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Problem with heisig method

#1
Greetings I got Heisig's Remembering the Kanji and I can't understand How To Visualize the stories,memorize and recall them. Could you present me an answer or an drawing of how this works? Thanks for your help and I look forward to learn japanese with your help.
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#2
Can you see an orange or an apple in your mind's eye? Everyone can. Close your eyes if it helps to focus a bit. In general you see in your mind the mnemonics the same way. They are not really "stories" in that you don't need to develop them in time, it's more like the story describe a scene. Try to visualize the scene; For example if there is a man and a tree, is the man on one side, is the man sat on a branch, and so on. You will be surprised to find how your memory can recall such images. The scene when recalled, then, is like a "cheat" telling you what are the kanji components.
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#3
(2017-11-05, 12:47 pm)ファブリス Wrote: Can you see an orange or an apple in your mind's eye? Everyone can.

I actually know a guy that can't.
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#4
It's not like I can't as I daydream alot but how do I add taste or how do I make it stay in my memory as because of asperger's I can't rely on emotions too much. Could you please write a steps guide on what to do for beginners with Heisig's? Please. Does it have to be just a motionless picture or a simple movie?
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#5
(2017-11-05, 12:47 pm)ファブリス Wrote: Can you see an orange or an apple in your mind's eye? Everyone can.
No, not everybody can. At the extreme end this is aphantasia, with no mental visualization ability at all. (This is a good bit by somebody who's like that.) But even if you don't have complete lack of visualization ability you may not be able to 'see' an apple in your mind -- I can't very well, and it disappears almost instantaneously, and it doesn't work for more than a single small object.

I went through Heisig treating it all as verbal stories or wordplay.
Edited: 2017-11-05, 3:00 pm
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#6
(2017-11-05, 2:31 pm)Davidandreis Wrote: It's not like I can't as I daydream alot but how do I add taste or how do I make it stay in my memory as because of asperger's I can't rely on emotions too much. Could you please write a steps guide on what to do for beginners with Heisig's? Please. Does it have to be just a motionless picture or a simple movie?

I don't think most people can add taste to their imagination, at least I can't. I'm gonna try to explain what I did, but it's hard to explain properly.

I read all of RtK vol 1. While reading, I would TRY to imagine a weird scene moving around with his or my own keywords. If a kanji or keyword was too hard or boring, even if I dreamed up a dramatic scene, I would forget it and the kanji anyway. (If his keyword was dumb, I made up my own when possible.) Sometimes it was too hard to imagine anything at all, so I would resort to drawing a picture. Or give up and memorize by rote. I ALWAYS redrew the radical above the keywords in the book, I wanted a reference for when I looked back at the book if I forgot a story/radical and wanted practice writing.

When I first saw 室 (しつ room), this is what I imagined: There's a roof on top, the horizontal line (一) is a ceiling, and some creepy homeless guy has his arm sticking out of the ceiling because he's been living up there for 6 months, he's sliding away a ceiling tile so he can watch you sleep. Under him is the ground (土). When I look back at this kanji now, I just glance at the radicals and don't have to think about it, I just know it. In RtK, he has this kanji as "climax", which is boring, who would remember that?

For some kanji, I imagine it just as flat out lines on a paper. Too hard to dream up a story, so I drew how to remember it in the margin:
員(いん) is the kanji for employee. It's mouth + shell(fish). On the right side of the book where it's empty, I drew a stick figure with a clam biting a businessman's lips shut, because he's a good, quiet worker who minds his own business.
十 (じゅう) = 10, imagine the Roman numeral X, it's just X turned on its side.

I know a guy who obsessively reviews his RtK story flashcards every day with Anki (including ones he made up himself for kanji not covered in RtK) even though he's lived in Japan for several years and is basically fluent. So I guess if you wanna be "that guy" and remember 100% of the stories, make flashcards. If I make flashcards, I'm lazy and only review 3 PAPER flashcards at a time before grabbing 3 more. (Failing a card, going through a whole deck, then getting back to the failed card just to fail it again was too challenging. Sticking with 3 til I remembered each was effortless.) I feel like I could rewrite the same thing 100 times on the computer and not remember it, but physically writing it makes it easier to remember and you eventually get faster at it.
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#7
Sometimes I picture a (really short) scene taking place, but sometimes a still picture is more than enough.

For an still image example:
特 (cow, Buddhist temple) = *special* -> http://twinandphotography.blogspot.com.e...rvice.html
(sometimes, having some "context" sticked to the image in your mind helps; for instance, reading the article I've linked might help to give "live" to the image)

For an animated short movie example:
机 (wood, wind) = *desk* -> https://giphy.com/gifs/season-13-the-sim...dDH5TyNtJK
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#8
When do imagine something does it feel like a picture you actually see? Since when I imagine I can't see very clearly as it overlaps with my closed eyes image or open eyes. What if have aphantasia but borderline? Did I wasted my money and time on rtk?

(2017-11-05, 2:59 pm)pm215 Wrote:
(2017-11-05, 12:47 pm)ファブリス Wrote: Can you see an orange or an apple in your mind's eye? Everyone can.
No, not everybody can. At the extreme end this is aphantasia, with no mental visualization ability at all. (This is a good bit by somebody who's like that.) But even if you don't have complete lack of visualization ability you may not be able to 'see' an apple in your mind -- I can't very well, and it disappears almost instantaneously, and it doesn't work for more than a single small object. 

I went through Heisig treating it all as verbal stories or wordplay. Then what can I do? How long did it take to you to learn the kanji? I don't have more than 4 months to learn them. 

And if I do have dreams then it means that I use rtk?
Edited: 2017-11-06, 12:25 pm
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#9
I didn't 'see' anything when doing RTK. I would just make memorable stories (ie. plot lines) or word play that I could remember. You don't need to 'see' anything for RTK to be useful. At this point the stories are long faded but I still read/recognize/write the vast majority of them just fine.
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#10
(2017-11-06, 12:16 pm)Davidandreis Wrote: When do imagine something does it feel like a picture you actually see? Since when I imagine I can't see very clearly as it overlaps with my closed eyes image or open eyes. What if have aphantasia but borderline? Did I wasted my money and time on rtk?
I would simply work through it in whatever ways your brain works with. Do read the parts of the books where Heisig explains how he recommends imagining and remembering the stories, and try that approach; but think of it more as "how Heisig's own brain and perhaps many peoples' head works" rather than the only way. If your brain's very much audio-only then that can work as well. A lot of the benefit is in the keywords and the systematization.

(I had an idle fantasy of a verse version done in rhyme and all to the same scansion, but that's an impossible task.)
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#11
(2017-11-06, 3:44 pm)pm215 Wrote:
(2017-11-06, 12:16 pm)Davidandreis Wrote: When do imagine something does it feel like a picture you actually see? Since when I imagine I can't see very clearly as it overlaps with my closed eyes image or open eyes. What if have aphantasia but borderline? Did I wasted my money and time on rtk?
I would simply work through it in whatever ways your brain works with. Do read the parts of the books where Heisig explains how he recommends imagining and remembering the stories, and try that approach; but think of it more as "how Heisig's own brain and perhaps many peoples' head works" rather than the only way. If your brain's very much audio-only then that can work as well. A lot of the benefit is in the keywords and the systematization.

(I had an idle fantasy of a verse version done in rhyme and all to the same scansion, but that's an impossible task.)

I second pm215. I made a point of visualizing pretty vividly (in a dreamlike fashion) the stories I used, because it soon became clear it made them stick way better. But not all brains work the same. Don't worry: even if you don't have a powerful visual imagination, the book is still a great resource. For a foreign student, with a very limited vocabulary, the keywords are a handful crutch but, more importantly, both the systematization of the mnemonics and the order in which the kanji are presented are the two factors that, in my opinion, are game changing (on the other hand, while being a great book, it's not free of defects; the most important one, perhaps, is the use of too vague concepts for some primitives -*state of mind*, I'm looking at you-, which should be replaced by more concrete concepts, physical objects, or even characters, as soon as possible).

Besides, not all my stories are visual: for a dozen or two, resorting to simple puns or rhymes has worked great. I couldn't possibly make more than just a few dozens that way, it would get extremely confusing to me, but everyone is different.

Finally, I should mention most of the stories are very hazy at present. They were vivid for a long time. Actually, when they weren't, it almost always meant I forgot the kanji in question and had to fail it. But after some years have passed since I finished the book, the stories are more or less gone, there's just a vague shadow which, if needed (like in 1% of the kanji I review successfully), helps me recover most of the story again by making a relatively hard memorizing effort. So I'd say the "visions" of the story are not indispensable, though they were, and still are, a life saver to me.
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#12
I don't have more than 6 months to learn the kanji and their readings. Will this method work even with moderately clear visualized pictures?
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#13
As for myself I also use visualization, but I personally don't think that my visualization capabilities are as strong as some of others, so in my case sometimes the images are kinda hazy or go away quickly. That's very funny though because I always considered myself to be a very imaginative person and very creative, and not only me but others have also told me so, I don't know if my brain realizes that those images are "fake" and just refuses to cooperate or if there is something else to creativity and imagination other than seeing "images" in the mind eye per se. I will never know because it's impossible to pay attention when you are imagining for real.
However it is I don't believe that having the capability to visualize is essential for the success of the method, what is important is the memorization of the story, it's association with a keyword and with the primitives of the kanji, I don't believe how your brain will go about that really matters.

To add to that, I've also experienced that trying to forcefully memorize "a movie inside your head" can be kinda hurtful to the mind, at least for me, so I usually just let my brain sort out how it will associate story, keyword and primitives naturally. Sometimes more images will be involved some times less.
Edited: 2017-11-07, 11:36 am
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#14
I don't think visualizing is really like dreaming at all.  In a dream you feel like you are seeing and hearing things.  Visualizing is closer to recalling a memory.  

For example try to recall a place that you have been many times in your life.  Then try to imagine some of the people or things that could be there, they can be hazy or nonspecific.  If you can get that far then you can probably visualize anything.
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#15
How do I do memorization of the story, it's association with a keyword and with the primitives of the kanji? P.s I did copy paste. Sorry.
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#16
(2017-11-08, 9:10 am)Davidandreis Wrote: How do I do memorization of the story, it's association with a keyword and with the primitives of the kanji? P.s I did copy paste. Sorry.

Well see, this is why eventually you are supposed to associate the primitives with things you have a strong memory of.  The first part of the book doesn't tell you to do this but later on it does.  

You attach something you have a strong memory of to the primitive and then you can visualize these things together in a scene just by remembering them. If you're not finding Heisig's early stories memorable then apply this to those too and replace his stories and maybe even primitive ideas with ones you have a strong memory of.
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#17
You are making it way more complicated then it actually is. Just start and , at some
point you will slowly realize what are the stuff you need to add/remove so you can eventually progress even faster.
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#18
I don't exactly understand the problem you have.
Maybe you can give an exemple about what exactly you're doing.
Just keep in mind that you have to review your kanji regularily.
Use stories that are meaningful to you.
Finishing the book doesn't mean your learning is over.
Not being able to picture images in your mind is not an issue.
And yes, the stories are made of keyword and/or primitives and/or pictographic elements.
You can mix all of them to help remember the kanji.
For exemple: 犬 means 'dog' but I don't see any dog in that kanji. Though the word 'dog' appears in my story, along with the words 'big' and 'drop'. or you can replace the drop by a visual element like a ball or some dog food, or go all visual by picturing a big guy throwing a ball to his dog or a big dog catching a ball. Sometimes you might end up with some syntacticly wonky stories, but it doesn't matter. Keywords are priorities.
Another exemple 女 meaning 'woman': again I don't see any woman in that kanji, but I use the little story about the くノ一, which are the hiragana ku, the katakana no and the kanji ichi forming each strokes of the kanji, and kunoichi means woman or female ninja. Now when I learn other kanji using 女 as a component, I'm not going to recall くノ一, but I will preferably use the keyword 'woman' in my future stories and so on.
But also keep in mind those were easy kanji, you might have some trouble finding good stories for others.
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#19
I haven't read all the replies so I don't know if someone already gave the same suggestion. If yes, then sorry ._.

Are you able to recall past memories and to visualize them with your mind eye?
If yes, try to remember something that happened to you in the past, something memorable.

For example I remember when I first saw my crush of the time when I was in high-school.
I can recall that we were in the classroom and where she was, and the moment she turned her head and I saw her face the first time. ( LOL )

If you are able to recal something similar then do it, but "edit" your memory slightly in order to insert the kanji elements of the kanji you want to study. As this is a memory about love, I'll use it for the kanji "愛":

I recall the mind image of me in the classroom, I turn towards my crush direction, but instead of a desk there is a BIRDHOUSE. My crush herself is the birdhouse in the sense that her body is a birdhouse, with only her head sticking out of it.
So in order to see her naked body (sorry lol) the BIRDHOUSE door opens, but instead of her breast I see a pulsating HEART.
I'm scared. Then my crush stick her WALKING LEGS from below the BIRDHOUSE and run towards me.

This way you don't have to build a visual memory from zero, but you use something that is already there in your brain, and every time you recall that memory, you'll see the rtk elements and you'll be able to recall the kanji.
You will never forget it because you'd never forget that memory anyway. You're only tricking your brain into thinking that something different happened.

Another advantage of this is that you're using spatial memory, and our brain happens to remember very well spatial informations. If you want to know why just search "memory palace" and why spatial memories are so effective.

As an alternative you can use a memory from a movie instead of a real memory. But it has to be a memory from a movie scene that you remember very well. Like when in Game of Thrones Bran Stark fell down and lost the use of his legs.
Just, instead of him watching those two doing sex from outside the tower, you Imagine that the uncle is doing sex with a wooden BIRDHOUSE and so on.

Sorry for the vm18 content ._.

PS: another advantage of this is that you can add a hint to your keyword, which will be useful in future when you'll mix up similar keywords. Something like "LOVE (when I first saw my crush in the classroom)
Edited: 2017-11-08, 1:46 pm
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#20
First I'm 15 so I understand that Heisig's method is for adults due to being hard to get and I need to find a way to use stories written by others as while I do can recall some of my memories these aren't enough or useful. So how can I memorize an short story associate the meaning and primitives while not being written or done by me.

PS I don't care about 18+ content as I can be called the most ignorant person in the world.
Edited: 2017-11-09, 10:51 am
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#21
(2017-11-09, 10:50 am)Davidandreis Wrote: First I'm 15 so I understand that Heisig's method is for adults due to being hard to get

At you're age, you're basically an adult. RTK isn't hard to get, just work through volume 1 part 1 [PDF] and follow the author's directions.

Some of the kanji key words used in the book will likely be unfamiliar, but most adults wouldn't know them either.

(2017-11-09, 10:50 am)Davidandreis Wrote: I need to find a way to use stories written by others as while I do can recall some of my memories these aren't enough or useful.

You can find stories from other community members at kanji.koohii.com. It's self-explanatory.
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#22
how about..
[Image: ArzEkLx.png]
Edited: 2017-11-12, 10:18 am
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#23
Now to address your actual questions:

You want to learn Kanji. You have the RTK book.
You want to know how to use the stories in the book to learn Kanji.

You ask about
 - Visualization
 - memorization
 - and recall

You want to know how to make Encoded mnemonic more memorable.
You have asperger's so maybe some of the things that might be memorable for other people are not memorable for you.
You know how to visualize because you daydream.
You would like a step by step guide through a method to use RTK

First here are a few key concepts to understand about this kind of study.

Chunking
Chunking means taking a large number of information points and bundling them up into a smaller number of chunks.
Theories on "working memory" "cognitive load" say that there is a limit to the amount of information one can hold in active memory.
Maybe five to seven things.
(this can demonstrated through test like this http://opencoglab.org/memtest1/ )
(and this http://neutralx0.net/home/mini04.html )

To remember something we need to get it from the outside and into our long term memory
There is one theory on that process.

[Image: T95dAwe.png]

The raw sense visual information of an unknown character(kanji) is too much to hold in our working memory
It's very abstract. Just lots of lines over other lines on certain angles in certain positions.
貼 is 13 lines, and maybe four shapes.. and just how many horizontal lines were in that box? and what was on the right side again?

So we Split the task into pieces.
First we study 目 eye , then ハ animal legs, then 貝 shelfish, then magic wand 卜, and mouth 口, and then fortune 占
so when we see 貼 we only have to put 3(貝 + 占 = 貼) or a few more(貝 + 卜+口 = 貼) into our working memory.
This is the process of chunking.

Sequencing:
To chunk in the way described above, Kanji have to be studied in a certain sequence.
That is to say you need to know 貝 and 占 before you learn 貼
RTK offers this kind of sequence. But you don't have to follow RTK exactly so longs as you study components in order.

Integration:
Another feature of RTK is the step of assigning an English keyword to Kanji.
This is about linking the new knowledge to some existing concrete knowledge you already have.
You don't have to follow the RTK keywords.. If you look at the stories shared on this site, you'll see that many people choose their own.
RTK was written a long time ago, many of the words in there are meaningless to me.. whats a straightaway, or a gall bladder really, or a decameron!
Don't use RTK keywords you don't understand. It defeats the purpose.

Encoding:
But what exactly are those chunks.. And how do you + them together?
Encoding means taking information from one form to another.
The keywords are a kind of textual encoding.
Visual encoding is taking some information and making it into visual imagery.

Human beings are extremely good at remembering the things we see, and the places we have been.
The purpose of visual encoding is to use the strong part of our memory.
To put it in terms of the digram above, visual encoding helps ease the move from short-term to long-term memory.
( see https://www.khanacademy.org/science/heal...erm-memory )

This could mean making a drawing or making an imaginary image.
This is the first step really. Looking at a bunch of lines and asking, What does it look like.

For example, look at my picture above. I draw, or mentally visualize 目 as a picture of an eye.
This way I can remember how to make this collection of six straight lines.
first its like a box for the circle of the eye, and then the pupil in the middle, touches the top and bottom,
so we can only see the sides so its like just to lines.

and for ハ I visualize some scurrying little animal legs.

So the basic chunks of kanji are encoded in my working memory as a mix of visuals and keywords. This is a mnemonic.
Then I can manipulate these chunks in a visual or textual way.
  目 + ハ = 貝
Some times a Story is enough
I can say to myself "Eye with legs is a shell-fish"
When I say this I might to some degree visualize it.
But this is kind of a boring story.. If someone told you this story, how long do you think you would remember it?
You asked How to make an Encoded mnemonic more memorable.
Sometimes to really help the chunk along into long-term memory we need to lean on our memories strengths a bit more.
One way to do this is with stronger visuals.

Think about the differences between these two images. Which is more memorable? why?
[Image: CDyRIbv.png]
or
[Image: mc97hI8.jpg]

Principle one. Make it bright and colorful. Put glowing golden auras around things.


Think about the differences between these two images. Which is more memorable? why?
[Image: U1Y6ttg.jpg]
or
[Image: RaEaEdP.jpg]

Principle two. Make it Shocking


Think about the differences between these two images. Which is more memorable? why?

[Image: a6H0fSh.jpg]
or
[Image: rV1opis.jpg]

Principle Three. Make it Frenetic and kenetic, give it action and reaction.
Principle Four. Give it a narrative sequence. This, then this, then that.

Stronger visuals will stick in your memory better.
It might not be easy at first, I suggest using google image search or giffy or thenouneproject to find images.

- Another way is to make better sequenced, and exciting stories.

"Eye with legs is a shell-fish" is fine when I am revising quickly, but not to begin with.
Maybe It could be
"There is this shellfish on the sand and it opens its shell a bit, and in the middle I can see one big eye. It sees me and jumps up in shock, it sprouts two little animal legs and runs away into the sea"
Then I can play out that visual scene in my head as well.


So now 貝 is not just a bunch of lines, its this big bundle of images and a narrative, and its linked to lots of parts of my existing knowledge in my long-term memory.
Then when I want to learn 貼 well I imagine or draw that same shellfish as the actor scurrying on his little legs to "posting a bill"
or in 賄 the shellfish is smoking a cigarette coolly waiting for you to pay a "bribe" of flesh (月)




As for recall.

When you are revising it is important to remember that you are not trying to recall
貝 = shellfish.
you are trying to recall the whole image and story you made.
repeat it back to yourself, play it out in your minds eye.
If you are doing flash cards, when you get the prompt "shellfish"
Don't just write the kanji and move on,
say to yourself .. "AH that was the eye with little legs."
And if you get it wrong next time you see the prompt "shellfish"
say to yourself
"I got this wrong last time because .." "I forgot that the eye has two lines"
ect.



Scheduling:
Once some information has been moved into long-term memory, it starts to fade. This is called the forgetting curve.
Spaced repetition combats this. The Kanji.koohii site, offers this kind of SRS.
[Image: WWrod0z.jpg]



Sequencing(of memories):
Humans are also good at remembering things in ordered lists, or spacial layouts.
This part of the reason the narrative order of your story helps. It is just an ordered list of events.
You can do much better than SRS alone

Have a look into some mnemonic systems like the "peg system" or "method of loci".
[Image: NuziWws.jpg]

I hope this gives you some more questions than need answering.
Wink
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#24
A further illustration of principle 4.
[Image: a3vwCZ1.jpg]
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#25
@m8719705030; Wow amazing explanation!
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