The "I just finished RTK3, please follow me" thread

About two months ago I posted my intent to go for 3007 in the "I just finished RTK1" thread, and this post is just to confirm what most of us already know: this site produces miracles. The miracle for me is actually learning how to write the kanji in RTK3. Since it took me nearly two years to finish the first book before discovering this site, I never considered myself a person who would tackle RTK3. It just wasn't something I saw myself doing. Ever. I even reasoned my way out of it, thinking I don't want to learn more kanji, I won't use them, etc. but after using this site for a month, it made me throw out the excuses by making kanji actually fun to learn. I am now firmly aware of the uplifting power this site gives to students who simply open their wings to the updraft. This thread is to assemble other stories that proclaim victories not only for the individual but for this great site. If you've stopped at 2042, keep going! Show Fabrice how good his website really is.

P.S. By complete, I meant 50% done. Now to learn to read. That's part of literacy too, isn't it?
Edited: 2007-02-13, 3:45 am
Congratulation! I wanna grow up to be like you!
That's awesome mantixen! Thanks for treading the RTK3 path for us Wink

THanks for the kind words, and keep it going.

The "learning by sentences" approach seems to work well, it takes time to find the sentences and enter them in your program of choice, but it's well worth giving a try if you haven't already, unless you plan to go for RTK II ?

For those who missed the RTK1 thread and the similar cheeky topic title :
The "I just finished RTK1, please congratulate me" thread.
頑張ろう!! Today I added all of the RTK3 cards to my failed stack (except for 蛙 actually). This way the "Learned" button will be available in the study section and I can learn them one at a time as I come across them. I still have about 400 cards in my RTK1 failed stack. Once those are cleared I will start to do RTK3 from front to back. One of the surprising things I found as I flashed through the RTK3 cards was that the vast majority were made up of primitives I already know. I always had the feeling that RTK3 would have a lot of far-out characters that would be really hard to learn, but now it does not seems so intimidating any more. I don't have much time to study but my goal is to average 10 a day, which means another 140 days or so to finish both RTK1 and RTK3.
brose - that's such an obvious idea...I wish I had thought of it. I've been wanting to add RTK3 characters out of order for a little while now but thought I had to wait for Fabrice to come up with something...

I'm going to add up to 3006, just to indicate that I haven't actually finished.

Great idea on adding the cards first to study! I also agree that the scariest part about RTK3 is before you open it. Once you see that the biggest chapter (by far) in the book is all primitives you already know, it's like the road is already paved for you to walk. My stories are pretty obvious for most of those kanji, but I'll share them anyway as long as they get the kanji at least to the fourth stack. By the way, is there any way to look at cards in a particular stack without testing them? That would be great for checking on what kanji I want to share stories for rather than waiting for all of them to get to the fourth stack.
Mantixen, please share your stories no matter what! You've cleared the way and everyone can benefit from your work, even if you feel some lead down bad paths. This is all a collaborative effort that is continually evolving. It doesn't matter if you change them later or abandon them all together, someone can benefit from what you've done.
Thanks for your advice, dingomick. That's the second time I've been told that, so based on your recommendation I'm going to share all of my stories for RTK3. Hopefully it will make finishing the book a little easier for some people.
I'm looking forward to anything you can share. I especially welcome any new insights on how to make the RTK3 tree and flower kanji stick... Part of my difficulty is of course that many of those names are also unfamiliar in English. And I've never been much of a botanist.

Mantixen, did you have any particular areas in RTK3 you found more difficult go get through than others? Maybe I'm simply hoping I already have finished the more difficult bits...
astridtops, like you, the tree and flower primitives were probably the most difficult for me to become familiar with, in addition to the fish section. Those areas of the book involved a lot of googling and hitting up wikipedia to get an image or distinguishing feature to pair the keywords with. If I still couldn't rein in the image, for example "hackberry" which i failed so many times, I just gave it a new mnemonic based on the keyword itself.
For such biological kanji, especially those outside the scope of RTK3, I've found that if you know the Japanese word it belongs to, pairing the kanji with the Japanese word helps immensely in comparison to an extra English term you have to learn as well since you've never encountered it. For example, a fish very popular in Akita where I live is the ハタハタ. People here treat it like it's godly (i'm exaggerating for mnemonic purposes of course), so it only makes sense that the kanji is combined of *fish* and *god* (written with the alternate altar primitive found near the end of RTK3): 鰰. I have no idea what this fish would be called in English, but then again I don't really care because it's just one more English word I'll never use. Another example that's better in Japanese and actually in RTK3 is "bonito", which anyone who lives in Japan is more likely to encounter as かつお, as in the かつおぶし you might put in your うどん. Learning the kanji in a Japanese language context is really the point anyway, so if an unfamiliar English word is becoming an obstacle as one more vocabulary item to remember, I say throw it out unless you're a serious biologist.
Edit: I finished adding all my stories for RTK3, and やっぱり fish, trees, and flowers were the hardest sections. Sharing all the stories was a good refresh, although I hope it doesn't keep the kanji from sinking into long term memory. On that topic, I'm suspicious that living in Japan kind of destroys the Leitner review system since I can't help but recall kanji earlier than scheduled if I see them everyday.
Edited: 2007-02-16, 6:43 am
I agree with what you say mantixen, and I imagine that most people undertaking RTK3 know a fair amount of Japanese and could benefit from using Japanese keywords from the start instead of English. That's why it would be really nice to be able to add our own keywords.
Thanks for putting your stories up, and thanks for the tips. I still haven't decided when I want to tackle RTK3, but this will be useful.
Astridtops, I also found the numerous flower and tree kanji to be difficult and left many of them to the end when I studied RTK3. To work through them I gave the flower & tree primitives strong but flexible images. Also, looking at the keywords I would often do word plays (or use the Japanese word instead, if I knew it well enough).

Regarding the flower and tree primitives: For "flower" I use my local flower shop or its owner, and usually place the other primitives inside the flower shop. E.g. No. 2353 "trim" I imagine the flower shop has employed a pheasant whose job is to trim the plants. (I also like to reinforce keywords with word plays, so in this case the pheasant tells me he likes the job because it keeps him "in trim").

Another example no. 2394 "mushroom". Picture the flower shop owner with mushrooms growing out of his ears (or mushrooms instead of ears). In reverse, imagine looking at the mushrooms you are eating for dinner and thinking, "These mushrooms look remarkably like the flower shop owner's ears . . . but surely they can't be . . ." and then rushing off to the flower shop to check.

For "tree" I similarly often substitute our local woodyard and make the action take place there (many houses are built with wooden frames in Japan, so woodyards are common).

E.g. for "Hackberry" No. 2514 I use a word play; hacking berries. Story: On a hot summer's day I hear hacking sounds coming from my local woodyard. Investigating, I see the employees hacking berries off planks of wood. They tell me that the wood is from a hackberry tree, and its characteristic is that in summer (only) it keeps suddenly sprouting berries.
Edited: 2007-02-16, 5:38 am
Fact: 731 of the 6355 JIS第二水準 kanji contain a tree primitive (though this includes those with 禾 in them)

And 82 of those 6355 kanji contain 魚
154 contain 虫

Oye vey.
I have come across a problem with studying the RTK3 kanji one at a time. You have to be careful when failing a kanji during review because it disappears into the failed stack with 1000 other kanji and then you can't find it again. So from now on I'll make sure to write down any RTK3 kanji I throw back into the failed stack.
Are you studying only the RTK3 kanji? You could just lie your way through the RTK1 kanji if that's the case to get them into a higher box and out of your way.
Hi brose,

I think you can go to Study > Failed Kanji list, and sort on the frame number, then you'll see all the RTK3 kanji grouped together. I think by default the list is sorted on frame number so the failed RTK3 kanji would appear at the bottom of the list.
Brose is talking about learning RTK3 kanji out of order, so being able to see all the RTK3 kanji wouldn't help because there are still nearly 1000 of them.

But I think you can sort the Failed list by Last Reviewed, and that should bring all the ones you want to the top.
Edited: 2007-02-21, 6:34 pm
I just finished RTK3 Kanji on the meaning and writing part of it without the book. Thank you very much for the printable flash cards for RTK3 Fabrice. Thank you very much for this site. three cheers kanpai.

Where do I go now??????? I don't have any of the RTK books, aside from the samples. As far as reading the kanji, I'm just going to learn them when I meet them in reading.

I'm thinking about doing "Introduction to Newspaper Japanese", on the holidays in December, to learn the reading of the kanji since it covers three quarters of the general-use ones.

My stories are all skeletal plots in RTK3 that need detailing and it's just enough to remember the Kanji. I think I should go through the cycle of RTK3 kanji once more, this time doing the ones that I'm comfortable with (horses, fishes, birds, dragons) and familiar with.

I've studied with a pad and pencil and I remember the RTK3 kanji perfectly, but without my notes, I'm a goner. Kanji to keyword recall is extremely difficult to the utmost.

Does anyone think that I should learn reading now that I have completed RTK3 meaning and writing? Or do I just do the cycle once more to solidify everything. I'm thinking about learning grammar.

Someone write a systematic guide to Japanese grammar like how one would learn English!!!

I'll be sharing my stories too... Now to learn how to read in Japanese....
Edited: 2007-09-25, 1:42 am
lankydan Wrote:I've studied with a pad and pencil and I remember the RTK3 kanji perfectly, but without my notes, I'm a goner. Kanji to keyword recall is extremely difficult to the utmost.
I agree. Going from kanji to keyword often seems harder than the other way.

No offence, but saying you remember the kanji perfectly but only with your notes in hand is a bit like me saying I know the readings of all RTK kanji but only if I have access to JEDICT Wink Or have I miss understood?

My understanding as to what Heisig is getting at is for us to go from keyword to kanji using the mnemonics that we have internalized. Then going from kanji to keyword might become a bit easier.
synewave Wrote:No offence, but saying you remember the kanji perfectly but only with your notes in hand is a bit like me saying I know the readings of all RTK kanji but only if I have access to JEDICT Wink Or have I miss understood?
Yeah, that would seem to be a Pyrrhic victory, at best.
I remember some better than others and if you remember in the introduction of RTK1, Heisig says that the best order to learn is no means the best order for remembering. If I don't remember a Kanji, I know why, because I haven't done enough work on it. I only refer to my notes when I really have to, but hardly do so, because it's way too easy. My mnemonics usually trigger my visual memory of the written form then from that I make up a story on the spot which is completely different to the notes I wrote but I never write it down.


I've already got the RTK3 kanji divided into its appropriate categories and the order that suits my memory. I'm simply going to do a review in December. Got a piano exam in November and I have to use visual memory for memorizing piano music which has a harmony to it, like kanji having primitives.

Anyway, it least it's better than not remembering the kanji at all. It's a good start and I'm gonna do more work on them. I've crossed the line and seen the other side of the kanji from 2043-3007. have any of you been through the cycle at least once? I can now take a step back and then work on chain linking similar keywords with similar definition.

The internalizing mnemonics really depends on the kanji that suit you and also your knowledge of its definition in English. Once I know the definition of the word in English, then it's easier to work with its written form. Currently just trying to remember the primitives for each one and then make a mnemonic is memorable, then afterwards detail it.
Edited: 2007-10-03, 12:53 am
I cleared out my blue box, so I'll consider myself done with RTK3, at least the meaning and writing part.

Ironically, since I took a large break during the summer, RTK3 might have taken longer for me to complete than RTK1 did.
Whoa, congrats Megaqwerty! You're blazing trails.
I'm glad to say that today I added the last kanji of RTK3 to the reviewing stacks and consider myself 'finished with it'. Of course reviewing will continue, but this will grow easier in time, as the number of review/day will decrease.

I would like to thank everyone for sharing their stories, especially for RTK3. The first people sharing their stories paved the way for others to follow and build upon. Also the foreshadowing of primitive elements which would become kanji in their own right later on in the book was much appreciated. But of course all of this would have been impossible if Fabrice and his great website wouldn't have been here! Thanks everyone!!