RawToast's Study Log

I normally hang out in @ariariari’s log but thought I’d make one for an attempt at RTK.

Old Studying History:

  • Previously studied RTK using recognition/RTK-lite. I don’t have my old Anki but I got through around 800-1000 kanji.
  • Individual vocab study with Anki Core6k to ~3k vocabulary
  • Completed old TaeKim decks.
  • Passed N5 years back with a real mixed skill set. It was hard due to all the kana and my lack of studying grammar production (I could read far above this level). Then took a huge break from studying Japanese.

New Studying History:

  • Moved to Japan last August and realised how much I suck at Japanese.
  • Started studying again last October and applied for the N4 to kickstart my studies.
  • Passed N4 in December. Apart from listening – which I didn’t prepare for – the test was a doddle. I had enough time to do the test twice and still twiddle my thumbs :grin:
  • Took a mini break until April and applied for the N3 this summer.

I decided to study RTK going keyword -> kanji (production) before failing N3 in the summer. I preferred recognition before as it’s faster, but found production on iKnow helped me with recollection and production helped me with the kanji questions back when I did N5. In addition, being in Japan writing kanji is not a useless skill. I actually hate that I struggle to write the kana! (I learned the kana using recognition…)

I feel like I should be able to make quick progress as I have N4 and know a lot of random kanji from RTK-lite recognition and vocab study. No worries about N3, I just don’t know if I’ll have the time to study RTK and N3 materials. I’ll do some grammar study, but I am not going to burn myself out for it. Plus I feel having a better grasp on the kanji will help going forward.

I study using kanji.koohi.com — as I tend to just tweak Anki and not study.

Stats so far:

Day 1 (23rd April) — Added 75 new cards (chapter 1-4 complete!). Just a few thousand to go!

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Well, that’s another day’s cards complete. I can’t seem to find a running total on the koohii page – so this log might be invaluable! :laughing:

Day 2

I don’t like a number of the stories in chapter 5 and I find some of the keywords a bit weird e.g. “place on the head” and using “village” instead of “town”. Lots of “shellfish” kanji which can be hard when you don’t want to associate the image of money to 貝 :confounded:

Added another 25 cards (partially into chapter 6), so 100 down in two days.

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Hello from someone who is also studying the Kanji with RTK at the moment.:grin: I agree with some of the keywords being a bit strange, but I actually find those sometimes more memorable than a kanji with a very mundane keyword. I had similar problems with the whole “town”, “village” and “city” kanji, but I think this distinction between the different keywords is pretty important because it refers to the size of that particular place (that’s how I understand it).
Yeah, 貝 is really contained in a lot of Kanji.:sweat_smile: Why don’t you want to associate it with money? I found the idea that this meaning derives from the fact that shells used to be used as currency pretty useful to remember it.

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Yeah, it does matter, which is why I think this is the one place where everybody should ignore Heisig’s keywords and swap ‘village’ and ‘town’ round to the correct kanji. (There are others you could quibble about but I don’t think they matter so much, not being common single-kanji words with clear concrete meanings.)

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It’s fixed in the RTK volume 1 errata.


Good to know, thanks. (My copy of the book is 5th ed, which definitely still has them the wrong way round.)

Interesting. I’ve always used the 6th edition, I should check out the errata. I know RevTK changed the order for the 6th, I presume the keyword wasn’t changed.

I like the “village for the rice and the tea” story, which won’t rhyme if I use town! So I ended up changing my keyword to town/village. I should do the same for town — or come up with a new mnemonic.

For shellfish/money, I have 金 in my head for money (I know it’s gold here). I can’t recall any ‘money’ words using 貝. A quick search on Jisho just comes up with words related to fish. So far I’ve been able to avoid money… maybe that will change.


Added stories and quickly went through another 11 kanji this morning. I need to keep up the pace, as I want to complete RTK before I take the N3. I’ve had thoughts about doing RTK lite or even doing some N3 kanji early. At the same time, I don’t want to over-complicate things!

I use a pre-made RTK Anki deck, so I’m not sure which edition it is. So this 町 should be “village” and 村 should be “town”?

村「むら」is village.

町「まち」is town.

Another 35 down (135). Tomorrow begins one of the big chapters (lesson 8).

Ahh okay. That’s the way I’ve learned it anyway. Didn’t know that it used to be the other way around.:sweat_smile:

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Lucky, I guess you picked the right deck!

I have also changed “Place on the head” to “Summit / Top of the head” since that’s the meaning on Jisho/most words.

Now up to 165 kanji; moved to Anki and re-reviewed all my cards. I think the deck was ordered incorrectly at first, so I now have a few cards that are earlier in the 4th edition :smile:

Finally, I have a free day tomorrow to study. Let’s see what happens…

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Yesterday (Day 4)

Very productive day. After moving to Anki, I needed to go through the cards. When I used RevTK I liked choosing and tweaking the stories before adding cards to the deck. I added stories for cards 165-265 and updated some stories and keywords. I still use the RevTK site for tips as there are some strange keyword choices in the book.

I changed ‘graveyard’ primitive 莫 as I remember struggling with it when I did RTK in recognition. A sunny graveyard doesn’t work as an image! Instead, I use “sunflower” or “big sunflower” (flower + sun + big). So for Imitation 模 I use “The tree next to the graveyard must be an imitation, it looks like a big sunflower.” As you can see, I try to keep Heisig’s keywords in the stories.

Using sunflower works quite well. 墓 - Grave has a simple image of “Placing sunflowers in the soil of a grave.”

I also found the “hairy back” or “hairy bum” stories perfect for Portent; it works nicely going forward with Peach Tree, Stare, and Status Quo.

Earlier I went for the Chinese meaning of “parents home” for Ri. Like the graveyard story, I mention a computer in the story.

I completed my reviews and added 60 new cards.

Day 5 (Morning)

So far, only reviewed and added another 30 cards – since I already had the stories. The pace is fast at the moment, but I know I will slow down. I still recall some of the stories from the last time I did this. Thus I can go fast without any issues.

If anyone’s interested, I tweaked how Anki handles new cards (told you I’d be tweaking it.) I added a final stage to new cards, so the steps are: 1 10 50. I like to review in the morning, and this adds a review later in the day. I believe iKnow’s SRS is similar.

Happy to be at 245 kanji (Anki says this is 11%). Still unsure about what I should do for the JLPT. I don’t mind failing and getting some experience at the level.

I have thoughts about suspending cards at N1/N2 level (or just N1). I could just add them back once I complete the non-JLPT and N3-5 kanji. This would let me finish earlier so I have time to work on my grammar!

Day 6

I’ve finished all the cards that I updated over the weekend, which puts me up to 376 kanji. I’ve seen the warning on the next chapter (16) and the ton of new primitives and think I should take that one slowly. I recall “fiesta” and company being tricky before…

Been a few days since I last posted.


Slowed down on the Kanji for a couple of days as chapters 16 & 17 introduce a bunch of primitives. Currently at number 422.

I’ve combined all of the official Tobira 読み物・会話 decks into a single deck. Before studying a chapter, I plan on unsuspending its vocab cards.


Started reading “Days” as I found it approachable (I found the iBooks sample of “Beastars” to be fine too). Never been a fan of “slice of life” manga, but you have to read what you can!

I am flying home in 10 days so I’ve picked up The Little Prince for the long flight.

It’s been a while! I went on holiday for a few weeks and also slacked off to “review only” as the reviews were building up.


I am uptown Kanji 949 and over halfway through my modified RTK-lite (I did all the kanji in the first section of the book.) The plan is to get through the N2 kanji before returning to studying for the N3, then N2.

Mature: 474
Young: 238
Unseen: 565

I have started to notice a few new kanji when around Tokyo. It’s pretty neat to recognise a new entry and recall the keyword.

I’ve completed adding vocab from the first two chapters of Tobira. I slowly unsuspend these cards as I haven’t opened the book yet! Kanji first!


Slacking here too. I’ve read a few chapters since last updating, but kanji is my primary focus.

Still continuing with production RTK on Anki… not long before I have more “Mature” than “Unseen” cards :smiley:

Mature: 502
Young: 259
Unseen: 512

Very tempted to do a few weeks of intensive Japanese lessons at one of the various schools in Tokyo. Not really sure which one though, there are so many to choose from!

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Still going through the deck at a sensible pace; although, I’ve upped my daily “new” rate from 5 to 6 :scream_cat:

A week back I used “custom study” to finish all the N5 kanji. There wasn’t many and I am familiar with them all (just the radical used in “back” can be quite tricky)

I now have more ‘mature’ cards than unseen. I do have temptations to add more new cards and have considered doing a “cram day” of 50+ cards. I can definitely see myself doing that if it means I finish all the cards. I have the time to do more cards, but it’s the build-up and potential burn out that I want to avoid.

Interestingly, I am using “money” for shellfish now… the amount of times it comes up in later kanji makes the keyword handy. I have been adding secondary keywords to a number of cards, and “not X” to keywords that are easy to mix up with another. For example, I use “Ground (not Soil)” as the keyword for 地

RTK Lite Progress:

Mature: 620 (+118)
Young: 247
Unseen: 410 (-102)

Slowly adding vocab, I just add the few words I learn from iTalki lessons. As I want to finish Kanji study before moving on to vocabulary. Currently studying with できる日本語 3 and I’ve picked up the workbook (which hasn’t got many exercises!)

On a side note, I’ve noticed my kana handwriting has gotten remarkably better. I rarely have to write, but I guess it’s all the practice from doing RTK that’s helped.


Reached a nice point, over 900 kanji started and less than 360 left – which is nice as I am currently doing 6 a day so less than 60 days to go!

Currently at the slingshot, snare, and dollar based words. I really found distinguishing between slingshot and snare rather hard. So I didn’t finish my new reviews and tried them again this morning. I find I go through phases of “these keywords/compounds are great” and “I hate these…”

RTK Lite Progress:

Mature: 661 (+41)
Young: 257
Unseen: 359 (-51)

I’ve had a look at the deck and there are some grade 3-6 kanji that’s aren’t flagged as “RTK Lite”. I might add un-suspend those cards once I am done, or at least the ones I am familiar with from vocabulary.

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Long time no post :smiley_cat:

I took a long new card break, as I was really busy with work for around 20-30 days. Since then I recently moved to 江東区 which has has given me a nice 20 minute commute for Anki!

I ramped up to 10 new cards a day and the end is now in sight! Reviews are slowly growing but I should run out of cards before it gets out of hand.

Learning: 292
Mature: 828 (+229)
Total: 1120
Unseen: 157 (-202!!!)

Starting to think of post RTK study… I might take a look at adding any common or other non-high school Kanji to my deck. I don’t think they’re many — maybe 30-50. Only after a few days of reviewing though!

Getting closer day by day!

I’ve slowed down to 6 new cards per day as the reviews are hard to keep up with on the weekends. Whilst during the week, when I have my commute it’s easy to put time aside sometimes it’s hard to get motivated for >100 reviews on the weekend.

Learning: 324
Mature: 873 (+45)
Total: 1197
Unseen: 79 (-78)

If I can get myself to do it, I might see if I can add the remaining kanji on Sunday :grin: