I posted again these thread some minutes ago but it seems that something didn't go well and it didn't appear as a new topic on the forum. So, I guess I will have to post it again.
Well I am about to finish the RTK 1, and was thinking about purchasing the 'Kanji in context' reference book as my next step. My question is, can it be a stand alone study tool or do I have to buy the workbooks as well. If I do, I cannot find them anywhere else besides the Japanese Amazon site. If anyone can help, I would deeply appreciate it.
From: Tokyo Registered: 2007-02-06 Posts: 840 Website
I'd say you need the workbooks too. The reference book is just what it says, so using that alone would be a bit like learning from a dictionary.
The best way to use it, I think, is to first learn the words in a particular chapter in the reference book, then try to work out the example sentences for that chapter in the workbooks.
Note that although the reference book has English translations for the vocabulary words, the workbooks do not have translations for the sentences. The Kanji in Context books seem to be aimed at someone who already has (lowish) intermediate skills in Japanese but who is weak at kanji. Many RTK1 finishers are in a different situation, i.e. good kanji recognition, but beginner level in other parts of the language.
Kanji in Context is also available as an iPhone/Pod Touch app. This is very useful in that it has both the vocabulary and sentences, and also has audio for everything. The drawback is that the app itself is poorly designed in some ways (e.g. if you close it and go to another app, you lose your place).
Someone made an Anki deck that included vocabulary, sentences and audio. If you search in this forum, links to it may still be available (I haven't checked).
The books themselves are professionally made and thorough, but some may find them dull to work through.
A full title of Kanji in Context is: A Study System for Intermediate & Advanced Learners, Kanji in Context
The aim of this position is to teach you reading of Japanese. The method relies on a clever system of grouping and ordering of the kanji – they are introduced in the order that more or less relates to their “importance” and they are grouped in such a way that characters related to each other (either because they look similarly or they share the same compound) are presented in close distance one to each other.
The kanji are not introduced as separate characters but as vocabulary items (I would say useful vocabulary items). This allows for a natural reinforcement of the material that you have already studied as the vocabulary presented with a new kanji will use kanji that you should know.
My estimate is that the vocabulary from KiC is somewhere between Core6k and Core10k.
For you to use KiC effectively (this is mostly relevant to workbooks, rather than the reference book), you need a good grasp of Japanese grammar (intermediate and advanced, as the title states). Heisig is helpful but not essential to use this book (the book is about reading, not writing mind you).
Thnx everyone. My problem is with the textbooks though, cause I cannot find them in an English site to buy them. I have found them on Japnese Amazon after being refered to it by someone on the internet and I don't have a clue how to order them cause it is all in Japenese. How can I find these workbooks?
They're very hard to find; I don't know if they're out of print or only very limited distribution. If you can't find the workbooks, though, don't bother. The reference book isn't that useful on its own -- without the workbook it's basically just a small kanji dictionary organized by rough frequency, which isn't worth paying money for.