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Solving J-E and J-J Puzzles with the Jalup Decks — 20 Comments

  1. Thanks for the insight Adam! I am 900 sentences into the J-E deck (1000 total including my own added cards) and actually planning on doing the last 100 tonight (“going out with a bang” kinda thing). I’m super eager to get on to the J-J deck because I’m sick of having to match Japanese words with English words, because they almost feel tainted.

    Anyway, I get the full grasp of what you’re saying and it can be actually a fun game to figure out these puzzles. Sometimes a bit frustrating, but I just move on and in a week or so I’ll come across that sentence again and it will just click. I really can see the progress even within the amount of sentences I’ve done because when I first started the first 200 cards were hard to understand and now I can read it (with a lot more speed) and get it immediately. It’s a great feeling.

  2. I guess I have just never been all that great at puzzles ha-ha. Having said that, I am defiantly enjoying this J-J deck.

    It is taking me on average an hour to do 5 cards at the moment which is way too slow, so I am going to bump with up to 10 as of today.

    Realistically It probably only takes me 10mins, but I find I spent a lot of time going back over the cards, sometimes copy pasting the definitions into notepad comparing them with similar words to remember it all.

    Hardest part for me at the moment is not physically reading the definitions so much as it is keeping the “general feeling” contained within my head. It’s like a cloud that keeps trying to float away. I constantly have to go catch it again but going back over the definitions I have pasted into notepad.

    • I mentioned this on another article’s comments, but a good way to reinforce that fragile/wispy sense of a “general feeling” is to tie emotion to it. A “specific feeling”, if you will.

      What I like to do is, once I have a feel for the meaning, try reading the sentence out loud as if I were acting it in a play, with appropriate emotion that matches the word’s meaning. The more imaginative, the better. Do that a couple times, and it may help the idea stick for you.

      If that doesn’t work, then I wouldn’t stress it too much. You’ll get better as you see the card more, anyway. And then you’ll see it in native media and that’s when it really starts to hit home. (For example, if you want to NEVER forget the word 「とにかく」, you need only watch the first episode of 「イタズラなKiss〜Love in TOKYO」)

    • Instead of spending ages on 1 card. Read the sentence, check up any unknown definitions for words you learnt in the past but can’t remember (like adshap listed above). I never notedpadded it at the start, you should know most of the J-E definitions anyway at this point. I find it’s better not to think about it in english as much as possible. Then with the feeling you get from the definition, even if you’re unsure, click ‘good’ and wait 10 minutes, read it, click good again. You’re probably thinking “but my understanding of the word wasn’t clear and I don’t feel confident it with it”. But trust me, when you see it the next day, or the day after, or again a week from now in your reviews, immersion and new sentences it’ll eventually just make sense. Accept you’re not going to understand these words first go (and when you do it’s a bonus) and just get what you can from the definition and move to the next word. Time, immersion and reviews are going to sort that out for you. I used to spend ages on learning my new words and it was horrible!

      Unnderstand all the words in the definition. It probably won’t be clear enough for your J-E mind, but it will eventually. So just keep immersing, reviewing sentences and learning new cards (in a timely fashion) and don’t think about it too much. I spend about a minute or so max on my cards now, given I’m 800 cards in now, your times are still way too long. There are so many times when I read a new card with words from the last 7 cards i learn (and am unsure of). But not dwelling on it, moving along to the next card and getting back to immersion. Even if I fail that card once, twice or more, I now know that it’ll work. I figured this stuff out through trial and error (used to exactly what you did) and it was not ideal, but definitely rewarding. You don’t need to make that sacrifice, you know how to approach these cards from the start now! But words can only do so much, the rest you’ll figure out through your own trial and error, and you’ll figure your own way and speed up your efficiency. Don’t sweat it!

      Long story short, never spend more too much time on an individual card. Whether it’s old, new, or new new!

      • I really could’ve shortened that all by just saying: look at the definition, look up unknowns, don’t think about it, move to next new card. Rinse and repeat, if the meaning doesn’t come to you close to instantly it most likely won’t come or it isn’t worth the effort. See the card another time under different circumstances (more immmersion, more new cards, more reviews of old cards).
        Eventually when you see that card, you’re understanding will be close to instant and you’re going to get that ‘ahh!’ moment. I promise!

        oooo! One last tip. When learning new cards (let’s say 5 at a time for example’s sake), let’s say the 4th and 5th card are reliant on words from the first and second. But you just learnt those two words and you don’t really have a strong feeling at all about what they mean. In fact you can’t even think about it until you go back and look at the definitions. Look up those words again ONCE and read the definitions for the 1st and 2nd cards again. After you’ve done this, read the definition again for the 4th and 5th and assuming there are no other unknowns, move to the next card. Eventually (during reviews) when 1 and 2 cards stop being vague, 4 and 5 will be a lot easier, not to mention the vague understanding and familiarity with the reading you’ll already have!

        Hope this helps, and sorry for being so damn longwinded!

  3. I am still a lit bit confused. If I look up the new word with a J-J dictionary and I don’t understand some of the words in the description what do I do? Do I look up the words I don’t know using J-E dictionary or not? Also, if I wanted to use anki with this what part goes into anki the sentence or the description of the word. Sorry I am asking a lot of questions I feel I have been haunted by J-J for to long and I want to final understand what it is. Thank you for the help in Advance.

    • I don’t believe you are using the Jalup decks, which is what a lot of the bottom half of this post refers to (especially the example).

      With the Jalup decks, you look up the words you can’t remember in the Jalup Beginner. You should know every word in the definitions (as they have already been provided for you), and when you can’t recall them, you do an Anki search to refresh your memory. All of this is set up for speed and efficiency. Then comes in all the deductive reasoning and intuition to pull it together.

      If you are going at it completely on your own, the concept is similar, except you have to do all the work to find the Japanese sentence that you can pretty much understand, minus one word, which you can understand its definition based on the basics you know. Yes, this requires a lot of work, as you have to find what matches this, going through much that does not.

      That’s why all the sentences chosen for the Jalup decks are carefully selected from the many thousands of more that just wouldn’t work. Also I have the power to be creative with Japanese definitions. If I get stuck on one word that is jamming up a nice branch I’m working on, with my Japanese knowledge I can alter the definition in a simpler more obvious way.

      It’s all about finding the right sentence, right unknown word, right amount of unknown information, and then repeating the process.

  4. At 20 cards away from switching to J-J, those examples of the information contained in the JALUP Beginner’s deck fills me with despair. My homemade cards seem so lacking in comparison!

    • I wouldn’t worry so much. Everyone’s self made decks look different, covering different material. The key to succeeding with a self made J-E to self made J-J, is constantly searching for that slightly reachable material. If the word 変える has too much unknown info, you skip it.

      Keep inputting new words until you find a definition that is manageable. In the beginning this is a very lengthy process in itself, but the easier words and definitions you work with, the sooner the more difficult definitions become easier.

      Good luck!

  5. This might be a passable, slow-motion “decoding” into English of this post’s key sentence:

    “仕事…” So this person is wanting to tell me something about their job.
    “を” Ah, they’re going to do something about or have something done to it.
    “すぐ” This action is going to take place soon! What is it?!
    “変えたい。” So this person wants to change their job soon. Mystery solved. And now on to the next sentence!

    Not sure if that is exactly correct, but the “feel” of understanding it seems right.

    To me at least, English sentences seem to unfold or unravel; Japanese sentences seem to start wide open and slowly ravel up or fold in–until they’re this neat little thing that fits exactly into its proper place and all is well in the universe once more.

  6. The time where the definiton instantly clicked started with this sentence:
    日本に住めば自然に日本語ができるようになると思うな!
    自然に:人間の手であった物事じゃない。(人間は何もしないでなる事)
    I was reading and was like “Humans being able to do something without doing anything ok that means something like effortless” I didn’t realize I did this until 2 cards later and realized “Did I really do that card without even thinking about that definition?” That really gave me a boost of motivation and I did 10 more cards that day just for fun. Just my little story. Right article to comment on right?

    • Nice. :)
      I’m still struggling with that first definition.
      I understand it as something like: by way of humanity’s hand having been involved — for example, having a hand in making something — a thing does not/will not exist.
      Is it okay to think of there being a comma in there after あった and before 物事 or am I grouping things incorrectly?
      My understanding of the second definition sentence is fairly close to what you’re saying so I feel pretty good about that one.

      • I ignored the first definition since I didn’t get it, but attempting it now I make out “Not something that existed due to humanity’s hand” the 人間の手であった is an adjective-ish thing that directly modifies 物事 so no you wouldn’t comma it. it translates to I think “the thing that existed by/due to humanity’s hand” which kind of means “thing that existed due to effort” and then じゃない means not so all together “Thing that didn’t existed due to effort by someone” At least that’s my take on it. Now looking at the first definition I am getting a feel of a meaning that means without human involvement. Which would allude to something done by nature (naturally) Looking at an online dictionary I get an example sentence of 「野菜には自然の甘みがある」 Which confirms my suspicion of it meaning nature-ish thing. According to both definitions the sentence could mean “In vegetables, there is natural sweetness.” or “In vegetables, there is effortless sweetness.” So apparently, my original definition doesn’t work. Thanks for replying, I wouldn’t have known I was wrong haha.

        • That’s a really good explanation! I have a feeling this will help me get a better understanding of some other tricky sentences that I have struggled with — thank you very much.
          I’m really glad I found this nice community.

    • This is exactly the mental process that you start to develop, so nice job. Assisting parenthesis definitions are used to simplify or add a hint in case of confusion.

  7. Hi Adam, thanks for this awesome site.

    My goal for Japanese is just to read novels and books at any caliber. With this as my goal for now (might evolve later), how do I go about doing this? I want to go through all the sentence decks you made but at what deck do I start reading books?

    • Hello A.A. Welcome to Jalup.

      Go through the sentence decks, and you should be good to go for simple novels starting somewhere between the Intermediate and Advanced decks.

      Check out Walkthrough World 5 for reference.

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