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Thread: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

  1. #41
    IT Recruiter in Tokyo cubo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suburban Errorist's Japanese Language Learning Log

    Suburban, this thread is great, and I think I will be commenting - AND asking questions, given that I have to crank up my Japanese learning big time, for reasons I will detail later.
    Big kudos to you!
    がんばろううう!!

    xD

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubo View Post
    Suburban, this thread is great, and I think I will be commenting - AND asking questions, given that I have to crank up my Japanese learning big time, for reasons I will detail later.
    Big kudos to you!
    がんばろううう!!
    Thank you! Feel free to ask me questions of things I have done, remembering kanji, vocab etc. It's very effective and I can't believe it will be one year in just under 3 and a half months.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuburbanErrorist View Post
    Thank you! Feel free to ask me questions of things I have done, remembering kanji, vocab etc. It's very effective and I can't believe it will be one year in just under 3 and a half months.
    Again, this thread is fantastic.
    So, let me ask you first a couple of things about motivation and context.
    What motivates you to learn Japanese, and what are you trying to achieve, exactly? Where (approximately) do you live, and which kind of job do you do?
    I saw you wrote about commuting-learning strategies, but I live in NYC and commute by bike for about 20 minutes (I work at the U.N.), so I can't learn much at that time. But my job is not too taxing and have several breaks, so I could use the time then.

    I have learnt Japanese for a few years, but always on and off - I read Hiragana and Katakana, and started Kanjis but know only around 100 or so. I know expressions, and I can have a polite, correct, yet fairly limited conversation. What was your starting point one year ago? Total zero?
    My (newly wed! :D ) wife is Japanese, and we are thinking of moving to Japan in a near future. I speak fluently (and on a daily basis for work) Italian, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese, so languages are easy for me, but I learnt them almost always by living in the country or forced exposure to natives.
    Right now, I am facing the struggle of having to learn Japanese without that much language/culture exposure. I hope I'm not being too nosy with my questions, I put down all this details about me to paint a better picture, and maybe give you references for what might be useful to me. I have a couple of Japanese colleagues, too, btw, and if my Japanese were near-fluent (not anytime soon though), I could ask to be trained and work-professionally in Japanese, too.
    Going to sleep now! Happy weekend!

    xD

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubo View Post
    Again, this thread is fantastic.
    Again thank you :)

    So, let me ask you first a couple of things about motivation and context.
    What motivates you to learn Japanese,
    Hmm well I know about Japanese stuff because of One Piece which as everyone else on this forum, as you know likes haha. After a few years I started reading other manga, manga that shows festivals, lifestyle, food, customs in Japan and I really enjoyed it, I liked it. I came across a manga called Love Hina, and it is, I must say what motivated me. There was a quote somewhere towards the end that basically made me think about my life and what I wanted to do for work, I realised I didn't like what I am doing now sitting in an office bored to death. It's hard to explain but I like Japanese people, their personality, and way of thinking for the most part so I wanted to be able to speak with them and get to know them.

    There's a lot more to it, but I'd have to sit down and explain my trail of thoughts on this on a much deeper context.

    Just to add, I played a lot on Ps4 and always tried to talk to Japanese because I thought they were cool and it was an invaluable opportunity, I've made friends with them and even MET them in Japan. I mean one guy I was talking to with google translate, I told him "I'm gonna study Japanese!" and he's basically seen me develop to a higher level through the past almost 9 months.

    We message all the time about the game, about ourselves, talk about random stuff, gossip you name it, we probably do it. That gives me the most motivation, seeing my improvement in action. Not to mention I've made nice Japanese friends in Sydney which are absolutely fantastic.


    and what are you trying to achieve, exactly?
    I just wanted to be fluent at first, read, speak everything. I got told about the JLPT early on in my studies so I wanted to do the JLPT1, not just for a pass mark but I want to Ace it. That's my goal, I like setting these types of goals.

    Where (approximately) do you live, and which kind of job do you do?
    I work Monday-Friday, 7:30am start 4:30pm finish. I work in a Customs brokerage. We customs clear goods entering the country for clients.

    I saw you wrote about commuting-learning strategies, but I live in NYC and commute by bike for about 20 minutes (I work at the U.N.), so I can't learn much at that time. But my job is not too taxing and have several breaks, so I could use the time then.
    I live in Sydney, Australia. A round trip commuting is about 3 hours everyday. I guess the 20 minutes on a bike is not so convenient, you wouldn't be able to do your Kanji flashcards while riding haha!

    I found that the best time to study is in the morning. I mean going off Anki on your phone to learn phrases, Kanji is unbelievably convenient. I would probably wake up a bit early, study new Kanji, then review the ones you have newly studied during work breaks. Most efficient I think, I can help you plan it if you like.

    I have learnt Japanese for a few years, but always on and off - I read Hiragana and Katakana, and started Kanjis but know only around 100 or so. I know expressions, and I can have a polite, correct, yet fairly limited conversation. What was your starting point one year ago? Total zero?
    That's really good, you have a nice little base there. My starting point was 0. I had no idea what to do first, I had no idea what to study, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I had a private teacher when I first first started for a few lessons and she basically told me, "Hiragana is simple, it's just a sound, you combine them, you can read". I'm like oh that's easy so I memorised both Hiragana and Katakana in 1.5 weeks, I downloaded a chart on my phone and wrote them on a piece of paper continuously while commuting . Of course in the early stages I confused a couple here and there, but that's what it's always like right? Now I have no problem except for unfamiliar Katakana written words which I read slower compared to when I read Hiragana.

    My (newly wed! :D ) wife is Japanese, and we are thinking of moving to Japan in a near future. I speak fluently (and on a daily basis for work) Italian, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese, so languages are easy for me, but I learnt them almost always by living in the country or forced exposure to natives.
    Right now, I am facing the struggle of having to learn Japanese without that much language/culture exposure.
    Congratulations, a very nice one indeed. Now the fact that you are married and together, it would help you BIG TIME. Also UN sounds great, very nice language skills indeed~!
    You are correct, the best way to learn a language is through exposure and you yourself have experienced it. I was only in Japan for one month and I upped considerably, I could only imagine how much I would improve if I was there for a year or 2, but currently that is impossible as I will start university in 2018.

    What Japan really doesn't help you too much compared to doing it in your home country with is power learning Kanji and vocabulary words.

    I go through a new set of 15 words everyday, and if I pick up something else through talking and practice, great!

    By all means move to Japan, if it's possible I would definitely go for it. It's where I want to be so I guess that's why I say it.

    Now yes, it is a struggle to learn Japanese without language exposure, but in the mean time, you can take a route I found, in which I from the beginning I knew nothing and in about 7-8 months I can recognise 2200 Kanji which I found covers 99% (literally) in what I see in articles on the net and newspapers and you can have a vocabulary of 2000 with phrases and expressions memorised along that route.

    This is what I did, and I must say, if you REALLY want to be able to read and progress much more enjoyably, gain motivation and see progress.

    I hope I'm not being too nosy with my questions, I put down all this details about me to paint a better picture, and maybe give you references for what might be useful to me. I have a couple of Japanese colleagues, too, btw, and if my Japanese were near-fluent (not anytime soon though), I could ask to be trained and work-professionally in Japanese, too.
    Going to sleep now! Happy weekend!
    Not nosy at all, maybe to some people it is, but I am a very open person.
    Colleagues and a wife will definitely play a factor in assisting your improvement, I'm sure. Outside of my study routine I;

    Read a lot of articles in Japanese when I feel like it
    I message friends in Japanese (I am very friendly so I made friends I screw around with)
    I ask Japanese people questions as well as people who study the language.

    Anyways, I wrote this at work so I gotta get back to it being a Monday morning :)

  5. #45
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    One of my main (quick) questions about your Kanji learning: how many readings did you learn per Kanji, while memorizing it?
    None? Onyomi? Kunyomi? Both? What when they have multiple?

    xD

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubo View Post
    One of my main (quick) questions about your Kanji learning: how many readings did you learn per Kanji, while memorizing it?
    Quote Originally Posted by cubo View Post
    None? Onyomi? Kunyomi? Both? What when they have multiple?
    None.

    Have a read through this lengthy explanation. I read this, saw hope in actually being able to do Kanji and did it.

    When you go through the 2000 word vocabulary deck and from Nihongoshark and whatever else you read you will grasp what the Onyomi and Kunyomi are without studying it directly. As a general rule, if two Kanji are combined they are using the Onyomi, apparently there are some exceptions but I wouldn't know cause I don't study it haha

    I'll give an example on how I can branch, I had to stop myself cause I could keep on going and going listing words. I added just the Romaji.

    This is Onyomi examples, I just learnt how the words were individually read and you can grasp how the different parts of the word are split up. Like
    現在, GEN現ZAI在


    Spoiler:

    現在 GEN ZAI

    存在 SON ZAI (Zai from above)

    現代 GEN DAI (Gen from above)

    時代 JI DAI (Dai from above) etc..

    時期 JI KI

    期間 KI KAN

    時間 JI KAN



    Different branch.

    Spoiler:
    極端 KYOKU TAN

    極点 KYOKU TEN

    交差点 KOU SA TEN

    差 SA

    交通 KOU TSU

    通学 TSUU GAKU

    学生 GAKU SEI

    学者 GAKU SHA

    高校生 KOU KOU SEI

    Spoiler:
    ​休校 KYUU KOU

    休日 KYUU JITSU


    A lot of people are like "what? you don't learn how to read doing heisig/nihongosharks method? that's lame". But now Kanji is an enjoyable experience.. for me at least.

    Also when I was driving and walking around in Japan, I would always look at signs and I could get names of places;

    Spoiler:
    福島 FUKU SHIMA

    広島 HIRO SHIMA (広い Hiroi meaning wide)

    福岡 FUKU OKA

    静岡 SHIZU OKA (I already knew the Kanji for Shizuka 静か so I guess correctly).

    岡山 OKA YAMA (I already knew Yama and I also remembered the Oka previously)

    福山 FUKU YAMA

    愛知 AICHI ( I knew the word for love 愛 and the CHI from the word 知識 (Chishiki = Knowledge) and so on.


    A bit rushed but hope this helps



    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Quote Originally Posted by cubo View Post
    One of my main (quick) questions about your Kanji learning: how many readings did you learn per Kanji, while memorizing it?
    None? Onyomi? Kunyomi? Both? What when they have multiple?
    Forgot to mention the multiple readings question.

    Well I go through the Anki deck with cards and you will learn words using Kunyomi;

    知ります Shirimasu

    極めて Kiwamete

    I learnt on two different flash cards that this Kanji can be read as

    Shirimasu ります
    Chishiki

    So I know 1 On/Kun reading.

    A real recent one is

    めて Kiwamete

    Kyokutan

    So I looked up the readings of this character and apparently it can be pronounced GOKU as well which I didn't know until writing this post. But I have never seen it being used in a word so I wouldn't know. But I know Kiwa & Kyoku.

    Also last night I was reading stuff with my Japanese friend when I came across this word 混ざる and I didn't know the Kun but I knew the On from
    , but I asked my friend "Onyomi is Kon right?" He said yes. I then sort of memorised the Kunyomi "Mazaru"

    Hope this makes sense :)











  7. #47
    IT Recruiter in Tokyo cubo's Avatar
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    Downloaded the Anki!
    Breezed through the first 20!
    So.... I'll be asking more questions when I have problems coming up with stories (probably extremely soon). And I'll have to re-read your earlier posts. Thanks!

    xD

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubo View Post
    Downloaded the Anki!
    Breezed through the first 20!
    So.... I'll be asking more questions when I have problems coming up with stories (probably extremely soon). And I'll have to re-read your earlier posts. Thanks!
    Wow so great! You downloaded it.

    Now please keep at it everyday, do 23 a day and you'll reach 2200 in 97 days. You can up your limit to however you want. Also change so it has reviews before new cards. Always do reviews everyday.

    Keep at it for 3 months and you'll be done, sometimes it can be boring like you want to do something else, make time for your wife ;) but just do it :) I was holidaying in Japan and I still did my flashcards everyday.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuburbanErrorist View Post
    A real recent one is

    めて Kiwamete

    Kyokutan

    So I looked up the readings of this character and apparently it can be pronounced GOKU as well which I didn't know until writing this post. But I have never seen it being used in a word so I wouldn't know. But I know Kiwa & Kyoku.


    Interestingly enough I actually did go through the reading of GOKU for this character, the word
    極上 (GokuJou But I forgot until this morning reviewing Anki. I saw that this was a new word I was reviewing. I read it Kyokujou today but it's actually Gokujou.

    Just showing how useful spaced repetition is, it'll be reviewed again tomorrow.





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    熱塾熟

    Thought I would post about this troublesome set of Kanji.
    If I dont look at it right ill get confused a little.
    熱 This one meaning hot, used for food.

    塾 This one means cram school,

    熟 This one means Mature/Mellow.

    I have seen sights talking about how 干/千, 入/人 but I think the ones it explains are quite easy. Interesting at first though.

    Some other tricky ones.
    服/報
    緑/線
    詩/時
    新/親
    昨/作

    I picked these out from the top of my head, there are plent more out there.

    The ones that confused me sometimes is the 熱 and 熟 and 服 and 報.

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    So recently along with my study I have been reaching out in more areas for practice.

    I have been reading articles from News Web easy, this is a really good source. I thought it was amazing because the articles were simple and since I was reading it on my phone, it doesn't display furigana. Unfortunately the PC version does use furigana, it's a gift and a curse, you can see the readings which is great but it's just like keeping the training wheels on, you probably won't really remember the words with the furigana.

    I stopped using furigana after 2-3 months because my eyes would always hover over to reading furigana. The articles here I can understand because the grammar is only JLPT 3 level~~, a bit above my grammar level but nevertheless a fun read, 90-95% of the time all of the articles there I don't have vocabulary problems. If I do I'll memorise the word.

    The past week or two I have been getting onto the Sankei Shinbun which is the Industrial and Economic Newspaper. This is really advanced but I see more Kanji and have been learning the readings quicker. I am currently building decks on readings of large groups of Kanji because I found that this is how I memorised the readings of each Kanji. Learn words, combine two characters readings and check if I am correct in reading a new word. I made a post about it above.

    So I love reading things like this and these are the type of things I save in Anki. 現住建造物等放火 Gen juu ken zou butsu tou hou ka.

    I highlighted in red the only part I didn't know how to read, but now I have an idea, I'll save it in Anki with the reading on the other side of the card and I'll memorise it.

    I'm not going with any meanings, I'm already learning new words everyday and I must say the core 6k vocabulary deck has helped a lot in reading these top level Japanese articles. The sole purpose of what I'm doing is too boost up reading speed and learning how 2 Kanji are pronounced when put next to each other.

    I'm getting the hang of it. I'm really happy to even be able to attempt these newspapers and be able to read.




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    Just an update on learning. I am somewhere in the 10th month now, I've identified where I need to improve. I have decided to go to Japan for 3 months next year! I have a lot of friends there that want to see me, unfortunately it is hard to select between Chiba, Nagano, Tokyo and Osaka and other places where my friends are. I do really love the businessy lively feel of Tokyo which is obviously filled with Japanese.

    The target areas of when I am in Japan are;

    Listening needs improvement
    Speaking (Quite good, but needs more practice)

    I've almost finished going through Genki 2 at about a chapter a week pace. My grammar has definitely strengthened and a lot of grammar isn't alien to me, I have seen it repetitively but don't bother to search it up, it's quite annoying to search every little thing I don't understand when I just want to read without stopping sometimes.

    Japan would be the best option for me since it would be a time to sort of relax after quitting my job. Job isn't an issue for me now since I am in an industry in which demand is there and I can land a position quite quickly in case anyone is wondering.

    Being in Japan helped me ridiculously just the one month I was there. All aspects of Japanese learning were improved, reading, listening, speaking, grammar, becoming more natural.. I am definitely looking forward to 3 months and possibly even a bit more if I get my tourist visa renewed by going to China to see my friends and of course if I have enough money -.-

    Also I thought I'd make a mention to imperioonepiece a member of this forum. I got in contact with him and he has given me new ideas of study such as translating Anime via fansubs, he does English to Spanish. His grammar and listening skills are great! Listening improves, learning new phrases, expressions, words, grammar, it really is a new means of study on top of textbook and Anki, a learning experience for translation which I'll definitely be looking at next year.

    A little story..

    I made a comment in a Japanese meeting yesterday and people were surprised of my skill, later on, a non English speaking Japanese man talked to me telling me I was good at Japanese, but I said I am not good. He had this face of offence as to why I thought I wasn't good and asked me why I thought I wasn't good. I had a conversation with him and he said I was definitely good even though I think I struggle listening sometimes, it definitely is a confidence booster.

  13. #53
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    Japanese learning tip, for intermediate/advanced level readers

    All of you won't know that I am actually a top level typer. I had an unorthodox typing style which I fixed since I could only average 110 words per minute and my record was 132. So now I switched to the way typing is textbook style in the hopes of maximizing my ability. I wasn't using all my fingers before when typing, I was only using 7 constantly.

    Basically re-learning typing the past three days using this typing style and in 3 days I got it from 15 words per minute to average 75 and 86 high and this will go up. Anyway, I wondered if there was a Japanese typing test online. So I checked the site that I was already practising on for fun and they do have Japanese. Now I can study Japanese and practice my typing skills!! Can't get any better for me.

    https://10fastfingers.com/advanced-typing-test/japanese

    So there are two versions you can practice typing with, the standard and advanced test. The standard test was quite easy for me getting 76 words per minute calculated doing Japanese words. On advanced I maxed on 52 wpm.

    So basically I switched to the advanced for the Japanese, this has a lot of difficult words but it's a little bit above my vocabulary level, I mean it's more difficult but doable for me, and it gives me room for learning new words and readings. I could guess some of the reading from experience, but I also studied and learnt new words that I didn't know. Also I am able to practice the words I already know.

    Thought I'd leave this for everyone. Good luck trying it :) Remember you need to activate the Japanese keyboard on your computer.

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    So by the time I reach 1 year Japanese study, I'll be in New Zealand for a mini holiday. I'll try to make a post around then on the below.

    I'll write all the resources I've used in my first year along with links of what I downloaded and tried. Timelines as accurate as I can get them of when I started doing X.

    Things I haven't yet done and/or implemented as a routine study method.

    Goals of the second year.

    I'll post it as a normal post and then add it in my first post for everyone to see.

    Please suggest anything you may want to know that I may have possible missed out on in the above.

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    So I knew about a firefox plugin called Rikaisama but never really tried to use it... so I came across it today in an article and then I Youtube'ed it to see how I could get things into Anki.

    This thing is amazing! I haven't tried to get anything into Anki yet since you don't get example sentences put into Anki and only the meaning/word/reading but I can save that for another day

    But basically, I can hover over a word and sea the dictionary definition, I think this is going to make newspaper reading a hell of a lot easier since if there's a word I want to learn or see how it is read, I can check it quickly and efficiently!

    To have a visual on how this works, here is a link, skip to 26 seconds to see briefly how efficient it is.

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    I apologise for being a bit delayed on my post about my resources used and time frames for study. I will be finishing it off soon and posting it.

    Also some big news and now officially confirmed. I am going to Japan for 3 months. I fly out to Tokyo on 6th of April. Depending on my funds and Japanese customs on re-entry for second tourist Visa I may stay for a total of 4-6 months.

    This is purely an exposure trip and a break from work. I've officially resigned from my job, last day of work being in the first week of April just before my trip.

    When I come back I'll be starting online university to get a BA so I'll have the ability to work in Japan in future. Depending on how things go with my girlfriend I may move to New Zealand to reduce our current distance since I am living in Australia.

    Busy busy, but despite all this constantly studying Japanese everyday.

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    I can't believe that it has been more than 1 and a half years since I have posted in this thread! I thought I'd give an update on what I have done in these past one and a half years. So here we go.

    Last year I ended up quitting my job at my company to pursue fluency in Japanese. I lived in Tokyo for 3 months on tourist visa. When I was in Tokyo I was living with about 5 Japanese in a sharehouse which I found through a friend who works at a sharehouse company. I asked my friend specifically to put me in a sharehouse that has Japanese people only and she did that for me.
    So as you could imagine as I was living with Japanese people I would be using Japanese everyday, we all became the best of friends together watching T.V, eating food, having some banter, talking about all sorts of things.
    Whilst living with Japanese I learnt how to speak more naturally and I learnt how to speak a lot more faster during that period. After those three months ended I travelled a little bit and returned to Australia. From there I found another job and saved a bit of money. I had to wait 6 months before I could re-enter Japan on a working holiday visa so I waited out that period and came back to Japan on the 8th December of 2017.

    The only difference about this time is that I'm in Kansai living in Hyogo and working in Osaka. I met a person in Tokyo who basically gave me a place to stay for 30000 yen a month in Hyogo, I got a bike, and that same friends older brother owns a restaurant business so I got a job too and a whole bunch of acquaintances.

    Since I am in Kansai, I said to myself I am going to master my Kansai dialect in which I studied a little bit and then I learnt from speaking to other people.

    Now the best part of my job is I'm working in Tenma. For those who don't know Tenma it is the galore of Izakaya's foreigner restaurants, bars and central for Nanpa. For those who don't know what Nanpa is it's basically picking up girls. Everyone in Tenma is doing it, a lot of people in my restaurant are doing it. What's better than being around Japanese who are playing hard, drinking, having fun and letting loose?

    At my job all my co-workers are Japanese so I'm speaking Japanese all the time, all the customers are Japanese so I'm speaking Japanese all the time and gradually I
    got better and better and better, to the point where customers stop and ask me if I'm actually Japanese and born here even though I don't look Japanese.
    Customer's buy me drinks quite often, talk to customers all the time about random stuff, I get invited for after work drinks by customers quite often, I get hit on quite often from customers, I do get asked if I'm a model sometimes too.
    I even met my ex-girlfriend from my work who was a customer.

    Through my job I learnt 謙譲語 Kenjougo and the standard 敬語 Keigo . My co-workers are the best, I have the best examples to copy, listen, and ask questions to. I use Keigo normally now and can easily switch between casual, polite and respectful speaking styles depending on who I am talking to.

    My speciality in Japanese is dirty words, jokes, and Kansai dialect along with Keigo and sounding Japanese.
    My weaker side is grammar. My Vocabulary level is great, but my grammar is lacking, not bad at all but lacking in terms of writing pieces.

    I learnt a lot of slang through work, clubbing, drinking and going out on dates.

    The only thing with this year is I haven't been doing my direct study at all cause I work and play and that's pretty much about it. But that has changed now since I have a new goal I am aiming for.

    My goal from now is to get into a Japanese university and study Economics or Business administration in Japanese. Through this way I will get my degree and up my grammar and argument skills whilst also being around Japanese people for the entire 4 years.

    So I'll be going back to Australia to work and save up about 25-30k to pay my university fees which will take me a year to save after all expenses are paid. I am also learning how to write, I know how to read but I need to learn how to write to be able to do exams. I have started it in these past two weeks. I already knew how to write Hiragana and Katakana and a few of the basic of basic Kanji.
    I created my own strategy for learning how to write the Kanji efficiently and I will be posting how I am currently doing that soon.

    --- Update From New Post Merge ---

    Suburban Errorist's main focuses in the past couple years are listed below and not limited to;

    1st year : Kanji, Vocabulary
    2nd year: Grammar, speaking.
    3rd year: Speaking, Keigo
    From 2019;
    4th year: Writing

    There have been a mixture of speaking, grammar, speaking in all years but if i were to sum up the main focuses, there it is.

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