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.
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.
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.
I recently made a video showing how to install and use Anki. If you aren’t using Anki (or something like it), then you definitely want to check out the video and get it as soon as possible. It will help you learn much, much faster.
Also, I will be posting more videos of stuff here in Japan more often so please subscibe if you are interested.
Over the last month I have been pretty busy with a number of things including the holiday season, working as a volunteer diver to remove おにひとで (devil starfish) to protect the coral, and just work in general that have kept me away from my Japanese study. It has also caused me to write less on Japanese Words. Though I hate to admit it, I have barely touched Anki in over 3 weeks (at this point I am almost afraid to look).
On the good side, this is actually a good topic on Japanese study to cover.
I have mentioned before that it is best if you can study at least a little bit every day. However, no matter how diligent I am, there are times when I tend to miss my study for one reason or another. So what should you do when you get off track?
The first step is to realize that you will get off track. Once you realize this you will be able to plan for it. Basically, create a back up plan. If you miss a day you will study an additional 10 minutes each day for a week. Or if you like, and can find the time, you could do a longer intensive session. Study an additional hour tomorrow. Just be careful not to burn yourself out.
If you are unable to study for a longer period of time, then try to substitute your regular study with something you can do. Watch movies in Japanese, read Japanese on the internet during your break, download some Japanese podcasts to play in your mp3 player or listen to them while you drive to work.
In my case, I am living in Japan and use Japanese on a daily basis. And while I prefer to study each day, I do get a lot of “Japanese time” even if I am not studying. By volunteering for the diving I have exchanged some study time for some speaking practice.
One last piece of advice is to continue to put Japanese words in Anki (or whatever you are using to learn new words) even if you don’t have the time to study. This will help make sure that you don’t forget and keep growing your list.
And of course, if you have been putting off your study, then there is no better time to start than now! I guess that goes for me too!
Let me know if you have any special methods that you use to keep yourself on track and how they work out for you.
The most popular post on JapaneseWords.net has been 1000+ Japanese Words List. As the title suggests, the post contains a list of over 1000 common Japanese Words and Kanji. I am proud to announce that the list has just gotten much better.
This list is available for Anki and Mnemosyne. In addition to making the list usable in Anki and Mnemosyne, it is divided into multiple lists (English to Hiragana, Hiragana to English, English to Kanji, etc). The ability to use Anki will allow you to study over 1000 common words and kanji in a very efficient manner.
I have included two files below. One is in “mem” format (Mnemosyne format) and the other in txt format. Either one can be imported into Anki.
When dealing with a list of this size it can be a little bit overwhelming. Setting up a study schedule and a goal will prove to be very helpful. For instance, you might try to learn 5 or 10 new words a day. Or choose the date of completion and then figure out the number of words you will need to remember each day!