Jalup Champion — 51 Comments

  1. Hey Adam, glad to see you are continuing with the series. I’m definitely all for supporting the series in general and Jalup has been a huge timesaver for me. But for my style of studying, the lack of the audio makes the material much less favorable. Is there anyway I can convince you to do the audio for Jalup Master+ in the near future?

    • If enough people are interested, I could do a pre-order “Jalup Master audio” post like I did with Expert and Hero.

      • For me, the time these decks save me is priceless. I could see myself paying more if necessary to push it through. Of course I might be in the minority there!

  2. Sorry to hear you’ve been getting grief from customers with unrealistic expectations. I found Jalup a bit late in my Japanese learning journey around 2015 and I was *so* happy to finally find a site and a method that makes achieving reading fluency and enjoying novels a normal, achievable goal as opposed to “lol that’s too hard no one can do it” “that’s harder even than N1 and N1 is impossible.” Really appreciate the book recommendations posts too! Whenever someone asks me, “how can I become fluent too?” I send them here and explain why the decks are good, but I also know it’s actual work and a lot of people want to be fluent more than they want to study :) I hope more and more do find their way over to Jalup though. Best of luck with the new decks, and everything else!

    I pre-ordered and am pondering what series I might like to see. To be honest I enjoyed all the stages so far, even when I wasn’t familiar with the manga (more likely to have vocab new to me!). However, lately I’ve been going back to series I used to enjoy as a teen and never finished (currently reading: Fruits Basket) and there is one I am massively chickening out on going back to. Even the translation was hard to understand at times and I’m scared to imagine what that looks like in Japanese, so here’s my modest suggestion: Angel Sanctuary. It’s published by Hana to Yume and I don’t recall it being particularly violent, though there’s easy controversy in the topics approached.

    • Thanks for the kind words Julie and thanks for the pre-order! I’ll add the manga suggestion to the group list.

  3. Count me in. On my current pace I should get to this about this time next year. Maybe it is just because of my current level but I agree with Frank on audio and its value, but even with no audio this should be a big help.

    I am really happy to hear you are 100 cards into getting Hero on the app. If you keep that pace you should be able to outpace most everyone even if they are on expert right now (I am starting expert next week :).

    As for the manga I really don’t have a major preference. I would most want you to pick ones where you can mine the vocab we really need more than have a specific story. So for my vote (if possible) put a vote towards the one Adam thinks has the best vocab we need. haha

    • I may be alone on this but Adam I think you should consider doing these ‘kickstarters’ in bigger chunks. With the app everything is mostly done in the 1000’s now anyways.

      Maybe consider doing one big ‘kickstarter’ that would let you complete all 10,000 cards, and maybe a stretch goal that let’s you do audio. Maybe it would cost as much as the maximum package or even a bit more. You can give it a funny name like “Jalup Complete” and if you support it you get Jalup Champion-Supreme. And let’s say you do it if you get 10 people. If you get 15 everyone gets audio too or something. Maybe you have to tweak the numbers, but you get the idea.

      • Doing a full final 3,750 card pre-order wouldn’t be out of the question, but I don’t think it would get enough support for the price tag that would come with it.

        Doing around 3,750 new cards (without audio) would take about a year to complete, and is around 15x the work of doing one stage of 250. In it order to cover it, that would be too costly per person if only 10-15 people supported it (ex. that would be 15x the current pre-order amount). With full audio, double that amount. If I could get 100+ people to support it things would be different. But as I mentioned in the post, the higher level decks are super niche.

        • Yeah you are probably right but the numbers may not be too crazy. Assuming this gets funded we are talking about 3,500 cards (divided by 250 is 14 more ‘sets’). Based on the above you need $50 from 12 people per set. All in that is $8400. At $250 (price of maximum) you need about 30 people rounding down which feels a bit hard. But if we could find 20 people willing to pay $400 or 15 people willing to pay $500 that may be a bit more achievable.

          Can you do that? I have no idea. $500 is about the most I could see myself paying for it. But that is one down, 14 to go. lol

          It is better than slowly paying $50 for every 250 cards. If one person kept supporting it, it would cost them $700.

          Would anyone else be interested in this or is it just too big a price to swallow all at once?

    • As I mentioned to Frank, I can do audio as well, but that would need to be a separate pre-order. Doing a high quality recording and editing of 1,000 cards takes a long time.

      Yes, the goal is to try to make the gap between releasing Expert and Hero less than it was between Advanced and Expert.

      Of course the structure of the decks and vocabulary in progressing towards fluent Japanese takes priority. If I go through a chapter of a suggested manga, and the vocabulary is too “out there” (ex. rarely used, made up, not necessary) then I won’t use it.

    • It looks like this should happen. I still don’t have specific manga I want to pick but I would prefer something from a fantasy/scifi genre. Anything is great though can be anything from ninjas, to epic fantasy, to mmorpgs, to gundam, to samauri, to space.

  4. I’m in, audio or not. I suggest doing one of the official Touhou Project manga.


    I’m not sure which one is the most appropriate difficulty, I’m still a few months away from Jalup Master.

  5. Hi Adam,

    Just wanted to throw in my thanks as well for your dedication and very hard work in bringing continual quality content to this niche group. Sorry to hear about the complainers.

    As a programmer, every time I read about the laborious manual process of linking cards, I can’t help but wonder if there would be a way to automate or at least semi-automate the process. Of course I don’t know the technical intricacies of how the linking is done under the covers, so I could be way off, but in _theory_ it seems like it would be possible. The real deciding factor would just be whether the time to build, use, and review output from an automated system would save time compared to the manual process :). This could be a fun side project for myself (or anyone else) to investigate if you were interested…

    Off the top of my head, I’m thinking:
    -Have an “entry” for every card with its unique, ordered card ID.
    -Card content is ideally structured in some delimited way so that individual terms can be identified, otherwise you’d need to programmatically try to parse and separate the individual pieces.
    -The program would look for the lowest numbered unlinked card and attempt to link it.
    -The linking process will search all previous cards for any matches to all individual terms, and inject the link (or card ID) into the data.
    -Repeat in order for new cards.

    After running the program, you would be able to manually review the data and add or fix any broken links. If you’re too worried about missing incorrect links, the program could instead just give “suggested card links” for each card, which might at least save a little time on searching through the backlog for the correct item.

    Anyway, thanks again and best of luck in the continuation of this series.

    -Matt S.

    • The original programmer of the Jalup NEXT web platform tried to approach this issue, but couldn’t find a way to parse things out (due to the issues discussed below). Then a year later I also tried to create an automated way to process it when I was learning PHP, and couldn’t find a solution either.

      The way it is currently set up, every card has a keyword. Example 学校 is the keyword for the card that introduces 学校. What I had originally tried to do was input a new sentence, have it pull apart the sentence in all different directions (from front to back, back to front, shortest to longest parts), breaking it down into potential keywords. Then each potential keyword is searched against the already finished cards. If it hits a match, it would take that cards keyword and add it to the new card.

      Where I ran into trouble:

      1. I couldn’t parse out new sentences properly. Even though I was parsing out each part (starting off with the smallest unit and working from there), it would parse out wrong things way too often.
      2. The above becomes worsened when it comes to any form of grammar. Because knowing which form of ている or which に or が definition to use is very difficult for to parse out.

      One possibility which I had tried to work on was to have each new sentence match intelligently to old sentences that were coded perfectly, and pretty much piece together only the absolute matches, and then afterwards I could just manually go over them.

      I got caught up in that, and then hit a 3rd problem:

      3. My wife and I don’t link 100% in order. For example, even though technically we might be on card 4100, we scan through later cards, and partially code things as we go. Ex. we come across the word 食べました. Rather than just code it this one time, we might then go through every ました for the next thousand cards and try to add them all in first before returning back to #4100. The result is a ton of partially coded later cards. So, there would need to be a way to skip around all this partial coding.

      Overall, nothing I came up with worked. When I was trying to solve the issue, several months later a helpful Jalup member actually offered to try to solve the puzzle of how to do it. After giving them a ton of explanation on how things worked and my failed attempt, they gave it their best shot. I think they got busy, or it was more complex than they thought, but they eventually stopped working on it. They gave it a good try though, and I appreciated the help they offered in their free time.

      It did make me think that it is a very complex problem though, and would involve an incredibly creative and advanced algorithm to pull off.

      Sorry for the long response!

      • Wow, thanks for taking the time to write all that! Much appreciated. I should have guessed you’d already tried to deal with it, ha. It’s just such an interesting problem that I had to ask. Seems like you might need to do some sort of language parsing to pull out the correct pieces. There are some resources that do stuff like this already, but I don’t know much about them yet personally…

        Anyway, thanks again!

      • Hey Adam,

        I’m a full stack software developer and I would love to contribute to your project. I use the android app pretty much every day so it’s really in my benefit to do whatever I can to help.

        In addition, this problem sounds incredibly interesting, though I’m worried it may be a problem that could only be solved by having a significant knowledge of both languages. Have you thought of using machine learning to help parse pieces of the sentence? I believe google uses a system like that for it’s translation. If I understand it correctly, it takes each sentence, splits it into directly translated words without context and then tries to derive context through a self taught algorithm. That algorithm then outputs the most likely order of words in a translation. If you had access to that data, you might be able to use that output of the most likely order of words to compare against the same function output from other cards. If this worked it could circumvent problems 1 and 2 and then provide you with tag suggestions between cards. It would be a cool experiment nontheless.

        I found this article explaining this process –

        But that aside, if you have any place for someone to help with the app coding, I would love to contribute

        • Hello Andrew,

          Thanks for offering to help.

          Let me think about the machine learning aspect a bit. It may be over my head, but I’ll definitely look into what you sent.

          As for other help, it would always be useful to be able to ask the occasional question or so to a veteran in Java/Android or Swift/Xcode. Especially since I’m sure it takes me way more time than it probably should to do certain things.

          If you want to continue the conversation, send me a direct email.

  6. For anyone on the fence about making the pre-order, I hope this may nudge you towards doing so. I was a heavy user of the Jalup decks back when the pre-orders for expert were coming out, and paying extra for it was well worth it! Like Adam says there are other programs out there to try, but I believe you are doing your Japanese a disservice by not also using the decks here. The ability to learn J-J in this way with so many cards is incredible. I have spent some time living in Japan and met people who wanted to learn Japanese and had been trying for multiple years and some even had Japanese significant others and after a couple years following the Jalup program my Japanese was significantly better. This is not an attempt to brag about my Japanese, I owe it all to Adam’s hard work and the amazing program he has made and I can’t thank him enough. If you’re ready for this phase or will be soon these cards are well worth the money. I have no affiliation with this site, just really believe that what’s on here truly works.

    • While I would love to take credit for your Japanese, you are also ridiculously dedicated and worked your ass off :) I’m happy to be a part of that journey though.

      And thanks to your support back then, Jalup has been able to come this far!

  7. I’d like to see how far you will take this series, so I put in a pre-order. Keep up the good work! Here are some recommendations, mostly for comedy ones because those can get pretty tough to figure out even with a dictionary.

    1. 銀魂
    2. この素晴らしい世界に祝福を!
    3. K-on!
    4. Lucky Star

  8. Bought the last one. I don’t need it at this point (soon I’ll finish expert), but I see real value in continuing series.
    When it comes to manga choice,it’s hard as I’m not big fan of that. I’ve started reading them for the sake of language, so I could switch into normal books :)

    1) フェイト/ステイナイト (I’ve started reading it and seems easy)
    2) 進撃の巨人 (This one seems HARD)

  9. Count me in again. This time I will throw in some picks. I don’t feel strongly so if they work great and if not no big deal:

    1) Gantz
    2) GTO
    3) No Game No Life

  10. Far from Champion currently, but absolutely want to support this.
    Just a single material suggestion for now:


  11. I really want to support this, but I was recently laid off and it seems like I should try to avoid any spending that isn’t completely necessary. Still, with how much easier these cards make learning Japanese, it would be a shame to see the series end. I hope you’ll give the pre-orders another shot in the future if it doesn’t go through this time.

  12. Gave in and put in a pre-order.

    I don’t have a specific request for manga this time around, but I will put in a request to expedite getting Jalup Hero stages on the app (although I’m sure you’re busy enough already). With my last day at work coming up, I’ll have a lot of free time to put towards learning Japanese in-between applying for jobs.

  13. My suggestions in no particular order

    1) グッドモーニング・コール
    2) Citrus
    3) 蒼き鋼のアルペジオ

  14. I really want this program to keep growing. Even though I‘m only a Japanese beginner ? if it‘s getting close next month I may find some spare money to help create this next stage.

  15. I think it’s awesome that you are continuing to create these, so you have my support – in the form of a preorder :)

  16. I’m in!
    1.) 攻殻機動隊 (Ghost in the Shell)
    2.) 蟲師 (Mushi-shi)
    3.) 3月のライオン (March comes in like lion)

    Ghost in the Shell is probably not a good choice – but in the anime season 1 and 2 there are many many interesting conversations related to AI, tech, philosophy – Hope to some day understand it in the original Japanese.

    Mushi-shi is one of my all-time favorites.

  17. Just wanted to drop by and say that although I started frequenting the Jalup blog at a point where my Japanese level was such that there weren’t any Jalup products at a level that would have been very useful to me, I think it is awesome that you are continuing to push on and make more and more advanced levels of your Japanese learning resources. A lot of times in certain subcultures (including the Japanese-learning subculture), there tends to be an emphasis on whatever is the newest, latest thing, and it seems like there is kind of a glut of products that because they are so new only cover a very elementary level and aren’t useful for anything beyond that, so it’s great to see you providing something for more advanced learners.

    Although I’ve never used them myself for the reasons above, at one point, I was comparing several different Japanese-learning resources for a beginner, and I thought that your decks for hiragana was pretty much the best thing out there, and I have recommended your resources multiple times to my potential or actual Japanese students.

    And on that subject, do you still have samples available somewhere on your website? Those were really helpful in knowing whether a given level would be useful to myself or someone else.

    • If you download the jalup app fo ios or android, you are able to test the first 50-100 cards I think. That way one can see if the system is working, or if it’s the right level.

    • Thanks Amber for the kind words.

      As Max said, the apps have the first 100 cards of every level for free. So you can test out the system and your level.

  18. Thanks, both of you, for letting me know how to do that. It’s good to know there is still a way to preview the levels.

  19. I sing JALUP’s praises every time I tell someone how I’m learning Japanese. I tell them I had to pay for the decks, but it’s worth every dollar I spent. I love learning the language through sentences. JALUP has become part of my daily routine (well, there were some periods of slacking off). Even though I finished Jalup Beginner a year ago, I’m still on Stage 1 of Intermediate because I decided to pause it and focus on Kanji Kingdom (I’m on Stage 4). Kanji Kingdom is actually more fun than Remembering the Kanji! I was using Remembering the Kanji at first, but I got so bogged down in coming up with my own mnemonics that it was taking me forever and I was getting nowhere. I still might come back to it to help me remember some kanji that’s hard for me, but Kanji Kingdom has been so much smoother.
    Thank you, Adam and Ms. Adam. Your hard work has not gone unnoticed. :)

  20. While I’m happy to keep supporting just for the sake of supporting (and I did on the most recent pre-order!) I wanted to make sure–as a previous purchaser of the Maximum Package do I get new decks as they’re released on Anki for free? Because I started just before the App was released and have just reached 5,000 sentences, I still use Anki cards.

    BUT I want to throw out some more support for the “larger pre-order” idea! I love these cards, but I hope to catch up to the rate of production soon. For the last 3,000 cards, I’d probably pay pretty substantially today, especially if there was audio etc (although–and I imagine this was your original intention– I do find the audio less helpful as I reach higher levels of learning). If I catch up and haven’t pre-ordered, I’d be more likely to move to the One Deck rather than waiting for cards to be released.

    I don’t know what the price tag would be, but it wouldn’t surprise me if enough of us would go in on that to make it worth your time. I’d love to see you give it a shot!

    • The Jalup App includes newly added content (using the upgrade button in-app) – the Anki version does not. The reason being that the Jalup app is $50 more, has ~2000 cards less (originally had 4000 cards less) and doesn’t include all the other bonus material.

      I’ve internally gone back and forth whether to do a massive fundraiser for all remaining cards + audio + linking. But I just haven’t come up with an answer for myself whether I want to attempt that.

      • Haha that’s fair. That’s gotta be a ton of time and a huge commitment for you. For what it’s worth, I’d buy a “til the end of time” subscription (paid in full at t=0), so I get the rest of Jalup content forever, but wouldn’t need it to come super quickly.

        And upon opening the app after this message, I’m noticing how much more you’ve done on the app since the last time I opened it! If it does catch up to me, I”ll be sure to transfer my progress haha. Anyhow, great stuff Adam! Thanks for everything you’re doing!

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