Study Log: Mechakoopa

Hello Everyone!

I recently started Japanese. I've spent an exorbitant amount of time in the last month or so outside of my study sessions trying to work out a solid framework to study off of. The studying has been fun, but the research into trying to organize my study sessions has become exhausting. I was wondering if, starting off, I could explain what I've been doing/how I like to learn and see if anyone has any tips to help me structure what I'm doing to be more efficient. Regardless, having a place to update my progress weekly (I'll be doing it on Mondays) seems like a real good idea to keep me honest and motivated.

Progress so far:

I started on Jan 2nd. I've learned Hiragana, Katakana, and 225 words off of the Fluent Forever (FF) 625 list (with Anki). For every word I learn off the list I also develop mnemonic flashcards for any newly encountered kanji radicals, and single kanji characters. After making cards and learning/reviewing all my vocab/radicals/kanji I load up a new list on Skritter with all my new vocab and any reviewed vocab that I had to hit "again" on in Anki. Then I take a break and spend between 10-30 minutes later in the day solidifying my ability to draw the kanji. Skritter is easily my favorite part of the day. I'm dedicated to learning the associated kanji spelling with every new vocab word I learn. That said, I haven't been learning all onyomi, kunyomi, or counters. In the case of pronunciation I'm just taking note of how they are pronounced as I go. I'm not going to fill my head with pronunciations that are only used 2% of the time. I'll learn the exception to the rule when I encounter it. Same idea with counters. I'll learn them when I get to a point in my studies where I feel they're necessary to really enhance my fluency and flow while speaking (so not for a while). 

I have tried out apps in between this regimen with middling to disappointing results. I chose to crunch vocab in the beginning due to the frustrations I've had in duolingo and iknow where they throw sentences at me with vocab words in them. For whatever reason my brain will not retain the vocab at this point learning it that way. If the vocab word was the only word in the sentence that I didn't know that would be one thing, but when the entire sentence sounds like gobbledygook my brain just sort of morphs into the shrug emoji and shuts off. 


Should I continue to crunch vocab or should I start on grammar (I do have Genki I with associated workbook)? When should I start on grammar? Should I continue with the FF 625 list or switch to core2k? Is there any glaring flaws in what I'm doing currently? 

Materials and resources I've utilized or have been looking at:

skritter - use every day
Anki - use every day
Genki Volume 1 - use every day
Japanese in a year - youtube
fluent forever


1. My number one short term goal right now is to organize my Japanese studying such that I don't feel compelled to spend hours researching different study methods every night. In other words my goal is to create more concrete goals such that I feel confident that what I'm doing is optimal.
2. Learn enough vocab and grammar such that I can use sentences in flash cards without my brain turning into mashed potatoes on me. 
3. Continue to learn at least 10 new vocab/day throughout my studying until picking up words from context becomes my primary way of learning new words.

I'm a relative beginner myself, working on Genki chapter 11 right now.

I'd say you should start grammar. Genki has a vocab list for each chapter, so you can study those a chapter ahead of time if not knowing the vocab would bother you. Grammar is the framework that holds all the vocab you're drilling together. If you know grammar, you can easily look up the odd word you come across that you don't know. It's harder to do that when you can't tell what's a word and what's just part of a conjugation, for example (Speaking from personal experience, there).
I've started on Genki, and it's helping a lot. Being able to say even SUPER simple things like「犬の足は白です。」 

Is much more satisfying than just simple vocab. Studying the words for the next chapter ahead of time was a great tip too!

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Glad I could help!

The great thing about being at the beginner stage is that you learn a lot very quickly. There's a lot you can say with just the grammar in Genki.
Hello, you seem to be very motivated, try keep it like that. Maintain the fun with activities you like, japanese related I mean (a show, reading, etc), since they'll always take some of the load off from the actual learning process.

I consider myself a begginer / intermediate learner, after 6 months. Did the Genki I book, doing WK for Kanji for 3 months now (did some RTK before), and using the Core10K as a reference to create my own vocab deck with whatever words I run into (from Genki, Jpods, shows, books, etc) with around 1900 words in my reviews by now.

Starting grammar ASAP, seems a nice idea. Specially for those particles and words that will give meaning to even the smallest of sentences. You can add Bunpro to keep your grammar been tested with some SRS intervals.

About the Kanji in Genki, you can forget it , I mean the way to learn it. Grammar and vocab it's what the book it's about, but for kanji just skip it. You're better off with RTK, WK or whatever other kanji specific method. 

I would suggest to find a method to start with Kanji by itself, hopefully with mnemonics (RTK it's great here).
The readings would come much more easy if you learn them with vocab side by side wich it's what WK does for me anyway.

I use the Study Japanese app for practicing kanji writing as well, since I notice how the kanji I actually know how to write are the ones I retain the most. Skritter looks very nice, but I remember it's was somewhat on the expensive side.... and a monthly subscription, right? If you can afford it probably it's a great resource.

In the same manner JALUP it's a great resource, that I used to read  about learning methods mostly, but recently I've found JalupNEXT, wich it's the pay site, but with enough free content to try the method, wich basically are a curated deck of cards that add vocab in a +1 manner all the time (1 new point every card) building on the previous knowledge. I'm considering to buy the intermediate decks... basically because they are really good, specially for sentences and making use of mainly japanese, to learn japanese. An interesting idea.

Anyway when you finish with the 625 word or so, a first reading could be a good thing to do. Japanese Graded Readers series it's one I'm very fond of, so I can only recommend it.

Regards, and enjoy!