I’m unfortunately one of those, I’ll admit. This is my third attempt at learning the language. Not too proud of giving up the other two times, but I’m trying to correct my previous mistakes and plan for the long run this time around.
As such, I apologize if my explanations implied existing knowledge of Japanese. By starting points, what I meant was that です is the polite form of saying something is/exists, while だ is the neutral form. Both Tae Kim and Cure Dolly recommend to learn the neutral form first since the polite form tends to mask several verb endings, which can lead to some confusion once you do eventually learn the neutral form. As for the が, Cure Dolly makes it a point to demystify common misconceptions about proper labelling and inferring the subject of the sentence as opposed to its topic. It’s more syntax than grammar, but the fact is I suffered from those misconceptions the other two times around. This felt like I had to unlearn what I had seen in class and rebuilt a proper foundation.
RTK stands for Remember the Kanji. It’s a method of learning kanji not by complexity nor by frequency of use, but by appearance. Each kanji builds onto the next, growing steadily more complex along a family branch until you’ve exhausted the kanji you can form with your given radicals. Then you introduce one more radical, and explore the family branch of the kanjis related to that. It goes from simplest to more complex.
Koohie is a website where people share their RTK mnemonics. Some stories are more impactful and easier to understand than others, so having access to 5-6 mnemonics (plus WaniKani) for each kanji is a godsend.
With the use of mnemonics, you can build meaningful stories for more and more complex kanji while very rarely using more than two of simpler kanji you previously learned. This makes more complex kanji very approachable, especially since you don’t have to remember any onyomi/kunyomi readings. All you care about is to associate a single meaning to the kanji.
What this does is that you can easily “learn” many more kanji in a short time than WaniKani. “Learn” is in quotes, because without the associated vocabulary nor readings, what you learn is very superficial, yet it is immensely helpful in parsing visually a dense text. Picking up the details that distinguish one kanji from another without confusing them is a great skill to learn, and not one WaniKani practices. It’s also nice to recognize more meanings in a text even if you can’t quite read it, as sometimes you’ll be able to guess the word from the contextual cues.
The way I use all of this is as such: Whenever I learn new kanji on WaniKani, I’ll look to Koohie for better mnemonics and pick one I like, or make my own. Then, whenever I feel like it, I’ll read ahead on RTK and add about 75 kanji per week to a SRS deck. I skip any kanji I learned on WaniKani. The RTK is just there for early exposure, and it makes recognizing these kanji easier when they later show up in WK. I don’t take RTK too seriously though, as I know WK is enough given enough time. Koohie however is the real gem here.