Japanese Journal: Mastering Hiragana & Katakana

RL kept me busy in May, so it wasn’t until this month that I got back to my studies on Smart.fm. I’ve settled into a schedule now of taking two lunches a week (that 1 1/2 hours a week) to continue my studies. Considering my RL schedule, this is the best that I can do at the moment, and it’s actually working out for me!

I started with Smart.fm’s Master Hiragana program. I was still studying hiragana when I started, but as of last Friday, I had all 104 hiragana studied, and had mastered 84. The program takes you through the symbol pretty thoroughly, making sure you can recognize them both in Japanese, and romanized. It uses multiple choice, and times how long it takes you to choose the right character. It also does a spelling quiz by showing you the symbol and then you have to type the correct letters. Any mistakes takes you back to the study screen. And as you get closer to completing all the characters, it starts stretching out the amount of time before you can study again. After I hit 84 last Friday, it stopped letting me study and test, and told me to come back next Friday. So I’m now 40 hours and counting to completing my first goal!

Well, since my lunch hour wasn’t over at the time, I started up the Master Katakana. I was going to work on it anyway. After only about an hour of working on it, I’m at 59 characters studied. I can keep going on this goal, since I’m still studying. Also recently added to help with the studying are two programs, Drill Beta and Brain Speed. Drill Beta is just is just want it sound like. It drills you on characters you’ve studied, and adapts to you to improving learning. Brain Speed is like an arcade game. I do okay on this, until it starts to speed up. I get flustered easily and lose more because of hitting the wrong key and not knowing the answer. This is why I don’t do well with a lot of video games.

I’ve also already decided what my next goal will be after I’ve mastered Hiragana and Katakana. I will be moving on to vocabulary with Core2000: Master the Top 2,000 Words in Japanese. I anticipate this goal will take a little longer than Hiragana and Katakana. There are 10 separate, smaller goals that make up the full Core2000. Mastering these words and making sentences will hopefully get me closer to my goal of reading Japanese. One of the things I really like about this program, is that I can see the progress I’m making, and I can feel I’m actually accomplishing something, even if the rest of my day doesn’t seem that way.

5 thoughts on “Japanese Journal: Mastering Hiragana & Katakana”

  1. Sounds like you’re doing a great job. Smart.fm is a fantastic tool to help you learn your hiragana, kanakana, and just about anything else (I mastered hangul there). I’ve found Brain Speed pretty fun when you want to test yourself.

    1. Thanks. The site’s been such a great help. I’m glad I discovered it from Rainbowhill on Twitter. I do keep using Brain Speed. I just wish I wouldn’t keep getting flustered when it would speed up!

  2. Thanks for showing us these links, I’ve been interested in learning Japanese letters, but never could find a good program. It seems like this particular program is making sure you remember them, since I went through 10 letters in 20 minutes, although that might just be my own learning curve, I’m confident I’ll get faster at learning them.

    1. I’m more than happy to share! I was getting through 10 letters in 10 minutes and reviews in 5, but I had already spent time trying to study the characters on my own, so I did go in with a bit of a head start. And once you get into the multiple characters like kya, kyu, kyo, they will go fast too once you pick up on the pattern.

  3. Yes, Brain Speed can cause a little bit of anxiety at first, but when you start whipping through it, you’ll feel a great sense of pride in your own accomplishment. When I first started I figured I just needed to learn more, but it still made me feel like I was in the dumps, so I started doing it once a day and writing down my scores. By the end of a week you can actually see yourself getting better and faster! Just keep at it. ^_^

    Also, you can check out Livemocha.com. There you can record yourself talking and people can evaluate your speech and give you pointers.

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