Everything I Experienced from Intense Power Leveling — 48 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              what did you mean by this? :o

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

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

    • RE: Passive Listening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  15. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience (which has helped me a lot) and thank you VERY much for the deck you made. That was kind of you and is hugely appreciated.

  16. Once you started J-J cards what percentage, if any, did you look up in English? Was it 5% or 1% or 0? I’m restarting the intermediate deck as just getting a vague idea and then picking it up during immersion didn’t work out too well with me so I’m curious about your experience. I initially did the zero English rule but am now looking up a few (<10%) of in meanings in English.

  17. Haha, haven’t checked this site in a while. To answer your question (for future readers), I had to look up the first 100ish cards in English on a case by case basis. That didn’t really help because even the English definitions were vague. Then it clicked all of a sudden. I realized that it’s good enough to have a vague (60%) grasp on the meaning of the word, because immersion will fill the holes overtime.

    A good idea might me to only look at English for the first 100-200 words, but not after that. Use that time to *get good* at parsing Japanese. For those first few hundred words, don’t just look at the English and call it a day. Look at the Japanese definitions too afterwards and have a clear understanding of how it connects to the English word. This will help build a solid foundation for future vocab and you’ll not have to rely on English that much.

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