Last month I created a post about my goal to learn all 2042 kanji in the book Remembering the Kanji. I set a goal of December 31 as my finish date. With only two months to finish, I had to learn about 35-40 Kanji a day in order to make the deadline. With only 12 days to go will I finish in time?
The simple answer is no. I currently sit at about 1300 kanji and will have learned about 1500-1600 by the end of December. Unfortunately, there were days I wasn’t able to study and that put me behind schedule. Am I disappointed? Definitely not. In fact, I think this is a great example of why setting big goals and falling short can be a lot better than setting small goals and achieving them.
Learning 35-40 Kanji a day is a huge task. Instead, let’s say that I had been more reasonable and tried to learn 5 or 10 kanji a day. Still a formidable project. Even if I had succeeded I would only have learned 300-600 kanji. Not to mention that 10 kanji a day would take 200 days, and 5 a day would take over a year. I would be much more likely to give up.
Being at 1300 kanji, and knowing that I am over halfway there is a great feeling. It gives me the motivation I need to keep going. I’m nearly 70% there. Had I done 10 a day I would only be about 25% of the way.
Set goals that you have to strive for and try your best to accomplish them. In the end, even if you don’t achieve them you will be much further along than if you had chosen a much easier goal.
Here are some things for you to try. Just fill in the blank with a number that seems too much and try to accomplish it.
Study ________ new Japanese words a day.
Watch _______ hours of Japanese TV/Movies a day.
Speak to a native Japanese speaker _________ hour every day.
Learn _________ new Japanese phrases every day for 10 days.
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.
If you are following along and study the kanji as well, please post a comment talking about your experience.
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
This is just a mini-update to let you know that I am still on track for Remembering the Kanji. I have been doing it for a total of 4 days now and am up to 234 kanji. In order to finish in time I need to continue to study at least 33 kanji per day. I am planning to continue at about 50 or so a day for at least the next couple of days, so that number should go down. At this point retention is still very good and I am not having any trouble with this many each day. I spent about 1 hour total today.
For those having trouble remembering the kanji after you’ve learned it, don’t focus on the writing. Instead, spend more time visualizing the story. It will make writing it much easier.
Also, be sure to check out the latest post I made about exporting lists into Anki. A tip to help you study more Japanese words faster: Using Imiwa’s Export Function to Get More Japanese Words
Does learning the kanji sound like fun to you? You can find what you will need to do the same thing here: Remembering 2042 Kanji in 58 Days
Is it possible? Many of you are probably thinking no! However, there are others who have done it. I won’t be the first. I should point out that I wouldn’t recommend this method for everyone. I have a lot of experience with kanji, I studied Japanese in the US, attended Waseda University in Tokyo, and currently live in Japan. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken the time to learn all 2042 kanji and make sure that I can recall and write them whenever I want.
I’ve decided that NOW is that time!
I calculated that to reach my goal of 2042 kanji in
58 57 days that I need to study at least 36 kanji per day. I actually started yesterday, and studied 52 yesterday and 52 today. So two days and I am now at 104 Kanji. For the first couple hundred I will probable keep this pace to give myself a little leeway at the end.
So what better time than to learn the kanji than to study along with me!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Remembering the Kanji 1: I did a full review on this book and was really impressed with the method it uses to teach kanji. You can get it here. (Purchasing using this link helps support this site.
- Anki: We will be using this to review the kanji and make sure we are remembering them correctly. The full set of RTK cards can be downloaded from their site.
- Reviewing the Kanji: I recommend an account here so that you can check out different stories for help (This will make more sense to you once you start). The downloadable card set in Anki already contains the links.
- Kanji Poster: Recommended if you want to see the kanji all in one place. Cool to have, but not really necessary to reach our goal. (Link also helps support this site).
How to Study Kanji for this project
- Choose your finish date, and then divide the number of kanji by the number of days you have left. In my case 2042 kanji/58 days=36 kanji per day.
- Study the Kanji using the Remembering the Kanji book.
- Review the kanji you have learned in Anki. I usually wait at least a couple of hours before reviewing.
- Mark off or highlight kanji you know on the kanji poster (not necessary, but will help give me a visual of my progress)
- Rinse and repeat, until you have conquered all the kanji.
- Make sure you continue to study Anki and also use your learned kanji to read Japanese.
So, in order to stay motivated, lets do it together! I will be posting about my progress, and please feel free to leave comments or questions about yours.