Category Archives: Japanese

Overdue Grammar Look-ups: Korean & Japanese

Just sharing grammar look-ups that I never got around to looking up and reading until months/years after the thought popped in my mind. Well I guess it’s better to look up stuff months/years too late than looking stuff up too early (with the exception basic/common crap) since you have no frame of reference nor a reason to care about the grammar point. I could literally spend hundreds of hours reading about obscure Korean grammar I will never hear or read (or maybe once in a blue moon) using some advanced gramamr book but that’s not worth a damn. In fact, I skimmed through some advanced grammar thing on Korean to experience the vastness of Korean grammar first-hand. (The book would mention such and such grammar point is used commonly in daily speech and I would respond with I’ve never heard anyone say this in daily speech… is this a 1980s/1990s/1970s thing? anime dub thing? k-drama thing? I didn’t know what to make of it… )I just The funny thing is I understand talk/variety shows 90-97%+ so the remaining 5 % obviously isn’t due to my lack of grammar… it’s mostly vocab. It just makes no sense for me to read about obscure grammar points which are endless for Korean.

Though if I did look up the stuff that I will link below months/years ago when the thought initially popped in my head, I could’ve really internalized the grammar points by now from being aware of the grammar while encountering it.

KOREAN: 던 vs 었던

I always assumed that dun is present tense and eut-dun/tt-dun is past tense. Lately I kept noticing that they kept describing past tense stuff with dun and not eut-dun/tt-dun which means that dun can be used to describe past tense and I need to learn out about the difference in nuances between these two. After reading all the grammar explanation I’m sure I would’ve never figuerd that out just from watching/reading/listening a lot nor do I want to subject myself to such a complicated investigation. Best of all the explanations are available FREE online. It was satisfying to clear up this mystery that I‘t solve this whole time.

dun / at-dun


Lesson 27: Using ~던/었던 to Describe Past Tense





I added the links to my evernote

At the time, I decided to paste grammar stuff into evernote rather than make anki cards since didn’t feel like it was worth anking grammar points. However, now I think it is worth anking that stuff because now I know that I can modify the anki settings so that the intervals are huge which is what I need for grammar stuff.

Saseru – shiyaku
This is something I wish I looked up in the beginning of learning Japanese because it’s everywhere and it’s used very often. Unfortunately I was only equipped with what tae kim said about it which is the tip of the iceberg.I remember I would come across Japanese sentences that have the saseru conjugation that didn’t sit right with me. Whatever Tae Kim covered about saseru did not include the saseru usages that I was coming across. I felt like I got the meaning/nuance but I like reading the explanation to confirm that and to also learn whatever it is that i wasn’t able to infer on my own. Also I could tell that some of the usages of the saseru were stuff that I would NEVER EVER be able produce in speech or writing though I understood it (of course not to the full extent. I would notice that they’re using the saseru conjugation as opposed to plain or the rareru stuff but I wouldn’t know the exact reason why. I have a vague guess or understanding but it’s not satisfying enough for me) and came across hundreds of fantastic example sentences in native material. I never figured out how to use saseru in all its usages just from consuming content but I was relatively satisfied in terms of my passive

understanding from encountering it so many times. I kept putting it on my mental list to look up saseru and all the different meanings and implications of saseru but I never got around to it until now. It is absolutely useful and helpful to know all the different usages of saseru so that I can notice the nuances and finally reach a point where I can use it myself. It’s always in my best interest to have stuff to notice than to remain ignorant and assume I will figure out all the nuances from pure comprehensive input/immersion. By figure out I mean understand it so well that I can use it correctly.

I also looked up shikida for korean in case I was missing something.


Japanese Page-turners! says I read 180-something books read which means that I’ve read at least 200 books in Japanese since I don’t register every single book I read on that site. So in commemoration of me putatively having completed my 200th book recently (not counting manga and if I did, I would’ve reached 200 a long time ago), I will write about them in english. I have NEVER re-read any of the books I’ve read in Japanese so some of the books here are based off my memory from years past. I have a couple books in mind that I want to re-read but I have yet to actually do it. Page-turners are hard to find regardless of the language you’re reading in. Speaking of which, The Martian was a real page-turner but I read it over 9 weeks (I don’t mind torturing myself like that) just because I only wanted to read it for x minutes a day. I read the physical copy for all the books I mentioned (usually from the one dollar section at bookoff in NYC ) with the exception of the first one which I purchased on amazon JAPAN to read on the kindle. I believe a couple of the books or maybe just one of them I mention aren’t available as an ebook.

First up is a book titled “what happened in Korea when they got rid of Hanja.” They stopped teaching hanja in schools in the 70s and then they started teaching it again then they stopped again.

「漢字廃止」で韓国に何が起きたか – 呉 善花
This book is by a Korean lady who currently lives in Japan. First of all, I was curious as to how GOOD her Japanese is since she’s Korean and because she learned Japanese when there was less technology. she got editing and help and all that but she still has to write it. I was impressed of course and learned Japanese from reading the book. Sometimes I got the impression that she wanted to show-off and it felt forced and just unnecessary lol (both in terms of vocab, and complicated/long clauses/sentences). I was glad I was reading this on the kindle. I noticed either in this book or another one of hers, she uses a handful of kanji-words that are very infrequently used in Japan but these same words exists in Korean and are used more commonly in Korean than in Japanese (AT LEAST that’s what I assume since I have seen 피력 ひれき 披瀝   being used in Korean multiple times but I haven’t seen hireki used outside of her books and the JApanese dictionary if my memory serves me) . I thought it was a terrible decision to put in these words when it’s unnecessary since you’re potentially alienating people who can’t read it or don’t know what it means. My impression is that hireki/pireyuk are low frequency words in Japanese and Koraen respectively but hireki is less commonly used than pireyuk. My point here might be completely moot though since I’m not fluent in Korean and I’m not that well read in Japanese compared to Japanese people (Japanese people seem to be really into reading like I’ve heard of people reading 200 books a year or even thousands of them a year and way more than that too…). Maybe they say hireki all the time in the Japanese news for all I know. I picked up on this because I noticed that I ONLY already KNEW the word(s) because I’ve seen it being used in written Korean and NOT in written Japanese though I’m reading a book in Japanese (written by a Korean person).

It was a page-turner for me, purely because it was a subject I was keenly interested in since I learned Japanese then started Korean 4 years into Japanese. I pretty much read all the japanese sites on this topic from googling and I’ve done the same with the Korean Internet. I even read a Korean book about it (a physical book 김병기 – 아직도 한글전용을 고집해야 하는가? ). For this Korean book, I unknown words and drew arcs next to sentence clusters with a red pen while I read and looked up nothing lol. Anyways, this Japanese book did not disappoint since she knows what she’s talking about since she was directly affected by the education policy. One day her elementary school teacher told her class “we don’t have to learn hanja anymore!”

I thought she was off her rockers when she said that Korean people should adapt a mixed writing system like the Japanese people and have kun-yomi readings which I thought was a terrible idea. I think it makes sense to Korean Korean words without sino-background in hangeul. I agree with her point that the multiple readings of Kanji (Japanese origin and Chinese origin) make remembering the kanji easier. Both her book and the Korean book I mentioned thouroughly cover the gamut of the common argument points like “we have no problem communicating verbally, so obviously we don’t need hanja.” Of course she was appalled by that point since from her point of view, the person who said that is completely missing the point of the big picture.

Also I think she had a section in her book explaining Korean sayings or proverbs and there was no hangeul so it was painful to read for me… Besides my preference, as Korean learner to not learn stuff like that in this format, with just the katakana I have no f’in idea what the original phrase is and I obviously won’t remember the explanation she wrote in Japanese. It’s probably even more “who the f cares” to people who know zero Korean. It did not belong in this book! The part of her book that actually matched the title was page-turning and the tangential part on Korean sayings was a real snoozer.

SLAYERS light novels
I especially enjoyed 死霊都市の王―スレイヤーズ (8) (富士見ファンタジア文庫) by 神坂 一

Slayers is the best-selling light novel in Japan or maybe the world. I think that’s heavily attributed to the sheer number of volumes (plus less pirating in the 90s!). I am referring to the main series: volumes 1-15. I remember I read it everyday before going to sleep because it was so effortless and fun to read (at the time I usually only read on my days off).

As the word suggests, Light novels are lighter than regular novels. I never made the connection until I had a blast read the Slayers light novels since the only other light novels I read were suzumiya haruhi and welcome to the NHK (they didn’t feel particularly light). The writing style of Slayers is easy and fun to read compared to regular novels, line spacing is wider so it’s less dense. It gives me enjoyment that regular novels can’t give me but at the same time light-novels can’t give me what regular novels give me. I have to read more stuff written by this author!

The last episodes of Slayers NEXT (anime) was based on volume 8 so it did not disappoint. It does not have a ridiculously long title like the ones being published nowadays. Most of the light novels being published now-a-days don’t appeal to me at all (the general public). I wonder if that was the inspiration for whoever (probably akimoto) that gave this ridiculously song title to the akb48 song 鈴懸の木の道で『君の微笑みを夢に見る』と言ってしまったら僕たちの関係はどう変わってしまうのか、僕なりに何日か考えた上でのやや気恥ずかしい結論のようなもの. . I hate GIMMICKS like this. I would not be surprised if there is a light novel topped this song title in length.

As famous and popular this light novel is, it has typo issues. For some reason when they went to re-print the books they apparently had to type out all the text or do OCR (optoic character recognition). It’s so ridiculous! I literally looked up typos/goshoku at one point lol. I would say that most of the typos are obvious and easy to figure out… i made about 250 anki cards (I took pictures and I didn’t make Anki cards out of everything I looked up since being picky is a virtue for making anki cards ) from the 15 books so the book was at an ideal level of ease/difficulty and I learned a lot of cool words. I bought a couple volumes of the new versions without the intention of reading all 15 volumes since I was interested in reading the parts that related to Slayers NEXT and Xellos. I quickly changed my mind and bought the rest by ordering volumes 1-15 because I found out it’s cheaper to order all 15 volumes that are used and old and the old ones don’t have typo problems. Not sure what the state of the ebook version is… I would assume it has the same typo issues.

for deodorizing old/stinky books, I recommend using newspapers.

I wrote this about the 8th book on dokushometer!

すさまじく面白い! アニメファンには必読!

北朝鮮大脱出 地獄からの生還 – 宮崎 俊輔

I read the majority of the books about North Korea in English and one day I realized that there are books that are written in Korean/Japanese about North Korea that weren’t translated into English and I happen to be literate in Japanese . So I got on amazon and got ’em!

This is a special book since it originally written in Japanese by a Korean-Japanese person who moved to North Korea in his teens and lived in North Korea for 30+ years and defected to Japan. Most books about North Korean defectors are translated from Korean. As you can imagine, his Japanese skills did deteriorate from being cut-off from the world for 30 years and I would assume that he got help from a ghost-writer because there were some big words as well as very specific terms in the book.

The book makes me more grateful about what I have since my life circumstances aren’t as cursed as the author’s. I can’t imagine what it’s like to build a house from scratch! It was an extremely depressing book but it was a page-turner.

This book has been translated into English and published under the title Crossing the River. The author’s name was changed though… I’ve only read a paragraph of the English translation since I got the book for free from amazon when they had a promotion but my impression was that translation was excellent.

北朝鮮 絶望収容所 (ワニ文庫) 安 明哲
This book is written by a North Korean person who worked in the prison camps. This book was originally written in in Korean. It not been translated into English as far as I know. I opted for the JApanese version because it’s available, and cheaper ($6 with shipping maybe? The book was 1 yen or 100 yen etc but the shipping and proxy service adds up) and I’m not even sure if I can buy the Korean version since it’s out-of-print and I don’t know if they ship the used book to America. I even tried to contact the publishing company to ask them to put the book up on google books but their e-mail is dead. The book was depressing and disturbing. I specifically remember skimming the chapter titles before I started reading it and I read this disturbing word. It was 4-kanji compound and I instantly thought that I misread it or misremembered its meaning and so I assumed I was wrong. I didn’t ponder on it long so I never looked it up and just read the book. When I got to that chapter, I found out that I was CORRECT. In that short instant, I assumed I was wrong because I assumed that word wouldn’t belong in the book. It reminds me of this story I read about 9-11 where someone was inside the one of the tall buildings and saw jumpers falling outside their window. However, instead of people, the person saw clothes/suits falling from the sky and just pondered why clothes were falling from the sky since that’s not a common occurrence. Eventually the person made the connection that it’s actually people that they just saw and their brain tricked them into not seeing it for what it

I specifically remember that I read over 200 pages of this book in one day which is probably the most number of pages of Japanese I’ve read in a day. I’ve noticed that some Japanese books have bigger line-spacing for whatever reason or the font is bigger or smaller than usual (ie for some books one page contains 18 lines while other books contain 20- something lines on one page).  This book did not have wide line-spacing and the author didn’t have frequent line-breaks etc so it was very dense. The 200 pages was truly a lot to read for one day.  I changed my plans for the day to continue reading it because it was so riveting. I just had to know what was going to happen NEXT. It reminds me of books about the holocaust since the authors talk about how humans behave when they’re put in these extreme, dire situations.

This is what I wrote about the book on dokushometer

もともと大学時代ではまったく読書しなかったです。大学出て就職してから読書しようと踏ん張ったがいい本を見つけるのが大変でした。どういう経由で北朝鮮にまつわる本に手を取ったのかは覚えていません。一冊読んだら全部読みたくなって英語で書いてある本ほとんど読みました。ある日、また英語に翻訳されてない北朝鮮に関する本の存在に気づきました。それで、この本を読むことになってあらためて日本語を覚えてよかったと思いました。何人も命をかけて脱北してその国の実態や人権に対する犯罪について書いたのは奇跡です。 それらを踏まえると内容が悲惨で読むのがつらくてきつくても読むべしという気持ちになりました。

I also found

And the second volume to be page-turners. It features 2 North Koreans and one of them has their story published in English under the title aquariums pyongyang  which I already read. So half the story was totally new (AND page-turning) and the other half was vaguely familiar (page-turning but not as page-turning) since i read it however many years ago.

  湊 かなえ
Confessions – minato kanae
Her book has been translated into English.

I made 2 posts about this book. I read it after watching the movie so I don’t know if it would’ve been a page-turner if I went into it completely blind. However, the writing style is compatible with me and I’ve enjoyed her other books so I think I would’ve still experienced it as a page-turner.

My dokushometer entry on it


A book in English that I had a similar experience with was YOU on lifetime/netflix. I planned on watching the show for shits and giggles and LAWLS since it seemed like it’d be a fun show to watch. I was more concerned about being entertained by the show than scrutinizing the quality of the show. I expect the WORST when the network is lifetime but the show ended up being much better than I expected haha. I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook after watching the show and the guy they hired did a fantastic job. I personally prefer to watch the show or movie then read the book so that I’m not bored while watching the show or movie.

夏と花火と私の死体 (集英社文庫) 乙一

I can’t remember if his books were page-turners in terms of how long it took me to finish a book. I always go into his books with zero expectations and get sucked into the story from page 1. His writing style is succinct in the best way possible. I feel like he does not waste a single word. That is something that I cannot say about authors very often. I particularly enjoyed the concept of this book because it was unique, amusing, and executed well.

I wrote about it on dokushometer

おすすめします! 題名の物語にすぐ入り込みました。 どう終わるのか知りたくて知りたくてむずむずしてました。 終わりは予想できなかったので満足しています。 伏線もちゃんと張っていたので無理やり どんでん返しを施す感じしなかったです。二番目の物語に関してはちょっと読むのがおっくうに感じたんですけど種明かしがあるので たぶん驚くと思います。

Here are 2 more of his books that I enjoyed. He rarely disappoints me.

暗いところで待ち合わせ (幻冬舎文庫) 乙一

死にぞこないの青 (幻冬舎文庫) 乙一

I wrote about shinizokonai no ao on dokushometer

偶然にもこの本を読んでいた時に主人公と似ている状況に置かれていたのでものすごく感情移入などができました。主人公が先生を分析したところとかに「なるほど」と 頷きながら読みました。こういう人を人って本当にいます。例えば「田先生は僕が何か失敗するのを待ち構えており、ついに僕がちょっとしたミスした瞬間、ほら見たことかとそこをつつくのである」。主人公が最終的にモヤモヤをどう解決するかと期待しながら読みました。 当時の自分の状況を変えることはできなったけどこれを読むことで追体験でモヤモヤを減らすことはできました。。。

A couple authors I connected on a deep level. . I cannot remember if they were page-turners or not but I felt like the authors got me or I got them and I loved their writing styles. It’s the books that make me glad that I’m literate in Japanese.

人間失格 – 太宰 治 – I never would’ve read it if I didn’t watch ame talk. luckily I do!
ALONE TOGETHER (双葉文庫) – 本多 孝好
MISSING (双葉文庫) – 本多 孝好

白い部屋で月の歌を (角川ホラー文庫) – 朱川 湊人

my dokushometer entry:  面白い!最初は設定とか全然ピンと来なかったけど最後まで読んだら分かった。。。目から鱗って感じ。読んでよかった。。

花まんま – 朱川 湊人

my dokushometer entry: 無駄な描写など一切ないです。短篇集で全6話のどれも読む価値があります。あっという間に物語の世界に惹き込まれました。やっぱり、この作家さんとの相性はいいみたいです。 この作家さんの他の著作を読みたいとおもいます

BONUS: My old entries from dokushometer

面白くない。読むのが苦痛。ミステリーとして一応成り立ってるけど読むこと自体が楽しくないから。。ナシ。 ダルくて尺が長い。。。それから異常に読みづらい。私の日本語が下手とか日本語の理解力が低いとかじゃなくて一般人に読みづらい。 読んでいる時、意味がまったく分からないとき もあって 意味がわかるのに一体何と読むのか まったく 見当もつかなくてイライラしたことは多々ありました



つまらない。 完読するんじゃなかった
楽園 (新潮文庫)
つまらない。薄っぺらい 展開はあんまりない。感動はいずこへ? 映画は絶対見ない。


読みやすけりゃ いいってもんじゃない。無難で 読む価値がないと 感じる。読みやすいわりには読むのが面倒くさい。未来の息子は深みが足りなくて途中で飛ばし読みした

There are definitely books I wished I never finished or wished that I started skimming/skipping pages like crazy sooner. The only tip I can give to help you to drop sucky books is to check out negative amazon reviews (there might be spoilers so be careful). There are some terrible books (even if it’s popular or a best-seller or won an award) where the negative amazon reviews are more fun to read than the book.

as you can tell, on the book tracking site I was mostly writing like how people talk on talk variety shows including kansai-ben lol (on lang-8) since I like interesting tv and you can’t avoid kansai-ben if you like laughing your ass off. Besides kansai-ben being fun I think it was because I was getting bored with standard Japanese. On lang-8, I’d literally incorporate words and phrases I heard on the the Japanese drama JIN which is set in the Edo period (some of the stuff you actually can incorporate into written Japanese no problem). This reminds me of something that yoshida from the comedy duo black mayonnaise has said which is that he’s bored and sick of JApanese as a 40-seomthing year old monolingual man. I was totally relating with him on that during my japanese journey before I even hit the double digits for number of years that passed since I started learning Japanese. Of course I don’t truly understand his boredom and angst and whatnot since I have not experienced Japanese for 43 years. On some tv show, he was saying how he says gakieru wa instead of kigaeru because he’s so damn sick of saying it as a very busy comedian who goes on tv very often. That’s just one of the many yoshida-isms since 43 years is a long time. I found some blog with some transcript where he’s talking about it for those who want to read it~


WordPress tells me this is my 200th post so it must be kismet!

oh and here’s a list of  books about north korea that i ranked 4 stars or higher.

This is paradise – Kang, Hyok
Dear Leader: Poet, Spy, Escapee—A Look Inside North Korea -Jin-sung, Jang
The Tears of My Soul = written by a north korean spy/agent who killed a lot people on a plane. It was originally written in korean ( I read it in English). I think the korean book or website about her is on lingq ( there’s audio that accompanies the text) because I recall Steven Kaufman mention it on a YouTube video

A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power

The Invitation-Only Zone: The True Story of North Korea’s Abduction Project

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

memoirs from people who have spent time in the political prison camp:

Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West – harden blaine + the north korean guy

The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag – Kang, Chol-hwan

Eyes of the Tailless Animals: Prison Memoirs of a North Korean Woman – lee soon ok

Long Road Home: Testimony of a North Korean Camp Survivor- Kim, Yong

more memoirs from north korean people

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story

Stars Between the Sun and Moon: One Woman’s Life in North Korea and Escape to Freedom

Under the Same Sky: A Memoir of Survival, Hope, and Faith -Kim, Joseph

Stuff I will probably never learn in regards to Korean and Japanese

TENON RULES have googled TENON rules for Japanese many a times and I’ve never read it properly. Tenon is characterized by the sound of the reading changing due to adjacent kanji like

amagami or kigi or amagasa or junjodate or ronpa
順序立て, 雨傘 , 木々 ,甘噛, 論破.

This tenon thing really stood out to me when I first started reading novels in Japanese since there would be all those words that I don’t know how to read (I’m unsure of the reading for many reasons including TENON) that I understand. It’s obvious that if you were to look up words just to find out the pronunciation it would suck up a lot of time.

I figured the information about tenon rules might be helpful and whatnot and give me stuff to notice but I can’t get myself to read it to the end. Like I wanted to know when it’s KURAI And when it’s GURAI or maybe it can be both? However, reading the rules is incredibly boring to me and I give up early every time and swear to myself that I’ll just learn on a word by word basis from reading and listening (hearing someone say it in an interesting situation) and hopefully I will internalize the “rules” and know from gut instinct and my vocabulary knowledge whether there is or isn’t tenon. I will say that my probability to guess whether or not there is tenon has improved markedly over the years. Over the years I’ve realized and come to accept that you will never reach a point where you can read Japanese outloud 100% (I personally aim for 90-something% so I’ve already reached my goal!) because there’s always some name or proper noun or some word where you know the word’s meaning but you’re not sure of the reading (I’ll know all the possible readings, possible combinations of those readings with or without the tenon and can make up good guesses) . And imagine if pitch accent was brought into the mix? (my fail rate would go up 50% lol) . Actually I recently saw a god tongue episode (ON THE NETFLIX) that’s relevant to those post. On the episode, they held SHIBAI YABAI GEININ which means comedians with extremely questionable acting skills. One of the geinin in his or 40s (? ) did not memorize his lines and he has bad eyesight so somebody literally held up the notebook with his lines written out in huge japanese text a foot from him while he was acting. It was hilarious since the guy holding notepad was in the frame lol. At one point they do the scene from hanzawa naoki and the geinin has to read all these words that he’s not that familar with and he was struggling to read it on top of his bad eyesight (I think the staff held it up close enough for him to read). So at one point he says 四文字漢字 instead of reading it outloud since he doesn’t know the word. It was some bank term that no one ever says in real life. Also he said 頭取 あたまとり instead of  とうどり (I thought it was  とうとり before I tried to type it. SEE WHAT I MEAN?) and he didn’t know how to read 戯言 so he said ざごん (it has multiple readings ざれごと & たわごと- i even see ぎげん  listed but I’ve never heard or read that reading before )

Not being 100% sure of how to read stuff outloud is normal for Japanese since it’s just the nature of Japanese writing and there are cases where there are multiple ways to read the kanji and the only writer knows the correct answer or maybe his intention for people to read it in whatever way thtey want or he assumes that his true fans would read it the way he wants it lol. I actually read a where the guy extensively about the nature of writing in Japanese
(陰翳礼讃・文章読本by 谷崎 潤一郎- this is definitely not an easy read and it’s one of those books that makes me glad I use anki. I definitely would’ve gotten less out of his book if I hadn’t ankied all these years… He professes his love for wabisabi and talks about writing in Japanese extensively). It’s kinda like expecting to reach a point in English where you know how to pronounce/SPELL every single word in a book correctly and that’s just NEVER happen (maybe if you’re one of those spelling bee champions or those people with the kanji KENTEI 1 lol . ).
I mispronounced Hermione and Sirius’ names until the Harry Potter movies came out.


As much I love the Shiina Ringo song irohanihoheto” (いろはにほへと),
I realized you don’t need to memorize the abc order of Japanese to be good at Japanese. Not knowing the ABC’s would only affect me in places like a Japanese bookstore or Japanese library (and the only paper dictionary I use is an English paper dictionary; even then I use it rarely). I’ve used a paper Japanese dictinoary before and it sucks. Of those 2 places I’ve only been to Japanese bookstores and when I go there I suffer the full consequences of my tenuous knowledge of the abc order of hiragana. I have some sense of the Japanese alphabet like I know 5 hiragana that are in the front, a few before the, a few in the middle, a few towards the end and I know “n ” is the last one. I don’t even remember where I picked up this knowledge. Maybe I remembered bits and pieces of it from TV shows? I have never consciously tried to learn the ABC order for hiragana because I have no interest in it. Sometimes if I go to Book-off, I like check for certain authors and that process is sped up if I knew the Japanese ABC order like back of my hand but I don’t so I struggle with my limited knowledge. I don’t go there often enough to learn the ABC order either. Funnily enough I know the ABC order for Korean consonants and have a vague, incomplete understanding of the ABC order for the vowels. Again, I don’t use paper dictionaries for Korean so I don’t need to know this.


Do you know your 띄어쓰기?

며칠? 몇 일?

Okay so people always say Korean writing is much easier than Japanese because of hangeul but hangeul has numerous spacing rules while Japanese doesn’t even have spacing. I love that about Japanese. If I had to deal with spacing rules on top of hiragana, katakana, kanji, I’d be pissed. I think Mandarin has no spacing rules too. Korean spacing rules are just arbitrary to me. I’ve googled spacing rules for Korean and like TENON Rules for Japanese I could never steel myself to actually read it. I think the site I went on was going to explain 40 of the rules and I couldn’t make it through the first one because I was like who gives a shit. It was one of those rules where they say for xyz you space it EXCEPT when it is ABC. My reasons for not giving a shit is multi-fold. First of all, Koreans aren’t masters of spacing rules either. There are people in Korea who try to make sure their CV’s follow spacing rules perfectly to have their CV’s stand out of from the crowd because a lot of people suck at the spacing rules. Some Korean people who text or post stuff on forum-type of places on the Korean internet insert no spaces or do whatever spacing they feel like. Instead of spelling tests, they have tests where the teacher dictates something and the students have to spell stuff correctly and have the correct spelling rules so it’s impossible to get a 100% if you don’t know all the spacing rules. Some of these spacing faux pas are so wide-spread that people think that the wrong spacing is the correct spacing. So even if you read a lot of Korean you’ll be bombarded with incorrect spacing unless you avoid the internet, texting, etc. I will say that from watching Korean TV I have not picked up the spacing rules because ultimately I don’t remember where they put the spaces since I’m just reading to further my comprehension or out what I’m hearing. It’s kinda like expecting myself to be able to write keyakizaka 欅坂  by hand just because i saw it a few times. The only time I notice Korean spacing is when I’m copying text by typing but I never do that nowadays since I can just take a screenshot or take a picture. In fact, in my very first lang-8 post for Korean I inserted zero spaces because I forgot that Korean has spacing since I never write in Korean. If I were to write something in Korean I’d just insert spaces liberally as I felt like it to make reading as easy and effortless as possible lol…  I’d rather learn how to write a kanji character or a hanja character than remember a spacing rule for hangeul lol…. The most I’ve done for spacing rules is read hangukdrama’s post on it and forget the information in its entirety so it’s like I never read it. I have no interest in it.

My biggest reason for not wanting to learn the stuff that mentioned is that I have better stuff to do with my time.


This post is about the following words that I will write here in romaji on PURPOSE.





I was prompted to write this entry when I figured out why I wrote this lang-8 entry in 2011! wrote on lang-8 that bakagiri reminded me of METTAGIRI due to the similar pronunciation. I think the number of moras is different between these words because of the double ttsu but I’m too lazy to check the definition of mora. Dogen did an excellent job explaining it in video but I don’t remember the details since I saw his pitch accent videos a year ago and I have re-watched none of them. They definitely have the same number of syllables according to Japanese wiki which says


Of no one in the comments pointed out that I heard it like that because of the pitch accent! I wrote that I watched an m-station episode clip where they’re interviewing shiina ringo and they weren’t subbing ANY OF IT. I solely relied on my ears and I made out BAKAGIRI. I had to find out what that means so I googled and luckily I was able to find a transcription on a Japanese blog by searching key words with quotes.

I noticed that Shiina Ringo pronounced bakagiri as if there is a “break” after “ka” like baka / giri. This word in the turn of phrase reminded me of めった切り which is a wonderful word I learned from the drama JIN at the time. So based off that バカ切り ran through my head just because it sounds likes mettagiri. Of course I don’t know if such a word exists and once I saw the transcript I realized it’s definitely not バカ切り. I end up finding out it’s the set phrase SONO BAKAGIRI rather than just bakagiri and more importantly I’m pretty sure if I had ran into that word at that time in written text rather than in video/audio, I would’ve read it with a “break” after ba like ba/kagiri because I didn’t know any better and would’ve assumed that that’s how it is pronounced based on the kanji that comprise the word. Or perhaps I was expecting kagiri in bakagiri to be pronounced the way kagiri is pronounced when it’s by itself and that is a word that is used a lot more frequently than sono bakagiri. I keep putting the word break in quotes because that’s how I described it then but I now realize it’s the pitch accent I was hearing.

I reminded of my old lang-8 entry when I saw a comedy sketch titled HERO by the comedy duo saraba seishun after watching a God Tongue episode that featured this comedy duo. They made saraba seishun perform “HERO” but completely cut it out of the God Tongue episode.

So the “Hero” keeps saying netabako with what I hear as a break after “ta” as in neta/bako. The video is not subbed so I’m thinking ネタ箱 ? wtf is that? sushi box? box full of comedy material/jokes? As the video went on, he says it over and over again so eventually I figure out what he means since it’s really obvious from the context. Like BAKAGIRI I was expecting the “split” to be after ne like ne/tabako when I found out what the word meant.

I had yet another similar experience when I was listening/watching DARAKE when yomeda (yoneda?? I am too lazy to look up the woman’s name) said TETSUKAZU. I heard what I perceived to be a split after TSU as in tetsu/kazu . So I thought of 鉄 ___ テツトモ just from hearing it. This time the text was on the screen so once I saw the text I realized I had been bamboozled again! For some reason I got distracted by what I perceived as the “break” to the point that I don’t derive the meaning from the sound of the word since I know this word! Among BAKAGIRI, TETSUKAZU, NETABAKO, the only word that I didn’t know was bakagiri. For tetsukazu and netabako, I knew these words but I either have not heard them being said many times or it was my first time hearing the pronunciation; the dissonance between reality and my expectation hindered my comprehension.<— (love this girl! I also miss NEZZUCHI !)

I think the only pitch accent patterns that would give me that perceived "break" after the first syllable would be ATAMADAKA or HEIBAN. On atamadaka words, the pitch accent starts HIGH then goes low after the first mora (In dictionaries they use 1 to denote atamadaka). For heiban words, the pitch accent starts low on the first mora then goes up high and stays high until the end of the word (They use 0 to denote heiban words in dictionaries). As I've said, that is not the case for these words. They're all NAKADAKA which means the pitch accent goes up somewhere in the middle word and goes down right afterwards. I think I hadn't heard about pitch accent in 2011. I can only assume that in 2011 that I was expecting the word to be pronounced heiban purely based on how the word is since I didn’t know about the existence of pitch accent. It’s not unreasonable since heiban is the most popular pitch accent pattern in Japanese. I’m proud that I was able discern that what I was hearing was not what I was expecting even if I could only explain it using the word “break.” But then again, I also seem pitch-accent deaf since I thought the bachigai was pronounced differently from bakagiri. They actually have the same pitch accent! is a copy paste of the dictionary entries for the words with the pitch accents. The syllable with the the line over it is the one that gets pronounced with a higher pitch accent.

Also, you can listen to the pronunciation OF THE WORDS on NAVER DICTIONARY. Just paste the word into the search bar and click on the speaker next to the word! The audio for speakers with the text TTS next to it are inaccurate.

かず | てつかず **

【手付かず】[3][2] This word can be pronounced with the higher pitch accent on tsu or ka. According to this dictionary, the accent on ka is more common than tsu since the order is 3, 2. Both are correct nonetheless!

そのばぎり [4]

その場限りの約束 a promise made on the spot (and broken later)


4 [その場凌ぎ·其の場凌ぎ = 일시 모면; 임시방편[변통].


【場違い】【場違】[2] (一)その場所△に居る(でする)にはふさわしくないこと。


ったぎり [0]



[0] 【見限り】 I looked up words that end in kagiri just to see if they just all happen to follow the same pitch accent and of course they don’t.

ぎり | かぎ

[限り] 1음절 강조 또는 3음절 강조

한, 끝;한계, 한도;…껏






【寝たばこ】[2] 〔△起き(寝)がけに〕




I also remember being bewildered by the pronunciation of kakushigoto when I first heard it since I knew the words kakusu/kamikakushi/koto/etc. I was expecting hear the split after shi like kakushi/goto just based on the words that make up the word but that’s not how they pronounce it. The way it was pronunced reminded me of shigoto/yattsuk shigoto etc.

0 こと



0 or 5








5 [やっつけ仕事·遣っ付け仕事]

I highly recommend using a site like lang-8 (they don’t allow new sign-ups ) because it ends up being a record of your skills. Also, like me, you may end up answering your own questions many years down the line.

PRE-MADE ANKI DECKS FOR JAPANESE I am not writing to write platitudes about the benefits of making your own deck. I
don’t understand how those Japanese language learning bloggers write platitudes and common sensical statements about the most banal topics. I don’t blog that frequently because I have to be smart with my time and only blog about stuff that’s worthy of my time.  I’m gonna talk about the pre-made Japanese decks that I found indispensable and time-saving. Especially in this day and age some pre-made decks may have the potential to be amazing with the advent of plugins like wordquery, sanseido.

The 2 types of that I found indispensable were the HEISIG deck WITH the top stories and the onomatopoeia decks

So if you get the deck HEISIG deck with top 2 stories and then use the PLUGIN
KanjiVocab – smart automatic vocab for RTK
you save a lot of time! Now I can test myself with writing kanji without wasting time thinking of what the keyword is referring to or manually typing hiragana or copy pasting stories. ACTUALLY I prefer this deck now…

Honestly my heisig deck got messed up years back when all my cards duplicated and I didn’t know how to fix it. So I ended up creating a new kakitori deck where I added words I wanted to know how to write. Just in case you didn’t realize, if you do Remeber the kanji you still have to kakitori to write actual Japanese words. I think I have 500 cards in that deck and it’s a struggle because I don’t have stories in all of them and I ain’t copying/pasting from the koohii site so some cards are easy and some are hard etc. I always wanted to go DO THE RTK again with an amazing pre-made deck and now I can.

as for the top 2 stories as an uncreative person I appreciate them a lot. Also a lot of them are dirty or funny in a way so that makes remembering the stories easier. I absolutely don’t mind. I live in America so I am used to filth!

There are 3 decks that are shared currently. One of them is from tofugu and it has over 900 cards. There’s a cornucopia of onomatopoeia out there and it’s never-ending lol. For some reason I thought once I’m 5 or 7 years into Japanese I’d see all the onomatopoeia and get used to them by then but it’s just never-ending and you can’t expect yourself to know/memorize 100% of them. Also I thought 10 years in I’d be able to just feel/infer the meaning of most unknown gion I come across based on how it sounds and the context but half of the time either I have no idea what the gion is alluding to or means or after I look it up I go I was not definitely feeling/guessing that (It is pure serendipity when I do guess correct or am close and of course I am filled with glee! :D). Also this tends to happen more often with novels than tv shows. I attribute this to the audio and additional available context. People on Japanese TV try to tell stories in an interesting/scary/funny/etc way and there’s usually emotions involved and people tend to emphasize certain words when they talk and gion is emphasized OFTEN especially with the HUGE Japanese text they plaster all over the screen. Now that I think about it watching talk/variety shows was the most effective way for learning gion in my japanese leisure time experience(I don’t like using the word immersion because people may think that means I’m watching shit that i don’t understand and may feel ambivalent about lol.  I only watch the cream of the crop when it comes to talk/variety shows. i encourage people to be picky af ). Also, I’ve also picked up gion effortlessly from songs since they’re so catchy and memorable like shanari shanari (the word sounds so pretty too). Clearly due to the nature of gion, audio is indispensable and emotional usages are especially memorable. Guess from now on I won’t bother looking up gion in novels unless it really intrigues me since there’s no audio which is the key to making gion easy/effortless to remember. So I’ve accepted that it’s A never-ending journey but I thought it’d be a good idea to have a deck purely dedicated to with huge anki intervals. So I did just that by importing these decks, tagging them, and combining them. With onomatopoeia the Japanese dictionary is usually more helpful but English can be helpful/more memorable too so I ran sanseido, wordquery for daijirin, meikyo and the j-e-dict to supplement the meaning to the cards. Then what I did was set up SPECIAL DECK SETTINGS. I made huge intervals so I’m not seeing them every day as you would with the default settings (that’s what it LEGIT  feels like) and I made the STEPS a RIDICULOUSLY huge number like 190 years from now. I did this so I could get through the cards more quickly since not all the cards are worth learning whether it’s too easy/common or it’s low-quality for whatever reason which is possible since I didn’t make this. It’s easier for me to hit AGAIN than suspend on my nook ereader. Because I can’t hit AGAIN for the sake of again I only go through NEW CARDS for the day since I don’t actually have the option of pressing AGAIN for a card that I’ve already seen. Once I make it through all the cards I will look for the cards that are due in 190 years in that deck or search for stuff that’s in learning phase and suspend and tag them, then I will change the anki settings so that I can mark AGAIN on future reviews and set the step to something reasonable like 2 days from now. RIGHT NOW I’m still in the phase of going through all the cards since I imported a bunch of crap from a Japanese site.

From doing this deck I can confidently say that going after gion like this is helpful. I wish I did this earlier! Sometimes I like reading the description/definition of the gion and it does aid in deepening  my understanding of the gion. I did the same thing for korean after I realized how helpful this was. But then when I made the deck from tables and whatnot from the japanese websites and the wordquery/hanseido plugin I was reminded that my onmatopoeia game in Korean is weak. It’s much harder to do the premade onomatopoeia korean deck than the premade onomatopoeia japanese deck… some of the onomatopoeia just doesn’t sound like what it means or I can’t remember it (the sound or the meaning or both). It’s just harder to remember or hear what I’m supposed to hear or feel what I’m supposed to feel. SO I realized that I should give myself more credit for my japanese onomatopoeia skills.

I’ve tried getting other pre-made decks for Japanese but they’re not helpful since I’m already advanced and I already have a huge backlog of crap I want to add to anki AND it’s so easy and effortless and efficient generating anki cards with RIKAISAMA on PALE MOON.<– Soyu has been saying  some fierce, cut-throat stuff on Produce 48…. I loved how she said this. It reminds me of the lyrics 前髪の造形に神経を奪われて  from shiina ringo. I’m sure YOU KNOW someone like that. I sure do it’s damn irritating to be around people with bangs. They always put in a dramatic pause or sound effect before the trainers give feedback to the trainees. Of course as a viewer i try to predict whether they’ll say something positive or negative.

RECENTLY I found out about this site for japanese onomatopoeia!


I can’t recommend any pre-made decks for Korean but I generated some cool decks from Japanese sites with HUGE TABLES and quizlet.


Japanese 101

I’ve been going at Japanese a long time but I still come across things that make me go it seems so simple or short why don’t I get it still. so I collected those words, phrases, sentences so I can share them.

1) 運、これ実力なり

So this is a very short statement that a character said in a manga. I thought I have a fairly substantial intuition for Japanese so I’ve racking my brain thinking I can figure out what this shit means. Then I realized I can’t. I’ve come across 時は金なり and the nari here serves a role of emphasis and it’s based off the verb naru. I get that. But in this case the nouns that are involved don’t gel together lol so I got confused and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it so I went to chiebukuro as always. I got some fantastic answers in Japanese to explain this Japanese. Needlessly to say, though I understand what everyone wrote I can’t seem to remember their explanations lol.  I looked this up months ago and I remember nodding my head in agreement but as of right now I don’t recall any of the info.







2) キリキリ シクシク
ズキズキ ジンジン ムカムカ

So these are ALL GION that are used to describe different types of pain people may experience in their stomach. I’ve always that thought people who are fluent or good at speaking Japanese incorporate a lot of gion in their speech. I came across this collection of gion when I was watching Japanese TV and I thought wow it would be such a bitch if you had to translate this crap to English. I think at the time I wasn’t familiar with all these gion and only really got a few of them. But now I get all of them because I’ve come across all these gion used in various contexts. I think out of all the gion here the only one that I am not 100% sure of is シクシク. I specifically remember that you can cry シクシク like シクシクnaku and I learned this from yoshida on atustus yukai na nakamatachi which is a fantastic talk show. he used this to describe his baby crying softly for him lol. of course the シクシク here is used for a different context so it has a different meaning but I would guess that it would be mean that it would be a pain that is not intense based off my knowledge of that meaning of シクシク. I looked it up and I was right but it also says that the pain is persistent.


omg this is face filler stuff right?? I don’t know how people go outside looking like this.


I just wanted to share some incorrect Japanese I came across while watching Japanese stuff. Of course I’ve heard these exact incorrect usages in other tv shows etc a long time ago… these are just the most recent instances I recall.

First one is from The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (it really is not a movie. I mean that in a bad way. super long, boring and the “movie music” was so forced and out of place)

It was said by koizumi who is a high schooler and while I was watching I thought damn do any high schoolers talk like him? but anyways I do like listening to polite japanese and I love anime for the variety of Japanese speaking skills. It’s very fun.

he says
So the first thing I thought was since やる can mean to f*** it probably doesn’t work with keigo ever. I’ve come across a MC on a VERY popular japanese talk show use o yari ni naru. Also it reminded me of the first time BOA went on HEY HEY HEY and matsumoto hitoshi asks her why do you want to be a singer in Japan? and she answers yaritari kara and of course he responds with a I don’t think you should say that on tv. of course boa did not understand why he said that to her or she didn’t understand him because of the kansai-ben.

here’s the japanese explanation for why it’s wrong.

I hear this from various talk variety shows. In short you’re supposed to use や instead…. it reeks of contradiction… desu is for polite situations while toka is for informal talking.

if you come across any suspicious Japanese that you suspect is incorrect I recommend googling with the words 正しい and you’ll probably get an answer.

Something that made me LOL hard

It’s from the same show that I had featured in this previous post

So what I found really funny was when misaki called takashi at 19:40.  I loved takahashi’s wtf reaction and how misaki never told him before the show or maybe they told her she can’t. i was disappointed that none of the other contestants used the phone lifeline since I’m sure if anyone else did it would’ve gotten down  in a similar fashion as misaki and takashi’s phone call did….. which ensued in HILARITY

I recently realized in the episode when they copied hoko-tate the  background music was from evangelion since I never saw that anime until recently (besides the availability of japanese subs and countless explanations online, there’s also the sara ni wakaru video which was super helpful.)


HOW TO USE LANG-8’s my advice on how to use lang-8. You could say my views are pessimistic but I think they’re realistic and recognizing and accepting reality is necessary.

If you notice on my lang-8 my writing has improved a lot and on one of my entries this Japanese person had said you know I can’t say that your writing is wrong or right because you have your own writing style. Of course within that entry there were legitimate mistakes or parts where there was a more natural way to express something but there definitely were parts that supported what this person had said. ONE OBSERVATION that you can make is that lang-8 did not improve my writing. I did not religiously force myself to write entries into lang-8 every week or every month. there are some long stretches of blanks on lang-8 and i can tell you that i never EVER EVER EVER ANKIED anything i wrote on lang-8 whether it’s my writing or someone else’s correction of my writing.

i hate people who shit on input-based methods especially when they arrogantly criticize it based on their TINY AMOUNT OF INPUT. i phrase it this way because people don’t seem to understand A LOT OF INPUT. I AM Speaking from experience feeling frustrated being stuck at the intermediate or advanced plateau where i did spend a lot of time in japanese but I still had not passed this elusive “threshold”. also i had my personal circumstances that prevented me from spending time doing things i wanted to do including things in japanese.  it took me longer to reach this elusive threshold point. or maybe it was the mcd format that really made an impact. That was something that organically transpired from me finally coming to terms with my wasting time on anki whether it’s making cards or doing them because the shit was not working.

Of course ultimately you have to write a lot if you want to improve at writing so you can’t just rely on input but input is still a part of outputting. my advice for using lang-8 to improve your Japanese is to use lang-8 for it is. You can write something and gauge how correct or natural your Japanese is. Don’t try to memorize the corrections or add the corrections to anki. Why does anyone think that sounds like a good plan? It is a site where people correct your Japanese… depending on the individual’s level it could be anywhere from fixing minor mistakes to making something unintelligible into something intelligible. PLEASE do not waste YOUR TIME and other people’s time writing unintelligible giberish or bs shit like watashi ha honyara desu. nihongo wobenkyou siteimasu. anime ga suki desu. If you write about something boring and generic no one will want to read it. IF no one ends up correcting your entry you really can’t blame them. IF you can’t understand anything don’t bother outputting. You’re just better off inputting if you’re those people writing unintelligible entries. Once you can output decently, find something you want to write about passionately and write about it. I submit entries to lang-8 sporadically but when I do it’s usually about a topic that I want to write about. It’s nice to see my old lang-8 entries and to see how good or bad my Japanese is. Sometimes I’m surprised I used a certain word or some obscure grammar thing I was into at the time due to the influence of JIN or something else.
What I attribute to my improved writing at lang-8 is a lot of input and output (talking to myself, writing) NOT trying to memorize lang-8 corrections by heart or word for word. input a lot, output a lot tip is DO NOT USE THE DICTINOARY TO LOOK UP WORDS while you write. one reason is lang-8 is kind of a record of how much you grew so if you go out of your way to look up all these fancy words that you didn’t know then and you don’t know now to make your entry seem better than what your actual skills are it kinda defeats the purpose. plus it’s really obvious when people do that or use the thesaurus for thier native language. don’t have the motivation to show0off or whatever because you’re wasting time that could be put towards input. it’s a just poor use of your time.

I can understand looking up a word or two to write in your lang-8 (if a word is really or if it’s on the tip of your tongue) but do not waste your time looking up countless words because you wont’ remember them. also i consider  5 years olds to be fluent in whatever language they speak natively because they’ve spent 5 unadulterated years with their language so even if their vocab isn’t huge they know how to use what they know really well like grammar or gion and manipulate the language with ease. you should be practicing what you know and try to maximize the possibilities. it’s not just about the number of words you know.

I loved what steve kaufman wrote in his latest blog entry. It’s kinda related to what I wrote about the futility in trying to consciously memorize corrections.

Also here is shokotan talking about someone that she likes a lot!

The first time I saw this I loled at Jackie’s delayed reaction. now that i think about it, shokotan should’ve paused more for the translator~ as you can see she has no trouble going on and on when it comes to complimenting someone she likes a lot.

Vocabulary lists

Vocab lists seem so tempting because it seems so efficient sorta like premade like anki decks. Of premade decks I’ve only used the heisig one successfully which I had to modify heavily to suit my needs. It’s tempting to go math crazy and do the 20 words a day x 356 days in a year = 7120 words or some other variation but I’ve learned the hard way the futility in doing that with my experience of misusing anki while learning Japanese.

I’m just posting about this topic because I just happened to come across these blogs that are an amazing fit for me to generate the anki cards in MCD format. These bloggers are sharing what they looked up on their blogs and they’re Japanese people learning Korean so this material is quite alluring to me.

6000 intermediate

6000 advanced

So I had saved this huge ass list of the top 6,000 Korean words from a some wiki website into my evernote. i had no intention of memorizing the list. I know how it may seem appealing for some hardworking rote-memorizing people but not to me. It just makes more sense to learn these words as you encounter them since they ARE SO GODDAMN COMMON AND USEFUL. also you may think top 6,000 words are mad useful!! but trust me they most likely aren’t. you need to figure out what YOUR TOP 6,000 KOREAN WORDS ARE as in the top 6000 words that come up in the korean media you enjoy. Anyways I kept it to sorta gauge my growth in korean vocabulary. for example a lot of the words were ha? the(japanese ha) or like wuh? from 2 years ago are now i know this shit. I’ll go “wow this shit is mad useful or i’ve seen it.” or i’ll be hardpresed to find words i have never seen or heard of. never mind it was from 4 years ago! 2012! If you still suck after 4 years you should reevaluate your methods and your goals.

Speak of the devil, here’s my worst nightmare realized


In my case by the time i reached 3000 cards in anki ( i didn’t anki for the first 3 or 6 months because i do not want to waste my time learning super common/useful words… that’s just stupid) I was understanding talk variety shows anywhere from 80 to 100% (depending on the show and how much I look up.. ). it’s not about the number of cards…

BTW memorizing all the words in this 6000 word list will not enable you to watch korean dramas without subtitles ( just looking through this list and thinking of all the words that i know on this list and all the words i know that i encounter that are not on this list… by encounter I mean strictly talk/variety shows). it’s literally the tip of the iceberg (all the awesome kickass words are obviously not in this list… not to mention korea is obsessed with trends so it feels like they invent 100 news words and that of that 90% die the next year, rinse and repeat. I’m just guessing here because I don’t keep up with that since I don’t watch korean dramas or korean shows on a consistent basis. in fact I’m chasing after random eps of shows that aired a few years ago or a fewdays ago or a few months ago… even with japanese I’ve read over 120 books and recently I looked up a few words from this new book I’m reading and I’m like woah these are some cool words why didn’t I hear about them sooner. this shit is never ending but at the same time I love how there’s so many awesome words out there that i do not know about. this applies to english as well OF COURSE). there’s so much vocab to know for korean dramas (even more for the saguk dramas) since as everyone knows the characters talk so much and they always drag out the dialogue and the scenes. literally every single character in korean dramas are chatterboxes. it’s a lot of vocab. well that level is fluency… in other words watching korean dramas without subtitles. I do know people who are Korean and fluent in Korean who watch it and understand/catch everything so that is what fluency is… for comprehension in my opinion anyway. I don’t like Korean dramas anyway so this doesn’t bother me but sometimes I like gauging my Korean by watching some clip of a korean drama to see my lack of vocabulary or my full comprehension if lightening strikes. sometimes it happens.

However as much as I find anking with mcd format to be effective for learning Korean at my Korean level (vocab, grammar, hours spent on Korean, etc) I can’t bring myself to use the material on these blogs to generate anki cards. It is intriguing to sorta gauge my level or rather see how much I don’t know from scrolling through these blogs.

I’ve been mostly getting words and whatnot for my anki deck from Korean that come out of people’s mouths on Korean TV and sometimes words on the screen that aren’t said ( I usually only do this if I feel really tempted because the word seems super easy to remember if it has no bacchim or I feel that I can associate something with the sound with the bacchim whether or not it is of sino-korean origin to remember the meaning). Partly that’s due to lack of motivation because I do not want to learn useless Korean. Maybe if you’re obsessed and driven to become fluent in Korean ASAP then maybe you have the urge to look up anything and everything but looking at it in the overall scheme of things that’s not an efficient way to go on about that.

The fact that I got something from a Korean show from a Korean person’s mouth imparts that word or grammar etc so much more value versus some word list with words that people think are useful based on their experiences with the English counterpart of those words or whatever variation of this. People just express things differently on a fundamental level depending on the language.

So anyways, some of the blogs that I linked did mine real Korean from a Korean article etc etc which imparts value on the list they share. However though it raises the value of the list in my eyes I personally didn’t read that article so I have no personal connection to any of those words and therefore no conviction that those words are useful. I won’t believe it unless I actually see it being used. But also I won’t force myself to read an article just so I can easily generate anki cards. I’ll only read the article if it interests me.

This site reminds me of textbooks. I am tempted for a second to learn from it but then the next second I realize there’s way too much awesome kickass tv show episodes of korean talk/variety shows to be watched. When it comes down to it, no matter what textbook it is, textbooks will never be more fun then native media. The whole point of textbooks is so you can stop using it and learn from Native material ASAP. If you think textbooks are fun you’ll probably faint from the shock of how much more interesting native material is. I see no problem using textbooks in the beginning stages but some people are like hey you got recs for intermediate/advanced? I’m thinking to myself do you want to learn korean for the sake of learning korean? how embarrassing.

If I had to choose between anking too much and anking too little I would choose anking too little. I think anking too much is worse because it’s proof that you are wasting your time that could be spent living your life doing things you enjoy whether it’s language learning related or not. To put a new perspective on it, I imagine what I would be doing if I were fluent in Korean and/or raised in Korea. The answer is not me reading from a textbook to improve my Korean. The answer would be I would be watching the exact same shows I’m watching now except I wouldn’t be looking up anything because I already know all those words and their nuances and their multiple meanings and the literal / figurative meanings of all the Korean because I’m fluent in Korean. I’d probably be multitasking like washing dishes while listening to it etc etc because it’s so effortless. I’m watching the show because I enjoy it. I don’t try to force myself to like a show or pretend that I like it or pretend that I like it or enjoy it more than I do just so I can find something to do in Korean…. I’m sure some people try AJATT and kinda think they’re doing it but they’re really not if they have to lie to themselves that they enjoy doing something or enjoy it more than they actually do.

When it comes down to it the number of anki cards I have or the percentage of mature cards is not an accurate measure of my Korean abilities. Ultimately it comes down to the amount of time I spent doing STUFF IN Korean while actively trying to figure out what I don’t understand or don’t know. Anki helps so much with making time I spent with Korean to be that much more fruitful and efficient with acquiring Korean vocab /grammar. I don’t have time to be watching Korean TV all day because I work full-time and I have other stuff I want to do that may not be in Korean. Why should I miss out on amazing stuff like Breaking Bad? Or God Tongue? Though I’m not able to spend a lot of time on Korean on a consistent basis (daily is ideal right?) due to time restraints and my volition that wants to do other things anki allows me to maximize whatever time I spent with the Korean show etc. I’ve never felt like I’ve moved backwards in Korean or even stagnant to be honest. The reason is that sometimes even if you don’t do something in Korean for let’s say 3 months, you still have Korean running through your brain that’s being digested. It’s some kind of delayed processing. I do still do anki on a daily basis or sometimes less frequently. It’s so strange how I feel like my Korean improved in certain ways despite cutting contact for x weeks or months. I’ve experienced this with Japanese as well in the past due to unfortunate circumstances. It was invigorating to hear other language learners talk about this EXPERIENCE on an episode on language mastery podcast.

you know I think the only possible way for my Korean to be stagnant or go backwards is if all I did was textbooks or cramming wordlists. I think to realize my efforts are for nil would be so devastating and disheartening AFTER x weeks or months despite torturing myself for x hours. One of the many reasons why I learned Korean after Japanese was that I did not want to waste my time with learning Korean. I equate stagnation and going backwards as wasting time. Learning in this order (with the foundation/scaffolding that is hanja and Japanese grammar) and using anki has ensured that I never feel like I’m going backwards with Korean. It’s just impossible. I never understood how people could motivate themselves to learn a language using methods that could possibly lead to stagnation or going backwards if they slacked or not get in contact with the language for x weeks or months.