Holidailies 8: Flashcarding, not as dirty as it sounds, rather useful even

10 Dec

So, apart from having totally too many things to do anyway, I recently decided that I should do some more… Yes, insane idea, I am aware of it, but it has been a long time coming:

I’m learning Japanese, and I’m mainly focusing on the reading/writing aspect of it. Which is totally cool and okay, if it weren’t so damn difficult. To be able to read Japanese you don’t just need to learn words, you need to learn whole new scripts. Which is both the fun and the hard part of it.

Japanese will be my 5th language. My first language is Dutch and I learned English, German and French in high school. My German and French is rusty though I can understand some bits of it still. My English… well, you can see how crap that has gotten over the years… kidding 😉

I’ve had a long interest in Japanese, back from the days that I got to know subbed anime and picked up words from there and later when I got into manga and was sad that I couldn’t pick up on some of the more interesting word jokes in it. But for the past year or so Japanese has been a language I’ve been surrounded with each day (mostly by music) and I found it time to finally take the plunge and learn it.

What I will be sharing today is the technique I used back in high school to learn foreign words, but it also works really well to learn other things. I learned part of the periodic table and salts for Chemistry on it, for one. It works really well when you need to “translate” one thing into the next, even if that is a chemical element to it’s symbols and electrons.


you need:

DSCN0353– thick paper to make cards
– pen
– paper to practice on

1) Make the thick paper into decent sized cards, I cut my index cards into two to get them to the right size. The right size is somewhere between where you can easily hold and shuffle them and where you can fit what you need on the card.


2) Practice what you need until you’re sure you can write it without errors. Here you can see me trying the first 5 kana of hiragana to make sure I get them right on the cards. Plus, always repeat to yourself what the word/thing you’re trying to learn means. So while writing the A kana I kept softly repeating to myself that is was the A. This really helps with trying to remember the words.

On one side you write the thing you want to learn (the kana in this case):


On the other side you write the translation if it. Here you can see I wrote the romaji letters on the other side. For learning full words I would write both the romaji and the translation, just to be sure I don’t mess up.


And honestly, that is all you need to get started with flashcarding. I’ve used it a lot in the past and today I upped my sight reading ability of hiragana to 25. I learned 10 (well 5 with their respective dakuten) this morning in an hour.

This is all you need to get started with your flashcarding. I will do another post soon that will show some of the ways that I actually learn with flashcards, because some ways are more effective for some cases than others.

Learn on!



Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Holidailies, Japanese, learning, tutorial


3 responses to “Holidailies 8: Flashcarding, not as dirty as it sounds, rather useful even

  1. Beduwen

    December 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Flash cards are great! Another good way to learn everyday words in another language is to stick the little cards (or Post It Notes) onto the item (like a chair, a table, a window, etc.) Good luck with the Japanese. DH and I are going to try to learn Italian!

    • Kia Zi Shiru

      December 11, 2012 at 7:41 am

      naming things sounds useful too, yeah. I’ve never done that before.
      Good luck with learning Italian, I hear it’s not that easy to learn.


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