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John Nguyen
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Optimising Japanese Study

This is just a snippet I posted in Reddit a LONG time ago. People keep digging up that post and asking about it, so I decided to paste it here while I work out how to present it properly.

Original Post

Ability required to read light novels

Hey everyone I am new to Japanese and I know I have a long ways to go but I was curious if anyone could answer my question. I was curious how much japanese (we’ll use JLPT levels as an example) one would need to know in order to read a light novel such as Sword Art Online? Thanks!

My Response

Its interesting that you ask this, because I’ve been preparing to do exactly what you’re doing over the past few days (learn with the goal of reading Sword Art Online). I’m pretty happy with my approach. You just gotta chip away at it, make the learning part as effortless as possible and approach it systematically.

Starting resources:

With the above resources, I got some programs off the interwebs and ran an analysis on the first novel. Some findings:

With the above information in mind:

In theory I should be able to get through the book in about 6 months, with a neat anki deck with relevant cards. No idea how well I’ll do, but let me know if you’d like me to share more information.

Disclaimer: I’ve had about 5 years or so of (poorly committed) Japanese learning. So easy steps for me might be extremely hard for you.

Disclaimer 2: An alternative method would be to create a true i+1 deck using the CB’s Kanji Word Association tool, using the kanji frequency given by the SAO novel but that created 5000 vocab cards to go through and I just couldn’t be bothered (guys on the IRC channel talked me out of attempting that)