Studying Japanese Vocabulary Using Anki

こんばんは。How’s it going?

I mentioned in my last post about my daily habits that I’ve been trying to keep up with as best as I can, and I have to admit that I am surprised that I have been doing pretty good! One of the habits is to study Japanese, and right now that involves digital vocabulary flashcards using Anki.

I got turned onto Anki from the book Fluent Forever, in which the author Gabriel Wyner talks about using timing, or intervals between study, to improve recall of vocabulary. What great about Anki is that it uses those intervals to automatically adjust the frequency of the flashcards. Basically, I look at the word in Japanese (romaji), then flip the card over to reveal the meaning. At the bottom of the screen, I click on one of the four buttons: Again, Hard, Good, or Easy. Sometimes clicking Again means the card will show up again within the next minute or so, Hard means about 10 minutes, Good means 3 days, and Easy could mean the card shows up again a month from now. But those intervals are all varied. I guess it just depends on what I’ve clicked on before.

I have to say, it really works! With each study session (once per day is the maximum allowed) I learn more words than normal and can recall ones that gave me a lot of trouble before. It’s kind of neat!

But, there’s still a bit of reticence on my part some mornings. I guess there’s a part of me that is disappointed when the same words come up and I cannot recall the meaning. However, that is getting better slowly but surely, and the fact that at the end of each session I feel like I’ve made progress leads me to think that eventually, I’ll have no barriers to getting my daily study in.

As you can see from the screenshot, I’ve downloaded a bunch of free flashcard sets, even Spanish vocab! But I mainly do the “ACFL Basic Japanese 1” and “Japanese Hiragana (Basic)”. I feel like that’s plenty for now.

I hope you had a nice Tuesday!


Nihongo Update

"Watch Bin" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/17 sec, ISO3200
“Watch Bin” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I was listening to some Japanese pop songs that I haven’t heard in a couple years, and I was surprised that I understood a lot more than I used to. Actually, I’d rate my comprehension of the lyrics as maybe 20% of the words, whereas before it might have been 5%. But since it’s mostly just bits and pieces, and not even whole sentences that I understand, I only get the gist of what the song is about. Still, it’s fun to hear the same songs and the mystery is revealed a bit more as I study.

I’ve been using the Anki flashcard system on my computer and phone to boost my vocabulary and it’s pretty good! However, I am going to switch from kana to romaji to get in more vocabulary quicker, then maybe I will switch it up and go back to kana for a bit. There’s a mental gap that I am encountering where I am trying to memorize both the meaning while seeing the kana/kanji and it’s kind of frustrating. So to build some momentum, I am switching to romaji (and I also study my kana cards separately as a refresher) and see if I can get more vocab under my belt.

In other Japanese-related news, I have caught up with Segodon so now I can just watch the TV Japan broadcasts when they are shown. And then I am also watching a Sailor Moon episode here and there. Fun to pick up the new words I have learned.

So, some improvement with my Nihongo, and also a bit of fun with the dorama!

Today’s photo is of my watches, sitting in a Kokuyo pen case. I tidied up my desk, but don’t have a good place to put my watches so I just threw them there. I like looking at them, so I don’t put them in the drawer but it seems like they need a better place to hang out than just the desktop. 😆 We’ll find a good home for them someday!

I hope you had a good Saturday!


Chicken, Pens, and Studying

"Karaage" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO4000
“Karaage” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

As you can see, we feasted once again on karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken). It’s a family favorite, although we have our own preferences on how to eat. For instance, Mariko like hers with a little salt and lemon, Koa likes to squeeze lemon into a small dish and dip the karaage, while Bay and I like it with lemon and Kewpie mayo. But whichever extra seasoning we use, it’s a must that we enjoy it with a nice bowl of steamed rice. Karaage and rice is the best!

Later on I was in the office being productive by setting up my Japanese studying flashcards on the computer using the Anki system. It’s fun! And I am also continuing to practice writing using my fountain pens. Writing with those pens and with my favorite inks makes the practice a pleasure. Anything I can do to make studying easier is welcome. 😀

Speaking of the pens I bought this new pen case the other day. It’s basic, but good quality and the price was right! I used to just keep my pens on my desk, but now with the cat-proof case, I know there won’t be any inky surprises. 😾

"Pen Case" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO6400
“Pen Case” Cedar Park, 2018

I hope you had a nice Sunday!


Sketch and Kanji

"Work at Home Sketch" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/60 sec, ISO1250
“Work at Home Sketch” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Today I did a quick sketch for the first time a long while, and I think it turned out ok. I only spent maybe 10 minutes on it, so there needs to be a lot more work to make it better. The lines are very stiff IMO but I still don’t know what style I prefer to do. Maybe simplify things even more?

During my lunch break, I also did some hiragana practice and worked on writing my name. The kanji is somewhat difficult (18 strokes for the first character) but it all came back to me quickly. I still think it looks really clumsy. But it’s a signature, so I don’t know if I should try to write it as nice as I can, or just go with the flow. Probably the latter.

Anyways, it was fun to just doodle and write kana for a while. Every little bit helps! “A line drawn is never wasted”, right?

To see all the sketches I’ve been working on, you can check out the Flickr album “My Sketching Journey”, or my Instagram account barron.sketches which I created just for posting sketches, watercolors, and stationery items.

I hope you had a nice Wednesday!


Free Hiragana and Katakana Charts

"Free Hiragana and Katakana Charts" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Free Hiragana and Katakana Charts” Cedar Park, 2017

Hi all! I was searching for some small, printable hiragana and katakana charts to put in my passport-size Midori Traveler’s Notebook, but then thought that I should just make my own. So I did that. And then I thought, “Why don’t I make these available for others to use?” Well, here they are – free hiragana and katakana charts!

Each PDF chart is roughly 100mm x 70mm, which will leave enough room to tape it onto a page or slide it into a kraft sleeve.

Right-click the links below to save the PDF, then when you print, select “Actual Size” to print at 100mm x 70mm, or you can choose “Fit” if you want it to fill your paper size.

I hope someone finds these simple reference charts useful! 😀