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When You Just Don’t Feel Like Doing Sentence Reps Any More…

In response to this article on binging and purging, I got this really cool comment from Maya, one of AJATT’s best link-suppliers:

Just out of curiosity, does anyone have any examples of when they started to fall behind in something and they eventually caught up by making it more fun/changing their style? I’m not doubting that this is the way to go; it’s just that I’d like a concrete example.

Lately I’ve fallen behind with my sentence reps (whereas I have no problem maintaining an immersion environment)… I think the problem is that I’ve come to look at the reps as “work/studying” (whereas as anime is always “recreational”)… even after deleting a decent chunk of sentences, the problem seems to persist. I’m currently almost a week behind in reps, and still can’t motivate myself to get around to doing them. I’ve obviously been doing something wrong, but I can’t figure out what.

Here is my response:


Just one idea here (I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say):

Delete even more.

Don’t go to your SRS to do reps any more.

Go to delete.

Go for deletions. Deletions are your new “target metric”. Delete until you hit a sentence that you give a crap about. Then delete until you hit the next one like that.

You’re probably overloaded with “should-learn” sentences — “shoulders“, like I was in Cantonese. Or maybe you have cool sentences, but they lack the punch they had when you entered them. Those are now “shoulders”, too.

Get rid of anything even remotely sucky. Delete. Delete. Delete. Don’t worry. You obviously don’t need them. You’ve been off the SRS a whole week, right? That’s a sign. A big, freaking sign.

Delete boring things from your SRS, otherwise they will “delete” you — they will “make” you never want to touch that SRS again.

Basically, Maya, you great discoverer of all things Disney and Japanese, you have two choices.

a) Delete bad sentences, however many there may be, so that you can do at least *some* SRSing.
b) Never SRS again for the rest of your life.

Right now, you’re on a collision course with (b).

Don’t get rid of the whole deck in one go. A lot of people do that. I personally think that’s ill-advised. Delete. One by one. There will be some leftover items — “keepers“. The keepers will be the seeds of a renewed deck, a deck of keepers (mostly), a deck that makes you actually want to do reps. The keepers will have a pattern to them — format, length, source, content, whatever — that will guide you in acquiring more keepers.

If you’ve got a really sucky deck, you could end up literally halving your cardcount — I once did. In the extreme, you could end up with only 10% of your original deck. No biggie. Let it go. Fuhgeddaboutit. Remember what’s at stake. Sentences are interchangeable. Motivation to learn is not.

Let me share some of my Japanese sentence deck stats for today with you, to give you a quantitative perspective on the whole thing:

  • Repcount: 135
  • Added: 2 cards
  • Deleted: 100 cards.
  • Total: ~235 cards processed, ~42% deleted.

135 reps and 100 deletions is infinitely better than 0 reps and 0 deletions. Now let’s extrapolate — assuming about the exact same daily performance over the course of one week, that comes to nearly 1000 reps and 700 deletions. 1000 to 0. That’s not 1000 times better, M-star. That’s  “even more infinitely better” than 0 reps and 0 deletions.  ∞:0 ratio.

So, go break some eggs and make that omelette 😀 .

We all have such noble intentions with our sentences. We all want to be good kids; we want to do the right thing; we want to eat everything that’s given us. But being an obedient doormat and being an effective learner are not, repeat, not the same thing.

Know your “rights”. The right to enjoyment (= the right to veto boredom) is one that school — my favorite scapegoat for everything — would tend to try to discourage you from exercising, so we often forget that we even have it; we equate exercising it with being “lazy”, unproductive, irresponsible. But now you know to say no to uninteresting sentences.

You can keep being liberal about what enters your SRS deck, just be liberal about what leaves it, as well. Garbage in, garbage out.

Written from painful and rather embarrassing-to-share experience,



Through the magic of deletion, Maya has since turned SRSing from a chore, back into a game and now lives a full, happy, besentenced life 😛 . In her own words:

Thanks to everyone for their advice!

To sum things up, I’ve gone through my deck and deleted ~450 or so cards that were boring/unpleasant/so easy that they had become useless. I’m not quite done yet; I can still realistically see myself deleting another 50-200 cards, but I think I’m getting much closer now.

I’ve also decided to change the pace at which I add/learn sentences. When I started doing sentences, I wasn’t actually done with RTK; I was just impatient, and I figured that I could “pick up” the remaining kanji on the go. This never happened/isn’t likely to happen, and my incomplete knowledge of kanji is creating problems for me, so I want to go back and finish learning them properly. I’ll still add/learn sentences, but at a much slower rate (at least temporarily); I actually see this as a really good thing, because it will encourage me to only add a small quantity of really good sentences, instead of adding tons of nonsense, as I seem to have been doing the past while. Needless to say, my overall immersion environment won’t change.

Thanks to everyone for your advice/anecdotes/encouragement!

Today was my first day doing reps anew – I went through a hundred of ‘em in under half an hour. This definitely wouldn’t have been possible a couple weeks ago :)

Everything felt fresh and simple <3

  41 comments for “When You Just Don’t Feel Like Doing Sentence Reps Any More…

  1. January 21, 2010 at 15:20

    I haven’t SRSed in several months. I’m going to try trimming my deck like you suggest and see if that helps me start back up again. It probably will, since I imagine a 90% cut.

    The thing that really gets me recently about SRS moreso than reps is inputting new cards. I always feel like I’d be better off spending my time watching Japanese TV or reading a book/magazine instead.

  2. Drewskie
    January 21, 2010 at 15:42

    I can foresee having very similar problems on the horizon. Right now, for every sentence I get from a fun source, i.e. straight from anime/manga, there are several from a dictionary. Often times, I’ve looked up a word from the fun source, went several definitions deep, came up with a handful of sentences, then stuck the good sentence in last.

    I’m not having trouble with reps yet, but I can feel it coming on. There are some cards I just struggle and struggle with, but each one is a brick in a pyramid leading up to this one good card. If I delete one, these definition trees become fragmented and ultimately the card at the top suffers for it.

    Has anyone else done something similar? How do you guys handle new vocabulary from a J-J dictionary? Thanks for any help.

  3. Caleb
    January 21, 2010 at 16:12

    I use anki and it tells me how many reps I will have to do the next day. Now, maybe this isn’t exacly aimed at having fun (which could be a problem), but if my reps for the next day go above a certain number I have a rule that I will add no more sentences that day.

    For example, my limit is 150 reps per day. As soon as I finish doing them (in the morning), if anki tells me i’ll have 152 reps the next day, I take that as the signal to take a break from adding.

    I do agree that deleting is good. Personally I find that a lot of times I hate cards because they are too hard, and often if I can I will look to divide them in half (or thirds, fourths…etc.). I usually like the card in some way, but it is too complex. So, if I like it enough to edit it, I figure it’s a keeper (and often I get to add cards rather than delete :D).

    I’ve also gotten into trimming cards. The editing is very easy and a lot of times I have extra crap on my cards I simply don’t need. Actually the extra stuff often makes the card less effiecient because it gives too much away and I never really have to recall the right information.

    Also, timeboxing. Everytime I sit down I try to break my record for number of reps in 10 minutes. This has a couple benefits. You get through reps quicker. When it doesn’t take up your whole day, you hate the idea less (at least that’s the way it is for me). Also, you really notice those cards that are killing you, because your stuck on them for so long. It helps you see where you need to trim/revise/delete. And then you can take a bit of a break.

    I’ve started most of this stuff for the last couple months and I’ve seen my time spent doing SRS reps (for several different decks, not all language related) go down to about an hour.

    But I will admit I probably have too many cards that are “should-learns” than are really fun.

    Last thing I’ve found. Reading for enjoyment and expansively, working with material that isn’t super difficult, will result in sentences just sort of jumping out at you. And they’ll be the right level. And they’ll be something you actually like. Katz said this all before. But seriouisly just read more and enter less and the right sentences will make their way to you.

    That was way too long. Sorry. I’m not editing. I’m getting back the the language…

  4. Kouryuu
    January 21, 2010 at 21:11


    I’m on my fourth deck in Mnemosyne for my Japanese (yes, I deleted three of them) ’cause yes, when it’s boring, deleting is the best thing to do… The two first times, the sentences weren’t really attractive and the way I did my cards was like… well, very not good… My third time was better but I read about “know your kanji before everything else” and so… I added the kanji in my deck, in 3 days… Of course I didn’t remember them and after two days of seeing “Today’s Cards : 4000” I deleted the deck and didn’t run Menmosyne for… well some weeks…

    And then I decided to try full japanese cards… I started with… you can laugh… 10 cards… But now, everyday I add some cards (I add more and more card, it’s getting fun to add cards…). 75% of my cards are like “From kana to kanji” and I like it. I progress and I learn my kanji so everything is ok…

    Today I added some 四字熟語 and found a great site for it ( yes, thanks wikipedia). I think I’ll add a lot of cards today \o/ And will delete a lot of them next week :p

    That’s all for my first comment :p

  5. Matt-le-kat
    January 21, 2010 at 21:44

    “When I started doing sentences, I wasn’t actually done with RTK; I was just impatient, and I figured that I could “pick up” the remaining kanji on the go.”

    I can totally identify with this. I tried to blitz through the kanji way too fast and hardly any of it stuck. I ignored this problem for about 6 months while I was inputting sentences until I read a comment from Khatz that read something like “I realised that in 6 months even if I only learnt 10 kanji a day I’d have nearly finished RTK”. So now I’ve completely stopped my SRS and started again from Kanji (still staying full immersed though).

    Bit off topic but just my 2 pennies. (I’m up to 1100 kanji now, fully stuck in my nogin :D)

  6. Rochella
    January 22, 2010 at 02:09

    I find that i don’t like doing srs with RTK that much :/ so I try to make it games, “can i review more in this 5 min run than lat time!” I am quick to hit the “I don’t remember” button if i cannot recall it within about 4 seconds. That has not only made my memory better, but i review quickly. I really take the store on every corner advertisement srs analogy to heart.

    I find that if I make myself work to remember the card I really start hating srs. So don’t hate your card by forcing yourself to remember. Let the srs do its thing.

  7. Chad
    January 22, 2010 at 04:01

    Kouryuu, i found that link helpful! i subscribed via email to the one you mentioned 【毎日1語!四字熟語】, mostly just to get some more exposure to the kanji in compounds. I don’t really anticipate myself actually trying to sit and remember each of the compounds, nor enter them into an SRS (since i’m still going through RTK) but simply being exposed to them each day i’m sure will be enjoyable.

    I have a “Kanji-a-day” mailer that i get also, and it’s been encouraging/motivating to see the email come in on any given day and know the meaning before the little preview pane goes away 🙂

  8. アメド
    January 22, 2010 at 05:04

    hmmm. I’ve always been having so much reps to do daily for my sentence deck. My reps tend to be like around 347-600 daily nowadays. I know that’s a big number. So a few days i decide to break things down and just review till it got low. But for some reason it was still at 500 review per day. But i also kinda forgot i pushed the postpone feature on anki for the next few days. So that was the main reason, but i don’t do that nowadays. I just do whatever anki gives me, or less depending on the time i’m doing it. It’s weird somedays i’m so happy to do it and others i’m just so lazy to do it lol. But i usual end up getting it finish no matter what though. I think of myself as a lazy person, but ironically others view me as a person who works hard so many times. But i think that’s b/c i get things down even if i have other things to do. I’m not getting sick of doing reps for japanese, but for me it’s usual link towards energy,etc. But overall i am enjoying my progress

  9. pavosensei
    January 22, 2010 at 07:59

    The sentences I have don’t slow me down. I like doing those, and they go by very fast. What if the cards that I hate doing are the Heisig cards? They take more time than my average sentence card b/c I have to write them out, and I am just tired of repeating them. I can’t delete those, can I?

  10. January 22, 2010 at 08:16

    Good post, pretty much the area I am in right now. Deleting/editing/adding
    It can be also confusing at first as to what is an interesting card you should add. Follow your interests, but don’t leave any rocks unturned if your interests are not interesting cards (which is what I came to concluding). It all comes down to finding the area that you can sort of understand and want to know more about, but has enough new stuff in it to be educational (I know Khatz made a post about this earlier).

    So basically my advice would be to follow your interests only if they are not advanced language subjects like science related. So this is true for most people I would think, but for me trying to watch/read Japanese science related media is immensely frustrating. So it basically comes down to me watching random stuff and finding some interesting bits from that.

    A little more down the road and main stream science stuff should be fun to read.


  11. ピノキオ
    January 22, 2010 at 11:23

    I don’t usually comment on blogs, and this is a little off topic but it might be a nice way to perk up some people’s SRSs.

    A list of completely useless, but immensely entertaining 漢字

    With unusually long 訓読み

    Although the longest one I found was this


  12. Lane
    January 22, 2010 at 12:53

    I was having the same problem Maya was having until recently. I made a change that kicked my study into warp speed hyper drive!

    I ended up writing an SRS video game. It’s just a guy standing in the middle of the screen and a bunch of kanji or vocabulary or whatever come stumbling onto the screen from all directions one every few seconds and you have to type its keyword (for heisig’s kanji) or some alias (the word itself, phonetic pronunciation, translation, whatev) for the vocabulary and then they disappear and you get points and level up and all that.

    This turned out to be a game changer for me. The quiz rate is much higher now, anywhere from 300 to 1000 per hour depending on how familiar I am with the cards being quizzed. Also, it’s made reading Japanese online much easier because I’m doing it under the guise of “looking for new vocabulary” even though I frequently also find good sentences that I end up adding.

    Total game changer. The effort has gone way down and I’m doing 800+ reps per day on average. I’ve found a carrot that works for me.

    It’s important to note that this is a supplement to my traditional SRS tech and not a replacement (though the game does schedule cards using an SRS algorithm), but I’m banishing cards in my regular SRS at a record pace!

  13. アメド
    January 22, 2010 at 14:52

    Thanks for providing that link. Those kanji i seriously haven’t seen, but some good sentences to SRS from that source as well.

    On another note. I kinda feel i’m becoming “obsessive” for learning japanese. I don’t mean anything negative wise. But i’m noticing that every single day i always want to SRS, always want to immerse, always wanting to improve, always wanting to practice japanese, always wanting to practice writing, always wanting to do everything in japanese, always wanting to immerse myself as much as possible always in japanese! Basically everything japanese. And scary part is that i remeber initially when i was trying this i thought to myself (there is no way i’m going to keep doing this, i mean it’s so much). And now i look back and say (DAMN was i wrong!). I’m actually doing it and liking it! I was kinda thinking back to when i was criticizing myself for not doing much and not improving much. But then it hit me, i actually was improving and i was having fun doing it. I mean it’s weird you kinda develop a sixth sense, but instead of it warning you, it just happens! and you’ll definitely feel surprised and happy all at the same time. Alot of people have told me that “You’re starting to become japanese, i mean you do everything in it everyday!” but now that i think about it, I just do it automatically it’s not a must now, it just becomes done and it is enjoyed. So overall keep enjoying it and don’t always care what other ppl view you as, b/c there is nothing wrong with trying to “become” japanese in the sense. One good thing you’ll get out of it is fluency! Which is overrated……..

  14. Chuck
    January 22, 2010 at 16:09

    Katz, we already saw this on your twitter 😛

  15. Drewskie
    January 22, 2010 at 16:36

    I know what you mean, アメド。 A friend and I were discussing time management techniques, and at one point during the conversation I stated flatly that I needed the time for more immersion/SRSing. He very carefully implied that hobbies shouldn’t be something that require anything, that you put them down when things get busy/stressful. I had to be careful how I responded, because I knew I was one slip-up from sounding like a crazy person. Except I couldn’t really put it into words. I just really, really want this. That’s all there is to it. It totally latched onto my personality. The idea of deliberately AJATTing less is really foreign. I just can’t see myself not spending my time on this.

  16. Nick_dm
    January 22, 2010 at 22:48

    pavosensei, one option to get through Heisig reps quickly is just to stop writing them out.

    I used to do sentence cards using Ankimini on my iPod touch, but not Heisig cards because I can’t easily write out the characters while I’m on public transport. To use my time (while commuting) more efficiently I just decided to just stop writing the characters. Obviously for me the main benefit for me is that I can now do reps on my commute, but it’s also saves quite a bit of time even if I’m doing them at home.

    I often sketch the character in the air with my finger, but I can also skim over certain primitives. With a component as common as 言/訁, I can just think “words” and visualise it rather than waving my finger about. With a character that has a repeated primitive (e.g. 斷 or 變 which contain multiple instances of 糹) I can just sketch it with my finger once and just visualise where the 2nd (3rd, and 4th) instances appear in the character.

    I don’t think this shortcut has harmed my ability to physically write out the characters when necessary.

    [Disclaimer – I had finished Remembering Traditional Hanzi (1500 characters) and spent a number of months reviewing the normal way before I started doing this, I’m not claiming it would be a good idea for beginners.]

  17. アメド
    January 23, 2010 at 09:53

    yea it really has just become a part of what i do daily. I just do it daily now, it’s not a must or anything but it always get’s done easier way. But i’m happy that i keep coming back for me. Because to be honest it isn’t that hard to get good in the language.

  18. Macca
    January 25, 2010 at 15:46

    Card deleting seems like a good idea, but since the main reason I add sentences is for vocab, if I delete them then I’ll forget the vocab. Therefore, I tend to only delete cards which are really annoying me.

  19. January 25, 2010 at 16:03

    Deleting sounds like binging and purging to me. Why not just suspend the cards? That way they’re still there for you if you need them…

  20. Seth
    January 25, 2010 at 22:39

    Deleting helps you focus on what’s really important, I think. With some words, you’re just not at a stage where learning them is useful enough to justify the time you’ll take. Japanese is a big language and, if you’re immersing enough, you should encounter whatever you deleted again, and maybe then you’ll be at the stage where you’re more comfortable learning it.

    I do often suspend, though, instead of delete. Depends on the word, really, though.

  21. January 26, 2010 at 03:43

    @ Taurus

    I always feel liberated after getting rid of things instead of moving them around. Purging old books, DVDs, and SRS cards that lack a certain groove is a freeing experience. It makes me more excited about the things I have. Last week I got rid over 60 DVDs and games and kept only Cowboy Bebop and 4 movies that I really treasure. It was a great experience and one I wish I had done years ago. They had already been shuffled and buried in my room, and now they are just free. Of course suspending may work just fine for you – I just have great experiences purging unwanted things.

  22. Roasted Grapefruit
    January 26, 2010 at 05:22

    @ Macca

    Don’t forget that to really understand, to really have a feel for a word, it has to be seen thousands of times in hundreds of contexts. Losing that one card with that one context isn’t going to hurt much. =)

    Also don’t forget that a good immersion environment acts like free SRS reviews. All of the words, phrases, sentences being spoken, sung, shouted through your headphones are constantly causing your brain to subconsciously review those words, without any effort at all. It’s almost cheating.

  23. アメド
    January 26, 2010 at 12:58

    walkthrough to FF8 in full japanese! it has other games as well.

  24. Ken
    January 27, 2010 at 01:31

    Two suggestions for people who are in a rut with their kanji SRSing (like me):

    1. Get the Kanji Stroke Order Font, very cool:

    2. Skip around. (Heisig isn’t going to come to your house and beat you up if you go out of order, is he?) Knowing simple kanji is easier to start with, but knowing useful kanji is a lot more fun.

    Go to the Asian market and buy some rice crackers, and then learn all the kanji on the front of the package. It’s easy to learn (there’s probably only a couple kanji you won’t know), and next time you go you will be able to read an entire package, on the shelf. I find it’s always way more fun to be able to apply what I’ve learned, and it’s also easier to remember if I can associate it with something in the real world. I also know all the signs on the Chinese restaurants on my bus route. 🙂

  25. Maya
    January 27, 2010 at 06:15

    @Ken: cool! 🙂 I actually never thought of using packaging from Asian food stores/products (although I have SRS’d a sentence that I found on a package of soba noodles). Thanks for the idea 🙂 I’ll try it out and see how it goes.

  26. Drewskie
    January 27, 2010 at 09:44

    Be careful about what you gleefully identify Kanji from. While I was doing that phase, every day on the way into work I’d drive by a Chinese church with several characters on their road-side marquee. I don’t think it was very safe to stare at them every time to see if I recognized any new ones. I did it anyway. 😛

  27. Triplej
    January 27, 2010 at 12:18

    About your trying to get every definition of a word into your SRS, I’ve had some experiences with this problem, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s not necessary. You’re right that words often have multiple uses, but just like “there is no grammar,” “there are no multiple meanings of a word.” Just enter each word as a card in the way it is used in your source. Case by case is the safest, funnest and most organic way to do it, and causes the least confusion for me personally. (Some uses of a word are rare and strange anyways.) I’m just quoting and extrapolating from Khatzu, but I think these posts are pretty similar to what I’m saying:

  28. Drewskie
    January 27, 2010 at 14:01

    Re-reading my post, I wasn’t really clear on what the problem is, I think. It’s not that I try to account for every definition of a word. It’s that I look up a word, and there’s another I don’t know, so I look that one up, and its definition has one I don’t know, and so on until I have 10 tabs open. Timeboxing has helped stop excessive depth (no more lookups after 10 minutes), so that really isn’t my concern anymore.

    I’m more concerned with the fact that most of my J-J sentences are coming out of a dictionary. My favorite question when I’m AJATTing is “Would I be doing this if I were using English right now? Would I like it? Would this be ‘spare time’ or work?” Reading a dictionary strikes an extremely negative chord with me. So you may say, “Hey, you don’t like the dictionary, you like fun sentences, get fun sentences!”

    The issue is that I constantly feel vocabulary starved. “Fun” sentences, for me, are sentences that are grammatically interesting, use a word I don’t have a feel for but have a definition in my deck for, or have a word I don’t understand in a context I do understand. With a very limited vocabulary, satisfying “in a context I understand” is really difficult, so the incentive to milk the dictionary for more words is difficult to resist. I’m just worried I’m driving myself into a wall here, and I just can’t tell yet.

    So I guess what I’m asking for is if anyone has had similar experiences. If you’ve taken a lot of definitions from dictionaries in the past, did you get tired of them? Did you use them as a stepping stone, then clear them out later? Are they still hanging around? Should I even bother being concerned?

    And thank you, Triplej. Nice to get such a well-sourced response. 🙂 I actually needed that ‘there is no grammar’ article re-read, even if it’s not related to this post.

  29. TripleJ
    January 27, 2010 at 21:11

    I guess I didn’t understand what you meant in that previous post. I have had some experience with this problem too, although I don’t think I have any great quick fixes.

    I think there are a specific set of words that are really often used in the dictionary, I found myself seeing them again and again, they’re mostly sort of academic abstract ideas, for example: 範囲 (boundary) or 対象 (subject). I found that after I got over this set I had a lot easier time understanding the dictionary. Also, It’s okay to use English! Immersion isn’t a strict law. I use English definitions from time to time, or I click back and forth between English and then look at the Japanese definition again. This will kind of give you a direction for the kanji that you might understand even if you don’t get the words. When I find myself clicking through opening tons of tabs in the dictionary, I try to just click until theres one I can understand and throw that in the SRS, saving the other words for later.

    Lastly, language for cards can come from anywhere online. I’ve found that the funnest way to find example sentences is google images. You can look at pretty pictures, (but seriously on’t google images 異物 unless you want to see open surgery on tumors) which is funner than the dictionary definitions, and you have a little caption of text to let you browse through several examples quickly.

    I hope this is helpful for anyone, but writing about it makes me realize that I don’t have all the answers. I’d like to hear other peoples Ideas about Drewskies dictionary problem too.

  30. Grilled Pineapple
    January 28, 2010 at 08:26

    @ Drewskie

    Have you ever had a moment where you read a sentence and even though it had a word you didn’t “know” you were able to figure out what it meant? Or maybe you looked up a single word in a sentence and what was a meaningless jumble of words suddenly became crystal clear? And with those moments came that “whoa” feeling? Maybe try adding only those sentences. The ones that aren’t so difficult that they require a page of definitions, not so easy that they bore you, but just right, and most importantly have some sort of impact on you personally (whether it be excitement, interest, etc.).

    Also remember that immersion is 90% of AJATT. The SRS is just there to help you remember _what_you_already_know_.

  31. アメド
    January 28, 2010 at 09:29

    finally got ff13 today!! and i’m suprised that i could understand+read 90% of the tutorials in the game!

    @Grilled Pineapple
    That happens to me alot, but it seems to be happening more and more as i expose myself to Japanese and trying to understand it more in depth. After a while it will all come to you.

  32. January 30, 2010 at 18:06

    I’ve come across this recently (of course), in fact, I just checked my SRS and the first sentence to pop up was:

    帰りましょう 今が チャンス!

    Really obvious meaning (totally relevant to this discussion, weird), I learned it a looong time ago, yet it’s fun enough to not delete. If I get it right, I don’t see it for 1.2 years. I’ll mark it as right then.

    一方, On the other hand, the next card to come up was… no, okay 30 cards later this came up:


    Actually, I got it right, and I wouldn’t have to see it again for 2 months. But, it’s a stupid onomatopoeia which I’ve never seen more than once and it pretty useless, so it get’s deleted.

    And just for kicks, I deleted 祖母, because I always want to read it as そば because of 曾祖母 (with ひばば and ひいばば and ひおおば). I don’t care how important it is, I fark it up every time and it it’s flat out not important to クヨクヨ over.

    In fact, I just started deleting everything that ain’t a sentence, so these also went (even if I got them right and knew the meaning):

    粉雪、鱈場蟹、睨み (already have this in a great sentence)、達人、画工, 事情, 幼少​, 熱海 (静岡県), 幼時, 幼齢 (lot’s of 幼’s), 留守 (yeah, i know how important it is), 緒戦, 特徴、微か、農村, 会員​, 修道, 災害, 学者, 表札, 軍拡, 導入, 残念乍ら, 悟了, 倍増, 骨頂, 操作, 不慮​, 行動, 戸棚, 泰平無事, 浦人, 傷病, 発意, 等々々… (extra points if you know why I had all of these random words).

    And stupid sentences: 改めて会合を開きます, and 真央ちゃんはぶさ可愛いと思うよ (I may regret deleting this when the olympics are on TV, but whatever)

    Oh, and 可変式風向 was far too random, so I added some lame context like: 僕の 暖房は … が有りますよ.

    I find that at first, it takes just as much time to delete entries as it does to review a sentence; but as with anything else, the more you do it, the better and faster you get at it. In that case, Khatz gave great advice with 1) Delete 2) Review 3) Add sentences, in that order of importance.

    Your final (if ever) 10,000 sentences is yours to choose, it’s your canvas, your masterpiece or whatever, so you really only want the best, most interesting, relevant stuff in it that you enjoy.

  33. April 16, 2010 at 03:27

    Yeah I have completely stopped SRSing, i should really delete some cards. came here for some inspiration.
    Also i have started a japanese to japanese deck that is only japanese(did i need to say that part? lol). i want to focus on that.

  34. April 16, 2010 at 03:31

    Oh i forgot to ask/add…

    What about suspending cards. Say you have a bunch of cards that are just as u mentioned “shoulders” like sentences you should know vs ones u want to know. instead of deleting, how about suspending for indefinite amounts of time. if later an occassion presents itself where u need to know the word, u can look it up in your anki as if it were a personal dictionary.


  35. Drewskie
    April 17, 2010 at 04:01

    I used to suspend instead of deleting. I think the first time I every went back and looked through suspended cards convinced me it was pretty much a waste. I just deleted them all. None were appealing, and they were all too far from the context I found them in to be of any use.

    That’s just me though, I think there are other people who suspend around here, maybe they can comment.

  36. Joe Keller
    May 24, 2010 at 19:08

    I have a question regarding Chinese grammar. I’ve picked up a book called “road to success.” I can’t quite seem to keep all the grammar in my head. It’s not difficult to understand but, I can only use the grammar in limited ways.. Any help Kuazi, is much appreciated! i am currently working up to 1500 hanzi characters. I’ve been studying chinese for 10 months. My current method is to write a sentence that comes to mind after reading the grammar explanation.

  37. November 17, 2010 at 02:25

    Thank you Khatz for all your sharing and help. I have come to a point myself where I stopped doing Kanji and sentence reps for 2 weeks (sort of). I have been doing them consistently for 6 months. I had been using premined sentences for a while. But I found that they were either A: too boring, or B: too hard.

    Although I did learn a lot about how the language worked from these sentences, I just found myself beating my head againts a brick wall and I’d slow down. So I would avoid doing reps and just watch anime or movies intead.

    The Kanji was stopped completely a week before that. I just hated reading through the damn story again. And your article about the new way to do it has now given me the motivation to just restart. Restart the whole kanji learning process. I had gotten through RTK 1 and got my feet wet with RTK 3.

    I found myself only wanting to do sentences. The Kanji became a real pain. I think because the stories are in English so it’s like, HEY! I NEED JAPANESE PLEASE! I can’t waste my time on English.

    But Everything has been coming a long. I’m comprehending more and more in movies and anime and when my friends speak to me.

    Today, I chatted with my freind in Japanese only! I was going to go back to english to explain a few more things, but I just decided not to! Yeah!

  38. Anne
    May 5, 2011 at 10:26

    I’ve got a question…. 🙂
    It’d be great if anyone could help me with that. I didn’t do sentences up to now. I studied vocabulary. However, if I went for sentences (which is an appealing thought) and I just took the ones I like or find interesting (which is even more appealing), I know that I won’t cover a lot of vocabulary. My problem is: I just don’t know the vocabulary that isn’t interesting to me. So, I do know the vocabulary for everyday’s conversation or for food and literature and flowers and so on. But I don’t know the words for economy or medical issues (diseases or parts of the body etc.) However, in order to be fluent in Japanese, I also have to study the vocabulary for things that bore me even in my mother tongue. How do you do that?
    I mean, sure you can study that, but how can you avoid those things being ‘shoulders’?

    • ブライアン
      May 5, 2011 at 11:29

      Do you need them? Really?

      Unless you find economics or medicine interesting, there’s no “need” for that vocabulary. I know plenty of perfectly fluent English speakers who have trouble with political or economic terms. (Much less medical/scientific terms.)

      Do everything you want to be able to do in Japanese. SRS what you need to do those things. If you need to know, say, 経済(economics), you’ll find it in a good context. If you don’t run into it, guess you didn’t need it.

      There’s no magical cut-off point to learning a language. You’ll be learning new words until you stop having Japanese input or stop breathing. So don’t worry so much about what you haven’t learned.

      • Anne
        May 5, 2011 at 18:23

        I guess, you’re right. However, it strikes me that I lack these words often, ’cause you see they appear even in contexts that do interest me. I probably don’t need economic terms detailed, but it would be nice to actually remember 経済, 企業, 営業 and so on, as they do appear often. Still a sentence like ‘due to the economic recess, our sale’s numbers went down recently’ will never ever be an interesting sentence to me, no matter whether it’s about book sales or some pharmaceutical nonsense. 😛

        I see, I’ll just have to go for it anyway… :S

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