The Road to RTK1 Recovery: If you took a break, it might be “aight”

So you took a break...

This post is just to chat about what happens if you take a very long break from SRSing and studying RTK1 in general and what you can expect when you hop back on the wagon. I stopped at 1,050 Kanji three months ago (go figure) and I’ve started revising upwards from 500 Kanji, just to be safe.

I’m doing a manual run through all the Heisig I’ve learned, story by story. Naturally, some of the very abstract words (Righteousness, Lament, etc) I can barely remember, but most of the stories I am re-learning I realize i’m not re-learning at all. I am revising what I already know. I like this nice little side effect of SRS (spaced repetition system). For example, the Kanji for “Righteousness” was blank in my head. All I could remember was an inkling of a story involving a Cow.

義 (gi)

It turns out, the story is “A SHEEP stands tall because of his EGO, leaving the herd to walk on the path of RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

In someways that story is O-K, but not that strong, which I why I couldn’t remember it so well. But, as soon as I read that story, I already knew what “Deliberation” was. Because they were linked, as I have mentioned in previous blogs.

議 (gi as well)- “The WORDS of a Sheep on the PATH of RIGHTEOUSNESS require some DELIBERATION”. Corny, but memorable.

So what’s happening is that even though I took this LONG break from doing revision or SRSing, the fact that so many of the Kanji I learned were linked to an original story, I’m not stuck with the task of relearning everything from scratch. I’m pretty annoyed that I took the break (for obvious reasons) but I can write the Kanji pretty easily, and once I’m done revising so I can start learning new Kanji, I will push even harder to be finally done with RTK1 and do basic sentence mining.

Quick Note on my Writing and Revision System

Anyhoo my system was to have an excercise book with my Kanji and stories written down. This way I just breeze through, re-read a bunch of the stories, and then focus on the ones that are the hardest to remember. I’m finding that English words that I don’t use are the hardest. Words like “constancy” and others of its ilk. Whatever the reason, a good thing to remember if you are at this stage or furhter, is that by the time you reach 1,000+ Kanji, you will have already done HUNDREDS of SRS repitions and WRITTEN HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS of KANJI. For me personally, I purchased a Japanese student Notebook. It’s an excercise book for practicing Kanji. Each page had about 200 squares, for 200 Kanji, front and back. A book contained about 30 leaves, which at minimum, means when I fill the book I will have written 12,000 characters, which builds massive muscle memory. At my last count I had two of those book almost filled, which is why I think that I am not in such a bad spot with my taking a break situation. If I had barely written any Kanji, and did some light SRS-ing, I would be in a bad, bad position right now.

Either way, I will post my thoughts about Rosetta Stone, and a few Ipod Applications soon.



About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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