Remembering the Kanji in 58 Days (Day 25)

It has been a few days since my last update, but I wanted to let everyone know that I am still studying kanji everyday. There are a few days that I wasn’t able to study (attending a friend’s wedding, busy work days), but for the most part I have stayed on track.

As of yesterday I was up to 835 Kanji and will finish today at about 870. That puts me very close to my target of completing the entire Remembering the Kanji book in 58 days.

I also have a few tips for using this book to study Japanese.

  • The stories are important. So when you get to the part where you have to make up your own, make sure you create a very visual story and don’t just skip though the meanings.
  • Focus when you are learning the stories. If your attention is divided you most likely won’t remember the kanji later.
  • Pay attention to the kanji when you are learning Japanese words for your normal study. The more reinforcement you have of seeing the kanji the better.
  • Don’t get overwhelmed. If you feel like you are going too fast and it’s too much, slow down.
  • Use the Glossary in the back or a kanji poster to mark off and see your progress. It will also give you one more chance at recognition.
  • Lastly, set your goal. It may seem like you will never finish, but if you have a goal, it is much easier to move forward.

頑張りましょう!

If you are following along and study the kanji as well, please post a comment talking about your experience.

Common Japanese Words: You Need to Know

You have been studying Japanese and learning lots of Japanese words. But what if you are heading to Japan and don’t have time to study or remember a lot of Japanese words? Well, I would say that there is always time if done efficiently, but just in case, here is a list of words that you must know.

I wanted to keep the list small and have decided to limit it to just 10 words. A Japanese words survival list if you will. If you can remember these words, then you should at be able to take care of your basic needs. They might not get you much further, but at least you will be able to get to the bathroom.

I should note that the grammar below is not complete. It is written for someone who only knows these ten words to get by.

1. Doko (どこ)-where

Knowing how to say where is really important. Especially if this is your first time to Japan. Just add the place name in front of this: Restaurant doko?

2. Ikitai (いきたい) -I want to go to

Similar to doko, but this allows you to tell someone where you want to go: Station ikitai.

3. Sumimasen (すみません)-Sorry, excuse me。

This word can be extremely useful because of all of the ways it can be used. Mainly, you can use it to say “sorry” or “excuse me”.

4. Ikura (いくら)-How much

You will most likely be buying things. This allows you to ask how much.

5. Otearai (おてあらい)-Bathroom

You will definitely want to remember this one. You can combine it with number one for: otearai doko?

6. Arigatou (ありがとう)-Thank you

This is the short form of thank you (thanks), but it is easy to say and easier to remember than the more polite arigatou gozaimasu.

7.  Byouin (びょういん)-Hospital

This one is a bit of a no brainer. You can combine it with ikitai or doko to help you actually get there?

8. Tabetai (たべたい)-Want to eat

Not quite hungry, but about as close as you can get with one word. Also allows you to say what you want to eat: sushi tabetai!

9. Nomitai (のみたい)-Want to drink

Same as above, but for drinking. Omizu (water) nomitai.

10. Eigo (えいご)-English?

Said with a rising voice this will mean “can you speak English?” More and more people can these days, so it might be helpful if you need some help.

*Bonus 1. Speak English slowly- A lot of Japanese words now days are English words. speak slowly and enunciate clearly and they will likely understand.

**Bonus 2. Write it down-Japanese are required to study English from middle school (now elementary school) and actually have a pretty good understanding of grammer.  Write it down and they will likely understand.

As I mentioned before, this definitely isn’t a complete list, and it is more for someone who has no experience with Japan. These words should help you get the basics, but not much more. On the plus side, anyone should be able to remember 10 words on the flight over. You could also print them out and stick it in your pocket.

Now’s your chance to tell me: what words would you put in your top 10 words you have to know.

For a much longer list of words see here: common Japanese words

You can also find a downloadable list here: 1000 Japanese words

 

Remembering the Kanji in 58 days:Day 5

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Highlighted have been learned

 

I finished my 5th day today and am currently at 299 kanji. I had about 50 reviews plus the new cards I studied today. All together it still took me about an hour. Finding and marking the kanji off the kanji poster took far more time. However, I have to say that the kanji poster has been very helpful. It has forced me to recognize the kanji to make sure I know meaning.

Now that the kanji are starting to pile up a little, it is more important than ever to focus on the stories and really imagine them. I studied in the car today while waiting for my wife in the store. It was easy to get distracted and I realized later that I didn’t remember those kanji as well. Make sure you seclude yourself and really focus. Don’t try to go too fast.

In case you missed the start of this program you can read about how to do it yourself here: Learning 2042 Kanji in just 58 Days

Using Imiwa’s Export Function to Get More Japanese Words

I have been using Imiwa as my primary Japanese dictionary for some time now. However, it wasn’t until just recently that I started taking care of a very useful feature to make learning Japanese words that much easier: Export list (E-mail CSV).

Here’s the way it works:

Each time you look up a word there is a little star that you can click on to add it to your favorites. I do this with any word I look up and think is common enough that I will use it. If you click on lists, there is an option to e-mail csv. This list can then be directly loaded into Anki. This will save you a lot of time putting the Japanese words into Anki so you can spend more time actually studying them.

I recommend that you then delete the list so you don’t end up with any duplicates. Anki is supposed to check for duplicates, but I like to keep things simple. Not to mention that when the list gets too big, it is mostly unusable anyways. Too many words without a search function.

Not using Anki? You can get it here: Anki

You can find Imiwa here: Imiwa

 

Japanese Words and Anki

Learning Japanese words is definitely the foundation to learning Japanese. I’m not saying that grammar isn’t important, but words are the basic building blocks. If you know words you can still communicate. It may not be pretty, but you can probably get them to understand. You need words to convey all the details of what you want to say. So it goes without saying that the more words you know, the better you will be able to explain your thoughts in more detail and more completely. Anki can help you learn more Japanese words.

If you are reading this article and thinking “what is Anki”, check out this pst on how to Anki to study Japanese: Anki. Simply put, it’s a program that helps you schedule when to study words at the best time. Basically, it maximizes your study time. It’s a great Japanese study tool and it’s free!

So how should you use it?

Anki is a pretty amazing program with lots and lots of features. It will really let you micromanage your Japanese words if you so choose. I recommend that you play around with the options to see what suits you best.

There are three simple recommendations that I have to get the most out of the program.

1.  Add both the word and the sentence you found it in on the front of the card. You don’t have to translate the Japanese sentence, but it will help you remember where you found it and also to read it in context. A lot of times seeing the sentence will help you remember the meaning. The more connections to this word in your brain the better.

Ex:

Front:

くるま

車が大好きです。

Back:

Car

2. Use kanji for the sentence. This will help you get used to seeing the kanji and improve your recognition. It may seem difficult at first, but it does get easier the more you see it.

3. Study everyday! This is the last tip, but it is really the most important. In order for Anki to work well you need to study when the cards come up. If you only study once a week or every couple days you are not really getting the benefit of Anki. You have to study the words when Anki tells you to.

Bonus tips: Make sure you are studying the most common Japanese words. I spent two semesters in college learning Japanese that I couldn’t use. After two semesters I could barely complete a greeting. Make sure you study common words that are actually used.

 

Japanese Videos of Nagano

During my trip to Tokyo and Nagano I took a ton of video. My ideas was to use this video to show you some different places in Japan, teach some Japanese words, and show a bit of Japanese culture. What I didn’t think about so much, was that all the HD video I took would be almost un-editable to my 4 year old computer. The video editing program I used just couldn’t keep up and it would skip several frames at a time.

However, I still wanted to make the Japanese videos, so I ordered some memory and am now back in business. It is still slow going (rendering a 5 minute video takes about 4 hours), but it is doable.

At the moment I am rendering a really cool tunnel I found in Nagano. In the meantime, I have already put up a few videos of some very beautiful parks I visited.

You can find them here:

Japanese Video

Japanese Park