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Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Kanji Adventure: Days 6 and 7

Anyone that knows me knows that An Cafe is one of my favoritest bands of all time! I have loved them for AGES, since I was in France, and my love of them hasn't waned at all. Every time I listen to them or see a picture of them or even think about them, I am overwhelmed with happiness, and I remember why I started loving visual kei (and think; yappari, An Cafe really is still the best).

When they came back, though, after their 3 year break, as much as I LOVED the music, I was a little bit disappointed with the look (see above). They were still my beloved An Cafe, but their look was a bit ridiculous, over the top, like they were trying to hard for a comeback. And I was sad.

Since then, though, they have had 2 different looks, and both of them were perfect and wonderful and amazing (see above for the first of the two). And I was able to fall in love with all of the members all over again. And remember just WHY I am in love with Teruki. And I was looking at pictures of them this morning and thinking that, and I am happy. :-) It's good that all it takes is a new look to make me happy. :-)
Teruki, my future husband (shhh, don't tell Guillaume).

Anyhow, kanji! I managed to seriously study kanji for a WHOLE week!!!! And then some, as now I'm actually in the middle of week 2. I'm super proud of myself, but really, I wonder how long this will actually last. Given my laziness, probably not too long.


汰 - cleanse
The problem here is that, according to the dictionary, this kanji means "select." According to Heisig, it means cleanse. So which is it. Maybe I should just stop learning the ones that he seems to get wrong. Hmmmm. . .
- soup
- grains of sand
- tide
The tide is water that comes in with the mist and is controlled by the moon.
- source
- lively
- extinguish
- but of course
Yet another one where the meaning he gives isn't in the dictionary. This kanji seems to ACTUALLY mean condition, not but of course. How I remember it: if a mom asks a teenager is he's taken a shower, he's CONDITIONed to say "but of course." That way, both of the meanings are in there!
- river
- overnight
- lake
Here, I actually imagine an episode of Game of Thrones, where they are sending a dead man's body away in a lake, and someone keeps trying to shoot an arrow at it to light it on fire and missing. As such, we've got that the lake is the water in which you put old flesh.
- fathom (in the sense of measuring)
- soil, gournd, dirt, land
- spit
- pressure
- cape
Growing up, I used to read this series of books about this group of kids that grew up on the cape and had minimal access to outside people. Craaaazy things used to happen on the cape. As such, the CAPE is the LAND where STRANGE things happen.
- hedge
- inlay
- square jewel, vine, ivy
- horizon
- temple
- time
- level
- fire
- inflammation
- anxiety
This head is on fire! with anxiety.
- thin
Drinking lots of water is a great way to THIN out any inflammations that the body may have.
- lamp

- farm
- disaster
- ashes
- spot, points
- illumination
The sun reaches down its giant, seductive arms, with licks of fire coming off to illuminate everything around us
- fish
- fishing
- ri (measure of a rice field), computer
- black
Fire comes up and chars everything in the land that is the rice fields black
- black ink
The black that marks the land
- carp
The carp is the fish you most often see swimming near Japanese homes, in their gardens, around their rice fields
- quantity
- rin (the measure of something REALLY small)
If you look at a ri from the top of a cliff, it looks about 1000 times smaller, a rin
- bury
- same, monks
- den
- trunk, torso
- yonder
- esteem
- character
- guard
- perfect
- proclaim
- wee hours
- relax
- banquet
- draw near
I imagine a GIANT St. Bernard with his mouth nailed shut, sitting in the window of a house. If I'm running by, and I see that, I imagine that I wouldn't be able to stop myself from DRAWing NEAR to the house, to check it out a little more closely.
- wealth
- savings

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Kanji Adventure: Days 4 and 5

I am soooo loving not working full time right now. I realize that I'm going to have to get over that soon as, yknow, money, it's an issue and all. And I've got to be a productive member of society and all. But for now, I'm only working a few hours a week, and I am having SUCH a great time learning kanji and watching dramas and learning Python. And I've even started trying to learn Russian. Of course, I'm still working on the alphabet (which is, for some reason, harder than learning the Japanese alphabet - perhaps because I find it so much more difficult to pronounce the letters), and I can say hello! Preevyet! Or, to my boss, Zdrastvuytye!

Anyhow, I just finished watching 1ポンドの福音 (One Pound Gospel), and I absolutely LOOOOOOOVED it! Seriously! I'd heard from people that it was only so-so, and, since it was about boxing and nuns, I wasn't convinced. I'm glad I finally found the time to start it, though, as I absolutely ADORED it! Kamenashi was adorable beyond words. And I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed at the end. I want more!!!!
Now, I've started 夏の恋は虹色に輝く (Summer love shines like a rainbow), and it's okay so far. But I've always kind of thought that Matsumoto Jun looks like a sewer rat, and this drama is no exception. Also, I feel like the female lead does NOT look the part she's playing at all. She just seems to old for it, somehow. I dunno, there's just something. . . wrong about her.

Anyhow, this is NOT about the dramas I've been watching. It's about the KANJI I've been learning. And I have been learning!

- cut
- seduce
- shining
I imagine the sun sending giant rays down to people, shining on them, seducing them. People are seduced by the shining of the sun.
- rule
- vice-
- separate
- street, nail
- village
- can
- place on a head
- child
- cavity
I have a bit of trouble with this one. If I see the word cavity, I can write it. But looking at it, I couldn't remember what it was. I think of a child in the dentist's office. He has a big hole is his tooth and is super afraid because the dentist is coming at him with a giant hook to take out what's in the hole.
- complete
- woman
- fond
- likeness
This one is somewhat vulgar. When a child comes out of a woman's hole, it is a likeness of her and the man that made it.
- mother
- pierce
- curse
- overcome
If I had 10 teenage older brothers, I would be OVERCOME by big brothers, overcome by teenagers. Agh!
- little
- few
- large
- many
Many moons ago. . .wait, I don't remember what happened many moons ago. It's so far away that it's clouded in my memory.
- evening
- eventide
- outside
- name
- stone, rocks

- resemblance, candle, sparks
If a little bit of flesh is the same, there is a resemblance
- nitrate
- smash
Take a rock and throw it down, SMASH it into 9 pieces; no, that's not enough, 10 pieces!
- sand
- jealous
- plane (i.e. shave wood)
- ray
- plump
- utensil
- stinking
- sniff
If this is ACTUALLY how the kanji is written, with a drop to make the bottom right kanji dog and not big, it's written wrong in the book.
- exquisite
- focus
- thick
- strange
- stream
- state
- obey
- water
- icicle
- eternity
Find eternity in a drop of water
- spring
- gland
- meadow
- petition
- swim
- swamp
- open sea
- inter-
The wind goes around the WHOLE word, picking up drops of water in one place and dropping them off in another. Very INTER-continental!
- creek
A CREEK is WATER that has been CRAFTED into what it is.

I actually had to look up quite a few of the kanji this time, to know their pronunciations to be able to type them. And some of them didn't seem to have the meaning that Heisig has given them at all. I wonder if I should be worried about what I'm learning. At the same time, the meanings that he has given them have really helped me in remembering how to write some of the ones where the meanings are what they should be. Still, I'm nervous. And I wonder if I shouldn't try to remember them with their proper meanings. It just seems weird that he would give them meanings that don't exist. Like 召. According to him, it means seduce. According to jdic, it means a summons or a call.

That's all for today. Wish me luck in my continued kanji learning journey! I'm off to watch more Natsu no Koi ha Nijiiro ni Kagayaku!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Kanji Adventure: Days 2 and 3

I spent the last three days, between kanji studying and working, watching Ikemen Desu Ne (イケメンですね), a Japanese drama about a nun who poses as her brother in a pop band while he recovers from having broken his nose. Apparently, it was based on a Korean drama. I loved it SO much that I might just have to watch the Korean version as well. I fell in love with all of the characters, and I was totally routing for the love connection that seemed to be getting the least attention (as is, somehow, always the case with me. Guess I have weird taste).

Anyhow I'm super sad it's over, I miss the characters, and I might just have to watch it again. In the meantime, though, I have started One Pound Gospel (1ポンドの福音), which also has a nun, and which I am loving. :-) But which is not Ikemen Desu Ne. :-(
Anyhow, KANJI STUDYING! I'd say it's going pretty well!

- white
- hundred
- inside
- thousand
- tongue
- measuring cup
It could be because I don't really have a clear image of what this is, but I had SO much trouble remembering this one. So, I just think of it as 1000 needles, and then I think of a shot class, used to measure sake, covered in those 1000 needles. And that sort of does it.
- rise up
And, perhaps because it uses measuring cup as a primitive, I have a ton of trouble with this one, too. So I think of the top kanji as a mouth with a wagging tongue and the bottom kanji as that needle covered sake glass. If that wagging tongue goes to take a drink, which is does, the person can't help but rise up out of their seat in shock and pain. It's stretching things a bit far, but it's the best I've got.
- round
- measurement, glue
He says: one drop of a ten. Hopefully that will eventually do the trick. Luckily, I have more trouble remembering the story than remembering the kanji.
- elbow
The elbow is the flesh that holds/glues the body together, as it is what connects the body to our hands, which are basically our livelihood
- specialty
Having a specialty is like taking 10 separate aspects of one field and gluing them all together in your mind to make one thing that you are supremely awesome at.
- Dr.
A doctor uses a fine pointed needle to glue those fields together, and don't forget the . at the end/top for the abbreviation
- fortune telling
- above
- below
- eminent
I thought I would never remember his story, but, bizarrely enough, I find the image becoming clearer and clearer in my head: her eminent highness the sunflower queen running around lazily with a sunflower as a magic wand
- morning
- ridicule, derision
morning mouth
- only
- shells, shellfish
Though he doesn't say it, I find that it really helps in forming other kanji if I remember with this one as paper as well
- pop song
Taking what's on paper, the music, and having it come out of your mouth
- upright
- employee
- post a bill
- see


- newborn babe
- beginning
- page, head
- stubborn
- mediocre
The wind is amazingly strong, but just one drop of wind - not so much. I'd even call it mediocre.
- defeat
I keep the image of a person crumpling up a piece of paper in defeat; no matter how much they study, they just can't do it
- ten thousand
- phrase
- texture
- decameron (season for something)
- ladle
- bull's eye
I thought I would NEVER remember his story of a white bird being painted in the middle of a bull's eye on an old rusty ladle. And that bird going chirp every time it's hit. But now, every time I see this kanji, I hear the bird chirp in my head.
- neck
- fish guts, hook
I find that I remember this thanks to the adorableness of Yaotome Hikaru (八乙女 光)
- riot
- straightaway
- tool
- truth
- craft
- left
- right
- possess
- bribe
- tribute
Making a tribute is crafting paper into money or shells into something else to serve a purpose
- paragraph
AGH! I have SO much trouble with this one. Crafting heads, what? Crafting pages, what? Somehow, it seems like it should make sense, but it just REFUSES to stick in my head.
- sword
- blade

Monday, June 24, 2013

Learning and Remembering the Kanji: Day 1

Okay, so I've been thinking about just HOW I'm going to document my progress, as it seems silly to just write out the kanji I learned along with their meanings and stories. Soooo, I've decided that I will write out the list of kanji that I learn in any given day along with their meanings.

And THEN, if I changed the story from what was in the book (it was day 4, and I've already had to do that a few times, to suit me), I'll write that. Or if I have trouble remembering the story, I'll write that. To help me remember. Also, kanji I feel like I forgot from the day/s before.

So, let's get started!

Day 1 was easy, as it involved mostly kanji that I already knew. I for some reason, though, have always had trouble remembering the kanji for the numbers (specifically 7 and 9), so hopefully that will help with that. I learned:

- one
- two
- three
- four
- five
- six
- seven, diced
- eight
- nine, baseball
- ten, needle
- mouth (in every sense of the word)
- day, sun, mouth with a wagging tongue
- month, moon, flesh
- rice field, brains
- eye
- old
For this one, he says to imagine a tombstone, but I find myself imagining a skill with a giant mouth wearing a headdress of needles
- I
- risk
- companion
- chant
- sparkle
- goods
- spine
- prosperous
- early, sunflower
- rising sun
I can't remember the story he came up with, but I just imagine someone hitting a home run with the ball flying/rising up into the sun
- generation
- stomach
- nightbreak
- gall bladder
Don't let the night break on your anger/gall
- span
- concave
- convex

And there we have day 1! Since there were quite a few I already knew easily,I learned more than I think I usually would! And I feel confident about remembering them! Yay! Tomorrow, I'll have to update for 2 days, so I can catch up with myself. In the meantime, to reward myself for the hard word I've done today, I'm going to eat some soy ice cream and watch an episode of イケメンですね。超ー可愛い!!!!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Learning and Remembering the Kanji, an Adventure

I started this blog as a place for myself to talk about Japanese things, in the hopes that, just maybe, I would want to talk about them in Japanese. Which would in turn help me to practice Japanese and not forget it, being away from Japan and all.

Unfortunately, my laziness and business combined to bring you. . . ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I would get afraid of writing in Japanese and so just not write anything. My Japanese since moving away from Japan is limited to short conversations every week or two. (oh, and also of course lots of listening practice via music and dramas. Though less than I would like). I hardly ever talk, I never read, and I never write. As such, my level in Japanese is getting closer and closer to non-existent, and this makes me SAD. :-(

I've always been extremely awful at kanji. People would regularly make fun of my because my kanji level was WAY lower than you would think for someone speaking at my level (I'm sure it still is, but just because the number of kanji I've forgotten is proportional to the amount of Japanese I've forgotten).

Once, though, I had a teacher tell me that I was something like a genius - because I could read through and understand Japanese texts without being able to read any (or almost any) of the kanji. I was able to do this because, somehow, through it all, I had managed to remember the MEANINGS of the kanji without having any clue how to pronounce them.

And then, I was looking through some of my Japanese books the other day, and "Remembering the Kanji" by James W. Heisig caught my eye, and I realized that that's what it's all about. Remembering the MEANINGS of the kanji without knowing how to pronounce them. And then I thought "Hey, I can do that! That's what I've been doing all along!"

And then I thought "If I know the meanings, it will be MUCH easier to learn the pronunciations after." And then I read the introduction and realized that that's EXACTLY what Heisig's Remembering the Kanji is all about.

So now I've decided that I WILL learn the kanji his way, and I will do it in a maximum of 3 months, meaning that I'll be learning about 25 kanji, more or less, a day. And I've decided to use this much-neglected blog to document that process, in the hopes that it will help me to hold myself accountable and actually LEARN them!

The goal: Learn the meanings and the writings of the 2,200 kanji in Jame's W. Heisig's Remembering the Kanji
The time limit: Do this by September 22, 2013
The way: Using Heisig's Remembering the Kanji and learning stories for each one! (and them documenting what I've hopefully learned in this blog!)

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooooooooo on it!!