97-day Kanji Challenge


Anki Screenshot

Since my first semester of Japanese, I’ve been struggling with one major thing: kanji (that is, Chinese characters). Sure, I was able to pass the tests in college most of the time, but that was about it. I ended up forgetting them shortly afterward, and anyway, we were only taught the first 10% of the most common Kanji that everyone needs to know. How can I make up for this?

After some Googling and looking around, it turned out that a site called NihongoShark has my back on this one. Their method is in the link, but it’s kind of a long article with a lot of explaining, so I’m just going to give the quick version.

  1. Download their Anki deck. (That means get Anki if you don’t have it.)
  2. In Anki’s settings, make sure new cards come after reviews and that they’re not in random order.
  3. For each new card that comes in, click the Edit button. There’s a lot of info hidden in each card, but what you’re concerned about is from the “myStory” to “koohiiStory2” fields. These are ideas for how to remember the kanji you’re looking at. Either copy and paste your favorite into “myStory” or type in your own.
  4. Go back and study the cards. To get through the 97-day challenge you’ll have to do 20 kanji every single day. Less is fine, but more will get overwhelming very fast. I recommend less, unless you’re like me: no job and not much to do except study all day.
  5. Always do your reviews every single day. You don’t have to get to new cards every day, but if you miss your reviews they’ll stack up FAST. We’re talking hundreds of reviews. Just do them.

I have not been doing this very long, so I can’t say that it does or doesn’t work. It will take time to determine that. I’ll be sure to come back here and keep you guys updated on my status.


Leap of Faith


College is safe. You have a routine and you know what people expect of you. If you get everything done on time and go to classes, you’ll get a good grade.

Real life is nothing like that. You have to make yourself wake up in the morning, perform basic actions, and go on the search for that job. I’ve started most of my days by firing off a few applications before moving on to the next thing. The only reason I could stick to that was because I have a rotation of things to focus on each day–social media management, writing, game development, and studying my Japanese.

Within each one, though, I don’t always have clear direction. What skills do I still need in Japanese and social media? How should I keep studying?

Well, I decided to jump right in and see what I have trouble with. For social media management, I’ve been looking at job postings that are in that field and noticed that most employers want someone that knows search engines and the like. That’s a weakness of mine, so I’m going to watch some videos and try to think of some way I can practice.

In Japanese, I realized that American copies of Pokemon X and Y have a Japanese option. Since I already have X, it was just a matter of transferring my favorite Pokemon and starting the game over. When I started it up, there were a lot of words I didn’t know, but after I looked them up, I realized that the game was using a lot of the same terms over and over–allowing me to get the hang of them. Sometimes I can talk to a character in the game and understand everything they’re saying, which is cool. Since this is so hands-on (and fun), I think I’m going to stick to this method for a while.

The Importance of Commenting Code


Dungeon University is the work of a tiny handful of people. I do the basics myself, calling in others when my own skill doesn’t seem to be enough. When I first got to work on it, I assumed that the people I started with would stay with it–after all, it’s not a huge project, right?

Well, a lot of time has passed. I’m faced with issues like trying to get a newer character artist to mimic the previous one, waiting what seems like forever for music, and, finally, learning to program for myself.

It’s not that the original programmer has left or anything. Actually, we’re good friends and I talk to him a lot. But this isn’t his labor of love like it is mine, and he just can’t put in the hours every week like I do. So I’m trying to write code based on a framework that I don’t fully understand or even know about. I tried using my basic knowledge to get going, but that resulted in a lot of errors that I couldn’t seem to trace effectively.

How much better would it be if I just knew what was going on? In order to help solve this, I decided to right a wrong in the previous programming–almost none of it was documented. So, I went into every class, variable and function and gave almost all of them the C# summary tags. Often, the names of these things made them super obvious, but I documented them in detail anyway.

The documentation is now there for future reference. More importantly, in doing this I had to go into every script and examine its parts carefully. Some of the explanations took a few extra steps to come up with, but now that I’ve seen it, I get it.

If you’re working on a programming project now or in the future, I recommend documenting it thoroughly. Even if it seems silly, it’s not a waste of time. Who knows when you’ll come back to it again?

Status Report


Here’s a few updates on how things have been going with me lately, in no particular order.

  • Although my girlfriend and I were only casually looking at the house market, we found the deal of a lifetime, so she went ahead and made an offer yesterday. She might close on a great house today.
  • Since getting home last weekend, I’ve submitted about 20 job applications. Some of them have already responded, but I’m on the fence about those particular ones.
  • Trying to write 1000 words a week on The Demon’s Guardian. That’s going fine, but I fear I’m just writing another complete mess.
  • A small change in Dungeon University has revealed a lot of bugs that I don’t understand. Today I’m going to start commenting all the programming, and if I don’t know what something does, I’ll find out. (Someone else got it all started, you see.)
  • I really suck at remembering Japanese vocab and characters. Good thing I have Anki flash cards.

Thanks for reading. I’ll probably expand on some of these in separate posts later on, but this is the basic summary. How are all of you guys doing? I want to hear from those that visit me!