Tag Archives: smart.fm

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.

Japanese Journal: Change of Plan

SmartfmSome changes in RL has forced me to re-evaluate my Japanese studies. In other words, I have too many other things to keep up the pace I started last month. It hit me that had to come up with another plan when it was almost half way through the month and I hadn’t done anything to complete my kana studies.  So, I did what any other sane person would do. I went online to find something more structured, and joined Smart.fm. I’ve head about this site for while, but my lack of progress convinced me that it might not be a bad idea to check them out.  And, they’re actually not too bad. I’ve started my first goal, which is of course, Mastering Hiragana.  This goal is a better way to learn the kana, because it not only takes you through the hiragana, it has audio, shows you the proper strokes for writing it, and has a typing of the romanji on the keyboard.  And it doesn’t go in order, like I was doing with my memorizing. This has been really helpful in teaching me to identify characters faster. It quizzes with multiple choice and by having you type the romanji. If you mess up, it takes you back to study the kana and then throws it back into the mix, quizzing you again until you get it right. I recommend checking out this site and goal.

So what have I been doing instead? Well, you might notice some changes to the blog. This is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a while, and I just sat down and did it finally.  I chose this theme so I could start to accommodate writing about more than just manga.  Manga will always be the focus of this blog, and will always be the featured article, but I wanted to be able to write about some of my other interested too, such as TV and books.  Manga updates and reviews will continue to be Mon-Wed-Fri-Wknd and and other interests will be on Tues-Thurs.  I just couldn’t keep up two blogs.  Right know you’ll notice a lot of Doctor Who posts.  I’m catching up and will then stay up-to-date through the end of the series. I hope if you share some of my other interests, you’ll enjoy these posts too.  But don’t worry, manga will stay my main focus. The pile of books next to my desk demand that it be so!

So, I’d love to hear what you think about the changes, the non-manga posts, and I’ll try to be more on the ball with the Japanese. Though, it might be more lucrative for me career-wise to start learning Mandarin Chinese.