367 Kanji Later… (Review of 97-day Kanji Challenge)


Anki StatsIn a previous post, I talked about the 97-day Kanji Challenge. Long story short, I’ve found it to be quite challenging indeed.

It’s now been over 50 days since I got started on that–well over half the amount of time that NihongoShark suggested. According to the card type breakdown (see the pie chart at the bottom of the image), I’ve looked at about 367 kanji at the time of writing. The total goal, by the way, is 2200. I’m not even close to being halfway done!

But you know what? I wanted to be a little discouraged at first. Yet the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is still an incredibly effective way to learn. Because of Anki’s system, I’m still reviewing each one as I go, and should be able to remember most of those 367 with some effort. On the other hand, when studying Genki in college, I only learned 317 kanji–and I often forgot them when the quiz was over!

This means that I’m learning more kanji, more effectively, in the last two months than I did in the previous two years. That really is a big improvement!

If I keep going at this same rate, it’ll probably take me about one year in total to get to that magic 2200 number. But, you can also see that I haven’t lived up to one expectation: study every single day. I was honestly intimidated by the amount there was to do. Now that I’m looking at it in this new light–that is, that I can do less than the suggested 20 each day and still learn a ton of new information–I might be encouraged to get at this every single day. That would help my pace a lot.

In the end, the 97-day Kanji Challenge is probably too much to expect for any sane human being. Sure, we can probably do 20 a day for a week or so, but that pace will burn most people out really fast. However, you can still use the same principle, and just do 5 or 10 new ones each day. It’s better to keep a steady pace than to run yourself into the ground.

Still, the principles behind the challenge–using the deck suggested, choosing your own stories to remember each one, and reviewing every day–work wonders, and I can’t suggest those enough. If you really want to learn all the kanji, I would try a 200 or 300 day challenge instead.


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.

Life Goals


EDIT: I almost didn’t post this publicly. There’s something sort of personal about all this, and I have a hard time putting myself out there. Sounds silly, but it’s true. So thanks in advance for just taking a look at it.

Alright, guys. I’m trying to work out what this blog will be about, while also holding myself accountable. I’m hoping to keep this short, since there are a lot of these, here we go.

Goal 1: Release Book Trilogy

As I mentioned in my last post, my first book came out in 2013 and I haven’t made much progress since. That’s silly, considering there were supposed to be three. So, for each of the other two books, I’m giving myself a year to write, and around eight months to polish up and release. With a little work each week, that’s plenty of time.

Goal 2: Make a Respectable Living

In my personal notes, I actually have a dollar amount tied to this, and I’m only giving myself about two years to get there. I don’t know if it’s too easy or too hard to get to that specific number, but the important thing is that I hone my skills, hunt for what’s out there, and don’t settle.

Goal 3: Release Dungeon University

This one’s tough. Dungeon University is just getting started, but I think that if I dedicate some real hours to it, I can accomplish this goal in about 2 years. I’d break this goal down into parts, but that would take way more space than I have here.

Goal 4: Get a Game Onto Steam’s Front Page

Hang on. Isn’t this sort of an extension of Goal 3? Well, the game that I do this with may be Dungeon University, or any other one that I make some day. That goal is just to make a game–this goal is to effectively promote a game. I have some marketing to learn.

Goal 5: Physical Fitness

I’m not even a couch potato–if I can avoid getting out of bed in the morning, I won’t. So being able to run for any length of time, lift even a few dozen pounds… it’ll be tough. I have to do just a little bit of work every day. Once I can do one push-up with good form, maybe I can put a number to this.

Goal 6: Romantic Aspirations

I really care about the woman that I’m with right now. After a year and a half, we are quite certain about the future we have together. I have to give her my all and move forward with her in the next few years, and at times, it will take some work.

Goal 7: Japanese Fluency

Specifically: I want to be able to play video games in Japanese without having to stop and look at a guide or look up every other word. I want it to feel more or less normal to me. I’ve taken two years of Japanese class, and I think in a couple more years I’ll be able to do all that.

Goal 8: Stay Sane

Unlike the others, this goal does not have a deadline. In a way, it’s an anti-goal. I want to do the other 7 things without losing everything else I care about, or losing my mind. Tall order? Maybe. But I’ll try.


Thanks for reading, everyone. Do you think I can do it? What goals do you have on the horizon?