One year of Bunpro

I bought a year of Bunpro almost exactly a year ago and it was, hands down, the best move I’ve made in my Japanese-learning career. I’d spent two and a half years on WaniKani and still couldn’t read Yotsuba – despite halfheartedly going through a textbook, I wasn’t giving grammar nearly the attention it deserved . Somewhat problematically, I was also set on taking the N3 in December, which gave me just about two months to prepare.

I ran through all 100+ N5 grammar points on the first day to refresh, and then started on a breakneck pace of 10 grammar points every day (with full ghosts, finishing all my reviews every day) all the way through N4 and N3. I ended up finishing the last batch of N3 lessons on the day of the JLPT, sitting at a table with my laptop while I waited for the classrooms to open. Needless to say, I didn’t pass (though it was surprisingly narrow failure when I eventually got my results!).

Over the next six months I made my way through N2 at a much more leisurely pace, because at this point I was suddenly able to actually read. I got through vol. 1 of Yotsuba and read a few other “beginner-friendly” books like 徒然チルドレン and からかい上手の高木さん but the pace was still pretty slow – I was still barely out of N3 and there was a lot of grammar I didn’t know (and couldn’t imagine how to look up). At this point I decided to shake up my approach – I would read whatever I could, skipping what I didn’t understand, and just try to get as much exposure as possible. I picked up 5等分の花嫁 vol. 1 and jumped into the deep end.

This ended up being a game-changer. The more I read, the more grammar I found, and the more likely I was to see something I’d just learned. Sometimes it was the opposite, and I would figure out some pattern in context only to come across it on the site shortly thereafter. My comprehension skyrocketed and my reading speed improved with every book I read, and as I went, I found myself skipping less and less simply because the amount that I didn’t understand was steadily decreasing.

Right now, I’ve got every currently-available grammar point in circulation. My stats look like this:

What I’m wondering now is, should I renew my sub right away or pause it until more N1 material is added? Would I be better off continuing to review my current material (which takes about 10 minutes per day) or spend that time reading more native material?

Any feedback is appreciated!

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I’d say keep reviewing, and that the point that you get all of your sentences into the 12 zone you are good to take a Bunpro break as then you should naturally reinforce all of the grammar points that you have learned!

At that point go until new stuff gets released and come check back in.

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You’re such a high level that @Pushindawood didn’t even add support for it being rendered on your badge on the forums. Nice!

To your question, I can’t really answer it. It’s one of the reasons I got the lifetime subscription. But isn’t it like $30 for a year? That’s so little there’s no reason not to, even if you use Bunpro less and less. 10 minutes isn’t much additional time for reading, so it doesn’t hurt to spend it reviewing grammar.

What else have you been reading lately? Have you checked out the book clubs on WaniKani? The intermediate book club recently started reading キッチン, and the beginner book club will soon start 霧のむこうのふしぎな町, which should be much easier but seems cute.

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I’m inclined to say that you should continue to do reviews, because the grammar points that’re still kicking around are likely the ones that don’t show themselves very often (if at all) in the reading you’re doing.

Also, by the very nature of SRS’s design, it should ideally be maximizing your retention while minimizing the time you spend reviewing (because you only review grammar that you’ve missed recently, or that you haven’t seen for an extended period of time). The benefit you’re getting for those 10 minutes per day is probably well worth those 10 minutes.

N1 grammar should be coming soon™ anyway, too.

 

There certainly is a point where we shouldn’t need SRS at all anymore (and can sustain/build our language ability entirely through using the target language), but I don’t think we’re quite there yet. (Even then though, I’ll personally probably continue vocab SRS until 20k+ words or something, between WaniKani and Flo*Flo…)

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So the thing is, for me the “burn point” on Bunpro is usually level 10. When something comes up for review at that point, I almost always know it right away and often go to the item page and manually retire it. I’d say of the 185 items I currently have on level 10, I could probably retire half of them and be fine.

Yep, and that’s the main reason it seems like a silly thing to worry about. At the same time, I just quit my job and even though I have a decent amount of money saved up, part of me is suddenly very cautious about spending :smile:

Let’s see…the series I’m working on right now are 古見さんはコミュ症です, 鬼滅の刃, and Flying Witch, at a rate of one volume per week minimum. I read よつばと occasionally for fun since I can get through one volume in a day, and I’m caught up to 5等分の花嫁 (there won’t be another volume for another few months). I’ll be starting Persona 5: Royal (in Japanese) in a few days once that comes out.

I actually planned on reading 一週間フレンズ with the beginner book club, but the pace was (understandably) pretty slow and I ended up losing track of it. The Japanese Discord server I’m in has a reading club that keeps me consistent and it’s been great motivation.

I hope so! I’m planning to take N1 next year (so 13 months from now).

Yikes! I’m personally hoping to ditch SRS as early as I can. I’m currently trying to rush to level 60 on WK by the end of the year just so I can get to the top of the hill and see my workload start to decrease. I much prefer picking up words through immersion; most of the time I don’t even put words into Anki if I see them often enough. As beneficial as SRS is I don’t really like drilling – would much rather spend more time reading instead.

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I just want to build a super strong passive vocabulary, which is probably impossible to achieve in a short amount of time without some seriously heavy SRS use. Most of the words I’ll be adding will be words that I actually come across in my own reading or in daily life (currently adding ~20 per day).

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Can confirm that this is indeed the best approach. Though, I still think using SRS is simply easier than doing it in any other way.

Here’s as an example my srs after a little less than two years of consuming native material.

For the most part I only added items that I actually encountered while reading manga, some study materials and what I heard in spoken japanese.
So, as you can see it’s not that much. Just around 5k items in two years. Not that difficult. I get around 120-150 reviews a day.

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I’m past the point where I can be bothered to do 100-150 reviews a day. Just drives me insane. I can barely push myself to do 10-15 Bunpro reviews a day.

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I definitely appreciate the work and ideas that have been put into this site. It has made learning grammar a complete breeze and I love all the little features. I’m really hoping N1 is up before 2020 July JLPT.

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Yep, I’m with you. I even try to keep my personal Anki deck from exceeding 50 reviews per day. Going max-speed on WaniKani is really rough but at least there’s an end in sight.

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I feel this in my soul.

My days of doing a bunch of SRS reviews are over. (Says the person who uses 3 SRS programs concurrently.)

5-10 new words a day for me, and no lessons on weekends.

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Well, I decided to let my subscription lapse until the next batch of new content drops…and I’m still able to do reviews.

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@Pushindawood I think this is a bug? :sweat_smile:

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This is so encouraging to hear. I joined WaniKani way back when it first started but gave up at level 19 because I couldn’t get a grasp on grammar on my own. Bought grammar dictionaries and textbooks, but didn’t feel like I had enough direction and struggled to read anything even though I knew a decent amount of vocab thanks to WK.

Just found this site a couple weeks ago and was wondering if it would be worth it to go for a subscription and seems like it is. Thanks for sharing your success! Won’t be going through this as fast as you did, but I hope I can look back in a year and be happy with progress. :slight_smile:

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Good luck! Make sure to spend a bunch of time reading so you can reinforce what you learn on Bunpro. Early on I found it helpful to watch an anime with English subtitles and then read the original manga afterwards; that way I could still enjoy it without feeling hopelessly lost. Some of the series I like to recommend to beginners nowadays are:

  • 少女終末旅行 or “Girls’ Last Tour” (Amazon Prime)
  • Flying Witch (Crunchyroll)
  • ゆるキャン△ or “Laid Back Camp” (Crunchyroll)

You can get physical manga on Amazon.co.jp, or digitally on any number of online stores – my favorite is Honto.jp.

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Thanks! I’ll definitely look into those. Sounds like a good way to help my listening comprehension as well!

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Yurukyan is definitely not a great choce for beginners :slight_smile:
In fact, it has soooo much difficult vocab I haven’t seen before that I literally had to add hundreds of new words to my srs application :slight_smile: All of the camping vocab that you are unlikely to see in real life unless you go camping in japan.
But it’s definitely a very interesting story.

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Hundreds of words! That seems like a bit of an exaggeration, no? Granted, I’ve been reading for a while now, but I only came across four or five new words in the first few chapters; things like 薪 that you wouldn’t find outside of a camping context.

In any case, I’m not overly concerned with words when I consider whether something is beginner-friendly. It’s much easier to look up words than grammar, and the grammar in Yuru Camp isn’t very complicated.

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Furigana is also important for beginners, and Yuru Camp doesn’t have much.

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Looks like im reviving an old thread but, In my opinion as a japanese learner you should not rely on furigana you should get used to searching kanji based off of radicals on a dictionary. In fact i believe doing so will help you remember the kanji better because you have to really analyze it.
Credentials:
I’ve been learning Japanese every day for 2.5 years
Have read several manga/ Light Novels that didn’t have furigana.

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If I were a new learner wanting to start reading, I think it’d be incredibly demotivating to have to stop and look up everything. Furigana allows for a quick way of being able to read and look things up, so it’s not breaking the flow of reading. Radical look-up may be good later on, but if you’re just trying to get started and want something to hold your hand a little, furigana can’t really be knocked for that.

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