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SRS: No Typing In Sentences

Great comments get left here on But, lost in the fog of posts, they tend to get ignored and thus effectively die. All-Star Comments is the section where we bring them back to life.

Today’s all-star comment is from きのこ, an active contributor of back in the recent day. The original post was about how to have fun all the time. Here she is in her own words:

“No sentences I have to type in. No, none, never. If it’s from a book or a movie and I have to pause and type it out, it’s not going to happen. If the word or phrase is that important, I figure I’ll meet it again somewhere more convenient.”

Logistics is (are?) a huge dealmaker/breaker. It’s not just about doing Japanese, it’s about making it convenient and doing it in convenient ways. Maybe not all languages can be treated this way just yet, but with the plethora of electronic materials available in Japanese — everything from the Hiragana Times to Tae Kim to MFSP —  きのこ‘s is a highly effective, workable and blood pressure-reducing heuristic.

  23 comments for “SRS: No Typing In Sentences

  1. Chuck
    September 13, 2010 at 16:11

    I dunno, the physical reinforcement of typing the sentence might actually help.

    I don´t think this is so helpful unless you really hate typing stuff up.

  2. ahndoruuu
    September 13, 2010 at 16:23


    That’s true, but when spending time searching for/typing up specific sentences puts a damper on your fun…idunno man. It’s either risk the stress/frustration or just let it slide and keep having fun. Pretty simple choice if you ask me.

  3. Drewskie
    September 13, 2010 at 17:23

    My least favorite part about these sorts of logistical sacrifices is how difficult they are to justify to people not used to the way the SRS works. Imagine if you tried to tell a layman (oooh, the existence of laymen, that makes me feel so smart) “You see, I don’t want to type this out because typing takes work, and I’m trying to enjoy this.” You’d get scoffed at. But you add up the inconvenience of typing in a thousand sentences, or two thousand, or heck, TEN WHOLE THOUSANDS, and suddenly you’re talking about writing short novel.

    Personally I never went as far as to ban TV/book-born sentences, but my standards are higher. It’s a noticeable amount of extra work, and it’s very mistake-prone, so the sentences have to be worth it. Meanwhile, copy-pasting from a website is fast and error-free, and I wind up with huge amounts of sentences in a very short time.

  4. ダンちゃん
    September 13, 2010 at 19:49

    I got a few thousand base sentences my importing from (intermediate vocab lists). Since then however, mostly I add from books manually.

    What can I say. I have some good books with some good sentences. Check out the kodansha series.

    Adding say, 15 good quality sentences might take me 20-30 minutes or so, but they are worth it.

  5. 無神論者
    September 13, 2010 at 21:04

    I copy sentences and then type in the reading because it’s easier for me that way.

  6. Chuck
    September 14, 2010 at 00:42


    OK, don’t search for specific sentances and don’t do boring stuff. That’s pretty simple.

    Another thing you can do, if you have a convenient screenshot utility, is just take screenshots of bits of comics. On the question side, you can blank out any furigana and even do a sylized cloze deletion. This takes about two seconds, with no typing and no mistakes, and results in more interesting cards.

  7. fairykarma
    September 14, 2010 at 06:31

    Most of the good stuff is clearly in print. You’ll get by fine if the people who speak that language are prolific book pirates. I don’t know much about Japanese piracy, but piracy is well abound in English and Spanish corners. I recently downloaded Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian in Spanish and English. I bet I could get it in Chinese if there is a translation. But I’ve never been able to download any book I considered interesting in Japanese. I’ve had to buy them all, which is fine, better than nothing, but a little consistency would be fine. Anime and Japanese movies are freely available but not books?

  8. t
    September 14, 2010 at 09:45


    Most of the pirated Japanese books I’ve found are not in text/e-book format. They’re all just jpg files of scanned pages. Also, I haven’t found any kind of central repository where you can easily find whatever you’re looking for. I have downloaded a lot of books, but they all come from small communities that are interested in a particular subject, or individuals who scan the book themselves and put it on their blog. It’s mostly overseas fans and a few of their Japanese friends who are doing this. Most Japanese people would rather just buy the book.

    Overall though, pirated Japanese text-based media is not nearly as easy to find as video files, especially real literature that’s actually worth reading. The vast majority of the novels that I’ve found are either light novels or BL novels, probably because those have way more foreign fans than the latest literary masterpiece. Raw manga is more abundant, but even then sometimes they’re harder to find than scanlations.

    I still haven’t spent any money on Japanese material though, because luckily my local library has a lot of books in Japanese, donated by a Japanese company that has a factory in the area. The only downside is that they’re mostly from the 60s-80s. Even so, it’s great, because I can take a book and keep it as long as I like (they don’t have them cataloged electronically, it’s basically an honor system.) I’ve never seen anyone else, Japanese or not, getting any books from that section.

  9. September 14, 2010 at 10:48

    hey, just a heads up, don’t forget to link back to my site 🙂 hope you’re doing good. hope to see you soon on my forums 🙂

  10. September 14, 2010 at 15:25

    I can’t wait until I get to start SRSing sentences and learning Japanese for real!

    …must finish RTK! I’ll get to 1000 in the next day or two…

  11. September 14, 2010 at 15:52

    BY the way Khatzumoto, how did you get your deal with yes-asia? I’m trying to do the same.

  12. Cat Paws
    September 14, 2010 at 17:13

    Depends on the books… Like, Japan has this intresting thing called ‘light novels’ (i dunno… do they have hard novels, too?) and those abound. Often there’s an anime or manga based off of them. To give you a few ideas, check out bakemonogatari, baka to testo, baccano(?), and a few others (sorry for the romanji, not good enough at japanese to use anything else). For instance… i found out a while ago that one of my most favourite anime had a manga so i went looking for it… found the novel instead! much to my suprize i might add. one of the reasons i really started wanting to learn japanese since i was like ‘oh snap! i gotta read this!! O.O must learn japanese’
    but, i dunno… these may not be the sort that you’re into… but it never hurts to check!

  13. laurus
    September 14, 2010 at 23:24

    People like you are one reason I’m happy Japan hasn’t gotten much into ebooks. The variety of printed materials available in Japan is astounding. I sure hope it stays that way.

  14. t
    September 15, 2010 at 11:06


    What? That makes absolutely no sense. Do you really believe what you’re implying? Even if ALL Japanese books were pirated and freely available for anyone to download, that still wouldn’t affect the variety and amount of printed materials. Japanese people love books and manga, and there is always going to be a market for printed books. Ebooks can’t truly replace them.

    It’s always funny when people try to imply that anyone outside of Japan is having any effect on the television/anime/book/manga industry by downloading pirated material. It really doesn’t matter at all what we do; sales depend on a Japanese consumer base. Japanese is not at all an international language, so there is basically no demand for untranslated materials outside the country. People in Japan have little incentive to pirate books/manga because they are cheap and they don’t have to pay shipping. Publishing companies aren’t losing customers when people outside Japan pirate books, because that was never the targeted market in the first place. It’s ludicrous to think that a fan outside Japan can have any effect on the Japanese economy by downloading a book.

    I can understand people who worry about translated things like scanlations and fansubs, but untranslated novels? Seriously?

    (Also note that the variety of printed materials available in English has not decreased in the slightest, even though English e-books are heavily pirated. No matter how much material in any language is pirated, people will still buy things that are worth buying.)

  15. September 16, 2010 at 03:40

    Wow, I haven’t posted in a while, so I’m kinda embarrassed. But yeah, that’s still my creed. I even keep a .txt or word file open to copy and paste stuff into while I read sites, then I set aside a little time every day to enter them into my SRS. Works for me!

  16. laurus
    September 16, 2010 at 05:18


    This isn’t the place to argue about this, but I’ll just quickly note that anime industry sales are down heavily in the U.S., which contrary to what you say is a huge market for Japan. The problem is so bad that the Japanese government even requested the U.S. government take action (

  17. September 16, 2010 at 17:29

    Has it been proved that this drop is sales is due to piracy and not, say, a terrible recession?

  18. September 16, 2010 at 17:29

    Drop IN sales, I mean.

  19. t
    September 17, 2010 at 19:26


    No one is talking about anime! I specifically said “I can understand people who worry about translated things like scanlations and fansubs.” I also said “Publishing companies aren’t losing customers when people outside Japan pirate BOOKS,” since obviously very few people outside Japan know enough Japanese to enjoy a novel. You were the one making the ridiculous proposition that pirated novels would have a serious effect on the variety of Japanese literature if ebooks were more common in Japan, and that is what I was responding to. Are you capable of understand that even though English is a very widely spoken language and English books are pirated prolifically, this has not had a negative effect on the variety and amount of literature produced, and therefore there is no reason to expect problems if this were to happen with a more narrowly spoken language like Japanese?

    Anime is a very different case, because there are multiple reasons sales are declining. The biggest is probably just the economy. As far as US sales go, the issue is that people are no longer willing to wait a year or two or three for a new show to be licensed and dubbed. The companies with slow and bad distribution methods are at fault, not the fansubs (many of which are produced and downloaded by fans in countries that rarely get any official anime releases, thus not having an effect on sales).

  20. Josh
    September 18, 2010 at 23:04

    Woo! I love this site! Good work khatz! I’m still only like a quarter way through RTK. Can’t wait until sentences!

  21. Augusto
    November 18, 2010 at 00:29

    But what if you’re getting sentences off anime, TV, or whatever source that you can’t really copy (since it’s sound)?

  22. November 19, 2010 at 19:23

    Not typing in sentences is a personal decision. If you want those anime/TV sentences so badly, don’t stop yourself. I’m pretty sure you can rip the audio using one of many free programs (don’t quote me on this, though), then you can put the audio in the SRS as your question and the meaning/text as your answer.

    Personally I’d just watch the anime for fun and get my vocabs elsewhere, but that’s just me.

    • khatzumoto
      November 20, 2010 at 00:46

      >Personally I’d just watch the anime for fun and get my vocabs elsewhere, but that’s just me.

      Hear, hear. Just because everything can be a sentence source, that doesn’t mean everything should. Pick what can be picked easily (usually that means Internet…copy-paste baby). The rest of the time, be a bum; be lazy; be passive. Just listen. Just glance. Just read. Just enjoy.

      Thanks, きのこ, for the healthiest advice on all of AJATT! 😀

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