There are several ways and directions to learn words in Japanese. Many people prefer to review their cards from English to Japanese, and from Japanese to English, but only in the beginning. In its place steps a sentence to have some context. Pure word lists are also in order for some, but considering that one has to learn thousands of words, this becomes troublesome. The review in all cases is either Kanji -> Reading -> Translation, or Reading -> Kanji -> Translation, or without any translation at all. Once a translation is no longer needed, the direction in which the reviews take place are Word -> Sentence -> Kanji -> Reading -> Sentence. The definition in Japanese is probably just another element, and not a single card in the direction Word -> Definition, which is logic. Who would ever want to learn definitions for thousands of words?
Dear reader, even though the following paragraph might seem like there is some information missing, everything is there. I didn’t want to take the answers to the questions away, to allow you to guess before checking your answers, so they are blanked out. If you want to reveal the correct answers, position your mouse cursor at the beginning of the blanks, and mark them. I hereby want to thank MattoMani who pointed out that I should have mentioned this is in the first place, so not to cause any confusion.
But how about reviewing from definition to word? Look at this example, 荒れ果てた家。 (あれはでたいえ。) which is the word we are looking for here? In this case it is 荒屋 (あばらや), a ruined house. How about むせび泣くこと。 (むせびなくこと。), can you guess? 嗚咽 (おえつ), sobbing is the correct word. Here is one last word definition 巡査の俗称。 (じゅんさのぞくしょう。). As a hint, it is a person wearing a uniform, and you are looking for the honorific version of the word. It is お巡りさん (おまわりさん), policeman, but there is also another word that can be counted correct, 巡査 (じゅんさ), policeman.
Now consider how much fun it can be to have hundreds of definitions, and the SRS is not used to memorize in this case, because you already know the words you are being quizzed for. Think of The $100,000 Pyramid, where the players have to throw hints at each other, and the person has to guess the right word based on the hints. For the younger readers, it is an old game show from the 80’s, which I used to watch regularly. The other I used to love was Family Feud, but I digress. Think of it as a game played in your SRS, with a time limit of 1 minute, in which you want to answer as many cards as possible and hopefully correct. Even if you answer them wrong you space them out, so you don’t start to memorize the answers, which is not the point here.
Important is to have fun, and to turn your mind away from memorizing to something fun and not too easy, because you have to think to come up with the correct answer. You can even spice it up by asking not only for the word, but also for a sentence as an answer, no limit in length. Both very short and long answers are allowed. The only other important thing is to keep it all in Japanese, no English allowed, and no other languages for that matter. This is definitely how I am going to to do it. Maybe I start to create a unique deck just for that purpose, or re-use one of the decks I already have, which shouldn’t matter. In both cases it means that I have to come up with definitions, or simply copy them from EPWing Japanese – Japanese dictionaries.
Here is my game plan to make it as little work as possible. I was marking around 26 to 28.000 words since using Wiredmarker. I already considered creating a deck for it, but it would mean that all I have is the word, no reading, and no translation. Now would be the perfect chance to start using it, once I find out how to actually extract them from the .sql databases. The idea is to convert the whole database to .csv, import it to excel, and add the relevant fields, and one definition per word. Then I have to import it to Anki and go with that. The other idea is to use Japanese Text Analysis Tool, a tool that is able to tell the difficulty of books, and on top of that can extract and create a word list for them. For instance, if I choose to analyze the Narnia books I already read, I can readily import the file into excel, and export them with definitions to Anki. The third option available is to use the JLPT word lists. It should be as little work as possible to do it, and in principle, it is only a copy and paste process. Not much work involved in it at all, and the less the better.