Some closing comments..
“Remembering the Kanji” works, plain and simple. It’s also incredibly easy… at least in theory. It turns out that the hard work, instead of rote memorization, is self-motivation, discipline, and just keeping at it.
All in all I started April 2005 and I had at least 3 full months breaks, so it took me approximately 6 months. Early on I had an average of 20 kanji a day, but past the halfway mark I slowed to about 10 kanji a day, and 1h30 sessions. I know some people have completed RTK1 in 4 months or less and others have spent nearly a year. So I think 6 months is a reasonable expectation one might have about completing RTK1.
I never really considered giving up past the halfway point, but often as I sat to study I wondered “WHY am I doing this?”. I think I wasn’t fair to my motivation in my precedent post. I’m not so stubborn as to finish such a goal for the sake of finishing it alone.
The fact is, I LOVE the kanji.
There is a quote that I found very inspiring from www.zhongwen.com :
”... Chinese characters, one of humanity’s greatest and most enduring cultural achievements.”
On top of the chinese writing system, I love how the Japanese writing system mixes the phonetic script, hiragana, with the kanji (I wish there was more kanji though..).
To get back to the method itself, another thing that kept my motivation going was a certain fascination for memory techniques, in particular mnemonics. I realised I had been using mnemonics before, as most people have, but never thinking about it as a technique in and of itself. In RTK1, mnemonics become a systematic technique for learning to remember how to write the kanji. The retention rate early on in so high that it can give you a great boost of confidence. This sparked my interest in mnemonics and also in “memory palaces”, and I am now looking into remembering all the chinese readings of the kanji using other efficient memory techniques instead of rote memorization.