I’ve been adding the 300th card of Kanji in Context today into Anki. Time to celebrate! But then again there is hardly time to celebrate, because there is nothing to celebrate about this, in the first place. But I want to write something more about this book and the method. Provided one has not only the reference book, which contains all the vocabulary, but also the workbook you are ready to rock.
I had this book series flying around my desk a little over 7 months. I have read the introduction twice or more since the books were delivered. But unfortunately the introduction, and the way to use this book, and what makes it so powerful, remained a secret. Now that I’ve started working at least with the reference book to add and memorize vocabulary, and having taken a closer look in workbook number one, everything makes sense. The power is that the learned words get constantly repeated. Per sub-chapter of a Level, there are a handful of chosen words, that are expected to be known or memorized. Each section for those Kanji contains three sub-sections, I, II and III.
Number I 次の表現を勉強し、______の言葉の意味と読み方を覚えなさい。 So in the first part one has to learn the expressions, 八百屋、一日は二十四時間、夏の強い日ざし for example, and memorize the way the underlined parts are read, and their meaning.
Number II 次の言葉の意味と読み方を覚えなさい。特に______の読み方に気をつけなさい。 This section asks you to memorize the words meaning and way of reading. In the very first section for level 1 it also asks to pay attention to the readings of the underlined words. They are only numbers, so i will not post an example for this, it’s just a list.
Number III______の言葉の読み方を書きなさい。 In this final section there are sentences which contain underlined parts for expressions, and you have to write the 平仮名 in place of the underlined kanji. Here is an example for this. 一目で、彼女のことが好きになった。 The following is my own translation. The book doesn’t contain any. I came to like her at first glance. In this sentence the underlined part is 一目で、and you would have to write ひとめで instead.
Next to the sentences is a rather long list of words in Kanji with 振り仮名 [ふりがな] readings. You will have already learned them when you studied the words with the reference book. This, again, reinforces the words. It’s a constant reinforcement, not only in the reference book, but also in the Reference book. For instance when a word is introduced in one Frame it can show up again in another Frame for a different Kanji. You will get constant exposure, and it is hard not to be able to remember the words, once you learned them for the first time. The book also introduces closely related words, for example 川上 upper reaches of a stream, upstream, and in the next you learn 川下 lower reaches of a stream, downstream. Or 素人 amateur and 玄人 expert, or 右翼 the right-wing, rightist and 左翼 the left wing, leftist.
I was only able to add and memorize 300 words so far, and I haven’t been using the workbook yet, but this will change soon. My original plan was to memorize all vocabulary of a Level. But this involves memorizing close to 600 additional words. This is why i decided to change this and add words into Anki during the week, and work with the workbook during the weekends. As it is right now I have trouble remembering some of what I consider to be difficult words. An example for this is 東西南北 [どうざいなんぼく] north, south, east, and west. Due to the amount of vocabulary I add, without actively learning them before adding them into the deck, it takes some fails until I remember what some words mean. But this was to be expected.
With the reinforcement of the content in the workbook, and by adding this information into Anki too, i see little trouble to make progress and memorize words. It just depends on my willpower to stick with this method. Speaking of which, the layout of my cards has changed as well. I’m still tinkering around to make it easier to memorize some words. For planets I found that adding colour words next to the Kanji helps. For 木星 [もくせい] Jupiter the hint is [茶色、赤、白] so i know that it is Jupiter. Another link to this planets name are the Perry Rhodan magazines. Jupiter is described as being overgrown with jungle. And since the first Kanji is 木 meaning tree, it helps remember. These hints will be removed over time. When I find a good layout, i will update this or another article with it.
So, dear reader, if you got curious about this book, you should get it. It is worth the money. And don’t forget to buy the workbook as well!