Life Beyond 3007 Kanji
Recently, I found my kanji reps getting a bit on the boring side, and I was considering what to do about this.
I thought about switching to Japanese keywords, as some of the kids out there are doing that nowadays. That seemed like too much trouble.
I thought about integrating my kanji deck, currently a separate deck, into my main Japanese deck. That bothered the purist in me.
Then I thought a little bit about what makes kanji fun for me normally. See, I love the kanji. LOVE. As in, big ASCII hearts jumping out of even bigger ASCII faces. So why was I bored?
I was getting bored because I was stuck with the same 3007 kanji from RTK1+3, and never seeing anything new. Every day, the same old kanji. “Oh, I remember you from last year.” “Oh, you again? Didn’t I see you the other day?” And so on.
Luckily, I had a text file which I had been using to warehouse unfamiliar kanji until the time came that I would want to learn them, so I dove into that and started making my own keywords, Heisig-style, and adding them to my Anki deck. And, wonder of wonders, kanji reps immediately became fun and interesting again! New kanji! Every day! It was just like back in the honeymoon period of RTK1, and this pleased me.
So, should you want to go about this as well (and I recommend you do, if you haven’t been already), here are a few tips I found helpful:
- Keep a kanji warehouse. A text file, a scrap of paper, the bit of the back of your hand between your thumb and index finger. Whatever. Just keep them somewhere, for when you’re ready to add them.
- Don’t add too many a day. The issue is that making my own keywords takes time, so I get bored of making cards after only 2 or 3 cards everyday. Don’t overdo it if you’re not enjoying it.
- Pick fun keywords. Use keywords that are easy to work into stories for you. Just because somebody on Koohii already made a keyword for that obscure kanji, doesn’t mean you have to use it. And don’t be afraid to use Japanese keywords. Or Chinese keywords. Or even Spanish. It’s your deck, right? Do whatever works for you
Of course, those who have gone on to learn Mandarin or Cantonese, or other kanji-ken languages, will already be doing this, but I think there’s value for Japanese students as well, because some of these bizarro characters come up in literature, manga, etc.
Anyway, my numbers are still modest… I’m only up to 3042 characters, according to Anki. But if I’m adding a kanji or two a day, that’ll add up pretty quickly.