97-day Kanji Challenge

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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.

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