In response to this thread by @rfindley, rather than sending an e-mail, I decided to add it to my study log. This entry is written as if specifically for rfindley (as the first parts I originally write into an e-mail).
I predict this e-mail to run long, so I plan to split it into two parts. Part one will be the primary requested information. Part two will detail how I do my reviews, as it will skew my leech results in an unexpected way (and my qualify my leeches as low-priority to review). And in part three I will list my thoughts on my leeches as I go through and review them. More on that as I get closer to it.
How many leeches? According to one of the userscripts I have installed:
- Apprentice: 221 (per level: 6 / 2 / 168 / 45)
- Guru: 163 (per level 36 / 79)
- Master: 115
- Enlightened: 152
Those numbers look about right to me, after I spent about three months recently really working at getting my Apprentice and Guru numbers so low.
What kind of leeches? I’ll cover this in part two, as I analyze some of my current Apprentice leeches in real-time.
I’ve spent years working on some of my leeches.
I best learn words I’m having trouble with if they show up in manga I’m reading. But many of my leeches never show up in any manga I read!
Eventually, I “gave up” on my leeches. I was spending too much time on reviews and didn’t have time for lessons.
That’s when I wrote…the leech auto-pass script. What it does is it allows me to auto-mark my Apprentice leeches as correct without actually reviewing them. I’d still review them as Guru, but Apprentice leeches would auto-pass. The script is (purposefully) a bit cumbersome to run, so sometimes I’d just review the Apprentice leeches instead of running the script. I had two different periods of time when I used the script. The first was probably under a month, and the second under a week.
Recently, I spend three months focusing on reviews without doing lessons, but again I wanted to start making actual progress again. This time, I came up with a new approach: don’t do Apprentice leech reviews. Using the Flaming Durtles app’s review settings, I am able to arrange my reviews so I do my current-level reviews first, then my non-Apprentice reviews second. This leaves Apprentice for levels prior to my current level. Since I just spent three months on my current level, I know these Apprentices are all leeches, and I simply don’t review them anymore (starting this month).
So, that’s what shows up in my review history: a mix of “auto-passing” Apprentice leeches, and “don’t review” them.
This part is mostly going to be for myself because it’s probably more information than you are interested in. For that reason, don’t feel bad about skipping over any of it. But if you get any kind of useful information out of it, great!
After doing my non-Apprentice leech reviews, I’m down to 188 Apprentice leeches waiting to be reviewed.
All reviews are done reading first, meaning second (but not necessarily back to back).
Note: Due to sorting, Apprentice IV leeches come up first.
Apprentice IV Leeches
Vocabulary 復習: Looking at this one, I recalled the reading. I’m thinking the meaning is…lesson? Review? Something along those lines. I settled on “review”, and found it was correct. This one’s moving out of Apprentice!
Kanji 往: I was able to type this one here before reviewing by writing 往復. This tells me the reading is おう and the meaning is “depart”. And upon review…that’s right and right. That’s another leaving Apprentice.
Kanji 絞: I can never remember if this is こう or かく, nor the meaning. Failed both reviews.
Now that I'm reading the Detective Conan manga, maybe I'll start to recognize it?
My newest Anki card I made just now. If I can link the kanji to “strangle”, then I can imagine こういち as the culprit every time someone gets strangled, and maybe I’ll recall the reading then.
Vocabulary 構う: I managed to recognize the reading and meaning for this one.
Kanji 販: I remembered the reading easily, but not the meaning. Looked like a kanji I’ve never seen before in my life. Failed meaning review. Twice. (I thought “buy” the second time around, but it’s “sell”.)
Kanji 担: Reading was easy to figure. Meaning is…bear a grudge, shoulder a burden? Turns out it’s “carry, bear”, so I’ll take as “correct”. (I’m using Anki mode on Flaming Durtles.)
Kanji 製: Another easy reading. System? Control? I’ll go with system. Reviewing…nope, manufacture. Failed meaning review. Checking mnemonic, it doesn’t help that I don’t recall the keyword for 衣 as “clothes”, and I burned that radical probably a long time ago.
Vocabulary 観客: Got both reading and meaning correct.
Kanji 態: Managed to think of the correct reading. Went with “ability” for meaning, but it’s “appearance”. I get this one wrong all the time. (We are talking leeches here, after all.) Failed meaning review.
Vocabulary 営む: Got reading and meaning right. I wonder how I get usually them wrong. I have no clue.
Vocabulary 資料: I managed to type it right on my first try here, but that was after running through ひりょう, しりょう, and ？りょう (I forget the other one) in my mind briefly. For meaning, I considered wealth (probably due to 資産家, “wealthy person”), but it’s “material, data, documents”. Failed meaning review.
Vocabulary 税金: I had to think for about ten seconds to remember the reading, but I got it right. Normally I fail it if I don’t remember it sooner than that. Once I remember the reading, the meaning is easy for this one.
Vocabulary 防止: Reading easy, meaning: I thought suspension, but it’s prevention. Failed meaning review.
Vocabulary 改正: Got both sides right. I’m not certain how I get this one wrong sometimes, as I know 改 from 「改造マリオ」. Maybe I mistake the meaning for “betterment” sometimes?
Kanji 容: A nemisis of mine. Managed to get the reading right this time. (Issue: よう? よく?) And the meaning is…valley? Bathe? Abundant? Nope, it’s “form, appearance, shape, figure”. Failed meaning review.
Kanji 僧: I managed the reading with uncertainty, but I thought maybe “increase” for meaning. (That’s 増, which I burned two months ago.) Failed meaning review.
Vocabulary 虚栄心: Failed to recall the reading of 虚, but knew meaning. Failed reading review.
Vocabulary 感覚: Struggle with if second kanji is かくor がく, but got it this time. Something about…feeling? Couldn’t recall that it’s “(the) senses”. Failed meaning review.
Kanji 典: Thought きょく, but it’s てん. That tells me it’s not music, but rather “rule, standard”. Failed reading review.
Kanji 府: Got the reading. Meaning is…something related to government or government office? Turns out it’s “government”, which I’m marking as wrong due to uncertainty. I think I have my mnemonic mixed with another “canopy” one (maybe that involves “street”?), but I don’t know which one.
Kanji 基: I happen to recognize the reading and meaning, but I know I get one or the other wrong a lot.
Kanji 格: I always know this one. Every single time. かく and “status”. So why is it Apprentice IV (now going to Guru)? I have no idea.
Vocabulary 骨折: I know why I get this one wrong! I think こっけつ, but this time I recognized that it’s こっせつ. Meaning is easy enough.
Kanji 頑: Reading I got. Meaning is…stubborn? Ah, that’s right. Yet another one going to Guru.
I think I’m discovering the secret to getting my leeches right. Stop doing leech reviews for a week or two, then type each one as I go through them, to force myself to think them through. Of course, that also means I review 24 cards in about 45 minutes.
Kanji 詩: じ? し? Poem? Ah, I got it right. Normally I go with じ and get it wrong, but this time I looked at it more carefully, and the 言 portion had me think poem, which led me to し.
Vocabulary 想定: Reading is easy, but I have no idea what the meaning can be. Failed meaning review.
Vocabulary 終電: Another easy reading. Meaning is…last train? But I think blackout sometimes.
Kanji 待: I thnk とく (特) and じ (持), but it’s たい. Worst part is I know 持 versus 待, but need to look left radical every time I see one without kanji and I need to specifically think of whether it’s a “hand” or “person loitering”. But that doesn’t help me with the reading, only the meaning. I hope this goes away after I (eventually) get to reading a lot of material without furigana.
Kanji 功: I know the reading this time. Meaning is…something about effect, or success? Or something that starts with an “a”? No, I’m quite certain it’s effect. (Turns out, it’s “achievement, accomplishment”.) Failed meaning review.
Kanji 命: めい, although sometimes I think れい. Order. Or life. I’ll go with order. Or was it pray? No, I’ll stick with order. (It’s fate.) Failed meaning review.
Kanji 算: Managed reading and meaning this time, but I know I get both wrong a lot. Most often a matter of “I have no idea what the answer is.”
Vocabulary 求める: Mistook reading as みとめる. I kind of have the meaning, request, so I try to think of someone requesting more and more (もっと) to get the reading as もとめる, but I always forget. Failed reading review.
Vocabulary 親しい: Got the reading this time. Meaning is…not “confidential”. Maybe “kindness”. Or “friendly”. I’ll go with friendly, because that one’s an adjective. Looks like I managed to get it right. This time.
Vocabulary 仮に: I thought ゆえ for the kanji, and got it wrong. Meaning wrong as well, thinking temporarily or tentatively. Failed both reviews.
Vocabulary 科目: Had to try sounding this one out a few times before I got the reading figured. And that lead me to the correct meaning as well.
Vocabulary 出社: One of the items recently added to WaniKani that I’ve had trouble with. Getting easier since I added it to Anki as well. Wait, I’m confusing this with…由来? Let’s move on. Failed meaning review.
Vocabulary 工作: I used to get this one wrong all the time, but now I know the reading and that it means “handicraft” when I see it. Somehow or other.
Over an hour in, I think that’s a good stopping point. My next review session’s going to be crazy with all these new Gurus added in… And I tend to get things wrong only once or twice in a review session, so they’ll probably be hanging out in Guru for a long time if they don’t move on up the ladder. Oh boy…