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Haven’t posted about my progress in learning Japanese in a while (apparently for more than a year..), figured I’d do so since that’s the main point of this blog, not just SB69 tutorials..!

It’s been about two years since I started learning Japanese. I’ve been really bad sticking to Anki flashcards lately, or doing any kind of studying-for-the-sake-of-studying. Most of what I do these days is read raw manga, watch anime without subtitles, play video games in Japanese (whether it’s just little app games or actual console/portable games), read a lot of Japanese tweets, fanfics, etc.

A few of the games I can think off the top of my head that I played entirely in Japanese were Persona Q, Drag-on Dragoon 3, and Bravely Second. Persona Q was absolutely wonderful and I ended up spending about 150 hours on it, lots of fun, enjoyed every moment of it. I loved DOD3 very much.. All the characters were so very suited for my interests (a game with badass ladies, dragons, and dudes based on sexual kinks? hell fucking yeah), gorgeous music as always with the DOD series, and it was very fun to play despite some frustrating moments and bad camera angles.

Bravely Second…was honestly barely enjoyable and full of cringeworthy moments. The battle system is great, I enjoy the graphics and character design, the music wasn’t that bad either (though I do prefer Bravely Default’s soundtrack), but what really killed it was the writing. I could go on for ages about how /bad/ it was, but considering it’s not out here yet I’ll try to keep my mouth shut. All of the romance and all of the “emotional” scenes were really forced, there was no meaningful character development at all, and the last 10-15 minutes of the game really put the nail in the coffin. My painfully honest opinion is that this game is not worth playing. I’m having a lot more fun going back to Bravely Default, though I do miss some of B2nd’s improvements to the combat system.

My reading comprehension has improved quite a bit since last time I posted, though I often still need a dictionary on-hand to translate some uncommon words. My listening comprehension is okay in regards to watching anime/drama or listening to radio shows, but I don’t get the whole picture sometimes. My listening comprehension in person is quite bad and I have a very hard time following along to actual conversations. But worst of all is my speaking ability.. I try to go to weekly/monthly Japanese study groups in my area, but a couple hours a week can only help so much. It’s pretty slow-going, and my lack of improvement is a bit discouraging. Since the entirety of my studying and interests deal with either reading or listening (anime/manga/games) and absolutely 0% speaking, it’s definitely my worst area.

I try to tweet in Japanese occasionally, but even then, it still takes me a while to think of what to say and how to say it right (or at least in a way that gets my point across), and it’s always very light conversation. Doesn’t often go much further than “I LIKE THING.” “THING IS COOL.” “HOW SAY THING IN JAPANESE.” so it’s a little embarrassing trying to converse with people when I can’t even really talk at a child’s level. I read quite a lot, so I can understand what my conversation partner says pretty quickly/easily at this point, but my responses are still very slow and low-level.

I wanted to get to a point where I could write entire journal entries in Japanese, but that goal still seems rather far away. Maybe it would be better for me to just go ahead and try, broken as it may be, rather than sticking strictly to twitter where all I end up saying is very simple, individual sentences that are barely connected if at all.

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Japanese learning resource post

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Gonna compile together a lot of the resources I used (am still using) while learning Japanese.

Anki – I love this so much. It is my primary learning tool and #1 recommendation. I have it on my home computer, my work computer, my laptop, my phone… I try to use it every single day even if it’s only a few cards here and there.

Anki decks:

Heisig’s Remember the Kanji – Best used with Reviewing the Kanji and/or Remembering the Kanji.

Japanese corePLUS – DOWNLOAD THE SOUND FILES. Read the description for information about sound files for this deck. I test myself with this deck by gauging whether I know the word immediately by sight and sound (easy), whether I have to think about it for a while based on the kanji meanings (normal), or if I only figure out the meaning by closing my eyes and flipping the card to listen to them say the sentence with the word in context (hard). It was harder for me to go through this deck before I added the sound files.

Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese Grammar – Best used with A Guide to Japanese Grammar.

Japanese Core 2000 – This link is only for step 1, but there are multiple decks and multiple steps. Great listening practice. I use this for easy review or taking a break, but it may be helpful for learning too.

Websites:

Japaneseclass.jp – Feels more like I’m playing a game. Get enough points, level up, stuff like that. Information, quizzes, flashcards, reading exercises, etc.

Guide to Japanese (web) – Very helpful, easy to understand grammar tips.

Reviewing the Kanji – Much more helpful (IMO) kanji stories than the ones provided in the RTK textbook. MUCH more helpful, really, considering how the RTK textbook literally stops providing stories halfway through the book anyway.

Books:

A Guide to Japanese Grammar (book) – The book form of the “Guide to Japanese” website. I love this book. It’s been a LOT of help to me, especially when paired with the Anki deck that lets you type in the answer and check if you’re right or not.

Remembering the Kanji – Looking back on it now, I probably would not actually buy this book. It’s helpful for learning the stroke order of the kanji, but otherwise, the stories provided in this book are not as helpful (to me) as the user-submitted stories here.

Genki – Just a link to the first book, but I have Genki I and II. These books are what would have been required if I’d taken actual Japanese classes at my college (which I did not do). As such, they are confusing as SHIT at first if you don’t have an instructor, and they mainly teach polite language. They’ve still helped me, and were a nice change of pace if I ever got tired of my other study regimen, but they were not my main study tool. A Guide to Japanese Grammar by Tae Kim was a LOT easier for me to understand and much more enjoyable, given that I’m learning by myself and not with a class/instructor.

Dictionaries/translators:

Denshi Jisho – I use the bookmarklet for this site all the time.

Rikaichan (Firefox)/Rikaikun (Chrome) – I use this when I have a lot of text I want to read but am too lazy to look up the words I don’t know individually, like when I’m reading fanfics. Otherwise I’ll use the Denshi Jisho bookmarklet to highlight one word and check its meaning.

weblio – Still by no means perfect, but a good translator tool that gives you multiple suggestions, example sentences, lets you choose whether you want to translate with polite or casual Japanese.

goo – A great Japanese-only dictionary, when you’re at the point you can use this sort of thing.

Google translate(?) – I don’t.. really… recommend google…… But it does know some slang that other sites may not recognize. It’s pretty shitty unless you know what you’re looking for… Do not rely on this site.

Other resource lists:

http://forum.koohii.com/viewtopic.php?id=5322

https://kelaruj.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/1101/ Some other resources I did not list in this post.

 

I’ll add to this post as I remember more stuff.

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I haven’t.. posted here in a while…

I haven’t had altogether much time to sit down and /study/ Japanese lately in general. I’ve been too preoccupied with school this semester, since it is my last semester before I graduate. I’ll pick up my studies again once the semester is over with in May, most likely. I’ve been going to japaneseclass.jp every so often but that’s also been fairly uncommon. http://japaneseclass.jp/user/statistics/37283

I have been making more of an effort to read tweets on my Japanese twitter list though, especially now that I’ve gotten into Bravely Default and followed a lot of BDFF fans. It’s so nice.. being in a fandom again… Ys is so dead and barren even with the release of Celceta, people just don’t care…

It’s been a shock to draw a BD-related doodle and post it on my JP tl and get like 7 favorites on it //// from really great artists too..!! I can’t believe so many really great artists followed me back on twitter…!!! And seem to like my art too..!!!!!

Speaking of Bravely Default in general, I’ve started playing it entirely in Japanese and it’s really, really nice. Since I know the basic story in English already, thanks to my girlfriend playing it and talking about it and showing me scenes here and there in English, I can follow along pretty well. Sometimes I switch it to English temporarily if I want to be sure about what’s being talked about, but each time I do that, it’s shocking how different the translations are from the original script, and how much content is really lost in translation. I’m so, so glad they included the Japanese text in the English release so I could follow along the story as it was originally intended…

On the other hand though.. I kinda wish I’d had to buy the Japanese version so I could actually redeem these codes!! I bought the Pocketbook of R books, the official complete guide, and the art book, and I didn’t realize it but I got costume codes in each one, so I could theoretically have all the special costumes. But I am pretty sure I can’t redeem them if I only buy the eshop version of the game..

Ah! I started up dmmd the other day and I was so happy!! I haven’t played it for months and months and I was so shocked at how much I actually understood. The last time I played it, I could only pick out a word here and there and didn’t even bother reading the text that wasn’t voiced. But this time..! This time…!! I was able to read the MAJORITY of it without looking anything up, the unvoiced text included! It’s so, so nice to see that all my studying is paying off!

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I will still be using this blog to keep track of my studies though. I have been remiss lately in posting about what I’ve been learning and I would like to focus on it again. I would also like to begin using this blog as a diary as well, but of course, I want to try to write entries in Japanese since I already have an English diary. Ideally, I want to transition this blog from being almost entirely written in English to being written entirely in Japanese.

I have been studying a lot lately, actually, and feeling pretty good about it. I talked to someone on skype in Japanese for the first time in the past week and it was pretty fun. I’ve been really happy being able to have a few simple conversations on twitter and IM.

I also joined a couple of local Japanese study groups. Neither of them have had a meeting since December last year but I’m hoping they’ll meet sometime soon and I can go and try to speak a bit in Japanese.

One of the study groups I joined had a loooot of nice resources! I’ll post a few of them here too.

Japanese short stories

Children’s stories

Genki self-study help

Listening practice I have not used this yet but it seems cool.

Audiobooks with transcripts

NHK Japanese lessons

ALC Apparently a dictionary made by translators. I haven’t used it yet.

Read/buy manga: Jコミ and eBookJapan

I added this deck to my Anki and will be adding the other steps as I complete them.

I’ve also been adding a lot of kanji compounds to a custom deck of mine and I have to write out the kana to answer it. I have so many Anki decks but they all help me practice different things.

[weekly progress]

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I decided once year-end hits, I’m going to stop doing weekly posts like this and do monthly updates instead. Basically I’ve been thinking and these flashcards are getting more stressful than fun. My reviews have backed up so much to where I have 541 in my RTK deck and 742 in my corePLUS deck. Let’s just say every 100 reviews takes me a full hour to do. I used to be perfectly fine doing 30-50 reviews per deck per day, but as time went on, and I didn’t study during weekends, I’d come back on Monday with a full 100 reviews to do per each deck.. wouldn’t feel like doing that.. and it’d pile up further and further…. I need to reduce the amount of cards I learn per day and I need to spend a good full couple of days knocking out all these piled up reviews, and then I can get back on track on a slower pace.

#1842. I have 158 kanji to learn in two weeks. Will I succeed? Probably not at this point haha. I’d have to study for 11 of the next 13 days. I don’t really care anymore I guess. At this point, my goal has gone more towards “learn these kanji as quickly as possible so I can have 2k by the 31st” and less about “learn these kanji thoroughly so I don’t forget them,” which is a terrible thing to compromise.

So, because of that, I’m going to say here and now that I give up and I did not reach my goal. But it’s okay, because I’m giving up speed in order to try to learn my kanji more thoroughly. I’ll probably try to do 5 a day per deck now rather than 15, and I’ll probably reduce all my reviews in each deck to.. 15 or 30 or something per day, because seeing 500+, 700+ is really intimidating.

It was fun though, working towards that goal. :) Hell, ending up with ~1900 at the end of the year is still gonna be impressive huh? I’ll have only been studying for about 9 months. Apparently it takes other people /years/ to learn that many. So, I’m still pretty happy.

I’ve been watching more Doraemon and some Japanese variety shows, food/cooking shows, etc. It’s a lot more fun than flashcards haha.

[weekly progress]

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Forgot to post last night because I got a sudden migraine and fell asleep early. I’m on #1822, still headin’ towards 2k by the end of the year. Almost there..! Just 178 more… :D

It’s really nice lately, among the kanji I’ve been learning lately, there have been a few here and there that I already know, so it made it easier/quicker to go through some days.

Though I have been getting lazy and not doing much reviewing. u_u I need to pick back up this week. I’ll probably be getting some time off of work next week or the week after, which’ll give me a bunch of free time to study more. Woo!

Oh and my coworker had taken a vacation to Japan recently, and this past Monday she came back and gave me a 3DSLL, MH4, and the 3DS Taiko no Tatsujin game (that I asked for her to get and paid for haha). TwT Both games are so much fun.. I’ve been having a lot of fun with those, and practicing my Japanese by trying to read stuff, which I’ve been mildly successful at and makes me incredibly happy.

[weekly progress]

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(#1762) I just checked, and apparently there are 3030 kanji in the Reviewing the Kanji website. After realizing that (I thought there’d be thousands, like 7000 or something), I think I’m going to considerably slow down my RTK studies after I hit 2000. I’ve gotten to the point where I can recognize a lot of kanji while I read things now, but I am still frustratingly unable to figure out how to say/type them. After year-end, I’m going to focus a lot more effort into reading manga with furigana so I can further familiarize myself with kanji usage aside from just learning from my flashcards.

I told my boss the other day that I was trying to learn 2000 by the end of the year, and that I was learning 60 a week to do so, and she was very amused. Kept saying that I’d probably end up being more proficient in Japanese than she is, at this rate. :’D Also told me that she used to work with someone else who took a very intensive course and learned how to speak Japanese in six months. …man. That’d have only been possible for me if I focused all my attention on it and didn’t have a job or school to take up time.

I’ve also changed the way anki presents new cards, so this will make it much easier for me to deal with. I’d previously had it to where the new cards for the day were mixed among the reviews, but that meant that I /had/ to do /all/ of my flashcards in order to learn all of my new words that day. That…. didn’t always happen. But now, I’ve changed it so it shows all the new cards first, and then it shows the reviews. This way, I can learn new cards quickly, and then if I have time, I can review later. I think this’ll help a lot. Sometimes I’m in the mood to learn new stuff, sometimes I’m in the mood to review a bunch. I don’t know why I kept it the previous way for so long, since it jumbled everything together and just made it more stressful and time consuming to deal with.

[weekly progress]

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Didn’t post last night because I fell asleep with my cat again, haha. I’m on 1702. Meant to do more than that, but I kept falling asleep with my cat when I got home…..;; About 300 more to go in the next 5 weeks…!

[weekly progress]

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Alright I’m not even going to try to bluff it this week. #1642. Basically didn’t do shit. Weekends really throw me off lately.. I get into a groove during the week and then I don’t study Saturday or Sunday and then I don’t feel like doing anything Monday either etc. and the more I put my studies off, I have to spend longer and longer on my reviews once I pick back up again. It’s really frustrating.

As it is, I have 6 weeks left in the year and 358 kanji left to study to get to 2000 by year-end. Fucking up this past week and only studying 15 means that I have to study more now… I think I’m really going to have to study during the weekends now too just so I don’t lose so much motivation anymore….

Well, plus the fact that I’ve been translating other things, but I can’t let that get in the way of my flashcards.. :/

[weekly progress]

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WELL would you look at the time! ^__^;;; I totally didn’t just do yesterday’s kanji today because I fell asleep with my cat instead of studying when I got home, nope, I just forgot to post this is all, ahahahahahahha

Anyway.. I’m on #1627. ;;

I decided to try to continue translating Falcom Gakuen yesterday, and I typed up all the text for the next ten strips, but I haven’t translated nine of them yet. That’ll probably be done soon, if/when I decide to finish it. ^^;