Remembering the Kanji vol.1 with Japanese Keywords

Having looked for a while for a thorough list of Japanese keywords for Remembering the Kanji volume 1, I eventually gave up and made my own. The list put together by wrightak is well known, but its downfall (not a terribly serious one admittedly) is that he attempted to stick as close to the original English keyword as possible, and partly as a consequence the list is missing quite a few characters, as well as having some pretty strained keywords (not that the English list doesn’t have its share of those as well).

I made the list on Skritter and you can get at it from the shared list page, but if you don’t use Skritter (but really you should) here are plain files of it:

Tab-delimited text

Numbers spreadsheet

And the description from the list page:

RTK 1 with Japanese keywords. Mostly kun-yomi, with many exceptions where the kun-yomi is excessively rare, or non-existent. (That said, there are quite a few words included that are rarely written in kanji, just because I found them interesting.) Meanings may or may not coincide with Heisig keywords.

This list introduces many kanji out of order as they feature in compounds of kanji in the Heisig order. It is not recommended to learn this list instead of the normal RTK 1 with English keywords; rather, finish RTK 1 with English keywords first, give it some time for the mnemonics you used for that to fade, then go through this list.

There may be some duplication which I’ll try to weed out as I review through the list.

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Remembering the Kanji volume 2 Anki deck – progress notes

I’ve been skipping out on a lot of things I’d like to do lately, such as readthekanji.com, memrise, and so on, and it’s all because of this RTK2 project. I’m convinced it’ll be worth it though, not only for myself but for everyone else who has ever looked at Heisig’s second volume and said something like “well that’s nice but what does one DO with this?” Honestly this project would be a great deal quicker if I actually enjoyed making the deck, but if anyone cares to explain how to enjoy copying a book into flashcards I’d be much obliged.

Here’s a sample of the cards:

RTK2 card

So as you can see, the target kanji is highlighted in red. For sets of cards with more than one reading (the “semi-pure” and “mixed” groups), the highlighting is green for secondary readings, and occasionally purple for tertiary readings. Then below that, there is the word again with the non-target characters replaced by their hiragana readings. Remember, only one piece of information per card! Below that, there is the signal primitive, for cards that use them. The answer has just the reading, word again, and a brief English definition. At first I was using Japanese definitions, but looking them up was adding a tremendous amount of time to an already slow process, and wasn’t likely to be terribly helpful anyway.

There is a another field as well, called “ReadingOnly”, which is used to match to what you are to type in to answer the card.

Right now I have 1182 cards made, which is a little less than halfway it looks like. I’m at the beginning of the “mixed” groups and that will be slow(er) going because a lot of frames have more than one word, requiring two cards per frame. Also, finding signal primitives can occasionally be time-consuming, though I don’t waste a great deal of time on that anymore. Often a signal primitive will be a Japanese character on its own, though sometimes a very rare one. Sometimes it will not be a Japanese character, but will be a Chinese one. If those two options fail I just indicate it as “right side of such a character” or something like that.

I don’t think I’m alone in considering learning the writing and meaning of the characters the easy part. The readings each have such a long and convoluted history that they seem random at first glance, and impossibly confusing. This should help. Onwards then we plod.

sentence reviewing – yes, just started

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I’ve just very recently started actually reviewing sentences, despite that supposedly being the cornerstone of my entire method.  First there was the kanji to learn, then core2k on smart.fm to go through, and the tadoku month in the meantime, and once I finished core2k I wanted to finish sentence mining Chino’s Sentence Patterns book before actually starting to review.  Well, that’s done now.

So initial impressions then.  Highly effective, yes, and especially (at this point) for learning kanji readings.  I still want to go through RTK2, but I need to figure out how my daily routine will play out with the new things I’m doing.  (It was easy before. smart.fm till done, kanji reviews, kick back with an anime.)  My card shows me the sentence in kana, and my task is to write it with kanji and, of course, understand it.  This is according to Khatz-dono’s thinking in this post.  It might get a bit old after a while, but so far it is no problem to do them all like that.  I think though, once my kanji knowledge has solidified, I’ll review more reading cards, and do less writing, simply because of the time requirement.  If you’re not familiarizing yourself with any new vocabulary or kanji there isn’t much point in writing the sentence, I’d guess.  So far it seems that about a minute and a half is required per sentence, so I can comfortably add about 20 cards from the core2k deck (sigh) and 10 from my main sentence deck, which is about 400 strong, all from that one book so far.

I think I’ll carry on exactly like this for about another week and then post a set of not-quite-so-initial impressions.

core2k kanji stats

I was curious about kanji stats for the core 2000 anki deck I made, so I fiddled with the tags and model names and so forth until JxPlugin deigned to give me some numbers.  This includes kanji in all sentences, not just vocabulary words, although I think those two figures should be the same.  So a bit over half the jouyou kanji are present in these sentences.

core 2000 kanji stats

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