I must say, at times I questioned how much these books would help me in improving my grammar, but the improvement is already evident in my reading and general comprehension of the language. I no longer feel like I have massive gaps in my knowledge when it comes to basic verb conjugation, which is something critical for reading. Parsing longer sentences is easier now. Expressing written ideas is more doable. Overall, I'm happy with my progress.
So what's next? After all, I can't just stop now. The Genki series only covers roughly N4 level grammar, and I want to go well beyond that. I don't have a 100% concrete plan in place yet since I'm going on vacation soon (yay), but here's what I'd like to do next:
- Do daily reading practice
- Find more sources of slang/colloquial grammar
- Play a couple more games in Japanese
- Buy Tobira and begin going through its grammar
- Continue with listening and shadowing practice
I'm already on top of #1, doing daily NHK readings and trying to be more consistent with properly parsing any sentences I don't understand.
For #2, I recently bought the book Dirty Japanese, which contains a variety of slang and colloquial speech for all kinds of scenarios. Obviously this is only one reference, so I want to see if I can find more sources for learning Japanese slang and daily speech.
The aforementioned point will help towards #3, where I want to play more games in Japanese and ensure I'm understanding a good chunk of the content. One option I currently own is Stardew Valley, which is now available in Japanese. I also have a few other visual novels that I got for free on Steam that I can practice with.
Tobira is widely recommended as an N3 textbook, and often described as intense and non-hand-holding (unlike Genki). I welcome that though, and I think practicing the new grammar in Tobira's readings will really help me progress in the language.
Finally, since I have a bit more time to myself now with Genki done, I'd like to increase my listening and speaking skills. These are my two most neglected skills since they're difficult to practice. But Genki does have transcripts for all its passages in the answer booklet that I own, so that will be a good source of listening practice. And of course, my shadowing book is already helping me with regards to speech, so I'd like to continue using it.
That seems like a lot of stuff at first, since it would all be in addition to my current daily regimen of WaniKani for kanji and Anki + Memrise for vocab. But it's certainly doable if I have a reasonable daily study schedule, and I'm ready to put in the extra effort to take my language skills to the next level.