Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The power of RTK

Beware, after finishing RTK you won't be able to read any japanese at all.

RTK is not impressive to japanese people. They will tell you that "jyozu desu ne" crap and laught at you behind your back for not being able to read what you write.

But you'll feel the power of RTK while learning japanese. And you'll have the confidence boost of having dominated the 2042 kanji beforehand.

I had the experience of studying japanese without doing RTK before. Over that I'll just say today I enjoy to be able to study japanese with good input, instead of crappy textbook input.

About me

I'm 23 yo, learning japanese for ~4 years already, but until recently with little success.

That's it, until april/17th/2008, when I found out about a blog called "All japanese all the time". It gave me a boost of confidence and everything changed.

In april/18th/2008 I started to go trought Mr Heisig's Remembering the Kanji book, as Kaztumoto sugested. In july/19th/2008, I finished it. Only 3 months.

I skipped the kanas, wich I already knew.

Since july/27/2008 I'm doing sentences.

I notice improvement in my japanese daily.

The first steps into real japanese


Last sunday I started doing sentences.

I still have some trouble with katakana, but carefuly following the rules of writing kanji to write katakana makes them easier to remember.

At first I opened the first chapter of "luck stealer" manga. I found it reaaally hard to read. The lack of kanji and the excess of slang made me realize reading what would be "hard texts" for those that did not have done Heisig would be more apropriated for me.

So I forgot it for a few moments and started to browse trought dictionaries. I first checked out sanseido, then yahoo. And I was lost. So I decided: The first thing I have to get used with is dictionaries.

I started to pick random sentences from the interface of the dictionaries, started with the options in the search field.
The next few hours made me realize how great yahoo japan japanese to english (eiwa) dictionary is. It gives little definition to the words, but it does provide a LOT of sentences.

So I started to put these on my SRS (now I'm using anki). If there was a word I did not knew (pretty much everyone by until now), Id search for it in the dictionary and put more sentences with it.

After putting 70 sentences, I started to drill them. I did some during the sunday. And some during the monday. I'm impressed on how my japanese sense improved just from these 2 days.

I feel like kanji is something totaly different from what I was thinking of it.

Finishing the sentences, I decided to try something different. I went to JLPT 4 vocabulary list and choose 2 words that I tought would be very useful: ageru (raise) and iu (say). I did ageru first. yahoo dictionary presented me about ~50 sentences for it. I choose some simple ones first, than I would only chose sentences that had at least 2 kanji I could not read. After that I did the same with iu, but with iu there were much more sentences to add.

I got reallly impressed on how interesting were this sentences. They are adult sentences (I mean adult japanese, not erotic japanese), with a lot of kanjis and heavy gramatical structures, with a lot of vocabulary. But they are somehow interconnected.

I plan to drill them starting today. Wish me luck.

How to learn the kanji in 3.5 months

I recorded my progress trought Remembering the Kanji, by James Heisig in this thread in Review the Kanji forums: