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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!!

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