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How many Japanese Flash Cards do you Plan on Learning? — 31 Comments

  1. My current goal is 10,000 J-J cards, in addition to the 1,000 J-E cards I have. Only 3681 left to go!
    (Also, I’m really curious as to what those last 20 cards you added were!)

    • Almost there!

      The final cards are nothing special, just something that I was reading from a book and suddenly had the urge to add them as Anki cards. For your curiosity, here are some of the final sentences I added:

      さらに 、背中 、脇腹に肘鉄を何発も食らいました 。
      未曾有の大地震
      休耕田で暮らしてどうすんだ
      納涼会やバーベキュー大会など、仕事関係でお酒を飲む機会も増えると思います
      鋳型にはめた教育
      自社のブランドを研鑽してきた経験にある
      私が体験した不思議な話を集めた奇譚集
      忘れられた戦争 ― ― 。それが西サハラの枕詞だ
      成層圏の上を延々と運ばれていったのだった 。
      体がずだ袋のように重い 。
      連隊が駐屯する
      だが案ずるより産むが易し
      人間なんだから玉虫色なんです

  2. Chugging along at 5702 and counting! One issue I’ve been thinking about, and this is not strictly what the post is about but tangentially related: How is everyone incorporating proper names into your cards? Are you just adding them from your native material consumption? (The JALUP decks are outstanding but seem to stick mostly with 博 and 鈴木.)

    • For the most part, you learn them from just reading a lot. But if you want to pick up that speed, you can add a few hundred of the most common first/last names into your deck (that’s what I did).

    • At around 7500 sentences I decided that this was a weak spot for me and started to add sentences with proper names. I now have all prefectures, all major cities, most names I come across in my immersion and some of the central metro stations in Tokyo. I use completely normal J-J sentences for this, as I want it to reinforce vocabulary from other cards.

      Proper names tend to have special kanji readings that differ from their normal readings. My main goal apart from recognizing common names was learning these readings. I have definitely succeeded in this, and one bonus is that this has helped me to reinforce some of the Kanji that have few commonly used words, but which are also used in proper names.

      • Would you consider making a small deck out of your J-J proper name cards and uploading it somewhere? I think that would be extremely helpful for a lot of people.

  3. I have 500 cards to go to finish your series of 5.000 cards and plan to stop after that except for adding the immersion cards prior to reading those manga (already added 250 cards + the 1800 RTK cards) Of the cards I’ve added I only have a good understanding of perhaps half of them.

    I plan on using the next several years to actually learn the rest of the cards well. I don’t have as much time for Anki reviews as some (usually 40-60 minutes per day) but hope this plan will give good results. I’ll use the extra time to read more native material.

    • Nice, good luck in those final cards.

      The good news is that the further you go, the less time you need to spend on Anki reviews, so 40-60 minutes will become more than enough as time goes on.

  4. I am right at 4000 cards, and my personal goal is 10000. I’m going really hard to finish off Expert but then I plan to relax a bit and only add from immersion. I’m looking forward to more time freed up from adding fewer new cards alone.

    Beyond that I don’t have any plans, but I think at that point adding cards will become something sone very slowly and intermittently rather than a daily grind- which is the ultimate goal anyways.

  5. I’m guessing in Anki speak, that’s 10,000 notes, not cards. I have about 10,000 cards but since all my notes have 2 or 3 cards, I have ~5300 notes. So by your count, or the 10,000 count I’m ~1/2 – ~1/3 there. LOL!

    • Well it’s more 10,000 new things. If you are learning more than one thing on a card, it would change it slightly.

      And I’m not actually suggesting that 10,000 is the number to fluency. It is just a popular number.

  6. I started self-made ~2 years ago and finished the JALUP 5k a little over 1.5 years ago, sitting at 6506 currently. I don’t have a target number, but I plan to keep making them as long as I’m getting value out of doing so. Even if I get to a point where I slow down a lot and make <100 a year, if it's helping I don't see a reason to stop completely.

    • That’s a good way to look at it. There is no obligation to keep going with cards unless they continue to provide the same value they always have.

  7. Your 13.2k is artificially low because of how advanced you were when you started with Anki.

    My sentence deck has the JALUP 5k, plus the theme language pack, plus Manaan’s after JALUP, plus The One Deck. Sitting off to the side is a core 5k deck that I have been pulling sentences from when I stumble across a word that isn’t in JALUP 5k or The One Deck. I’ve taken a couple hundred sentences from it, and branched a few of my own. I’ll probably have at least 10k done when I START on The One Deck, and I’ll probably still have to branch some to make up little gaps here and there.

    I think I’ll have at least 25,000 by the time I finish The “One” Deck.

      • About 3,500. I’m not exactly power-leveling; I never really got off the ground with RTK or studying kanji so I’ve just been trying to pick them up as I read them.

      • The purpose of my comment was to point out that anyone who starts with JALUP beginner and gets to 13.2k cards isn’t really going to be anywhere close to where Adam was in 2011. There’s still a huge gap from the end of expert to the beginning of his deck. You can fill the gap by branching your own cards as you do The One Deck, but I think you will end with about 25k cards if you do that.

    • That’s a valid point that I didn’t do flash cards for the first few years, until I started using Anki.

      However, the 13.2k figure was not meant to be a number saying “you need this if you want to be at my level at the time.” It’s just my number that I found most appropriate for me, in relation to all the other parts of how I studied. Some will do much more, some will do much less. Though, if I had access to a new pre-made deck that I didn’t have to create, where I knew every card would provide me a new word/sentence that would be useful, I might have continued.

      Also a side-note, the Jalup 6k (no longer 5) will definitely have overlap with the One Deck, as the former was created without any consideration from the latter.

      • How do you feel about overlap in decks? Are those “wasted” cards? I kinda feel like it takes less time to review something than to evaluate whether or not to delete it, and the extra repetition might be helpful.

        • I don’t think it would take that much more time to evaluate it than to review it.

          You read the new sentence. If you already understand/can read everything, then you already know the card and just can click delete.

          Of course it’s fine to have doubles of cards covering the same new word. It’s not just repetition, but a different way of seeing the word in a new sentence.

  8. I have 17,243 cards. 6,000 of those are from Core 6000; 6,000 more are from Japanese Level Up; and the rest were added from various books that I read. I would have quit around 10,000 but I thought the decks from Adam would be worth going through (and, happily, I was right).

    Right now, I don’t have any targets for Anki and can’t see myself making them any time soon. I do, however, want to increase the time I spend reading books and listening to podcasts. Anki’s awesome, but I’m not going to get to fluent through it alone.

    • Still going strong I see!

      And I know how much you love reading, so it’s always a good time to increase your Japanese book collection :)

  9. I want to complete all the decks available on this site, removing redundancies when they arrive, so (Jalup + Manan’s Deck + The One Deck) – (redundancy) = ~18,000 – 20,000 probably.

    But, I will probably get lazy at some point… and will at least get through Jalup + Manan’s deck, so 10460 cards at the very least plus whatever Jalup puts out in the future.

  10. I had this thought the other day and this seems like a good article to throw it on.

    Beginners like to focus on flashcards because its super effective and there are few other options available to them. However at some point its extremely important to reverse your focus. You drive shouldn’t be to do flashcard reps and to increase your decks. Instead it should be your drives to enjoy the next game, movie, book, drama, or manga that ends up motivating you to spend some time with Anki.

    I feel like this was actually Khatz’s point all along, just find this native material you love and can’t stop enjoying and then use this flashcard tool as well. However he was terrible at explaining things and decks and flashcard numbers were more marketable and so thats what everyone latched on to.

    Perhaps its time to redo the metrics as: Books read, dramas watched, games completed, etc. Making counting Japanese progress great again!

    • Yeah, I think that becomes the natural progression:

      You go from: Counting flash cards > Counting native material > Not counting at all

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