Polishing off 2 years of rust (Study log)

Hello all!

Tomorrow will be 10 days since I resumed my Japanese studies after a gap of just over 2 years. I used to keep a study log on the tadoku.app forums, but when I got back, I found that they’d been shut down. I know WaniKani has a healthy study log community, but I don’t use WaniKani, so I hope nobody minds if I start a new one here, as I found it was helpful for accountability.

My Previous Studies

So, I originally started self-studying with Genki 2nd edition and ankidroid. I started hanging around r/learnjapanese on reddit.
It was there I heard about KKLC and bought a copy, and downloaded a copy of that, found an anki deck for it and started on a core10k vocab deck as well. These were my main methods, but once Bunpro came along, I signed up and used it sporadically, since a lot of the content was still being developed. I bought lifetime shortly after Bunpro first monetized, and in retrospect, I’m super glad I did.

I signed up for a local Japanese language school in fall of 2018, finished Genki 1 and 2 in March of 2019 and moved on to Tobira.
In December 2020 I wrote the JLPT N4 and passed with an overall score of 101. I stopped taking classes after spring of 2021, but I kept plugging away with my existing resources until February 2022. By this point, I’d added most of the N5 and N4 content to my queue in Bunpro, was up to around #700 in KKLC, and all the Genki and Tobira vocab in Anki.

My 2 Year Gap, wherein medical issues are briefly mentioned

In February 2022, I started IVF after having struggled with infertility for 5 years, and between all of the clinic visits, my studying fell by the wayside. We hit gold after round 2, and then I got busy preparing for the baby and then caring for a newborn. My first day back to work was 9 days ago, and on the train ride in to work I thought I’d get back to my studies, too.

Getting back to it

So, when I finally cracked open Anki again 9 days ago, I found It’d been so long that they’d deleted all my user data! I remembered I had lifetime on Bunpro, and to my pleasant surprise I find not only is my data still here, but they’ve finished the N1 content and added vocab, too! With that, I only needed something to help with Kanji. With daycare, WaniKani is a bit outside my budget at the moment, and besides, I already own a copy of KKLC, so it’d be a shame not to use it. KanjiStudy on Android fit the bill. I can study in KKLC order, and they have the KKLC graded readers built right in, along with supplemental vocab and AnkiDroid integration if I ever run into a word that’s not in the Bunpro vocab decks.

In the 9 days I’ve been back, I’ve gotten over my Bunpro backlog, finished adding in the last N5 grammar points, and started vocab and kanji over again with the N5 vocab deck and KanjiStudy.

Here’s the plan going forward:

  • 3 grammar points per day on Bunpro. With this I’ll be on track to finish N4 in a few days, and then get started on N3.
  • 10 vocab words per day
  • 5 Kanji per day, including the related graded reader sentences. Aloud, if possible.
  • I work in the office twice a week, so do some listening on the train ride in. Currently: Nihongo con Teppei
  • Add in a story from the tadoku.org free graded readers, or some other reading when I can.

Currrent Stats:

  • Grammar: 8 N4 grammar points to go
  • Vocab: 84/100 in the N5 deck
  • Kanji: up to #35
  • Read 1 level 2 story.

My goal is to sit the N3 in December of this year or next year.

Does anyone have any other podcast recs? I’d like to get used to more than just Teppei-sensei’s voice.


Current Stats:

  • Grammar: N3 - 36/217
  • Vocab: N5 - 164/1100
  • Kanji: KKLC - 75/2300

I finished N4 this week and have been at the N3 grammar points since March 18th. I’m at 36 grammar points since I had a few already studied from when I was going through Tobira a few years ago.

I downloaded another Level 2 graded reader story this week, but I was halfway through when I realized I was behind in my KKLC graded reader sentences, so I stopped to work on catching up. I’m currently on #52 for that. I’ve also started on the Bunpro graded reading passages. I’m halfway through N5 lesson 5 at the moment.

I’ve also reinstalled HelloTalk. With my house, my job and my kid, I don’t have time to actually chat, but I’ve been trying to post to my moments once a day. I’ve got a google docs file I’ll write something in, look up any grammar point up on Bunpro that I’m unsure of, then run it through bunpo-check and ask the AI about any suggestions it has that aren’t something like “Oh, I forgot です at the end of this sentence”. Then I post to HelloTalk. I don’t get much attention there, but I think the act of writing something short every day is helpful. For example, this morning I had to look up the difference between the “I heard that” そう vs the “seems like” そう. I couldn’t remember which of the two takes the verb stem and which one takes dictionary form.

My goals for next week are to get caught up on the KKLC graded reader sentences, then start requiring myself to read them all for each kanji first before adding it to my review queue. I’d also like to do a lesson or two of the Bunpro’s readings with the aim of catching up with N3 in a few weeks.


I’m also hoping to take the N3 in December, 頑張って!!

For focused listening (podcasts at a level where I can understand what’s being said), I quite like Sakura Tips by Mari. Mari also has free transcripts in both Japanese and English on her website!
It helped a lot to follow along with the transcript while listening. I’d also sometimes compare my understanding with the English transcript just to make sure I didn’t misunderstand anything.

For a podcast that I just listen to passively, (not trying to comprehend everything and simply just recognizing some phrases here and there), I highly recommend YUYUの日本語Podcast!
His podcasts are unscripted I believe, so they always sound a lot more natural, and it’s like hearing a Japanese friend talk to you about anime, games, etc.

And for a last recommendation., there’s also Let’s Talk in Japanese by Tomo.
These ones are a bit unique, in that his podcasts target all N5-N1 levels. Each episode will be labelled with one of the difficulties, and I found he does a pretty decent job of staying within the grammar points / vocab requirements for each level.
There’s also a couple episodes labelled with multiple levels (eg: N5,N3,N1) where he first talks about something in N5 language, and then re-tells it with N3 complexity, then N1.
It’s pretty cool to hear the differences between how each level is conveyed, and go from “yeah I understood that” to “what the heck is going on” :joy:
Really puts into perspective the journey that is language learning.


Thanks so much, I subscribed to all of them. Tomorrow is an office day, so I’ll have to try them out.



Something that may really help prepare you for the reading n3 test part + listening too is satorireader.com/how-it-works
It has tons of stories on there with instantly clickable word definitions that match the context of the sentence + grammar explanations and full voice over for each chapter (best to do this after you’ve read it so you can get listening + reading practice in one). You can also change furigana settings and kanji etc
It also is pretty cheap too- 9 US dollars a month I believe.
Stick with reading a bit each day and eventually it’ll become a habit and feel easy :slight_smile:
Good luck!


I thought I’d make my weekly update today, since tomorrow is Good Friday, and I don’t think I’ll have much time to post.

Current Stats:
Grammar: N3 - 54/217
Vocab: N5 - 224/1100
Kanji: KKLC 100/2300 (Haven’t done my Kanji yet today, that’ll be over lunch)

I haven’t posted to HelloTalk for a few days, but I’ve at least gotten a daily sentence in here most days instead.
I’m at Kanji #79 of the KKLC graded reader sentences and I’ve finished the Bunpro readings for N5 lesson 7. I also got one or two more pages done for the Tadoku graded reader book but I haven’t finished it yet. I’ve been working on crocheting a cardigan-shawl that I’m excited to finish, so once I do my bare minimum studying for the day, I felt more like working on that instead.

Thanks for all the listening recs! This week I’ve been trying out “Let’s Talk in Japanese” N4 content. It’s definitely a step up from what I’m used to. I’d say I can follow somewhere around 75%. Listening is definitely the part where I’m still the rustiest. Not that listening was a strong point in the first place.


Time for another update:

Grammar: N3 - 75/217 (34%)
Vocab: よつばと - 168/595 (28%)
Kanji: 130/2300 (6%)

I’ve switched to the よつばと vocab deck for the beginner book club, keeping at my current pace of 10 new words per day. Every now and then I’ll add in 5 from the N5 deck if my review forecast doesn’t seem too bad. At the moment my pace of new words is lagging about 1 day behind the reading, so each day I’ve been going back and re-reading the previous day’s pages along with the new ones for that day.

I’m at #102 for the KKLC graded reader sentences.

As far as output goes, I’ve posted 1 moment to HelloTalk, twice to the “Have you written your Japanese Sentence today?” thread and twice to the “Let’s talk Japanese”. Right now I feel more comfortable with asynchronous text like that, since it means I have a chance to double-check my grammar. I keep telling myself it’s at least good for review. I haven’t been trying to work in specific grammar points, but instead I’m focusing on saying what I want to say.

My cardigan-shawl is coming along well. I finished the body and started on the sleeves. I’m using an ombré yarn, so I was worried about not being able to match the colours of the sleeves to the body. It turned out that the pattern-maker has a companion video that, when talking about the sleeves, contains a tip about that which in retrospect seems it should have been obvious. D’oh. I want to finish it this weekend so I can try and think of something to say about it in Japanese, take a picture, and post about it to HelloTalk. (And maybe here, if anyone cares.)


id want to see your cardigan-shawl!


Happy Friday!

Grammar: N3 - 96/217 (44%)
Vocab: よつばと - 304/761 (39%)
Kanji: 136/2300 (6%)

Not much progress with Kanji this week. I had an issue with KanjiStudy on Tuesday. The TTS stopped working, and the only thing that would fix it was a fresh install. Unfortunately, like an idiot, I forgot to create a backup first and ended up losing a week’s worth of progress I’m still trying to catch up from.

Reading: I finished 2 tadoku graded readers. So far I’ve been reading level 2 fairly comfortably except for the odd bit of vocab, so I’ve been thinking of trying level 3, but it feels a bit intimidating. I’m on page 67 of Yotsuba (Haven’t done today’s reading yet). I’m up to #115 on the KKLC graded reader sentences, so at least me losing a week’s kanji progress means I can close the gap here a bit.

Listening: On Tuesday I spent my commute listening to Sakura Tips. I liked it, seems like a female equivalent to Nihongo con Teppei for Beginners. On Thursday I just sorted my podcasts by most recent and worked my way down the list. I want to start working Animelon back into my routine. Before I stopped studying last time, I had seen a few episodes of Shirokuma Café and was enjoying that.

Output: I posted 2 moments to HelloTalk.

I’m still working on balancing study time with crochet/hobby time. The second half of this week, I really wanted to crochet more, so I didn’t do much extra studying in the evenings. I finished my cardigan-shawl. I was worried about not being able to colour-match the sleeves to the body, but it turns out the pattern designer has a video that gives a tip about that that seems pretty obvious in hindsight. My next project is a pair of slippers for my husband that are working up pretty quickly. I’ve also felt the urge to get back into drawing lately, but that’s a lot harder to keep safe from the grabby hands of a 9-month-old.

I track my crochet projects on Ravelry, so here’s the link to the project page for the cardigan: Ravelry: TastefullyFreckld's It's Shawl Good Cardigan

Cardigan photo


Pushing through a lot of Kanji is a grind for sure… 頑張ってください!

Oh, that cardigan is lovely!

Another Friday, another update.

Grammar: N3 - 111/217 (51%)
Vocab: よつばと - 389/761 (51%)
Kanji: 171/2300 (7%)

Reading: I did one graded reader, 3 more of Bunpro’s N5 readings, and I’ll be finishing off Chapter 3 of Yotsuba later today. I’m up to #133 on the graded reader sentences.

Listening: More of the usual podcast rotation, but I’m starting to look for some JLPT listening tests to test my comprehension.

Output: 3 Moments to HelloTalk, 2 posts to “Have you written your Japanese Sentence Today”

Grammar: I’m starting to get mixed up between わけがない, 事はない, 筈がない etc. and as a result I’m pushing 20 ghosts at the moment, so I think I’ll take the weekend off adding new grammar and really try to get these solidified. My reviews have also showed me that I really need to brush up on my conjugation, so I’ve been trying to add in some conjugation drills a few times a week.


Grammar: N3 - 127/217 (57%)
Vocab: よつばと - 452/761 (59%)
Kanji: 181/2300 (7%)

Reading: One graded reader, finished chapter 3 and half of chapter 4 of よつばと

Listening: Not much of anything. I really just wanted to listen to something in English during my commute this week.

Output: 3 posts to the Japanese Sentence thread

I had a stressful week at work and a busy weekend, so about half of the days this past week, all I could manage was to keep up with my reviews and not study anything new, and even then I missed my kanji reviews on two days. I was able to get my ghosts back under 10 again, so it’s not all bad.
Based on my average progress, though, I’ve got just over a month before I’ve gone through all the N3 grammar points, so I’ve been thinking about my plan going forward. I’m not sure how realistic this would be as things get more difficult, but if I can maintain an average of 2 new grammar points per day, I can go through all of the remaining grammar points by the end of the year. Right now I think I want to aim for that and see how long I can keep up the pace. Then I can spend 2025 focusing on JLPT prep for the N3 and tackling some more complicated reading.


It’s update time again

Grammar: N3 - 146/217 (66%)
Vocab: よつばと - 512/761 (67%)
Kanji: 199/2300 (8%)

Reading: Finished Chapter 4 of よつばと and got 6 pages into chapter 5. Also did 2 Level 2 tadoku graded readers.

Listening: Just a few podcasts on the walk from the train to the office.

Output: Nothing this week.

Another busy week, as it was the end of the current sprint at work, so I was busy prepping for the deployment on Wednesday.
I’ve got 4 more free level 2 tadoku books to do before level 3. 8 of them have audio/youtube videos available, so I think that once I’ve had a chance to read them all, I’m going to download the audio to add to my listening rotation. I’m also thinking that once I finish up the N3 content here, I’m going to go back over Tobira again with the online exercises.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

Sorry I missed last week, things have been crazy here lately.

Grammar: N3 - 166/217 (75%)
Vocab: よつばと - 574/761 (75%)
Kanji: 209/2300 (9%)

Reading: About 12 pages into chapter 6 of よつばと

Listening: Nothing

Output: Nothing.

Things have got busy at work over the past few weeks, so while I was still able to study some grammar last week, this week I ended up just trying to keep up with reviews and not adding anything new. It’s the Victoria Day weekend this weekend, so I’ll try to use some of my free time to get back to adding new items. I’ve been trying to force myself to slow down on grammar cards and not just glance at the translation/hint before typing my answer. I’ve been writing out the sentence before I answer, looking up unfamiliar words(and adding them as vocab cards, even if they’re not in the Yotsuba deck) and that’s helped with my accuracy. My rocketbook has really come in handy so I can do this without wasting paper.


It’s update time again

Grammar: N3 - 178/217 (82%)
Vocab: よつばと - 574/761 (79%)
Kanji: 214/2300 (9%)

Reading: No progress in よつばと, but finished the last 2 Level 2 graded readers.

Listening: 2 podcast episodes

Output: 1 post to HelloTalk

I’m starting to get more time again, although I still didn’t get as much done as I’d like.

As I get close to covering all the N3 content here, I’ve been starting to think about the plan after that.

I think I’m going to dial back my pace on grammar after that and shift focus more to vocab and Kanji. I feel that I’m lagging in those areas, and that it’s holding back my reading and listening abilities. To that end, I’ve started experimenting with jpdb to see if I prefer that over Bunpro’s vocab. On the one hand, jpdb is focused on recognition and not recall, but I love all their media-specific decks and their system to filter out words you’ve already learned in another deck, and that they’ve also got example sentences. On the other hand, I like that Bunpro is focused on recall, but I’m struggling with so many synonyms without much in the way of disambiguation in place yet.

For grammar, I’ll keep up with Bunpro, at maybe a pace of 1 new grammar point per day, but I want to spend more time making sure I’ve got N3 really dialled in for the December 2025 JLPT. I’m going to revisit Tobira, try and get my hands on 新完全マスター N3 set and whatever online quizzes I can find.


Happy Friday!

Grammar: N3 - 194/217 (88%)
Vocab: よつばと - 644/761 (84%)
Kanji: 219/2300 (9%)

Reading: About 5 pages from よつばと.

Listening: I listened to the audio for the level 2 graded readers

Output: Nothing

I’m starting to get more time again, although I still didn’t get as much done as I’d like.

No too much to update on this week, except that I’m starting to get really excited about covering all of N3.

Also, I finally got my N4 JLPT certificate! I originally wrote it in December 2019, but because of Covid, I never actually got a physical certificate. I finally got around to requesting a ‘new’ copy earlier this month, and it arrived today! Maybe once I finish the N3 grammar points I can try out an N4 practice test to see how I compare. I’m a little worried that I’ll do worse, though.

My results, in case anyone is curious:

Language Knowlege: 70/120
Listening: 31/60
Total: 101/180

So, not a very solid pass, but still a pass.


Happy Friday!

Grammar: N3 - 217/217 (100%)
Vocab: よつばと - 714/761 (93%)
Kanji: 232/2300 (10%)

Reading: None

Listening: None

Output: Nothing

This week I felt I would really rather spend my limited free time crocheting. I kept up my streak on Bunpro but that was it. Still finished the N3 grammar deck, though.

At the moment, I think that vocab is probably the biggest bottleneck to being able to read more without it feeling like a slog or reading stuff that’s dirt simple, so for now I’m going to put my primary focus there. My plan is to give it a week or so to let the most recent grammar points settle in, and then start N2 at one card per day. I’m also thinking about setting ghosts to full and marking myself as ‘fail’ to anything except a typo to really drill things in.

In the meantime I’ll keep going with vocab at 10 words per day. Once I finish the よつばと vol 1 deck I’m going to switch back to the JLPT decks rather than keep going with the beginner book club decks. I can add individual words from that deck if I need to.


Happy Friday!

Grammar: N3 - 217/217 (100%)
Vocab: N5 - 502/1100 (45%)
Kanji: 252/2300 (11%)

Reading: Pokémon Special chapter 1, up to page 16, Yotsubato chapter 8 and 9, 1 NHK Easy News article

Listening: Tadoku graded reader audiobook on YouTube

Output: Nothing

I finished the Yotsubato vocab deck, gone back to my vocab refresher plan, and got a bunch more kanji studied. I took this week off new grammar. I’m probably going to start on N2 at one card per day on Monday.

Also, been really motivated to do my reading in the evenings this week. I think it helps that I’m a decent pokémon fan - I’ve played at least one game from each generation since they first came out in Canada. I start up doing about 3 pages of pokémon per day, since I don’t want to get too far ahead of the book club. That leaves me wanting to read more, so then I crack open Yotsubato.

Maybe I should use that trick to get more listening practice in. I wonder if I can track down the Pokémon animé in Japanese?