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SC2013 - Tay's Blog [Kanji Stage]


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Hi, all. Sorry to spam the board with Japanese-learning topics today, but I had a dream last night about how cool it would be to start a Japanese learning group for Fuwanovel. I wrote up some HUGE walls of text (link) detailing the combined wisdom of many internet websites about how to learn Japanese. This topic will follow my personal journey through that program.

My first post is to detail how I'm going to incorporate learning Japanese into my life, as well as my own personal goals:

Goal 1: I want to learn the Kanji, Kana, and grammar for Japanese in 2013.

Goal 2: I want to read at least one volume of Love Hina in Japanese in 2013

Goal 3: I want to read at least part of a visual novel in Japanese in 2013

Study Time: I am getting up at 6:30 and studying Japanese for ~1 hour each morning. I wake up, slide into the kitchen, microwave some water, have some cocoa, and then start (the cocoa wakes me up)

Where I'm at right now: I've tried a lot of different programs (finally settled on this one), so I already know the Kana. I've been using RTK for a while, and am about 1000 into the 2200. That said, I'll start a new deck on Monday 1/28 to go along with whoever else wants to start on that day with me.

So! I'll be posting on Day 1 (Monday), as well as Day 3, and then weekly after that!

(This topic and any others like it may be moved to a new location if we decide to make a sub-forum for learning Japanese. I want to be clear and say that this journal isn't created for the sake of hubris, but for the reasons I explained (community) in my other post)

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Day 03 Update

Hi, all! So, three days in, and I'm doing well. I'm still maintaining at least 50/day, though managing two RTK decks has added lots of extra reviews to my plate (note: in case it wasn't clear, I'm doing my own, original RTK trek which I started a while ago, and re-started a deck for just this SC2013 challenge).

Full-Disclosure: How am I doing?

  • Haven't missed a day yet, and I've mostly kept to the schedule I set originally. Yesterday (Tuesday) I had a big test at school, and so I did my learning after the test was over (~noon), instead of at 6am/7am.
  • 185/2200 done (on new deck)
  • I'm feeling positive about things, and I'm not letting past failures get to me
  • EDIT: I'll also add that as I study, I find vivid pictures in addition to stories really help. For example, for "Horizon" I think to myself, "On the horizon I see a waterfall, flowing over the cliff, looking so beautiful it's like a squared jewel." Or, for "Treetops", I think of Christmas candles on the treetops

Here are a few notes I made on Ryoji's blog which help me a lot when reviewing:

I noticed that. Im trying to spend 30-45 min in the morning to review. Need to work out a schedule everything is kinda new still.

Yeah, it's definitely a key part of the process.

One thing that has made all the difference for me is a concept called "timeboxing": where you set a timer and say to yourself, "I'm going to give myself 15 minutes, and not a minute more. Let's see how many I can review in that time period."

Believe it or not, timeboxing has worked wonders for me: not only do I work faster, but I work more efficiently, too. Back when I was doing 100 a day the reviews were getting overwhelming. Breaking it down to 15 minute sessions was less stressful, plus I worked faster (nearly cut my review time in half). I'd recommend trying it out! (plus, when you set a 15 minute limit, it kind of becomes a game) (unless you get stressed about the time, which you shouldn't -- it's not a race)

----

PS: I've noticed that the anki deck has some cards out of order. I'll be writing an Anki quick-tips tutorial, and will explain how to fix that.

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1 Week Blog Post

Hey everybody! So, things are going well for the most part. As I've mentioned in the past, I was juggling two decks (my original RTK progress, and this new one, which I restarted for this blog series). I'm in the middle of midterms at school, and have been feeling super overloaded. Therefore, I've decided to retire my original RTK deck and focus solely on my new one.

I missed one day this week, but otherwise have been going strong. Missing one day really kills you on built-up reviews, though, so just know that it comes at a steep price!

Part of the problem is that (with studying/night classes/etc.) I haven't maintained my early AM study regimen. I've made a goal to get back on track starting tomorrow (6AM awake, 6:15 studying), which will make a big difference.

Thanks for reading, and for everybody taking the challenge with me. I'm having fun, and with only one RTK deck I know the load will get much lighter from here on out : ).

- Tay

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I can only imagine how much work that must have been, do you think going through it a second time will help reinforce them since you got so far?

It was a lot, yeah. As far as reinforcement -- it may just be faith-power, but my absolute and total trust in SRS hasn't let me down yet. On my original deck I reviewed the problem kanji plenty of time and regularly, so all of them ultimately sink in (stupid 'resemblance' vs 'likeness' vs etc.). Thus, on the whole, it's gone faster (especially with the first ~300 kanji) but not any harder.

: ) Thanks for taking the time to read up and comment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, guys! I really appreciate it. I posted a LOA post in the admin forums, but didn't think to do so here: I've been taking care of my grandmother while my grandfather was in the hospital. She has dementia (Alzheimer's), and so it took 100% of my time (not totally true: the rest went to creating walkthroughs!) (and homework).

Kanji Update:

I'm still going strong! As I've posted in other blogs, when life gets crazy, it's best to NOT STOP, but SCALE BACK. That's, unfortunately, what I've had to do the last two weeks: I've done ~10 new kanji/day (which takes roughly 12 minutes of new study, plus reviews, a day). While my progress has slowed, I'm at least sticking with it, and feeling positive!

I've got, like, 100++ posts to read through on the forums, so I'm gonna cut this entry short. Thanks a lot to the support here, and I hope to return the favor!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Kanji Quest Update 6

I've been terrible at keeping up with my goal to blog weekly about my Kanji progress. Consequently, I named this post "Update 6" because it felt like the sixth update (it's not), and in order to confuse the world, I'll keep up this numbering system : ). There are a few things I want to talk about, so prepare yourselves for a small wall of text:

1. The importance of blogging + Fuwa-love. It turns out that I really don't work as hard if I don't make myself responsible to you guys here on the site. It's become extremely easy to let things slide, and while I can still cheer everybody on (and thus put on a face that my own study is going great), I feel like I'm cheating myself. I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- the concept of community recruitment (see "Why we need a community" in this post) is really important for me.

I want to thank everybody who's started a blog on Fuwanovel: Ryoji, Ryachu, CartmanJr, trh, Mephisto, Vax, torbin12, and (even though there's no blog yet) Metaler (who SHOULD START and make a blog ; )). Also, I want to thank the ~100 responses to the main post. It's this community that has really pushed me through these periods of easy, face/lip-service back to a sincere and intense effort. Also, everybody (Bolverk comes to mind) who posts on our blogs and cheers us on. We/I love you!

2. The importance of habit. A lot of my difficulty the last few weeks has been an overwhelming amount of new demands in my life. New pressures in school, family life, and other areas of responsibility have made it hard for me to feel like giving Japanese a significant amount of energy. While my tactic of not dropping Kanji study, but scaling it back (sometimes as drastically as a 50new/day --> 10new/day change), has been a very good choice, I've backslid into losing my morning routine. Not having a set time/space/routine makes learning Japanese arduous instead of fun. It makes learning a pressure, instead of a joy. And nobody wants that.

3. Fixing the Problem. All of that said, I am still learning the Kanji, I'm back on a 50/day regimen, and I'm working to rebuild my morning habit. It takes a lot of self control to make myself to go to sleep so I can wake up early ("[Going to bed early] makes me feel like I'm missing out on life!" ~Lucky Star), but I'm a happier person, better study-er, and more pleasant husband when I do. In addition to rebuilding my habits, I'm returning to a regular work-out (exercise) schedule to stave off the feelings of anxiety/depression when periods of life such as this one hit. Regular, moderate exercise done weekly is extremely powerful in staving off those feelings, and increasing my energy level.

---

Thanks for reading, and for your support. Fuwanovel is wonderful -- it's friendly, and full of people I respect and enjoy talking with. I love it. Thanks for being a part of my life, my Japanese quest, and my blog!

---

Random Ryoji comment -- I still need to make my way to the fiction post you made. I've wanted to read it and send you a full review, but I haven't had the time I want to give to it. I feel guilty every time I log in or see it in my dayplanner, and wanted to at least get it off my chest that it's on my to-do.

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2. The importance of habit. A lot of my difficulty the last few weeks has been an overwhelming amount of new demands in my life. New pressures in school, family life, and other areas of responsibility have made it hard for me to feel like giving Japanese a significant amount of energy. While my tactic of not dropping Kanji study, but scaling it back (sometimes as drastically as a 50new/day --> 10new/day change), has been a very good choice, I've backslid into losing my morning routine. Not having a set time/space/routine makes learning Japanese arduous instead of fun. It makes learning a pressure, instead of a joy. And nobody wants that.

3. Fixing the Problem. All of that said, I am still learning the Kanji, I'm back on a 50/day regimen, and I'm working to rebuild my morning habit. It takes a lot of self control to make myself to go to sleep so I can wake up early ("[Going to bed early] makes me feel like I'm missing out on life!" ~Lucky Star), but I'm a happier person, better study-er, and more pleasant husband when I do. In addition to rebuilding my habits, I'm returning to a regular work-out (exercise) schedule to stave off the feelings of anxiety/depression when periods of life such as this one hit. Regular, moderate exercise done weekly is extremely powerful in staving off those feelings, and increasing my energy level.

---

Thanks for reading, and for your support. Fuwanovel is wonderful -- it's friendly, and full of people I respect and enjoy talking with. I love it. Thanks for being a part of my life, my Japanese quest, and my blog!

---

Random Ryoji comment -- I still need to make my way to the fiction post you made. I've wanted to read it and send you a full review, but I haven't had the time I want to give to it. I feel guilty every time I log in or see it in my dayplanner, and wanted to at least get it off my chest that it's on my to-do.

If anyone can get back on track and do great at this its you Tay. Real life for me is being retired, spending time with my Grandkids. lol lets just say im not stressed everyday about work or school. Though I do remember how hectic life can get. I have no idea how much you have on your plate work/school wise but I do know that both can be very stressful therefor I cannot agree more about getting proper exercise. If I dont get my 3 mile run in every morning, i feel real sluggish, both mentally and physicaly. So great job getting back into exercise!! your sleep and health are very improtant. I know too well about anxiety/depression. Having PTSD I deal with emotions that are intensified. I had to learn how to keep a proper balance, its hard but doable.

Doing 50 Kanji a day, to me, is just insane. On average i do 10-12 a say. sometimes i do a little more but not a lot. Then again, im not as young as you guys so maybe my brain just isnt capable of doing 50 a day. Im sure its easier for you.

You know you have my/fuwanovels support Tay. WE can do this!!

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Waking up in the morning is so difficult.. I said that I would wake up in the morning and I still have a lot of trouble with it. (I even have 20 alarms set... Literally)

Your posts and updates are always inspiring and supportive. My support goes out to you and all of individuals studying Kanji. I was going to write a longer and in-depth reply but I share the same opinions as Ryoji. The community here is amazing and the support that everyone contributes helps to create a healthy environment for Fuwanovel. I believe that everyone can complete the challenge. Your passion for learning and desires to maintain a healthy lifestyle will be a major benefit during your studies. We're all with you on this, keep up the amazing work and thank you for supporting us as well. What we are creating and learning here is something that will stay with us for our entire lives.

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Waking up in the morning is so difficult.. I said that I would wake up in the morning and I still have a lot of trouble with it. (I even have 20 alarms set... Literally)

Your posts and updates are always inspiring and supportive. My support goes out to you and all of individuals studying Kanji. I was going to write a longer and in-depth reply but I share the same opinions as Ryoji. The community here is amazing and the support that everyone contributes helps to create a healthy environment for Fuwanovel. I believe that everyone can complete the challenge. Your passion for learning and desires to maintain a healthy lifestyle will be a major benefit during your studies. We're all with you on this, keep up the amazing work and thank you for supporting us as well. What we are creating and learning here is something that will stay with us for our entire lives.

These are awesome words. Thank you : )

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It takes a lot of self control to make myself to go to sleep so I can wake up early ("[Going to bed early] makes me feel like I'm missing out on life!" ~Lucky Star), but I'm a happier person, better study-er, and more pleasant husband when I do.

Since I have started doing this challenge I now sleep at a normal time, life hits hard and it is easy to let things slip, but it looks like you are finding motivation with the community here. I'm not one for saying a lot but you have a way at motivating people, that music during the challenge post for instance, 50/day is always impressive and I expect to see more updates :D

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Good learning Tay, I post to you kanji learners because I wish had the same. I know how much it helps, I somewhat did something similar by posting on Aaeru's Blog post. By keeping to do the anki it doesn't matter how many new kanji are not learn't yet, because you will complete them.

Also i would say that I am a person who if really decides on something I will complete it. No if or buts. I will do it. But I have many times wavered, but I kept it up and completed it. You can do it too man!:D

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  • 1 month later...

Saw Ryoji's post and did a little facepalm. For a guy that started this whole Kanji blog thing, I sure am bad at posting as regularly as I should.

Kanji Quest Update 7

In my last post I mentioned that my daily routine had become near-nonexistent, and that I was feeling the effects of losing study structure. My bounce-back to a routine didn't happen all at once, but I'm nearly there, and nearly doing morning study every day. Since I've learned the kanji up to ~1000 before, I'm still able to cheat and just "learn" them again via anki, but I know that this is going to hurt me in the end. The truth is that you need to hit the new kanji in RTK before anki, and once I emerge into the ocean of new kanji again, I'll be overwhelmed if things don't change.

So! The good news is that I'm still going, and that my routine is normalizing. The bad news is that I still haven't hit 1000 yet (even though I hoped to hit it around the same time as Ryoji), and that my daily new kanji is still low. I'm balancing school, work, kanji, Fuwanovel, and our new VN project: Rin's Mysteries. There's also that Fate/Zero commentary I'm determined to do. Oh, and, like, 1K anime shows Ryoji has told me to watch. And whatever it is that Steve wants me to do next before he plays Katawa Shoujo. Plus I do a lot of volunteering.

Sounds like my life needs balance. And prioritizing. And a morning schedule. Luckily, I've been working on all three.

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Also, just wanted to say a quick ありがとう to Batman for putting into words something I've been trying to do for a while: at some point when he, Ryoji and I were chatting on Skype, Batman explained his philosophy of how to spend free time: "one thing at a time". By that he meant he tries to keep to one video game, one project, one hobby project at a time. I've been working on this, myself, and I've found it helps me more thoroughly enjoy what I'm doing, and take life at a better pace.

School, work, volunteering and Japanese aren't "free time" for me -- those are all blocked-out priorities. But things like the VN we're producing, visual novels, and video games are my time-fillers, and focusing on one at a time (or one a day) helps a lot.

ありがとう, Batman, for putting this into words for me!

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Also, just wanted to say a quick ありがとう to Batman for putting into words something I've been trying to do for a while: at some point when he, Ryoji and I were chatting on Skype, Batman explained his philosophy of how to spend free time: "one thing at a time". By that he meant he tries to keep to one video game, one project, one hobby project at a time. I've been working on this, myself, and I've found it helps me more thoroughly enjoy what I'm doing, and take life at a better pace.

School, work, volunteering and Japanese aren't "free time" for me -- those are all blocked-out priorities. But things like the VN we're producing, visual novels, and video games are my time-fillers, and focusing on one at a time (or one a day) helps a lot.

ありがとう, Batman, for putting this into words for me!

Far out words right here. We all live with this illusion that we are always running out of time, that we have to do many things at once and as fast as possible. "You never know what'll happen tomorrow", they say. This constant anxiety is killing us. I believe we need to look at the present, because there is no such thing as tomorrow. There's only now. They say we never know what'll happen in the future, but that ends up being precisely why we shouldn't get so worked up over it. Take it easy, and abide.

Keep this up, Tay先輩!

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