Japanese Language Log

Continue or start your personal language log here, including logs for challenge participants
crypticgalaxy
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2020 12:02 am
Location: Michigan, USA
Languages: English: Native
Japanese: Intermediate (N4-N3)
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby crypticgalaxy » Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:17 am

I might have a helpful tip for you, as I know the feeling of picking Japanese up and then just dropping off after a while...

Make it a habit to get Japanese input every single day, whether it's a podcast, tv show, movie, or even just some music; whatever will be fun for you to do. That's the important part: it has to be fun! Once you make this into a habit, even if you are are not actively "learning" by sitting down everyday and learning new vocab, grammar, etc, you're still maintaining your the skills you had already built up, but you're not really putting in much effort. Just watch or listen to something that you enjoy!

This might be common knowledge but it was a revelation that helped me not feel guilty for not studying!
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genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:47 pm

Christmas has come and gone and with it another year (or at least close enough). I finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which seemed to spike in difficulty with the final few chapters oddly enough, and with that my final count for the year for reading is the first three Harry Potter novels, 12 volumes of Card Captor Sakura, 14 Volumes of Yotsuba, and about 10 other volumes of manga between Pokemon Special, Dragonball Z, Bleach, and Zelda. Overall I consider it a smashing success considering before this year I'd never finished a single manga and didn't pick up Japanese again until July. I watched various television shows although with how mediocre my listening comprehension was I won't count them.

That all said I'm looking to move forward with my reading. Instead of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire I'm going to try some native Japanese novels. I tried both Amagi Brilliant Park and No Game No Life, which I own in paper, but found them both still too tedious to really work through. Grammatically they were easy enough, but they both had a lot more vocabulary than I really wanted to look up and in particular this was made more difficult by being in paper with no furigana so I had to first find the kanji and then look the word up. Instead I hooked my new kindle to an amazon.jp account and downloaded some novels there. Specifically I got Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World ( Re:ゼロから始める異世界生活). It seems as difficult or more so vocabulary wise as the other two, but since it's on a kindle looking words up is easy and since this type of work is a major reason to learn Japanese for me I figure I'll have to bite the bullet at some point anyway. It's slow going at the moment since I need to look up about 12 words per page, but I'm hoping it will go faster by the end as a lot of the words I need to look up are ones like issekai, horse drawn cart, iguana, summoning, etc which are words that will hopefully be reused. Harry Potter was similar in needing a lot of look ups in the beginning but slowing down by the end.

I also started my N2 prep work today and rather immediately became frustrated with it. I'm only doing the grammar and vocabulary So-Matome books first, but they are already not great. The vocabulary has no example sentences, which is annoying but workable, while the grammar only has example sentences. It has a simplified way to say the grammar point in Japanese, but no description of what it actually means or how to use it. Instead I just look at what the grammar points I'm supposed to learn are and google them. There is a short quiz to test my knowledge after so it's no completely useless and it helps me self assess how well I understood the topic, but it's frustrating to need an outside source for something like this. Either way I've started out by adding all the vocabulary and example grammar sentences to Anki. I hope to keep up with the reviews, but I'll see how well it works out.

For the week:
The first weeks lesson of So-Matome Vocabulary and Grammar with Anki reviews.
The first chapter of Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World. It's a light novel so it's around 50k words in English, but it only has 5
chapters total so one is probably doable?
Watch more TV. I'm probably going to restart Fullmetal Alchemist. I should be familiar enough to not need English subs for it.
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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)
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby dampingwire » Tue Dec 29, 2020 4:50 pm

genini1 wrote:I also started my N2 prep work today and rather immediately became frustrated with it. ... It has a simplified way to say the grammar point in Japanese, but no description of what it actually means or how to use it.


I think I've said before that 日本語総まとめ is perfect if you are a forgetful but fluent native speaker ... now you see why :-) If you try 新完全マスター first then 総まとめ might prove more useful as a review phase. These days though you can probably work through it by looking up each grammar point on the net so that you can see what it is all about. Then the examples etc. may make more sense. I find googling "Japanese grammar ものなら" (to use an early example from 総まとめ N2) will throw up a number of sites that cover the relevant point. There are even JLPT grammar lessons on youtube by the likes of NihongoNoMori. They go through their example sentences and try to explain the meaning, all in Japanese.

I managed to type in example sentences from the first two chapters of 日本語総まとめ 文法 N3 before I found that there have been various projects to do that for you (for all the 総まとめ and 新完全マスター and DOxJG and probably a bunch more besides. Saved a lot of time and you still get to practice finding all the little bits that need correction :-)

I've never bought any vocab books so I can't really comment on those. I've seen the various sample pages and sample chapters that you can find on the net from various booksellers and I've never really been impressed enough to be lured into buying one.
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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 » Wed Dec 30, 2020 3:02 pm

dampingwire wrote:
genini1 wrote:I also started my N2 prep work today and rather immediately became frustrated with it. ... It has a simplified way to say the grammar point in Japanese, but no description of what it actually means or how to use it.


I think I've said before that 日本語総まとめ is perfect if you are a forgetful but fluent native speaker ... now you see why :-) If you try 新完全マスター first then 総まとめ might prove more useful as a review phase. These days though you can probably work through it by looking up each grammar point on the net so that you can see what it is all about. Then the examples etc. may make more sense. I find googling "Japanese grammar ものなら" (to use an early example from 総まとめ N2) will throw up a number of sites that cover the relevant point. There are even JLPT grammar lessons on youtube by the likes of NihongoNoMori. They go through their example sentences and try to explain the meaning, all in Japanese.

I managed to type in example sentences from the first two chapters of 日本語総まとめ 文法 N3 before I found that there have been various projects to do that for you (for all the 総まとめ and 新完全マスター and DOxJG and probably a bunch more besides. Saved a lot of time and you still get to practice finding all the little bits that need correction :-)

I've never bought any vocab books so I can't really comment on those. I've seen the various sample pages and sample chapters that you can find on the net from various booksellers and I've never really been impressed enough to be lured into buying one.


I've been mostly googling the lessons as you mentioned. I'd considered getting the Shin Kanzen Master series and doing them in that order, but from what I can tell the Shin Kanzen Master series also has no explanations for N2 and above although they have more sentences per grammar point. I'll probably continue on this path for at least awhile although I'll try to find an anki deck to download rather than make them. Making the cards takes a seriously large amount of time unfortunately.
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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)
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby dampingwire » Fri Jan 01, 2021 12:00 pm

genini1 wrote:I'd considered getting the Shin Kanzen Master series and doing them in that order, but from what I can tell the Shin Kanzen Master series also has no explanations for N2 and above although they have more sentences per grammar point.


If you look at the first example on this page, which starts with をはじめ(として), you can see that there is an explanation of the grammar point, albeit a reasonably brief one :-) This is the same as N3, but that had the brief explanation in English too.

I thought you already had SKM, but if you don't, it's probably not worth buying it just for the brief grammar points (google will find you plenty of sites that can do that part for you). It does have plenty of exercises and an answer key though.
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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 » Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:08 pm

dampingwire wrote:If you look at the first example on this page, which starts with をはじめ(として), you can see that there is an explanation of the grammar point, albeit a reasonably brief one :-) This is the same as N3, but that had the brief explanation in English too.

I thought you already had SKM, but if you don't, it's probably not worth buying it just for the brief grammar points (google will find you plenty of sites that can do that part for you). It does have plenty of exercises and an answer key though.



I don't have the SKM N2 yet, I'd been planning on buying it once I finished So-matome or at least got close to the end of it. It's probably still worth it just for the review exercises without the explanations so I'll get it at some point still I think.
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genini1
White Belt
Posts: 45
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 12:21 am
Languages: English (N), Japanese
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby genini1 » Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:39 pm

It's the new year and it's a time of reflection, contemplation, and repose. A time to look back at everything you've done for the last year and everything you will do for the following year. Or just wing it. The latter seems easier really.

But in any event the first week of my new learning program has come to an end and I'm still chugging along. I've posted previously how I'm not a fan of the So-Matome books for first time learners so I won't go into it more here, but for anyone curious for the Grammar book I'm looking up the grammar point online and collecting 5 or so sentences using the grammar point to add to anki. There's dozens of sites dedicated to explaining them so it's not difficult to find the sentences or look up alternate explanations if I'm stumped. For vocabulary I started out creating my own anki cards by finding a sentence online for each but gave that up as time consuming and tedious. I'm using a prebuilt anki deck that just has the words with no sentences for the moment.

I also joined the 365 day challenge and I'm using my textbook studying to fulfill the 30 min a day mark at the moment. 100% so far 3 days in.

On the book front I didn't read the first chapter of Re:Zero like I'd wanted. I got bored quickly as the book was harder than I expected with quite a lot of unknown vocabulary and somewhat difficult to parse grammar. Instead I read some amazon samples of other light novels and found a great one.

Ascendance of a Bookworm (Japanese: 本好きの下剋上 ~司書になるためには手段を選んでいられません~) is about a woman who dies (killed by books ironically) and is reborn into a medieval Europe-esque town and time. Her only real goal is to read books, but reborn into a poor peasant family in an era where few know how to read and books are expensive she has to figure out how to get them. Its also got a Swiss Family Robinson (my favorite book) feel when she is trying to make things she remembers. One of the earliest things she tries to make is shampoo for example and has to figure out how to get ingredients as well as harvest them. The book itself is pretty good for a learner as it avoids most older words and instead describes them as similar to the modern counterparts and since the main character is a child (5ish) most interactions with other people are very simple. I've made it a quarter of the way through the book so far and I'm hoping to finish this week.

For listening I restarted the JPod101 N3 course and am going back through it. Mostly I'm interested in being able to listen and understand each skit so I've been skipping the explanation and banter parts. It's getting easier though.

For the week:
Week 2 of So-Matome Vocabulary/Grammar
Finish Ascendance of a Bookworm
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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 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:50 pm

Still going strong on the 365 challenge with no days missed although I'm not sure how much it's really helping me to study as I already do more than 30 minutes each day. Doesn't really hurt either though I suppose.

I'm starting to have more doubts about the So-matome grammar review book. When I look the grammar points up online they all seem to be categorized under the N3 course level. There's no official listing by the testing group so it's somewhat arbitrary, but most of the online sources I find seem to agree between themselves. Of course since I don't remember a good portion of the grammar points that are supposedly N3 anyway it's good review. In one scenario I had the very pleasant experience of learning a grammar point and then having it used immediately multiple times in the book I was reading. It's one of the more satisfactory experiences while learning a language to be able to recognize a grammar point or vocabulary word and it makes me want to study more. Alternately this grammar point was in Tobira so I should have learned it months ago, but it slipped my memory at some point.

On the book front I finished Ascendance of a Bookworm Volume 1. The book itself was pretty good right up until the end. Unfortunately at the end they started to shoehorn in magic which is interesting, but I was enjoying a book about someone having to work in a medieval Europe setting with just modern knowledge as a benefit. Adding magic changes a lot about the story. They haven't really used magic yet so I'm hoping it remains just a side note to the story. I started the second volume, but it seems to be more difficult than the first volume. Specifically I'm at a point where they are beginning to try and make paper and use several specific (and old) terms and then negotiate a contract about selling the paper and an apprenticeship. Not beyond my level but it's slowing me down quite a bit. This volume was included with kindle unlimited, but the next one is not so I might continue the series or I might now after this volume I'm not sure yet.

For the week:
Continue So-Matome Grammar/Vocab
Complete 70% of Ascendance of a Bookworm Volume 2 ( I don't think I can finish it this week)
Watch 1 episode a day of anime with no subtitles at all
3 x

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

Postby genini1 » Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:54 pm

I had more time available to me last week than I expected and I enjoyed Ascendance of a Bookworm Volume 2 more than I thought I would so I ended up finishing it. The book itself was much better than the first in terms of actual writing and it seems like the author really found their bearing starting with it. I'm not exactly an expert on Japanese writing of course, but this volume had fewer chapters and took more time to do things like describe eye color, surroundings, and just generally fleshing out the story while the first was more focused on go here and do this. I have to admit a few pages I had to cheat and just read the translation of as I really couldn't understand the Japanese. Mostly it was when the explanations of how to make paper happened though. I started the third volume, but I definitely won't be finishing that one this week. The third volume is about 25% longer than the other two and I can already tell I'm starting to become bored from reading so much. I think I can read half of the volume though.

I also watched the anime of Ascendance of a Bookworm. After 10 episodes it was past where I was in the books, but I kept watching anyway. The anime was fairly good and I'll probably watch more if another season comes out. It does look like the book will move more into a fantasy magic using direction though which is unfortunate since I tried to pick the series on the back of it not having so many fantasy elements while still being fantasy. I enjoy the genre, but was trying to avoid a lot of magical terms at this point in my learning.

The Ascendance of a Bookworm anime I ended up watching with English subtitles so I didn't count them for learning time, but I did watch an episode of Fullmetal Alchemist every day with no subtitles. I could understand individual sentences easily enough, but when it was a long sentence or two plus spoken together I quickly lost track. I'd seen the show before so I wasn't exactly lost, but if it was something I was watching for the first time I definitely would be.

I had the thought of a challenge I might like to do where I go through the top 100 anime of all time and watch them. I figured if I watch all of that anime surely I would be good to understand it after that. Then I checked out a website for ranking them (myanimelist) and discovered that in the top 50 there are 7 shows with more than 100 episodes with one of them having 1,000 episodes. In total there was something like 5,000 episodes across the top 100 which at 20 minutes a piece would be 1600 hours or about 4.5 hours a day for a year. I may attempt it as just a general challenge, but it would take me a long time to do. At my current rate of 1 per day it would take me around 14 years to complete.

For the week:
So-matome grammar/vocabulary
Ascendence of a Bookworm vol. 3 to 50%
Watch 1 episode of unsubtitled anime a day.
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golyplot
Blue Belt
Posts: 793
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
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Re: Japanese Language Log

Postby golyplot » Thu Jan 21, 2021 6:53 am

It depends a lot on your preferences, but personally I'd skip One Piece anyway. I tried watching the first few episodes on Netflix, but I didn't like it. I didn't like Jojo either.

So far of all the anime I've watched, my favorites (in terms of entertainment value) were Saiki K and K-On! I also liked Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, Canon Busters, and BNA: Brand New Animal (except for the ending). Cardcaptor Sakura is ok, but it's a bit dated and formulaic by today's standards.
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