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For the new year, I've been keeping a daily diary in Japanese for practice, but I've noticed that I tend to describe everything good that happens to me as either 面白い or 楽しい. Is this typical of a beginner/intermediate/not-as-advanced-as-I'd-like-to-be student, or is the usage of these words really that common? Do you have any suggestions for how to possibly make my writing more involved?

As an example, I may write something along the lines of 「ジョーと昼ご飯を食べに行きました。… とても楽しかったです。」 or 「討論を見ました。面白かったです。」 But that's what I end up writing for pretty much everything I do.

I apologize if this is too broad a question.

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    I would think about how you would write these in English. I'm not suggesting you write it out in English and then translate. But if everything is 楽しかった and 面白かった in Japanese, is it the same with English? In English would you just be saying "it was fun" or "it was interesting"? If not, that might be a clue about how to change what you're writing in Japanese. – A.Ellett Jan 17 '16 at 23:39
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    Also, perhaps describe what was so interesting or fun: how was the lunch? where did you eat? what did you eat? what did you talk about? Consider what made it interesting or fun: a new restaurant? catching up with a friend you hadn't seen in a long time? getting to share ideas? – A.Ellett Jan 17 '16 at 23:48
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楽しい or 面白い can be used with various words which add a specific meaning and nuance to simple 楽しい or 面白い. So, how about using those words with it and creating various kinds of 楽しい / 面白い? For example,

本当に楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

最高に楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

いろいろ楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

なかなか楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

[久々]{ひさ・びさ}に楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

思ったより楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

意外にも楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

困ったこともあったけど、なんだかんだで楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

いつにも増して楽しかったです。 / 面白かったです。

心から楽しめました。 etc.

楽しい can be used with some kinds of onomatopoeia, like so.

わいわい楽しかったです。

ほのぼの楽しかったです。

まったり楽しかったです。 etc.

If you would change the position of the words 楽しい / 面白い in a sentence, the impression of the sentence would change as well. For example,

とても楽しく、良い一日になりました。

とても楽しい時間を過ごせました。

楽しいことだらけでした。

とことん楽しんで、すっきりしました。

面白い発言が[多々]{た・た}ありました。

面白いと感じました。

面白いと思いました。

面白くて、ためになる内容でした。

あまりに面白かったので、[関連本]{かん・れん・ぼん}を買ってしまいました。

Expressing the experience of 楽しかった or 面白かった by using other words would be a better choice sometimes. The other words examples are:

Instead of writing 楽しかったです。,

たくさん笑いました。

(something)の話で、[盛]{も}り[上]{あ}がりました。

(something)に[癒]{いや}されました。 etc.

Instead of writing 面白かったです。,

[興味]{きょう・み}[深]{ぶか}かったです。

興味深いものでした。

興味をそそられっぱなしでした。

[見応]{み・ごた}え/聞き[応]{ごた}えのある内容でした。

「(something)」と聞き、[成]{な}る[程]{ほど}と思いました。

(something)について、勉強になりました。

(something)について、もっと知りたいと思いました。 etc.

These expressions may be useful when you write a couple of paragraphs or longer writings. For example,

(In the first paragraph)

ジョーと[抹茶]{まっ・ちゃ}[味]{あじ}のお[菓子]{か・し}を[試]{ため}して、楽しかったです。

(In the second paragraph)

今日は、いろいろと新しい体験ができて、とても楽しかったです。

The preceding writing looks repetitive. The following example may be better.

(In the first paragraph)

ジョーと抹茶味のお菓子を試して、盛り上がりました。

(In the second paragraph)

今日は、いろいろと新しい体験ができて、とても楽しかったです。

By the way, this [盛]{も}り[上]{あ}がる means something like "have so much fun" or "have a great time".

I'm Japanese and learning English slowly. There are some English expressions which I often use because it's easy to use familiar expressions and actually I don't know other expressions of the meanings. So, in my case, my limited English vocabulary makes my sentences too simple or too complicated or repetitive. I guessed that your case might have some similarity to mine. I'm sorry if my guess is wrong. I'm afraid my repetitive English sentences are not appropriate to answer your question which asks how to avoid repetition, but, I thought that it might be a good idea to show you some useful Japanese vocabulary related to 楽しい / 面白い, so I tried. Hope this answer is helpful.

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I think it's along the lines of your idea of your Japanese not being as advanced as you'd like, and at the same time, it also has something to do with the words being common. Think about it: the only reason you can even pick out exactly which words you're using is because you have to think over everything you're about to say or write down for another language. In English, you likely repeat the same words over and over again without ever realizing it. For example, I tend to describe things as "brilliant" (despite not being British at all) or "fantastic". Those tend to be my defaults, and honestly, I'd probably have never picked up on it if I hadn't started to kind of hyperfocus on my word choice in both English and Japanese.

I think it's also safe for me to assume you're in some kind of Japanese class, because your sentences and word choice highly resemble that style of teaching, or it does to me, anyway. If you want to liven up your word choice, hit up a dictionary or two (like Jisho) while writing your journal entries, and feel free to throw them onto Lang-8 too so you can make sure you're on the right track.

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