Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Recently I started using the Lang-8 account I signed up for ages ago. Basically you post a journal entry, and it gets corrected by native speakers. The idea is that you go and correct articles of your native language in exchange for corrections on the language you're looking for. You get friend lists as well, so if you are social, more people will see your entries on their friends feed as well as the public feed.

The corrections are done on a line by line basis. Usually you will get multiple people correcting your Japanese, and you can pick the corrections that make the mot sense to you, if there are more than one. Corrections usually come VERY quickly due to the amount of people using the recent post feed!

I've done 2 posts so far and continue to do more!


So go forth, and BE CORRECTED!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The great Tae Kim Adventure

I've decided to now pick up on this whole grammar thing.

I was going through Japanese for Everyone, but decided to do a FAST run-through of all basic grammar. Thankfully there is a tae kim anki deck to ensure I retain all of the information that I learn :)

So far I have only finished the "basic grammar" section and I am about to move onto "essential grammar". The essential is still fairly basic, but I am surprised at how much I'm already picking up from this guide. It is well laid out, has great examples, concise explanations, what more can you ask for!

Recently I've tried doing more communication in Japanese since I'm cutting back on written reviews, and the results have been great, I am slowly working more and more topics into my online chats, and the increased grammar base makes it much easier to express my thoughts clearly!

I have close to 400 of the core2k sentences under my belt as well, the first 400 were considered the "basic" sentences so I know the difficulty will ramp up, but it's nice knowing I am almost 20% through a 2000 piece series! Feels like RTK all over again, but more useful :D

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Anki Changes

I've now entered the era of the smartphone and have seen first hand how useful these really are! I have a few apps great for studying, the number one being AnkiDroid ( for Android OS of course )

One problem I've had so far is that I was doing both reading and writing cards. The problem here is that it takes FAR longer to write out the half of the cards than the reading cards. While I want to be able to write, spending an additional 5-8 times as much time on the cards is a huge setback.

Put it this way, Average of 10 seconds per review, reading only, 60 cards will take 10 minutes to review. Now go ahead and put writing with them all. You now have 120 cards, and my average time was just over 30 seconds per card. This is an HOUR of reviews. If you only have an hour a day to dedicate to anki you're done, finished, finito. However, if you're doing reading drills ( kanji to kana and meaning ) you can cover TRIPLE the material in HALF the time.

Now you have time for an episode of your fave drama or anime, or perhaps some extra sleep AND you're able to read 3 times as much. Heck if you're real keen, you can spend the whole hour on material and cover 6 times the reps. ( I plan on doing a LOT of learning soon )

Seeing as how I've been averaging 30 minutes on this deck a day, I could have done the "same" in 5 minutes? :p

Now I see why people stop wasting their time writing all their reviews!

Perhaps the most IMPORTANT part of this change? Reviewing on the go! Since I needed a desk and a notepad to do my reviews earlier, ankidroid was USELESS! Now that I am doing reading drills only, I can do a few waiting in line for movie tickets, sitting on the bike at the gym, have 15 minutes at work on a break? DONE Now the age of the smartphone is able to keep me productive whenever I want :)

P.S. I still think SOME writing is essential, I'm going to try to write out all failed cards, all NEW cards, and all of my RTK reps :)

Til next time, keep those review piles clear, and good luck! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011


iKnow / smart.fm started over 2 years ago as a free way to increase your vocabulary. They started out very strong but over time got messier, harder to use, and now they've decided to start charging people for the privilege of using their now broken interface.

I liked the way it quizzes you on learning words, but I can just use anki for similar benefit, just a little less "fun". There was a TONNE of user submitted material as well that will only be accessible through the new paid app.

They tried to combine a study platform with social networking, I liked seeing friends progress, commenting etc. but now that aspect of it is gone.

I'm not going to be subscribing. It might be worth the money for some people, but I'll save my dollars, use anki, and perhaps buy a new book.





Wednesday, January 26, 2011

RTK done

Well about a week ago I entered kanji #2042 into my SRS. 2 days ago I exported my progress from kanji.koohii.com to anki.

It feels good to be done the book, but it will take some time for my reviews to die down enough to be comfortable :)

I am doing a super quick runthrough of all the grammar and vocab from lessons 1-8 of JFE, and then will start Lesson 9. I am also entering steps 1 and 2 from smart.fm's Core 2000 Japanese lists. I am around 150 sentences in so far.

Progress is great, now back onto learning real Japanese ^_^

Monday, December 27, 2010

2/3 through RTK

So I'm sitting here thinking to myself "Wow, I'm 2/3 through RTK. This is SOO much painless than the first time I ran through the book"

It turns out 2 years of non-use and I still need very little review to get me right back to where I was before. This simply shows how strong the method is. A good friend of mine is now starting RTK after seeing my success with it, but is likely doing the RTK lite option first. This simply goes through about the 1000 most useful kanji in the book first, and the primitive elements that make them up. This ensures the most gain in the shortest time. He will most likely finish the book at a later date after that.

I have entered 100 facts into Anki, for 200 cards, and am having fun memorizing the new words and compounds I am being exposed to. I have 300 more facts to go to be caught up with smart.fm. Once this occurs, and I am done RTK my decks will slow substantially and I can spend much more time on JFE :D ( which btw is now into lesson 9 )

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Almost halfway through this run of RTK, but I'm not just doing that. This time I am getting extremely high retention rates, it simply shows how WELL the system works. Even after all this time I can easily fly through 100 new kanji in a day no problem. I am going to pick the pace up a bit ( I was doing the smaller lessons in a day, but recently had the 130 and 96 kanji monsters recently ) and decided I'd love to be done with the book by new years clearing myself up to just do reviews.

I have "Mastered" Japanese Core 2000 steps 1 and 2 on smart.fm. This apparently covers all of their beginner level material. I started step 3 and BOY is it a huge leap, no wonder they call it intermediate. I've seen comments that step 4 is easier, perhaps I will do that one alongside it. Now I can enter this all into anki and slowly work through the newer, harder stuff.

Anki, I've obtained the core2000 deck with audio and pictures. It tests both production and dictation. This is good because I get to try reading the sentences, if correct, pass. For dictation, I can visualize what the kanji should look like, and usually write them out unless it seems pretty easy. Of course I need to understand the sentence in both cases as well. On all the tougher cards and ALL fails, the full sentence gets written out.

It will take me a while to get all the core2000 sentences I've completed into anki, but I'm learning more as I go. Core2k concentrated on one word, where I test myself on the entire sentence.

I am already seeing improvements in my reading, and once I have completed RTK I can concentrate more on sentences and JFE. I am currently on lesson 8 in JFE, and have gotten back there quickly. I've slowed down now to clear out all this other material I am working through. When I run out, there's always KO2001 :D

Til next time......