Archive Page 2

15
Dec
07

Torn Between Two Great Products

    Alright… I’ve put a ton of thought in to the whole SRS thing.  I thought I was totally set on buying Stackz.  I went so far as to place my order, but something just felt all wrong.  So I canceled it.  So then I started looking for a replacement.  The thing is, it’s gotta run on PalmOS.  At first I was going to use an older program called Anki for PalmOS.  (Not to be confused with the free program of the same name that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.)  I already own a copy of it, and somebody had already created the RTK (Remembering The Kana) list for it.  But then I realized it wasn’t a true SRS.  It was just flashcard software.  It doesn’t track your successes and failures and bring the ones your having trouble with up more often.  It just throws them at you in random order and thats it.

So then I hop back to Stackz, but think about purchasing JUST the PalmOS version, which is only $15.  This would be perfect.  But then I remember a small program called KingKanji.  I tried it once a long time ago and thought it would be great to buy if I ever actually start learning Kanji.  So I went to the website, and was really impressed.  You can actually practice stroke order on your PDA and it lets you know how your doing.  I was almost ready to buy.  Then I realized, it was NOT SRS software.  Again, it was just flashcard software.  *sigh*

Well, I think I know what I’m going to do.  I think I’m going to buy the PalmOS version of stackz, and just use paper to practice the actual writing.  If anybody has advice I’d love to hear it.

Lance…

14
Dec
07

The System

I know I said I wasn’t going to document the whole system, but I think some sort of explanation is in order. This will serve to reinforce the process to me, and if my new acquaintance Khatzumoto-san takes a look he can correct my misconceptions. It will also serve as an overview of what I plan to others who may read this blog after the fact and start to become curious about the process being used. So, without further delay, here is “The System”, and the particular way I intend to use it.First, I will mention the steps as outlined by the wonderful folks at Antimoon:

  • Motivation (You can do it! Classes suck! rah! rah!)
  • Dictionary (Get yourself an English to English dictionary with example sentences for every word.)
  • No Mistakes (Learn proper pronunciation. Learn lots of sentences. Speak carefully.)
  • Pronunciation (Learn proper phonetic pronunciation so you can properly sound out unknown words.)
  • Input (Immerse yourself in the language completely. Read, watch movies, and talk in English)

Now the same method as adopted to Japanese by Khatsumoto-san at AllJapaneseAllTheTime:

  • Belief (You can do it! Classes suck! Stick it to the man! Ganbatte!)
  • Equipment (SRS FTW!(For the win!) Shutup and get one. You’ll thank me later.)
  • Kanji (Learn to read/write 2000 Kanji. Here’s a cool book to help. Shutup and buy it. You’ll thank me later.)
  • Kana (Okay now learn the kana writing system. If you did Kanji, this should be EASY! Here’s another cool book to help. Shutup and buy it. You’ll thank me later.)
  • Sentences (Immerse yourself in the language. Learn 10000 sentences. No, I only did 7500 myself, but you’re better than me! When you don’t understand a sentence, write it down. No, in Japanese, fool! Now learn it. No don’t memorize it, just understand it. Yes it makes sense. Shut up and do it. You’ll thank me later.)

Comment: No, as far as I know, Khatzumoto-san is not a jerk. He seems a great guy. Shutup and trust me. You’ll thank me later. =p

Alright, now what does this translate to for me? Well, read on…

  • Belief – I never have or had a problem here. I know I can do it. GATTSU FTW.
  • Equipment – My chosen SMS is Stackz . Yes, it costs money. I chose it because there are PC and Palm OS versions, and you can sync your stackz between them as needed and not lose your place. There are free alternatives available. Khatzumoto-san even wrote one you can use, but I like mine. To each his own I guess.
  • Kanji – I just picked up the book Remembering the Kanji that Khatzumoto-san references on his blog. It looks good. I hope to complete the whole book in 6-12 weeks. My wife is about to have a baby boy(our second), so something tells me I’ll have a lot of thinking/study time on my hand in the near future as I help take care of the new little one. Wish me luck. (With both the new little one and the Kanji!)
  • Kana – I already have a pretty good handle on hiragana and a few katakana. No matter. I’ll buy the book Khatzumoto-san recommends when I am nearing completion of the Kanji guide and do what it says.
  • Sentences – I call this step “immersion”. Essentially I will eat, speak, live, breath, and bleed Japanese every chance I get. I will read Japanese books(simple ones at first), I will read Japanese web sites, I will make fun of Khatzumoto-san in Japanese, and when he throws it right back at me, I’ll learn THAT sentence too! Any time I hear a new word, I will look it up in my dictionary and learn the example sentence. I will watch my entire anime collection in Japanese with no subtitles(Yes, my collection is rather large). I will buy manga and devour them completely. I have joined a Japanese World of Warcraft guild and will ingest every bit of Japanese they throw at me. (Barthilas server, “Nomads” clan, if anybody is wondering. My character is “Hak”, lvl 70 hunter. No h8 responses please. Thank you.) I don’t know how long it will take me to get through this step, but honestly, I don’t think this step ever really “ends” anyway. You just keep learning new things when you hear them, just like in your native language. I will understand and write each of these sentences before moving on. I will then amaze everyone (except Khatzumoto-san) with my ability to speak fluent Japanese.

And that’s it. I have plans for after all of this, but I’ll share those later. Take care.

Lance…

14
Dec
07

GATTSU!

Gattsu is a Japanese adoption of the English word “Guts”. It’s use is (as I understand it) similar to the English usage in the sentence “He’s got guts.”. It’s meaning is about sticking it out through adversity. I think. I chose this name because that is the backbone of my method. Let me explain..

About two years ago a weighed about 240 pounds. I was in poor shape, and had been diagnosed with non-insulin dependent diabetes. I lived with this for a while, but then decided I was not going to be another statistic. I tried various diet plans, and stumbled upon one that seemed right. I committed myself 100% to this diet. I now weigh 195 pounds, and am no longer diabetic. I used “gattsu” to pull myself through the process of losing weight.

Was it easy? No at first. But gradually my habits changed to be in line with my chosen way of eating and losing weight and in time, I naturally made the right decisions. “gattsu” was required early on to keep going. Once I started seeing results, success was enough to keep me on the path.

So… Back to Japanese. I plan on using “gattsu” to learn Japanese. And when I say “learn”, I don’t mean to master a few phrases and some basic grammar. I mean complete and total fluency. I plan to eat, drink, breath, sleep, and live Japanese as much as life will allow, and when I’m done, I’ll be not just conversational, but fluent as any average Japanese adult.

What’s that you say? You say it will take more than “gattsu” to accomplish this? Well, you’re right. I’m not an idiot. I have a plan, and luckily for me, it’s a plan that has worked for others. It’s certainly not a mainstream plan, but it’s one that works 100% of the time for those who stick with it. Here’s the scoop:

Some time ago there were a couple guys in Poland that set out to learn English. They decided that endless hours of studying grammar in classrooms settings is not going to make them “fluent”. I mean, how can you speak quickly and naturally if you have to spend precious moments thinking about your sentence structure? So they devised an unorthodox way of learning. They learned to read and pronounce English first. They essentially learned to properly sound out words they saw in English. They then got in to English by reading, by watching movies, and by playing games, all in English. When they came across a sentence they didn’t know, they would write it down and learn it. Learning it does not mean they picked apart the sentence to learn its grammar. Rather, they strove to understand the meaning of the sentence. In time, as they continued to do this, they started to grok (grasp) English intuitively. Sentences that they had never seen or heard made sense to them. Their minds were learning English the same way a child born to English speaking parents would. Through learning, listening, repeating, and a little experimentation.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this. Does a 3-4 year old child know what a verb, or a noun is? Did somebody sit down with them, throw endless amounts of vocabulary words and make them read tightly packed definitions and examples of grammar and proper usage? No. They listened. Their sentences at first were simple. But they built on that. They learned “want cookie”. They then figured out that they could say “want milk” and get milk, or whatever they wanted. They learned “I” meant me, and figured out they could say “I want a cookie”. Their knowledge continued to increase and build upon what went before until eventually they became fluent English speaking adults.

You might be thinking “That took them years and years to accomplish!”. You’re right, but guess what? I have a distinct advantage. I’m already an adult. I already have an understanding of basic and advanced concepts of life. I don’t have to learn what rain is. I don’t have to learn how to walk while I figure all this out. I know all that. I just have to learn Japanese. Mark my words. Two years from now, I’ll be speaking Japanese fluently.

Still don’t believe me? Check out the web site that documents their way of doing things: Antimoon

STILL don’t believe me? Check out the web site of Khatzumoto-san, the guy who learned fluent Japanese in 18 months using the system: AllJapaneseAllTheTime

STILL don’t believe me? Fine. Go sign yourself up for a class somewhere or something. We’ll see who’s speaking fluently first.

Think there may be something to this? Read on. I plan on documenting what I do. At this point I’m not going to tell you the steps involved. That is well covered on the two web sites listed above. Instead, I’m going to tell you specifically what I do, and how things are going. I’ll record my discoveries here, and maybe those will help the next person.

This web site is for me too. I find that documenting things like this helps me get through. It helps me stick to it, and occasionally, somebody reads it and gives support, or ideas, or whatever. Thats great stuff.

I do have one word of warning. This blog will not be all in English. As a matter of fact, by the end of it, it will be completely in Japanese. I may translate portions of it for the purposes of showing non-Japanese speakers where I ended up, but for now, it behooves me to use as much Japanese as possible. My apologies to those who wish to follow my adventures but can’t because they can no longer understand them. That’s a ways away, but it will happen. Until then, enjoy the English. =)

Well… Here I go… Since nobody else is reading this, I’ll say it to myself: GANBATTE!