Back

I give up, I'll try Heisig.

#1
Just a rant, I'm sick of hindering my ability to get exposed to the Japanese world by not knowing kanji, I've tried many ways to remember and learn them but it's no use, I keep forgetting them over and over. I just want to have the feeling of picking up a Japanese text and actually being able to understand. That's it, I'm done, I'm getting Heisig.
Reply
#2
(2017-04-28, 11:04 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: Just a rant, I'm sick of hindering my ability to get exposed to the Japanese world by not knowing kanji, I've tried many ways to remember and learn them but it's no use, I keep forgetting them over and over. I just want to have the feeling of picking up a Japanese text and actually being able to understand. That's it, I'm done, I'm getting Heisig.

I think a lot of us were in the same boat.  I was fairly conversational but completely illiterate and RTK has really put jet-boosters onto my reading skills .  I had to relearn 1000s of vocab words in kanji form but that went suprisingly quick, and is still going surprisingly quick.
Reply
#3
(2017-04-28, 11:04 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: Just a rant, I'm sick of hindering my ability to get exposed to the Japanese world by not knowing kanji, I've tried many ways to remember and learn them but it's no use, I keep forgetting them over and over. I just want to have the feeling of picking up a Japanese text and actually being able to understand. That's it, I'm done, I'm getting Heisig.

Sounds like a good plan to me. I was there once too.

Some people are blessed with a strong visual memory and the just SRS words in kanji from the start and consider RTK a waste of time... and well, good for them. Then there's the rest of us, for whom RTK is an amazing system for turning thousands of 'random' squiggles into sensible, comprehensible structures.
Reply
6-Month Challenge: Get 6-Month Premium for $66 or Premium PLUS for $166 (June 19th - 30th)
JapanesePod101
#4
I was 'lucky' enough to decide I would do RTK from the start. I'm astonished at how few characters people know even years after beginning their studies. You're making a sound decision.
Edited: 2017-04-29, 12:28 am
Reply
#5
I got started on Heisig when I hit the wall at about 500 characters. Welcome to the club! I was luck that a teacher showed us the book.
Reply
#6
As I always say, you will never regret the time you spent going through RTK1.  It took me around 8 months but it was absolutely essential.
Reply
#7
(2017-04-29, 12:25 am)NinKenDo Wrote: I was 'lucky' enough to decide I would do RTK from the start. I'm astonished at how few characters people know even years after beginning their studies. You're making a sound decision.

I started with RTK went to 1930 before deciding to switch languages for now.

There is no better way. It's been a year or two and I don't remember many of them but they are just under the surface.

Join us, it's bliss. We also have cupcakes.
Reply
#8
A word of caution.
To be able to read you need (among other things) listening skills, grammar, and vocabulary.
Reply
#9
Thanks for the support guys! I'm actually quite excited for this and I know that more than Heisig is necessary to be able to read, but thing is, I believe I've kinda nailed down basic Japanese grammar and I have at least a vocabulary of the most essencial words, I think that if I get the joyou kanji down that will greatly help me because since I already have the grammar and I will also have the kanji, I'll only need to add the new words themselves when working with texts appropriate to my level, as if I was learning a language written in the roman alphabet. Learning BOTH the language and the alphabet at the same time is where the problem lies in my opinion, not even native Japanese have to do that, because they already know the language when they start to learn kanji.

Well, those are my hopes at least, so, as far as Heisig goes, do you have any advice as how I should proceed with the content of the book? Just follow along or is some kind of flashcard work necessary?
Reply
#10
(2017-04-29, 5:45 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: Well, those are my hopes at least, so, as far as Heisig goes, do you have any advice as how I should proceed with the content of the book? Just follow along or is some kind of flashcard work necessary?

Most people SRS the material one way or another. kanji.koohii.com is actually a web SRS dedicated precisely to reviewing RTK kanji and sharing ideas for kanji 'stories'. Other people use the SRS programs that they already use (mostly Anki).

I'm pretty sure that Heisig's original vision of the program only involved reviewing the characters a handful of times without any longterm systematic review. He never talks about flashcards and reviewing, plus the time that he took to develop the system in the first place and work through it was only a few weeks (4? 6? I forget exactly) but in any case, there's no way he was systematically doing regular reviews to the extent that people doing RTK. On the other hand, as soon as he finished developing/working through RTK he was doing a lot of handwriting since he was a student of Japanese in Japan and before computers, and also being in Japan was naturally surrounded by kanji writings anyway.

If you want to push through as fast as possible, I think there's merit to just working through the book, developing stories, and reviewing them each just once the day after developing them (and once again the next day for any that you fail, until you pass them.)  You can always start SRSing them after pushing through if you are concerned about retention.

On the other hand, if you want the best retention, then RTK+SRS is certainly the way to go, but that review time will really add up and take away from any vocabulary SRS that you do. Typically people start out going gangbusters at 20 a day, 50 in extreme cases, and then when the reviews build up, the number of new characters each day gets smaller and smaller. Unless you simply give up having a life (which most people can't do since they are required to go to school and/or work), you'll have to make a compromise either on letting the review backlog build up or slowing your new cards to a crawl.

The halfway point or a little past it is usually where that wall hits, but that can vary depending on your pacing. The bigger your initial daily new character count, the sooner that wall will hit.

You'll also have to decide whether or not to review 'forward'/'production' (keyword -> kanji, as Heisig designed it), or 'backward'/'recognition'. Personally, I think you should use a different system altogether if you're just going to use recognition cards anyway, the whole point of the story system is to have a mnemonic for recreating the kanji from memory.

I never had any problem recognizing characters that I was able to write, and I get plenty of recognition practice from vocabulary cards anyway.
Reply
#11
Heisig's method is just one way to understand this entire puzzle.
I suppose Heisig is a stair-step approach to initializing the meaning of various kanji and their stroke orders.

You are what you eat~
I thus pose the question, would 2000 L1 stories hinder language ability in your L1 and L2?

Find decent stories. Be wary of harmful neurolinguistic programming.
Edited: 2017-06-17, 10:13 pm
Reply
#12
@SomeCallMeChris; Thanks for your advice, I think I'll choose the path where less flashcards reviews are involved, and maybe just go back to review older kanji later after a while. Thing is I got kinda tired of flashcard reviews after learning my first 2000 words and starting to learn kanji, I don't want to worn out on my Japanese studies again. I believe that setting a goal of finishing the book within one year without over-reviewing should be good enough for me.

@Aspiring; Your comment made me think a lot and actually question my decision, yes the idea of having 2000 stories cemented into my brain for life is kinda worrying but I was hoping that that would be just the first steps to long-term acquisition of the kanji, I believe that after a while the brain should be able to "let go" of the stories in favor of more healthy and natural connections, as you very well explained. At least that was what I read many people commenting about over many forums.
Naturally, if I was able to learn kanji in a more natural way that would be the best, but I feel like in this moment I would benefit the most actually learning the kanji and getting exposed to Japanese than by keeping the hope that I will eventually(in a few years worth of time) have nailed all of them.

Can anyone who has finished RTK a long time ago tell me if the acquisition of the 2000 stories have bothered you at all in the long-term, either in the scope of your contact with the Japanese language or with other aspects of your life?
Reply
#13
(2017-04-29, 9:40 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: Can anyone who has finished RTK a long time ago tell me if the acquisition of the 2000 stories have bothered you at all in the long-term, either in the scope of your contact with the Japanese language or with other aspects of your life?

I finished RtK Lite before coming to Japan 5 years ago, then just started adding kanji as I needed them, but for the purposes of this reply, I'll say I "finished" a long time ago. At the moment I have 2,062 flashcards added.

The stories have never bothered me, and for me they've stuck or fallen away as needed. For example, for some reason I can never remember how to write 「疑」 ("doubt") off the top of my head. Even though I can read it at a glance, if I want to write it, I have to use the story every single time. However, to write other kanji which are just as complex--「機」("mechanism") as a totally random example--I don't need the story at all when I write it. In fact, I can't even remember what the story was, but I remember all the distinct components regardless.
Reply
#14
(2017-04-29, 9:40 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: Can anyone who has finished RTK a long time ago tell me if the acquisition of the 2000 stories have bothered you at all in the long-term, either in the scope of your contact with the Japanese language or with other aspects of your life?

No bother at all. I started to replace my normal native language stories with Japanese stories and cards for my reviews, but I never really finished that. Anyway, at this point sometimes I remember bits and pieces of RTK stories and sometimes I remember bits and pieces of what I know about actual radicals, but mostly I just recognize characters for themselves.

I wouldn't concern myself with what Aspiring wrote at all. I'd love to get ahold of what he/she/it is smoking, but alas, I need to get some work done this week so it's probably not a good idea.
Reply
#15
I wouldn't use a SRS for the first 300 ish kanji. Just burn through them learn many a day as they are lower complexity and it's very exciting at the beginning. So don't let SRS slow you down.

On Koohii you can use the "kanji review" page which does not use scheduling. Use that to review everything every few days, and just burn as many as you can while it's easy. edit: Also you can use the lesson option on the page, so you can review by lesson.

Once you you get past the initial burst (depends on memory, sleep, and so on).. start using SRS.
Edited: 2017-04-30, 4:50 am
Reply
#16
(2017-04-29, 7:49 pm)Aspiring Wrote: You are what you eat~
I thus pose the question, would 2000 L1 stories hinder language ability?

My stories were never really in a language.  They were visualizations of a scene or a little moment, the stronger the visualization the stronger the connection.

That would also be my advice for the topic creator too. Really try to visualize the stories you come up with and picture them.
Edited: 2017-04-30, 6:33 am
Reply
#17
The general aim is to internalize the stroke order and simplest meaning.
Break down the pieces and assemble them in the proper order.
Mnemonics act as an aid for the creation of the kanji in your understanding of this hierarchical system.
Edited: 2017-06-11, 4:19 am
Reply
#18
(2017-04-29, 6:22 pm)SomeCallMeChris Wrote: I'm pretty sure that Heisig's original vision of the program only involved reviewing the characters a handful of times without any longterm systematic review. He never talks about flashcards and reviewing, plus the time that he took to develop the system in the first place and work through it was only a few weeks (4? 6? I forget exactly) but in any case, there's no way he was systematically doing regular reviews to the extent that people doing RTK. On the other hand, as soon as he finished developing/working through RTK he was doing a lot of handwriting since he was a student of Japanese in Japan and before computers, and also being in Japan was naturally surrounded by kanji writings anyway.
Pretty sure he describes a simple system with paper flashcards, though without spaced repetition I think. Some few hundred characters in.
Reply
#19
(2017-04-29, 9:40 pm)Iuri_ Wrote: Can anyone who has finished RTK a long time ago tell me if the acquisition of the 2000 stories have bothered you at all in the long-term, either in the scope of your contact with the Japanese language or with other aspects of your life?
Yes. I finished Heisig over 12 years ago, and as soon as I started focusing on readings and using kanji to learn vocabulary, the stories started fading away. I have no recollection whatsoever of any of the stories.
I can read novels and the 日本経済新聞 with only rarely consulting a dictionary, or not at all if I don't care about skipping a word in about five pages. 
In short, don't worry about it. Heisig is a means to an end, a crutch, though a rather clever one. The one thing I'd consider, if I were to do it all over again, is to use Japanese keywords, but I'm not sure because I found that the recognition of meaning and reading of kanji and passive vocabulary has never been the greatest challenge for me in Japanese.
Edited: 2017-04-30, 2:05 pm
Reply
#20
Thank you all for sharing with me your positive experiences with the method! I purchased the book and while I wait for it to get home I'm reading the trial, just went through the introduction and I should really start the method tomorrow, I'm pretty excited about this, will kanji cease to be the obstacle in my path to Japanese mastery? We'll see Wink

Note: I decided to not use SRS at all, after reading the introduction I discovered that at least one person-Heisig, has managed to do the feat without flashcarding, I don't have the pretense to say that I'm able to do amazing feats of memory at all, I just now hate flashcards reviewing so much that I'll cling to this evidence that it is possible and hope for the best. Common sense however, tells me that reviewing each kanji a couple of times, even out of the flashcard scenario, should be necessary.
Edited: 2017-05-02, 8:05 pm
Reply
#21
(2017-04-29, 11:32 am)buonaparte Wrote: A word of caution.
To be able to read you need (among other things) listening skills, grammar, and vocabulary.

No duh, Sherlock. Except for the listening part, or do you believe deaf men can't read?
Reply
#22
(2017-05-02, 9:19 pm)totalxxxtotal Wrote:
(2017-04-29, 11:32 am)buonaparte Wrote: A word of caution.
To be able to read you need (among other things) listening skills, grammar, and vocabulary.

No duh, Sherlock. Except for the listening part, or do you believe deaf men can't read?

I'd suggest not being a jerk, especially if you're not adding anything relevant to the thread.
Reply
#23
(2017-05-02, 9:45 pm)sholum Wrote:
(2017-05-02, 9:19 pm)totalxxxtotal Wrote:
(2017-04-29, 11:32 am)buonaparte Wrote: A word of caution.
To be able to read you need (among other things) listening skills, grammar, and vocabulary.

No duh, Sherlock. Except for the listening part, or do you believe deaf men can't read?

I'd suggest not being a jerk, especially if you're not adding anything relevant to the thread.

Agreed, buonaparte was just trying to help, making a fair observation.
Reply
#24
(2017-05-02, 9:19 pm)totalxxxtotal Wrote:
(2017-04-29, 11:32 am)buonaparte Wrote: A word of caution.
To be able to read you need (among other things) listening skills, grammar, and vocabulary.

No duh, Sherlock. Except for the listening part, or do you believe deaf men can't read?

While you don't technically *need* to listen in order to read, it's extremely helpful to have moderately good listening ... and speaking... skills. People who are deaf from birth presumably learn reading in a different way, but for everyone else, it's normal to 'hear' the words in your mind, and in fact to subvocalize them (even though you would need lab equipment to detect the tiny vocal chord vibrations).

Of course, you could learn to read without knowing proper pronunciation and just subvocalize the words with any rough approximation you think up, but it certainly makes it easier to read properly if you have a decent idea how what you're reading is supposed to sound when spoken.
Reply
#25
This is an oft-cited myth, but that's not what subvocalization means. The "weak" form of subvocalization, that non-deaf people who read interpret what they read in terms of "spoken language", is true, but the "strong" form of it, where their vocal cords vibrate according to what they read, is pseudoscience. The larynx and other muscles do move involuntarily when you read, but this isn't a form of vocalizing the actual words and phrases that you're reading, it's something that happens whenever you do any similar activity.
Edited: 2017-05-02, 11:29 pm
Reply