RTK progress report I

Progress report: lesson 9/56, Kanji no. 183

Here is how I’m doing RTK.

I use the anki JRTK deck(not so much), the RevTK site(main review tool) and RTK 6th edition.(duh)

First I handle the RTK book traditionally. I’m still having somewhat of a trouble with the method since I already know 3/4 of the Kanjis so far. Interestingly enough I noticed a few mistakes I had apparently been doing since my first week of Japanese… Two were stroke order related and not all that important, but one baffled me. Apparently I’ve been writing 朝 wrongly for years now and never noticed for some reason. My head was just replacing the first character with 車. Anyway. So I do it traditionally, I write down the kanjis and *try* to make a story for them to get the hang of the method. TBH it’s just so much easier to memorise the Kanji it’s kind of a bother, but I hope it will get better when I get to unknown Kanji territory.

Then I go to the RevTK site and make up keywords and find better stories. I usually make the keyword based on the most common use of a word. This is not the best way to go about it, and it definitely slows me down, but I feel that it is the most productive way to do it. Sometimes(about…5% so far) I will use words that I don’t know as keywords. This is kind of stupid but unfortunately my vocab just never encountered these words. Since homophones can be a problem with keyword review I also add little notes, usually a common word that involves it, but I vary.

A few examples of different ways of marking keywords on RevTK.

もと(がん旦) for 元。It’s a kanji I know well, and I know both readings, which is why I can afford to have such a chaotic flashcard for it. I also use 元たん for 旦 since it’s a good pair.

もっぱ。ら(せん門) for 専. This is pretty much the most common way of keyword marking I use. Since I’m very familiar with 専門 but not with 専ら it makes sense. This is helpful for learning the main reading without interfering with the kanji learning.

ま。ける、ま。かす for 負. Since both まける and まかす could be written with different kanjis having the transitive&intransitive pair helps clear up what I’m looking for. I usually keep the t&i pairs for most stand-alone verbs, though.

した(舐めるの) for 舌. This is just to clear up which した I’m looking for. I could replace the “what am I talking about” hint with a useful word, but I’d have to know a useful word which will be in clear context first. I’ll get to that. (it would work just fine if this were a new kanji or kanji reading for me, but it’s one I know well. My aim is to add some extras to such kanjis, not just practice them).

しょう(ピカピカ) for 晶 kind of like the previous. Since the keyword is the on reading and it’s extremely common at that, I added the meaning in parenthesis so I’ll know  what I’m looking for.

ぐ(そな。わる) for 具。ぐ is what I’ll need the most for this guy, but it’s not enough to make a keyword. I wouldn’t identify そなわる as a standalone with it, either. So I just put both.


I sometimes change the keywords with what JRTK throws at me since sometimes they’re better, but they work surprisingly well together(and I noticed that most of the time, though I didn’t check JRTK when making my keywords, they match). I fail a card if



  • I make any sort of mistake when writing
  • I can’t understand what the keyword wants(happens sometimes with the words I don’t know)
  • I don’t remember a Kanji(duh)

This does cut up my retention rate(goes from around 90% with normal keywords to as low as 50% sometimes), but I think it will be best in the long run. There were many theories on the Internet about how to integrate J keywords in it, but most sounded a bit too complicated for my taste. My main problem is that I can’t integrate the story to hint at the japanese keyword(and also, sometimes the Jkeyword doesn’t match the English one…), so I’m learning the English keywords as well. This does add some extra work to it, work which will not be of the most use (since most keywords have no relevance to the language), but it makes the process a bit easier to get accustomed to.

Since I’m also doing all my other practice things and my exam sessions are coming up, I can’t spend as much time on it as I would have liked. It’s going quick so far, but that’s because it’s mostly familiar territory. I’ll give you a progress report when I’m at Kanji 1000.


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