Jalup Beginner — 247 Comments

  1. This looks like a fantastic tool. Something that isn’t intimidating, isn’t boring, and can start me immediately learning sentences that are useful.

  2. This sounds brilliant. I think you really hit on a few important points that have been very vague and hand-wavy until now. In particular purposely introducing conjugations as a proper n+1 sentence is a great idea; focusing early on grammar is great as well since vocabulary is best learned in context; and finally full kanji from the beginning is wonderful for anyone who has put the time into studying RTK first. (Hopefully you didn’t overdo the kanji and keep modern usage in mind? Some other blog (*ahem*) sentence packs have this issue.)

    Now I need to send you my long-winded opinion on why the next 250 sentences should introduce clozes so that particle and word usage intuition can be trained. :)

    • Nope, the kanji are only added when they are commonly used. No need to add an extra obstacle to people with such little return on investment.

      Haha, I know you love your close sentences.

  3. I really wish this was out 6 months ago.. A quick question adshap; for those of us who have done the 1000 sentences using genki 1 and 2, is there anything that may have been missed that your 1000 deck may cover?

    • If you have already done the Genki (or other similar textbook) series, you probably won’t find this to be helpful. They cover a lot of the same things, and this is really targeted towards the beginner.

  4. Ahh I wish this came out a month ago! I’m already at 420 sentences in my Genki Annihilation deck, and I definitely dont want to start over after over half of genki, but this sounds great! I guess I could always try to juggle the 2 decks but… not sure how that would work haha

      • Maybe I’ll check it out, I’m doing 15 sentences a day. But if anything, I guess nothing stops me from doing both at the same time, just as an extra instead of a replacement!

  5. I recently learned the hard way the importance of starting off on the right foot, and the notion of “stumbling and crashing” at the J-J stage hits a bit close to home :) I think I’m a bit past the point where I’d find this useful, but it sounds like an absolutely great idea!

  6. I am going to try J-J one time after failing three or four times. So.. I bought the Jalup Beginner 1000 – Stage 1 Anki deck. I thought Stage 1 would be a waste of money, but not so. It seems there are simple stuff that is missed even at the basic level. Like
    Literal translation: “On Monday, you won’t see a movie?”
    Real Meaning: On Monday, want to see a movie?

    I think J-J requires a critical mass of words. I don’t know what that number is, but I think 1000 sentences is not enough. When you know only a few words in a paragraph, comprehension is close to zero. I will follow your new path to J-J success. I hope to succeed this time.

    • Thanks for the review Wayne. I’m glad that even the first beginner stage is helping you patch some important beginner things that you may have missed your first time around. Stage 2 (which will be coming out soon) should definitely provide a lot more.

      As for the 1000 sentences not being enough for some people, that is why I added the new J-E-J transition phase of 500 sentences. This should make a big difference.

  7. Just wanted to say thank you so much for doing this! I started learning Japanese a couple months ago, largely inspired to start taking the plunge by reading articles on JALUP. I learned the kana, started RTK, but had a lot of trouble adding sentences into ANKI from a beginner textbook, partially because I didn’t know quite where to focus, whether on vocabulary or grammar or whatever (and if what I was inputting was really correct or relevant, how much kanji to use, etc.), and also not knowing what would end up being really important to progress, obviously not having a prior knowledge of what that looked like.

    That’s when this deck started coming out, and it couldn’t have arrived at a better time for me! It gives me something concrete to work on every day (I’ve been adding 20 new cards each day and reviewing), and I feel confident that I’m getting the base I need off of which to eventually build and progress. The audio was really helpful on the first set, and I’ve been adding audio for the second set from the ANKI plugin just for the new words or phrases that are introduced with each card, and that seems to be working fine so far. I also check back in the textbook from time to time to get more in-depth explanations of things or additional basic vocab or dialogues and stuff, but those make sense and I can see where they fit because I’ve been exposed to the concepts regularly. It’s also good how the sentences build off one another, so you’re really reviewing the same concepts multiple times instead of just once for each separate card.

    Anyway, thank you again, this has been incredibly helpful, and I look forward to continuing on when the new sets come out!

    • Thanks for the review, and I’m really happy to hear this gave you the focus you need. Stage 2 now has audio, and I resent out the updated decks to everyone who purchased them, so hopefully this will be a bit of an added boost for you.

    • Just finished my first 250 and came here to say pretty much all of this. It was such a burden lifted to not have to put in and question all of the anki cards that I was adding myself at first.
      Thanks Adshap and Miruku! Picking up part two now.

  8. I want to say that this really gave me the motivation to start learning Japanese at full force again. I don’t think I’ve had this much motivation since I first began learning Japanese. I never liked making sentence cards in the past, but now I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I really appreciate all the work that goes into making these and I will definitely be looking forward to more in the future.

    I will say that I did miss the audio when I moved to phase 2 :(.

    • Thank you! I’m hoping this makes the Anki experience easier for everyone in this stage, as it takes away all the unnecessary data-entry type work, the pressure, and leaves you with the results.

      And there is now audio on stage 2! (I sent everyone an updated copy by e-mail)

  9. Very happy with the customer support from Adshap!

    Pleasant surprise to have little issues resolved very quickly, thanks for the help with the deck! :)

    • I’ve been where you guys have all been, and I know these small things can make a difference. So I’ll always be happy to solve any issues!

  10. Hi there,
    I read this with interest and have a couple of questions if poss.
    Over a year ago I started Heisig and got to about 1,300 Kanji before a long summer holidays kind of scuppered my studies. Came back and couldn’t get back into the groove. All my own fault. But am now hoping to get back on the horse and make another push!
    The J-E system looks very interesting but should I go back to Heisig using Anki and then move onto J-E. Or use J-E in combination? Or instead of?

  11. Hi, quick question. I was adding a sentence just now, and just realized I haven’t been adding the normal form (if that’s what you call it) of verbs. I’ve just been copying the verb how it was written in the book.

    Here’s the sentence I was doing: すぐ返します。

    Should I just add 返します, or 返す to the back of the card? It makes more sense to me to add 返す, but I just wanted to make sure. Although, if that’s true I have a lot of cards to change. ;/

    • Or, I just could just put both like this:
      忘れて – 忘れる – to forget

      Does that work?

    • The way this deck has it is one verb form at a time. So it would look something like:

      Will return (an object) – polite

      That’s the way I think works best in the beginner phase. However having both is of course fine.

      And if you can easily connect the dictionary form to the form at use, you shouldn’t have a problem providing only the dictionary form.

  12. haha I just bought the pack for the other two yesterday! Now after I purchase this one I only have one left to go. I’ve been working through Nayr’s genki annhilation up until now, but since I’m already so far into it I’ve decided to do this deck concurrently. I absolutely flew through the first 100 and I’m really enjoying it.

    I don’t have to add definitions, and there’s a much higher chance of them being accurate here than when I search through Jisho/google myself. Fantastic stuff, bring on the rest.

  13. Words cannot express how much I love this (WIP) Anki Deck. It easily introduces new concepts, and everything you learn pays both short and long term dividends in and outside of the deck itself. The PDF is a nice touch, and the native speaker audio is the proverbial icing on the cake. I can’t wait for the next 250!

    • agreed. My only complaint is that now I know it exists, I’m getting impatient for the rest of it!! If only there was an equivalent for JJ that branched off our knowledge from this deck. I guess life doesn’t get to be THAT easy

  14. I have some questions.


    “Simple. This guide is meant exactly for this deck.”

    I checked the guide, and it explains you how to make a deck, not how to use Jalup 1000.. unless I’m missing something :o

    Should I fully master RTK first (and the RTK anki deck you made) before buying this? (I already mastered kana)

    Third, I’ve seen the Morphman Anki addon being recommended in these comments, do you recommend using that with this deck?

    Fourth, what does J-J mean?

    Thanks in advance, great website btw.

    • Dominic (below) gave a great answer. And just as he is doing, I also recommend doing both at the same time to stay motivated.

      I don’t know anything about morphman. J-J = Japanese-Japanese.

      • So it’s this: While doing this deck I need to remember the readings of the kanji I’m coming across. While also doing RTK, at least 20 cards a day, learning the mnemonics, but not (yet) the readings, as it’s too much work, and I’ll learn them later?

          • Thanks. Also, I’m new to Anki. When I’m done with 20 cards, I just click on custom study and add another 20. Is this fine? Or Should I increase the daily limit to 50 cards a day? Sorry if it’s a stupid question, just want to make sure I’m using it correctly. I want to power through your Jalup beginner decks. It’s been going great lately.

            • I would increase the daily limit to what you feel comfortable with. I believe the default is just at 20 new cards a day, but if you have the time and motivation, there is nothing wrong with going at a much higher pace.

    • Morphman isn’t useful until you have a base vocabulary for it to work with. It’s best use is for ordering subs2srs decks. In theory it would be good for order decks with sentences from books and games as well but those kind of decks are rare and not easily generated automatically.

      Morphman also has some downsides because it doesn’t give you a balanced set of cards. You get all of the trivial cards up front and then all of the stuff that is difficult for you is piled up at the end. It would be nice if the trivial and N+1 cards were mixed up all together so what I tend to do with a new deck is mark all of the cards I already know as easy and keep adding new cards until I get ~25 that I don’t know that well yet. After that it tends to all just work until I add another batch. (Note: This is all subs2srs cards from anime and dramas.)

  15. Go to scroll down to where it says “I understand the idea, how do I physically do the reviews?” and read what is says.

    You don’t have to know all the Kanji, but it makes it easier to remember words if you know the kanji in them. I don’t know all of the kanji yet, but I’m almost done with stage 1. I actually hate learning kanji, and since I love learning new words, and grammar doing both helps me stay motivated to do kanji.

  16. Yay! Got 60 more cards in the 3rd deck and then onto this.

  17. Seriously, thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into helping us beginners. These Jalup Beginner 1000 decks are excellent and worth every cent.

    • Agreed. The stress of making my own J-E cards last time was what pushed me into stopping Japanese. With these decks I’m progressing smoother than ever, and Ashap has been very prompt and helpful when I’ve needed to contact him about something in the deck.

      • This website is unreal. There’s absolutely zero chance I would’ve attempted Japanese with the same vigour if I’d used any other resource. In fact, I always found learning this language too daunting a preposition to even attempt, despite my innate desire to do so.

        • Just joining in to say I agree with both of you! Ive went through multiple phases; going at it too intensely for my own good (through AJATT), and then through phases of doing nothing, but with JALUP I have realised that it doesnt need to be all or nothing, that I need to find my own middle ground. And these awesome decks are all helping a lot for this too, especially the RTK Mod that drops over a thousand kanji from both books haha, and this sentence deck too!

  18. Hey Adshap ! I’ve just found your site and after having been hesitating for a few days, I’ve decided to buy the first stage of Jalup Beginner 1000. However it actually seems that we need a paypal account to purchase. So is there any solution for somebody who have no paypal account and don’t want to create one ?
    Thanks in advance !

    • You can pay by credit card/debit card as well (the option is right below the pay by paypal option).

      • Same here, when I set my country to Australia, the updated screen no longer has the option of just paying by credit/debit card. For the time being I am refusing to create a PayPal account, so it leaves me unable to pay you. Thanks in advance also!

        • Not really sure why that’s coming up for Australia, but e-mail me to discuss an alternative form of payment.

  19. Hi, I’m interested in the deck but don’t have any knowledge of kanji. I’m moving to japan in a month so want to focus entirely on speaking and save RTK for once I have arrived. Is your deck suitable?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,

    • Yes, plenty of people have done this deck without doing RTK first (or at the same time). Of course it is easier having done RTK, but some people do not like RTK and want to go straight to real Japanese.

      You can always go back to RTK any time.

  20. So what is Jalup kanji assist? (Not sure where else to ask this), anyways I’ll look forward to it.

    • The Jalup Beginner should take you to around level 15-20 (a little variation depending on whether you are using RTK or Kanji Assist with it at the same time).

  21. Hi, I purchased Stage 1 in the Beginner 1000, and this may sound like a silly question, but in the PDF file, are there pronunciations for the Kanji used? I can’t find them, are they only in the Anki review cards?

    • The pronunciations (kanji readings) are only in the Anki deck, and not the PDF file.

      However, you can export the Anki deck to a text file (File > export > export format > notes in plain text > and don’t include tags). The only problem with this is it looks very messy.

  22. Really happy with this deck so far (got the 4-in-1 beginner 1000 pack). One question: in the following sentence…


    … does ~ようと思えないです mean “have decided not to”? Or “can’t think of”? I’m not totally clear on と思えない vs. “to omowanai.”

    • 思えない combined with 来よう makes a different meaning entirely. I believe it’s the casual version of it, but when combined with ‘let’s come’ it’s more like a decision or a wish to not go to that place again.

      I don’t think we should come here again (decision)

      Anyway, I wouldn’t overthink it too much. You’re not trying to translate this stuff to english

      I think it’s better to remember it as a desire to not return to a place, and let the connotations come out through immersion. When you see it in context it’ll make more sense

    • Just to add to James.

      Someone asked the exact same question on the same card a while back, so I’m copy/pasting the e-mail response:



      My best attempt to translate it yields “I really don’t think we should come here again”, but it requires me to make several inferences that I’m not super confident about. Normally I’d just keep going and hope to “get it” later, but “思えない” has been a problem for a while now, and I can’t find a good explanation on the internet despite my best efforts.

      My answer:

      Literal translation is “can’t think” but it has a feel of can’t imagine. I can’t imagine I’ll (decide to) come here again. This is in reference to having a bad time.

      • Ok, that was my hunch too. I can also ask my conversation partner next time I talk to her and see what she thinks. Thanks for the quick response!

        • Whoops, I see you were quoting part of the email and it does in fact mean “can’t imagine.” Thanks.

  23. After finishing the Jalup beginner deck. I can say without a doubt that it is a great deck. High quality sentences that build on each other(words and grammar will be used that you have already learnt so far) and the choice of vocabulary is good. The audio portions are good as far as I can gauge that. Definitely recommended!

  24. It’s a good product no doubt about that, but there are problems. I agree that there shouldn’t be direct translations, but come on SOME help would be appreciated!!

    e.g. 東京に住んだらお金がすぐなくなる。

    The card says:住んだら: if (I) live in

    Are you kidding me!? Why tell us the easiest bit? Why not tell me what sugu naku naru means?

    Slightly more help would be appreciated.

    By the way I didn’t post here just to complain. I actually want to know what that card means! I know sugu means soon and naru is become…but it’s just so confusing. I guess it means I’ll soon become, but I’m not sure.

    • A major key to these decks is reviewing back through what you’ve already done to move forward. I only introduce one new concept, not the old ones, because it forces you to review your own deck, and really get to know it in and out. Then sometimes you have to combine concepts, and I try to provide examples that allow you to do that. This skill becomes very important for J-J.

      So for your example you almost completely got it (don’t be so hard on yourself).

      e.g. 東京に住んだらお金がすぐなくなる。

      Based on what you said, you were able to figure out everything except for the very end.

      (These are already covered words)

      東京: Tokyo
      に: to/at/on
      住んだら: if (I) live
      お金: money
      すぐ: soon
      なく: ???
      なる: to become

      If you enter なくなる in the search, it’ll appear in 2 more example sentences after this sentence (though since they come after it, let’s not count them).

      So you have no previous examples with なくなる. Take out a character (which you should always try) first and enter くなる.

      You’ll get three previous sentences that have くなる.

      The first one

      遅くなる: will become late

      Or the one right after that that teaches you.

      眠くなる: become sleepy

      Since you already have learned these い adjectives, you can pick up that the い changes into く for their “become adjective form”. There are also countless previous examples with other grammar where い changes to く.

      So this should help link you that this くなる came from an い. Which means that your なくなる came from ない.

      A search for ない will bring up the original definition of “not have” from this sentence:


      But let’s assume this line of reasoning didn’t click at all, and instead you just searched for お金が or even just お金 (which are a major part of your current sentence). You would be given the above example of “don’t have” + money.

      So let’s add ない to our list now of terms you know now.

      東京: Tokyo
      に: to/at/on
      住んだら: if (I) live
      お金: money
      すぐ: soon
      ない (なく): don’t have
      なる: to become

      You’d come up with something like.

      “If I live in Tokyo, I soon won’t have any money” or “If I live in Tokyo, money will soon disappear”

      (Note these aren’t the literal translations as “to become not have money” isn’t proper English. However you can still get the meaning)

      And if for some reason you are still a little hazy, which will happen from time to time, you would come across another sentence that had the phrase 時間がなくなる in it, which in this context may finally be a light bulb moment for the previous sentence.

      Some sentences will take more time to put the pieces together. Others you will blow through. But trust me, the time spent getting to know all the parts of your deck and how to search effectively will reap massive rewards as you finish and go through Jalup intermediate.

      Hope this helps! This comment is fairly long but the above process is for the most part relatively quick (and gets even quicker with time).

  25. Honestly a great resource. I’ve been on and off studying Japanese for months, but finally bit the bullet by buying this deck. Around 40 days later, I’m done with all of JALUP Beginner and my comprehension has expanded greatly. I probably went from level 5-10 to level 20! In just 40 days! If you can only choose one resource to study Japanese by yourself, I recommend this one.

  26. I just want to thank you Adshap for this great resource. I went through all of JALUP Beginning in around 40 days and went from around level 5-10 to at least level 20! My comprehension has definitely improved. It was well worth the time and money and I would recommend it to anyone, especially those who like to use a select few resources.

    But alas there’s much more to be learned. I’m about to begin my jump into JALUP intermediate. J-J awaits me…

  27. I got this deck when it first came out. And I’m just now really digging into it. I’ve been going strong for about 15 days now with it and I really like it. My question is, is there a translation of the senetences somewhere that I’m missing? I THINK I know what most of them are saying but I don’t really have a way to double check. Is that on purpose? Thanks!

    • Yeah, that’s intentional, and it’s one of the things that really makes this deck so powerful.

      Every new sentence is carefully crafted to have exactly one thing you’ve never seen before. A translation is provided only for that one thing. This means you have to rely on the knowledge you’ve already built, constantly, to be able to understand the sentences. That continuous reinforcement not only helps you remember important words, but also helps refine your intuitive sense of grammar (so your brain can parse those wacky multi-layer conjugations without it feeling like a chore).

      Now, the catch is that sometimes you won’t understand a sentence – your brain just isn’t solving the puzzle in a way that makes sense. This is OK, because you’ll build your understanding by studying later cards, and will almost always “get it” on a later review once you progress more. However, there may be a few cases where after multiple reviews you still don’t understand and start to feel frustrated. When that happened to me, I emailed AdShap about it and he had no problem clearing up my confusion.

      Anyway, it sounds like you’re on the right track, so just keep at it and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you get really stuck. 頑張ってね!

      • So how do you decide how easy / hard it is for the sake of anki? When I either can’t read it or can’t really understand what its saying I hit Again. It doesn’t happen often, only one card out of about 200 so far so that’s pretty good.

        • Everyone has their own style. For me it’s roughly as follows-

          I only use Easy if I fully understand the sentence as a whole, AND know the kanji of the “target word” such that I could write it accurately from memory.

          I only use Again if I completely forget either the meaning or reading of the “target word”.

          I use Hard if I struggled in any way to understand the sentence (target word or not). This allows for more practice on stuff that’s tougher, and I use it fairly often. I also sometimes use “Hard” if I got a reading wrong, but felt like I was pretty close and could probably get it next time.

          For everything else, I use Good. This is when I feel that I have a solid grasp of the sentence and can read it comfortably (though I may not yet be able to write it properly for lack of kanji mastery).

          It’s easiest to think of “Good” as the baseline, and then the other three options as ways to tell Anki “I need to practice this more because it’s harder to remember” or “I feel really confident about this, so I don’t need to spend as much time on it, and can wait longer before a review”.

  28. Hello I just found your website today! I am contemplating going to school to learn Japanese. I took one semester and really loved it, but had to stop for a year. Now I want to go back, but am wondering what your thoughts are on self teaching versus going to school are. I really want a bachelor’s degree for work so figure it’s perfect to get both things I want at the same time. But I’m worried that (as you pointed out the problems with text books) maybe it’s better to self teach. I love this site by the way. It’s very inspirational! Thanks!

  29. I tend to always analyze 100 times what I am about to buy and never dive head on. After reading the reviews and generally a lot of posts on thie blog, I purchased the JALUP Beginner series. If you are a bit familiarised with Japanese, this deck will not impress you from the first few cards but if you stick to it, you will be blown away.
    I am right now 200 sentences in and I can see the level of work and detail put into it. Adam’s knowledge and expertise and Miruku’s audio input are unvaluable and one can hardly find something similar elsewhere. If you’re like me and want MAXIMUM efficiency then this is the deck you’ve been looking for.
    I will no doubt purchase all the resources available on this blog in the near future.
    If you’re serious about learning Japanese then the JALUP decks are the way to go, hands down.

  30. Hello, I want to make my own deck. Do you think Genki would suffice? How should I do it? Do I just give the meaning of some verbs? Do I do it like this:
    忘れて – 忘れる – to forget

    So, in the previous card I would introduce 教科書 and it’s meaning or it’s redundant and I only need to use English for important verbs like 忘れる? When should I use English?

  31. For the sentence


    Is the は pronnoused like ha or wa? I can’t really tell when I listen to the person say it on the card.

    • Yeah, that card really threw me off when I first heard it. It is pronounced like “wa”, but it kind of blends together in the audio. You’ll see that sort of effect illustrated to a greater degree on later sentence cards, and it’s super common in real life situations (ex: あの店に行っちゃいけません!)

      It might be confusing now, but you’ll eventually get to the point where you’re used to the patterns and your brain sorts it out automagically.

      • Thank you! It feels frusturating at some points because I think I’m doing so well and at the same time I still feel like I understand nothing and know even less. I’ve listened to that audio dozens of times and never got it so again, thank you for your response!

    • Also, while it’s not always clear as a beginner, は will always be sounded as wa when used as a particle.

  32. Is there a preview available (whole cards)? I’m not totally sure which level to get, so it would be nice to see what is covered in each, as well as the layout, audio, etc. Thanks.

    I’ve been through Genki 1 (kind of glossed over toward the end), but forget much of it. I’ve done a little of Genki 2 as well.

    • It sounds like you’re in roughly the same place I was when I started following this site. In terms of knowledge, you could probably start from Beginner Stage 2 and be OK. However, I’d recommend just grabbing the whole Beginner package for a few reasons-

      #1: You get a lot of bonus goodies for $15 more than just buying the 2-4 individually.
      #2: It’s a great refresher. I blew through the first 300 cards in less than two weeks, and it really got me back on track with the things I’d previously learned from Genki. Then I slowed down to a more reasonable pace for new material and it went very smoothly.
      #3: JALUP cards put a lot more emphasis on recognizing kanji, so the extra practice, even with otherwise familiar vocab, is really beneficial to your efforts going forward.

      As for the layout and audio and such, there are some pretty detailed descriptions in the other comments on this post. Should give you a good sense of various peoples’ experience using the deck.

      Worst case, if it ends up not being your thing, Adam’s got a great no-risk refund policy – so I’d definitely give it a try :)

  33. Thanks, Matt. my only concern is that it’s another significant chunk of money (after buying Genki, various other books, and even spending a few hundred on private lessons that didn’t help much). How is the deck better than the free core2k/6k audio decks floating around for free out there?

    Also, is this significantly better than making my own Genki deck and just using general immersion for audio comprehension?

    • Fair enough. I will say the JALUP decks are by far the best money I’ve ever spent on learning Japanese. Definitely superior to making your own Genki deck for a few reasons.

      Adam’s put a huge amount of time into handcrafting the experience, so your sentence progression is very smooth. Unknowns are carefully introduced with their definition one at a time, while the rest of the sentence is left untranslated (but manageable based on what you currently know), giving you constant reinforcement of previously learned concepts, and lots of little reading victories. In addition to saving you the motivation-killing task of building such a massive study deck yourself, the way this one’s set up feels like solving a bunch of little puzzles. I actually look forward to doing new cards, even now in the Advanced series some 2000+ cards later.

      On top of that, buying the deck gives you the ability to email Adam with questions at any time and get an answer within a matter of days. I’ve taken him up on that several times and he was great about explaining things I got stuck on in a way I could understand. His passion for learning Japanese is infectious and it’s always a great experience talking to him.

      One final nice thing about the JALUP Beginner in particular, is that it lays the foundation for the JALUP Intermediate. That’s where things get really interesting, because it not only teaches you more Japanese, but also trains you how to *think* in Japanese in a really clever way. The Intermediate is a remarkable piece of work and if you only ever bought one thing on this site, that’s what I’d tell you to get.

      Of course, you don’t *have* to buy anything to succeed. But at least for me the time and effort saved, the efficiency of an expertly-crafted study path, and the assurance of having someone to turn to if I got stuck, was well worth the investment =)

  34. Thanks for the great answers, Matt. I think I’ll go ahead an try it later today. One last question (for you or anyone else): are the sentences in the decks purely instructional/academic, or are they useful for real life situations? I am learning for the purpose of travel, and when I’ve been to Japan previously, my Genki Japanese didn’t get me very far! :)

  35. Ok, I went ahead and bought the beginner pack. I’m blasting through the early cards like こんにちは and はい, obviously, but should I be worrying about the proper name kanji on those early cards (ex: こんにちは、鈴木)? Seems odd to mark a simple phrase like that for review just because of the proper name.

    • Nah, it’s just used as a name example because it’s common. You’ll see it in a bunch of cards, and probably remember it from tons of exposure, but you don’t need to worry if it doesn’t stick. Proper names can come later.

      As for the sentences question above, it’s kind of a mix. The top priority is to get you reading and thinking about what you’ve learned, so the sentences are always built from things you know, which at first is going to be pretty limiting (ex: これはペンです). As you get more puzzle pieces, the sentences become more complex and you’ll start to see more practical (and even some very amusing) sentences much more frequently. (ex: 元気じゃなさそうだから学校に行かない方がいい)

      • Oh good. I just started the Kanji Assist deck alongside the main deck, so looks like I’ll learn them anyway. I also dumped the kanji list into Skritter (free trial, and you can use the already added kanji after it expires) so I can practice writing them on my phone in my downtime.

  36. Question: I had purchased your Japanese Advisor a while back when it was personal and like 80$. You gave me a Jalup 1000 deck. How does that compare to this? Thnaks for great site and items!

    • The two are completely different.

      The original Jalup 1000 was the first 1000 J-J cards taken from my Anki deck (now referred to as “The One Deck”). The original Jalup 1000 is no longer available as it was replaced by The One Deck.

      The Jalup Beginner 1000 is a new J-E deck series (4 parts) that guides you from 0 Japanese to an intermediate level.

        • The original deck (the 1000 taken from The One Deck) is not the equivalent of Jalup Intermediate, if that’s what you mean. The One Deck is still in its raw and wild format (not connected directly from anything).

          Jalup Intermediate and Advanced were created because people were finding the adjustment from J-E to J-J overwhelming, so I wanted to make the transition as smooth and easy as possible.

  37. I’m cruising through the beginner deck now, and the only thing that catches me sometimes is kanji recognition. I have not done RTK, and I am not focused on reading right now, so this is not a big concern. My main goal is to gain as much conversational ability as I can in the next two months before going to Japan.

    Would anyone be able to recommend a method to bias my learning heavily towards rapid speaking/listening progress? I thought about duplicating the beginner deck and switching the card format to make the front audio only. Any other ideas? I tried watching anime without subtitles, but they are far too colloquial for me to understand anything. I’m going to make a deck of casual speech taken from Basic Japanese though Comics, and even though it is reading only, it may help me to recognize more from the anime. Any other input welcome! Thanks.

    • A few ideas:

      – Make sure you are reading every sentence out loud
      – Try your best to mimic/shadow everything you hear
      – Stick to the easier (1 star) anime that you can enjoy even if you can barely understand it (this alleviates the need for subtitles)

      • Thanks, I’ll try those things. I also got subs2srs to work (for the most part), so I can play with that too.

  38. Has anyone tried to use RTK in conjunction with the deck, and learning kanji as needed? Obviously some branching will be necessary, but I’d like to know if anyone has had success before I risk the time and potential confusion. I simply cannot tell similar kanji apart no matter how many times they come up in Anki. I’m only up to lesson 5 in RTK, but everything is sticking. I’m using the RTK app so I’m forced to draw them based on the story. This works well for me.

    • Yeah, I worked through RTK alongside the Beginner deck. To be honest, I’m nearly halfway through Advanced and I’m still only on Lesson 48 in RTK (~85% done). It has been a little bit of a handicap, but it hasn’t stopped me from progressing.

      The great thing about Anki is that you get many chances to review material and get better at it. As you progress more and more in RTK, you’ll come back to cards that were a struggle before and find that they’re quite a bit easier when you can clearly distinguish the kanji.

      • Thanks, Matt! The problem is, I am booking a trip for March, so I need to fast track. I’m getting hung up on easy kanji in the deck, which I think means I’m remembering them primarily through the sentence context and not actually memorizing the character itself.

        My thought was to take the kanji list from the Assist deck, plug it into a dictionary that can give me the Heisig numbers, and then use those to create a review set in the RTK app. Then, I’ll look up each one and add the radicals/components to the review set. Is this crazy?

        • Yeah, in the scenario where you’re going through RTK concurrently with sentences, it’s normal to rely more on context until you learn the characters properly. This is generally OK, because in most cases you can lean on that context in real life situations as well (as long as you’re reading, rather than writing). It’ll be slower of course, until all the pieces are in place, but you can get by.

          Your plan sounds viable (I did it for one or two very common characters early on), but before starting something that may slow you down a bit, I would carefully consider what benefits you hope to obtain with respect to your upcoming trip by doing it. Is it just to help the vocab stick in your mind better? Or is there a specific reading/writing goal you’re hoping to prep for?

          • Thanks. The goal is more listening/speaking ability, but to acquire vocab, it helps me a lot to see it visually first. In the past, my approach has been scattered, so I’m trying to just stick to the deck and immersion, and work through RTK on the side (not as rigorously as the deck, for now. I kind of like RTK, and I kind if see it as a chore, depending on my mood. The deck is always fun).

            • Haha, I have the same sort of relationship with RTK. That’s why it’s taken me 8 months and I’m still only ~90% done. But the value for my reading and retention has been tremendous, so I’ve kept on trucking through it. I totally agree that there’s a huge benefit in having a visual connection to vocab.

              Since you’re working on a tight timeline for your trip, though, I wonder if you’d be better served by focusing the extra time you’d spend leapfrogging through RTK into just doing more sentences. Finishing the Beginner deck and maybe dipping your toe in the Intermediate may hold more short-term benefit, especially in the realm of grammar mastery.

              Anyway, that’s just my assessment. If you feel like tinkering with the kanji learning order will best meet your needs, then that’s cool too. Either way I’m excited to hear how your efforts paid off when you get back from your trip =)

  39. Thanks, Matt. This is my third trip to Japan. The first time I was trying to get by with Genki-speak, and was able to formulate really basic questions, but I could never understand the answers! I realized then that a little knowledge doesn’t do much, especially if it is more academic than practical.

    I’m past the halfway point of new cards in the beginner deck, so I should be able to finish that up. I’ll probably find the time to make my own deck of practical expressions. At what point in the Jalup decks will the structures sort of transform into muscle for original thoughts? I’m not really finding that happening for me yet, so I hope I’m not doing something wrong!

    • It’s hard to nail down a specific tipping point, since the process is gradual. Your brain is incredibly adaptive, but the rewiring process takes a bit of time and exposure. The more you exercise it in this regard, the more progress you’ll see. For me, every 500 cards or so I’ve noticed major differences.

      Around 500, I realized I could understand some simple sentences without translating them. I noticed this as I was reacting emotionally (smiling/laughing) to things I hadn’t yet converted to English in my head. This was really trippy for me, because for a long time I’d struggled to understand how one would become able to “think” or “feel” directly in a language other than their native one.

      Around 1000, I noticed that verb conjugation had become much more intuitive. I’d begun to develop a natural sense for which conjugations “feel” right, rather than having to think through it every single time. It also became a little less daunting to reverse-engineer multi-conjugated monsters like いなくなっちゃった or 食べさせられた.

      Around 1500 (500 J-J), I realized (while talking to myself) that I now had the capacity to “explain” things in Japanese. I’d spent so much time studying through Japanese definitions that I was able to mimic much of the syntax. This is a big one, because it facilitates a deeper level of communication. This is where you begin to go from “This is a fish. I like fish. Fish are tasty. Want to try?” to “This is my favorite fish. It’s called Tilapia. It’s a small, inexpensive white fish with a gentle flavor. I think you’d like it if you tried it.” (Note that while I was “able” to do that, it was still quite a struggle to manage that complexity. I could easily spend 20+ minutes forming a single coherent paragraph.)

      Around 2000, I’d gotten a bit faster at doing the stuff mentioned above. I could read input and form appropriate output at a pace that made 1-on-1 chat (in text) with native speakers realistic (albeit still slow, and frequently requiring the aid of a dictionary). I’m still far from being able to express myself in a way that sounds “natural” or at a smooth pace, but I can communicate a lot of thoughts and ideas in an almost real-time format.

      That was kind of long-winded, but hopefully draws a more comprehensive picture of the kind of progression you might see as you continue to move forward. There isn’t really one magic point where things change, so much as there are moments where you take notice of how much you’ve changed over time.

      • That’s an excellent explanation! Thanks again, Matt! I guess I won’t be hitting fluency in the next six weeks, but I’ll at least get through this first deck. :)

  40. Ok, I have to ask. Has anyone done a translation for these sentences? I get the reasoning not to include it, but there are still times I wonder if I’m getting it right and would like to check an answer. Example: “大きい家が嫌いじゃありません” which I’m translating to “I don’t dislike big houses.” But maybe I’m screwing it up having missed something and it’s actually “I dislike big houses.” It kind of matters to know if I’ve got it right given that future cards will build on that understanding and I don’t want to wind up basing future learning on a fundamental I’ve got wrong.

    • Hi other Matt! ^_^

      You’re translating it correctly. Double negatives are a lot more common in Japanese than in English, especially in polite speech. I think it comes largely from a cultural tendency to be less “direct”.

      For me, usually when I misunderstand something, I discover the problem later and it fixes itself. I actually remember my mistakes better once corrected, so I’ve found it does more good than harm in the long run.

      If I’m ever really stuck, I’ll send an email to Adam for help. He’s great about fielding questions and never fails to set me straight. I’d definitely recommend hitting him up if you’re ever unsure about something in the deck.

      Hope that helps!

  41. Thanks, Matt V. Good to know I had that one correct; the construction seemed a little odd so I wasn’t sure. I know Adam has said we can email him, but I’d hate to be doing it two or three times a week!

  42. Forgive me if this has been answered elsewhere, but I was going through my Beginner 1000 reviews (having gotten through them all) and one in particular has confused me looking back. I think it might be a typo but I’d rather make sure.

    The sentence reads: どうして嫌いな人に会わせなきゃならない?

    きゃ was not used anywhere else in the deck and translates oddly in J->E translation apps and things I had tried experimenting with. I’m thinking it was supposed to say “ちゃ” rather than “きゃ.”

    Any thoughts from anyone?

    • Nope, not a typo. As you know, ~なくては usually gets smushed into ~なくちゃ on account of being easier to say. ~なければ turns into ~なきゃ in similar fashion.

      You’ll see ~なきゃ a bunch more in JALUP Intermediate, and of course in the real world as well.

      Hope that helps! =)

    • Exactly as Matt said. And the card you point out is the card that it is introducing it for the first time.

      • Thank you both Matt and Adam for the speedy reply! That makes a lot of sense now. Also, with the Anki search function I see now that there are indeed more examples of this in JALUP Intermediate I can compare with.

  43. Just go these and they look great, thanks!

    I am going through them and know most of the early stuff. However, I wonder why the sentences don’t have english translations in full and only translate the one new word? It’s not a problem now, since I know the sentences but wonder if it will be a problem later. I am trying to read the sentence and make sure I understand the whole sentence but can’t tell if I am right.


    • It’s part of the genius of the Jalup method. It will force you to look at the sentence and really chew over it to make sure you understand. You will find yourself not quite sure if you remembered a particular conjugation, and needing to use the Anki search feature to look through past cards and remind yourself. This reinforces it.

      You will be seeing something you learned earlier applied in a fresh context, and you will need to really figure out what is going on. This will promote genuine understanding of how it all fits together.

      The method begins to get you to think in Japanese, not translate to English and then understand the English. Once you go through the deck and get very old cards come up in review, you will read and understand them in Japanese. You will not view an English translation as ‘the right answer’. You will view direct understanding as the goal.

      I’ve been through the whole lot and am working my way through the first J-J deck. The more you look at Adshap’s work the more you appreciate just how clever it is. Adam makes his students work hard, but they learn incredibly well. He really knows what he is doing and his method works.

  44. Hi Adam!
    After about a week solid of reading all your posts on your method I’m finally sold. I just purchased the full beginners pack! After spending almost a half a decade starting and restarting learning japanese, I finally was able to take weekly classes at my university over the past 3 years, getting me almost to the end of 新日本語の基礎 2 textbook. However, I’ve found that my understanding is massively through english translation, making it really difficult to speak in real-time with natives, as well as leaving me with poor listening skills.

    As for reading, I’ve been using wanikani, which has allowed me to learn to read 650 kanji in a matter of months! Because of this though, I don’t really fancy going back and starting all over again with RTK as well, mainly due to the clashing mnemonic systems. As wanikanis system limits your rate of progression with its srs, I’m on track to finishing in about a year and a half. Do you think this will make the JALUP decks difficult to use? I’m hoping that since wanikanis kanji are learnt in order of frequency, they’ll be a decent chance of me knowing many of the kanji in the beginner and possibly some of the intermediate decks, making this a non-issue. However, if knowledge of almost all kanji meanings is very necessary, I can see this being problematic..

    Even though I have been using Anki for years in my vain attempts to learn this language, I can only begin to imagine how long and how much care it must’ve taken for you to make decks like this. These decks truly look one-of-a-kind as you’ve painstakingly removed all the rubbish parts of learning a language and as well as the rubbish parts of using anki, so that we don’t have to. Thank you for your meticulous work.

    Through using these decks I’m really looking forward to begin being able think in japanese after all these years!

    Sorry for the long post! Thanks for reading! I hope this post didn’t sound too much like a life story lol…

    • Welcome aboard!

      I ended up taking RTK1 very slowly, on account of it being kind of a struggle for me. I started JALUP Beginner alongside RTK, and was still only 1000 kanji in when I reached JALUP Intermediate, if that gives you a reference.

      It’s true that the more kanji you’ve learned, the easier the JALUP decks (and reading in general) will become, but they’re still doable even if you’re a little behind. You just might mix up words more often and have to do a bit more repetition until WaniKani catches you up. As long as you keep moving forward, I think you’ll do just fine.

      Good luck on your adventure! =)

      • Thanks for your reply Matt :)

        I did give the RTK decks a try the other day, but I found myself at a loss when there was hiragana on either side of a kanji in the keyword. e.g. 呂 and お風ろ, how would I know if the お or the ろ is the kanji? (In this case its alright as I know about honourifics, but for people who are just starting out). Also, if the keyword is entirely written in kana, how would I know how much kana the kanji ‘takes up’?

        Am I assuming RTK is trying to achieve something that it isn’t? Am I not meant to be learning the reading through this keyword? or am I just meant to be learning the english meaning of the kanji, using the keyword as context to distinguish it from other kanji with the same keyword? I am aware that RTK tries to quickly teach recognition of an english meaning as quickly as possible, requiring a second run through for the readings, but I’m not sure if Adam was adding the keywords to teach readings as well.

        As for actually doing the reviews, do people generally write out the kanji to check if they’re correct? Cause I’m worried that might take a lot of time, in addition to being a bit inconvenient when on the go. Also, are we meant to be using the RTK mnemonics?

        I think I might give it another go in addition to wanikani but without the mnemonics if it will prevent me from having to search up the kanji on every card..

        • Those Japanese key words aren’t too important in the beginning. Just read the them as well as you can at the time and don’t be concerned beyond that. Way later down the track when it’s years before you see cards again they really help because you’ve learned those words in other decks. This means that you don’t need the key word for meaning, which is great because r sometimes that story has already faded

          You are absolutely meant to be learning rtk mnemonics. Adam has an rtk deck on this site with the stories built into them. It would also be very useful if you had the rtk book it explains all your questions there. Also, I recommend you write them out by pen for best effect. But if you only want to be able to read/recognise them, writing them with your thumb is enough

          • I use my index finger, but yeah, writing them out in some fashion is really valuable.

            Other things worth noting:
            -As you amass more kanji, those with similar meanings may start to get mixed up a bit in your head. This will correct itself as you learn Japanese words that use those kanji
            -Eventually you won’t remember your stories or even the English keywords at all. This is normal as the kanji becomes a matter of visual memory, and you associate multiple Japanese keywords with the character instead of the temporary English ones.
            -BUT having said that, the mnemonics are critical early on. I recommend making up your own as much as possible once you get the hang of the process (unless the default story works well for you, or you find a really good one on the Reviewing the Kanji site).

            I’m actually planning on writing an “RTK Survival Guide” of sorts and submitting it to Adam as a possible JALUP article once I have more free time, but I’ve been kind of swamped lately so it might take me a bit >_>

            Anyway, hope that helps a bit!

    • I would personally suggest giving RTK a look at at least.
      I got up to level 15 in WaniKani, and I thought I’d try some RTK so see what worked better for me. Within a week or so, I had decided to ditch WaniKani, cos RTK worked so much better for me. I stopped using WaniKani last May at level 15, so if I had kept going I’d prob be a pretty high level by now. But I stopped using it, and started using RTK, and it was amazing. Now, I’ve also nearly finished RTK3 after a break between the 2 books and can comfortably read manga such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Wandering Son, and Detroit Metal City.

      Different things will work for different people of course, but this is just my personal experience. I’ve never regretted leaving Wanikani behind.

    • Hello tonner,

      Welcome! The others have answered most of your questions, but yes WaniKani will give you a big headstart on the kanji. You can go through the decks, see how comfortable you feel, and then possibly consider working a little RTK in if you think you still need a little help.

      Best of luck!

      • Thanks for all the detailed replies guys!

        I’ve just got a couple more questions on RTK before I start using it (just to make sure I’m not using it wrong).

        Am I right in thinking that the japanese keyword is NOT a translation of the english keyword that uses the that specific kanji? and that it is merely one of the most common words that the kanji appears in?

        James Kyprianos, which deck do you speak of? I have downloaded both english RTK decks on this site, and neither of them have the stories in the deck. However they do have the link to the appropriate page on the kanji.kohii website. Is this what you’re referring to?

        Finally, is the only difference the between the two decks the addition of tags to each card to denote its level? I managed to get rid of that annoying question mark square thing by removing a line in the card template that was attempting to link to an image that didn’t exist, so when reviewing, these two decks should look identical if its only the tags.

        I’m really loving the thoughtful and fast responses from the people on this site! It’s really nice to have such a generous and motivated community to help you through the tough times!
        Thanks for reading!

        • Nope, the JP keyword is not tied to the English one. It seems the pattern is that it’s a (relatively) common word that uses the character, and that the kanji/kana combo is set up to where (usually) only the correct kanji can fit the pattern.

          I actually found myself changing some of the JP keywords toward the end of RTK, to ones I already knew well and which fit the above criteria. Of course if you want to add a new kanji that’s not in the deck, you have to pick your own JP keyword as well.

          Most online resources (including Adam’s deck) are based on the 4th Ed of RTK, so I think the tags are only important if you’re trying to use the RTK Mod Deck with 6th ed? (that added a bunch of new kanji). Someone else could probably confirm that better than me though.

          And yeah this site has an amazing community. Lots of very smart people with unique perspectives and a broad array of hard-earned wisdom =)

          • Matts right but sometimes they are a direct translation just by coincidence. This is more common for things like love love 愛。. This is more common when the kanji is lone standing or is the first kanji of the word.

            Better to take matts advice and just assume they are unconnected.

  45. Hey Adam,

    I have started and stopped learning japanese about 3x now. Back in 2013 I spent about a month using various beginner tools like some japanese learning gameboy game, a bit of anki for vocab, learned kana, and about 200 kanji.

    At the end of the month I eventually found AJATT and your site — and decided to start learning the kanji + 1-10k J-E sentences.

    Anyway life got in the way, tried to pick it back up again but it didn’t stick for than a few days, etc, etc — here I am today.

    What I’m starting to figure out is that I’m never going to learn this language if I can’t make it somewhat enjoyable to do so. And the main reason I’m finding it unenjoyable is simply because there is too many things going on at one time.

    Romaji, Kana, and Kanji. I see each as layers. When you have a sentence incorporating all three of these “layers” you have to learn, process, and understand/translate all three of these layers in order to get down the translation/meaning of the sentence. And this is what I find to really be too much at one time, and it definitely adds to the tedium and overwhelmingness of learning this language. This makes me grow bored and/or easily makes life get in the way as its not enjoyable tbh.

    I understand there are benefits of doing it this way in the long run but I will never reach the long run going at it this way.

    My goal is to simply understand and then speak. Reading would be a plus to better help understanding and speaking. Writing is non-existant to me.

    To cut to the chase, I am wondering if you have these decks that can be purchased that are solely in Romaji, or at the very most just Kana? Or if there is a way I could use your starter decks only knowing at the very most Kana?

    I think I could greatly expedite and enjoy the process of learning Japnese if only focusing on 1-2 “layers” when doing J-E sentence work.


    • There is no option for romaji, but the Beginner decks (and all others come with furigana in the reading field). If you wanted to ignore the kanji completely you could rearrange the fields so the question field is replaced with the reading field (you’d see the kanji with its readings as the item to be tested on, and you could just ignore the kanji).

      • Ok thanks for the reply.

        I just wanna be sure on this though; does recurring kanji still show the furigana for it? Because if I were ignoring the kanji I obviously wouldn’t remember its meaning if it was repeated again.

        • Yes、the plugin for Japanese (on anki shared web) generates furigana for all kanji. Furthermore, so do the Jalup decks.

        • Every slide has a ‘reading’ field where the furigana readings are given for all kanji. So yes, every time a kanji appears, you get the reading.

          You basically get:
          Front side: sentence in kanji and kana, no readings.
          Back side: sentence in kanji with furigana and kana, all readings.
          explanation of new concept on this slide in English.

          As someone who used Jalup Beginner from scratch and completed it a couple of months ago I can’t recommend the product enough. You might want to combine it with the Kana conqueror to learn the Kana. I haven’t used any Jalup resources to learn Kanji, just sticking with Heisig’s book, so I can’t comment on these.

          Touching on your first post, I agree that there is this wall of boring difficult nonsense to get over before things start getting fun. You have the whole issue of kana and kanji, which take a lot of work, before you even get to start. If you’re learning French or Spanish, you can just dive in. Unfortunately there is no way round this. If you’ve decided to learn Japanese, then you’ve decided to learn kana and kanji.

          Jalup is pitched at people who want to attain excellence in Japanese. There are other resources pitched at people who want to attain a more modest level, and I think it can be done easier than the Jalup method. This comes at the cost of ultimately being harder and longer to become excellent.

          Some ideas:
          Kana is not hard to learn. Kana Conqueror is good. A couple of weeks will set you up.
          I looked at RTK with Jalup Beginner together which works quite well. There is going to be some grind and there is no doubt that kanji you have seen in RTK are clearer in the sentences, so the more RTK you do the easier Jalup Beginner will be.

          You could try learning speaking and listening without writing, although in the long run you are limiting yourself. I listened to the Michel Thomas course which I think is a good introduction.
 is also good. It’s an audio course so you can ignore writing completely if you want. They produce pdf lesson notes which are pretty good, and these have transcripts in kanji, pure kana, and also romaji. It’s more gentle than Jalup and so might get you to a lower intermediate level with less pain. If you aspire to something higher than that then you might find it too limiting.

          Final observation:
          Adam does offer a no BS refund offer if you don’t like his products.
          He also offers some support via email.
          He has been brilliant in answering some of my email questions. I can’t speak about the refunds because I’ve been blown away by the awesomeness of every single resource I’ve bought from him, including some of the fluffier ones like his Motivation Power Ups. From everything I can infer about his character and general outlook, I would be astonished if he didn’t honour his word.
          So you might as well give it a go.

          Come on in, the water’s lovely!

  46. I’ve been working through the deck and enjoying it quite a bit. I had already finished RTK before starting. When you are learning a new word do you recommend trying to make up a story using the RTK keywords or just to try to learn it through repetition through anki?
    For example 映画 has RTK keywords of reflect and brushstroke so I can try to make up a story that a projected movie is like reflected light coming off the screen like brushstrokes of color. Is this is good approach to learning new words?

    • I don’t do that I just use rote memorisation. You can apply whatever memorisation method you like it really isn’t important. I think most users just use repetition. Couple with immersion it’s prettty powerful alone. Though I know that mnemonics are awesome, though it takes a longer investment. And who wants to spend more time
      In anki?

    • I use mnemomics for kanji, but the words themselves I just learn directly. I think it’s fine to use mnemonics if there’s a word that’s really troubling you, but in general just seeing it a few times should be enough to make it stick (usually 3-6 times for me, depending on the word. Occasionally more for tough ones XD)

  47. I’m so glad I’ve discovered this site! You’ve done some great work here.

    I have two questions:

    1. I’m half way through Genki 1 now. Do you recommend using your beginner cards WITH a textbook (e.g., Genki 1, 2, and Intermediate) or INSTEAD of a textbook? I would think a textbook explanation of the grammar would be helpful and possibly required to understand the Japanese sentences. Plus, the reading passages in the textbooks might be good practice.

    2. I’ve tried the Heisig method a few times before, got tired, and quit before finishing. I’m trying with your Anki deck now. It seems to me that a solid foundation in the kanji would be good to have before starting on sentences. Do you agree? Otherwise, there will be many kanji in the sentences that I won’t recognize.


    • Hi and welcome! Allow me to take a shot at answering your questions.

      1: The JALUP Beginner is a fully functional replacement for any textbook. You don’t need to keep doing other textbooks alongside it (unless you want to!). Grammar is fully explained within the deck itself, and you can email Adam with any questions you run into. The people on this site are super helpful, as well ;)

      2: I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, knowing more Kanji beforehand will make the sentence decks easier. On the other, it’s an enormous time investment (150-200+ hours) to complete RTK in its entirety before even starting to do anything fun, which I suspect would burn out most people.

      I personally did RTK and sentences concurrently, and it worked out pretty well for me. You *will* sometimes misread or forget Kanji that you haven’t yet learned through RTK, but overall it won’t stop you from being able to move forward with sentences. Just make sure you keep up a steady pace through RTK so you won’t be held back as things start to get more difficult later on.

      Hope that helps. Good luck on your adventure! =)

    • I’ll try to answer as well, but please keep in mind I’m at a very early intermediate level.

      1. After picking up Genki 1, I decided to not use it at all and just stick with the beginner sentence deck. I don’t regret my decision, I’m on the intermediate deck now and I’m doing just fine after getting over the beginner intermediate shock (the make or break point).

      2. I’ve tried Heisig (and failed multiple times) as well, for simplified Chinese characters and Kanji. This time around, I decided to put off RTK until I started the intermediate deck. I’m doing just fine, but again I was relatively familiar with Kanji to begin with.

      I would like to add, that I would not be where I am in my studies if it wasn’t for this beginner deck. I’ve also tried to use other decks after I started this deck, but that usually doesn’t last very long and I always come running back to Adam’s decks. I also wish I had bought the maxed out package, I would have saved myself some money, but live and learn.

      Good luck on your journey.

  48. I’ve been using the Beginner 1000 cards for a couple weeks, but I’m not sure they’re helping me internalize the language. The deck only requires comprehension, not production, so the learning process seems very passive. For example, I’ve finished past casual verb forms, but if you asked me to say something using them, I couldn’t; I can only recognize them if I saw them. I would suggest adding to the deck fill in the blank cards or cards prompting the generation of a word. These would more closely duplicate the process of speaking. As it is, I’m not sure I’ll have any speaking ability after I finish this deck. Has anyone else experienced or dealt with this issue?

    • Your experience is normal. The JALUP approach is heavily input-focused, and following it closely will result in a skill imbalance between comprehension and production, especially in the early levels.

      There are two primary benefits to this approach-
      1: By focusing disproportionately on your reading/listening skills, you get to do fun things sooner. This is *huge* for motivation, and helps solve one of the biggest problems for Japanese learners (getting bored/burning out and falling off the wagon).
      2: Output naturally follows Input. This is how children learn to communicate, and as it turns out it works pretty well for adults too. As you read and hear the same type of things over and over, they will start to become ingrained. You’ll find yourself spouting natural expressions before you even realize it.

      I should note that the JALUP decks themselves generally won’t create those output habits, but rather they’ll get you (rather quickly) to a point where you can realistically tackle complex (and fun) native material like TV shows and video games. Those are in turn the places where you’ll start to pick up on speech patterns and expressions. As you hear and see more and more native speech (that you’re able to comprehend), you gain an ever-increasing ability to mimic it and comfortably communicate yourself.

      The last thing I want to stress is that Anki itself isn’t meant to be a “test”. It’s meant to give you repeated exposure to knowledge in such a way that it sinks in over time. When you “grade” yourself on a card, the purpose is to decide how soon you need to see that material again to ensure you don’t forget it. You’re trying to identify concepts you’re hazy on so you can see them more frequently, while shoving off the easy stuff far into the future. It’s maintenance of your knowledge, rather than verification of it. That verification will happen in the wild, every time you pick up a book and see it filled with words that suddenly make sense (among many that still don’t – that’s ok!), or watch an anime, or chat with a JP friend who doesn’t speak much English and is thrilled that they can talk to you in Japanese.

      Anyway, sorry that got kind of long, but I hope it helps address some of your concerns. If you’re realllly concerned about speaking ability specifically, I’d say that starts to really take shape in a meaningful way around the end of JALUP Intermediate (~2000 cards). By that time you’re used to tackling paragraph-long explanations for concepts presented purely in Japanese, and you’ll find that you’re comfortable enough with grammar and have a big enough vocabulary to start stringing together mostly-coherent sentences on the fly.

      Good luck! =)

    • One thing you can try (I haven’t done this much myself but I have heard others recommend it) is to say the sentence out loud when you see it (loud and clearly). Then again, at an early stage, it would be pretty easy to develop and cement bad pronunciation.

      To give you a comparison, I’m halfway through the intermediate deck and I would not be able to have a conversation right now. I could probably understand a basic one, but I would have to respond in English. I personally don’t mind as I’m in no rush to talk to anyone in Japanese right now.

      • I don’t think there’s too much to fear as far as pronunciation habits. IMO shadowing is the best way to improve your pronunciation (short of hiring a coach), and that deck just happens to be packed with audio to imitate. Since it’s hard to do meaningful shadowing of native media at early levels, it makes for a pretty good alternative.

        • Cool, I think you’re right. I’m still a bit nervous giving advice at my level, but man I don’t want to let anyone give up (or lead someone down the wrong path).

          Also I forgot to add (about the original post) the beginner deck didn’t really cement for me until I hit intermediate. I think it was just a combination of time to let it sink in, and the jump to Japanese definitions. I think you’re doing great btw, just keep going.

  49. 教えてもらいたい事がたくさんあります。

    The sentence reads, “あります” but the speaker says, “います”.
    Which one would be correct in this situation? I’m assuming its the latter.

    • In this sentence あります is correct. It would only be います if its a living object. For instance, 猫がたくさんいます there are a lot of cats.

    • What ih8anki said. I haven’t heard the audio in a while, but I believe the speaker’s just talking really fast in this one and the あります ends up sounding closer to います. There are a few cards like that, so when in doubt it’s probably best to trust the text over the audio.

      PS: Technically, the distinction between いる and ある is slightly more complicated than living vs non-living, as いる implies something being capable of movement. You don’t need to worry about that too much, though. You’ll develop your own innate sense for which one to use pretty quickly =)

  50. I’m about to buy stage one of the beginner pack.

    How will I know when I’m ready for stage two?

    Also, does anyone know if the iPhone Anki app will play the audio?

    Also, also I have the RTK book. Do I just go hard core at the anki deck for that in addition to Stage One?

    Thanks for answers!

    • The jump from beginner pack to intermediate pack is pretty big. I started intermediate a couple of weeks after finishing beginner pack and it was rough going. But I think this was a good thing. It took away my training wheels and really forced me to think hard about each sentence and this really made a big difference for me. You may not ever know if you are ready for intermediate, so you might as well just start after you finish beginner. When things get tough, come back and post for advice and encouragement.

      For your second question I’m not sure.

      For RTK, the most common recommendation is to finish all of RTK before you ever start sentences and if you are a true beginner (not a multiple beginner like most of us are) then you should probably finish at least a couple hundred before you start sentences. The problem is, a lot of people never finish RTK and never even get to the sentence stage which is a true shame. So my recommendation is if you just can’t finish all the Kanji, it’s okay and just start adding sentences and try to finish RTK.

      I probably wouldn’t worry too much about things at this stage, just enjoy the ride for now and come back when you have more questions or stumble along the way (and you will stumble many times, the real question is, can you get back up?).

      (I’m at a low level intermediate stage so please take my advice with a grain of salt).

      Welcome and enjoy.

      • Thanks Kevin! While I was asking about Stage 2, your answer about moving to Intermediate is very helpful as well.

    • Hi and welcome!
      I assume you mean Stage 2 of the Beginner pack, in which case you can start it immediately after Stage 1. The whole set is built in such a way that every new card builds on things you were taught in previous cards.

      Though as Kevin mentioned, don’t be afraid to come back and ask for help if you get stuck. You can also email Adam directly with questions about the decks.

      As for RTK, I personally worked through it alongside the sentence decks, but like Kevin said many people do all or part of it first. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, but as long you don’t neglect Kanji you should end up fine either way =)

      Good luck!

        • I’m working through Expert Stage 8 right now. Somewhere around Level 50. I feel pretty good about continuing on my own after I finish this last card set, but I still wouldn’t object if Adam decided to create more ^_^

          • Awesome. Has the majority of your Japanese language learning come from Adam’s program?

            At the expert level, does your mastery of the language match the expectations as Adam has written? Which of his “gaming” levels do you consider yourself, roughly?

            • I know you didn’t ask me, but I’ll add my answers to the questions anyway ;)

              Currently working through Jalup Expert Stage 2. My level is around 33. Should be around 40 according to the level guide, and reading wise I think that would be correct, but my speaking and listening is lacking quite a bit behind, since I don’t focus much on that, yet. I’m cool with that and will refocus after I finish Jalup Expert.

              I used some other sources to supplement my grammar studies during Jalup Beginner, but after that the “Jalup Method” has been my main study method. This has given me a very solid intuitive sense for Japanese grammar and a pretty solid core vocabulary. The only way I think I could have progressed faster than I have, would be to live in Japan.

            • Yeah. I did a year in college, but beyond that everything’s been via JALUP (which, btw, is immensely faster than my classes ever were >_>).

              Adam’s Level Guide has felt pretty accurate for me so far. I’m right about at the Level 50 benchmark, and everything fits except the Kanji.
              -I currently have ~5200 sentence cards done and my Kanji deck has just under 2000 entries (plus another 100+ that I can generally recognize but not yet write).
              -I find I can understand >80% of most audio and >90% of most written material, unless it’s very specialized (like technical or political vocabulary).
              -I feel comfortable having complex written conversations and, for example, playing online games with native Japanese players without major difficulties.
              -Speaking is still a struggle for me, but that’s mostly because I haven’t spent enough time practicing.

              I think for early/mid levels you’ll find the guide extremely accurate, and then things will start to deviate a bit as you discover your own individual strengths and weaknesses. At that point you’ll need to start deciding what skills are important to you and tailoring your study methods accordingly, but it’s nothing especially difficult or scary – just takes a lot of dedication to keep at it consistently.

              Of course the people here are always happy to share their own experiences and advice, so that should be a great resource as well once you get to that point.

    • The audio play back works perfectly with iOS. I do my Anki on both my iPad and iPhone and use the sync to switch between them, and it works flawlessly.

    • Oh gosh sorry, I totally misread that. Forget what I said about intermediate. You won’t notice the transition from one stage to the next, it’s completely seamless.

  51. So, after a number of days studying the stage one deck (first 250 cards), I’m getting fed up at how few kanji I know, and I’m wondering if I should set this deck aside and finish at least the first half (950 or so) of the RTK deck (which is progressing pretty well).

    I have a really difficult time keeping all of these unfamiliar kanji in memory, and it’s interfering with me learning the grammar and other vocabulary.

    How much will getting half way through RTK really help?

    Should I just keep plowing forward in these beginner cards, or pause and get through half of RTK?

    • Yeah, that’s the cost-benefit of doing RTK before vs during. You’ll struggle a bit more with retention of unlearned kanji. It’s not crippling, but it’s a noticeable inconvenience.

      The flipside is that kanji learning by itself without the opportunity to apply it anywhere else can be pretty demotivating for some people.

      I’d encourage you to experiment both ways and see what feels better for you. Maybe trying to do half of RTK first would be a good middle-ground solution to make things go more smoothly? If at the halfway point you still feel like you can keep plugging ahead on RTK, then maybe just finish it first. If not, try resuming sentences and doing them concurrently with the rest of RTK.

      Hope that helps! =)

    • The order of RTK is fairly random, as it doesn’t teach the most important kanji first. They are instead ordered according to primitives and complexity. This means that your benefit will be roughly the same as your progress, i.e. halfway you will know about half the kanji you meet.

      I agree that you should experiment, as the feelings you currently have with Jalup Beginner you will probably also feel with RTK. In RTK the problem is sort of the opposite. Here you might feel like you are learning a lot of kanji that at the time feel pointless. They are not, but you only see the benefit later on as you learn to use them in your vocabulary studies.

    • FWIW I did both at the same time. Kanji already encountered in RTK were far easier to process and retain in the sentences. I did only RTK to around 500 or so Kanji, then started sentences and did both together with varying emphasis on one side or the other.
      They are mutually reinforcing. Seeing a kanji in the sentences that you just learned in RTK feels great, and vice versa.
      There is a certain quantum of grind and frustration to get through. If you’re feeling that – it’s normal. Hopefully you also enjoy the feeling of your ‘power level’ rising.

  52. Hello! I’ve been reading JALUP for a while and got the XPNavi a while ago but never commented before.
    I don’t know if there’s anyone here who tried Textfugu, but I finished all the lessons they have available right now and I don’t don’t exactly what to do. I want to get the JALUP anki decks but I don’t know if I should get the beginner ones to make sure I don’t miss anything or if I should go for intermediate? I’m a bit scared of getting the intermediate ones and frustrating myself. I’ve been through RTK a couple years ago too but I forgot a lot of it and I don’t feel like doing it again. I forget kanji and vocabulary a lot, it’s hard to remember how to write things by hand.

    • Hello,

      I know for a fact that the material Textfugu currently covers does NOT prepare you for JALUP intermediate. The first few hundreds of cards of JALUP Beginner will serve as an excellent review for Textfugu/Genki material, while the remaining cards will likely be completely new to you.

      Good luck! :)

    • The intermediate deck has a really steep learning curve. Although it gets easier ~150 cards in, it would seem impossible if you do not have a strong enough base.
      I was in a similar situation. You should be fine if you:
      – Complete Tae Kim guide. Re-read this multiple times. It should take you ~3 months.
      – Try doing RTK again.

      You can also use JalUp beginner (though I have not tried this method), but I think that the beginner cards are more of a review package, rather than a primer.

    • I did the first half of Genki I quite a few years ago, then restarted using the JALUP Beginner deck. That ended up working really well for me – the first ~300 cards were just quick review, and everything else was new material. I think the first 100-ish cards of Intermediate will be bumpy no matter what you do, but I felt like I was well-prepared for it coming off of the Beginner deck.

    • Thanks for the help everyone!

      @Sal I guess I’m going for the beginner decks then, thanks for the warning! I’ve been learning at such a slow pace for such a long time, I plan to change that now.

      @Manan I figured the intermediate deck would be tough, it’s nice to know for sure. I’m actually going for the Tae Kim guide, I’ve skimmed through parts of it before but tomorrow I should start reading and taking sentences from it. Doing RTK again would probably make me quit japanese LOL if I have to redo big things like that I lose motivation. Guess I’ll try to force my way through my old RTK deck bit by bit instead.

      @Matt V I wanted the Genki books but it’s very hard to get these things in Brazil, which is why I signed up for Textfugu. Nice to know intermediate will punch me in the face no matter what I do haha, I’ll go for the beginner pack first.

      Thanks again to all of you! :)

      • JALUP’s levels are of a much higher caliber than most other definitions of intermediate and advanced. Adam definitely wants you to completely own at Japanese and isn’t trying to placate people with undeserved titles.

        Unless you can trivially read beginner material, and not the Genki kind where some of the kanji are left out, then you will definitely get some benefit from the beginner packs. It covers basic words and grammar that are the foundation of Japanese learning. Until you know it reflexively like a native it is always worthwhile to review the basics. (That advice applies to any human endeavor!)

    • I did TextFugu before I found Jalup, and I can confirm that it is not enough to prepare you for the Intermediate deck. I would highly recommend that you go through the Jalup Beginner deck first. You will still benefit from what you have learned already, as there will be some overlap. This will result in some cards quickly maturing, so it will save you time.

  53. I began learning Japanese in college. Totally thought I was awesome too. After all, I crammed a semester worth of Genki in my head on my own to test into the second semester class on a whim, so I definitely had a chance at greatness, right? I stayed in that program for four years (four years!), constantly staying ahead of my classmates, but getting frustrated whenever I actually tried to use the language. I eventually lost sight of what I was trying to accomplish, and my studies drifted away from me.

    JALUP changed that. Anki just works, especially when the decks used use the n+1 format that this deck uses. Every new card was just one new thing, just one new thing, just one new thing. Because the new sentences use words you already know with only one exception, context clues are infinitely helpful at remembering things you don’t remember or even making educated guesses on something you haven’t learned yet.

    I have thus far learned more from Anki Beginner 1000 (now that I’m at the tail end) than I ever did from my college courses, and I look forward to seeing my new set of cards each morning. This set of decks has taken something that was a chore and made it fun, and once that’s accomplished, I don’t think there’s much that’s able to stop me, really. I highly suggest checking this out, even for learners returning to the language (if not especially them!)

  54. Hi Adam! I have a quick question, if it’s not too much of a bother.

    I want to buy the Jalup Beginner deck (I’ve heard great things about it), but I also want to try and save money (because it’s very tight right now) by just getting the Maximum pack. If I get the Beginner deck, is there a way I can “upgrade” to the Maximum pack somehow? Or will I just need to rebuy it? :/

    Thanks in advance for your time! ^_^

    • I was going to ask this as well, as I bought the beginner deck for my son and wanted to get the rest (in advance) sometime. Obviously, the maximum pack is already heavily discounted, so it can’t be the price of that minus the price of the beginner deck. But even so, any discount is a good discount, and it’s probably good business, too, as anyone who’s seen the progression of these decks will most likely want to continue through the entire series!

  55. Hi Adam,
    Bought the full set, love it. The jalup 1000 audio works great on the computer and android (ankidroid 2.4) versions but not on the iOS app (ankimobile 2.0.17 b117) I just purchased. Other decks I have are fine. Must be something I’m doing but couldn’t find any hints on the forum/with Google. Do you have any suggestions?

    • I use iOS and it works fine for me, so it is probably just a setting. Obviously you need the volume to be turned on, so make sure you have both the speaker volume turned up a bit and that the mute switch on the side is not on.

      • That’s what I figure too. Struggling to find the magic button. Volume is up, I get sound on other shared Anki decks. I made sure the “Transfer Media” button was “on” in the sync options. Uninstalled and reinstalled the app, did a “full sync” (several times). How did you download the deck to iOS (via computer and then sync from the web or other)?

        I’ve got a lot of shared/media content from all the decks, about 1Gb. Only odd thing is app has hiccuped during first full sync (about 300Mb in) and had to restart sync to get it to finish. “Database” checks OK. I’m guessing the media didn’t actually get properly downloaded and will try to tweak one of the cards from my computer to trigger a re-sync of only this deck. Any other ideas would be appreciated too.

        Really good to know it does work, thanks!

        • I use a Windows PC to add the decks and then sync them across to my iPad and iPhone, which usually also results in transfer of all associated media files. If you have other decks that work correctly, then you are probably right about the media not being synced for some reason.

          You could perhaps troubleshoot with something like this:

          iExplorer let’s you look at the file system on your iOS devices and see what files are stored for each app. You can then compare this with your media folder on your PC and check that the Jalup media has been copied correctly.

    • Thanks for buying it!

      Sometimes big syncs cause problems on Anki. Have you tried deleting the Jalup decks and resyncing only them (without everything else)? Or try removing everything from Anki, and then sync up the Jalup decks first before everything else.

      • Nailed it!

        For whatever reason, the only place the audio worked was on ankidroid. After digging in, it wasn’t just the new iOS app, anki on my Mac and Ankiweb also suffered the same problem. Deleting the deck (from all devices), reloading it on the anki Mac app and syncing up/down restored the audio everywhere.

        ありがとう。うれしい :-)

  56. Does this deck cover all of the grammar in Tae Kim?

    Grammar is always my weakest area, but I don’t like independent grammar study. Too much information thrown at you with little context.

    • Jalup Beginner covers most of Tae Kim and the rest is covered in the subsequent Jalup decks. The decks are designed to be used without separate grammar studies.

  57. I finished Stage 1 and now I’m getting Stage 2, but how do I import the stage 2 deck into the previous one? anki only lets me import stuff as separate decks x_x Does anyone know how I do that?

    • Create a new deck to be the parent deck.
      Drap and drop the two stages on to the parent deck. It will be like a tree structure.
      You can just use the parent deck.

      • I realize I didn’t elaborate at all in my question. I’m not a fan of using parent decks with multiple decks inside because anki eventually comes up and tells me I reached some arbitrary limit and I can’t have more decks.
        With textfugu I used to import the new deck and transfer cards from it to the previous deck manually, but I’m afraid that might mess up their order somehow…? I really don’t know :x
        I’ll probably take your advice and use a parent deck at least at first, but I wish there was a better way ;-; Thanks for the reply~

        • The cards should be ordered so that you can simply change which deck they are in and they should stay in the correct order, so in the “browse” window just select all cards in JALUP beginner 2 and move them (using the change deck button at top) to the first deck (which you can rename to whatever you want from the main window). Then you can delete the JALUP beginner 2 deck which has nothing left in it. This consolidates all the cards into the same deck so you don’t have to deal with multiple ones.

        • Can confirm Jonathan’s method. I just have one “JALUP Sentences” deck, and I’ve simply imported each new stage to Anki, then “moved” the cards to the JALUP Sentences deck and they remained in the correct order.

          The only thing worth noting is, if you change anything about your card formatting or font, it’ll probably get overwritten when you import a new JALUP deck (because they share a note type). But aside from that, I’ve had no issues.

        • Thanks guys! Good to know I can move the cards like that and have it not mess with their ordering. That didn’t matter in textfugu vocab and kanji decks but it certainly matters here.

      • I have done the same thing and it works well. I can add a little trick, which is to add a tag to all cards in each deck before you move them, such as JalupBeginner1, JalupBeginner2, etc., so that you can see where they came from after you merge the decks.

  58. If you completed all 4 stages what is an estimate of your understanding of japanese? For instance, would you be able to understand 80% of an anime? Assuming you only completed these 4 stages with no additional studying elsewhere.

      You would be about level 20.
      This is still very much a beginner. You will have very limited understanding of any native media, unless it’s designed for learners or young children.
      It’s the equivalent of working through a couple of introductory textbooks.

      I don’t want to demoralise you, but learning Japanese is climbing a very big mountain. I’m only beginning to understand the enormity of the task. But it can be climbed. One step at a time.

    • I have recently finished Jalup Beginner and haven’t done much else. I tried reading a volume of Death Note (having read it before) – but it has way too much special vocabulary and simply overwhelmed me. I have put that away for now. However I tried reading Japanese Graded Readers level 0 and got through most of volume 0 without a dictionary at all and enjoyed it.

      I tried watching Chi’s Sweet Home and maybe understood 20% or so… Not enough for me to quite enjoy it yet. I’m much more visual than auditive so it may be different for you.

      You might be able to find material you can start enjoying even before finishing all 4 stages of Jalup Beginner. It’s all about trying out different things and not being afraid of putting something away when it doesn’t work for you right now. Then finding what does work and do that.

    • I think what you are looking for happens around level 40, so either around when you finish Jalup Advanced if you immerse a lot, or a little later if not. Don’t let it bring you down, however. Learning Japanese is huge task, but it is an amazing journey.

    • I’d actually recommend *against* watching/reading children’s material for several reasons:
      -It tends to use less or no kanji, which means you don’t get to lean on or reinforce RTK knowledge.
      -It assumes knowledge of tons of kids’ vocabulary that you probably don’t have. This mean’s it’s not necessarily easier than regular adult material for your purposes.
      -It’s very unlikely that you’ll enjoy it even if you did understand it, which is devastating from a motivation perspective.
      -This also applies to most “learner”-focused materials, as they tend to be both incredibly dry and packed with arbitrary vocab that you’re expected to drill for the JLPT

      An important thing to keep in mind is that JALUP Beginner focuses primarily on teaching Grammar, and introduces very little vocabulary. Your vocab will grow explosively through JALUP Intermediate and beyond, but Beginner is focused on laying the grammar foundation to make that possible. This means your % understanding of virtually anything you pick up will be very low. Generally in the range of 15-30%.

      The good news is, % understanding required to enjoy material varies widely with the type of material you’re trying to watch/play. A complex sci-fi story might lose you even at 80% understanding, but you can follow the plot of and enjoy some straightforward Romance stories with less than 30% understanding. Slice of Life stuff is pretty forgiving, too.

      Another great option is re-watching or re-playing things you’ve previously experienced in English. Because you already know the story, you can follow the action with a much lower % understanding and still have a good time. I strongly recommend doing this in earlier stages as it’ll help you get used to the core vocab used in the types of stories and settings you normally enjoy.

      Anyway, as others have said, you’ve got a long journey ahead of you before you can enjoy all of the same things you currently do in English. But even after finishing Beginner you’ll have enough knowledge to start having some fun with the language – and the sooner you do that the better off you’ll be in the long-run =)

      • Lack of kanji really frustrates me, that’s for sure! I understand far less if there is no kanji at all than if a text is packed with them.

        As for Chi’s Sweet Home it is children’s material and sometimes difficult to understand because of the childish language. I mostly tried watching it because I enjoyed it with subtitles before I started learning Japanese. I find it cute and the 3 minute episodes is such a short amount of time that it fits in almost at any time. I need a quite high % of understanding before I enjoy anything, for some reason, which kind of sucks sometimes. But you’ve got to work with what you’ve got, right..

  59. As soon as I saw this, I knew it was gold. We communicate via sentences, not words! Also, extra points for audio because I am an audio learner. I learn much more quickly through audio cues than visual cues, which often makes it harder because the current TTS machines I’ve tried still don’t sound that great.


  60. Okay, I feel incredibly stupid asking this, but… I’m stuck on a sentence. I’ve searched the deck. It still doesn’t make sense. So here we go:


    That で Just does not make sense to me.

    It’s so embarrassing to need help with such a simple sentence. Any help at all would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Nothing to be embarrassed about! Everyone gets stuck sometimes =)

      Think of the で in this case as sentence glue. It’s used to string two thoughts or actions together. You’ll see a similar use for て/で form of other nouns, verbs and adjectives in other cards. Hope that helps!

        • If anyone feels like helping again, I’m having a problem with なくて。 (Though I get the feeling it might the same problem….) The sentence is:


          Is it something like “I haven’t had money lately, so I’ve mostly stopped eating,”?

            • You are an amazing person and I will venerate you to everyone I see! THANK YOU!!!

  61. After 49 days, I’ve completed the JALUP beginner deck. For those of you who are interested in buying it, I thought I would do a quick review of what I personally see at the pros and con’s of this. Why not the bad news first?

    – If you have a lot more time than money (unemployed, student, etc), then you may be able to construct a similar deck yourself using textbooks/online resources, only adding sentences with 1 bit of information you didn’t know (n+1)
    – As Adam explicitly mentions, this does not come with any conjugation tables, extremely long grammar explanations, etc. So for me, I found that this deck was much more useful in conjunction with a textbook/grammar reference (I did Genki I and almost all of Genki II before picking up this deck)

    The pros:
    – Quality: Holy crap, you get what you pay for here. Really well thought out sentences that guide you through beginner Japanese.
    – Slang: Adam added some words and grammar that are more slangy (casual), which I find appear extremely often in manga.
    – Time: The main reason I got these decks- it’s a huge time saver that drives efficient Japanese learning. Rather than spend upwards of an hour hunting and inputting sentences into Anki myself (inefficient!), I just focus on dedicating that time to learning the new cards (max, 10 minutes) and the rest goes to reviews or reading manga.
    – Grammar-heavy: You can learn vocab words easy from anywhere. Quality grammar examples, however, are much harder to find and this deck is a trove of it.

    Highly recommended, especially for those who are working full time and are short on study time like me. I originally bought the package with the Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced decks just for the latter two, as I wanted to jump into J-J…. but the beginner deck has been invaluable to me. The grammar you learn goes up through Genki II and beyond.

    Honestly, this deck gave me the confidence to start reading manga and I am so much better for it- thanks to giving good explanations for casual words (looking at you, 超) and forcing me to digest sentences myself rather than regurgitating a translation for every sentence.

    I’m so excited to dip my toes into J-J now!!

  62. I’m enjoy the deck so far (about 200 sentences in), but I’m wondering how other people have dealt with there being no recall and only recognition in these?

    Am I supposed to supplement these decks with some sort of recall practice?

    • Anyone else please chime in here, but to answer from my perspective, when you review cards enough times, saying them out loud, seeing them in dozens of different contexts in native media (shadowing and/or reading out loud as well), the words start to naturally come out when you want to produce them.

      • Today, trying to confirm what you say, but not quite, I had a chance to use なくちゃ・なくちゃいけません。I used this for the first time in conversation, it took me a moment to recall it, but I was able to. This card for me had only recently matured to 20+ days in Anki. Now that I have used it once, I am likely to always be able to use it because I had immediate confirmation that the 日本人 I was speaking to understood what I was trying to say because I used it correctly. I haven’t really heard this outside of JALUP, but I had been exposed to it repeatedly, shadowing the sentence every time, so I think this helps what you are trying to say a little bit.

  63. Hello AdamShap and everyone!

    I am very curious if I might be able to put the meaning of しか into my own words.
    Is the following also a good way to think about it?

    しか: Except for Noun, I am not verbing…,

    Like: except for this book, I am not carrying anything.


    Except for water, I am not drinking anything…

    or some example like that.

    • I like to think of it like that as well. Of course, you just have to remember it can’t be used with a positive noun.

      • Thanks!

        I have another question for you or for anyone with some thoughts to spare. Does it mean it cannot be used with positive nouns as in, it can’t be used with happiness if happiness were to be used as a noun, so you can’t say, “except for happy, I don’t feel anything”?

        感じが嬉しい のしかありません。(I don’t even know if this is a grammatically correct sentence, but I am just trying to clarify the positive noun aspect by nominalizing 嬉しい to see if any noun with a positive aspect can be used with しか or not.)

        • I just meant you can’t use it like, 水しか飲む, which would mean something like “I drink everything except water” I guess. Not that you were implying that you can use it that way.

          The meaning of the noun can be anything really. Something like 嬉しい感じしかありません sounds a bit more natural to my ear, but I don’t think anything is wrong grammatically with the example sentence you showed. (´・ω・`)

  64. I’ve been using the deck for a little bit and find it very useful, but sometimes new grammatical things pop up without super clear explanations:

    e.g.: 面白いしかっこいいし彼を好きかもしれない。

    I can’t seem to find an answer on the internet for why 好き is taking を to mark the object here. Is it an error or something new?

    • Good catch. I think a lot of people (myself included) just glazed over that back in Beginner days without giving it much thought. It’s pretty minor, but might be deserving of an explanation or adjustment.

      I looked up an explanation in Japanese, and it seems that「を好き」is a colloquial form that originated in Tokyo, with the exact same meaning as 「が好き」. They suggest that 「が好き」may give a more refined impression, particularly in writing, but otherwise there’s no real difference.

      Detailed explanation (Japanese):

      • Yeah, I spent a few moments on it too, feeling kind of confused. I also get confused when I get an email from a professor with the following: メールをありがとう。It probably has something to do with your above explanation. Thanks for posting about it, (both of you) because I am not confused about it anymore.

  65. This looks fantastic. I’ve actually gone through about half of Genki 1 in the past, dropped Japanese for awhile, haven’t even reviewed the sentences I added in my SRS. But now I’m getting back on the bandwagon. Just a quick question, but if I did get this deck, should I still be reading through Genki 1 and learning from the lesson explanations? Or should I just ditch it and solely focus on these sentences?

    • For the most part, you can go solely with Jalup Beginner. Genki will have a much wider range of vocabulary, but the grammar you learn will be similar.

      For reference, some people do both. Some people do Jalup Beginner only.

  66. Do you know about how many unique vocab words are in Jalup Beginner? I know the main focus is grammar but I was just wondering how many words I know so I was wondering about all the words I learned from this deck.

  67. Dear Sir,
    I am trying to purchase stage 1. It is not clear if it is necessary to have a paypal account or not. Anyway, assuming it was necessary, I completed the details at the bottom of the “buy” form, including filling in the paypal details and nothing happened.
    Please advise.
    Thank you very much,
    Ray Pope
    PS I would rather pay direct than use paypal! Is this possible and, if so, how?

    • As far as I can tell, it is necessary to have a Paypal account to pay. If it helps, I can tell you that Paypal has been around for about 20 years and is safe to use. It will not cost you more than any other web payment with your payment cards as the cost of using Paypal is paid by the receiver of the payment, in this case

    • I responded to you by email as well, but just for anyone else wondering, you actually don’t need a Paypal account. A credit card is enough.

      What Paypal does though, is make it harder to use a credit card. If you already have a Paypal account, they actually hide the credit card option. @Jesper, I get emails all the time thinking the same thing that only Paypal can be used.

      I left this note in the Jalup Store page to get around this annoyance:

      *You can pay by Paypal or Credit Card. If you don’t see an option for credit card after clicking on a buy link, click “Sign Up,” which will take you to a guest checkout page where you can use your credit card. This happens when you have a Paypal account but want to use a credit card. You don’t actually sign up for anything.

      • My mistake, I didn’t click past the sign up page. I will still stand by my recommendation to sign up, though :)

  68. I am attempting to recreate the JALUP beginner deck for Korean. I got as far as ~ 900 cards before I realized that I wasn’t learning anything more than vocabulary. As I grew closer and closer to my 1000 cards I was becoming more and more aware of my deficiencies. I went back and re-read some of the posts regarding the first 1000 cards only to realize that I hadn’t read with as much detail as I would have liked. I used those 900 cards I had made to learn new vocabulary, and used grammar constructions as an afterthought (Something I kept in the “Comments” section of my cards). I’m now starting over from scratch, of course using those 900 or so sentences + audio as a resource for building this deck correctly.

    I do have a few questions, questions that might be difficult to answer since I don’t know Japanese, but I’ll use English as an example language.


    Front: I am going to the store.

    1. Would the back be “-ing” with the explanation of what a gerund is, or would the back be “Going” with an additional explanation of the gerund construction? Neither?

    Front: I went to the store.

    Front: I will go to the store.

    2. Would these be two separate cards you would use in your deck? I know there shouldn’t be frank conjugation tables, but the only other way I could see this working would be later on in the deck after, say, the word “School” is introduced in another sentence I could choose the sentence “I will go to the school” as a substitution for the second. Thoughts? Every time I see a form of a verb, for instance, I haven’t seen before I should include it as a new card even if I’ve used that verb before in other cards, correct? I understand the goal is to not necessarily to have a card for each conjugation, but having difficulty with balance here.

    I’m sure I’ll have more questions to come.

    • Hey Christopher,

      Send me an e-mail if you want to discuss this. It’s a bit hard to talk about it here in the comments section.

  69. It’s been a long road for me, longer than most and longer than I had hoped, but today I decided I was done messing around and pushed through the final 40 of Beginner Stage 4. I’m finally done! 174 hrs of study, 498 days of 621 studied.. lots of time catching up from lack of motivation here and there and life getting in the way, etc. But I never fully gave up and the little rewards every time I watched anime or tried to read keep egging me on.

    I’ll probably wait a few days to a week before Intermediate so everything solidifies but I already know so much more than any other method I’ve ever tried and I’ve been able to stick with it even during the lows. Looking forward to seeing what Japanese only is like.

    Thanks Adam for the awesome decks and hard work!

    • Thanks for checking in with your progress and congrats Mark on finally finishing it all! It doesn’t matter how long it took you. You made it, and that’s what is important.

  70. Quick question.

    Card no. JB263 says “勉強しています: have/has studied”.
    Card no. JB280 says “行っていません: haven’t gone to (polite)”.

    Surely this is wrong? Doesn’t -ている construction mean “is / am / are doing”, i.e. present progressive?

    • To expand on Adam’s answer a bit, try thinking about ている as more broadly describing a present “state” and not being strictly limited to present progressive. Like “I studied and am now in a ‘have studied’ state” or “I didn’t go (yet) so I’m still in a ‘haven’t gone to’ state”.

      The latter is very common with stuff like 何も食べていません(“I haven’t eaten anything”), and the former a little less so. You’ll hear it most often with something like 分かっている(“I knew/understood that already”), basically referring to a past action resulting in a present state that’s now relevant.

      Japanese does a lot of things differently from English when it comes to talking about time, so it’s not unusual to be thrown off until you get used to it. The best advice I can give is try not to think too hard about the academics or precise mechanics of it, and just let it soak until it becomes second nature.

  71. I am currently doing Beginner Level 1. I am finding that reading the sentences is what takes the most time. I am averaging around 30 seconds per card (learning/reviewing). I do have a question, when people say they have completed a level, what does it mean? that the learning phase has ended? or that a certain recall has been reached?

    • That is normal. It takes a long time at first to read. Most likely you read super slow sounding out each word when you first learned English. Long term repetition speeds you up (dramatically eventually).

      When someone says they finished a level like Jalup Beginner they usually just mean they learned all 1000 cards. Literally hit the learn button. How well someone is remembering the cards is all over the board.

    • As for me, when I complete a deck (1000 cards) I mean that I have finished adding all the cards to the active state. I have seen each card at least once and I’m in the process of becoming more familiar with them. I don’t mean I can use them in a conversation yet, or that I can recognize them in the wild. That takes much longer. Adding a card to Anki or Jalup is like meeting someone for the first time, you’ve met them, but you don’t really know them yet. Really knowing them takes time.

  72. Just wanted to leave a quick note. Just finished JALUP Beginner. Feel like it gave me a pretty solid foundation for where I’m at right now. I can start to notice what it feels like to think in Japanese instead of translating. Brilliant deck and learning method. Going to do the Beginner Stories and Situations, then move into Intermediate. Thanks! :)

  73. Well, it took me almost 6 months, but I finally finished Beginner yesterday. To be fair, I also did 650 Kanji Kingdom (KK), 1K lazy Kanji and Tango N5 during these 6 months (and keep doing those reps). So here are some observations.

    I started learning japanese on May 12 by opening the Genki I book. It took me few weeks to discover anki and start doing some decks (core 1k, creating my own 625 most used words) before I discovered Jalup. I liked it, bought it, and dedicated time to do it. I started it on July 5. I had to visit Japan in Sept so kept doing the simple vocabulary decks I had, but started doing KK and JB (Jalup Beginner) at the same time.

    Canonical KK is very slow, and after a while I stop trying to read the sentences (each took a lot of time, and I felt it was very inefficient, as I was re-reading a lot of well known kanji and my brain was memorizing sentences, not kanji—but that is a different story). I only did all kanji <= 8 strokes with KK.

    I kept doing JB though.

    Regarding JB, I started doing around 10-12 cards a day, but hit a wall around 350. I was not retaining much, so I stop adding new cards, and keep doing the reps. This was very helpful. During this time I kept doing/finishing my kanji decks and started doing TangoN5. Then I started doing 6 cards a day. this was a good pace. I was able to retain a lot and didn't feel too overwhelming. Once I finished TangoN5 i went up to 12 cards and became hard again.

    My main problem with JB is that I am slow at reading each sentence. For instance, on average, over the life of the deck, my response rate is 1.6 cards per minute.

    After I finished TangoN5 I went back and started adding 12 cards a day. It was hard. My retention rate for mature cards have been above 90%, but the young ones have being around 65%. As I finished the deck, only 1/3 of the cards are young.

    So what are my observations:

    1. I was a true beginner (no knowledge of japanese before) Jalup was hard, very hard. It took me 97 hrs of studying (according to anki).

    2. JB emphasizes reading a lot. I am amazed by how much I can read in 6 months of study. I am a looonnggg way from doing it easily, but with a dictionary for unknown words, I can now understand a lot of sentences.

    3. Sentences are supposed to be N+1, but in reality, they are a bit more. First, for new vocabulary, you have to learn the kanji pronunciation and the recognition. For grammar, there seem to be subtle changes in the way a grammar point is used that does not feel true N+1. Frequently I wished that I was learning grammar without having to worry about pronouncing the kanji (e.g. having furigana in the sentence I was reading). I think the main issue with this is that it is very easy to fail a card: you get a pronunciation wrong, or a kanji reading wrong, or a vocabulary word wrong, or the grammar wrong, and you had to do it all over again. I think this is the inherent inefficiency of Jalup in general (which is most obvious in KK), but at the same time, I keeps reinforcing over and over again common knowledge. It makes me wonder if it would have been more efficient to learn the same concepts/vocabulary in 2k sentences (shorter, less variability) than with the current 1k sentences. I feel that the experiment might be worth it (not sure how to do it).

    4. Audio. I use Jalup audio in my immersion. At some point I created audio cards, and did it for the first 350 JB cards, but i discovered quickly that it was a big time commitment to be able to do the reps. Nonetheless, it is very useful. The audio is very fast. I have found it more useful for my immersion to slow it to 80%.

    5. Links to references. I sooo much wished that JB liked to Tae Kim (or any resource) where I could read and explanation of the grammar point. I started doing this around 500 cards. It was extremely helpful. I would add a link to the Tae Kim point, and cut-and-paste the explanation. There are still some sentences that I don't quite get, but I guess that is part of the masterplan ;)

    Overall, based on what I know, would I buy JB? definitely. At some point I got tired of them, procrastinated, avoided it, but every day, I did my reps + target cards for the day. It was painful, but it has been rewarding.

    My suggestion is, if you are a Japanese newbie (as I was) then take it very easy. I have learned that this is a long distance run. I will take my own advice and plan for 6-9 months for Intermediate (which, from what I had read, is challenging). I will interleave it with Tango N4.

    Oh, where am I? Listening I can understand sentences and words here and there, but relatively little otherwise. I am reading Yotsuba! with relative ease, and perhaps more important, enjoying it. Anki's morpman says I know K1500/V1900 words.

    p.s. My attempts at speaking Japanese during my visit to Japan was a total disaster, but being able to read was certainly useful.

  74. Some great detail in here Daniel. I think overall it is clear you are getting a good sense of what works for you and what doesn’t which may be one of the most important things in keeping yourself motivated and moving forward.

    Just a few notes/thoughts on what worked for me. It may not be good for you and that is okay, but I thought it may help give you some more options. I have completed 6000/7000 jalup cards, and 2276 kanji.

    1) For grading yourself on whether to pass or fail a card it has helped me to setup some specific rules. Your point is fair that in some ways it is not ‘just N+1’. That said if I understand specifically the new word I will pass the card up to around the 1 year interval. If I am still missing the reading or having trouble understanding the grammar still I will fail it then. I have found for the vast majority of cards I eventually get the reading over time and I don’t have to grade myself overly hard.
    I also give myself around 20-30 day interval time to really memorize the new word. The first couple times I see the word with 2 day, 3 day, 5 day, even 10 day interval I will usually pass myself even if I didn’t remember it perfectly. If by 30 day interval I still don’t know it I fail the card and start over on it. This gives me a chance to remember all the of content of the card better without failing right away and keeps my speed up. I would say 80-90%+ of the cards I get memorized before the 30 day interval and I never do have to fail it. This keeps my review count down while not hampering my learning in my experience.

    2) Your reading speed will increase, dramatically over time just by repetition and reading. I used to spend hours to get through a 100-200 a day card backlog and really be burdened by it. Now a 130-150 card backlog can be run through in an hour without rushing it.

    3) Intermediate is hard at first. Super hard and way harder than beginner. Just keep chipping away at it though. A year or two from now it will be super simple to you, you just have to keep at it and trust in yourself. I took it for granted at first but have come to realize the difficulty actually makes your brain remember better and keeps you interested and coming back for more.

    Good luck to you!

  75. I have kind of a specific question. There seem to be a lot of cool resources that come with getting the full Master Pass with Anki such as the Beginner Stories. Would those also be included with the App purchase in any way or would they have to be purchased seperately? I really like the app and like the card linking function and what not, it feels really robust, but I wouldnt want to be missing out on those extra resources by investing in the app instead of anki. Thanks.

    • Beginner Stories 1+2, Situations 1+2, Intermediate Stories are included in the Jalup App.

      What’s not included in the app is Jalup Master and Jalup Champion

      • Thank you for the quick reply! I just wanted to say thank you for building these decks they are really clever and after doing 70 of the Jalup Beginner cards I could already tell it was a good long term choice for me so I went ahead with it. Was having a lot of trouble with the idea of needing to translate everything with Genki and just going over these setences without a direct translation to reference every time is so freeing I love it. Its definitely inspired me to look at studying Japanese in a new light. Excited to work through Jalup Beginner towards the J-J studying goal.

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