Dear Reader, yesterday I was able to finish Kanji Odyssey Level 1, in a very long sitting. That I was able to finish the program yesterday was only because Zorlee, a highly valued member over at forum.koohii.com, inspired me to do it. I surely didn’t plan to sit down and work my way through 40 frames, adding 290 sentences and vocab cards, and review all of them. But I am glad I did! Also the past entries in the The “I have finished KO.2001 Please Congratulate Me” thread added to my wish to sit down and get it done. I started around 10:30 a.m. and I was done at 11:03 p.m. I was overjoyed when I typed in the last sentence, and realized, that I really did it! I finished Level 1 of Kanji Odyssey!
I really can say that it was a rewarding journey. I made many discoveries, how to add Japanese definitions for unknown words to my cards, to help me learn unknown words but in Japanese. Also I noticed that all of a sudden, the Kanji began to make sense, and that I knew Kanji in other words already, that I just couldn’t see or didn’t take notice of before. It is hard to describe what I mean by all that. It all started to make sense, words and sound became a unity, and not one thing attached to another.
In the beginning, it was a very slow process to add vocabulary and sentences, so I thought that it would take forever and a day, to finish it. I expected that it would take at least 6 months for Level 1 alone. And about the same amount of time for Level 2. After a slow start, I became used to add many words and sentences, and my overall speed started to improve.
After three or four weeks, I saw small improvements in both my reading and listening comprehension, as well as guessing the reading for Kanji in words. This alone felt great when I first noticed it. At first I wasn’t reading much, because most time went into typing in cards and reviews. After about 100 Kanji, I made it a habit to start reading small paragraphs on a website explaining culture, the seasons, Japanese festivals, cultural background, but also many personal blogs. One of which I really became to hate the author, because she has some many pictures of France, and about french cuisine on it, that I always become hungry when I read it …
I knew one thing, and this was that I simply had to read as much as I can, while working with Kanji Odyssey. If I wouldn’t have done it, it would have been a big waste of time, and counter-productive. Right now I can read longer passages of text, with unknown words still being a bit of a trouble, and of course unknown grammar. But this will change as well.
While adding sentences to Anki, I always had my Media Player open, and some episodes of my favourite Anime running. And while I was adding cards, I was also listening to the program, and noticed words I learned popping out everywhere. This was another big motivation, and kept me listening and watching both passive and active, after a session. I will make a separate list to tell you which ones they where, and rate them according to what I think is rather easy or hard to follow without subs.
In general my reading became better, my understanding of sentences improved, and my listening comprehension did too. I think listening comprehension is my strong suit in general. Maybe this is due to the fact that I was listening and watching Anime in the hundreds of hours. Only grammar and production fell short so far. But there was nothing new in terms of grammar in KO that I haven’t learned before in Genki I, Genki II, An Introduction to Japanese Grammar, Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, and some other books I have read, or been working with. I will work on that when I start with Kanzen Master which will be the next step after Level 2.
One thing that I was looking forward to, long before finishing the first Level, was the arrival of my book order from k.press, a german shop importing and selling books, magazines and other things from Japan. Thanks again for the fast delivery Mr. Borchart! I have ordered カラー版 ナルニア国物語 全7巻セット C.S.ルイス、ポーリン・ベインズ、 [単行本], ムーミン童話全集 全9巻 [単行本] and 世界の終りとハードボイルド・ワンダーランド [単行本] shortly after I began working with KO, and by the time the books would arrive, I wanted to be done. Today, shortly after waking up, the books had arrived. And I was really surprised about the heavy package the books came in. 10kg! A real heavy load of books so to say. *笑顔* I opened it up, and looked at all the books, they are sooooo beautiful! And they are looking almost too precious to touch. They really deserve the Special in their name.
The first book I opened up was 世界の終りとハードボイルド・ワンダーランド and the first thing I was looking at was the map that can be unfolded, containing a map of the Wonderland. I was looking at it and a smile came to my face, and I jumped and thought: Hey! I can read this, I know what it means! For instance 発電所 which I spotted first. Then I was opening up one of the Mumin books, and my heart became warm, and my childhood came beack to me. The title of the book I was taking out was ムーミン谷の仲間たち and the Sub-heading is Det osynliga barnet or Tales from Moominvalley in English. It is the 6th of 9 and the longest of all, containing many short stories, whereas all the other books are novels. On a side note. While I was writing the title of the Mumin book, I was looking at 谷 and 仲間 and almost had to look it up! Then I remembered what it was … それは悲惨だな。 What a shame … Once I have read a good couple of my books, I will start writing reviews about them, and some others I have lying around here. But in Japanese. It is not possible to plan doing something, switching to Japanese – Japanese definitions on cards, making a switch to Japanese output and other such things. But I will start doing it, without planning anything, or forcing it. It will happen, just as it happened when I started adding J-J definitions to my cards.
And now, before I get back to my due reviews, I have something to offer for you. I promised that I would release my deck once I am done with Level 1. Although I highlight suggest you type everything in all by yourself, because you learn so much more from it, I am gladly willing to give it away now that I am done. So if anyone wants it, proof of ownership with a picture and something written by hand, e-mail address, or some other unique feature that identifies you as the owner of the product provided, I will send it to you. Just leave a comment, and I will get back to you. Anyone who doesn’t have proof of ownership should forget about contacting me, or begging to give it away, buy it from CosCom. They deserve their money for this great product. PERIOD.
And now, it is really time to get back to my reviews. I wish you good luck in your own studies, Dear reader! And never forget that persistence is the key to success.