There is a common saying out there for writers that writing is like breathing. It’s just apart of who you are, it’s something that you have to do… There are many people out there who are like, “oh yeah, I want to write a book.” I don’t get those people. I don’t understand how you can be nonchalant about it. For me, writing is something I HAVE TO DO. I have an urge. It drives me…
Well, it did until about 2007. I’m not sure. Maybe I was burnt out? Maybe I just needed a break. But suddenly the cravings, the drive went away.
This is when I started learning Japanese. Japanese was my new drug. I don’t think I pursued Japanese with the lust and desire that I did with writing, but I kept up at it, and it filled my time.
Lately…. lately I feel the hunger return in me. I am still studying Japanese – although at the moment it is more of a back burner approach – I’m reading books and “studying” new words in Anki. That’s about it. I’m wanting to once again tackle the Nihongo 500 Mon / 日本語５００問 book that I talked about in my Best of 2009 article. It’s going to be school holidays and I think I just want to race through the book and see what holes I have left in my basic understanding of Japanese.
Never the less, in the past couple of days, I’ve been breathing again. I don’t know where this will take me, but I’m in the planning stages of writing a book, and the characters are beginning to really jump out at me. I am still trying to work out some WHYs, trying to add in some conflict, but I’m building a solid beginning and have some ideas about the ending. I hope I will continue to work on this one with hopefully having it finished by the end of the year.
No rush. I’m just enjoying the air. I’m breathing again.Read More
One thing I haven’t done in a gazillion years is reviewing sentences. I think perhaps reviewing sentences has its merits but it has never worked for me. I am too focused on trying to remember unfamiliar vocabulary than the really pay attention to how the sentence is put together. In other words, I may remember the vocab and know how to read the sentence, but it doesn’t help me much with remembering/noticing what particle was used, for instance, or how to put the sentence together as a whole.
What it does do is take a lot of time.
OK, so it has never been promised that reviewing sentences in Anki passively would help with actively producing sentences (where I would need to know what particle goes there etc). However, reading and understanding sentences – I can do that by reading books. I can do that by reading manga. I can do that by reading websites, etc. I can even do that by reading textbooks. In other words, where was the source of the sentence? That’s where I can read it…
What is stopping me from reading it there? For me it is a lack of vocabulary. So, I need to work on vocab. Therefore, I review single words.
What are the advantages from reviewing sentences? Is it to check that you can understand a whole sentence, with each individual word in context? Sure. But… you can check that while you are reading the original source. If you don’t understand a sentence… why? Is it vocab? Is it grammar? Is it something else? That something is what you need to study, not all the extra information as well.
Simple Is Easy
Supermemo’s guide to formulating knowledge in learning is a great resource to look over when you are building your SRS deck. One point is that simple is easy. You learn faster with simple things because you only have to focus on one thing.
Another thing to think about is why Remembering the Kanji is such a popular method. It’s because it breaks learning the kanji down into baby steps. You learn how to write the kanji (with a simple idea of meaning) and nothing else. You then learn how to read and pronounce the kanji using other methods. By breaking down the process into small steps it is easier to climb the big mountain that is Japanese.
This is why I review vocab in my SRS.
Please share your thoughts in the comments!Read More
It’s really bad, but it’s been a while since I’ve done a monthly update on my progress. In fact, unless I missed an entry, the last one I did was almost a year ago, back in May 2008!
All through 2008 I was experiencing burn out, mainly because I really wanted to study Japanese my own way but had to do it the University way. Now that I’m out of university, it means that I can do it my own way but no longer have the push that I absolutely have to get something done. So in a way, I can’t have it all, dammit!
So while my start to this year hasn’t been filled with as much Japanese study as I could have done, I’m making more of an effort now. Here’s some of the things I’ve been up to in Feb:
Anki, Remembering the Kanji and 2001 Kanji Odyssey
Currently I have 755 cards in my Anki deck, with 45% of the “mature” cards.
In Japanese at the moment my main aim is to be able to read. Even in English my reading and writing ability are stronger than my speaking ability. I am much more articulate in writing! I love to read, and what I really want to be able to do is read my manga collection with relative ease.Read More
This morning for various reasons I sat in on one of Gakuranman’s free Edufire Japanese for Beginners Lessons. It was a bit of fun, a great reminder of what it was like to first be learning Japanese, and a bit of a way to see other people’s teaching styles, but mostly it was a huge kick in the face…. My Japanese is so rusty!!
If I was still in university it would still be another month away before it starts up again and before I would be actively studying. But that is no excuse now, as I’m out of university (actually… going to edufire reminds me of university, which is prob why I like it so much – all the stuff of university without assignments!!). What I need is to ship shape myself into action! I really have been slack.
So today I flicked through the text book and I’ve been working through what has built up in anki… If I clear out my deck tonight I want to add in a few more sentences from 2001 Kanji Odyssey – I’ve decided that I can’t do RtK on it’s own, I lose steam. So instead I’ve been alternating, depending on how I feel. Sometimes I’ll add KO to my deck, sometimes I’ll add RtK.Read More
Well, I’m currently slogging through Remembering the Kanji. Tonight I am hoping to add about 30-40 kanji into anki, right now I am up to kanji number 709. I’m in the middle of a 130 kanji chapter which is hard going because there are so many (sometimes it is easy to confuse them when you are just solidifying them in your mind), but easy because there are so many (and thus there is lots of repetition of common elements). I’m looking forward to hopefully reaching 1000 kanji soon, about the half way mark!!!
Why this, why now? I want to keep up my language learning now that I’ve graduated from university. I want to move to the next level with my japanese but I feel like one thing is holding me back at the moment: My kanji ability. So, once again, I’m plowing through Remembering the Kanji.