2/27 Updated Progress Bars

I recently changed around my nifty progress bars over to the right, so I thought I should explain them a little. They are only there to give me a little motivation as well as show everyone how I’m progressing through my Anki decks. They aren’t there as a end-all-be-all of my language study. I do other things in addition to adding Anki cards, but they aren’t as quantifiable (and you know I love quantifying stuff). So here’s a brief description of what each progress bar represents and what I’m measuring.


Re-doing RTK

In January 2012 I finished adding the last kanji to my RTK deck. I continued reviewing for awhile, but neglected the deck due to focusing on other things. When I went through the first time, I was in a hurry and didn’t really take my time. Additionally, about half way though I added the little mnemonic story to the front of the card which made reviewing HELLA easier. But as a result, I pretty much had zero recall if that story wasn’t present.

So I decided to scrap the entire deck and start fresh. I’m using JLUP’s RTK Mod Anki Deck which has trimmed down the 2,042 general use kanji (as set up by the Japanese Ministry of Education) to a still intimidating 1,901 kanji. Adshap has combined RTK 1 and 3 while removing any kanji he deemed unnecessary. I’ve been adding 10 per day for the past however long, which usually gives me around 50 per day to review. This makes it really easy and motivating, while not sucking up a huge portion of my time.

Reading Manga

This is the number of volumes of manga that I’ve read since the Beginning of January. This is mostly extensive reading (reading for basic understanding, not looking up unknown words), however I will include the manga that I’m intensively reading (looking up unknown words, reading for complete understanding).

Originally I set my goal as 100 volumes of manga. After thinking about it, I would rather have shorter term goals so I don’t loose motivation to continue. I adjusted my goal amount to 50 volumes which is much more realistic for the next ~6 months.



I recently set up a vocabulary deck that take words from manga/internets or wherever. This is my favorite Anki deck right now because it’s super rewarding. The words all have example sentences (from the Anki plugin Japanese Example Sentences) and some of them also have the sentence where I originally found the word.

I arbitrarily picked 1,000 words as my goal. This doesn’t represent the number of words that I know in Japanese, just the number of words I choose to put in my Anki deck. Once I reach 1,000 I will very likely just extend the goal to 2,000 then 3,000 etc.



I am doing the bulk of my Spanish learning through Duolingo right now. This is because I don’t want to spend a lot of my time studying Spanish, rather I’d like to focus on Japanese right now. BUT, I will be putting a lot more effort/time into Spanish this summer so I would really like to have a basic understanding of the language and a good bit of vocabulary under my belt before then.

Until then, I’m just trucking along trying to finish a lesson every day/ every other day. If you’re not aware of how Duolingo is set up, there is a Skill Tree that contains 64 Skills. These are like Colors, Questions, Time, Prepositions, Family, Conjunctions, etc. Each Skill has anywhere from 2-10 lessons. You work on each lesson (translating sentences back and forth, listening and transcribing, multiple choice) until you unlock that Skill. You can keep working past the lessons, either reviewing or translating real-world sentences, until you master that skill. While I have some of the earlier skills mastered, I’m not worrying too much about mastering all of the skills. My main goal is to just reach the bottom of the Skill Tree.



The Goldlist method is a pen and paper way of learning vocabulary. You write out 25 words or sentences and wait 2 weeks before looking at them. After the 2 weeks, you test yourself and weed out about 30% of the words you know the best. So if you start with 25, after 2 weeks you’ll end up with about 18. You take those 18 words and write them on the other side of the notebook and wait another 2 weeks and go through the process again. You distill this list 3 times over and then add any remaining words you still have trouble remembering to the next list you create. I know, it’s a bit complicated. I’m still playing around with this, but I do think it is a very interesting idea. Here’s a better description of the process if you’re interested.

So essentially, I’m taking vocabulary that I’m learning through Duolingo (and sometimes other sources to complete the 25 word list) and adding a new entry every day or two. I use a to-do list on my phone to keep track of school work and other things, so what I did was just create a task called “Goldlist 5” or whatever entry I’m on and set the due date 2 weeks from the day I create it. After 2 weeks I get a little notification on my phone, I trim down the list of words, write them on the other side of the notebook, and adjust the due date of the task ahead 2 weeks. It’s a pretty convenient system.


So that’s what I’m doing over there on the right. It’s kind of complicated, but it’s also kind of not. I just do my normal stuff each day, and then update the progress bars every few days.


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