Turning Japanese, Day 6 – 8

January 26th, 2009  | By: Daichi  | Categories: Learning  | Tags:

So if you haven’t been following along, I’ve been trying to brush up my Japanese. I’ve taken some high school Japanese classes many many moons ago. I’ve been trying to learn Japanese by using a fancy technique called sentence mining. Which is where you primarily expose yourself to a language via numerous amounts of complete sentences. The subconscious mind will then be able start finding the patterns in the language. You will be able to understand sentences you have never heard before by using the connection of all the prior sentences you have mined.

To help you connect the dots, sentence sining uses a learning technique called Spaced Repetition, which will space out something you are reviewing the more and more you are exposed to it. Space Repetition software like Anki, will show you flashcards that you have made yourself and based on how well you rate that card, it will find an appropriate delay to test you that card again. The better you know a card, the longer and longer it will delay the card.

If you want to learn a language like Japanese, I suggest you check out The Glowing Face Man, All Japanese All The Time, and AntiMoon. I’m mostly just doing what these guy suggest.

Day 6 (Saturday)

Today I got out of my house and mostly did window shopping, It’s nice to get out and clear your head. I browsed some of the Japanese books at two different bookstores. One Kanji book did catch my eye. It had entries where the Kanji replaced the first letter of the English meaning. i.e. 人uman. I didn’t read the introduction, but I assume this is some sort of mnemonic to help you reproduce the Kanji in your head while your thinking about the meaning. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t walk away with the title of the book. >.<; Ah, a quick google search tells me it is probably The Kanji Handbook. And this would be a sample of what you can do I guess. Anyway, Between me and my brothers’ we have already spent enough money on Japanese tools over the years, I’m going to try to keep with what have at home or what I can borrow from friends.

When I got home I switched focus from my prior days and started reading Heseig’s Remembering The Kanji 1, which was found from the land of the lost yesterday. Anki has a pre-made Anki deck for all the kanji in this book, the only thing it is missing in the mnemonic stories or notes. This is actually a good thing, if they provided all of that, there would be little point in buying the book. The other good part, is that you can memorize things better when you write your own notes. Just got to modify the deck model to include your story/notes in the answer if you want to see them. I ran though the first three lessons in the book, which covers 52 Kanji. I’m having trouble with about 8 Kanji. But I think that’s pretty good retention so far for one day.

Since I was talking about typing games yesterday, I played a little Mahoromatic Typing and captured some video for everyone to see. I thought I used to be able to type faster, oh well.


mahoro de manbo.avi (XVID 12 MB)

Each of these Gainax games has one lesson where you just have a list of words to type through, this is probably the best lesson to learn your kana from.

I’m too lazy to figure out embedded video, personally, I was never a big fan of it. It’s 12 MB’s and it should play on just about anything these days. (Ignore the flashing number in the corner between the scene changes, that’s the capture program going crazy.)

Speaking about Mahoromatic, I should watch it one of these days. I got it all sitting in the hallway, in a box…

I was having some computer problems at night, so I didn’t get to read any of my articles from other sites before going to bed. :(

Day 7 (Sunday)

I’m a bit of an insomniac, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep the past few days so today I was a little more relaxed, I spent most of the day “drawing” a picture for someone. I’m no artist mind you, I think the last time i tried to draw something with Photoshop was a year ago. And I have no real discipline in traditional art, so I’m kinda stumbling my way around. Understanding shading and where light comes from kinda gets me. Oh well, maybe I should practice that too.

I didn’t go all day without Japanese studies today of course, while I was drawing I listened to “some” raw Clannad (that I’ve already seen) in the background. I got to the beginning of episode 11 before I decided I needed to take a long break. (I did take a library break towards the middlish but still, thats a lot of Anime). I’ll say, since I’ve already watched this show before, I was able to pick up a lot of key Japanese words here and there. Even if I couldn’t understand the Japanese completely, since I was completely aware of the context of what was being said, I sure didn’t miss too much. I should experiment with some Japanese shows I haven’t seen before sometime. Maybe watch something I haven’t seen raw, then subbed/dubbed, then raw again. Maybe not in the same day, but within a few days of each other.

I didn’t take any time to learn any new Heisig Kanji today, so I just reviewed the ~25 old cards that Anki had queued up for review.

My sentence deck built up a bit today, 18 old sentence and 30 new. I just worked on things for 15 minutes. I got through 10 review cards and 6 new sentences. I failed half of them. >.<; Oh well, I got all week to work on these. Not like I completely neglected the day. I just want to take it easy. Nice thing about doing this in my own time is there are no tests or quizzes to wear me out faster.

Day 15 of “The French Revolution” is another trial of Micro timeboxing. Maybe I’ll try some Micro timeboxing in the next few days.

Day 8 (Monday)

I’m one full week in. (And apparently I was a day of the week off on my prior posts.) Went through another lesson of Heisig’s Kanji book. This brings me up to 70 Kanji. Since I’ve started working on Heisig’s book I’ve been ignoring my Kanji vocab cards, So I’ve just been working at my sentences.

I’ve have now seen just about all of sentence facts at least once. The newer cards are giving me trouble, but I haven’t quite learned them yet. I guess tomorrow I should some do more sentence mining. Specifically for more easier sentences. One problem I’m having is I have too many sentences failed right now. A lot of the vocabulary is a bit difficult for me, and I’ve been neglecting to review my vocab cards. >.<; I decided I’d reschedule some of them for review later. I can always use Anki’s “Review More” feature if I need to. At least I feel like I am doing well with Heisig’s kanji. I’ll find a way to restart my vocab drills tommorow.

The Glowing Faceman came to a conclusion on that day 16 about timeboxing. He says that it is probably more ideal for tasks which require less thought, because if you don’t put time into thinking about how your grading your cards, your losing the benefit of the SRS. On day 17 he talks about how he reviewed his cards quicker today, without the timeboxing, but that could just be because he didn’t have any new cards in queue. I might still consider giving timeboxing a try, since everyone does learn differently.

Actually, before the night was up, I decided to load all my vocab words into Anki’s Cram mode. Which rescales the program down a factor. So instead of 6 days to review again, it’s 6 hours. This mini SRS is pretty neat, Maybe I should use this more often for learning new “small” things. I can be very generous with my grading this way, and I’ll get a lot more exposure to each vocab word. And It will help me remember the once I might of forgoten in the past several days. I did this for about 20 minutes before bed. However, instead of cramming all the cards at once, I crammed a small set of 30 or so cards in this time. I probably did each card 3 or 4 times. I’ll pick it up again tommorow to see how how well I’m doing.

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