Posts Tagged ‘Japanese


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!



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!


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.