How to use Free Software to learn Japanese, and more.

Ankidrone Sentence Pack

September 07, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Ankidrone Sentence Pack is an Anki deck that contains over 44,000 Japanese sentence with native audio. This deck is not to be learned from back to back, its purpose is to aid you in finding example sentences for your targeted sentence cards.


How to review

July 13, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Though Anki is an excellent piece of software, you can learn languages more effectively if you tweak some settings and know how to review. Even if you're using Anki for something other than studying human languages, this article may still help you.


AJT Kanji Transition deck

February 25, 2021 — Tatsumoto

The most important part of learning Japanese with the AJATT method is to enjoy native content and be able to grow your understanding of the language entirely through immersion by picking up new words from the media you read, watch or listen to. To transition towards learning directly from Japanese media, first you need to level up your comprehension.

Ajatt-Tools Kanji Transition deck is an Anki Deck for newcomers to Japanese based on the JP1K method. If you want to learn the theory behind this deck, please read this article.

The deck is designed to teach how to recognize Kanji along with the most common 1000 words used in everyday conversations. Once you finish this deck, you should be able to understand enough Japanese to start learning directly from your immersion.

Prior knowledge of kana is required but there is no need to do any isolated kanji study.

If you have already learned basic vocabulary through a premade deck like Core or Tango and know more than 1000 words or have gone through isolated kanji study with a book like RTK, you are unlikely to benefit from the deck. However, if your vocabulary is below 1000 words, I recommend that you give the Kanji Transition deck a try.

The vocabulary used in the deck was taken from Ankidrone Starter Pack and consists of words commonly used in everyday life in Japan. Each sentence in the deck tries to introduce only one unknown word or structure. Each word along with each sentence has native audio and an English translation.

We have prepared two versions of the deck. One for people who prefer TSC card format and another for people who like WCC more.


Basic vocabulary

January 31, 2021 — Tatsumoto

After finishing kanji, kana and essential grammar the bulk of your AJATT journey will consist of learning vocabulary. As the first step in this process, it makes sense to go through a basic vocabulary deck containing the most frequent words in Japanese. As before, you are going to use Anki to do it.

Before diving in to full-fledged immersion learning, memorizing the most frequently used 1 or 2 thousand words is a great way to jumpstart your comprehension. After that learning vocabulary from immersion becomes easier because you'll at least be able to recognize the majority of words in a given sentence. You will still have to look up many words per page, but the process is going to take less effort.


Discussing various card templates

January 14, 2021 — Tatsumoto


Card formats are differentiated by what you put on the front of the card. This is the important part because it's what you are testing yourself on. The back of the cards is much less important. Its purpose is to help increase your understanding of what is on the front.

Many learners agree that the most effective way to acquire Japanese is to combine the SRS with immersion. After finishing learning kana and kanji you're going to continue to use Anki in your study time to memorize sentence items. The focus on sentences is very important. Your practice in Anki should mimic real world situations. In other words, you should practice how you play. And in real world we read sentences, and we write sentences. Having said that, word cards have their place in your SRS. They are very effective for studying concrete nouns.

There are two major card templates that people tend to use: sentence cards and word cards. Both have their variations depending on what information they contain on the back.

Regardless of the card template, you create all your cards while consuming Japanese using Yomichan, mpv scripts, qolibri and other software of your choice. Avoid grinding premade decks beyond the absolute beginner stage, but keep them in your sentence bank as a supplement to find sentences when other sources fail you.

This article covers recognition cards. Production cards are covered here.


Useful Anki add-ons for Japanese

December 30, 2020 — Tatsumoto

I often get asked in the chats what add-ons are recommended for learning Japanese. mattvsjapan has a video on this topic, and although a few years have passed, surprisingly there haven't been many new Anki add-ons worth recommending. Below I'm going to mention add-ons from the video, as well as add a few extra ones from myself.


Setting up Anki

December 28, 2020 — Tatsumoto

Anki is a Spaced repetition system (SRS), a program which allows you to create, manage and review flashcards.

There are currently many different SRS’s available. Mnemosyne is considered to be a good Anki alternative. However, I recommend that you stick with Anki. It’s cross-platform, rich with features, and supports addons, written in python. There are many add-ons available that greatly aid language study, including a few of my own. Because of the add-ons it's in my opinion really the only SRS application worth taking seriously.

What's most important, Anki is libre software that respects the users' freedom and community. Unlike Supermemo, for example. But you can't use that on GNU/Linux and Android anyway.

Many language learners find Anki useful to quickly memorize (frontload) core vocabulary of their target language (TL), as well as boost their learning in the later stages.

It should be noted, however, that memorization of most vocabulary throughout all your language learning phases should be done by studying sentences. You will be making vocabulary cards in the process as well, but much less so, and mostly for nouns.

The only downside of Anki is that it can be a little bit difficult to learn how to use. Depending on how you use it you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying or make using Anki a living hell for yourself. If you find yourself confused about how Anki works, it is recommended that you read the Anki manual. However, because it's highly detailed and technical, the bulk of this article will focus on explaining the most useful Anki settings to help you get things up and running as quickly as possible.