Ok so i just got given the book by my friends older brother who is now living in Japan and is done with the book, I was going to buy it so my friend gave me his copy instead, it's an older version i think, i believe it's 4th edition. Let me get this right... Basically how i learn them is up to me, so for me i would write them out repeatedly until i can write them perfectly and also write out a story that I've made up (Or the ones provided? or not?) and use this sites SRS to practice recognizing it. I'll try for 10-20 kanji per night. That's basically what i do right?
Thanks in advance for any help!
Well, yes. You can use this site or Anki.
You're free to do whatever you want, but I don't think it's necessary to write out every character repeatedly. Obviously if you want to write perfectly (to the degree a non-native can...) there's nothing to do but to practice, but I found it to slow me down too much, and time really started to matter when I got further along.
I hope you enjoy RTK! There are tons of discussions about this topic, so I highly recommend you browse/search the forums here. Also, read the introduction in the book, that should clear up some of your questions. I'll try to summarize the method and what I do:
Here's an overview of the method:
-Learn the simplest characters (or pieces of characters) first, then build other characters using characters you already know.
-Each character is associated with an English keyword, which is normally tied to the basic meaning.
-You make stories with the keywords to remember how to write the characters. These stories are supposed to be visual, but I often just rely on a sentence with the keywords to remember the character. Seems to work just as well :-). Maybe I'm visualizing it and not realizing it too.
-It's good to review characters you have studied with a spaced-reptition flashcard program, such as Anki (it's free and works on Windows, Mac, Linux). People have already made flaschards for the book and shared them, so you can download a deck and start using it immediately. (Link: http://ankisrs.net/). Or you can use this website's flashcards.
-The first section of the book gives you stories, but the last part doesn't and expects you to make your own. You can look through the stories shared here and choose one that works best for you. Sometimes I don't like Heisig's stories so I use the ones from this website instead even when he gives one.
-This book separates the sound from the writing/meaning, but people have had success adding one of the sounds into their stories as a keyword, so you could go that route (or search on the Movie Method or Kanji Town in the forums, which are other methods).
The more you practice the characters and see them in context, the less you rely on the story to remember them. Eventually the story and the keyword disappear and you just know the character. It's much more fun than writing the characters over and over and over again!
You shouldn't need to write them repeatedly in order to remember how to write them. I generally only write a character a maximum of three times when I first learn it. The whole point of RTK is to limit the amount of repetitive/boring memorization of writing that you would do with other methods.
Some people take a very long time to visualize their stories. I find that I tend to just think of a sentence that relates the keywords together and that I think I'll remember easily. Sometimes my stories are very visual in my mind, other times they aren't. Learning 10-20 kanji should take you less than an hour, even if you create your own stories. I use the stories from this website, so I can easily "learn" 10 kanji in 20 minutes or less.
This is what I normally do every day:
For each character:
1) Look at the character in the book.
2) Read the story from the book, or get one from another website, or make my own.
3) Practice writing the character once or twice while repeating the story in my head (make sure your stroke order is correct).
I try to do 10 per day (this takes me only 10 to 20 minutes since I normally don't make my own stories). After I've practiced 10, I review them in Anki later that day as flashcards.
I also review older flashcards each day. The flashcards have the keyword on the front and the character as the answer to make sure you know how to write it properly. When I review:
1) Look at the keyword.
2) Remember the story
3) Write the character.
4) Check answer and grade yourself.
If I got it wrong, I look at the story again and write it a couple of times. I basically treat it as a new character.
It's reviewing the flashcards that takes the most time, as it builds up the more you learn. 10 per day makes it manageable. It's important to review the cards regularly though, otherwise you will forget and the number of cards to review becomes huge.
You can't expect to get 100% correct each day. If you get 100% correct, that's great, but the whole purpose of spaced-repetition is that if you get it wrong, you'll see the card again the next day. So if you keep failing a character, you'll learn it eventually because you'll see it more often than other cards. Getting around 75% correct and above is good. The important thing is to keep moving forward and not worry about perfection.
@twomorecharacters ok although i would like to know how to write them though, to know the stroke order and stuff i dont want to be able to just read them so, ok!
Last edited by Midori_no_ocha (2011 August 10, 12:53 pm)
@TwoMoreCharacters, I agree about the writing thing. Writing a character many times should only be to improve your handwriting, not to remember the character. My handwriting sucks in Japanese, but I don't care at this point because I'll mostly be reading/listening/speaking/typing Japanese in the future instead of writing it by hand. I think knowing the stroke order is important though, but you shouldn't need to write it a ton of times to remember that. As you review your cards you'll naturally get more practice with that, too.
Last edited by jishera (2011 August 10, 12:49 pm)
@jishera Wow thanks for that post, ive read all of the introduction and the bit about the 4th edition and spent some time browsing the forums already! Thats sounds good though i'll do that!
One more thing, is it just me or does this book not explain the direction of which you are meant to draw the strokes well/at all? Are you supposed to use other resources for that? As i would liek to write them correctly!
You should write the kanji a few times, because studies show this aids recall of the characters. Stroke order isn't too important in the long run for recall (as compared to knowledge of radicals/primitives) though it's good to keep it in mind when first learning so you're consistent, and establishing these patterns in your mind.
You don't need to write out stories.
Most of the time the stroke order should be clear. He lists a few rules in the beginning and throughout the book.
Here are a couple of websites for stroke order:
Yamasa Kanji Dictionary with stroke order:
http://www.yamasa.org/ocjs/kanjijiten/e … index.html
I know there are also stroke-order fonts you can use in Anki. Search the forum topics for that.
Here's a list I made that you may find useful as you progress in Japanese:
You should write the kanji a few times, because studies show this aids recall of the characters.
I definitely agree with this. My retention is much better when I write the characters a few times when learning them, and when I write them during reviews. Even tracing with your finger is helpful if you don't have pen/pencil and paper. It may be slow at first, but you'll speed up quickly the more you practice.
Since it's more complex and familiar a movement/internal motor program, I've taken to think of physical air-writing (空書) and mental tracing, etc., as enacted with an imaginary stylus/writing utensil (as if you're holding a pen). I think if you're forced to do that for convenience or whathaveyou (not as nice since you're lacking the static externalized visual feedback), that might be more effective.
Last edited by nest0r (2011 August 10, 1:39 pm)
I think for seriously practicing writing it's easier and more fun to do it while actually reviewing, and leaving it to be just writing it out once or so when you're first learning the character, just to help visualizing the image of the story clearer.
If you use Anki you can use more good looking fonts that are more true to the handwriting and make the stroke order appear clearer. The EPSON fonts are very popular.
There are also fonts that have the ordered numbers of the stroke order appear on the strokes of the character, so you don't misinterpret anything.
Last edited by TwoMoreCharacters (2011 August 27, 3:35 pm)
Yes, though of course the better you know kanji the less you need to write them (at least, after you finish RTK and have moved on to words, I only write them when I get that fuzzy feeling that I need to reconsolidate my muscle memory to aid recognition/recall of kanji).
I think i'll try out anki then, I'm not really sure how it works but i dont think it will be hard to find out, does anyone know of any good RTK deacks for anki, preferably with stroke order and direction?
You decide your fonts and colors, sizes etc. yourself in the card layout, that's independent on what deck you use. So you need to install the fonts on your computer. I don't know where stroke order fonts can be downloaded.
You can just download an RTK deck from 'file>download>shared decks' or make your own. The top downloaded deck is a standard RTK one, if you search "Heisig" or "RTK", some decks that have more information prepared in them will show up.
In these decks I think all the cards are suspended, they're out of the review cycle. When you make your stories you edit the cards one by one, put the stories in, and then unsuspend those cards.