Ben Piper’s Jisho Biki Journal/Reflections
Ben Piper’s Jisho Biki Journal/Reflections
2017.2.23 (Day 1)
–Haven’t opened the dictionary yet. Wondering how well this approach works. How many post-its will I go through? How heavy will my dictionary become? Do I even like the idea of cluttering my dictionary with lots of post-it notes? (Admittedly, I can’t say I do. I prefer a clean book.)
But, those thoughts aside, let’s find out if there is merit to this approach…..
We’ll set the timer for… 30 minutes…. Get some music going….. Alright, let’s go!
Okay, slight hiccup…. The post-it notes I thought were post-it notes…..are just notes… they don’t post at all.
Slight victory: 青空- found this in the dictionary…. There really was instant joy. “YEAH! I know that word!” (Although, it was disappointed when I found out I didn’t have legitimate post-it notes….)
So…. to the store I guess?…
After heading to the local B+D I bought a pack of post-its and took a picture of their price. Perhaps I should’ve went to Daiso…..
–I bought the last pack of 2×100 post-it pads ￥265 (There’s an empty space where the pack I bought was….) ((This means I can find 200 words before I must restock….))
–Also, the textbook Fukaya-Sensei gave me is priced at: ￥2250
Total Cost to start my version of the Jisho-Biki Experience: ￥2515 (About $22 in America). Not….bad….
One critique is that because one must leave post-it notes within one’s own dictionary, each and every child is required to purchase their own dictionary and post-it notes.
Let’s find some words!
Alright! 30mins is up.
I found 20 words.
I started out by casually looking for words I knew. I just flipped through the pages and let things jump out at me.
I also used that time to acquaint myself with the Japanese Dictionary. Admittedly, this was the first time I have ever actively looked through one.
Eventually I started to hunt for words I knew. This was made easy by the dictionary’s pages having the order of kana on them.
My mind started to create critiques about Jisho-Biki based off of the above methods, which I will call: Hunt Mode & Casual Mode.
–Tendency to look at unknown words
–Tendency to look at surrounding words of known words
–Helps trigger ideas of what to look up
–Tendency to skip past unknown words
–Care less about surrounding words
–Must have an idea of what to look up
In order to find words you know in the dictionary, you must first find them in your brain. By going back and forth between these two modes, it can help one better locate their known vocabulary, in both their brain and jisho.
The numbering: Perhaps I should’ve numbered my post-it notes beforehand. But, every time I found a known word I had to ask myself: “What number is this?” Sometimes, I even had to look back at the last post-it to remind myself. Retrieving this piece of information from my brain interfered with my attempts to retrieve Japanese vocabulary.
–Number Post-its before-hand
–Use a single side-sheet of paper or post-it to tally each word you find
–Post everything (but write the word on the note), then go back and review/create lists/count the words you found.
My question: What benefits are there from seeing the number on the post-it note next to the word you found? I.e. ”辞書” was the 19th word I found today.
Answer: I just realized I remembered that 辞書 was the 19th word I found because I wrote the numbers next to the word. In a way, this provides a way to quiz oneself or tie a variable to an anchor. I can now ask myself “What was #19?” and say 辞書…. Which…now I’m trying to remember word #3…… I think it was… 暖かい？
This helps create numbered lists, and can help sort the information in one’s brain. Or so it seems. Still, having to remember numbers, instead of words during the process was a pain.
One other benefit of that pain: Going back to the last word. If you forget a number, you’re forced to look back at the last post-it note, so you might as well look at the last word.
The Known Words Approach vs Unknown Words Approach
As a foreigner studying Japanese, It was nice to look at the Japanese definitions of the words I knew. This of course, helped expand my knowledge of that word. By finding words I knew, I also helped my brain further strengthen the synapse connections and strengthen an anchor towards particular vocabulary.
-My concern however, is what is the limit of this benefit?
-Why not look at unknown words?
-Is it a time-waster for one to catalogue their vocabulary knowledge in this manner?
-What if you post-it every single word you know? What then? Did you beat the Jisho-Biki game?
-Is there a Jisho-Biki approach to learning new/unknown words?
–Post-its cover up space. When I found a word I knew, I wasn’t sure where on the page I should post them? But no matter where, I was covering up either the word I found, or other words. Granted, one can take the post-its off, but taking them off is like deleting a save file…. Still, maybe I wanted to look at the other words?
Peripheral Vision: For me, I am most interested in this effect of Jisho-Biki. Is it possible to pick up unknown words while looking for known words? I think it is. Especially if one plays what I called the Casual Mode of Jisho-Biki. This is also the advantage over electronic devices. With multiple words on each page, we may consciously or subconsciously pick up unknown words and/or their definitions.
I also think that by finding and creating a memory anchor of a known word, one might be able to recall a few of the surrounding words. This isn’t something you can do with an electronic dictionary.
The issue though, is that the post-it notes can cover up the surrounding words. Preventing this potential advantage.
Final Thoughts of my first day/30mins trying Jisho-Biki:
—It is definitely an interesting approach. It helps make the dictionary interactive, which I think is key in this interactive-technology age. There’s definitely motivation too. “How many words do I know? How post-it filled can I make my dictionary? Oh hey! I didn’t know this definition! Oh right… there are three versions of this verb… and three different kanji for it!”
After trying it for myself, some of the things I thought would be issues….were indeed issues, but in reflection appear to be potential positives. I.e. Numbering post-its as a way to create a mental list/quiz, cluttering my dictionary with post-its…. ((Also….I had to smoosh my post-it notes to put my dictionary back into its box……))
Questions/Thoughts for my next session:
-Let’s try other ways to number! Save our memory retrieval energy for words!
-Let’s see how fast we can go next time! Pick up the pace!
-Can we develop post-it note stick-strategies to still mark the known words, but also encourage what I’m going to call the Peripheral Effect?
2017.2.24 (Day 2)
Currently preparing to delve into round 2 of Jisho Biki. I numbered my post-its from 20-50, so now I have 30 post-its ready to go. I won’t have to keep remembering the numbers as I post.
Minor issue: Unless one writes what number they left off, one must search their dictionary for the highest number they wrote.
In this case, I remembered I found 20 words yesterday.
But, what if I found 1,234 words yesterday? And what if I forgot what number? Thus, I think it is important to tell people to write a “Save Number,” so that way they can remember where to start counting the next session.
In this case, I started counting at 21. Now! Let’s find some words! I’ll start by entering Hunt Mode and look for 行く！
-I found 30 words. Thanks to numbering beforehand, I was able to focus on finding words, and found 10 more in my session than I did yesterday.
–”俺”と”お礼” were right next to each other in the dictionary. It felt a little silly to post another post-it note right on top of the last. お礼 was so close to the bind of the box, that I had to do so.
-(+)- I started to figure out that some entries, the post-it note was the close to the same width. This provided a chance to cover the known word, as opposed to unknown words. This was because I am aiming to increase chance of the Peripheral Effect (Although, it would be nice if dictionary entries and post-it notes were similarly sized…..
-Okay, let’s see what I remember finding: お礼、俺、難しい、優しい、簡単、門、馬、驚く、踊り、音楽、客、踊る、うまい、行く、音、温、
^(That was what I could remember in about 3-4 minutes. I’m realizing the limits of my memory.)
Final Thoughts for Day 2:
-Today went smoother thanks to numbering the post-its beforehand. I realized that I couldn’t help looking at definitions of words I knew. Which, slowed down my finding time. My brain is already having flashbacks of what words are around the words I found, (such as ”馬”と”うまい” and 「俺」と「お礼」. My brain is also starting to glance over the post-it notes, and seemingly make mental notes at the unknown words. There were a few specific moments I felt a tingle of joy, “Ooo! What’s that word!….Oh wait…that’s an unknown word….. I need to skip that and find known words….” Maybe some sessions I’ll let myself look at the unknown words…..
But that’s the beauty of Jisho-Biki. You learn what you know, and if you post the post-its just right, you can visually see the holes of your vocabulary.