日本ごをべんきょうでいそがしいです

Slowly, but surely, I’m going to try to write in more Japanese, as I learn more words and grammar. I hope the sentence below sentence means: I am busy with my Japanese studies!

日本ごをべんきょうでいそがしいです!

The day kicked off when I woke up to 120 WaniKani drills! That just could be my highest drill count yet. I had just leveled up late last night, and it took a few hours to complete all the new lessons and the first round of reviews. I’m so happy to be level 7 though, I’ve made it a goal to try to listen and read more Japanese (easy level) outside my studies once I’m level 10, so that’s one step closer.

WK Overlay Script

As I learn the new kanji, I get to play with the user scripts I installed. The one below is called WK Overlay and it displays the appropriate radical or kanji tags. Of course, they’re added after you answer the drill, otherwise that would be cheating! I find this helps reinforce the building blocks which helps me figure words out with those radicals/kanji next time.

So “Summer” was a new kanji presented to me for level seven. Most of the time the radical/kanji tags start off all in a clump, but for the kanji character page, you can move them around. Here I separated them a tiny bit, so you can see the radicals better. I chose this kanji at random.

And then I move them around all nice and neat, near what they represent, while memorizing the little mnemonic I’m given. For Kanji, they provide radical tags, with the radicals outlined in blue.

WaniKani’s mnemonic to help me remember “Summer” kanji

The eye leaf grows only in the winter. Every other leaf, however, will do the opposite, which is to grow in the summer.

Here’s another example for “school”.

You find your father with a lid on his head, up in a tree. He yells down at you. “Hey! Welcome to your first day of school!”

The stories may seem silly, if you’re not used to mnemonics. But they work!

Here is a more complex vocabulary word (in a higher level), this was a sample on the script page. This script will add black kanji tags to vocabulary words.

My Own Mnemonics

Also, as I learn new kanji/vocab, I get tested right away. If I know something is definitely not going to be memorable enough for me, I don’t hesitate to think up my own mnemonic. Below I added my own “Reading Note” to remember the kanji “Weak”, both its meaning and reading, it’s on the bottom of this image. Poor Jacku, Rose should’ve been a bit less weak…

Kanji for weak

“I’ll never let go, *Jacku*! Oh wait, I’m too WEAK, goodbye Jacku!”

KaniWani

Once I was done with so many hours of WaniKani, I went to their forums, and somebody started a thread asking how many KaniWani drills you had piled up. I don’t think I ever covered KaniWani in detail on my blog yet, I’ll do that another time, but it’s basically a fan-created site that tests WaniKani in reverse.

I hadn’t done KaniWani much, so I had 418 drills to do! I only started it right before vacation and was frustrated that it took time to get any to “Master” level. (Anybody who uses WK knows you just need patience, drills are spaced out. No matter how good you are, you won’t “Burn” your kanji in just a month of starting.)

A few MORE hours of working in KaniWani, and I got it down to 233. (I actually got it down to 140, but of course more drills came to join the fun.) And look! I started to “Master” my first words!

A lot of similar words with the same or very similar meanings always trip me up in KaniWani. And some just tripped me up anyway. For example, the kanji for “Sell” confused me, in the vocab words, it almost always had the り kana after the う. I hadn’t seen that before…

Then, lo and behold, in NihongoMaster, I learned the kanji for sell, and they showed me the polite form of うる was うり! (To be honest, I had just learned about the various forms of verbs last week, so it all makes sense now.) But I don’t think I will ever miss that change again.

Progressing in NihongoMaster

Speaking of which, I also worked very hard today to get to level 10 in NihongoMaster. Levels don’t mean as much here, as your points slide with inactivity, even after a few hours. I think it does show how hard you work with their program, all the top learners are in the level 20s. I feel like such a newb at 9. I do know you lose points steadily, and I’m not sure yet how to optimize points gain. Do the points start to drop after a certain timeframe of inactivity?I emailed their support last week to ask and they never answered. I’ll probably ask the question in their forums. I get about 100 drills a day in this program, although it’s hard to tell with timed SRS drills – I do them several times a day as they pop up.

You may think I’m crazy for using so many different programs to learn Japanese, but I very carefully choose my main ones I work with everyday. I love how new concepts are reinforced in various ways, whether it’s conjugating the verb tenses, seeing the kanji, grammar explanations and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leveled up in WaniKani (4)

Hooray for me! I’ve reached Level 4 in WaniKani Kanji learning website! The free trial period ends after your first three levels, and you have to choose whether to continue (of course you Wana) subscribe. They offer plans by the Month, Year or Lifetime. I already opted for the Year subscription, I am hoping to learn most of it in just two years.

The first three levels are free, but it feels like you learn so much! It took me two weeks and three days to reach level 4.

They are even going to send me a little present for giving WaniKani a try and making it to level 4! That was totally unexpected. Here’s a tiny excerpt of the celebratory email I received:

  • Level 5: 97.50% of the kanji that Japanese 1st grade elementary students need to know, and 78.48% of the JLPT5 kanji (really, you’re almost here).
  • …..
  • Level 60: 84.78% of the  kanji that Japanese 9th graders should know, 78.81% of the kanji found in JLPT 1, and 99.21% of the kanji found in Japanese books/ebooks.

….♡,
Koichi

I do love their motivational emails, starting right off the bat after your first hour with WaniKani. Those first few days can be tough (in terms of waiting for something to do); most users are so eager to learn, but they use a spaced repetition system (SRS) for most efficient learning. Have patience! Soon  you’ll have lots to do!

WaniKani addons/extensions/scripts

You may notice on my screenshot above that it may not look like your WaniKani homepage, I’ve installed a few browser extensions. I added a Level Up notification, I think the first two levels I didn’t notice until I got the email. There is a handy Reviews Timeline, so you can arrange your day around learning WaniKani most optimally, haha. Last night I was worried because the slider was out a few days, and it wasn’t showing much on my review plate. Then this morning, I did one big batch of reviews and BAM. Hit level 4. You can see it automatically gave me 89 lessons!

I’ll list my favorite WaniKani addons, but for now I’ll leave you with my updated screenshot of Kanji I’m learning! Feel free to click it to see more detail. And of course, I already updated my Level 4 Kanji I’m learning page!

WaniKani – start of level 4

If you’re using WaniKani, what level are you? Do you have any words of advice for a newbie in the “Pleasant Level”?