Most of you probably already know about ReadTheKanji.com, but I’m going to explain to those of you who may not have started using it yet, why you should. There are a few reasons this site kicks ass and provides tons of motivation to continue on without getting too tedious.
What is it?
I’m not going to go much into this as it’s pretty apparent just from the picture above, what the site is about. You have a word that is highlighted and you have to type the kana for it. It’s that simple. Hell, the entire concept is right in the name Read the Kanji. The goal is to be able to read the kanji and produce the kana for it.
Now, obviously.. the other goal would be to be able to know what the word means as well. So as you’re learning words, you should hopefully be making sure you’re learning their meanings. In fact, it’s often easier to remember the kana if you know the meaning, because you’re attaching the kana to a concept. I can’t imagine learning the kana of the words without doing that. Anyways, that’s all you get for the explanation! Onto what makes it worthwhile for you to start using it immediately.
While this feature is new, and definitely not a requirement, there is something to be said for being able to see yourself level up. Hell, it’s what drives so many people who play MMO’s. I mean, sure, the game is always fun. But everyone who has played MMO’s in the past knows, that in almost every MMO you get to grind spots, especially near the higher levels, but what do you do? You just grind out on baddies or quests anyways, watching that level bar slowly progress upward.
Not only that, but the feeling of that ding moment, when you level. It’s a great feeling. Incorporating that into ReadTheKanji was a genius idea in my opinion. Sometimes I’m not even paying attention to my level/progress bar but then all of a sudden I see a ding, and it reminds me all over again that my progress in Japanese itself is consistently progressing and leveling up. Such a great feeling to be reassured you’re moving forward (even if not at a very fast pace).
ANKI (and any other SRS like it) has its place and I love it dearly. I mean, I spend so much time in it every day, I better enjoy using it! But there is something to be said for a system that doesn’t make you feel guilty. You see, with ANKI, you have reps that you are supposed to do. Like, you open up ANKI in the morning and new cards and old reviews are waiting for you. It’s a never ending cycle.
However, with ReadTheKanji, there is really no such concept. You just click the Study button and begin doing reps. You can do as many and as much as you want. There is no good or bad limit, nor a set amount that you need to do. I think this is vastly under-appreciated. It’s such a load off the mind to not have something prompting me to do X amount of reps (or time). It has even led me to the point where I simply do 100 reps every day. It takes me roughly 15 minutes in total. Sometimes I’ll break it down into two sets of 50 or whatever. But I always know, that if I don’t get 100 reps, who cares, I won’t be punished for it tomorrow like I would with ANKI.
There are only 2 cons I really found, which can be major ones in some ways. First is that there is no real way to learn new words without being penalized. Because every time you get a word record, it’s a mark against you, so it can mess around with your ratio (overall score) in the end.
Second is that it can often spit too many new words out at you before you have a chance to get familiar with them. So I end up using it as a review site, whereas I use another source/site for actually learning new material, which I’ll cover sometime soon.
I’m not saying ReadTheKanji is the end all be all, in any way/shape/manner, because it isn’t. It’s just another tool in the toolbox. But it’s one that I, myself, didn’t start using it until recently and am now suggesting to those of you who haven’t started yet, to start. For me, it’s worth the money (even though I have an unlimited account from back when they sold those 😀 ). But seriously, try adding it in to switch things up a bit. It’s another way you can get Japanese into your day with no guilt, little hassle, short amount of time, and something that’s different.