Blazing through the last 800 Kanji, a test method

I’m going to implement this today.

I think when people are using systems, sometimes they might do things a little differently, or create processes that help them to work around time constraints, etc. AJATT refers to this as “throw away time” and I just call it “whenever”. Now, a tough part of Heisig is using your imaginative memory.

To remember something like “Brush Stroke” which is a very obscure Kanji (that I can’t even find right now in the dictionary), or “tooth” might require a lot of mental time to sit and absorb each story. This is what makes learning the 2,045 a tough journey. After a while you might not have the energy, you flake, you are tired of using brain power etc.

Well, I’ve already decided that I’m just going to do it without pressure and too many deadlines, and it’s helped me to relax enough to do a few Kanji (or a lot ) each day. But what I’m finding is that if I hop onto Anki, I spend too much time SRS-ing and trying to remember forgotten Kanji, than actually learing new ones.

What I’ve found is that any set of Kanji with a very good base image… for example “Bamboo” for me is a KUNG FU PANDA.

The Kanji for “AXE” I use CONAN THE BARBARIAN as a reference image.

I find that it is very hard for me to forget these. I even wrote an article or two on it. Either way, the most obscure Kanji are the most difficult, and even with good stories, aren’t always easy to recall. But I remember one thing I did a few months ago, was make a word list.

I would simply compile a list of the words I didn’t remember, and then revise them at the end of the week, tweak the stories, change the original images, or make better stories. Right now I want to plough through and just FINISH, and what i find it that word lists, break Kanji into sets.

I haven’t done Anki in a while, and I noticed I forgot a ton of Kanji that had the “rice” symbol in them. What I normally did was just make a linear list of rice based Kanji, and then just practice them all in sequence a few times, and I realized the stories came back to me. The ONLY reason I cannot remember many of them is because of what I’ve been saying on this blog a lot… I am not that consistent. But the cool thing is that once you’ve memorized the story, it’s always there.

So I’ve found that SRSing too much might be a waste, so making a word list (in the short term) of tough Kanji, and then running through them is kinda cool. It leaves room for moving faster with new Kanji and new stories (which require time and brain power). I will post an image of my new wordlist when i come up with it.

I also realize that wordlists are EXCELLENT to use right after finish a series of 80-100 Kanji. I can put them all on one page, and scan through to see what are my strongest stories. I used to carry two with me all the time, nad each day check to see which ones I remembered. This is good, so I can solidify new Kanji and move on without having to do too much “sit down” SRS, especially if my deck is backed up with god knows how much Kanji I can’t properly remember.

So finally,

1) Word lists made up for lists of new Kanji is a sort of Mini-SRS that keeps them fresh.

2) Kanji that occur in a sequence where are a few are fuzzy, you can make a list of all those Kanji and cycle through them, and see why you remember some much better than others. Do some quick tweaks and keep a set of similar Kanji fresh.

3) Note: I am not sure if this is a “cheat” or what have you… but I think if I study and SRS each day, I will wind up back in the doghouse all frustrated and tired again. This way, I can study new Kanji, cycle through my smaller, more palatable list (say 80 newer Kanji I learned) and then add new Kanji each day. The list by the way, is literally physical in my hand, my pocket, etc.

Anyhoo, will post the test results of that. Getting tired of writing about Heisig. Time to start writing about sentence mining and my experiences going through Death Note: Volume One, which so far has been quite an experience, though I have to whip out my Iphone ever thirty seconds to read words like 殺人 and them things. Anyhoo, let’s see if I can hit 1400 this week….

About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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