reviewing the kanji

First Impression: Clozemaster

I just heard about Clozemaster and I thought I’d give it a try. Clozemaster is “gamified language learning” based on filling in the blanks in sentences in your target language. I tried a little bit of N4 and N3, but I didn’t play for long so this is truly a first impression.

Here’s what the site looks like while you’re using it. The default is black text on a white background, but I like how you can switch to white text on a black background!

First of all, I really appreciate that this site has recordings of actual Japanese people saying every sentence. The recordings play automatically after you finish each question, but you can quickly skip ahead if you don’t feel like listening. 

I also like how the whole system is repetition-based, so sentences will keep coming up until you get them right.

My first criticism would be that the words are written in kanji, so you need to be able to read kanji in order to select the right answer. (Just knowing how to say the word won’t help you.) But that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Just depends what you’re trying to achieve. 

Since this is a game, you get points each time you get a question right. Getting a question right in the multiple choice mode (pictured above) gets you 4 points, but getting a question right in text input mode (pictured below) gets you 8 points.

If you get stuck, you can click the question mark on the right to make choices appear.

The next issue I encountered was related to the words being written in kanji - you can’t just type the answer in hiragana if there’s a kanji for that word. As you can see below, I got the answer incorrect because I typed は instead of 葉.

There’s an option to take away the English translation, and at first I thought this made the game way too hard, but I realized it’s actually pretty cool. The whole idea behind a “cloze test” for languages is that you’re able to really process the sentence as a whole and think about which word would make the most sense, rather than just translating the one English word that’s missing from the sentence.

Finally, here’s a look at the dashboard that keeps track of your progress:

Overall, I think Clozemaster is great. It’s not a stand-alone tool for studying Japanese (or any other language), but I already feel like I strengthened my Japanese from the 30 minutes or so I spent playing around with it.

App Review Kanji Study 漢字学習

I really like this app. It provides writing practice, and quizzes for hiragana, katakana, kanji radicals and kanji based on grade level or N level. 

If you buy the full unlocked app for $9.99 you can create custom study lists. I think this is an important feature because it enables you to break the kana into manageable groups. 

It provides you with the ability to turn off romanji. I think that’s critical to becoming fluent. As I’ve mentioned before, romanji can become a crutch that you don’t even realize you are using. 

The writing practice is ok, but for me, I need pen and paper to practice. Just using my finger on my phone screen doesn’t help me. 

You have the option to set reminders and study time goals. This app only provides the definition and sound of each kana. It doesn’t provide grammar or phrases. 

 This app is excellent for providing a solid foundation of kana knowledge. 

 Star rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5/5 

 iPhone  Android

I reviewed some Kanji flashcards + reviewed my 擬態語 & 擬音語 notes today! Did you know that Pikachu comes from the Japanese woord ピカ (pika, sparkle/twinkle, which is 擬態語) and チュウ (chuu, the sound a mouse makes, which is 擬音語)?


Japanese English Bilingual Visual Dictionary [Amazon UK Link]


This 360-page full colour dictionary contains over 6000 words and over 1600 images, with everything from home and office, sports, music, food, nature and even cultural elements of Japanese life. Unlike a standard dictionary, there are not definitions of words but just pictures and English translation to help you understand what they mean.

There really are tons of topics in here, all of which will be useful at some point in daily life, especially if you move to Japan. There’s even a section on childcare-related words, hairdressing, gardening… and so on!


The dictionary is separated into sections like Environment, Work, Sports, Food, etc. You can look up words in both Japanese and English via the Romaji index at the back of the book (no Kanji or kana required - though this also means you cannot look things up via their Kanji).


This dictionary can be used in several great ways:

  • Using it as a source of vocabulary - a lot of these words I have never come across on vocabulary lists online, etc.
  • Putting said words into Memrise, Anki, or any vocabulary memorisation method you may use.
  • You can work through a topic at a time and learn all the vocabulary for that specific topic.
  • It can be utilized if you live in Japan (I have found it pretty useful since living here!) and you need to buy something very specific. Most things you’ll ever need are in here!


  • Understanding the true meaning of words through images: if you’re unsure what a word or object means by its description, you can look it up in the visual dictionary for a more visual explanation.
  • This is especially helpful in terms of food!
  • A wide selection of vocabulary in loads of topics - great as a vocabulary learning list.


  • This book is pretty chunky at 360 pages. A compact, word-only dictionary may be more transportable.
  • The images are quite dated - it’s a bit cheesey to see all the 1990’s fashions!
  • Not in alphabetical order.
右, 有 , 友

In order, mean “right” (direction), “possess”, and “friend”

They look incredibly similar, and they are all pronounced “yuu”

Japanese is a homophonic shitshow

anonymous asked:

hello! as someone who plans to learn japanese in the future, i'm wondering how you're doing it? like, are you studying entirely online or with the aid of textbooks? sorry if this seems a little invasive or you've answered this before but i'm trying to narrow down the best way i can start learning ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ thank youuuu

Hi!! Well I don’t personally use books because I think they’re boring (but if you like studying with books I heard Minna no Nihongo and Genki are great). To learn hiragana and katakana, I HIGHLY recommend the “Dr. Moku’s mnemonics” apps. Unfortunately they’re not free but honestly they’re SO worth it. I never buy apps so please trust me when I say they’re amazing! I use a website called Memrise to learn and review vocabulary and kanji. Tae Kim’s guide is great to learn the basics (how to form sentences, grammar, etc.). Then you can use Lang-8 to get corrections from native speakers. I have a diary where I write random stuff like what I did during the day or just my thoughts on things. Then I post it on Lang-8 and after receiving a few corrections, I write it in my diary below my version and I try to understand my mistakes. Of course, listen to music (here’s my playlist if you want, I update it pretty frequently), watch dramas (the amount of vocab that I learned only by watching dramas is insane), try to read manga in Japanese, translate songs or children’s stories. You can also find Japanese pen pals on language exchange websites. It sounds pretty intimidating but I started talking to this girl after only a few months of learning and it wasn’t that hard to understand what she was saying. And I mean, if you don’t it’s totally okay, just ask them. All the people I’ve talked to were so nice and really happy that I was interested in their language. Sorry, that’s all I can think of right now, I don’t know if it really helps. If you have other questions, don’t hesitate to ask me!! Good luck!!

Lessons I learned in my Summer four day holiday:
-Some people can be assholes and receptive as a concrete wall and there is nothing you can do about it.
-Just because someone’s high up in their career, doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing. But it does mean they’ll insist on doing it their way anyway.
-Staying off social media while you’re apocalyptically angry is almost always the right call.
-Excessive amounts of biking helps you sweat out the rage.
-Realising you haven’t done a WaniKani kanji review for probably about a year and tackling over 200 in one go is a great way to replace the rest of that anger with frustration and exhaustion headaches.

Tips on how to learn more than one language at once

I’m no expert, for sure, but I’ve been learning at least two languages at once since years ago and I wanted to share some things I wish I knew when I started learning languages.

  1. I can’t emphasize enough how important is to be in contact with all the languages everyday. You don’t need to study for an hour, but listen to some podcast, review some flashcards… even if it’s just for ten minutes it can make the difference.
  2. Prioritize. What I do is I assign each language a day (I do alternate days of German and Japanese). That day that language is going to be the most important. If I have hours, that’s the language I’ll watch shows in. If I have minutes, that’s the language I’ll review.
  3. Have a routine and stick to it. I divide every day in half: in the morning I’ll study one language and in the afternoon the other one. I can do this because I have the time, but I think even with a busy schedule you can introduce short study sessions.
  4. Know yourself. And not only in the sense of if you can do it or not, but also how you do things best. Do you study better in the morning or in the afternoon? Put the language you want to focus most in the best time slot. How are you going to use those five/ten minutes before going to sleep in the best way?
  5. Cut yourself some slack. What you’re attempting to do is not easy and you’re probably doing this on top of your daily life. So what if one day you arrive home from school and are too tired to review kanji? Rest and do it tomorrow. If you’re really motivated to do it, I assure you most days it won’t happen.
How I Review

So now that I’m seven hundred kanji(about a third of the way) into Remembering the Kanji, I thought I could share my process and tips.

1) Don’t be afraid to stop before the end of a lesson.

I used to be set on doing a lesson everyday but with increasing reviews and some lessons being longer than others it can get too much and then you start failing your reviews which is disheartening. Instead set yourself a time limit and stick to that. You’ll get there in the end.

2) If a primitive isn’t working for you, give it a personality.

I’ve mentioned this a couple of times but sometimes Heisig’s names for primitives aren’t great. I always find it helps if I can give them a somewhat related character, like instead of shellfish, I use Dr Zoidberg. There are a lot of tips at Reviewing the Kanji. It always makes stories more memorable if there’s a character you like involved.


It’s a great resource. Even if you don’t want to use their flashcard system, there are a lot of great ideas for coming up with stories there and the forums are always there to help out. 

4) Do a little every day.

Even if you’re just doing reviews, keep going. When you stop, it can be hard to find motivation again.

5) Enjoy it.

If you’re not enjoying it, you might have burned out. That being the case, continue with your reviews and perhaps take a break from adding new cards till you feel ready. Move on to some grammar study or something in the meantime. Burn out happens when you try to do too much too fast. Take your time.

Now to talk about how I study. 

All I use is the Remembering the Kanji book, the Reviewing the Kanji website and Evernote with my tablet.

This is how I set my screen up. On the left, Reviewing the kanji, on the right evernote. 

Firstly I always do my reviews of restudy cards, then I move on to the expired cards and finally new cards.

When reviewing, I’m not too harsh. As long as I have all the correct primitives in the right places then I give myself a pass. If I get the primitives right but in the wrong places, that’s still a fail. Unfortunately. I don’t know how many times that’s tripped me up.

Anyway, if I’ve still got time I work through new kanji in the textbook and add my stories to the Reviewing the Kanji website. It’s worth writing them down. What seems obvious today might not be obvious in three months. Again I might have evernote on hand to practise drawing the kanji.

I never review new kanji on the same day I add them to Reviewing the Kanji. I always wait 24 hours to review new kanji, that way I’m sure it’s not just short term memory that’s getting me through.

A lot of people, Heisig included, say you don’t need to write the kanji more than once. Maybe they don’t but I know I do. If I don’t write it down, I’m tempted to be more lenient with myself. If I’ve written it down I can see how bad I actually am and can improve. Doodling in the air doesn’t do that for me. Plus, I find drawing kanji fun! If it’s fun and helps you learn, you should always do it.

This was a bit tl;dr. Sorry~ ;^__^

Remembering the Kanji - Finished!

It’s kind of an anti-climax really.

When I say I’ve finished I mean I’ve studied and created 2200 stories for the 2200 kanji version 6 of Remembering the Kanji covered. I still need to continue reviewing for a long time or I will forget.

Am I now writing Kanji with the skill of a Chinese person? No. I think that’s a really bizarre claim of Heisig’s. 

What I do have is a very solid foundation to build on now. I look at kanji without fear, even those I see that were not covered in the book because I now have the skills to break them down myself. 

I can write 2200 kanji. I can identify a meaning for each one. And all of this before we’ve even considered Kanji in class.

My next steps are:

Transferring to anki. The Reviewing the Kanji website is invaluable and made Remembering the kanji experience so much easier. However, now that I’m done, I’m moving to anki to keep up reviewing. I carry anki on my phone so this makes more sense and means I can do reviews on the go.

Maybe you should consider starting on anki if you haven’t started already. I will be using anki for everything. SRS is a great study method.

Kanji Odyssey 2001. This actually terrifies me. A lot of the sentences are very business related so I’m only adding words and sentences that are relevant to me into anki.

Kakitori-kun DS. I don’t want to forget all those writing skills I learned. If I don’t practice, I will surely forget. Kakitori-kun to the rescue!

Yotsubato! I’ve already been reading Yotsuba but now I have better kanji skills(?) so I can try harder and focus on the kanji and their readings. Again I will be adding anything new to a deck on anki.

And of course I will be continuing with my Japanese classes. I’m relying on them as my main grammar and speaking sources. I think, for now, this is fine.

But anyway, Heisig - Done. Do I recommend it? Well, yes in the right circumstances. Do it as quick as you possibly can without burning out and then move on to reading practice. It’s a great book but it’s not the end goal. It’s a shortcut but there’s still a long way to go after it’s done.
Learn Japanese Kanji - Everyday Kanji - YouTube
Learn Japanese Kanji characters by seeing them in everyday life. This series shows you Japanese kanji characters found around Tokyo and explains their meanin...

Lots of old Japanese pod101 videos like this one here, good for reviewing kanji and practising reading in short bursts, I like the built in review quizzes and the fact that they use real photos of real Japanese signs: