The Tadoku Times

This past October, I finally decided to join the mighty tadoku contest. For the uninitiated, tadoku is a technique where one reads an extensive amount of text in their target language. In the contest, readers would log their page-counts on twitter and get their current ranking. I’m usually the sort of reader that will jump between various books, manga, websites, games, magazines, etc. So for the longest time, I had put it off because the thought of having to keep track of everything I read seemed like a lot of trouble. So for the sake of the contest, I kept it down to 2 books and 3 manga volumes, and kept track of my progress on a spreadsheet. For things like games I basically just had to guess since it’s hard to gauge anyways, and for SRS reps I just went by my daily targets in Anki. I admit it was interesting to keep track of this sort of thing for a month, to see how much text I really do go through.

Pile of tadoku goodness

Pile of tadoku goodness

For books, I had some in real paper format, some on my PC with CDisplayEx, and some on my phone with SCViewer. (I’d tried many PC and Android comic viewers before finding those two great ones, so I thought I’d share.) I was curious to see which method took in the most page counts. Not surprisingly, manga on the PC was way ahead of any others. Phone reading tended to be only here and there, when I was waiting somewhere away from home, and paper books tended to be used when I wanted to take a break from looking at a screen. This isn’t a bad thing though, since the PC would often become a time-sucking vampire! By getting in the habit of cracking open my comic book reader, it was now a very productive experience. (Yes, I just called reading comic books productive. You’re welcome!)

InDEED!

InDEED!

As far as the actual tadoku experience goes, I have to say it really is effective. In the past, I think I’d spent way too much time doing just SRS reps, to the extent where I wasn’t getting much exposure to Japanese elsewhere ie: time actually using the language. This goes a long way to fix that. I know some participants stopped using SRS during the contest, and of course some don’t use that kind of software at all. I kept using Anki, but really made it a point to get some reading and other text exposure each day on top of it. In fact I would often experience moments where I’d come across a word in my reading that I know for a fact that I learned from a recent SRS card.

Well! That certainly is... extensive!

Well! That certainly is… extensive!

On the one hand, I’m glad to be able to look at my results and switch back to more casual habits for reading in Japanese. Yet on the other hand I feel like as my skills improve, I’d love to take on another tadoku contest in the future, perhaps with even more focus, such as sticking to only a particular novel, something that can be a bit draining at my current level. Even if you don’t do tadoku as a contest, I would highly recommend setting time aside in your studying schedule to get some reading done in your target language every day. Not only will it provide you with some natural exposure to the language, but it’s also a very convenient and casual way to study and learn. It’s certainly something that I want to continue to make more and more a part of my Japanese learning experience. Coupled with some vocab-building SRS use, it’s truly a super-effective combo. I hope everyone had an enjoyable contest, and best of luck for the next one!

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  • Read More or Die! 2011

    _2011 End Results_
    Total read for Tadoku:
    __433.3 pages!__
    Placement: 115/188
    ___________________
    October 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 97/120
    End Tally: 59.2
    ___________________
    July 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 86/142
    End Tally: 195.6
    ___________________
    April 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 62/106
    End Tally: 154.5
    ___________________
    January 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 84/99
    End Tally: 24
    ___________________
    August 2010 Contest:
    Placement: 20/41
    End Tally: 160

  • Read Or Die 2013

    **************
    June:
    Goal: 600
    Total: 906.26
    blew my goal outta the water!

    **************
    March 2-Week:
    Goal: 125
    Total:302.75

    **************
    January:
    Goal: 250
    Total: 314

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