lot more interesting than DoBJG, so I’d had the bright idea that I would … I don’t know, OCR the whole book and turn that into cards with minimal work! … Spoiler: it would’ve required a lot of work.

I feel like I’ve gotten more out of doing sentence cards for grammar than textbook drills, so I want to keep doing it that way, but also I hate typing things up? I also can’t just type shit up right now, because I can’t use my beefy machine and am stuck with a chromebook for a bit.

What if I read books

With regards to reading … If I only have a vocabulary of a few thousand words (few might be as low as 2, but I think it’s more like 3), and the grammar of someone partway through Genki 2 (a little more here, a little less there), then it’s no wonder that I can’t read native materials easily. I’m also allowing nonsense things like “よつばと!doesn’t have a kindle version!” to get in the way of just reading, even though I enjoyed reading it with my garbo comprehension? Somehow, despite knowing that’s a silly thing to get worked up about, I haven’t gotten past it.

Writing it down made me realize that something I could actually do would be to see if there’s another volume of 僕らの色彩, which I understood enough to enjoy.

Getting a tutor remains scary

I haven’t found a tutor, because I haven’t even looked. Everyone just looks for them on iTalki still, right? Is something else more popular now?

To take any steps towards creative (non-rote?) output, I fished out にほんご日記ノート (I’d seen it in a bookstore a decade ago, found out it was out of print, checked it out through Interlibrary Loan last year, and scanned the whole thing) and have started looking at that. A premise of 日記ノート is that if you make mistakes, even without someone explicitly correcting you, you’ll pay attention to people saying similar things and you’ll become able to catch your mistakes later. This premise is extremely attractive to me! … Which doesn’t mean I should believe it, but it seems plausible enough. So I wrote a couple of things like “it’s hot outside but not inside” and “I ate bagels for breakfast” and “One time my friend’s lab’s robot tried to grab my head and now that robot has met a fate worse than death”.

Oh, maybe it would make sense to, I don’t know, find someone who would look at what I’m writing, so I would feel some (good) pressure to do it regularly, and maybe they’d have some ideas for what I should do next …

my goals the next few days
□ keep up with reviews in the solved decks
□ keep on with the kanji deck
□ spend all of ten minutes finding out where the Youths These Days get their online tutoring
□ find a manga to read

I’ll make more progress doing easy things consistently than doing big things irregularly … probably? There’s not much else that I can be certain I’ll be able to do this week, unfortunately.

I can’t handle it! But maybe I can fake handling it for an hour, and that’s pretty much the same thing, right? If it sucks, I just don’t do it again!


last week’s goals
○ keep up with reviews in the solved decks
○ keep on with the kanji deck
○ spend all of ten minutes finding out where the Youths These Days get their online tutoring
○ find a manga to read

bonus round!
○ catch up on kanji deck
○ conversation session

success, and then some!

I completely bailed on にほんご日記ノート for the time being, though I still think I’d get some benefit from it. My ostensible reasoning is something like “it’s probably better to be actively corrected”, but I think my actual reasoning is something like “getting outside pdfs into the kindle app is kinda annoying and they’re hard to organize once they’re in there”. I did grab the next volume of 僕らの色彩.

Aside from 20ish buried cards, I’m completely caught up on the kanji deck, weeks ahead of schedule. There’s an enormous pile of cards flagged for keyword editing, so I’m going to have to figure something out. My desktop is currently my partner’s WFH space, so I can’t use that during the day…

Due to a relation’s being in med school, I might be able to get my grubby mitts on a legitimate pdf of 日本語文型辞典, but I need to wait until the end of the week. It’d be the older, japanese-only version, but I think that’s fine, especially since I’ll be able to cross-reference with my paper copy. … I’m hoping it’ll be a better transcribed version, but it’s not clear yet.

I spent a lot more than 10 minutes looking at internet tutors, and I think the amount shamed me into setting up a trial session with one. I embarrassed myself but came out feel okay anyway. I can’t say if I recommend them or not, due to my lack of domain knowledge, but definitely it was good enough that I’m doing another hour with them this week, which is going to be more structured (genki, apparently) than the conversation practice.

this week’s goals
□ reread 僕らの色彩 1
□ get partner’s old laptop set up so I can use it for study
□ do tutoring session

I figured that it might make sense to reread the first volume of 僕らの色彩 before picking up the second, since it’s been a few months and I’ve forgotten a fair amount. It’s not entirely up to me if I can get the laptop set up for use, but I’ll push for them to finish dealing with their part so it can be my fault. Depending on whether or not the tutoring session goes well, I’ll either set up another with the same person or pick someone new, I guess.

□ add a few vocabulary cards
□ get on 僕らの色彩2

The cards are pretty dependent on me getting to set up the laptop, but if I can, I think I’ll just pick up where I left off (but more slowly).

I’m not planning to hold myself to actually reading the book I got, mostly because between writing most of this post and now, I started the reread of 僕らの色彩1 and so far I understand enough that there’s just a handful of words to look up … so I’m actually looking them up, rather than skipping over them. It might take a bit.


I’m glad to hear you were able to jump in and think it’s worth doing again!
I hope it works out for you as much as it did for me.

Getting to where you can understand enough of what you’re reading to look up the things you don’t know is a nice milestone. I remember my enjoyment going through the roof once I could actually progress in a story, and that brought a lot of vocab progress with it.

If there are any problems getting that laptop to work, there’s always Puppy Linux! Every laptop I’ve ever owned has been old and clunky, so I put Puppy on all of them.

last week’s goals
○ reread 僕らの色彩 1
☓ get partner’s old laptop set up so I can use it for study
○ do tutoring session

○ add a few vocabulary cards
○ get on 僕らの色彩2

I didn’t get to mess with their old* laptop, but during partner’s work breaks, I was able to add a couple of rounds of vocabulary. Uh, how many? I don’t know. From kanji 566 to 605, so I think that’s about 200 or so notes maybe? I started by doing 10 kanji a day for a few days, but that was just to get back into things; will drop to doing 5/day 4 or 5 days a week.

Caveat this paragraphwith “my understanding isn’t very good”: Reread 僕らの彩色1 and read 2. Got hyped about my tolerable comprehension and went back to reread 弟の夫1, and I wrote down all the words I looked up. Not to make cards, really, just to have a record of what I didn’t understand. Started on 2, but stopped out of laziness (… I can’t lay down on the couch to read and write down vocabulary, see). Poked at a couple of other manga but didn’t get more than a page or five into them (やがて君になる、かぐやさま、宝石の国、ハクメイとミコチ、はたらく細胞…), hit on ふらいんぐうぃっち and read up until halfway through volume 5. I’d watched the anime back in … 2017? which gave me some extra context for vol 1-3, I think, but kept up my middling comprehension after that.

Grammar tutoring session went fine. They use Genki for that, and since I wasn’t sure where I’d really left off, they started in chapter 6. My plan from last year to “memoize the verb conjugations rather than learning the pattern” sorta worked! But I need to do it with more verbs. Went through chapters 6, 7, 8 in the hour lesson. The homework assigned to me was, in more polite terms, “figure out where you left off, because it’s pointless drilling you on things you already know”. They were confused/entertained at me saying I found studying vocabulary easier and more fun than grammar.

It’s not entirely clear where I fell off the Genki train, from inspection, though I don’t think I meaningfully got to 19 based on the grammar covered in it. (And looking back at my notes above, yeah, 18 and 19 are the last chapters I looked at …) Flipping through Genki 1, I think there’s some grammar points I’m not fast with, but there’s no fundamental confusion … but Genki 2 is pretty shaky. (元気そうです vs 元気だそうです is the first huge mixup that comes to mind, but there’s a fair amount.)

goals for next week
□ add 5 kanji of sentences each weekday (->630)
□ keep and schedule another italki session
□ read more ふらいんぐいうぃっち

□ get the grammar reference
□ deal with the laptop

I think I called it my partner’s ‘old’ laptop, but it’s fairly new, about 3 years; they upgraded to be able to do graphics work. I’m probably going to put Ubuntu or something on it? They always give me grief about my preferred, broken OS, but I’m used to how it’s broken. Mostly.

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goals for last week
○ add 5 kanji of sentences each weekday (->630)
○ keep and schedule another italki session
○ read more ふらいんぐいうぃっち
○ get the grammar reference
☓ deal with the laptop

kanji & vocabulary
Adding a group of 5 (which introduces usually about 20 sentences) seems to be working. I ended up getting to 640, because I did an extra group on two days… so if the reviews start piling up, I’ll want to stop doing that, and maybe even drop to adding only 4 days a week, maybe? I’ll see. For now, it’s fine.

tutoring & conversation
Tutor was again like “Why are you doing grammar lessons? I think you’d be fine with conversation practice”… after doing some exercises where I was convinced (based on the number of corrections, etc) that I was doing terribly. It’s not reassuring, per se, because I don’t feel assured …

Cynically, I wonder that it might be in part that they’re new to italki tutoring (they’re like ?recently? graduated from college where they were a Japanese TA, though) and only have material prepped for only part of Genki 2, and I reached the end of their prepped stuff.

~~I think my ideal thing might be a split between grammar practice and conversation practice, so I guess I could just ask for that directly … I could also look into trying other tutors, but, ahhhh. (The truth is I don’t want to do conversation practice because that tends to involves talking about my life, which is controversial, boring, and/or embarrassing.)

In between writing that and now, I learned the next tutoring date was today and had the session, and they actually brought that up first. They were again like ?, and I explained: While I can read and understand some stuff, I think I’m at a point where it seems faster, less error-prone, (overall) more enjoyable to learn from textbooks and read for fun, rather than to try to get everything from context… which they thought made sense, so the plan is to do genki until i’m done, with the lessons split between exercises and conversation. Their exercises are more interesting than the Genki ones, in that they tend to use multiple constructions at a time. That wasn’t something I explicitly asked for, but I think it is one of my weak points, so yay.

also they were like “why do you know the words you know” because i said things like 大人しい and 禁酒する … it was easier to say that than remember how to conjugate 飲む…

Again, everything can be prefaced with “I had enough comprehension to understand what was happening enough to enjoy reading, but only that much”, but still, going well! I finished? ふらいんぐうぃっち up through volume 9. Over the weekend, I started re/reading 三ツ星カラーズ (I read the first volume before), and I’m on the third volume right now. There’s a lot of … I don’t know the best way to describe it. I can read a line and know what it means but not how it means that, if that makes sense? I think that’s okay, though.

Got the grammar text! The OCR is better than I had been able to do myself, but it’s not 100% right, but it’s mostly formatting issues, I think…? I’ll have to poke at it. Sometimes I wonder if I’m learning Japanese to more efficiently collect the learning materials, which is obviously my real hobby…

Dealing with the laptop has fallen down the wayside, honestly. I can use my desktop outside of working hours or when partner is in meetings, which is enough time to deal with anki stuff, and it’s probably better that I direct more of my hours to fun studying (reading!)… The important part maybe isn’t the part where it’s fun (though that is nice), but the part where reading 10 volumes of manga over the weekend doesn’t sign me up for an extra half hour of anki reviews every day for a week after.

goals for this week
□ add 25 kanji (->665)
○ more italki
□ more 三つ星カラーズ

□ start poking at 日本語文型辞典 (uh, how? on what machine?)
more more italki?


I know what you mean (and trying other tutors means repeating the most awkward part of that). Anyway, have you thought about requesting topics to have conversations about?