Study log: zgarbas

Time to get back to actually learning this damned language!

I've complained about this in the past, but I've not had the motivation to improve my japanese since I moved here, which is getting outright silly. Actually, some of it has declined (rare vocab and writing in particular). So I'm tired of being illiterate and decided to tackle the kanji kentei. I've thought about this before but never kept to it, but since this forum motivates me better than real life i think I should make it official.

the next Kanjen is in February, so I have 3 months to prep. 

Plans: practice at least 5 mins a day on the kanken application.
Try to handwrite in addition to taking out my phone and typing it there.
During eikaiwa lessons, try to write the kanjis directly and keep track of which ones would 't come to mind. 

I already did a test run of all items on the kanken app's 6級 set. I'm aiming for 二級、which is what I would be expected to have as a grad student.

As expected, reading is my string point, stuff like radicals and word formation elude me (need to read some linguistics), and writing is *atrocious*.

Wish me luck!
Edited: 2017-11-03, 10:30 pm
Initial score when i did a run-through of the 6kyuu items on the app:
Writing: 31/185
Reading: 184/185
Radicals: 39/50
Okurigana: 24/25
Homophones: 13/25
3 character idioms: 17/50
Word formation: 48/100
Edited: 2017-11-04, 6:10 am
I haven't touched the Kanken 3DS game in years but I booted it up and tried a 6級 test just now. I did better than I expected although not great.

読み: 27問/30問 (34点/40点)
送り仮名: 5問/5問 (10点/10点)
筆順・画数: 10問/10問 (10点/10点)
熟語: 8問/10問 (16点/20点)
三・四字熟語: 7問/10問 (14点/20点)
対義語・類義語: 8問/10問 (16点/20点)
同音・同君: 6問/6問 (12点/12点)
書き取り: 22問/29問 (44点/58点)

正解数: 99問/120問
点数: 162点/200点 (合格目安: 140点以上)

The score should be a few points higher because for some questions I gave up trying to get the game to recognize the character I was putting in (pretty sure I was using the right stroke order and such but oh well).

The highest test (in-game) I ever managed to pass was 3級 but that was barely so accounting for some questions repeating the best I ever got was semi-consistently passing 4級. The radicals stuff isn't too bad if I recall after just getting used to the naming conventions. Anyway I stopped playing the game because it wouldn't just filter out questions I had seen already and my time was better spent focusing on improving more practical skills. Apparently I have 104 hours put into my save file which shows how much of a glutton I am for boring knowledge recall.
Edited: 2017-11-09, 10:03 pm
Good luck on the Kanken!
And welcome to the Study Log club!

Will the Kanken actually help with literacy, or will it just increase your language nerd cred?
Writing is all about practice, and I get zero of it. I've had some embarassing moments because of this...

I went through the list again and got 61/185, with only a day in between. Even slight exposure helps a looot with these things.

The nerd cred is also great :p
Edited: 2017-11-04, 8:37 pm
Ran a 5kyuu today by accident. Pathetic. 388/712 total score, lower than an average 6th grader...

Writing: 46/181

So frustrating. I see some of these everyday. Sometimes I visuale it, sometimes I remember the rtk story from years before, but I can't actually draw the damned things.

Reading: 167/181
I distinctly remember seeing the words i didn't know in my old anki deck (I just ran theough 20k words of the dictionary because I was crazy). Fantasy and lit related terms I gather, so I didn't recognise them.

Radicals: 36/50
Not bad for someone who *still* gasn't read a radical guide.

Okurigana: 21:25

Synonym/antonyms: 34/50

Surprisingly hard since I never thought of word groups in Japanese like this.

Homophones: 16/25 omg why

Kanji correction: 6/50
And surprised I even got those. This thing is so hard and really shows how you slack anout reading things. 70% of the time I realised something was wrong but either didn't know how to write the correct kanji, or chose the wrong kanji in the word to fix. 30% it went ober my head even with super common words.

Idiomatic formation: 52/100
I really need to read wtf this is instead of going instinctively

Yojijukugo: 9/50 oops, damn I suck at writing.
Edited: 2017-11-05, 12:10 pm
The writing portion is just kanji production, right?
I got a little confused as to whether you meant writing as 'writing characters' or 'composition'.
I suck at both, but I can't assume you're the same, lol.
I don't understand what you mean by composition, sorry.
The writing section is the app telling me a word (in context) with a missing kanji and I have to write the kanji with my finger. Same for idioms and correcting texts.
(2017-11-05, 12:09 pm)Zgarbas Wrote: I don't understand what you mean by composition, sorry.
The writing section is the app telling me a word (in context) with a missing kanji and I have to write the kanji with my finger. Same for idioms and correcting texts.

Got it now.
Back in your first post, when you said your writing is atrocious, I got confused as to whether you meant that you couldn't produce kanji well (what you did mean) or if you meant writing skills in general (composition; creating a essay or such). Which is why I asked if the Kanken would actually help with that, since I didn't think it had an essay portion or anything (which it doesn't).

Sorry for wrapping you up in my own confusion!
Oh dear, I didn't think about that.

To be fair, my composition skills are also lacking Smile I just don't know how to fix that without years of practice and making my life highy unenjoyable, so I don't see it happening. Kanji is more immediately visible and easier to fix so if I get that done I'll be pleased with myself ^^'
Edited: 2017-11-05, 8:38 pm
I was at baito today and actually remembered how to write 紅芋 after running into 紅 on the app last weekend. Felt so good T_T

Ran into another word where I did the usual thing (pick up pen, realise I totally forgot how to write it, embarassingly pretend I wasn't about to write a kanji) even tho I saw it on the app last weekend. Still a long way to go T_T
The good: ran 10 sets of questions today, had a far better rate of recollection.

The bad: we had to write this 自己PR paper at baito today, and I forgot how to write a lot of kanjis, had to rephrase things to avoid them.

The super embarassing: when I handed in the sheet it was so obvious that I had little writing experience. Too neat, too childish, didn't take up space naturally. My boss actually called it 下手くそ, which is a wordyou don't hear too often from a 50-year-old librarian lady...
Edited: 2017-11-07, 3:49 am
Interesting, studying for the kanken is something that I would like to attempt in the future, although it's something that I see no reason in trying until I've mastered the language. I have not much of an idea on what is required of you in the exam and how you would go about studying for it though.
I guess you would have to have a great knowledge about radicals and etymologies of words though? So I reckon that to even think about attempting to learn those a mastery of the modern language is a must: I don't see English materials teaching that kind of stuff.
Another barrier would be to get a native-like handwriting, and getting to know the details of kanji that are oftentimes overlooked such as hooks, correct angles and directions of the little strokes etc. Those will be tough and I have no idea how one would go about learning them without attending a Japanese elementary school and high school.

Another thing that I was wondering is if studying kanbun would help with kanken, at least the kanken 1. Since kanbun will somewhat teach you a lot of new kanji (supposedly) and also etymology I wonder if it would be of any worth at all.
Edited: 2017-11-07, 8:42 am
Not much free time so I've been limiting reviews to 5sets/day. Making some progress but it's probably short-term memory. 

Did a somewhat more decent job than usual writing vocab lists at eikaiwa yesterday, but still missed out on some basic ones: 詳しい、新鮮、禁止 (remembered 禁 but forgot 止 to my student's amazement). 

Fun moment: as I was writing down レントゲン my student stared in surprise, saying 'omg zgarbas, you can write katakana!?!?' i'll never get what Japanese people count as normal...
Ofc then I just spelled 放射能 in kana and his impression of me was back to normal
Edited: 2017-11-09, 8:21 pm
(2017-11-09, 8:20 pm)Zgarbas Wrote: Fun moment: as I was writing down レントゲン my student stared in surprise, saying 'omg zgarbas, you can write katakana!?!?' i'll never get what Japanese people count as normal...
Ofc then I just spelled 放射能 in kana and his impression of me was back to normal

A few summers ago, I was in Tokyo with classmates from school (in the states). They were talking up my kanji ability to a Japanese undergraduate student that was hanging out with us and he asked in Japanese if I knew kana as well. I momentarily gave him a blank stare and apparently cracked a smile because he responded with something to the effect of "hey why's he laughing!" My classmates were trying to explain that basically anyone would learn starting with kana first and then kanji afterwards so it is basically a given that I would know kana. My classmates tried appealing to the effect of "well when Japanese kids learn writing they start with kana and then learn kanji later right?" but the Japanese student didn't seem too convinced by this logic.

I was actually less surprised than the rest of my classmates with this experience, because I had heard about weird stories like this before. Just gotta shrug and move on I guess.
I get the feeling that logic isn't a strongpoint here. I've had people be genuinely impressed that I know my region's name.

'Wouldn't it be weird to not know the name area you've been living in for 4 years?'
'I guess. Maybe because most foreigners don't live here it's different'
'Bruh, this is zero tourism Toyota country.'
Edited: 2017-11-09, 9:28 pm
To be fair, most kanji are not used for more than 30 or 40 words while the kana are all used in thousands. That's obviously a lot more to learn.
Tried a 5級 test on a whim on the 3DS game.

読み: 25問/30問 (33点/40点)
筆順・画数: 9問/10問 (9点/10点)
熟語: 8問/10問 (16点/20点)
対義語・類義語: 7問/10問 (14点/20点)
部首: 10問/10問 (10点/10点)
三・四字熟語: 8問/10問 (16点/20点)
書き取り: 19問/30問 (38点/60点)
送り仮名: 5問/5問 (10点/10点)
二字熟語: 4問/5問 (8点/10点)

正解数: 95問/120問
点数: 154点/200点 (合格目安: 140点以上)

I never dropped writing (i.e. Kanji recall) practice entirely but I've been doing it for a basically insignificant amount compared to when I was starting to study Japanese. Nowadays I do 7 new words a day through Anki, so I just write those words down in a small book thingy with 方眼紙. I surprisingly can still pass the 5級 test somehow although I can definitely empathize with the frustration of feeling like the kanji is on the tip of my pen (or stylus in this case) and being unable to recall it Tongue

EDIT: Okay last one, I tried 4級 and managed to pass despite an awful 書き取り performance. I sure as hell am not gonna be able to pass 3級 so I'm not even gonna bother. Back to studying things I should be focusing on...

読み: 27問/30問 (27点/30点)
同音・同君: 18問/20問 (36点/40点)
熟語: 10問/10問 (20点/20点)
部首: 8問/10問 (8点/10点)
対義語・類義語: 10問/10問 (20点/20点)
送り仮名: 2問/5問 (4点/10点)
三・四字熟語: 5問/10問 (10点/20点)
誤字訂正: 3問/5問 (6点/10点)
書き取り:9問/20問 (18点/40点)

正解数: 92問/120問
点数: 149点/200点 (合格目安: 140点以上)
Edited: 2017-11-09, 10:04 pm
Progress is slow and I'm not really feeling it *sigh*
Life got in the way and I haven't practiced much this month... and I can feel it *sigh*

Had a rush hour at baito、and an impromptu class leason in which I had to write lots of things under pressure, and ended up relying on kana again... silly how you fluctuate with these things. Kanjis I forgot include stuff like 雪、菜、長、瀬、(法)律、(制)度、庶(民)、権利

No idea how I can see these words so often yet get so stuck when having to write them.

To boot, I recently found out that I've been mispronouncing 柿の種 and 筋トレ and while it's not a big deal, i wonder what else i've been messing up for years.
~nengajo season~

Not sure what hurts more, my pride or my hand.

Plus sides: came a lot easier to write these than last year. Was unsure but got most kanjis right on my first try. My kanjis have gotten a lot cuter thanks to practice, last year my messages were a lot uglier to look at.