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Japanese Language Study Log: Arrakis

#1
Long time lurker (4-5 years I think), just never really posted, or made an account. I used to use the actual RTK bit, but have since been using WaniKani, so, yeah. Kinda half-assed 自己紹介: I'm 22 years old, originally from Oslo (Norway), but have been living in the UK since September 2014, and I'm currently studying Computer Arts in Scotland. Been attempting to learn Japanese for several years, but I never had the discipline/time/resources to do it properly; for the first half of that time in particular I kept moving between different textbooks in order to figure out which one I wanted to use. Caused me to get real good at using です but learnt literally nothing else haha. At one point I kinda said '***** it I'm using Genki,' and made it through both Genki books early last year. Then life happened in June or so (moving, mostly, for like... months), and I only got back to it earlier this year.

I'd like to update this once a week or so, unless not much happened.

'Stats': (I guess I'll update these in new posts whenever reasonable progress has been made)
Current level: N4, but my reading is closer to N3 (I think). In terms of tests, I've only taken the J-CAT, where I got 138 (25 listening, 43 vocabulary, 25 grammar, 45 reading), which I believe puts my non-vocab/reading at low 3級 i.e. low n4, and vocab/reading at below 2級 so somewhere around n3 (pretty sure it's a bit lower though, since I found it easy to guess at the correct answers for the reading section without actually knowing wtf was going on). Assuming I'm interpreting their score interpretation page correctly anyway.

Current long-term goal: taking the JLPT in July. Probably gonna apply for the N4, although I've been considering N3; I think I can pass the n4 easily (just need to get my grammar and listening up a bit), which makes me wonder if I should just go for the N3. I've also got some N3 books coming in soon (Sou Matome + Shin Kanzen dokkai, choukai and bunpou), and I've got An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese and Tobira waiting for me once I finish JtMW and reviewing Genki. Buuut on the other hand I've got uni; 3 projects due in March and another one due in May/June. So I might just take the N4 to make sure I'm not too distracted from my coursework and then start working towards N3 in April or so, so that I can take it in December. But then again I could just take the N3 anyway, and if I fail it doesn't really matter since I don't need a JLPT cert for anything, I'm mostly just doing it for fun + to gauge my progress.

Current short-term goal: finishing Japanese the Manga Way (I'm doing JtMW to review since it's easier for me to do, and will review Genki after). Finishing games that I've been playing in Japanese (Pokemon X, super close to the end, just need to sit down and do it; Pokemon Omega Ruby, more than halfway through the game, I just don't have a lot of motivation to finish it).

Current resources: WaniKani for kanji (currently lv19; I was originally lv25 or something like that, started using it during the alpha [May 2012 iirc], then life happened and I stopped using it. Reset it earlier last year since I'd forgotten just about everything), memrise for vocabulary (currently playing catchup since I learnt some 4000 words on it a while ago, and had a ton of reviews when I started using it again earlier this year. I've finished the N5 and N4 courses on there and got started on N3, so I should be able to keep going with N3 vocab sometime in February), Anki for vocab (doing v2k + custom decks based on textbooks and native material; I want to do core5k but I'm gonna wait until I've finished reviewing JtMW/Genki), Japanese the Manga Way, native material (Pokemon X/Omega Ruby/Sun, Youkai Watch, Tobidase Doubutsu no Mori, Yotsubato!, I also have Bravely Default/Monster Hunter 4/Danganronpa/Disgaea but they're quite a bit beyond my level for now). Adding AIAIJ/Tobira (and Sou Matome/Shin Kanzen N3) once I've finished JtMW + Genki review.

Anki, v2k: ~250 reviews, going to halt new cards until I deal with this (was sick for a couple days, so my only Japanese 'study' consisted of とびだせどうぶつの森 and 妖怪ウォッチ).
Anki, 文法 (custom deck, contains 例文 from textbooks): 93 reviews.
Anki, 何でもいい (custom deck, contains vocab from textbooks + native material): currently on top of this.
WaniKani: 430 reviews (again, got sick. I'm attempting to keep my apprentice items under 100 [currently 118], so no new lessons until that goal has been reached and I've got my reviews under control again.)
memrise: 11/24 courses under control (i.e. less than 20 reviews each unless I neglect them for like a week), which includes the N5 vocab course. Going to start studying N3 vocab once 24/24 are under control.
Japanese the Manga Way: currently on lesson 19 (て-form) out of 32. Need to add 例文 from lessons 17 and 18 to Anki.

My current schedule looks something like this: WK reviews, memrise reviews (+50 reviews from any courses I haven't finished reviewing yet), Anki reviews, 2+ JtMW chapters a day (except Sundays, which is when I add all the sentences and vocabulary from whatever chapters I did that week). And in addition to that I also play Tobidase Doubutsu no Mori/Youkai Watch/Pokemon/Toki no Ocarina 3D, looking up things as I go (although I'm finding that I could probably play through all of them without a dictionary, I'd just miss plot nuances/jokes/that kinda thing; when I got my 3DS from Japan and had to go through the setup process I did most of it without needing to look anything up, so yeah). I also watch Terrace House, but with English subs. Should probably rewatch some of the older eps with JP subs. I'd like to get into a habit of reading NHK news easy articles every day and watching Shirokuma Cafe without subs (already seen all of it with EN subs), but we'll see.

edit: added more specific 'stats'
Edited: 2017-01-24, 12:34 pm
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#2
I'm loving the study journal threads! I enjoy hearing about what other people are doing to reach their goals. Good luck.
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#3
(2017-01-23, 10:53 am)Arrakis Wrote: and watching Shirokuma Cafe without subs (already seen all of it with EN subs), but we'll see.

Shirokuma is mostly pretty easy to understand, but as you might expect having already seen it... sometimes it uses some quite difficult vocabulary, mostly just to set up for a joke or as the punch line to a joke. You might want to at least save the Japanese subs somewhere to consult in a pinch; personally I found it worth the trouble to watch it with Japanese subs.

NHK News Easy is great practice but I was never able to make a consistent daily habit of it because, well, sometimes the articles just are just uninteresting. I always ended up hitting it intermittently and picking out interesting articles. (At this point I usually just poke around on regular news, but sometimes if I'm tired or I'm in a waiting room with some time to kill I'll check in on News Easy for some light reading.)


頑張って!
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#4
(2017-01-23, 2:39 pm)tanaquil Wrote: I'm loving the study journal threads! I enjoy hearing about what other people are doing to reach their goals. Good luck.

Yes, me too! Half the reason I decided to start one haha. Thank you!

Quote:Shirokuma is mostly pretty easy to understand, but as you might expect having already seen it... sometimes it uses some quite difficult vocabulary, mostly just to set up for a joke or as the punch line to a joke. You might want to at least save the Japanese subs somewhere to consult in a pinch; personally I found it worth the trouble to watch it with Japanese subs.

That's a good point actually. I'm watching it on Crunchyroll (which only has the option of EN subs or no subs), so I think I'll poke around a bit and see if I can find the script or something. I already attempted to watch it without subs once, after I finished it with EN subs but before I finished Genki... 1 I think? IIRC I had half an idea of what was going on (obviously having watched it before helped a lot), but e.g. Shirokuma's puns and whatnot went right over my head.
Quote:NHK News Easy is great practice but I was never able to make a consistent daily habit of it because, well, sometimes the articles just are just uninteresting. I always ended up hitting it intermittently and picking out interesting articles. (At this point I usually just poke around on regular news, but sometimes if I'm tired or I'm in a waiting room with some time to kill I'll check in on News Easy for some light reading.)


頑張って!
Yeah, same. Back when I was finishing up Genki 2 for the first time I read one article a day for like... two weeks haha. To be honest, I'm having a hard time being interested in English news that I can just skim, go figure. That's why Youkai Watch is working really well for me at the moment, since I like the gameplay and I don't have an English copy, so if I wanna understand the story I can't just mash A and say 'yep, got it,' when really I only know what to do, not why I'm doing it. I realise that (native) children's games are very different from, well, (easy) news, though, which is why I should make a habit of it, especially since I'm gonna want to aim for N3 reading material I think.

頑張ります~

edit: spelling
Edited: 2017-01-23, 10:04 pm
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#5
http://kitsunekko.net/dirlist.php?dir=su...ma_Cafe%2F

Of course you can't directly play the subtitles on crunchyroll, but you can at least reference them.
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#6
(2017-01-23, 11:29 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote: http://kitsunekko.net/dirlist.php?dir=su...ma_Cafe%2F

Of course you can't directly play the subtitles on crunchyroll, but you can at least reference them.

Ah awesome, thank you!

-

As for updates:
Edit: Also decided to go for N4 if I do the JLPT at all this summer (never taken the test before, so I'd rather take something I'm a lot more certain I'll pass); honestly I might skip the summer test and just go for N3 this December though (and then N2 some time next year assuming I pass N3), due to money/time/other factors. Anyway.
Honestly I'm so sick of Genki 1/2 and Japanese the Manga Way, I feel like I've gone through basic grammar so many times and the fact that I can actually play (easy-ish) games in Japanese makes it even more boring. I own physical copies of Tobira and AIAIJ, so I had a look at the first couple chapters of both and well, I understand the vast majority. Enough that I think I'll just skip redoing JtMW/Genki, spend a couple days on quickly reviewing N5/N4 grammar points I'm not 100% on and then start AIAIJ. So:

Current short-term goal: finish reviewing N5+N4 grammar points (shouldn't take me more than a day or two) and then start on AIAIJ. I think I'm gonna aim at doing one chapter/week to begin with, since I'll add all the vocab and relevant grammar 例文 to Anki. We'll see though, depending on Uni (and difficulty of the later chapters) I might have to increase or decrease that. Other than that, been playing a lot of JP games recently, so just making progress in those I guess.

Anki, v2k: 121 reviews. Almost done (had a bit of a rough week due to medication, trying to get back into things now).
Anki, 文法: 126 reviews, 8 new cards.
Anki, 何でもいい: 0 reviews.
WaniKani: 832 reviews. Just, gonna try to do 200/day until it's manageable again. Sigh.
memrise: 11/24 courses under control.
Grammar: reviewing N5 grammar atm.
Edited: 2017-02-07, 5:05 pm
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#7
do you have any short-term goals that are more exciting that has to do with doing something in Japanese that you enjoy? Have you looked into talk-variety shows? They were really fun and great for learning Japanese for me when I was around your level if I recall correctly.
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#8
(2017-02-07, 8:23 pm)howtwosavealif3 Wrote: do you have any short-term goals that are more exciting that has to do with doing something in Japanese that you enjoy? Have you looked into talk-variety shows? They were really fun and great for learning Japanese for me when I was around your level if I recall correctly.

I think variety shows are still pretty hard to follow at n3-n4 level.  I'm close to n3 and can't keep up with variety shows at all.  At n3 I'm just beginning to be able to follow native material but it needs to be pretty basic to be comprehensible.  The only thing I can keep up with at my level is made for kids, so anything made for adults is out of reach for a while.  I started watching tonari no totoro a while back and it was fairly easy to follow along.
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#9
(2017-02-07, 8:23 pm)howtwosavealif3 Wrote: do you have any short-term goals that are more exciting that has to do with doing something in Japanese that you enjoy? Have you looked into talk-variety shows? They were really fun and great for learning Japanese for me when I was around your level if I recall correctly.

Mostly just, 'oh make progress in [whatever game I'm playing in JP, currently Pokemon X and Youkai Watch].' I find that the second I start using material that requires me to be decent at listening my comprehension decreases massively (Youkai Watch's random anime-style cutscenes work fairly well, but they're few and far between; maybe I should try to get ahold of the actual anime itself). Where would I be able to find variety shows? So far in terms of Japanese shows I've only really been able to find anime, Crunchyroll and the odd show on Netflix (Tokyo Diner, Terrace House, etc.)

EDIT: (firefox somehow ate my post, lemme attempt to rewrite it)

Quote:I think variety shows are still pretty hard to follow at n3-n4 level.  I'm close to n3 and can't keep up with variety shows at all.  At n3 I'm just beginning to be able to follow native material but it needs to be pretty basic to be comprehensible.  The only thing I can keep up with at my level is made for kids, so anything made for adults is out of reach for a while.  I started watching tonari no totoro a while back and it was fairly easy to follow along.

Oh Studio Ghibli is a good point actually. My gf has a bunch of their films, I'll see if I can watch some of them without EN subs; I've already seen the vast majority with non-JP subs so yeah.
Edited: 2017-02-07, 10:00 pm
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#10
(2017-02-07, 8:58 pm)yogert909 Wrote:
(2017-02-07, 8:23 pm)howtwosavealif3 Wrote: do you have any short-term goals that are more exciting that has to do with doing something in Japanese that you enjoy? Have you looked into talk-variety shows? They were really fun and great for learning Japanese for me when I was around your level if I recall correctly.

I think variety shows are still pretty hard to follow at n3-n4 level.  I'm close to n3 and can't keep up with variety shows at all.  At n3 I'm just beginning to be able to follow native material but it needs to be pretty basic to be comprehensible.  The only thing I can keep up with at my level is made for kids, so anything made for adults is out of reach for a while.  I started watching tonari no totoro a while back and it was fairly easy to follow along.

Well you're not going to follow it effortlessly at first but you could still learn from it. I remember that I went from pausing and looking up everything every few seconds to every few minutes etc etc ( adding them to anki etc etc). I learned from it when I was at your level because it was a lot of fun for me since talk/variety shows offer something I can't get from american tv. It seems like a good for learning because there's text all over the screen and the text is also big. Also with anything you'll remember things on repeated exposure whether it's watching  a lot of variety shows/whatever else or rewatching or relistening to a specific episode.  For me after a while variety/talk shows in general got easy since daily conversation is all the common/useful JapanesE.  At some point if you're going to improve at understanding anything you're going to have to actually watch a lot of it to get used it... I don't know if you're expecting to reach a point where watching/following a talk variety show will get significantly easier if you study more but it'll eventually come down to actually watching a lot of it and getting used to it.

Where would I be able to find variety shows? So far in terms of Japanese shows I've only really been able to find anime, Crunchyroll and the odd show on Netflix (Tokyo Diner, Terrace House, etc.)

well for starters people tend to upload interesting clips on youtube
here's some shows
嵐の宿題
しゃべくり
ロンドンハーツ
ゴッドタン
反省会

メレンゲの気持ち
深いい話

actually SOME studio ghilbi movies aren't exactly the best to gauge your Japanese in that the director always casts amateurs rather than voice actors for the main characters so people complain that it's hard to catch. just google ジブリ映画 聞き取りにくい. i think most of the ghibli movies have japanese subs floating around due to their popularity so if you watch with jsubs it shouldn't be an issue.
Edited: 2017-02-07, 11:39 pm
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