Thursday, January 1, 2009

Clear Light, White Cloud

And goodbye to 2008, a year of historically profound events and personal growth. I never would have dreamed that I could make so much progress in only four months since I started RTK, but here I am, and the future of my Japanese is looking pretty bright. Here's to fluency in 2009... or damn close, anyway.

I spent quite some time today on my sentence deck - probably close to three hours. I didn't have much time yesterday to sentence mine for today's sentences, so that ended up cutting into my review time as well. No matter, the mining process doesn't take very long, so it wasn't a big deal.
The big deal was that, while riding on a high of remembering so many words perfectly, I decided to add dozens of new vocabulary entries as I went through my reviews. On top of a more hefty review pile today, this resulted in a pretty massive amount of vocab, bringing the amount of cards in this deck up to 417. Ouch! I still have 27 vocab cards to review, in fact, and I've already gone through 207 reps.
Presently, though, I still don't think that adding individual words can really hurt things. Vocabulary is easily my weakest area of Japanese yet, so spending some extra time burning these words into my brain will surely (and indeed, already has) pay off. But boy, does it add a lot more work.

I did reach a little landmark today, having completed step 1 of iKnow's core 2000, therefore having covered 200 of the most common Japanese words - sweet. I'm still very much enjoying iKnow's example sentences. I'm considering putting the dictation clip on the answer side, though, as it feels a little cheap to have it on the question side... sometimes giving me a false sense of knowing a word's reading, when in fact I'm a bit clueless without the dictation. 
I've also begun looking away or closing my eyes once I review a card, letting the audio play and seeing whether I can understand the sentence from listening alone, which is certainly a good test of progress.

I have plenty of other ideas regarding how to make the entire progress more efficient, interesting and fun, but for now I'm quite comfortable with what I'm doing currently. In the future I'll move to a fully Japanese answer side and perhaps even a fully hiragana question side as well (forcing me to recall and write the correct kanji), among other things... but that's all still a ways off. One step at a time.

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