Japanese Language Log

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
x 155

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Nov 09, 2020 1:57 pm

I continued my break from dedicated study this past week. I'll probably start picking back up with it at some point this week or next as there's quite a bit I need to learn still.

For reading I didn't do anything with Harry Potter this week, instead I read the rest of the Yotsuba series and some of CardCaptor Sakura. The Yotsuba series was quite good and I'd highly recommend it to anyone really. The CCS series I'm only on volume 4, but it is pretty mediocre so far. The chapters are oddly set up in terms of where they begin and end, the characters are two dimensional, and it has some things I'm really not comfortable with. The main one being a romance between a 4th grade student and the teacher to the point where he is buying her an engagement ring. It's not a major part of the story and they (at least not yet) haven't developed it very far, but they seem to bring it up quite a bit and in a very approving fashion. In the anime it was shown as a sort of unrequited crush on the girls part which made a lot more sense. There's only 12 volumes so I'll probably finish it this week, but I might just give up on it half way. If I do I'll start the Naruto series.

For listening I finished the Solitary Gourmet series on Netflix. It was fun, but not anything special really. The language was fairly simply and naturally slow paced so it's great if you are starting out though. Instead of picking up a new TV series immediately I am going to try and increase my japanesepod101 time. Right now I just use it while running errands or working out, but being able to listen to their dialogues on line be line repeat seems to be helping my listening comprehension so I'm going to start doing that lieu of watching TV. I'll still use jpod for as a background learning device as well though.

For the week:
Finish CardCaptor Sakura (9 volumes total)
An hour a day of listening practice with Jpod
Background jpodlistening (or if I get sick of it with the listening practice I'll listen to an audiobook. Still above my level, but worthwhile).
3 x

genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
x 155

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 2:12 pm

We are fast approaching the holidays which means my time for language learning will be even more suspect in the near future. With the virus I expect to curtail my usual holiday gatherings, but there are still other things to be done and this is a busier time of work while more people tend to take off which means I have to take up the slack. I'm hoping to keep up a minimum level of content until the new year but we'll have to see. Additionally my original plan had been to go to Japan at the end of February, but unless these new vaccines come out fast and in large amounts I'll have to push that back. Which on the one side would be disappointing because I want to go, but if I reschedule for late summer I can climb Mt. Fuji while I'm there.

For the last week I accomplished my goal of finishing the Card Captor Sakura series. The good about the manga is it was fairly simple. A step above Yotsuba, but reasonably easy to understand even at my level. If anyone wanted a series to read while still not N3 level this would definitely be one I'd point to. The bad about the manga is that it's bad. Beyond the questionable romantic decisions the story itself is just bad. There is no character development, the characters resolve situations with the power they had inside all along, no one is ever bad or evil, and they shoehorn in weird plot points that make no sense. Additionally the art style, which is usually pretty excellent, at times seems like it was drawn by an intern. At one point one of the characters had their proportions change so that their chest which was originally about twice the size of their head became 4 times the size of their head. I may just be too critical of a series that is supposed to be for kids, but I think they can try a little harder to resolve a situation other than, 'I predicted the future so I brought this item you would need rather than have the main character have to do something.'

I also read the first two volumes of Naruto, but that was much more difficult. There is a lot more clipped dialogue, informal speech, and specialized vocabulary in this one. The CCS manga took about an hour per volume to read, but the Naruto series is taking about 2 hours per which is a serious drag. Unfortunately I don't really know of a way to improve this other than to actually read more shonen manga and since that's my favorite category I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and start somewhere so it might as well be with Naruto. I'll start by aiming for 4 chapters (each volume is 7 chapters) a day and going from there.

I've been watching an hour of television a day and finished Wakako Zake. It's pretty much exactly the Solitary Gourmet except with a female main character and it was pretty good over all. I'm not sure if this is a popular genre in Japan or if it's a netflix thing, but there is another series called Kantaro: the Sweet Tooth Salaryman which is the exact same concept except this one is with a focus on sweets. This one is actually available on the US netflix site so it's good to check out of someone is looking for something but doesn't have access to the JPN Netflix. There is only 12 episodes of that one though so I'll finish it this week and start on something else. I've seen recommendations for the White Polarbear Cafe so I might start there.

For studying I finished the Shin Kanzen Master N3 grammar book. I didn't do the exercises, but I read through the explanations and copied all the sentences out to make sure I understood them. I've still got the Listening Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Reading Comprehension books left, so I'll start with reading comprehension next.

For the week:
Read an hour a day (Naruto)
Watch TV an hour a day (Sweet Tooth Salaryman, and probably white Polarbear Cafe)
Japanesepod an hour a day (going through their intermediate course)
Extra studies as a feel like it. I haven't returned to my previous levels of enthusiasm for sit down studying, but a few hours this week should be easy enough.
3 x

genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
x 155

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Nov 23, 2020 3:10 pm

I've put a pause in my reading the Naruto series for the moment. While not impossible to read the sheer number of unknown vocabulary, slang, and some grammar has made the experience unenjoyable. I'll eventually return to the series, but for the moment I'll switch to something else. I've heard the Dragon Ball series is an easier shounen series to read so I think I'll start there when I get back to manga. If anyone has any recommendations for somewhat easy manga series I'd love to hear them though. Right now I've started reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again. I'm on chapter 13 of 18 so hopefully I'll be able to finish it this week.

I finished the Sweet Tooth Salaryman on netflix and it was about the same as the Solitary Gourmet and Wakako Zake. I think the other two were better, but still worth watching. I also watched the first few episodes of the polar bear cafe. It's definitely not the sort of thing I'd go out of my way to watch normally, but it's more entertaining than most language learning materials. I might make it through the whole series or I might not, it's 50 episodes which isn't a crazy huge amount, but we'll see.

I've been plugging away at the jpod playlists. The dialogues are still good to try and train my hearing with. I've also been working on the shin kanzen reading comprehension book. I really wish they had English translations of the readings to I could verify what I'm reading sometimes, but overall it's been a very useful book.

For the week I'm not going to put any goals down. Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest at work and Thanksgiving itself is of course a holiday so I'm not sure how much time I'll realistically have. I'll still be doing what I can, when I can, but I'm not going to put the extra pressure on to complete it all this week.
3 x

genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
x 155

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Nov 30, 2020 11:32 pm

This week was more miss than hit with language learning not that it is particularly surprising. I only listened to a few Jpod episodes, watched a few random episodes of TV which I still struggled to understand, and did only a few reading comprehension exercises from Shin kanzen. I did manage to finish Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets so the week wasn't a total loss though. It's fun to read through the HP series again, but it's weird reading them as an adult for the first time as when I was a kid quite a few of the weird plot holes slipped past me. Like a student was expelled for killing someone and then they immediately hired them as a groundkeeper. Most kids books are like that though and at least this one has been good for language learning. Very little of the grammar is past N3 and while it has some vocabulary quirks often times they reuse vocabulary. The last 5 pages had the word 宴会 (feast) like 10 times after introducing the word for the first time in the series.

I've started keeping a to do log of the different things I want to read or watch. The majority of the list is for Japanese of course, but some of the items are for other languages I'm interested in like reading Dante's Inferno or the Count of Monte Cristo. I'm considering taking up another language with the New Year and I'm trying to make a list of media each language has to decide which one to go with. I'm leaning towards French at the moment mostly because I want to read 'Le Robinson suisse, ou, Journal d'un père de famille, naufragé avec ses enfants' which is the oldest surviving complete edition of the Swiss Family Robinson. The original was written in German, but published incompletely first before being published in full some years later. Whichever language I choose I'll only be committing a small amount to it. I might just do a Duolingo lesson or two each day.

This week my schedule is still up in the air, but I will be attempting read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban each day as well as listening to more Jpod. I want to do more shin kanzen work, but I just don't know if I'll have the ability or desire to do so.
2 x

genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
x 155

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Tue Dec 08, 2020 3:52 am

The bad news is I gave up on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban a few pages in. I'll come back to it eventually, but it was kind of boring after so much other Harry Potter. The good news is I gave up out of boredom rather than an inability to read it which I consider an accomplishment after having so much trouble with the first book just a few months ago. Instead I read 3 volumes of the pokemon special manga and 1 volume of Dragonball. Pokemon was quite good. It was harder than Cardcaptor Sakura, but not as hard as Naruto which puts it in just the right range. Reading the Japanese version of Pokemon names feels weird, but it's not a huge problem. Dragonball on the other hand is a trainwreck. It's about the same difficulty as Pokemon reading wise, but the actually content is terrible. I never actually watched the original Dragonball anime and instead started with dragonball z, but the first volume of Dragonball is just weird. At one point one of the characters drugs the others in order to molest one of them and frankly all the characters are terrible people. I'm not sure when the series makes the transition from weirdly sexual kid's show to superpowered aliens fighting, but I'm just gonna skip to that bit. I'll finish Pokemon first though.

I've also been doing more actual study going through the Shin Kanzen Vocabulary and reading comprehension books. My interest in vocabulary drills waxes and wanes so I'm going to try and do as much vocab while my interest is here. I've been doing some calculations about the N2 exam for next year and I'd really like to start preparing with the first of the year and in order to do that I really need to finish the N3 course work. I don't mind not knowing all the vocabulary from N3, but I need to finish the reading comprehension book and as much of vocab as possible. Listening comprehension is still beyond me so I'll have to figure something out there unless I want to try and take the test only to fail based on my listening score.

For the week:
1 volume of manga a day (probably pokemon0
14 reading comprehension exercises
14 sections of vocabulary
jpod 101 (still plugging away)
4 x

golyplot
Blue Belt
Posts: 791
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:41 pm
Languages: Am. English (N), German, French, ASL (abandoned), Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Japanese
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... 15&t=12230
x 1331

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby golyplot » Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:39 pm

genini1 wrote: it's weird reading them as an adult for the first time as when I was a kid quite a few of the weird plot holes slipped past me. Like a student was expelled for killing someone and then they immediately hired them as a groundkeeper.


Harry Potter has its share of plot holes, but that definitely wasn't one. Hagrid was explicitly hired as groundskeeper because Dumbledore felt sorry for him (and suspected that he was innocent, anyway).
0 x

genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
x 155

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:08 pm

golyplot wrote:
genini1 wrote: it's weird reading them as an adult for the first time as when I was a kid quite a few of the weird plot holes slipped past me. Like a student was expelled for killing someone and then they immediately hired them as a groundkeeper.


Harry Potter has its share of plot holes, but that definitely wasn't one. Hagrid was explicitly hired as groundskeeper because Dumbledore felt sorry for him (and suspected that he was innocent, anyway).


Maybe plot hole was the wrong word, but it's one of those things that doesn't make sense. Hagrid was expelled and wand snapped because he had a monster that killed someone (presumably they don't think he intentionally murdered someone) and then was immediately hired by Dippet to be groundskeeper. Like this person got someone killed so they moved him 30 feet outside of the castle and everyone was like yeah no problem totally cool with this 13 year old kid who terrorized the school and killed someone just being right outside. Or like at the very end of the book Ron and Harry are waiting in the staff room to tell the staff exactly what the monster is and where it is then they just sort of decide not to.

But yeah this week didn't go according to plan. I ended up having to drive quite a bit on a trip this week and didn't bring my manga so I ended up listening to jpod for about 24 hours instead of the usual 5-7ish and reading the first 5 chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I just got a kindle so I'm reading it there to try it out and it's been good. I got the kindle just because I heard it has a better dictionary than the computer app and it definitely is way better. The computer version can't figure out conjugated words even just to tell me the reading of the kanji so being able to highlight a word and read it is pretty nice.

I've also finished most of the Shin kanzen N3 reading comprehension and Vocabulary books. I've got about 10 sections left of the vocab and 20 left of the reading so I should be able to finish by the New Year. My current plan is to start the Sao matome N2 series in January. If I can do that series in 4 months and then the Shin kanzen N2 series in 4 months then that will give me September through November for any kind of general review and test prep for taking the N2 first week of December. I think it's doable, but we'll see.

For the week:
Finish as much of Shin kanzen as I can. I want to start the N3 listening comprehension book this week as well.
Continue jpod.
Continue Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban through chapter 10.
2 x

dampingwire
Blue Belt
Posts: 523
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:11 pm
Location: Abingdon, UK
Languages: Italian (N), English (N), French (poor, not studying), Japanese (studying, JLPT N3)
x 536

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby dampingwire » Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:54 pm

genini1 wrote:My current plan is to start the Sao matome N2 series in January. If I can do that series in 4 months and then the Shin kanzen N2 series in 4 months


I don't know if you've looked at 日本語総まとめ but each of them is a much slimmer volume than 新完全マスター. 総まとめ has considerably less material: it is (to my mind anyway) much more of a review for someone who already understands all the grammar points and vocab. So I would think you'll be able to progress through it much more rapidly than you will through 完全マスター.
1 x
新完全マスター N2聴解 : 94 / 103新完全マスター N2読解 : 99 / 177
新完全マスター N2文法 : 197 / 197TY Comp. German : 0 / 389

genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
x 155

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:46 pm

dampingwire wrote:
genini1 wrote:My current plan is to start the Sao matome N2 series in January. If I can do that series in 4 months and then the Shin kanzen N2 series in 4 months


I don't know if you've looked at 日本語総まとめ but each of them is a much slimmer volume than 新完全マスター. 総まとめ has considerably less material: it is (to my mind anyway) much more of a review for someone who already understands all the grammar points and vocab. So I would think you'll be able to progress through it much more rapidly than you will through 完全マスター.



I just got the books in the mail today and they definitely seem that way. I had seen people say it was less comprehensive than the shin kanzen series so I thought I'd go in this order, but I wasn't expecting the series to be quite like this. Particularly surprising to me is that the grammar book has no actual descriptions of the grammar points. They group them by topic and list how to use the forms with 2 example sentences, but no actual descriptions so it seems like it's very much more oriented towards the reviewer rather than the learner. I can probably get through the So matome series in 3 months, but with learning 20-30 words a day from vocabulary over 2 months I'm not sure I can finish the rest of the books without putting more time into studying rather than general reading/tv watching.
0 x

genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
x 155

Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:21 pm

This was the first week in a while I feel like I really hit my stride with studying. I finished up the N3 Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary books earlier than I expected. The last 10 exercises in the reading comprehension were find the info rather than essay type readings and I already knew about half the vocabulary words so they went quickly. I also went through the parts of the Listening Comprehension book I cared to complete. When I started the book I thought it would be more of a listen to these passages with notes on specific tricky passages and while it did have those it also had a lot of pattern recognition and the like which I skipped over. What it really made me realize is that when it comes to listening the most important thing is more time spent on listening at all rather than a specific listening book.

I also read through Chapter 14 of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The Kindle has been great. It's more enjoyable than reading from a phone or computer screen, not as enjoyable as a physical book, but being able to look up a word in a second has been very useful. You could theoretically do this on the computer version, but the dictionary look up for anything conjugated was terrible. 70% of the time I had to copy and paste the word into a web dictionary and any time you copy and paste from the kindle app it include the copyright information which you then needed to delete in order to search. Not sure why the computer version is worse than the kindle version, but maybe Bezos just really wants me to help fun another super yacht.

That all aside with the new year approaching my thoughts have been turning to the future of my studies and consequently to how far I've come (January 1st will be about 6 months since I restarted learning conveniently enough) in them. I took some practice tests and passed the N5 and N4 tests pretty easily (need to work on wa vs ga particles apparently) and managed to pass the N3 ones. My Vocabulary and Grammar were high, my Kanji and Reading Comprehension were middling (disappointed in my reading honestly) and my Listening Comprehension was between barely failed to barely passed depending on which version it was. Disappointing, but not at all surprising. Over all I feel like I am in a reasonable position to try for N2 by next December. I've got a tentative study schedule set up, but I'll spend the rest of December hashing it out I think.

For the week:
Finish Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (8 Chapters left)
Finalize a study plan for the New Year
And that's it. It's Christmas week so I don't know how much time I'll actually have. This seems doable at least.
5 x


Return to “Language logs”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests