Issue 3: Kanji Flash Cards
Forget your iPhone Anki, White Rabbit Press flashcards are the hot must-have item!
k, let’s be honest with eachother, do you like learning kanji? I mean like, really-like-it like? Cus I, for sure as hell DON’T. Learning kanji is a drag and frankly, a royal pain in the おしり (yes, that’s Japanese for B-hind). A real bitch if you ask me, mind you. Learning about 2000-something Chinese characters is gonna require a lot of time and hard work and it ain’t gonna happen overnight (or 3 months for that matter, anyone who claims they can, is just plain ignorant).
There are tons of different ways and tools out there all doing the same thing, to help you remember kanji but there is no golden way since everybody learns and absorbs information in a different way. I’m a firm believer in rotation learning, see one thing often enough and you will remember it. There are fancy kanji apps out there like Anki which employ SRS (Spaced Repetition System) and can run on anything from your lickable-hot-iPhone to my NDS to your mom’s kitchen microwave oven…ok that last one has yet to be invented (although it’b nice idea).
Call me old fashioned but I tried those Anki apps and while the fun lasted the first couple of weeks (impressive huh *patting myself on the back), it felt like a boring routine job, opening the app on your computer, staring at your screen trying to guess the meaning of the kanji before hitting the answer-button. For me, it just didn’t work nor stick. I wanted something more substantial, something I could ‘feel and touch’. Having an actual single card in your hand with a kanji on it or staring at your Anki app are two total different learning experiences, at least for me.
White Rabbit Press offers kanji flashcards and are among the crème the la crème when it comes to flashcards, yes there are other brands but supposedly this is the shit. They offer three different sets of flashcards, being, Kanji Flashcards 1 (a set of 284 cards which covers JLPT lv. 4 and 3), Kanji Flashcards 2 (set of 739 cards which corresponds to JLPT lv. 2) and the biggest set Kanji Flashcards 3 (a whopping nine-hundred-o-three-card-biggie for JLPT lv. 1). I don’t know if they’re going to create a new set now with the new JLPT lv. N3 test but I bought set 2 and 3 for levels 2 and 1 respectively, so I’m all set. The box has two colums where the cards snuggly fit in and comes with a manual which also holds a list of all kanji up till that level.
The cards are about the size of a standard poker card, have rounded corners and are printed on business-card-thick cardstock with a glossy finish. At first I thought they felt kinda thin to the touch but then again, you don’t want a really big stack of cards if you want to carry them around. The cards have 1 kanji on one side and the general meaning and readings on the back side along with other features such as compound words using the kanji. I particulary like that the back side has a line that tells you how far you are in the set. A nice added touch is that the side of the box of Set 2 has a hiragana & katakana chart, although you would think one would’ve already learned how to read kana by level 2. Funny that Set 3 doesn’t have this.
For me, paper flashcards work. A big clear kanji and lots of added example words (so you can see the kanji usage) are some of the things that make these flashcards great and fun to use. No more boring routine Anki app, just grab a couple of cards when you have some spare time and really learn. And admit it, having a real flashcard in your hand is funner than poking at your iPhone kanji app!
*series 1 (L4-L1) is being followed up by the new series 2 (N5-N1)
Well, that’s all of todays issue of Chokochoko, join us next time for a brand new issue and thank you again for reading!
• title: Japanese Kanji Flashcards
• pages: vol.1: 284 cards • vol.2: 739 cards • vol.3: 903 cards
• dimensions: card size 6.5 x 9 cm
• extra: manual & kanji list
• language: Japanese – English
• publisher: White Rabbit Press
• order: http://www.whiterabbitpress.com
• ISBN: vol. 2: 0-9748694-1-4 • vol. 3: 978-097486947-6
• special Chokochoko rating: 満点 100%