Starting from Scratch, or Why Failure’s not Always Bad


It’s me again, and it’s been a crazy past year. My son, Alrick, has been in the hospital 3 times since he’s been born (a year ago) for brain surgery, and our family is planning a move to Denver, Colorado on the 19th. So yeah.

I’ve fallen of the wagon several times. It’s not always great, but sometimes life just gets the best of you. The SRS cards start piling up, and after a few days, you just want to totally stop trying to learn and grow. It’s not good times.

However, there are actually some things I’ve been able to take away from this hiatus.

1. Do NOT count the amount of time you’ve been studying Japanese or anything by the years.

It’s just a bad idea. Those years are absolutely lying to you, and honestly, saying it is kind of a lie in and of it’s own.

Like me. I’ve been “studying” Japanese for around 8 years now. However, I actually haven’t. If I could actually tally up the amount of time I have been studying and immersed, it would probably be closer to a year and a half at most. So, yeah. I feel a lot less terrible and honest when I say that I’ve been studying for a year and a half than saying I’ve been studying for 8 years.

2. Just because you fell off doesn’t mean that you can’t get back up.

Do you want to learn Japanese? (Or whatever it is that you want to learn) Then be like an addict. It’s a terrible thing, but they are pretty awesome as a role model in this situation.

I’ve been trying to quit smoking for several years now. I’ve just come to the conclusion that I really enjoy smoking, and that I’m addicted to cigarettes. I don’t think about how many cigarettes I’m smoking in a day, I just smoke when I feel like it. Even if you fall off, if you get back up as soon as you can and treat your SRS reps like a cigarette (Or chocolate, or whatever.) then you’ll be better than wallowing in the fact that you can’t seem to get motivated to actually do anything in Japanese.

Come on, it’s just one more…

I suppose what I was wanting to say with this blog post is that I am back on, and I hope that I can help some people with staying on track. I also have some cool freebies planned for the near future, assuming I can finally get some damn time to do them. But here’s a preview:

1. A 1000 J-E Sentence Pack, culled from my personal collection of random things.
2. A program to help keep you on track, and to record your improvements
3. Something else equally awesome, but much less planned out.

So I hope to talk to you guys again soon, and as always:


5 Awesome Tools for Learning Japanese

Yo, Brent here.

I don’t use enough Japanese in my posts. So, I’m gonna try to use it more now on my main blog.
However, still not good enough, so it’ll just be the intro and the outro for now lol

Anyway, back on topic. I’ve been looking around, and I found a few really cool sites and tools for learning Japanese.

5. Rikaichan/Rikaikun

Well, if you’ve been learning Japanese for a bit, you probably already know about this, but I thought I’d add it anyway. It’s ridiculously useful. It lets you hover over Japanese text and it’ll tell you what it means. Basic tool, but invaluable when you’re doing active learning.

Here’s the links: Rikaichan for Firefox and Rikaikun for Google Chrome

4. Furigana Injector

This one is very useful, but you need to download HTML Ruby for the full effect. If you don’t, the furigana will end up beside the kanji in parentheses. But, it turns that wall of kanji into readable kana, and that’s always good to me.

And…BAM. Here’s the links for Firefox and Chrome.

3. Kanji Koohii

This is one of my favorite sites ever. Now, there is a bit of AJATT hate, but at the same time, there’s a lot of people on there working on it, so it just depends on who to talk to. However, everyone is amazingly helpful and nice. Now, there are two sites I’m gonna link here. Kanji Koohii is an online SRS basically, but it only works for Kanji. It keeps up with a lot of your stats too, so it’s really fun to use. There’s also a script that is RTK Lite. Instead of learning all 2000-something, you learn the 1100 Kanji from JLPT 2 down, and 92 supporting kanji. That’s what I’m doing, but seeing as I haven’t worked on it in a while, it’s hard for me to remember. It’s a Greasemonkey script, and I’ll link it here.

Greasemonkey Script, and RTK Lite thread.

Kanji Koohii

Koohii Forum

3. Kanji Damage

Now, I know I’ve mentioned this one before, but I really like his style. Shultzz in general wins the internets. Now, If you want to learn Kanji with Yo momma jokes, then he’s the guy to look to. The system is very similar to RTK, however, his stories are much more interesting, and he has a section under each of the kanji with compounds, and he ranks both the kanji and compunds on how useful they actually are. He also takes out some of the Jouyou Kanji, but if you’re not studying for JLPT, then it’s not a big deal, cause he gets rid of the one’s that aren’t seen a lot at all.
I really recommend him if you’re stuck on RTK, because it’s just more interesting. And if you combine Kanji Koohii and Kanji Damage, I think it would work really well. Just put his stories in the section that you have the option for in Kanji Koohii.

Kanji Damage

2. Sabotenweb

This is an older site, and I don’t see it recommended a lot, but it does have a lot of useful sites on it. Some of the sites may be down now, because it is rather old, but it has links to a lot of popular sites (Like Tae Kim’s Guide) and some ones that typically go under the radar (Like The Japanes Page). Definitely check this one out when you have a chance.


1. Lang-8

You knew I was gonna make this my number one, didn’t you you sly dog? I love Lang-8, and I tell everyone about it when I can. You can write a blog in Japanese, and people will correct you. Then you can just drop those sentences in an SRS and you’re good. Make sure you correct other peoples blogs though! It gets kind of addictive in all honesty. Also, PRO TIP: Write you blog in both English and Japanese, so they understand what you’re trying to say. It helps both of you out.


Well, that’s all I have for now, but stay tuned, because I’m gonna have more updates soon.

Talk to you later!


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