Everything I Experienced from Intense Power Leveling

My name is Manan, and I am a recently turned 18 year old guy who is interested in Japanese. Here’s how far I’ve come.

Stories Of Japanese Masters In The Making 8a

Your reason for learning

In my country (India), Japanese kids anime has a HUGE influence (on kids, not adults). Back in 2005, the kid’s network Hungama TV found a new way to fill time-slots. Specifically, importing some old crappy anime from Japan for a few bucks. They mostly imported garbage anime shows, which would later fade into obscurity, but one anime changed it all. Name? Doraemon.

It was an instant hit, paving way for future classics like Shinchan, Kochikame, Osomatsu-kun, Chibi Maruko-Chan and many more. I grew up watching Japanese shows, but since they were dubbed, I didn’t bother to learn Japanese. In fact, I didn’t even know they were Japanese until way later. Then I discovered Visual Novels like 999, G-sen , Steins;Gate and SharinNoKuni which blew me away, and had such an huge effect on me that I wanted to “read every visual novel in existence”.

After I learned that only 3% of visual novels get translated, I started realizing the ridiculousness of the situation. I am not able to read something only because it’s written in a language I can’t understand? Obviously, like a sane person I am, I decided that “I am going to learn…no MASTER Japanese.” I felt a sudden urge to experience Japanese in its full glory, to dive deep into the culture, and had a burning motivation to achieve language ability.

In my mind, I knew that I was going to be fluent in Japanese. It was just a question of how and when. As I was browsing fuwanovel.net, I found this guide.

How you got started

There was just one problem – Almost all the links were dead, so I had to look for alternatives on the internet. After searching “Learn Hiragana Mnemonics,” Google directed me to Tofugu, where I learned all the Kana in 4 hours. I was excited that I was now able to read Japanese.

Following the guide, I started reading some lessons on Tae Kim and RTK. I took a total of 4 months. I did some lessons on Japanesepod101 too, which helped my listening a lot. After these three, I was lost.

I started the text hooker, and the easiest Visual Novel – Hanahira. The experience was overwhelming as everything went over my head. There was a HUGE gap that had to be filled. I furiously started looking for new methods (Tae Kim Deck? Dictionary of Japanese Grammar Decks?), trying many, and then dropping them. During this, I stumbled upon a funny looking site, which tried to use a JRPG analogy to teach Japanese, and was asking for money from me.

My biggest mistake was ignoring the site and going back to what I was doing for the next few months, which was basically the equivalent of “nothing at all.” I read a few books (grammar) here and there and gained a vocabulary set of maybe 300 words (from Core). A total of 7.5 months had passed and I had only reached N4 level in grammar and N5 in Vocabulary. After hours of Googling, I stumbled on to Jalup again. I followed part 2 of “Master Japanese using Anki” guide, liked it, and wanted to move on to J-J.

Brief notes on your method

Stories Of Japanese Masters In The Making 8b

I want to take you through my Jalup journey.

I knew N4 Grammar and ~300 words, so I completed the Beginner deck in 3 hours, skimming the cards, and keeping the ones that gave me trouble. I started the Intermediate deck at ~40 cards per day. After Intermediate, I watched my first media in Japanese, the movie “Stand With Me: Doraemon.” It used tons of words from the Intermediate deck, which was a huge confidence booster. After Advanced, I started watching Doraemon and Shinchan, and other anime. It wasn’t until Expert that I finally started immersing in “real” media.

Reaching the end of Expert Stage 4, I got a bit tense. Do I need to make my own cards? How? I felt the same lack of direction that I felt after completing RTK. Fortunately, Adam released stages 5 and 6, which gave me some time to prepare myself for the new challenge ahead without hindering my pace.

After completing Expert stage 5, I finally tried making my own cards. I just picked up a game (Professor Layton) and started adding everything I didn’t know. It was the same experience as using the Intermediate deck – the first 150 cards are always hell! However, after a few days, I had 100s of words in “i+1.2” order. Growing impatient, I increased the number of cards to ~50 as I just wanted to get the remainder of Expert 6 out of the way to focus on my own cards.

I continued the ~50 pace for 2000 or so cards until I got burned out. I reduced the number of new cards cards to ~30 for a few weeks, and then ~25. At present, I am not adding many new cards (10-20 per day) as I want lower my review load (I get ~250 reviews daily) and it’s starting to get to me. Don’t confuse this with inactivity, as I am having the time of my life! I am able to understand almost everything that I want to watch, and the dreaded “will I understand this?” sensation is getting fainter by the day.

Content milestones and timing

● Day 1: Learned Kana!

● Week 1 : Started Tae Kim and RTK.

● Month 4 : Conquered N4 Grammar, Basic Vocab and 2200 Kanji! Tried Japanese graded readers (failed miserably at even the lowest level story 「女の子」) and Visual Novel (Hanahira).

● Month 7 : Started the Jalup Method.

● Month 11: Finished Jalup Expert 1-6. Was able to read the highest level of graded readers with ease! During these months, I was able to immerse in a lot of kid’s media (anime, games, and Visual Novels) , and overall was satisfied my performance. Also, I started making my own cards.

● Month 14/Present : Completed ~8000+ cards in total (counting the “skipped” Beginner’s cards). Have played many Visual Novels. I’d like to mention Hanahira that was the turning point in my Japanese ability. Adding every word form that visual novels gave me a HUGE boost. I’ve deleted my Kanji deck because I feel it has served it’s purpose. I might do RTK again with Japanese keywords if I feel the need to. I am level 55 now. I do not have to branch anymore, and I understand more when I re-watch stuff from a few months ago. Ironically, this made me realize that I understand less now!

Stories Of Japanese Masters In The Making 8c

Worst moments

Surprisingly, one of my worst moments is not directly related to Japanese. After started learning Japanese and following the “cutting out English Media” advice (which is no doubt aimed at people with English as their L1), I felt my English ability getting weaker. This made me question if I can even maintain, let alone master, 3 languages. Am I just continuing Japanese because I am a victim of sunken costs?

Best moments

There are many moment here and there, but one that stood out to me the most was the moment when I realized that subtitles are inaccurate ;)

Stuff that confused you but you figured out

What should I do to become fluent?

I think all 3 things must be fullfilled:

1. 10,000 words that you know, need not be in Anki.
2. Minimum 1.5 hour of active Japanese study (including immersion) per day, excluding Anki and Passive.
3. At least 2 years.

What to do next?

Read the Jalup walkthrough.

Questions/Answers

Q: Am I using my time efficiently?
A: Nope. You’ll never be perfect. So stop worrying so much, and enjoy.

Q: Will I ever reach fluency?
A: Not if you keep doubting yourself. Just keep moving forward.

Q: How do I make new cards?
A: Read the Jalup guides and Branch Annihilator and just get into it.

Q: Do I need to add everything?
A: No. However, it helps if you ever plan to return to the media.

Q: Can I handle 3 languages?
A: Yes. You might even be able to make space for a fourth one!

Advice

I have divided this section according to the Walkthrough. The advice here is based on my personal experience and my interactions with other Japanese learners. Adjust according to your own learning style. I am assuming you have bought the complete Jalup set.

Stories Of Japanese Masters In The Making 8d

1. Newbie

● Gauge your motivation and plan ahead. There are numerous factors that will try to hinder your studies, and can only be avoided if you plan ahead.

● Learn Kana using pictorial mnemonics (Dr. Moku / Tofugu).

● RTK is not the only method for learning Kanji, just the most well-known. If you are having problems with RTK, you should probably drop it. In fact, doing RTK after you have reached an intermediate is also a viable option.

● You must have knowledge of primitives.

● Do RTK recognition only. Example: Front: 口 and Back: Mouth/くち. You look at a Kanji, dissect primitives with your eyes, maybe remember a story and think of a keyword. Add in a bit of “Cloze” if you feel like it. Use Kanji Chain for learning production.

2. Beginner Deck

● The best thing about the beginner deck is that it trains you to “solve the puzzle,” which helps a lot in the Intermediate Deck. It’s actually a J-E-J in disguise.

● Some people are completely fine with the explanations Beginner Deck provides, while some people feel that they may need a supplement for a true Beginner (like me). For the latter group, I highly recommend using Tae Kim guide as a supplement. Read Tae Kim daily, and whenever a new grammar point is introduced in Beginner Deck, look it up.

● Although your brain will eventually absorb grammar through immersion, it will do so quicker if you know core “rules”. Let’s use a RTK analogy. What’s easier? Knowing 食 means Eat and then figuring out the meaning of 食事、食べる、食べ物、食う or the reverse?

● If you are going at 30-40 cards/day (i.e. fast pace), I recommend starting immersion after you complete Intermediate.

3. Intermediate Deck

● Make sure you know all the vocab from Jalup Beginner, are comfortable with N4 grammar, and have read solving the puzzle article.

In the beginning, instead of learning the meaning of a word, learn “how” to read the definition. If you have down the meaning of 変える (to change) in English, don’t just move on. Try to find out how it’s definition (物事を前と違った事にする) creates the meaning of to change. Analyze the definitions. After around 150 words, you’ll be comfortable.

●  Use the awesome feature of “Review Forgotten Cards” at least once a day till you reach 150 cards.

● Keep the best things for last to serve as motivation.

● While understanding the definition, try to find the “core” part, which is mostly present at the end of the sentence. The rest is just there to enhance the definition.

● If you are going at 25-35 cards/day speed, I recommend starting passive listening after your complete Expert 1.

● Constantly change your cards and definitions as you learn new stuff.

Advanced/Expert

Continue the same as above, and then eventually work your way to making your own cards, which is the best thing you can do to further improve your Japanese ability.

Finished the Jalup Decks up to Expert Stage 8?

Stories Of Japanese Masters In The Making 8e

Still want more cards? I’ve decided to provide the 4250 cards I personally made after completing the Jalup deck series.

Notes on the deck:

1. This deck contains some errors, and I haven’t gone back to edit things.

2. I’ve tried my best to make this as close to i+1 as possible, but remember that I come with outside knowledge as well, and there are about 30 unexplained words in the deck.

3. The first 200 or so cards will be tough because it might take some time to get used to my way of doing things.

4. There are some names like Kaori , Amane, Shigure etc. and names of vegetables or animals like カバ , イルカ, 鷲 , 鷹 etc. that are not explained. Neither are loan words (ex. キャラクター is character) that are obvious. However, I have explained non-obvious loan words like ギャラ.

5. Completing this deck would probably put you to close to the level 60 range. For reference, I can read a Standard visual novel or book fairly smoothly. I’ve also made it in a way that bridges gap between Expert and The One Deck, making it essentially i+1.

6. It uses RTK knowledge. So all of the RTK kanji keywords count as Japanese words “already known.” This means I don’t explain words like 綱、紐 or even 爪. So if you haven’t done RTK, you may have to add in these explanations on your own.

7. A picture speaks more than a thousand words. Search images for the words you don’t know/get/understand. Many words like 体操 or 曲芸 are instantly understood with just an image.

8. This deck contains a lot of words along various genres ranging from mystery to technical science, and contains 54 words that some might be deemed as inappropriate.

9. Many sentences are from internet forums, so they range from super cute to super creepy. 彼女に性癖を告白した。「お尻、叩かれたい!」って。This was the cute one. People ask a lot of questions about MS Word, MS Excel, etc.

10. Technically, this deck continues after stage 6 of Jalup Expert, since I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer to start making my own cards. So there will be the occasional crossover between Jalup expert stages 7/8 and this deck.

11. This deck has not been edited by Adam, and is an “unofficial” deck he is letting me offer here on Jalup, as my way of giving back to this great community.

Download here!

This was a long story!

But if you made it to the end, thanks for reading! And remember, if you want it bad enough, all of your Japanese dreams will come true.


Have your own story to tell?

Submit it using the “Join” button and include your: start, reason for learning, methods, milestones/timing, confusion/discovery, worst/best moments, advice, and how Japanese changed your life.



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Manan

Anime and Visual Novel enthusiast, who has a goal of achieving fluency in Japanese within 1.5 years. After being told by everyone that this is too unrealistic, he now has "realistic" goals of graduating as an alien fairy and helping the world.

Comments

Everything I Experienced from Intense Power Leveling — 43 Comments

  1. Nice! i started learning japanese because of VN too,
    i did heisig + tae kim for 5 month and then just jump straight to VN,

    my first vn was リアル妹がいる大泉くんのばあい,took me 3 weeks to finish it after that i just add words from that to my deck,i didnt know that sentences are better so i have 2.5k voacb in my deck… Mistakes were made!

    i switched to J-J sentences now but i’m making my own cards,not using jalup decks altho it would save my time alot and i’m probably going to make my own cards to the end of my journey!…. altho my Japanese journey will never come to an end xD

  2. A few things :
    If you are planning to use my deck, make sure to get “JRPG Vocab (from Matt V.)” from the theme pack.
    There are ~92 “duplicates” in the deck, i.e. there are 92 words I’ve explained more than one time.
    I am eventually planning to release an edited version of the deck. It could take up to an year.

      • I actually edited the deck today and sent it to Adam. It took a week to edit, and I tried to make the journey smooth. Overall , it took a lot less time that I thought it would take, lol.It’s by no means perfect, but you’ll get used to it.

          • Everyone has a different definition of “fluency”. One of the worst definitions that gets thrown around a lot is that, “You’ll be able to consume everything that a native Japanese can”. Well, ain’t that “Native level”, cheeky fella? It’s next to “You need 10,000 hours to learn a skill” (nope, you need 10,000 hours to master a skill, and that too varies a lot).

            I personally think fluency means : “You’d be able to enjoy L2”. The keyword being “Enjoy”. If you feel that you are not able to enjoy because of listening/reading/speaking problems, you are not fluent, regardless of the amount of cards in Anki, or your JLPT level.

            However, like I said, there are 3 factors in fluency. 2 years/10,000 cards/1.5 hours per day. It has only been 1 year 2 months for me, and I am only at 8800 cards. So I’d be contradicting myself if I said I was fluent. So, No. I don’t consider myself fluent, because I don’t want to make any mistake of overestimating myself.

            • “10,000 words that you know, need not be in Anki.”

              what did you mean by this? :o

            • The main question is, how many of 8800 cards do I actually know? I figure it would take a few months before I am able to make 100% use of my cards.
              My goals lies between ~13,000-15,000. However, I am planning on completing the remaining 4000-5000 cards over the course of 2 years (as opposed to 3-4 months). Then again, I can never control myself..

  3. Really interesting and motivating article! Thank you for the article and the deck too, (even though I am still in stage 2 of jalup beginner T-T) I know now from your article that I will eventually get there if I just study and study. I started passive listening at the beginning of my journey and I am not sure if there is a problem with that or not? I’ve completely quit on subs for animes under the easy category on Jalup, I can tell what is happening due to the anime and the occasional word that I know which gives me a tiny boost of motivation haha.

    • RE: Passive Listening

      Not a problem at all that you started it early. If it’s working for you and you’re enjoying it, do your thing. It’ll definitely yield benefits for you in the long term.

  4. Thanks for posting. It shows what can be accomplished by someone who’s truly motivated and dedicated. I’m amazed that you could complete all the JAL decks in 5 months.

  5. Nice to finally see your story. It all seems so easy hearing it from you, very inspiring. It will probably be a year before I get to point I can use your deck lol. Good to hear that 3 languages is manageable too, for when I maybe go back to German.

  6. “I’ve also made it in a way that bridges gap between Expert and The One Deck, making it essentially i+1.”

    So you’re saying you can roll through the one deck after completing the deck? I tried the one deck for a while after expert 6, and it was painful. I ended up making my own cards.

    • According to data, One Deck actually becomes “less than I+1” (I.e. easier than I+1), because, there are atleast 3000 cards that overlap (gonna run proper tests sometime next weekend).
      So one deck reduces to ~7000 cards. The only remaining problem would be to arrange it in a perfect i+1 order.
      So … yeah.

        • That’s the thing. Morphman does not work properly because the morphemes are too varied in Japanese, so it doesn’t know what/how to sort out.
          That’s why I labeled it as a problem. If it was as easy as morphman, you’d probably be seeing “The One Deck_Mod_Beyond JalUp” deck along with my deck XD.

          • Okay.

            I don’t think I’ll use the deck but it’ll be a good source of sentences/branches building from expert when I need them. Thanks!

  7. Truly an amazing story. You are so young and yet already very determined to accomplish your goals. That is the way to success in life. I have followed a bit of your progress through the monthly goals posts and it was nice to get a bigger picture of your journey. Very inspiring as well.

    Generous of you to share your deck with other Jalup’ers even though I have a long way to go before I’m at that level.

    For others wondering about managing more than 2 languages I just want to confirm – it is possible. For me too Japanese is my L3, English was my first foreign language. For any language, even your native language, you need to spend time using it otherwise it will fade away. That is probably the difficult part about managing multiple languages, each require time and you will eventually run out of time. I use English a lot for my work. “Multi-tasking” like that helps a lot with the time problem ;) and keeps my English fresh, while being able to dedicate much of my free time to Japanese.

  8. You are very inspiring. I find it interesting how rapidly your pace jumped after starting the JALUP decks (compared to using core and grammar books). Is there a reason for that? Just feeling really focused because your path forward was so clear?

    • JalUp gave me a clear path.
      “You have 5000 cards. You do X cards per day. When you reach 5000 cards, you’d be at a good enough level to figure out what/how you want to study.” It doesn’t get much simple than that.
      What more could have I asked? You just need to have faith, and invest the energy spent worrying into a productive endeavor.

      Looking back, I’m glad that I decided to take it slow in the beginning though. I had time to hone my skills, and as a result, Intermediate did not seem too intimidating when I started it. I see many people here starting Intermediate straight after completing Beginne, and then finding it too tough.
      Tip : If you find that Intermediate is getting harder after 100 cards (as opposed to getting easier), I’d recommend taking a few days off to get the basics down (Tae Kim).

  9. Man this is awesome, I wish my learning was as straight forward as this. Because of all my quitting and restarting, I am now 300-400 cards in Intermediate and theres a bunch of explanations that I dont understand at all because I didnt learn properly some older things (or when they use recent words that I have yet to remember in the definition). Sometimes it makes me want to start back from the beginning and go through Beginner again, this time without quitting (This is my longest attempt without quitting now and there’s been that *click* that made me realise I dont feel happy when I’m not working towards japanese, if that makes sense). I can’t decide if it would be worth it, or if it would just be a waste of time and that I should just keep going, and maybe Ill understand those after a while… I dont know if any of this makes sense haha I’m not very good at putting my thoughts into words.

    Pretty much; if I’m having trouble with Intermediate after 300-400 words, because I stopped reviewing beginner at ~800 words (since I had “stopped” learning japanese), would it be beneficial to just restart, or should I just keep going and everything will get better as I go on? (For example, theres still some words that even with the definition I have 0 idea what the new word means and I have to go look it up on a J-E dictionary… I’d say 2-4 words out of every 10 cards, maybe.

    • I think the best example I can give is this sentence: 思い切って秘密を打ち明ける。This card teaches 思い切って, however, I cant remember what 打ち明ける means. So first I have to go look back at what that one means. The definition is 人に知られたくない本当の事や秘密を隠さずに話す。Needless to say, I have no clue what that means. Even looking at the sentence it is in, 友人に嘘を打ち明けることにした。, I still can’t figure out what it means. See what I mean? It obviously makes sense that new cards would use old cards, that’s the point, but there’s a lot like this one, that uses things I didnt understand in the first place.

      • I was gonna comment that everything would be better as you go on….=but after reading your second comment….It depends on person to person…, but from what I gather, I’d highly suggest that you “restart”. Nothing to be ashamed of, really, weightlifters do it all the time. There’s a fine line between “I don’t get it” and “I REALLY don’t get it”.

        It’s like an RPG, really. If you are low level, you will have a hard time battling the high level monsters. You will exhaust your mana (motivation). So, the best advice would be to “Kill the low level monsters again and again (even if it bores you), gain experience, gain items (potion, treasure) and level up until you are able to face the high level monsters”. You’ll notice that you get a HUGE experience after defeating every high level monster, which increases your level further, which further allows you to defeat higher level monsters…and the cycle continues.

        Leave a comment if you wante to hear my opinions as to how you should go about restarting efficiently:) .

        • Definitely interested on your opinion haha. I guess I know that I should probably “restart”; I can go at it faster too because I do remember a lot of the beginner, but theres definitely a lot that I dont get… restarting sounds like the best option, this time without quitting would help haha. One thing that I am NOT PROUD of is that when I “quit” I just felt bad about reviews piling up and would spam spacebar to get them out of the way… I know this is bad, and I obviously dont do it anymore, but I did for a bit sadly so all the reviews are screwed. So im pretty certain I should restart… and like you said, theres nothign to be ashamed of for going back to basics, if thats what is needed, what matters is that it works, not what others think of me for restarting.

          • Restart. Stuff you know you’ll blast through quickly so there is almost no cost. Stuff you don’t know… well you need to go over it again.

            • Thanks for the extra opinion! I’m certain that I will restart now.

          • Ok.
            You do not need to restart everything, just clear your basics.

            Part 1: This could easily take 1-2 months (maybe less) depending on your preparation.
            -Stop adding new cards. Whether to continue with the existing reviews or not, is completely upto you (I recommend not doing it.).
            -Download Tae Kim app, or use the online guide. Read the Basic and Essential section. Then read them again. I used to read the same topic 3-4 times over the course of few days, and each time I discovered something I overlooked the previous time. Tae Kim is condensed i.e. if you do not read carefully, you’ll miss out on a lot of stuff. However, I recommend reading it like you’d normally do, but doing so multiple times. You’ll blast through with easy stuff, while the tougher stuff will bring about those “ah-ha!” moments.
            – Try understanding the example sentences without seeing the translation.<— This is the key step. Then cross-check with the translation provided.
            -Download the free nihonshock basic cheat sheet. It's basically all of the necessary grammar for intermediate condensed in a sheet format.
            -Read it. Take note of what you don't know, feel uncomfortable with. Read Tae Kim guide for these topics similar to previous steps.

            Part 2: This should take no more than 2-3 days. (You must have completed Part 1)
            – Start a fresh Beginner deck, and set the number of new cards to 1000. Yep, we are gonna do ALL of the deck in one go.
            – Start reviewing. Suspend any cards that you think is easy (which would be most of them). For example: おはよう ("easy card", suspend it). 人に知られたくない秘密を話す ("it's giving me trouble", let's keep it). There should be no more than 300 cards left. If you feel that it's too much, try to split the process into 3 or 4 days.
            – Take a note of the grammar points that you didn't know. Review them again in Tae Kim.
            – Start Intermediate.

    • It scares me a bit that you say that you stopped reviewing Beginner. There is no such thing. You have to continue to review all cards for as long as you are learning. Otherwise they just slowly fade, and then the following cards become impossible to learn.

      So I agree with the others here, that you definitely need to get going with Beginner again. You don’t have to restart if you haven’t deleted the deck, but you NEED to do those reviews.

      Once you reach Jalup Advanced you should see things getting easier… a lot easier, so don’t worry and just keep going :)

      • No you misunderstood… I am doing my reviews; what I am saying is that I didnt do them while I had quit; instead I spacebared them away, which I know was stupid but cant undo that.

        • Don’t worry about that. When you start rejecting them, this will be recovered over time. Anki is surprisingly forgiving of mistakes – big or small :)

  10. Minimum 1.5 hour of active Japanese study (including immersion) per day

    Does that include watching anime/tv, playing games, reading? During you immersion did you add new cards to anki or did you just worry about learn being in the moment and add new cards later?

    • I think the wording was a bit misleading.
      – While I was doing JalUp decks, I used to complete my reviews/add new cards in the morning, everyday. This is STILL the most important part.
      – Then I immersed in Japanese as often as I could.

      When you finish Expert, the above statements become reverse:
      – Now, I immerse (play games, read visual novel) in the morning, everyday. This is the most improtant part.
      – After that, I try to complete my reviews/add new cards throughout the day.

  11. Hey Manan, hope you’re well.
    What a fantastic article for learners of all levels. Aside from that, I’d like to express my gratitude towards the fantastic deck you’ve so generously provided here.

    To all those curious and finished Jalup 5000 or otherwise, this deck is brilliant. The transition to and from decks is completely seamless.
    If premades are your jam, well I guess this would be your toast.

    Such a fantastic resource. To all those interested I compel you to give this bad boy a whirl. Especially if you want to continue using premades. With all due respect to self card creation of course, that has its own set of benefits :).
    Withstanding that, I don’t think there’s a better deck on the Internet to continue off the Jalup series with.

    Any whom, thanks again! Enjoying it heaps. Take care.

  12. The first part of your story sounds a lot like mine. I finished the equivalent of Genki I and II a few months ago. Afterwards, I didn’t know what to do. I tried reading a legit children’s story (Momotarou) and felt miserable when I couldn’t read past the first sentence. For a few months, I dabbled in various language learning sites and managed to make a few Japanese friends. Then I hit upon Jalup. I’m currently racing through the Beginner’s stack since I’ve seen most of it before, and I hope to make to Expert soon. Reading this gave me a lot of encouragement. Thanks for sharing.

    • Haha, I think the first time you try to read native level material is always discouraging. Thankfully the JALUP decks guide you into that world so much better than textbooks do. Also, embrace the ambiguity, and maybe don’t read young kid books. I find them so difficult because of the lack of kanji to help you determine meaning and where grammar structures begin/end.

  13. You rock, seriously! Amazing dedication and definitely wish that I was in your shoes when I was your age.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, gave me some ideas for how to approach my own studies. Especially when to bring in listening – I thought I was behind by not constantly listening to things as I’m already having enough trouble going J-J, but sounds like I have a bit more time if I would like. And I just found out about Nihongo no Mori which has some excellent listening practice for beginners.

    I’m just surprised you could go through the intermediate deck at 40 a day! I understand all the cards I am reviewing but it’s hard as hell to make the readings stick, especially if I don’t see the word in what I’m reading right now. Did you use mneumonics or just brute force that part?

    • For readings, I can only advise that use both Mnemonics and brute force, whichever is easier. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because after a while, your brain starts picking up patterns which makes learning Japanese readings a lot easier. Then after a lot of while, you rarely encounter new readings.

      • Good to know it gets easier! I’m sure like anything in my Japanese, the first month of doing it sucks but it gets significantly easier after that.

  14. What a great read! It finally motivated me to resume my Japanese studies after finishing RTK1 but not reviewing it for a while… so I’m basically keeping up with my reviews in order to proceed to JALUP’s beginner deck.

    Question: did you study Tae Kim by reading/reviewing it only or did you review through the Tae Kim Anki deck as well?

    • I did both, but keep in mind that I did not do JalUp Beginner deck (I skimmed it).

      So, if you are planning on starting JalUp Beginner, don’t do Tae Kim deck as there is no point in increasimg your review load. Read the guide on the side.

      Ideally, you should have nailed down the Special Expressions of Tae Kim by the time you finish the beginner’s deck.

      If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Join the Koohi/JalUp LINE group/any Japanese forum.

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