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The "I just finished RTK1, please congratulate me" thread.

#1
the title speaks for itself. since joining this forum on 26.10.2005 i have studied (reasonably) hard and finished today.

i would like to mark the occasion by making this thread. when you, too, have completed RTK1, please let everyone know by posting here and get a "/gratz" from your fellow RTKers

/嬉しい

yorkii
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#2
Congratulations.
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#3
omedetto
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JapanesePod101
#4
I finished about a month and a half ago, so can I get retroactive "/gratz"?

Anyway, congratulations. Getting through RtK1 is just the beginning though...
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#5
Glad to hear you made it!
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#6
Quote:Getting through RtK1 is just the beginning though...
Awww come on, finishing RTK I is just the beginning of the end of Japanese illiteracy Wink

Bravo!

Could you share some of your experiences on how long it took, how long you studied on average, things like that.

It would be very interesting to see how everyone has progressed through RTK I, and what kind of schedule they used.
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#7
ファブリス Wrote:Could you share some of your experiences on how long it took, how long you studied on average, things like that
gladly,

i first heard about the Heisig method when i was still in the UK (i moved to Japan in August last year) and so i checked it out to try and see what "those funny-looking squiggles" - kanji were all about. i really enjoyed his method for building up images using the radicals and so i learnt a good 100 or so then. i had NO IDEA how to study them though and thought "Oh well, kanji can wait til later, ill caryy on with grammar and stuff for now". i then moved to japan in August and thought "kanji is something that i really need to start learning as i encounter it day in and day out. how else am i going to know the difference between things like push 押す and pull 引く on doors (for example)". so i picked up RTK again and started from scratch pretty much. this happened around October, and so i searched on the internet for help with the reviewing of this method which inevitably led me here.

my study habits during the last 9-10 months in regard to RTK are patchy. i would study kanji on and off, but always try to keep those dreaded orange-coloured review cards away. some weeks i would study nothing but new kanji everyday after work and thus learn 100+ in that week, then other weeks i wouldnt study kanji at all. it was only really with the creation of the "check your progress" section of the website that i got into the habit of studying more, well,, habitually. trying to at least get one chapter done each week. also, when i hit the 1000 mark, that really gave my confidence a boost. it was like.. "wow, im halfway there. i can really do this.. i can complete the WHOLE BOOK!" so those two factors really helped spur me on.

towards the end of the book (last 500 or so), I, like most people i imagine, really tried to get the book finished and devoted much more time to get it finished.

that pretty much leads me to where i am now. i have all my apartment kitted out with posters of "kanji-chains" put into their 音読み groups. which means that i cant help but look at them. i am just about to begin making the chains actually.

for helping to remember kanji, i read novels aimed at elementary school kids. this is because a lot of the time, there is furigana written in too. also, i like to read books over manga because there is obviuosly more grammar in the novels so it helps with that practice too. i do like to read manga as well though as this is excellent for understanding spoken japanese. ok, thats lead us off topic a little, but ill end there.

any questions, 手上げてください!

yorkii
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#8
Congratulation on finishing the book. I hope you did better than me, I technicaly went through all the kanji but I just rushed too much on the last 200-300 before comming to Japan. I hardly did any review for 9days (sightseeing in tokyo), but I am really motivated now to quickly go through the book again and review them... It-s not like I forget everything but I mix to much meaning together.
Like I said in another thread, I am in a school in Okazaki to learn Japanese, I guess I-ll be a bit using the computer all the time for kanji study Smile
I also have some pretty intensive Japanese lesson but I should definitly find the time to get all the RTK 1 kanji right (like 90-95% right on review hoppefully).

Its really motivating when you-re in Japan with the kanji everywhere. However I remember someone (don-t remember who sorry) at the kamakura meeting that said it-s a bit streessing when you went through most of the kanji and basicaly should be able to recognize all the kanji in the street...
But IMO going from kanji to meaning is not that easy. Maybe a lack of training...

So for those who just finished the book what are you planning to do now ?
I think I-ll just go through as much vocabulary as possible once I got through the kanji again. And keep reviewing enough kanji per day...
Edited: 2006-07-20, 5:19 am
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#9
Omedetou gozaimasu! Big Grin Someday (hopefully pretty soon) I hope that I can post to this thread that I've finished too. But you're right, the end of one part of the journey is only the beginning of the next. From here, my plan is to get the writing done, then work on the readings of the kanji, and then begin reading novels and webpages and so forth. Reading online, with tools like the Firefox plugin "rikaichan" makes it a little easier than reading hardcopy materials like books and magazines.
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#10
おめでとうございます!

Or, in Heisig-speak: 賀 Wink

I "finished" about one week ago. That is, added the last Kanji flashcard of RTK1. I don't consider really being done until all the flashcards are in the last box, and of course there's still so much to do after that. But already I see the huge benefits of being familiar with the Kanji. What was a wall of alien characters before now has some meaning, and although my vocabulary is still limited, I can work my way through texts fairly effectively. In fact, that is what I'm focusing on now, reading and adding any words I don't know into Mnemosyne flashcards. I think I will start on RTK2 as soon as I have 75% of the kanji in the last box. At the moment it's 1200, with the other cards spread out (most in box 3 and 4).

Since I started on 13 may, I have finished the RTK1 in around 2 months, which is what I had planned for it. When I first found out about Heisig I read alot about it, the pros and cons. Both had outspoken opinions, but the method seemed intriguing enough that I decided I just had to try it, and I didn't regret it one moment. I used this site from the very start and there's no doubt it helped me immensely to keep track of my progress and systematize my learning.

When I just started, I did around 30 Kanji a day, first studying them in the book and drawing them on paper as I went through the story in my head. When that was done I'd add them to the site and do a review. I'd look over the ones I missed quickly, and leave them until the next day. First thing I did then was to check if I could write them then, if so, I'd mark them as learned, if not, I'd leave them for another day and look at them again at the end of the day. Next thing on the schedule was reviews. I made sure I always cleared all the expired cards on the day they expired. I think in these two months I have only missed one day not doing anything. In the beginning I used to clear the cards per stack. But later, I realized mixing cards up from all expired stacks would make things more difficult for myself and thus a better test, so I just lumped everything together while reviewing. This was possible because I did it everyday, mind. Otherwise you'd get huge amounts to review very fast.

Anyway I kept the 30 a day up for a while, but college was still going on. When I had to start making up stories by myself the pace slowly dropped to 20, or 10-15 on very slow days. This continued untill the end of june, I think I was at around 1200-1300 by that point. Then my holiday started and I decided to pick up the pace and finish it. So I started doing 50-60 kanji a day, in chunks of 20-30. I found it effective to study 20-30, review them, have a break, and come back later to do more. If I tried more than 20-30 new kanjis at a time, my retention for the first review fell pretty badly.

The most difficult for me were the 3-day after reviews. That's really the turning point on whether a kanji has sticked and can go on into long term memory or has faded. Those reviews took the longest for me as I often had to think hard to remember some kanjis. Still, I usually got around 80-85% on the 3 day reviews. From the one week after reviews on I rarely had trouble with the kanjis. I'd forget the odd one or confuse some when I learned similar keywords, but from that point on retention is as much as 95% for me.

So looking back on these months I'm very happy with the progress I made. I think I spent on average 2-3 hours a day working on Heisig. Daily repetition really is key to finishing fast and thoroughly.
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#11
yorkii Wrote:it was only really with the creation of the "check your progress" section of the website that i got into the habit of studying more, well,, habitually
This is really good to hear. I have little feedback on that page. My goal was to help have an overview of one's progress, visually, and also move the focus to lessons instead of number of kanji.

the marshall Wrote:But IMO going from kanji to meaning is not that easy. Maybe a lack of training...
From my experience , all stories are not equal for remembering kanji to keyword/meaning. When you practice kanji to keyword, you can find the ones that give trouble and adapt the story so that it works better the other way around (usually, get closer to the concept of the keyword, or find a new association that works better).
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#12
2 months! That's really bookin'! Congratulations on meeting your goal!

I also visit the "review your progress" page on every visit to the site. I like that emphasis on the next so many kanji, and how many boxes left to the end, rather than the exact number of kanji. But I usually add a whole chapter in at a time. I also prefer developing my story online. I mean, I don't really work out the story and "learn" the kanji before adding it to the first box. No, I don't do that. I add them, fail them, and then in the "study failed kanji" place, then I read all the other stories, and adopt one (if I can), and only then will I create my own story.

In contrast, perhaps, if I have to "think really hard" to recall the kanji, I will fail the kanji, so that I'll have a chance to review (and perhaps adjust) the story. Its just that, if I "pass" it, then it'll be a while before I see it again, and the fact that it was hard suggests that the story wasn't as strong as it could be.

But, really! 2 months! That's great work!
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#13
I also have finished RTK1, and would like to thank everyone who posted a story I used. There are too many to mention, so if you posted even a single story, the odds are pretty good I used one of yours. Thanks to eveyone.

In terms of my feedback, I found the review useless for my own idiosyncratic reasons, but the study section was invaluable. Really, everything on the site is good enough as is. If I had to make one suggestion, then I'm not sure, but some sort of system for picking which stories are your "favorites" and having those stay on the top might have helped.

Special thanks to Fuaburisu for this site and Immacolata for pointing me towards SuperMemo.

cjon256
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#14
Congratulations cjon!

Could you explain what was your typical study process? Did you study away from the PC ? Did you have many failed cards to work through ? When/if you created your own stories/mnemonics, did they work better for you than the shared ones, or no difference? Did you find shared stories that worked very well for you with little or no modifications? It's very interesting for me, to understand how people use the website and how it can benefit them, thanks !
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#15
Fuaburisu-

I'm probably one of the more atypical students here, but since you ask...

A bit of background: I did about 1/2 of RTK1 about a year ago, before I found this site. Before that, I had 4 years of university-level Japanese classes (my minor, and took classes in/after grad school), and going into the course, I could (slowly) read novels and get by in daily situations. I studied RTK in the first place because I was having trouble keeping new kanji straight, I think this is because my memory is not very visual. Lastly, I study on a tablet PC with Japanese as the default, and didn't use the review feature here. I used my own custom Stackz file. It has notes about which keywords are wrong/misleading/etc. based on KLD and a few weeks work.

My study habits: Well, I only study on the computer. Here's a summary:

step 1. Studied 30-50 kanji a day. I used OneNote to make a notebook with all the RTK1 kanji in it, one per page. I write by hand the kanji and its keyword. Then I check the book for anything and take notes. Lastly I copy the stories from the study pages and pick my favorite 1-3 (& delete others). If no story satisfies aesthetically, I make one up (if I can quickly do so); Otherwise, I make do with what is there.

step 2. Quiz myself on studied kanji. I use the handwriting features of my tablet and write each kanji as I'm being quizzed on it. This helps keep me honest.

step 3. Review stories for any kanji I got wrong, fixing any that just aren't working for me. Sometimes a slight tweak is required, sometimes a wholesale rewrite. If I cannot come up with a story quickly, again I just make do. Very occasionally (I think 4-5 kanji total) I added a hint to the quiz to spur my memory.

step 4. Repeat.

Stackz is a Leitner system, so these steps get repeated until the kanji are known. Obviously, I review any expired kanji too (and fix their stories if broken). Some days I made no forward progress, just reviewed.

Occasionally I would gather together kanji that I consistently got wrong and try harder to rework their stories.

---

I usually didn't create stories unless there weren't any that satisfied me, so I can't compare the two.

As an estimate, I found a usable story for more than 2/3 of the kanji. I was very bad at first at predicting whether a story would work for me, but I improved over time.

I doubt you can generalize from my case, but perhaps you will at least find it interesting.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

Again, thanks so much. I *know* I wouldn't have finished without this site!

cjon256
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#16
Congratulations on finishing! I found your account of the way you study interesting to read. I'm glad that it worked for you. Big Grin
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#17
Yay! I entered my story for 2042 today. I started on the 10th of June 2006, and I had done about 950 kanji one and a half year ago (only remembering the first 400 or so rather well).

My working method:
After I started, I tried on average to enter 30 new kanji each day (more for the kanji between 400 and 950). I just enter the new ones, fail them, and then enter stories for them. I usually pick a story from someone that appeals to me, unless I immediately think of a better one, or are in a storychain where I've linked a particularly element to a personal storyline. I only study the kanji again after failing them again 3 days later. At that time, I will also start practice drawing the new primitives if necessary. With this method, I usually failed about 65% of the first stack, 10-15% of the second stack, 5-10% of the third stack, and less than 5% of the last stack. On average I need to really study a kanji 3 times before memorizing it properly.

I'll be hanging around for further study. I have both book II and book III available, and I'm sort of torn between doing the RTKIII kanji first before doing on and kun readings, or doing my onmyoji chains first. I would have chosen onmyoji, but knowing that the database will be reset after it leaves the test phase sort of makes me feel like maybe I should do the writing/keyword of the III kanji first and then do the onmyoji. Any idea yet at what time you expect the onmyoji database to be reset, Fabrice?

Anyway, I could never have done this without this site, many thanks for its excellence, and those people who have left such inspiring stories to borrow much better than I could ever think of myself. Too many names to list, alas, but if you left a good number of stories, especially in the second half, you're probably on that list! I hope the stories I added myself will at their turn help others as well.
Edited: 2006-08-04, 10:00 am
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#18
Congratulations! Great job! You're pattern sounds a lot like mine too. Where did you find a copy of RTK3? (That was my question in another thread---sorry!) I don't seem to be too far behind you, before you can congratulate me!
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#19
I bought the copy of RTK3 a year and a half ago when I was starting RTK1, and was still optimistic I would be finished in no time, so I'd need 2 and 3 asap... At that time, RTK2 was solidly out of print and nowhere to be found - I only managed to buy that one recently from the Amazon marketplace, but a copy of RTK3 (1994 edition with the purple cover) made its way through from Amazon at that time. I do remember it took some time before it was delivered.
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#20
Well done for getting through astridtops. Some of your stories have helped me out! Cheers.
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#21
Do I get to post now? Somehow, it doesn't feel like I'm done...But kanji number 2042 is in the 2nd box now. Naturally, I don't have to wait for it to be in box #5, but maybe sometime between today and when it gets to box 5, I'll actually feel like I'm done with RTK1. I started on 25 May 2006, so it has taken me just about exactly 4 months.

I'm going to keep adding more kanji until I have all the RTK3 kanji done too. I do have a copy of the ebook version. I'm still waiting for a reprinting of RTK3 that was supposed to come out this fall, and I'm hoping that all the corrections will be included, plus I just like having a hardcopy better.

I've also started trying to read more, but I haven't really gotten going on kanji chains yet. I'm reading "Breaking into Japanese Literature" that has a completely focused kanji dictionary at the bottom of the page, and an english translation of each page on the facing page.
Edited: 2006-09-26, 10:20 pm
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#22
CharleyGarrett Wrote:Do I get to post now? Somehow, it doesn't feel like I'm done...But kanji number 2042 is in the 2nd box now. Naturally, I don't have to wait for it to be in box #5, but maybe sometime between today and when it gets to box 5, I'll actually feel like I'm done with RTK1.

I'm going to keep adding more kanji until I have all the RTK3 kanji done too. I do have a copy of the ebook version. I'm still waiting for a reprinting of RTK3 that was supposed to come out this fall, and I'm hoping that all the corrections will be included, plus I just like having a hardcopy better.

I've also started trying to read more, but I haven't really gotten going on kanji chains yet. I'm reading "Breaking into Japanese Literature" that has a completely focused kanji dictionary at the bottom of the page, and an english translation of each page on the facing page.
Congratulations! I should get there soon, but it'll be a lot easier for me with all of your stories that I've adopted!
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#23
Well done Charley, you've been very encouraging to others on the board...so in turn I'd just like to say well done. I hope to be joining you soon.

Cheers,
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#24
I'm very happy that you made it too, Charley! I'm really looking forward to you joining the RTK3 effort, and I certainly hope to see some of your stories out there when I fail another one of these &%*$ flower and tree kanjis. Eh *embarrased look* - you'll see a lot of my stories, I'm afraid, but I figured I rather put something in, no matter how lame, than just leave it at nothing. Have you finally found the RTK3 book, or are you going to starting without first? If you have to do without for now, just ask me if there are any problems that you think the book might have something to say about.
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#25
Just did it!

Woo hoo!
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