我輩はブリートである。

The chronicles of Burrito's bizarre adventure into Japanese.

My new favorite thing ever

with one comment

Two and a half days, 4000 repetitions and a sorely neglected Anki later, I think I could get used to this.

Some months ago, by chance, I happened upon an up-and-coming website still in its beta, called Read the Kanji. The premise was pretty simple for anyone familiar with flash card or SRS applications, and kanji – a web-based method of drilling kanji, sorted by JLPT level, in context with sentences. Sounds like a winning recipe to me. Unfortunately, for some reason or another, I lost interest and tucked it away in a dusty corner along with my amassing collection of shiny website accounts I’ll never log into again.

Somewhat recently, the site actually went out of beta and introduced a subscription system alongside. The good news was that previous, beta accounts were all grandfathered in as lifetime accounts. By this point, I had completely forgotten that I’d even registered (I, for one, blame Anki for screwing with my fragile memory) and scratched the site out as a possible learning resource for the near future. One day recently, purely out of curiosity, I tried one of my common login/password combinations and lo and behold, I was in after all! ラッキー。 Since I was in the middle of both brushing up on JLPT 4 and 3 vocabulary, as well as learning JLPT 2 kanji (in context), it seemed like as good a time as any to give this thing another shot.

Now, read the first paragraph of this post again, and you can probably tell how that “test drive” went. To be quite honest, I’m not even sure why I’ve become so hooked to this service, since it hardly differs from a basic SRS. Perhaps one of the key changes is that Learn the Kanji’s flashcard system is far more concerned with cramming a card several times until it’s been answered correctly, rather than a more conservative spaced repetition system where one correct answer pushes the card to the back of the line. I would have thought such a system would bore me to tears, but quite the contrary – I find myself drilling away for hour sessions with hardly a break in my concentration. I’m still not sure why this is, but hey – I’ll take it! I’ve also found (again, contrary to my presumptions) that I’m retaining a lot of what I’m learning, despite this system being more cram-friendly than what I’m used to (though whether this will be true a week or two from now remains to be seen). In short, I’m really digging it.

I’ve begun tracking my progress via the site’s stats. Currently, I’m going over JLPT 4 (ha, I’ve finally mastered you pesky day counters!) and 3 kanji/words, with 2 soon to come. Check it out (safely ignore the hiragana/katakana parts; also note that dark green in the bars signifies well-known items):

The only downside thus far is that my poor ol’ Anki decks have hardly gotten any attention since I’ve begun. I’ll be sure to at least drill my kanji decks, but I have a feeling I’m gonna have a very hard time getting back into reviewing boring ol’ sentences again. Hopefully, I’ve found my replacement for that.

I suppose the other downside is that this baller site is now subscription-based. Luckily, I think it’s very reasonably priced at currently $20 a year – and well worth it. I know that’s easy for me to say as someone lucky enough to have been grandfathered in, but this site definitely has a donation or two in its future. But don’t take my word for it! This tool may or may not be for everyone; if you’re happy with your current method of study, be it sentence reviewing or whatever else, you’re probably best off sticking with that for now. I, for one, am rarely happy with my study method at any given time, so here I am… and I’m quite happy with this so far. (And no, this isn’t a paid testimonial. I do find it kinda cool that the site’s creator is a resident of my state, though! Gotta support the local talent.)

Assuming I don’t fizzle out, I’ll try and keep a progress log and see how far this site will take me. I’m guessing I’ll hit a rather big bump once I finish up the level 4 and 3 material (most of which I already know well) and enter the trickier JLPT 2 grounds, but that’s exactly the material I’m wanting to learn anyhow. Needless to say, I’m very eager to see how this goes.

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Written by ritobito

March 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm

Posted in kanji

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. Niiiiiiiiiiiiice :) I would like to stick up for poor Anki though – there is a plugin for it called “Learn Mode” which shortens the intervals, for, well, learning. Reckon that’s probably similar to what you described, and I’ve found it quite handy for learning new stuff.

    Eldon Reeves

    March 28, 2010 at 8:54 am


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