Beyond Binging and Purging: Why You Maybe Sometimes Shouldn’t Try Overcorrecting When You Screw Up

Whatever your goals this year, you will fall off the horse at some point. Probably. Perhaps you already have.

If and when you do fall off, get back on it like nothing happened. Redraw. New point.

Because the temptation will be to purge the binge or binge the purge. But the binge-purge cycle is as dangerous as it is unproductive.

When you’ve been inconsistent with a behavior you want to instill, the socially-trained response (“instinct”) is to punish yourself by giving yourself more to do — stricter rules, extra work, “catch up” work. A bit of self-flagellation, you know. A nice crack of the old flagellum. WHAPEW!

Basically, you say to yourself “OK, I’ve been binging on bad things for a while now, so let me purge for a little while and THEN go back to a normal flatline”.

But that just feeds the cycle. Because, you see, purging is just another form of binging. Purging is just binging on good. Which seems like a good enough idea, certainly the intent behind it is good, but the effect is to teach yourself that:

“Binging is how we solve problems”.

It’s kind of like racism. On the surface, white supremacists seem to hate darkies and Jews. But really what they’re saying is:

“Division, hate and violence is how we solve problems”.

So what happens is that white supremacists can end up scaring up, beating up and killing up almost as many white people (“race traitors”) as they do darkies and Juden and Irish and whomever the heck else. They even write books about crucifying “their own”. Their paradigm demands it. Any movement based on division, hate and violence tends to self-destruct in this way, because while its members may think that their hate has specificity, in truth they are operating under a more general principle that inevitably begins to dictate their actions and responses to anyone of any ethnicity in any adverse situation. 1

Similarly, binging and purging demands more binging and purging. Binge-purge is just a manifestation of a “binge meta-behavior”. 2

In fact, it’s more than a behavior — it’s a way of life. It’s almost like a conditioned reflex whereby as soon as you “hear the bell” of a certain type of situation, you almost unconsciously, involuntarily start binging and purging.

So we say: “one last purge(=’good’ binge), and then I’ll go back to flatline”. But flatline never comes. Just like the day you’re going to use all that cool stuff you have locked up in the attic…never comes.

Binge-purge, or, more accurately, “binge-binge” or “plus-binge-minus-binge” is like the Ring of Power in Lord of the Maori Actors with Ridiculously Manly Thighs and Dreadlocks. It cannot be used for good — at least not by you or me. It’s just that unwieldly. Once you pick it up and put it on, any valiant attempts to direct its power in space and time tend to fall flat.

Even using it against itself as some form of punishment, tends to fail. Generally speaking, the binge-binge cycle cannot be used to break itself any more than a tangled power cord can be used to untangle another tangled power cord. It cannot take you to your goals because the violence of the cycle will destroy you before you reach them — maybe not the very first time, but somewhere along the way.

Large individual goals are only healthily reached by consistency over time. By habit. Really, the only way to teach yourself this gradual behavior is by engaging in it. You can’t get yourself to be gradual and go at a manageable pace by removing the privilege of moving at this pace as soon as you slip up. Accept the slip-up as a natural part of the process. The way to get over those violent pendulum movements is to stop hitting the pendulum so violently…get a hold on it and guide it gently.

You will probably run off course a little bit this year, at some point. But that doesn’t mean all is lost. Far from it. I hear aeroplanes spend the majority of their flying time technically off-course 3. They just correct quickly and often.

Redraw. Correct. New point. New day. New nano-action. Continue. Yes, it is that easy. Yes, you can let go of punishment and still excel – what, you think I got my cats to come to me when I call them by beating them over the head? “OI! I’M TALKING TO YOU, MAMMAL! LOOK ON MY WORKS, YE FELINE, AND DESPAIR!”. Naw, dude. They hate Shelley.

Be nice to yourself. When you fall, just get up and keep walking. Make small corrections if necessary, but emotionally, let it be like nothing the heck happened. Like you meant to do it. It’s not like you killed someone 4. Take the energy you were going to use for feeling guilty, and put it into moving forward.


  1. Verily, if you look at something like the two “World” Wars, what you see is essentially Western European slander, hatred and violence, which had been successfully exported worldwide in the form of colonialism, finally coming home to roost.

    Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon was a similar deal: the Romans had tried to put a firewall around Rome proper — in fact, the whole Italian peninsula — essentially saying “aw’right, lads — we impose order through military conquest out there but not in ‘ere”.

    It worked well enough for a while. Eventually, though, a Gaius called Caesar came along and was like: “Roman, puh-leeze! Screw that!”, because “military conquest is how we solve problems and impose order” was the real, core lesson of Roman politics. And the rest really is history. Live by the gladius, die by the gladius, if you will. Baseless Remarks About Complex Social Phenomena, baby…you know you loves it!

  2. The more I make up these words, the more I start sounding like Bucky Fuller — you know, insightful, but obviously self-educated because he uses all these neologisms and compound words that aren’t found anywhere in mainstream academic literature. Maybe I should go to grad school and finally earn my professors’ unconditional love and respect…’Fill that surrogate dad-sized hole in my heart…

    You’re all: “Khatz, you’re nowhere near as cool as Bucky Fuller”. Well…just you wait until I have a comeback for that.

    Where was I…

    Oh yeah.

  3. is this true? Any experts care to answer?
  4. right?…right? wait, what? oh my…OK…No that’s NOT okay!

  60 comments for “Beyond Binging and Purging: Why You Maybe Sometimes Shouldn’t Try Overcorrecting When You Screw Up

  1. Maya
    January 14, 2010 at 12:18

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone have any examples of when they started to fall behind in something and they eventually caught up by making it more fun/changing their style? I’m not doubting that this is the way to go; it’s just that I’d like a concrete example.

    Lately I’ve fallen behind with my sentence reps (whereas I have no problem maintaining an immersion environment)… I think the problem is that I’ve come to look at the reps as “work/studying” (whereas as anime is always “recreational”)… even after deleting a decent chunk of sentences, the problem seems to persist. I’m currently almost a week behind in reps, and still can’t motivate myself to get around to doing them. I’ve obviously been doing something wrong, but I can’t figure out what.

  2. g-dog
    January 14, 2010 at 12:43

    It’s almost like a conditioned reflex whereby as soon as you here the bell of a certain type of situation, you start binging and purging.

    Should change that to “hear”.

    Good article.

    Maya, why not do what Khatz suggests and just do one rep? You don’t need any motivation to do one rep. If you work at a computer, do one rep every 15 minutes. Chances are you might do 3 or 5 reps, but you don’t have to, just do one.

  3. km
    January 14, 2010 at 13:17

    Maya, SRS reps are a lot more fun to do if you stay caught up on them. You spend more time reviewing sentences from the manga or anime you were enjoying yesterday than you do with the stuff that’s “relevant but less-exciting” (Heisig, etc). Get yourself caught up – not in a day-long binge, but over, say, a week. The tone is totally different when you stay on top, because you see how efficient the SRS is as you get very little unnecessary work.

    Do you use Anki? Even something like changing to a radical color scheme on your cards can be fun enough to get you interested to do reps for a half hour or so. Keep changing things up with little experiments, not to find the one best way, but just for the sake of keeping yourself interested for a few more minutes. Timeboxing can serve the same function – as this site suggests, hours are made up of minutes, days made of hours, months, years, etc. Keep it real!

  4. Squeezed Lemon
    January 14, 2010 at 14:23


    Sentence reps aren’t a requirement to learning a language, you know =). For me they have always been “work” and I was never able to get into them. I would much rather read that next volume of manga over reviewing my sentences, and would always trade the time it takes to enter 1 sentence, with definitions, for the chance to read another 5, 10, 15 sentences from a book, blog, etc. Sure I have no concrete way to measure my progress, but that doesn’t really matter. As long as I’m having fun in Japanese, I know I’m making progress.

  5. Chad
    January 14, 2010 at 15:26

    i find my immersion environment so effective that i not only do my daily SRS stuff, but i actually *want* to do it because of how immersed i constantly am and how much desire that builds in me to want to tredge on. On top of that, i have cut out most things from my personal space (aka, the space that won’t make other people think i’ve lost my mind) that aren’t Japanese, which only leaves my japanese stuff to do… and when i’ve got (a) a burning desire to learn more japanese, and (b) only more japanese stuff to do, i find myself just sliding down the slide i’ve built for myself.

    The point is, even on days when i only end up making time to simply review that day’s kanji, i still consider it “progress” because i’m further cementing the kanji i have “learned” into my memory. I stay positive when i think about it this way, and am even more happy with myself when i manage to get in 10-20 new kanji that day. I would think that in the situation with sentences, even if you aren’t technically doing your SRS, if your immersion environment constantly forces you to read japanese sentences in real-world situations, it’s still forward progress and if i were you, i wouldn’t stress about it much.

    When i find myself losing motivation to continue my actual tangible studies, i just increase my immersion level more, which increases my desire to learn, which spurs me to do my tangible studies.

  6. Drewskie
    January 14, 2010 at 16:12

    Be careful about forcing yourself, Maya. Any time you take something you love to do and *make* yourself do it, it becomes the enemy. Video game playtesters hate the games they play with a fierce passion. That’s the bottom line on AJATT: If it’s work, you’ll fight with it. If it’s fun, you’ll play with it.

    For me, SRS reps tire me out like work does, but when I’m doing them, it doesn’t feel that way. I’m happy to be learning Japanese, so it’s fun. Maybe the problem isn’t that your SRS reps are burdened with work-pollution. You might consider starting from the ground up.

    Explore why you want to learn Japanese, and where you hope it’ll take you. Bring back the concrete images and desires that motivated you in the first place. And then watch anime. As much as you want. Don’t do SRS reps until you want to do them. If the review pile up gets too huge, just suspend half of your deck (if you use anki, that’s a click of a button) and slowly unsuspend them as you catch up. —At least, that’s what I would do.

    Good luck!

  7. Matt
    January 14, 2010 at 16:44

    Not to jump on the grammar Nazi wagon, but: “Fill that surrogate dad-sized whole in my heart…” should be “hole.” :)

    Maya – a concrete example of falling off the wagon for me would be running. I got injured in March 09 and was unable to run for over five months (I guess this was more like getting run over by the wagon than falling, but anyway…). After five months, I lost nearly two years of running progress and literally had to start over. I’m perhaps halfway caught up to my old level, and what allows me to continue is just to be happy with the process and not worry about how much “work” I piled on myself in the downtime. If I woke up every morning thinking about the mountain of catch-up running (or SRS reps) that lay ahead of me, or fixated on how much faster I used to run my circuits, I absolutely wouldn’t have the willpower to lace up my shoes. I just think “Hey, what a nice day, I think I’ll go for a jog!” and get out there and do my thing. No pressure, no comparing myself to anyone. This process, over time, absolutely positively guarantees success- I did it once, I’m doing it again. (Process x Time = Results, but if Process ≠ Fun then Time = Time – 1 every work cycle until Time = 0 and you’re left with nothing but bitter salty tears of unfathomable sorrow).

    And a confession- I fell off the Japanese wagon entirely over three weeks ago. Not just SRS- the entire project is on hold. After finishing Remembering the Kanji, several hundred sentences, and logging 300 hours of J-dramas, I’m taking a step back to explore why I started down this path at all. Sheer curiosity can take me only so far- only this far in fact. Like Drewskie said, examining your motivation is critical, and so far I’m drawing a blank. I think I might have done this just to exercise the old gray matter in a fun way. We’ll see. In your anime-loving case though, get back on that horse and go for a joy ride!

  8. khatzumoto
    January 14, 2010 at 18:31

    Thank you :D

  9. Esther
    January 14, 2010 at 19:47

    You just cured my eating disorder.

  10. January 14, 2010 at 22:01

    Binging, Purging, Catching up… all depends on the context really. I play catchup with SRS reps on a *daily* basis :) (fit that into your, uh, sock, Khatz!)

    For me, it really has to do with scheduling and balance. If I miss a few hours of SRS because I was watching a Samurai movie or reading a Manga, I figure it’s somewhat justified.

    If the SRS piles up too high, I probably need to delete nonsensical cards like 訴訟(litigation) anyway.

  11. Travtito
    January 15, 2010 at 05:35

    Great article Khatz, I needed this one. I’ve been falling behind lately, not only my (kanji) reps, but also on the whole Japanese thing in general. I finished RTK1 last December and I just finished Remembering the Kana last week, and haven’t done anything since. I’m honestly really frightened right now, despite your advice (sorry) no longer in my Kanji comfort zone, the whole “now for the rest of the language” thing just kinda dawned on me. I’m just afraid of learning grammar/foreigner Japanese/basically the wrong first thing.

    I got the Oxford’s beginner’s dictionary and a Japanese Pokemon game for x-mas. should I just dive in for sentences? or do I need to know some basic words first? Really lost right now… Can any of you commenters (or khatz himself) help me?

  12. Chad
    January 15, 2010 at 07:42

    i am also interested in more testimonial/advice about getting started into the sentences phase

  13. Drewskie
    January 15, 2010 at 08:46

    You need a starting sentence source with super-common words and phrases, and some examples of the grammar with English translations. Something like a basic textbook, or I don’t know, maybe some sort of pack sold by some sort of blogger on some sort of site where people post comments about starting the sentence phase.

    That’s what I used, MFSP. I took about 500 sentences from there and gathered around 200 on my own, and then switched to J-J and I haven’t looked back. You won’t learn the language from your starter source, no matter what it is. But it’s not nearly as daunting as you seem to think.

    You should be excited! So far, for me, the sentences phase has been incredibly interesting, far more than Kanji. Japanese is turning into the hobby that I hoped it would be. Very fulfilling, very interesting, and something I just can’t pull myself away from.

    Just don’t expect miracles. You will be confused. You’ll see a sentence from your starter source and have no clue why it means what it does, but you observe it, you keep it as “gathered knowledge,” and eventually, some part of the grammar will click and as collateral damage, so will that card.

    ‘Daunted’ is really the opposite of what you should feel right now. You look ahead and see a huge language you don’t understand–but it’s not uphill from here. From this point forward, you’ll only understand more, and it will only get easier. You should feel relieved. It’s not a hill, it’s just a downward slope. You’re already at the top, and the hardest part is to start rolling.

  14. アメド
    January 15, 2010 at 08:59

    I agree with you on the sentences. In the beginning you’ll know absolutely nothing for going J-J sentences. But i’m sure everyone knows some previous knowledge of the language,from animes,dramas,etc. But aside from that the sentences do get easier overtime. And the understanding as well. For me personally it’s weird. I was actually looking at a trailer for a game in japanese. And I thought i could understand it, like everything made sense or so i thought. But when i saw the subtitles for it. In japanese. It just made sense. Like there was no doubt that i could understand everything in that trailer. When learning context from J-J sentences, you’ll definitely be abit doubtfully. But it’s always best to start from what you know. B/c eventually those little things will produce more words,more contexts, more sentences and more possibilities in the language. For me the flow of reading and understanding are connecting for me nowadays. It’s literally doing alot of connections due to the immersion. But keep in mind, don’t expect miracles in the beginning. Eventually you’re daily activities in the language will add up. And one important thing, MAKE IT FUN. B/c if you make it like work, then work will get treated as work. Which means…….not getting it done lol. Or at least getting it done, but despising it all in the same time

  15. Travito
    January 15, 2010 at 09:11

    Thank you both, I understand his “slope theory” it’s just a matter of putting it into practice really… I suppose I will pick up MFSP, if you can heartily recommend it.

  16. Drewskie
    January 15, 2010 at 10:25

    I don’t have anything to compare it to, so I don’t know if I can ‘heartily recommend’ it or not. I know it did its job, though. Got me through the early stages for sure. And it was pretty easy to use, it’s literally a PDF full of sentences, with some Khatzu-humor mixed in.

    Also, there’s a ‘slope theory’ around here? Shoot, I thought that was new material. I felt so clever. :P

  17. Travito
    January 15, 2010 at 10:43

    Okay thanks for the info, I feel less lost now.

    And yes, to paraphrase it was something like “Stop making it an uphill climb to awesomeness, and instead a downhill playground slide out of ignorance/suckage.” or something like that :p methinks he had a graph too .

  18. Chad
    January 15, 2010 at 15:33

    thanks for sharing アメド, drewski, et al.

  19. DJ
    January 15, 2010 at 19:57

    So my story about getting out of a slump. I was falling behind with my srs input and reps, and I realized that my method or srsing at the time was too difficult. I was reading books and srsing sentences, having to look up every kanji I didn’t know the reading for, and not really understanding enough to make much progress in the story in one sitting (swiss-cheesing could’ve been the answer here). In the end I got back into my shonen jump manga. I think furigana was a great way to kind of solidify my kanji reading skills, and is so so easy coming from reading books.

    Now I’m back to reading books and swiss-cheesing, forgetting about plot line. Even with fiction, a good writer should be able to pull you in regardless of where you start. Murakami’s translation of Catcher In The Rye, is amazing by the way. It’s the first book I’ve swiss cheesed, maybe just because it’s the first I’ve found worthy of rereading.

    For Maya and all the other people out there in a slump, the answer really is just this: get rid of what you’re doing, and look for something more engaging. You have to be able to throw out media with a smile on your face and say “this may be a great book/game/movie, but I don’t want it.”

    PS When I got started in the preMFSP days, shonen jump was where it’s at. Just look up the grammar as you go. Or skip over it until you feel like looking it up.

  20. January 16, 2010 at 00:49


  21. January 16, 2010 at 00:51

    this theory makes sense. So dont turn up gravity in the Hyperbolic time chamber… after boo kicks your butt?

  22. Drewskie
    January 16, 2010 at 02:58

    Low gravity is where it’s at, man. Everything, I imagine, is more fun in low gravity.

  23. アメド
    January 16, 2010 at 11:51

    Hmmmm. I’m almost reaching the 5 month mark of doing sentences+immersion of japanese. My deck says 4.9 months. I must say so far my progress is good. But still not where i want it to be. Anyhow i recently bought FF13, still kinda waiting for it to be cleared and all.

    How’s the game so far? For me i can’t wait till i get to play it. But i’ll still have to wait till next week or the week after. But during that time, my immersion+SRS will keep me busy along we school and work.

  24. Drewskie
    January 16, 2010 at 18:41

    It’s pretty good. The visuals are jaw-dropping at times, and the gameplay is pretty interesting. It gets off to a slow start, but every time I play it I like it more.

    I’m also hopelessly slow. o.o;; I have to spend time translating important text, so tutorials/information popups add a lot to my game time.

  25. アメド
    January 16, 2010 at 23:05

    Hmmm, i was thinking of doing that, typing up the information that i find in the game, but that would be so time-consuming! I think I’ll just try to enjoy it first before i go SRSing what i find in the game. I’m sure in the couple of months, they will be things to SRS from the game….online! So far I’ve able to find manga things to SRS from online, games as well. But there’s still some games i want to SRS b/c some of the kanji i don’t have a clue what the readings are. Also as well, i’m starting to notice alot of kanji-filled sentences that i didn’t know what the heck they were saying are becoming clearer and clearer nowadays. Makes my life easier now, but there’s still so much kanji i don’t know yet, but only a matter of time i suppose

  26. Maya
    January 17, 2010 at 12:59

    Thanks to everyone for their advice!

    To sum things up, I’ve gone through my deck and deleted ~450 or so cards that were boring/unpleasant/so easy that they had become useless. I’m not quite done yet; I can still realistically see myself deleting another 50-200 cards, but I think I’m getting much closer now.

    I’ve also decided to change the pace at which I add/learn sentences. When I started doing sentences, I wasn’t actually done with RTK; I was just impatient, and I figured that I could “pick up” the remaining kanji on the go. This never happened/isn’t likely to happen, and my incomplete knowledge of kanji is creating problems for me, so I want to go back and finish learning them properly. I’ll still add/learn sentences, but at a much slower rate (at least temporarily); I actually see this as a really good thing, because it will encourage me to only add a small quantity of really good sentences, instead of adding tons of nonsense, as I seem to have been doing the past while. Needless to say, my overall immersion environment won’t change.

    Thanks to everyone for your advice/anecdotes/encouragement!

  27. アメド
    January 18, 2010 at 06:55

    hmmmm. Anyone got any good advice for intermediate learners of Japanese. Sometimes this annoys me, i happy with my progress. But at the same time there’s still a lot i do not know yet. All those massive amounts of kanji that i tend to see a lot daily. This is obviously coming from news site channels online,etc. I guess at this stage of the game, i’m half-way. Which obviously the most annoyest(not a word lol) stage. At the rate i’m going i do expect changes to happen soon. I’m not going overboard as i did before, but i’m steadily increasing my load of SRS cards because nowadays i can do lots and they always interest me. The changes that i noticed in a few months of doing this was, increased understanding of materials, music is starting to become easier like familiar words are always popping up and connections are always been made to understand them. Reading is increasing more and more, but there’s till so much kanji yet to be learned. Especially since alot of the kanji is always connected with one another. I actually saw alot of kanji being connected once, like 13+ in one sentence. I think since i may not know all the readings+understanding for them yet, it’s kind of intimidating. Anyone got any good advice on this? Thanks in advance

  28. Maya
    January 18, 2010 at 12:32

    Today was my first day doing reps anew – I went through a hundred of ‘em in under half an hour. This definitely wouldn’t have been possible a couple weeks ago :)

    Everything felt fresh and simple <3

  29. アメド
    January 18, 2010 at 14:49

    Feels good to blast through 365+ reviews in 20mins. Now i feel like my momentum has gained back. I seriously don’t like when i have so much massive amounts of reviews to do. But i’ve definitely lower my sentence count nowadays. If my reviews are larger then like 200. Then i usual take a break for a few days and just make the reviews go down to a small number. Then start adding again.

  30. Drewskie
    January 18, 2010 at 15:14

    アメド、 you show off. :P

    Maya, that sounds great! おめでとう!

  31. DJ
    January 18, 2010 at 15:20

    I would say to ignore your “due” card count. The reason Khatz didn’t put them into Surusu is because they just make you feel shitty. If you have free time and feel like it, do a ton of reps. If you don’t feel like it don’t let you SRS tell you what to do. I’m getting pretty good, to the point where Japanese people are telling me it’s scary (although really I still am just coming out of the intermediary stages, I think), and I never had a number to tell me how many reps to do.

  32. アメド
    January 19, 2010 at 00:58

    lol. I am progress alot, but i don’t think i can show off what i’ve learned so far well not yet at least :D.

    Hmmm, that is true about the SRS card count. But yea i don’t always do what it gives me to “due pile”. So whatever it has at the same. Let’s say 200. But sometimes my anki says i have like 400 review piles to do(at the time i finish my reps it says, but sometimes i get to do my reps earlier and sometimes it’s only have way of what the SRS count card for the day is). Then i usual just add another 50+ sentences and go on from there. I guess it’s all about time-boxing them and finishing them earlier on, before it get’s heavy.

  33. Sam
    January 20, 2010 at 11:16

    Khatz is god!

  34. Drewskie
    January 20, 2010 at 13:16




    I don’t want to wind up on some farming commune, dammit!

  35. アメド
    January 20, 2010 at 13:19

    LOL. AJATT is a cult? i never knew…..
    Yea right. Khatz is the same as everyone else. Everyones capable of becoming fluent in the language they so desire to learn!

  36. Drewskie
    January 20, 2010 at 14:00

    You think it’s a joke, アメド!? THINK AGAIN, MY OVERACHIEVING FRIEND.

    Think about how far you’ve followed Khatz, how much you’ve invested for a little tiny language. Imagine if he ran with a God-complex and offered nirvana.

    We’d all be harvesting grapes. ALL OF US.

  37. Matt
    January 20, 2010 at 14:36

    For some reason I’m getting a craving for Kool-Aid…

  38. khatzumoto
    January 20, 2010 at 15:08

    No, Sam! It’s too early for that! まだ早いぞ!
    They’re not ready for it yet…

    Not yet…

    Not yet…

  39. Drewskie
    January 20, 2010 at 15:37


  40. アメド
    January 21, 2010 at 03:28

    lol. Overachieving eh? Unno for me personally i just like to due a lot of things. Lots of kanji meanings, lots of sentences, lots of immersion, lots of everything and personally lots of japanese!!!!!

    “You think it’s a joke, アメド!? THINK AGAIN, MY OVERACHIEVING FRIEND.
    Think about how far you’ve followed Khatz, how much you’ve invested for a little tiny language. Imagine if he ran with a God-complex and offered nirvana.
    We’d all be harvesting grapes. ALL OF US.”

    That was funny.

  41. アメド
    January 21, 2010 at 12:15

    Khatz you should talk about, how you improved you’re writing skills in Japanese. I’ve always been interested in the writing portion a lot. I do kana to kanji production in my SRS when I’m adding sentences, I just to mix up the sentence with kana-kanji and kanji-kana. But yea, did you do any other techniques to help with you’re writing? or did it naturally get better with immersion+kana to kanji production SRS cards? Or was it that, you kept writing and writing and writing that it became naturally part of you’re gaining skills in you’re Japanese? For me personally i was thinking of just keep writing and doing the same things I’m doing, but try writing basic grammar sentences,regular speech sentences,etc. Unno just to get a feel for it i guess.

  42. SRS Addict
    January 21, 2010 at 22:30

    Here is my $0.02. I stopped using Supermemo twice, and both instances were within two weeks or so. Since then I have never missed a day in 3+ years. Even on some days where I have more than 600 cards (Only happened a few times), even on days when, due to a time zone change, I was dead tired and wanted to skip it, I still did it. When I was on a bus in Canada at 11:00pm and realized that my SRS was still not finished, I did it there on the bus (With my laptop). Even when sick, I would do it. Why? Because SRS programs lose effectiveness when not used daily. I realized pretty quickly my SRS program wasn’t something I can approach casually, I required serious commitment. I had no excuse to ever miss a day. Like the marketing people tell you, “Just do it.”

  43. SRS Addict
    January 21, 2010 at 22:32


    “IT required a serious commitment.”

    (I wish there was an “edit” button.)

  44. Brent
    January 23, 2010 at 10:10


    So…Is the Shelly quote based on Frisky Dingo? I really like that part and was just curious if you’ve watched it at all.

    Great post. ^_^

  45. アメド
    January 23, 2010 at 11:50

    LOL i laughed so hard listening to this. It made me happy and all at the same time laugh lol.


  46. アメド
    January 25, 2010 at 11:13

    Poems to SRS as well everyone

    it has all the kanji but the readings are in romaji. But it does have a translation for each sentence. I wasn’t thinking of SRSing this things but seeing how these are short and concise. It works out well!

  47. ブライアン
    December 13, 2010 at 13:40


    It’s my first post here, so let me start by saying: Khatz, you changed how I approach life. Major props to you.

    Anyway, on to my point:

    I’m currently in the midst of RTK (628/2042). I’ve been keeping up with my reviews the entire time, but I’ve had a very difficult time adding new kanji with any sort of consistency. Generally speaking, I have to force myself to do it, either out of obligation or because リトルバスターズ is showing me how very illiterate I am. Binging and purging.

    I know it’s not a race, but 10 kanji a day is unacceptable for having basically nothing to do (part-time job one day a week and no school = free time!) In fact, adding kanji–or NOT adding kanji–was leaving such a bad taste I would drop immersion to get away from it.

    SO, (I think) I’ve found a solution. Anki (my SRS of choice) has an option to limit how many new cards you see per day. I decided to set that relatively low (20). Now, when I have a kanji-binge session, I build up a massive log of cards that then get introduced at a constant pace. Rather than learning 50 kanji in one day and then not doing anything new for a week, I enter a bunch at once and have them introduced over the following days. Interestingly, this has made me more eager to add new cards; I enjoy seeing the card numbers go up without having a boatload of first-time reps to go with it.

    Of course, this isn’t optimal, but I figure it’s better to work with flaws rather than fight them. (Also, my solution is rather obvious, but if it took me two months to figure it out maybe someone else might find it useful?)

  48. Austin
    July 21, 2011 at 21:52

    To answer you question about planes being off-course (like most things) it’s a little more complicated, but essentially correct. Truth is that whatever your destination the shortest distance there is a straight line, right? Well, you can’t always make that straight line, despite going ‘as the crow flies’ because of two factors: wind, and other planes. Wind is just there, in fact it’s more there up in the blue because in general it’s stronger. If it’s a gusty day on the ground at 15 knots, it’s probably 50 knots 5000′ up. It’s usually at least 50 knots up where we commonly fly in the 20 to 30 thousand foot region, but I’ve seen winds as high as 150 knots in the gulf stream. So you need to correct for that wind, and the most common way to do that is to ‘crab’ into it. If the wind is pushing me 10 NM south for every 100 miles West I go, then what I do is point 10 NM North of the spot I want to go in 100 miles. That way even though the wind pushed me 10 South, I end up where I wanted because otherwise I would’ve been 10 too far north. Hopefully that makes sense; I’d draw you a picture if I could.

    The second factor (other planes) is really Air Traffic Control (ATC) who is always telling me where to go and what to do with my jet. They do this so that they can manage all these planes that would otherwise fly any which way they wanted with no regard for any other plane in the sky. “See and Avoid” is the phrase used when you don’t want to bother with ATC, and is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s not so tough when you’re in a small single engine Cessna at low altitude where your only worries are other slow Cessnas (and the occasional military jet). But if you’re flying an airliner at 33 thousand feet traveling 500 knots true you may not have time to both ‘see and avoid.’ Plus jerking a jumbo jet around would upset the majority of the travelers inside.

    So for the short version of the long answer to your short question: Yeah, we’re not following the straight line, but no, we’re never ‘off course’… Unless we’re lost.

  49. August 4, 2012 at 00:56


    A bit late to the party but I wanted to say this post was great for a couple reasons. You’re right, people are inclined to binge and purge even when there’s no need to. It’s harmful to oneself and only hinders one progress. Basically it’s more effective to just find a gentle middle ground.

    Also your comment about white supremacy is totally true too. People like that (any supremacists) understand how to solve problems with division and violence. This they are unhappy.

    Now where can I sign up to your cult/newsletter? :D

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