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Nov 2, 2011

Life after Remembering the Kanji

As one of the first steps in the road to learning Japanese, completing Heisig's book is a major milestone achievement. Unfortunately, when we finally reach these kinds of achievements there is a sense of loss and a feeling of being lost lurking behind the excitement. This post will hopefully remind you of how far you've come and give you somewhere new to go.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you aren't done reviewing. While the book may be finished, you still have a lot of information to work on retaining. The best thing to do at this point is set a daily review number for kanji – 100, 50, whatever – and make sure that you review them each day. Continue using your learning tools to keep up. Rejoice in the fact that now your reviews will begin to taper down until you eventually only spend five minutes on kanji each a day.

The next thing to remember is that you are now cleared to focus entirely on building your vocabulary. With the kanji and kana under your belt, you are now an unstoppable Japanese-learning machine. Start browsing around for some manga series you want to read, or some new music, youtube/niconico videos, whatever. Start doing the things you've been wanting to do in Japanese and begin adding sentences to Anki. You're now able to recognize and understand all of the kanji, so make use of your skills to build your knowledge.

Finally, remember what you have achieved. Upon completing the book you might feel confused and maybe even feel like you've wasted your time. Don't do this. You've taken the most difficult part of learning Japanese and mastered it. The kanji are now yours. You can write them, recognize them, and soon you'll be able to understand them completely. Using Remembering the Kanji is like making an investment for the future, and now that you've finished the book it's time to collect. Go out and reap the benefits that your kanji knowledge will bring.

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  1. This is exactly the information I was looking for. Actually following through with the steps isn't the difficult part, so much as figuring out what those steps actually are.

  2. Great article. I must admit I was rather lost after finally completing RTK, as well as a huge feeling of accomplishment of course.