It’s always hard when starting Japanese when to actually begin looking at Kanji. Certainly getting through Kana can take time Yet the Kanji mountain can be tough to conquer. Where to begin?
A lot of people do recommend Heisig’s ‘Remembering the Kanji’. Certainly there are some good supportive devices out th
ere now what with Anki and Memrise to help you revise these characters. I started with this book but somehow gave up around lesson 8. Was this the best thing to have done?
Heisig’s first book is great for remembering the meaning of the characters but not how to read them. At first it’s a struggle to commit yourself to this book as you actually want to be able to read them as well. My stopping at lesson 8 was for his reason. I moved onto ‘Kanji through Stories’ and worked through ‘Basic Kanji Book’. The first of these two is good for stories or mnemics to remember the characters and has a useful quiz at the end of each chapter where you actually have to ‘read’ them as well. Both books in the series are useful as they seem to get you up to about N3 level. As for ‘Basic Kanji’ (of which there are a few) this has no helpful stories to remember the characters but it really is good for its reading sections and sentence tasks. This was tough to get through as I struggle remembering the characters without aids but at the same time I felt I was quickly using the Kanji. Still 400 characters is not that many at this stage. Still needing Furigana when reading texts needs to be reduced. So where to now?
Looking back on my studies I’m tending to move towards a greater contextual immersion in Kanji. There has to be that balance of knowing the characters and understanding how they are used. There has to be an increase in familiarity through real material.
1. Use the app Sticky Study to secure my N3 Kanji – a great app for vocabulary as well, though no sound is present.
2. Use real material to create my own lessons at Linq paying particular attention to notice the Kanji in words I don’t know. I may even actively search to find the meaning of those Kanji, though this will be purely by my own interest.
3. Begin ‘Basic Kanji’ book 2. This really should be covering all the Kanji I’ve done so far so it’s going to have lots of practical revisions.
I’m not pushing myself to learn another list of Kanji but rather I want to be confident in what I have studied and also enjoy discovering new characters through simply reading articles or stories. I’m going to update on this in November. Instead, I now begin my journey in understanding Hanzi. So, how will my Kanji experiences help me to tackle this character system? Can I excel at a greater pace? We’ll see.