Japanese on Japanese: SRS’ing without English

When I first started using an SRS for Japanese, my cards looked like this:

This got me into the habit of translating into English in my head.
At some point, I realized I was crippling my learning!  I’d been trying to avoid translating into English in my head, like craaazy, driving myself nuts with it, and here I was with these Japanese-English cards in front of me every flippin’ day.  No wonder I was struggling.

Long story short, I ended up with my own little system for creating Japanese-Japanese cards.  Here are…

3 Easy Ways to Do 日本語-日本語 SRS Cards

Readings Only

Just the reading, no def needed. From よつばと!

When I use it: When I’m good and comfy with the sentence- know or can infer the words from just the context or kanji.  ie: When I made this card, I didn’t know the reading of 牧場 well, but I could gather the meaning from the kanji.

Japanese Definition

Add an easy Japanese definition. From あの子と僕の家

When I use it: When there’s a new vocab word (1 or 2 max!) and not enough context in the sentence to infer the meaning.  I try to make the definition as simple as possible.


Add a quick explanation of the context. From アラジン

When I use it: When a sentence is from some memorable moment in a show/manga/movie etc.  Helps me get a better sense of the meaning and/or the context in which it’s used naturally.  Especially handy when I can’t find a proper and easy-to-understand Japanese definition.  This is probably my favorite and most-used way of doing Japanese-Japanese cards at the moment.

That’s it!  Pretty easy, right?

Don’t forget to make it easy for yourself!
If you torture yourself with complicated definitions and sentences with 20 new vocab words in them, SRS’ing just in Japanese will be painful.

For tips on picking good SRS material, check out this post.

That’s all for now.  Got a way you like to do J-J cards?  A question?  Share in the comments!


6 Responses to Japanese on Japanese: SRS’ing without English

  1. Mitchell says:

    I have the exact same problem! Gonna remake my sentence cards now according to your suggestion!

    A question though: I love the formatting of your cards, and I’m curious what your Anki font settings (settings–> font settings) are for your deck! Would you mind sharing them if you can? ありがとうございます!

    • veganliz says:

      It looks like I have them set as…

      Expression: MS Mincho 28
      Meaning: MS Mincho 20
      Reading: Arial 20

      I’m not sure if it defaults to Mincho instead of Arial because of the Japanese input or not…. but that’s what my settings say anyways!

      • Mitchell says:

        Thanks! My settings were somewhat similar, but I think one of my plugins was messing with my fonts. What would happen is that they would look nice the very first time I reviewed a card, but the next time it came up, the sizes were changed and it didn’t look nice at all. Having removed the plugin, things are now right as rain!

  2. Tanna says:

    Wow, that is a really good way to look at studying Japanese!

    I am definitely going to have to try that. Thanks so much for this post!

  3. I actually started doing this recently, have to admit I have some pretty difficult sentences in it from some novels I have but I enjoy the “pain” occasionally =P I have this big list of vocab words and I use a grade school (up to grade 6) monolingual Japanese dictionary, the definitions are simple and straightforward and have example sentences, but I have to admit I end up looking of words in those definitions sometimes, well the more cards the better says I.

    • veganliz says:

      That’s great! Oooh, I bet the grade school dictionary is awesome, I might have to search for one, too ^^ Thanks for the great idea!

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