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Kanji N2 : Shin Kanzen Master or Native material?

Appotheozz

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Hello everyone.
My primary goal when learning Japanese is to be able to read contemporary litterature (specifically untranslated light novels and visual novels) so I mainly focused on grammar, written comprehension and kanji (I listen to a lot of native material so I'm not worried about listening comprehension and spoken language)
I learned Kanji until the N3 level with Genki, Tobira and Shin Kanzen Master Kanji N3.
I then decided to go on and buy Shin Kanzen Master Kanji N2 but in each lesson they give us like 15 new pronunciations. I used to add the vocabulary and their prononciation on Anki but it's becoming way too much to learn.
So should I soldier on with the Shin Kanzen Master until I'm fluent in reading Japanese or should I just stop the books for the kanji and vocabulary, only bother with learning grammar through the Shin Kanzen Master and focus on native material?
Thanks in advance :)
 

Basille

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Coming from someone who passed N1 a few years ago and enjoys Japanese novels regularly, the most important thing is having your study sessions be enjoyable (or relatively painless at worst).
The second most important thing is getting to the source material as fast as you can.
#3 is learning how to ignore words. You don't need to know every little detail to understand the gist of what's going on.
As long as you're learning a little every time you pick up that book. Even now I come across new words every day, and I got a 100% on the reading section of the N1! The discovery never stops, so don't be discouraged by not knowing.

The first time I tried reading a Japanese novel it was slow. Really slow. But I enjoyed the process and was excited that I could (barely) follow along.
Once I knew I could enjoy it, that's when I switched my written learning materials over completely to just reading.
So I urge you to try reading a book. It'll be slow. But if it's enjoyable then you can keep doing it.
And if your goal is to be able to read novels, there's no better way than to actually read them.

My 2 cents.
 

Appotheozz

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Thanks for the quick reply :)
I'm currently working on both N3 Written comprehension and N2 kanji through Shin Kanzen Master.
The Written comprehension is pretty fun because I actually feel like reading Japanese and improving my skills. But when it comes to the Kanji book, it's all about "if you see hiragana, write in Kanji and vice versa" and I feel like every word they need me to translate is new (by word I mean the combinations, not the kanji themselves).
For exemple, I know the kanji "各" pronounced "かく" but never actually knew that "各々" is pronounced おのおの ! And it's like that one every lesson :/
On the topic of native written material, do you have some material for my level, be it novels, websites, newspaper or anything worthy :)
 

Andromedashun

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Are you aiming for JLPT?
If you're not aiming for it, there is no reason to study base on the Shin Kanzen.
Either prepare or not preparing for it, Shin Kanzen N2 is a poor choice (grammar book). The explaination are poor IMO.
Also, I studied through the Kanji book and I've to say it is useless if you use it to prepare for the test.
 

Appotheozz

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I am not aiming at all for JLPT, I'm learning japanese mainly to be able to read novels as I said in the main post.
I have a few Japanese novels but the sentences are usually grammatically too complex for me and that's why I took a grammar book.
Do you think I should just take a better-explained grammar book or should I actually learn new grammar by reading more ? Because I feel like I won't get the gist of the sentence without the grammar theory behind it.
 

Basille

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Sorry for the late reply. As the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat.
I spent a total of 3 weeks on grammar using Tae Kim's guide (Introduction – Learn Japanese) and that was it.
The rest was memorizing sentences, trying to read and listen to native materials, and speaking as much as I could.
But hey, I thought grammar was boring. Remember rule #1.
I was ok with understanding bits and pieces and letting everything fall into place over time. I'm not a perfectionist.
Oftentimes I would realize I interpreted something wrong 3 pages down and just be like "eh" and move on.


For the example you used, (各々 being pronounced おのおの) - hey look, not so straightforward for Japanese people either! (「各々」の正しい読み方は?「各自」との違いや敬語での使い方 | TRANS.Biz)
Meaning it's probably not something that comes up enough to make a difference in comprehending basic written Japanese.
Which is a problem when you rely solely on educational texts. You learn a lot, but it may not necessarily align with your goals.
If you learn from the novels you want to read, you know it's relevant. Because it's in there!

So I think your question about recommending a novel that's at your level is not quite the question you want to ask.
The first question to ask is:
"What genre am I interested in?"
Fiction/Non-fiction? Mystery? History? Horror? Romance? Comedy?

Next question is - What's a good book in that genre?

Ok great, now you have your hands on it. Try reading it. It'll be slow. Super slow.
But are you learning new words? Even if it takes you 30 minutes to get through a page, is it enjoyable?

If so, congratulations. You found your homework assignment for the next few months.
(If not, back to the basics)
 

Basille

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I am not aiming at all for JLPT, I'm learning japanese mainly to be able to read novels as I said in the main post.
I have a few Japanese novels but the sentences are usually grammatically too complex for me and that's why I took a grammar book.
Do you think I should just take a better-explained grammar book or should I actually learn new grammar by reading more ? Because I feel like I won't get the gist of the sentence without the grammar theory behind it.
Oops, didn't see this msg. Guess my English reading comprehension needs work :emoji_sweat_smile:
It looks like you already have some books you want to read. That's great.
And I understand your concern. It's hard to know when you're ready. But you also don't want to fall into the trap of assuming the right preparation will make everything go smoothly. Because you'll never stop preparing. The reality is, your first book is going to take a while. No matter how well you prepare.

If you really enjoy learning new grammar and are really hating slogging through the books you have, then perhaps you do need a little more textbook time. I'll let the other people here suggest what materials are best for that :emoji_grin:
 

Appotheozz

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Thanks a bunch!
That guide you shared seems interesting I might get through it :)
I'm not really worried about enjoying the books I have as they're all novels that are the original material for anime shows I love! Furthermore, I love reading and learning other languages (I'm French and English is my second language :p)
What I am really scared about is completely new grammar that makes the meaning of the whole sentence incomprehensible, that I won't know how to translate properly and thus won't learn. When it comes to unknown vocabulary, you just have to check a dictionary to have a proper translation but what about new grammar? That's what I'm really worried about.
 

Toritoribe

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Appotheozz

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I'm not that used to using forums often but I guess I should do that yeah, thanks 🙂:
 

Andromedashun

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I am not aiming at all for JLPT, I'm learning japanese mainly to be able to read novels as I said in the main post.
I have a few Japanese novels but the sentences are usually grammatically too complex for me and that's why I took a grammar book.
Do you think I should just take a better-explained grammar book or should I actually learn new grammar by reading more ? Because I feel like I won't get the gist of the sentence without the grammar theory behind it.
I don't think it is the grammar that is problem. I studied Japanese years ago and my progress is super slow. I've to question myself if I concentrated too much on grammar. I still think the best way is find your way to interact with Japanese people and make friends with them. But I've reach the level that I don't need to do that anymore. I quite satify myself when I read books or playing games. Still, interact with Japanese is the fastest way IMO, don't study alone.
 
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