The "I just finished RTK3, please follow me" thread

I finished yesterday. wahooooo
Finished RTK3 and the name kanji from this thread.

Now it's time to get to AJATT!
Oh happy day! I'm done! Now I can spend more time on the fun stuff.

Not that RTK was completely unenjoyable. Some people's stories were damn funny. I found it quite satisfying writing my own stories too.

My 5 worst Kanji (hopefully writing them here will help me remember them Smile):

My 6 best Kanji:

And here are my deck stats from Anki (for the stat freaks):

EDIT: Nope sorry got rid of the stats as I don't think they are important, and I don't think you should focus on them. I have realised that quantitative, extrinsic motivational factors like pass rate, no. mature cards etc are bad and can take your focus away from the Kanji themselves. It is much better to be intrinsically interested in learning Kanji: having fun with stories, seeing them in native sources etc. and to not be discouraged when you make mistakes.

Good luck to all those still going!
Edited: 2010-01-25, 8:28 pm
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Finished RTK3 today!

Thanks to this website and everyone's wonderful stories I was able to finish 3007 kanji.
Thanks to Katsuo ,Megaqwerty,mantixen for your great stories. Especially, Katsuo you had stories for pretty much all the kanji above 2042. Good stuff! ファブリス, again thanks for maintaining the website!

There are many kanji in RTK3 that are useful, so good luck to everyone who is studying or considering attempting going beyond 2042!
Finished! Next: KO2001 with Anki, 10 cards a day, readings+vocabulary+grammar.

MJATT: Most Japanese All The Time!

Thanks to: Khatz for the Twitter stream full of motivation, Fabrice for such a great web site, Katsuo for his wonderful stories, all of you for being here to kick my ass when I wanted to stop.
Edited: 2010-02-02, 4:29 am
Finished RTK3 + some extra kanji to stop at 3128. It feels great to finish what I set out to do.

Book 1 took me 5 years to complete. I got it freshman year of college, and stopped and restarted 3 times. I finally did it for real starting last February. I finished RTK1 last December, and began RTK3 in January. In other words, I completed RTK3 in only a month and a half (and I know them all very well). The momentum kept up the whole way through, and my ability to write memorable stories got progressively better as I continued.

My one tip for everyone is to make sure that the key word is planted at the beginning of your story. It's far easier for your brain to latch on to the key word, and then extrapolate from there.

Have faith in yourself! Don't let people's viewpoints on kanji (it's hard! waawaa!) discourage you. It's possible and you can do it!
Finished! 10 months for RTK 1 & 3 plus bits of 2. Why does it feel like I'm just starting?
ongakugaku Wrote:Finished! 10 months for RTK 1 & 3 plus bits of 2. Why does it feel like I'm just starting?
There's always more kanji to know...
But knowing 3007 is enough to get you a kanji coverage of 99.998888677777
Ah, I almost forgot to brag about finishing RTK3 Wink. Yup, I'm done and it took me about a month just as scheduled (two days overdue though). As expected, it was a lot of fun doing RTK3. The motivation for starting with RTK3 was due to the new characters to be included in the 'general-use' list. Now I gotta do the few that's not included in neither RTK1&3.. For everybody else who come this far -- well done.
[25/11/10 - RTK 一+三+補 DONE]

Saludos a todos. Please go grab some koohii and a box of Pocky or two, because I’m gonna share with you my (too long; didn’t read) story of Japanese and kanji learning. WARNING: English writing practice and possible grammar errors ahead!

Ok, 3 ½ years ago I decided to learn Japanese, so I enrolled to the ‘Japanese 1’ course in my University. During that semester we learned the hiragana and katakana, some basic grammar, and watched an episode of Densha Otoko (yay!). Next semester, on ‘Japanese 2’, half of the students from the previous course left (lolwut?) and we were finally introduced to Kanji, and the “grinding system” associated with it. I believe most of you are familiar with this system, which goes something like this:

1. Look at a kanji that usually has no relationship whatsoever with the others you have drilled so far.
2. Memorize its stroke order and readings in Japanese and Spanish (English in your case)
3. Drill the kanji (write it over and over and over and over and...) like 20 times or so.
4. Repeat from step 1 for other 15 kanji.
5. Get frustrated about hardly remembering any kanji you drilled before kanji 15, except for ‘sun’, ‘tree’, and some weird thing that had like ‘drops’ at the side and like a fishing net on the other.
6. Repeat this process in each lecture.

As going through this stuff each class wasn’t exactly the funnest activity, I didn’t exactly hate it. It was more like a necessary chore, like doing the dishes or cleaning your toilet. However, our unfortunate partners of the other groups of ‘Japanese 2’ had to turn in complete drills for homework before every class, and had kanji exams very frequently, which made them actually HATE kanji.

Now, keep executing that system for ‘Japanese III, IV and V’... and what you get? 155 kanji from the Shin Nihongo no Kiso book supposedly known by us. Get this: 155 in 5 semesters. Just 155 kanji in 2 ½ freaking years!!! And how many kanji you need to know to be considered barely literate? 1945!!! Asdkadfafjlfalkfjalfjldajfla D: “Wow, no wonder why the Japanese have to study kanji during all their school lives to get at least close to that number”, I though to myself back then.

SO... now that there were no more Japanese courses to take (In Japanese V there were only like 5 persons left, including me... so no Japanese VI), but I was still determined to learn Japanese some way or another, I had two choices: Ask my mum and/or uncle to pay me classes on the “Asian languages institute” on top of my OVERPRICED university tuition OR, use the resources the university offered in order to learn Japanese by myself... so I went with the latter.

I tried using “Tell me more” for Japanese... got bored within 7 minutes of using the software and left Sad And then, I did what most of us do in our lives when doubt arises: we consult google!! So I typed “learn japanese online” or something like that, and after checking one site after another after another after another... I stumbled with a website that... as christian as it may sound (I’ve been there D: )... changed my life. In it, Khatz talks about learning any language how you learned your mother language: through immersion (which is how I learned most of my English too, actually). Reading through the site I confirmed stuff that I already knew, but also found stuff simply shocking, eye-opening and more than simply ‘motivational’ (‘Are you the world’s b**ch?’ is my personal favorite post of his).

Well, the thing is that I decided to follow the AJATT method. After preparing my “mental stage”, I started working with Kanji in January I believe. So I got ‘Remembering the Kanji I’ and downloaded Anki. Khatz mentioned some website called ‘Reviewing the kanji’, but I didn’t pay attention to it.

So, there I was, working through RTK 1 with my kanji deck just by myself. I would come up with a story for a kanji, but I wouldn’t write it; I would just trust that I would remember it once I saw the keyword (MISTAKE!). Massive card fails, but I still kept going like that, doing my reps and learning 10 to 20 kanji each day until I reached frame 1100... and stopped. I stopped working on RTK (and stopped going to the gym among other things) because UNIVERSITY IS MOAR IMPORTUNT THAN LIFE, DUHRRRR. CRAM CRAM CRAM CRAM CRAM... -_-U

So, “summer” (no seasons in Colombia :c ) vacations came by, and it was my chance to catch up on my reviews... and practice English... and practice Java and C++... and going to the gym... and immerse more in Japanese... and get a job... AAAAAAAND I did NONE of those things and just passed most of my vacations watching youtube videos in English (long live to “overwhelm paralysis”, yay!!!). Well, I actually managed to re-read aaaaall kanji from the beginning of the book, form frame 1 to 1100... like, in order to compensate for not doing anything during CRAM time and vacations, and to prepare to keep reviewing on the next semester (THIS semester)... 9_9

SOOOOO, I kept reading AJATT and decided to check out that “Reviewing the kanji” website... something that I considered really awesome was that you could share stories with all other users on the site, so after reading through the ‘learn more’ section I decided to give it a try... and it was absolutely worth it!!! I still had to go through a loooooong process of “adaptation”, which consisted in:

1. Adding 1100 cards.
2. Reviewing 30 to 50 cards a day from the blue stack until empty, always clearing up the orange stacks each day.
3. Then start studying the cards from the FAILED stack! (Which had about 900!! O_O)
4. Re-study 15 to 20 cards from the red pile a day, incorporating my own stories or stories of others (yayness!)
5. Keep going until the EPIC FAIL pile was finally cleared up. At that point I decided to write each kanji when reviewing, first in paper and then in my LG cookie.
6. AND FINALLY... start learning all kanji beyond the 1100 mark!!

At that point, I decided to incorporate a ‘tip’ given by Khatz regarding the Kanji reviews but that I discarded as “cheating”: “Have the keyword AND the story on the front of the card!!”. I decided to experiment and give it a try... and right now, I am convinced that it works pretty well. Consulting the story for the kanji isn’t actually cheating, because you still have to recreate the whole kanji from memory. There’s no use in knowing that when ‘spiderman’ goes VERTICAL it’s hard to ‘accompany’ him, when you forgot that you are ‘going’ to ACCOMPANY the ‘horny’ girl to her room in order to ‘mend’ her. You still have to know well enough each element in order for the story to work it’s magic. AND, once you have read (or failed!) the same story a number of times, it will stick in your memory for a long time, and you’ll be able to recall it quickly form just the keyword.

A problem I found is that relying on too simple stories for describing “not that interesting to you” kanji doesn’t help with retention (like say, that the ‘Villa’ is a *robust flower*). The more vivid you “experience” a story, the better the chance that it will stick. SO yeah... I was one of the users that kindly asked Fabrice to hide the kanji picture on the story popup of the review section... I was tired of having to place my cellphone on the picture to check the story every time Sad

Ok, Y ENTONCES, after hitting the 1100 mark, after incorporating the “cheating” tip that made reviews easier (but NOT less effective IMO), after deciding I wanted to go through all the 3030 Heisig kanji (3007 books 1 & 3 + 23 new jōyō) before moving on to sentences, after writing my story for kanji 1515 [forces], and after finally getting my LG cookie signed by the snake (finally got there at a steady pace of 20 new kanji/day and clearing ALL the orange stacks each day)..................

Well... let’s just say that I made the decision of using my time on what is ACTUALLY worth to me, and not what OTHERS DECIDED is worth for me... and given that Japanese is totally worth to me, I decided to go on a final burst, and end RTK 3 (a.k.a the biology lesson!!) and the supplement before December. And guess wud... two days ago, at a pace of 50 kanji/day (and 130 on the final day, lol) and 180+ reviews on the orange stacks per day, I achieved a feat that I strongly believe that NOBODY in Colombia has ever achieved: Finishing RTK 一+三+補. Maybe a small handful of Colombians have dared to study 3030+ kanji during their LIFETIMES using the good ol’ kanji grinding system, I dunno... but learning to write 3030 japanese characters in less than one year compared to 155 in 2.5 years... would be unbelievable to them, but it’s now perfectly natural to me.

It really makes me wonder why if such effective methods for learning exist in our world (like Heisig and the use of SRS), they are not widespread. Why does schools and universities, which are supposedly to be headquarters of research and knowledge improvement, settle for such ineffective methods of “learning”? (CRAMCRAMCRAMCRAMCRAM ¬_¬) To me, this only proves that if you want truly learn something, and learn it efficiently, you can't count on schools; you have to do it yourself... and with the help of great networks and communities, like this one!!! Big Grin

Pues si... that’s my story folks. A random Colombian guy that wanted to learn japanese, and managed to work through the writing of a quantity of japanese characters that most others have to work through their entire lives (if that). Of course I’m no kanji master yet, and although I’m done with the Heisig books, I know that the process of reviewing actually goes forever and ever; it is never ending, but... right now, I know I can write a bloody lot more kanji that my poor peers at the University, who had to settle for less than 150 kanji after years of cramming.

Now, before I thank you all for being pure awesome sauce, I want to ask Fabrice for the following: Dear Fabrice, if you are reading this, can you pleasepleasepleasepleaseporfavorplease add the following in the site for us, RTK 3+SUP. finishers??

1. A “Congratulations, you finished RTK 1 & 3” message on the progress screen.
2. The addition of: 嗅喩訃楷諧錮恣惧憬拉籠傲踪緻璧摯貪慄辣瘍哺鬱羞 into the “addable” flashcards, for a total of 3030!
3. Can this topic become a "sticky"?? Big Grin

Well, I might have been able to “finish” this project only with Anki, but I’m truly thankful for giving this site a chance. Thank you all. Thank you for sharing your stories, your tips, thoughts, and for making it until the end of the book. Thank you Fabrice. Thank you James Heisig. And thank YOU for reading my story!!

Gracias a todos!!! And Fabrice, I promise to donate to your great site once I get the resources of doing so. Te lo prometo!! Big Grin

PD: Go here for some lulz:
Edited: 2010-11-27, 2:55 pm
Thanks for sharing your experiences. Please repost the suggestions for the website in the Feedback forum, as this is easier for me to keep track of (I have a RSS feed, and thus also a local copy of the Feedback posts).

Oh, and congratulations!
ファブリス Wrote:NeoGlitch: thanks for sharing your experiences. Please repost the suggestions for the website in the Feedback forum, as this is easier for me to keep track of (I have a RSS feed, and thus also a local copy of the Feedback posts).
Yes sir!! And thank you for reading! Smile
NeoGlitch Wrote:Well, I might have been able to “finish” this project only with Anki
Could you also answer these, in the Feedback post I mentionned above?

* Could you elaborate briefly on what prevented you from finishing your goal on this site (assuming you're talking about kanji reviews only)?

* Also could you elaborate on that kanji set?
@NeoGlitch Congratulations! And thank you for sharing your story, it was very inspiring and thought-provoking with respect to my own studying process. After reading about the "grinding system" I thought "Man, I'm so glad I discovered RtK early in my studies of Japanese, without having gone through years of painstaking drilling!" Then I recalled exactly why I discovered RtK so early (about three months after I first said "Why don't I learn Japanese"): as I said in another thread, I was in a bit of a love-hate relationship with Japan and its culture. Basically, I was thinking "I would love to be fluent and literate in Japanese, but it's just not worth it if I have to do rote memorisation for a decade just to achieve functional literacy - I don't love Japan that much". Which is why I started looking for a quick and sneaky way of learning kanji and stumbled upon RtK. Thinking about this led me to an ironic conclusion: if I was as fascinated with Japan back then as I am now I would most probably have decided to persevere with the traditional methods, which would inevitably lead me to burnout and right back to Japanophobia Smile
Muchas gracias por la inspiración, NeoGlitch先輩!
Just finished RTK3! (no reading though - only writing and meaning). Damn, it feels good.

It took me 6 months to get through RTK1, and 3 weeks to do the 1000 Kanji from RTK3 (1300+ kanji in the last month). I finally figured the best way to learn the new cards for me (and spent a long time on it).

It felt really good to see the "Learn more" button in Anki grayed out. Really good.

Now it is time to celebrate with some cool yogurt milk!

RTK3 - finished (the type of finished where you have only just began).
Congratulations! I hope to be there soon Smile
mafried Wrote:Congratulations! I hope to be there soon :)
Thanks! I recommend setting a date when you will be finished. At the start of RTK3, I set a bit under 2 months to get it done. Then after the first couple of days I realised I was going really fast, so I cut it to 3 weeks. I missed the goal (by one day), but now I am finished and so it is all good. :)
Boy.pockets Wrote:
mafried Wrote:Congratulations! I hope to be there soon Smile
Thanks! I recommend setting a date when you will be finished. At the start of RTK3, I set a bit under 2 months to get it done. Then after the first couple of days I realised I was going really fast, so I cut it to 3 weeks. I missed the goal (by one day), but now I am finished and so it is all good. Smile
Well I'm still in RTK-1, but I've had the same experience. I've lost track how many times I've failed at learning the Joyo kanji, but this time through I set a firm date (end of feb) and it's working wonders. I'm now two weeks in, on frame 800, and speeding along. Hopefully in a few months I'll post to this thread again Smile
mafried Wrote:
Boy.pockets Wrote:
mafried Wrote:Congratulations! I hope to be there soon :)
Thanks! I recommend setting a date when you will be finished. At the start of RTK3, I set a bit under 2 months to get it done. Then after the first couple of days I realised I was going really fast, so I cut it to 3 weeks. I missed the goal (by one day), but now I am finished and so it is all good. :)
Well I'm still in RTK-1, but I've had the same experience. I've lost track how many times I've failed at learning the Joyo kanji, but this time through I set a firm date (end of feb) and it's working wonders. I'm now two weeks in, on frame 800, and speeding along. Hopefully in a few months I'll post to this thread again :)
Good luck! - I will keep an eye out!
Just finished RTK3 after only a few months at a pace of 20 a day! This is probably not really a big deal on this forum what with all the overachievers on here but since I took 17 months to finish RTK1, I am really pleased with myself. Thanks for the stories everyone, I never ever could have done this by myself. I think throughout the whole thing I only came up with 5 stories by myself so I am in no way exaggerating when I say that Smile
Yay, just finished! (RTK1+RTK3+サプリ and a few random kanji that that I've encountered) 3039 Kanji!! Thank to all the people who wrote their stories, and this site for making it possible.
Finally added my last kanji. Yay. A big thanks for everyone stories, especially astridrops (where are you?), and 鰹 for his solid contributions (all around).

Overall it was easier than I'd expected. It took me about a month and a week. If you want to tackle it too, my advice is don't do it right after rtk1 (like ta12121 said to me once): let it simmer. A year was optimal for me (almost no burnout factor), but I'm probably not objective. Yes, it's a time consuming task, but there are a few advantages: an even greater mastery over RTK1 kanji (needed to get the job done), and the ability not to panic in front of old/unknown characters (which I did a lot).

As a celebration, I bought my very own copy of DOBJG (which I should have bought ages ago, I know). Plus my birthday was a few days ago, I'll soon resume school with good people, the moon is shining. Life is good. Smile
Edited: 2011-09-25, 4:09 pm
Congrats Eratik, Es2kay and the others!

I finished RTK3. I wanted to say thank you to because this site and its dedicated members and stories helped me get this far. Today I finished the kanji #3007 using the Anki Public Deck "RTK-Ultima" which was perfect because I learned a lot of sample readings with that deck.

All in all, I feel better; but now on to the next goal ---- reading books! Harry Potter and a couple of Final Fantasy novels are now my next target.

Once again... Congratulations. And to those still working on RTK1/2/3; remember... Dont give up! Its so worth it. It took me 6 months to finish RTK1 and 6 months to finish RTK3 (with a lot of breaks, getting married, life changes). My goal was 75-150 kanji a week, and I set all my NEW_CARDS to the end of the review. I also listened to Jpop/Kpop and Podcasts while doing this. Thats about all Tongue

Good luck to everyone.
I just finished RTK 3 up to 3030 - just in time for the new year, which was my goal. I started RTK 1 on March 18 of 2011, and found this site through AJATT. I really want to thank all of those who came before for paving the way with their stories, and ファブリス for this awesome site - it's been instrumental in learning the kanji.

It's funny, I didn't really get a sense of accomplishment after finishing RTK 1, because from the very start I planned on going through RTK 3 before I started the sentence phase, so I looked at both books as pretty much one goal. Now that I'm done (for the present at least) with learning new kanji though, there's a certain feeling of numbness, or disbelief; I've been looking forward to and craving actually studying the Japanese language itself for what seems like forever, as these past nine and a half months I've focused solely on listening comprehension and learning the kanji. Now that the gates of what I've been looking forward to are opening at last, there's a sense of quiet excitement emanating from within me.

I chose a completely relaxed mindset of learning the kanji from the very beginning. Originally I didn't have any idea of what kind of pace I would be comfortable with, but I figured a pace of around 15-20 a day would see me done in about 6 months, which was my original goal. Once I actually got in the daily routine of kanji study though, I started to learn the boundaries of "number of new kanji vs number of reviews/day", and what I was comfortable with doing each day. I found that when a large number of reviews were due, it had a demoralizing or tiring effect on the number of new kanji I would want to learn. Once I got a feel for my endurance, I changed my goals to ~6 months to finish RTK 1 and ~3 months to finish RTK 3, with my ultimate goal to be done with the kanji phase by the end of the year (it's currently 12/31 here as I write this). And with the exception of a couple of time periods where I blasted out 20-25 new kanji a day, I would say the average number of new kanji I learned everyday was around 5-10. My minimum goal was at least one, but I can recall maybe four or five days where I didn't learn anything new, and just reviewed (or said screw it, and watched anime all day); I believe the most I learned in a single sitting was 43.

And about the relaxed mindset thing, I never doubted that I would be able to finish learning the kanji - it wasn't a question of "if", but rather "when". To anyone thinking of starting or who is already wading through the sea of ink, I think the biggest piece of advice I took away from khatzumoto that I can share is to just relax. Whenever you start to feel stressed about about how many you have left, or how many you haven't done today, immediately stop caring. One thing I always tell myself when I start to feel pressured, or start thinking in timelines is "I'm choosing this as the direction of my life - I have the entire rest of my life to learn this." Think about that; why do we constantly chain ourselves to the mindset that "this has to be done now, and it has to be perfect"? Who is threatening you with a gun to finish this immediately? And why would you try to do or learn something optional if doing so makes you have negative feelings? (Obviously ignore that last part if someone actually is threatening you to learn Japanese, and I'll pray for you).

So anyways, umm... yea. This is embarrassing, kind of got off topic there - better wrap this up.

Today I managed to finish rtk3 reaching 3032 kanji.
I think that among the last 1000 kanji there are a lot of useless ones, but the effort is worth because some are very common and weren't in the first book.