Lesson Comparison in learning 久しぶり (Long Time No See)

First, a quick update on what I’ve been learning this week. Lots of new kanji and vocabulary! Thanks to leveling up in WaniKani, a whole slew of new radicals/kanji/vocab to learn. In NihongoMaster I’m learning new verbs (a few weeks ago I knew only desu), as well as getting to understand the various verb endings. I got five new Kanji to learn in NihongoMaster yesterday. The big difference in NihongoMaster is that they use it in sentences and such, so I get experience really reading it and listening to it in action.

Something cool from this week was seeing the same word in both my favorite learning websites! So today I’m going to give a lesson comparison between the two. They tackle two different things, so they shine in different ways. And now, the lessons where I learned LONG TIME NO SEE.

ひさしぶり in NihongoMaster

I first encountered it in NihongoMaster in the form of a manga (Japanese comic). This was presented as a new word, I’d never seen it before.

アマンダさん Runs Into A Friend

Here is the full lesson, I just learned how to do an entire screen capture of a page. I will share the full page here (click to see the original size), so you can see a typical lesson, but I normally won’t do this, as you will want to experience it yourself with your own NihongoMaster account, plus the page was super long!

In reading Japanese comics, you start from the top right, and work your way left, in both the frames and word bubbles.

So here the lesson starts with the manga, then proceeds to explain the new concepts in more detail, which in this lesson are:

  • And You? ~ は?
  • The Invitation: Negative Questions
  • The Vocabulary Section (six new words)
  • And then a detailed explanation, with a complete line-by-line of the comic

All of this includes the audio, stroke order animations, and an option for you to record your pronunciation. NihongoMaster is so awesome in how it gives the lesson in a chunk I can handle, and offers various media as in pictures, comics and sound. Stroke order is handy too. But I love the practice in reading and listening!

Next, 久しぶり in WaniKani

Then I’m on to WaniKani, and I’m sounding out this new Kanji I just learned. And I’m like, Wait, I know that word! Sure enough, eventually I learn the Vocabulary word, and there it is. This is how WaniKani first presents a new Radical, Kanji, or Vocabulary word. Extremely well done user interface.  The use of color, minimal distractions makes the site so easy to use.

WaniKani Vocab page

Here is the page on the Vocabulary word. If you click it, you can see the way they help you set the word in your memory, with vivid verbal imagery mnemonics. In this one, here’s the mnemonic to help you remember the しぶり (shiburi) part.

Just imagine that she buried you alive, then a few days later came back to dig you up. The first thing she says is “LONG TIME NO SEE!

I can’t believe how effect it is to learn new kanji. You can also add your own mnemonic if you think of something you might remember better.

All in all, a great week learning Japanese!

NihongoMaster Drills

NihongoMaster Drill Creep

So I’m just about to enter my second month on NihongoMaster.com. Things are going well, I’ve made it further than I ever have before (20% into Beginner). My tiny dilemma of the day is NihongoMaster Drill Creep. It’s one of the things that made me give up before. I love the drills, they are the best practice in reading and listening for me! But they tend to “creep” up to scary, daunting levels.

With NihongoMaster.com you learn a lesson, and then they drill you every which way on what you’ve just learned. Each drill must be mastered about five times (you can change this in settings). Until then, they will keep showing up in your “Dojo”.  You can see the number of drills due in the top right of my screen here, circled in pink. Since I did my drills this morning, I only have 28 this evening. That is a manageable level. You can also see the scheduled drills, tomorrow being 72.

Upcoming Drills page

But look at the drills creeping up and topping out above 500 a day! This keeps happening to me, I usually end up with 800 or more a day and that’s when I give up on NihongoMaster. I flew through the entire Introductory section in a few days. This is where you learn Hiragana and Katakana and very basic vocabulary and grammar.  Now I’m in the Beginner section and have slowed way down. But ideally I’d learn a lesson every day or at least every other day.

NihongoMaster Drills

So my goal is to hopefully figure out how to keep this more manageable.    Do I suggest doing only one lesson a day to start, and then slowing it down if it gets too much? Should I stop new lessons for a few weeks until the number gets below 100? I will know more in time.

There was a little thread in the community today and a more experienced person said just spend so much time a day and tackle what you can. That person happened to have 6000 drills due, I was pretty shocked at that.

For now, I’m asking any of you, if you use NihongoMaster, what is your pace? Do you have a lot of drills everyday? Do you ever catch up?


A Quick Overview of my Language Learning Tools

I do plan on posting a very detailed page on all the resources that have been helping me in my language studies, as well as thorough reviews on each resource, but for now, let’s get a “snapshot” of the things I am using daily.

I’m mostly excited about Japanese, so let’s start with that. I’ll describe my learning style in a later post, but I think you’ll quickly see that I love to learn online, with programs that track my progress. My number one Japanese learning tool (so far) has been:


This is the tool that I give the most credit for getting me up to speed on being able to read and listen to beginning Japanese, starting with Hiragana and Katakana. I first signed up a little over three years ago, but got intimidated both by the Kanji starting to crop up and the drills that accumulated to over 800 a day. I started over a few times, and this third time around, which was February 21, 2017, the grammar lessons that seemed confusing at first, now are a piece of cake. Or, I should say ケーキ.

As you can see, I’m currently level 8. If you go inactive, you will lose your level progress, which makes me very sad, but I guess they think that might keep you using the site everyday. The past three weeks I’m trying to get to it almost everyday, but no big deal if I slide. Anyway, I love the site, but I don’t think it’s very well known. Much more about this resource to come.


I didn’t know about this site for the longest time, it sure would’ve come in handy earlier. I think I may have stuck to learning Japanese rather than give up when I first started. This is the tool that is going to teach me all the Kanji, a major stumbling block for me previously. I absolutely love WaniKani! I’m going to talk it up so much in this blog, so I’ll just leave you with this. I started this February 26th and I’m level 3 out of 60 levels. This website primarily teaches Kanji, but also teaches a ton of vocabulary.

I am. totally. addicted.

Japanese kanji

Those are the resources I use everyday. I’ll talk about other websites and books and apps I also love for learning Japanese soon.



For Spanish, I’m first brushing up my skills with DuoLingo. I am probably quite a bit higher than 51% fluency, but like I said, I’ve started from the beginning and trying to go through every lesson as a review. I’m trying to do this everyday, and have an 12 day streak going. There’s no excuse not to do a few minutes a day to get your daily streak, it has a mobile app that super easy to use. Maybe too easy, haha.

DuoLingo Spanish Fluency at 51%

Practice Makes Perfect

There are a ton of these books for learning various languages! I’ve been using these for Spanish, it helps with writing practice, but I don’t use them everyday.

I use many more resources, but these are just what I plan to use everyday for the next few years.

That’s it for today, keep in mind, I just started a few weeks ago with pursuing my language studies in earnest!