Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

22
Jan
08

I’ve Moved!

I’ve acted on my idea for the website. I’ve purchased www.gattsu.net, grabbed some hosting, and setup shop.  I’m currently working on adding the content I desire for the site.  Please go to that site for updates.  I will no longer be updating this blog here.  I am leaving this blog here in case wordpress ever allows me to publish a blog via an rss feed from another site.  Then I’ll just make this site mirror mine.  =)  See you at the new site!

Lance…

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15
Jan
08

A More Helpfull Blog…

I’ve been thinking… Just blogging about my progress is note only unhelpful to others, it’s probably incredibly boring. My original concept for this blog was that it was more for me than anyone else. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that I need to do MORE. You see, Khatzumoto’s Blog is great, and there is a LOT of stuff there, but there isn’t much organization. By this I mean, aside from a few categories, you have to search for what you need. This is good and bad. It is bad because this is time consuming and you can “lose” the viewer if they get bored. On the other hand, this is really good because it forces you to examine articles that you might otherwise have missed. You can see something that catches your eye and learn more. Great stuff.

So what’s the big deal then? Khatzumoto has a great site, and we don’t need another one, right? Right. We don’t need another Khatzumoto site. There are, however, some needs of the community that I believe are not met by Khatzumoto. Specifically, a forum area to share experiences, and more tools to help the community. (Please don’t take this as any sort of criticism of Khatzumoto’s site. He’s doing a great job and there is NOTHING wrong with his site.)

To that end, I think I will change the format here. Over the next few days I will be moving the blog over to my paid web hosting. I will then start running software(probably geeklog) that allows me to impliment some of my plans. if you’d like to help, let me know. More to come…

09
Jan
08

My Game Idea

    I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a game to help people learn Kanji.  See, here’s the general idea.  You pull up the game, and sign in.  The system asks you the highest Heisig RTK Kanji frame number that you know.  You then drop into the game with all the other players.  You are given a Kanji meaning and given 10-15 seconds to write that Kanji on a little drawing pad on the screen using your mouse (or a stylus if you have a touch screen).  Once the time is up, everybody’s drawings are shown to everybody else next to the Kanji they should have drawn, and everyone commences rating the accuracy and penmanship of the other players.  Once all ratings are in, the system shows the winners for the round in 3 categories: accuracy, penmanship, and speed. (The system handles the speed rating.)  The points in each category are added up and the players are ranked according to score for the round.  When a player leaves the game, the system saves their accumulated points.  Each day, week, and month the rankings are updated so a player can see how they fare in relation to other players.  At the end of the month, the “Kanji Champion” is determined.  His or her name go down on the Champion’s list, and everybody’s stats are cleared.

I am so tempted to write this.  It sounds like it could be a LOT of fun.  I *am* a programmer, but my web programming skills have slipped a bit due to disuse.  Perhaps it’s time to dust off the ol’ Perl, PHP, or Java cap and go to work…  I’d be interested to hear your comments, suggestions, and ideas on the game.  Speak up man! (or woman!)

09
Jan
08

Progress, But Will It Work?!

    So… Despite having the new child and being much shorter on time, there has been progress.  I am approaching 200 Kanji memorized!  Heisig’s RTK philosophy is interesting.  Learning the Kanji in English IS easier than learning them in Japanese, I believe, but I’ve been taking a bit of flack from friends and co-workers who doubt that this new way of learning Japanese will work.  Of course, these nay-sayers have never really checked in to “the program”, so they really don’t understand what they are criticizing.

I’ve told several people this, and I’ll say it to all of my happy readers who chance upon the site.  MARK MY WORDS!  In 2 years I will be speaking Japanese, and not the broken Japanese of someone who’s taken a few courses.  REAL Japanese.  I’ll be reading books and fluent.  You just watch.  If after two years I’m not much further than I am now, I’ll eat crow.  Heck, I’ll eat my shoe.  Seriously.  I’ll post pics too.  On the other hand, if all goes well, not only will I be fluent, but my wife, my two sons, and myself will all be living in Japan. (This latter part may take a little longer as I’ve got a lot to learn about what work will be available to me in Japan, and how to go about getting that work.)  So.. on with the show!

24
Dec
07

It’s A Boy!

My apologies for the lack of updates.  My wife gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Wednesday Dec. 19th.  Ryan Nicholas was born at 7:46am, weighed 7.2 pounds, and measured 20.5 inches.  Right now helping my wife is the priority.  I’m still learning Kanji, I’m just not blogging about it.  It’s going a little slower than I would have liked, but thats to be expected.  Take care and Merry Christmas!

17
Dec
07

Immersion

So much to do… So much to do… So I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to immerse myself in all things Japanese. In some ways I’m already there.

  • Music – I’ve been listening to Japanese music at work for months already.
  • TV/Movies – I really don’t watch TV much, and when I do, it’s usually because my wife left Judge Judy on and I’ve just heard somebody on the show utter something amazingly stupid and I’m checking to see if they have a straight face. (They always do…) So anyway, when I do sit down to watch something, it’s usually anime (Although House sucks me in too sometimes). I always watch it in Japanese, though I usually keep the subtitles on. That will have to stop, although if I’m watching with my wife(an anime fan in her own right…) I’ll have to keep them on. For now. (She’s going to start “The System” after she graduates with her nursing degree.) I’ll have to work a little on the TV/Movie thing, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem.
  • Radio – I don’t listen to much radio, and any streaming media is disallowed where I work, so I have to bring what I want to listen to. I occasionally stream Japanese radio at home. That will have to suffice. I haven’t found a Japanese radio station in the Vancouver, WA/Portland, OR area.
  • Computer – I’m a gamer. As long as my games run on Japanese Windows XP, I’ll take the plunge. I have an MSDN license, so I don’t have to pay for it. If my games won’t run on it, then I’ll convert my computer to use as much Japanese as possible. (I know you can get the menus and dialogs in Japanese at the very least.)
  • Websites – I’ll start on this once I’m through the Kanji/Kana phase. With Rikaichan I can sometimes make out the gist of what I’m reading. After 10 minutes. At this point I think it is more wise to read the news in English, and spend the time I saved to learn a couple more Kanji. Once I’m through that phase, things will change. My home page? I don’t have one. I activate the address bar on the start bar and choose the site I want to go to from there. I never open my browser and THEN choose where to go. Why do two steps when I can do it with one step?
  • Friends – I have a few. None of them speak Japanese. I’ll have to work on this one. In the meantime, I’ll take Khatzumoto-san’s advice and listen to podcasts pretending they’re my bestest buddies.
  • Environment – My house is somewhat sparse in terms of pictures/furniture as we’re trying to sell it. What IS there is either Japanese, or Disney inspired. I will make sure the area that I frequent most (My computer desk) is sufficiently Japanese. I’ll even see about getting a Kanji poster up.
  • Floor/Furniture – I’ve been wanting to by a zataku for some time now. Everywhere I have found them they have been expensive as hell. If anybody knows a place that sells these inexpensively, please let me know. I’ll keep looking. As for the futon, that’s not likely. My wife isn’t ready to give up the bed, and I’m not ready to give up the wife. Maybe I’ll buy one to nap on or something and see how it goes.
  • Brain/Thoughts – Going to get my Japanese-Japanese dictionary and prepare to try to think in Japanese per Khatzumoto-san’s admonishments.

Incidentally, this list came from here. The more I read of Khatzumoto-san’s site, the more I see I have to do to get where I’m going. No matter. Keep making sure I’m on the right course and then STAY ON IT. GATTSU!

17
Dec
07

What I’ve Come Up With

    Alright… So I’ve been messing around with things a little bit more, and I think I’ve come to a decision. For now. =) I’m actually surprisign myself with this. I’m going to use JUST the PalmOS portion of Stackz (PalmStackz) for my standard drilling. I’ll also use Anki for Palm OS, which is a flashcard program I’ve used for years. It can do multiple choice, which I think helps a lot when first learning stuff. Finally, I’ve installed and played around with KingKanji and I’ll be trying the 30 day trial of that out. I like not having to carry around pencil and paper to practice my Kanji writing, and KingKanji actually gives me feedback on my Kanji.  I’m planning on doing at least a little pencil work with each Kanji, bujt I’ll do that at home.  My PDA  is where I’ll be doing most of my learning.  Very nice if I do say so myself.  As usual, let me know if all none of you who are reading this have any better ideas.  =)

Once I get through the Kanji phase of the program, I may mix things up again as far as software goes, but this works for me.  So… I’ve done the first lesson of Remembering The Kanji(RTK). And by done I mean I’ve read through it, and I can identify each character on site.  I’m now working on going the other direction.  (See the meaning and write the character.)  I should be moving on to lesson 2 tomorrow.

At this point I’m planning on just seeing how many I can do in a day.  the first 15 were a breeze.  If this keeps up, I think I could do 40-60 a day, given enough time.  And that just may be the deciding factor.  Time.  20, at least, should be no problem, and I can probably pick up the slack during the weekends.  I guess we’ll see.  Assuming I can keep a pace of between 20 and 60 Kanji a day that works out to roughly 1-3 months to learn all the Kanji.  I don’t plan on taking shortcuts to “get it done”, so I’m leaning toward the 3 month figure, but we’ll see if I can keep up a quicker pace or not.